Look for your ancestors in this PA genealogy database of American Civil War soldiers
PA Civil War Volunteer Soldiers
Forty-third Regiment, First Light Artillery
43rd PA Regiment History, 1st Light Artillery
On the 13th of April, 1861, James Brady, a citizen of Philadelphia, issued a call for volunteers for a Light Artillery Regiment. In three days thirteen hundred men were enrolled, and their services were immediately tendered to the Secretary of War. By him the tender was referred to Governor Curtin. Governor Curtin referred it to General Patterson, who, after considerable delay, objected to its acceptance on the ground that it was not a militia organization. In the meantime the men, eager to be in the service, enlisted in New Jersey and New York regiments. One company joined Colonel Baker's California Regiment, and another joined the Twenty-seventh Regiment, commanded by Colonel Einstein. About five hundred men still remained, and were maintained at the expense of the officers, and their friends, until the law authorizing the organization a of the Reserve Corps was passed, when four companies, commanded by Captains Brady, Simpson, Flood and West, were accepted and ordered to the camp at Harrisburg. These were here joined by four other companies recruited in the counties of Franklin, Potter, York, Lawrence and Luzerne, and an organization was effected by the choice of Captain Richard H. Rush of the regular army, Colonel; Charles T. Campbell, from Captain of company A, Lieutenant Colonel; A. E. Lewis, Senior Major, and H. T. Danforth, of company B, Junior Major. Colonel Rush declined to accept the command, and soon after became Colonel of the Sixth Cavalry. The regiment, consequently, remained under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Campbell. It was clothed and equipped by the State, and received arms from the State and from the city of Philadelphia. Battery E, Captain Barr, accompanied the expedition sent, on the 21st of June, to the relief of Colonel Lew. Wallace, in West Virginia, consisting of the Battery and the Fifth and Bucktail regiments of infantry, all under command of Colonel Biddle, and returned to Harrisburg late in July.
Early in August, the regiment was ordered to Washington, and upon its arrival encamped near the Arsenal, where it was more completely armed and equipped, receiving horses for the batteries, and a full supply of ammunition. As fast as mounted, the batteries removed to a camp east of the Capitol, which was called Camp Barry, in honor of Major Barry, at that time Chief of Artillery of the Department, who had manifested much interest and zeal in furnishing their outfit. From Camp Barry the several batteries were separated and assigned to different divisions and corps of the army, and were never again united as a regiment. Batteries A, B, E and G, were assigned to McCall's division, in camp at Tenallytown, and with these Lieutenant Colonel Campbell established his headquarters. Battery C was assigned to Smith's Division, in camp near Chain Bridge; Battery F to Banks' Division, at Poolesville, and Batteries D and H to Buell's Division, in camp north of the city, and engaged in building forts, among which were Totten, Slocum and Stevens, which at a later day served a most important purpose in checking the enemy's advance upon the Capital. Soon after the distribution of the batteries an election was ordered to fill the vacancy occasioned by the declination of Colonel Rush, which resulted in the choice of Charles T. Campbell, Colonel; H. T. Danforth Lieutenant Colonel; A. E. Lewis, Senior Major, and R, M. West, from Captain of Transferred to 91st Company G, Junior Major. Subsequently Colonel Campbell resigned and was commissioned Colonel of the Fifty-seventh Regiment. Lieutenant Colonel Danforth was ordered to duty with batteries D and H, under General Buell. He was an experienced artillery officer, having served in Bragg's celebrated battery in the Mexican war. Here his services were of the greatest value, and under his drill and instruction these batteries soon came to be regarded as the equals of regular artillery. Desirous of active duty, he made repeated applications to be assigned to service with the battery which he had recruited. This request being denied him, he resigned his commission as Lieutenant Colonel, and enlisted as a private in the ranks with his old companions, but was immediately elected a Second Lieutenant. In this capacity he served until killed in action at Charles City Cross Roads on the 30th of June, 1862.
By order of General McCllellan the field and line officers were cited to appear before an examining hoard for certificates of competency. Failing in these examinations, in many cases of little practical account, a considerable number was forced to resign, many of them valuable officers, and their places were supplied by regular army sergeants. These changes were not received with favor by the men, and, with two exceptions, none of those thus appointed served to the end of their terms, or died in the service.
On the 29th of July, 1862, Major R. M. West was promoted to Colonel, Captain Edward H. Flood, of Battery D, to Lieutenant Colonel, and Captain James Brady, of Battery H, to Major. On the 23d of September, 1863, Major Brady was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, in place of Flood, resigned, and Captain E. W. Matthews, of Battery F, was promoted to Major. Upon the resignation of Major Matthews, on the 27th of June, 1864, he was succeeded by Captain James H. Cooper, of Battery B. Upon the expiration of the term of service of the latter, August 8, 1864, he was succeeded by Robert Bruce Ricketts, captain of Battery F. On the 29th of April, 1864, Colonel West was commissioned Colonel of the Fifth Pennsylvania Cavalry, when Major Ricketts was made Colonel, and was succeeded as Major by Captain Theodore Miller, of Battery E.
Battery A, commanded by Captain Hezekiah Easton, was the first to be engaged, participating in the battle of Dranesville on the 20th of December,1861. It was brought into action at a range of less than five hundred yards. The enemy's guns were concealed by the woods, but by observing the smoke of his pieces the range was soon obtained, and in a short time his fire slackened. One of his caissons was exploded, and so many of his horses killed that he was obliged to withdraw, dragging one of his pieces away by hand. "Having met General Ord," says General McCall in his official report, "we moved forward, and the position where the enemy's battery had been placed was soon gained, and here we had evidence of the fine artillery practice of Easton's Battery. The road was strewn with men and horses; two caissons, one of them blown up a limber, a gun-carriage wheel, a quantity of artillery ammunition, small arms, and an immense quantity of heavy clothing, blankets, &c." The battery suffered no loss or injury.
During the ensuing winter it was encamped with the Reserves near Langley, and upon the opening of the spring campaign moved with the army towards Manassas. It subsequently accompanied the Reserves to Fredericksburg, where it remained on duty until the battle of Fair Oaks, when, with the division, it rejoined the army of the Potomac. Upon its arrival in the neighborhood of Mechanicsville it was immediately put in position to cover the bridge. It was subsequently withdrawn to the battleground at Beaver Dam Creek, where it was posted behind a morass flanked. by tall pines. Here it was served with excellent effect, hurling back a brigade of the enemy that attempted to cross the swamp in front, and shattering his ranks wherever they appeared. On the following day, June 27th, at Gaines' Mill, it was posted by Captain Easton in an important position, covering, with Battery G, Captain Kern, the left of the Union line resting upon the Chickahominy. The ground chosen was upon spurs of the table land bordering the river, and deeply scored by ravines parallel with the battery front, and varying in depth from thirty to forty feet. From this position Captain Easton opened fire upon the woods in front at a range of, four hundred yards. In a sudden emergency the regiment supporting the battery was withdrawn and hurried to another part of the field. The enemy quickly discerned the exposed position of the guns and charged on them, keeping close, under the sides of the ravine. The cannoneers found it impossible to depress their pieces sufficiently to repel the attack, and made an attempt to withdraw them under cover of a charge of regular cavalry. The ravines rendered the ground unfavorable for the movement of-cavalry, and the charge failed, the party being exposed to a terrible infantry fire. Checked and broken in their advance the mounted fugitives came pouring through the battery, carrying with them to the rear all the available teams and limbers. The enemy, yelling like so many fiends, advanced boldly to the guns, now left without ammunition, crying out to Captain Easton and those officers and; men who bravely with-'stood the storm, to surrender His reply never to be forgotten by his comrades: who clustered about him, was, "No! we never surrender! Alas! the next moment that voice was hushed in death." He fell beside his guns; none were left to surrender them. In the varying fortunes of the fight, two of his faithful men attempted to bring off the body, but lost it in the melee. A solitary peach tree marks the spot where he fell.
The battery was re-organized, and received new guns on the arrival of the army at Harrison's Landing. It continued attached to the Reserves, and participated in the battle of Bull Run, South Mountain, and Antietam, maintaining its reputation for skill and bravery, and leaving many of its men dead and wounded upon the fields of their valor. At Fredericksburg it was at first posted, on the river bank to cover the crossing and laying of the pontoons. On the 13th of December, the day in which the Reserves were engaged, it maintained its position under a concentrated fire of the enemy's artillery, marks of his shot and shell being visible, after the engagement, on every piece and caisson.
After the withdrawal of the Reserves from the First Army Corps, Major Bray remained in the field with this battery, and three others belonging to the regiment, which were assigned to the Third Division of the First Corps, commanded by General Doubleday. Shortly afterwards, under orders from headquarters of the army, Battery A was detached and ordered to proceed with Burnside's Corps on an expedition, which was to rendezvous at Fortress Monroe. Here the destination of the corps was changed, and the battery was left, at Norfolk to be attached to a new army corps, at various times known as the Army of Virginia, Army of the James, Seventh, and Tenth Corps. With this command it operated on the Black Water, at Deep Bottom, Fort Darling, Seven Pines, ad Petersburg.
Upon the fall of Richmond, under command of Captain Stitt, it marched with Weitzel's Corps and entered the fallen city on the day of its surrender. Captain Stitt was immediately after ordered to report with his battery to Lieutenant Colonel Brady, in charge of captured works and ordnance, and was engaged, with battery E, in demolishing the rebel defenses and arsenals at the rebel capital, and removing there from their guns and ordnance. This proved a Herculean task. The guns were, in general, of the heaviest caliber, many of them in the most inaccessible localities, and in many cases had to be transported over difficult roads But they were all safely shipped on board of schooners bound for northern arsenals, without the slightest accident from explosions, or damage to property. Most of the ordnance and ammunition was found in good condition, but the small arms were of little value. After the completion of this duty in July, 1865 the battery received orders to turn in its guns and horses at Richmond and report at Harrisburg. Here, after a term of service of four years and four months, it was mustered out of service on the 25th.
Battery B joined the Division of Pennsylvania Reserves on the 14th of August, 1861, at Tenallytown, and was assigned to the First Brigade General Reynolds commanding. Lieutenant Cadwalader was on picket with his section at Great Falls, in September, when the rebels fired on the troops guarding that point. The first death in the battery, that of private James M. McClurg, occurred on the 29th of September. Until the 11th of October, it was armed with four six-pounder James guns, when two of these were exchanged for four ten pounder Parrots. That night it crossed the Potomac and joined the division at Camp Pierpont. On the 14th of October, private Frederick B. Leifet was killed, and private Alfred Phillips Severely wounded, by the accidental discharge of the musket of a member of company E, Third Reserves, while on dress parade. On the 19th, the battery accompanied the first Brigade on reconnaissance beyond Dranesville. The First Brigade was lying at Difficult Creek when the battle of Dranesville, December 20th, commenced, and was immediately ordered to General Ord's assistance, but did not arrive until after the enemy had been repulsed.
On the 25th of December, General McCellan, in compliance with the request of General Banks for a "good battery," directed General McCall to send Battery B. This was protested against by Generals s McCall and Reynolds, and caused much dissatisfaction throughout the division. The battery was on duty at Seneca Falls and Edwards' Ferry until January 9th, 1862, when, at General McCall's request, it was ordered to return to the division. After the return of the army to Alexandria, it was placed in the First Army Corps, General McDowell commanding. When the First Brigade crossed the Rappahannock, at Fredericksburg, May 26th, Battery B accompanied it. After its return twenty men were detached from the infantry of the Reserves to fill the company to the number required for a six-gun battery.
On the 13th of June, it embarked for the Peninsula, and arrived at White House, on the Pamunky, on the 17th, joining the division at Mechanicsville, on the 20th. Here the battery was placed on picket in front of the town, and on the extreme right of the army. For several days the gunners practiced firing at the enemy and his works, but received no response. On the 26th, when Jackson's army was reported to be advancing, Battery B was withdrawn to Beaver Dam Creek, where earthworks had been constructed and rifle-pits dug. The right and centre sections took position behind the works in front of the camp of the Bucktails, and the left section, commanded by Lieutenant Fullerton, near Ellerson's Mill) with the Third Brigade in support. After the withdrawal of the Union pickets, two divisions of the rebel army, under the command of the Generals Hill, crossed the Chickahominy and formed in line of battle, to await the coming of Branche's Division down the left bank of the river.
The advance of the enemy was accompanied by a battery of horse artillery, which came forward on a gallop and attempted to come into position, but the fire from the guns of Battery B was so well directed that it left without unlimbering. Rebel batteries placed behind the brow of a hill on the right, where they were under shelter, were more successful and soon opened a well directed fire. Several attempts of the rebels to form line of battle in front of these batteries, with the manifest intention of capturing Battery B, were unsuccessful, a concentrated fire of artillery, assisted by the infantry, cutting them down as fast as they could form. The slaughter of the enemy here was terrible. The gaps made in his lines by the shots from the guns of Battery B, firing by battery, were distinctly visible. Another attempt to break the line at this point was made on its right, but the timely presence of Colonel McCandless, of the Second, compelled the enemy to again fall back. An attempt to cross the creek at Ellerson's Mill, was prevented by the Third Brigade, with the aid of Lieutenant Fullerton's section. The firing did not cease until nine o'clock. The loss was five wounded. During the night the infantry, except the picket line, together with the left section, were withdrawn. The right and centre sections commenced firing at daylight on the following morning, and continued it for over an hour. They were withdrawn a few minutes before the rebel cavalry, coming in from the right, captured a part of the Bucktails in the rifle-pits, in front of where the guns were, and thence rejoined the division on Gaines' farm. After resting an hour, the battery was ordered into position on the right of the second line. The guns remained silent until the first line gave way, when a concentrated fire upon the point from whence the rebels were said to be advancing; caused them, as the pickets afterwards reported, to halt, and thus gave the shattered remains of General Porter's Corps an opportunity to fall back. The rebel advance was but a short distance away when the left gun of Battery B was limbered up. The battery remained parked during the following day on Trent's Hill, on the south bank of the Chickahominy. That night the march was continued in the direction of the James River. At dark of the 29th, the division moved out on the road beyond the junction of the New Market and Charles City Roads, but returned at daylight the next morning and formed in line of battle near the junction.
Owing to the excessive heat of the guns, produced by rapid and long continued firing on the 26th and 27th, the vent-pieces had so melted, that some of the vents were twice the original size. General Barry, Chief of Artillery, inspected the guns and decided them unserviceable, and directed General McCall not to use them if he could avoid it, as it was dangerous to work them. But when the rebels began their attack, Battery B was ordered into position immediately in front of the cross roads, having the Ninth Regiment for support. The guns were worked as rapidly as possible, but the size of the vents compelled the gunners to insert two primers in some of the guns, along with the one to which the lanyard hook was attached, to discharge the piece. After the Ninth Regiment went to the left, the enemy came out of the woods in front, formed in line and advanced on the battery as regularly as if on drill, utterly regardless of the double charges of canister and case shot that were fired into his ranks, and drove the cannoneers from the guns. Never did the rebels exhibit more desperate valor. During all this time the battery was subjected to afire in the rear from a New York Dutch Battery, which had deserted its position on the left. The Ninth Regiment returning from the left, joined the First, and drove the rebels back, but assistance coming to them they captured it a second time, but a second time were driven back. Its loss was three killed and eight wounded; among the former were Lieutenants Danforth and Cadwalader.
Malvern Hill was reached at sunrise the next morning, and Harrison's Landing the following day. Four guns, in place of those lost, were received on the11th of July. On the 6th of August, Captain Cooper received orders to report with his battery to General Butterfield, in command at Coggins' Point, across the river, where it remained until the 15th, when it embarked for Acquia Creek, arriving there on the 20th. Warrenton was reached on the 24th, when the division was again placed under the command of General McDowell. Here the battery occupied several positions during the next two days, when the army commenced falling back in the direction of Washington. On the 28th, as the advance of the Reserves was emerging from a piece of woods near Gainesville, it was fired upon by a section of the rebel Stuart's horse artillery. Battery B was ordered up to take the place of Ransom's Regular Battery, whose short range guns would not reach the enemy. At the battle of Bull Run, the next day, it moved forward with the division, and occupied a position on the extreme left, from which an Ohio Battery had been driven half an hour previously. Three rebel batteries opened fire on it immediately. General Reynolds ordered it withdrawn. The reapportion of one of the caissons was disabled and left on the field. The battery was engaged all the next day. At one time the enemy was so close as to capture all the caissons. The battery lost three killed and sixteen wounded. On the 1st of September, while the battle of Chantilly was in progress, it was placed in position on the right of the road leading to Washington, ready to be called into action. On the 7th, Captain Cooper received orders to exchange his guns and horses at the arsenal at Washington. The battery rejoined the division, now attached to General Hooker's First Corps, at Monocacy, on the morning of the 14th. That afternoon the battle of South Mountain was fought. It was the only battery of the First Corps engaged. The position occupied was on the extreme right. The woods on the side of the mountain was shelled, and the infantry were thereby assisted in driving the enemy before them. When the First Corps crossed Antietam Creek, on the afternoon of the 16th, Battery B was placed on the front line and advanced immediately in rear of the skirmishers. When the infantry came upon the entrenched line of the enemy it took position in the edge of the cornfield over which there was such fierce fighting on the following day. Early the next morning it was ordered to the right. While changing position private Jacob N. Weekly was severely wounded by a grape shot. The right section, commanded by Lieutenant Fullerton, during the forenoon occupied several positions across the pike, on and in advance of the skirmish line. That evening the gunners performed some excellent practice. Captain Cooper had a very narrow escape. While directing the fire of the guns a solid shot struck his horse and tore it in pieces.
After the army crossed the Potomac at Berlin, Battery B moved in the advance, with the division, through London Valley. At Fredericksburg it crossed the Rappahannock on the 12th, and early the next morning was placed in position, by General Meade, in advance of the skirmish line on the left, and compelled a section of Stuart's artillery, which had been firing along the flank of the division, to seek the cover of the woods in font. When the Reserves penetrated the enemy's lines the guns engaged the attention of the rebel artillery, blowing up two limber chests. When they were forced back the battery-retained its position, and but for the support of the Thirty-seventh New York Infantry, Colonel Hayman, it would have been captured. Two men were killed and two wounded.
During the winter the battery was encamped near Belle Plain Landing. On the 20th of January, 1863, it accompanied the division up the Rappahannock on what was known as the "Mud March." On the 23d of February the detached men from the Reserve regiments returned to their places, and twenty-seven men of the One Hundred and Forty-third and One Hundred and Fiftieth regiments were detailed in their stead.
On the 29th of April, the battery covered the crossing of the troops below Fredericksburg. On the 2nd of May, it was ordered up the Rappahannock and crossed the river at United States Ford, and the next day went into position near the brick house used as a hospital. It re-crossed the river on the 5th and covered the withdrawal of the army. On the 12th of June, the battery left White Oak Church, where it had been encamped, for Pennsylvania, whither Lee was supposed to be directing his steps.
At the battle of Gettysburg Battery B was in position, on the first of July, near the Seminary, but was driven back through the town. On the 2nd a shot from a rebel twenty-pounder gun, immediately in front, exploded under one of the guns, killing privates Peter G. Hoagland and James H. McClleary and wounding Corporal Joseph Reed, and privates Jesse Temple and Daniel W. Taylor. On the 3d, it took the place of one of the Reserve Artillery Batteries, where it did good service. The next day it was ordered to Emmittsburg, where it was in position twenty-four hours. It then accompanied the army to the Rappahannock, where it remained on picket until the 10th of September. On the 11th and 12th of October, it covered the re-crossing of the army at Kelly's Ford, and then marched to Centreville, and from thence, by way of Haymarket, Thoroughfare Gap and Kelly's Ford, back to Brandy Station. On the 27th of November, it crossed the Rapidan at Culpepper Mine Ford, and the next morning was in position on the left of the pike, in full view of the enemy's entrenched line beyond Mine Bun, and compelled a rebel battery in advance of his works to withdraw, At eight' clock on the morning of the 30th, all the batteries along the line opened to attract the attention of the enemy from General Warren, who was to attack his right wing.
Winter-quarters were constructed at Paoli Mills, near Kelly's Ford, and near Culpepper Court House. At the latter place a number of the men re-enlisted and received the thirty days' furlough allowed veterans. About forty recruits were received and two more guns.
Early on the morning 6f the 4th of May, 1864, Battery B left camp, and crossing the Rapidan at Germanna Ford, joined the Reserves the next day in an advance to the road leading to Orange Court House; but was compelled to fallback to the Lacy House, where it went into position, and fired for some time at a column of the enemy passing along the road, near the point advanced to in the morning. It was withdrawn on the evening of the 7th, and accompanied Cutler's Division around the left of the army, and the next day took position, in rear of the Fifth Corps, at Laurel Hill. The next evening it was ordered to the extreme right, where General Hancock's Corps was advancing, and fired about forty rounds at the enemy beyond the Po River. Several other positions were occupied until the afternoon of the 13th, when Captain Cooper received orders to place his battery in position on the picket line. The two lines were very close, the men having little shelter, and it was' only by working on their knees that the guns could be loaded. Private George C. Garber was severely wounded by a sharp-shooter. The battery was withdrawn and marched all night, rejoining the Corps, near Spotsylvania Court House, on the next morning. It was immediately placed in position and fired on a body of the enemy in front. On the 18th it was sent to the left and front, and placed in position in sight of the tow. Here it was under the hottest artillery fire that it encountered during the war. Several shells struck the carriages. Private William Chambers received a slight wound in the head. Here the rebels were treated to a little mortar practice by the gunners of Battery B. On the 21st this position was abandoned, and the march continued in the direction of the North Anna River, After the Fifth Corps had crossed the river on the 23d, at Jericho Ford, and the rebels had attacked it, Lieutenant Miller placed the battery in position on the left bank, opposite the Reserves, and completely demolished a rebel battery that was annoying them. It was afterwards ascertained that Captain Fontaigute, General Longstreet's Chief of Artillery was killed by the explosion of one of the shells. Captain Cooper was, at the time, in command of a brigade of short range guns across the river. On the 31st of May, forty-one men, who were entitled to discharge, left for Harrisburg. They were mustered out at Pittsburg on the 9th of June. There were sufficient men remaining to man the guns and on the 2nd of June Lieutenant Miller was ordered to go into position on the left at Cold Harbor. The new gunners did good execution, firing a greater number of rounds on the 2nd and 3d than had been fired by the battery previously in that campaign.
The battery arrived at Wilcox's Landing on the James, on the 15th, and in front of Petersburg at daylight of the 17th. Several positions were occupied during the day, and the next morning when the line was advanced, it occupied a position in front of the Avery House, and fired a number of rounds. On the24th, it moved to the left, near the Jerusalem Plank Road. On the morning of the 30th of July, when the fort in front of the Ninth Corps was blown up, it fired a number of rounds. Captain Cooper having remained two months beyond his term of service, was mustered out on the 8th of August, at his own request, and Lieutenant Miller took command. Captain Cooper took with him a petition to Governor Curtin, signed by a majority of the officers of the regiment, for his appointment as Colonel of the regiment; but he never presented it. He was a gallant officer. On the 18th of August, it accompanied General Warren's advance upon the Weldon Railroad, and was engaged that day and the 19th and21st. In the meantime the members of the battery, whose term of service had expired, returned home, and a number of one-year recruits were added to it. On the 22nd of November, Lieutenant Miller was honorably discharged, leaving Lieutenant William McClelland in command. The battery was relieved from duty on the front line on the 21st of December, and went into winter-quarters about a mile in the rear. At different times during the winter it was on duty on the front line. On the 23d of February, 1865, Lieutenant McClelland was commissioned Captain.
On the 15th of March, eighteen men, the number in excess of the maximum allowed a six-gun battery, were transferred to Battery I, a new battery then forming at Washington. When the enemy captured Forts Stedman and Haskell, the left section kept up a sharp fire on the forts in front. On the 28th,the caisson camp was moved up near the front line. About midnight of the1st of April, all the batteries received orders to open fire. After daylight the next morning, the firing was renewed, the gunners doing good execution. At the request of General Tidball, Captain McClelland, with Lieutenant Rice, took two detachments and worked the guns in one of the enemy's batteries which had been captured. About six hundred rounds, left by the rebels, were fired, besides a large number brought from the other line by the infantry. During the afternoon, the rebels made an attempt to re-capture the forts they had lost. The infantry disappeared, leaving Lieutenant Rice and his handful of men; but nothing daunted, they worked their guns with telling effect. Many of the men had never been under fire before, yet they all behaved well. Lieutenant Gardner, a very brave officer, was in command of the battery during the absence of Captain McClellan. Sergeant Isaac J. Grubb and Corporal Andrew J. Gilkey were killed in the rebel fort, and subsequently when one of the sections in Fort Davis was ordered forward to Fort Wright, Corporal John W. Summers was mortally wounded. The next day the battery was ordered to City Point. On the 3d of May, it left for Washington, passing through Richmond. On the 3d of June, in obedience to orders, Captain McClelland turned the battery in at Washington, and proceeded to Harrisburg, where it was mustered out on the 9th.
Three hundred and thirty-four men were connected with the battery. The number of rounds of ammunition, of all kinds, expended during its four years of service, was over eleven thousand two hundred, (11,200.)
Batteries C, D, E and H, Captains McCarthy, Flood, Miller and Brady, served together in the Peninsula campaign, and a part of them, subsequently, in the Army of the James, and may therefore properly be treated together. Batteries C and E were, soon after being armed and equipped at Camp Berry, assigned to duty with the troops occupying the right bank of the Potomac, covering the Chain Bridge. After a brief introduction to duty in face of the enemy there, they were ordered back, and united with batteries D and H, forming part of the artillery brigade of Buell's Division, occupying the northerly line of the defenses of Washington. Upon the advance of the army on the10th of March, these batteries were transferred to Couch's Division of Keyes' Corps, the Fourth, with which it remained during the Peninsula campaign*Upon the return of the army to Alexandria, and its embarkation, these batteries were moved by transports to Hampton Roads, and: landed at the little village of Hampton. As soon as the corps had arrived the army moved forward, the Fourth occupying the left of the line. This brought the batteries under the fire of the enemy's gun and mortar boats on the James River, and his batteries on the opposite bank of the Warwick: River. Some excellent practice followed, in which the enemy's guns were silenced, and a regiment of rebel cavalry reconnoitering in front was put to flight. Upon the arrival of the army in front of Yorktown, the troops were placed in position, and during the progress of the siege, which lasted a month, the four batteries were kept in constant activity on the James River front. On the Wednesday night previous to the evacuation, a brigade of the enemy moved forward and encamped within gun shot range of Battery H. Captain Brady promptly opened on it, and after being subjected to a smart shelling withdrew to steamboats provided, and was ferried across the James. From Yorktown the enemy withdrew to Williamsburg, followed by the Union troops, where on the 5th of May, they again found themselves checked. Recent rains made the roads very heavy and the guns and caissons could be moved with difficulty. Here Battery D, Captain Flood, was hotly engaged, the enemy having blazed trees previously, to give him the exact range. After a severe battle, the enemy was driven, and withdrew leisurely across the Chickahominy. The Fourth Corps then moved forward, arriving at Cumberland Landing on the 10th of May, where Franklin's Corps, which had passed up by water, was met.
Not until the 23d did any part of the army cross the Chickahominy. On that day the Fourth, Corps, still the left wing, passed to the south side of the river, and encamped two miles beyond, meeting with no traces of the enemy. Much sickness now began to prevail, and Lieutenant McLaughlin, of Battery D and private Harvey, of Battery H, died. On the 25th, the enemy appeared in front of Casey's Division, and batteries E and D were engaged, his forces being pushed back beyond Seven Pines. Here some breast works were thrown up, and Batteries C, D and. E, Captains Flood, McCarthy and Miller, under the immediate command of Major West, were posted in redoubts on the right and left of the Williamsburg road. On the 29th, Battery H, Captain Brady, with the Eighty-second,*; Colonel Williams, was moved two miles to the extreme right and front; to a point covering the railroad crossing at Fair Oaks Station of the Nine Mile Road. Nothing unusual occurred on the 30th and the men amused themselves by erecting an observatory, from which was distinctly seen the rebel Capital, only a belt of woods intervening between it and the fields and gardens north of the city. The oversight in not passing through this wood before taking position, became apparent on the following day; for under its shadow the enemy was enabled to mask his movements, and fall upon Casey's Division with crushing force, entering his camps before the men off duty had time to seize their arms, or arrange themselves in line of battle. On the morning of the 31st, General Keyes and staff visited the station occupied by Captain Brady, inquiring if any movement of the enemy was visible, and soon*This regiment was originally known as the Thirty-first, but: was subsequently changed to the Eighty-second after General Casey, with a corps of engineers, came, and traced a line for rifle pits. A few signal shots were heard, but no skirmish firing, the usual preludes to battle, when suddenly the enemy opened with deafening volleys on Casey's front. At two o'clock P. M., General Couch, with two regiments, arrived on the ground and ordered Captain Brady to feel the enemy in the woods to the left. It was soon discovered that his skirmishers had crept close up to the guns under cover of the scrub pines. The ammunition is immediately changed to canister, and a few rounds silences his skirmishers. General Couch now orders a charge by his infantry down the Nine Mile Road, himself leading, for the purpose of opening communication with the rest of his division, which has been cut off by the advance of the enemy, leaving the battery alone. Soon the Hampton Legion is discovered moving down upon the guns; but at this moment Couch, with his three regiments, returns, being unable to force his way back. A new position farther to the right and rear, behind a belt of woods, is immediately taken, and the enemy follows up so leisurely at a right shoulder shift, and deploys, that for the moment his columns are mistaken for our own troops. But the error is soon discovered, and the battery opens with grape and canister. Undismayed he rushes forward, closing up his ranks as soon as broken. The canister is exhausted, and Parrott shells without fuse are used, driving the fatal fragments through and through his lines, compelling him to halt, lie down, and seek shelter behind trees. Again he rallies and comes forward with renewed determination; but at this juncture Sumner's columns, from across the Chickahominy, appear on the field, and strike the enemy's surging flanks with such impetuosity as to compel him to yield the ground.
In the meantime the battle had been raging with great violence upon the left, and the three batteries posted upon the Williamsburg road were hotly engaged. "During the action," says General Keyes in his official report, "and particularly during the two hours immediately preceding the final successful stand made by the infantry, the three Pennsylvania batteries, under Major Robert M. West, (Flood's, McCarthy's and Miller's,) in Couches Division, performed most efficient service. The conduct of Miller's Battery was admirable. Having a central position in the forepart of the action, it threw shells over the heads of our own troops, which fell and burst with unusual precision among the enemy's masses, as did also those of the other two batteries. And later in the day when the enemy was rushing in upon our right, Miller threw his case and canister among them, doing frightful execution." The loss in Battery C was one man killed and three wounded, with a loss of six horses killed and one gun disabled. Battery H lost one killed and five wounded. The losses in Batteries D and E are not ascertained.
Soon after the enemy's cavalry raid in rear of our army, Batteries E and H were ordered to the rear of the left wing, and took position to cover the bridges of the Chickahominy. The guns were pointed northward, and the enemy reported that they had seen the Army of the Potomac marching to Richmond backwards. After the action at Gaines' Mill, these batteries rendered valuable service in covering the retreat, keeping the railroad and Bottom's bridges open for four days, rescuing many hundreds of stragglers, and several times engaging the enemy's artillery and skirmishers. On Sunday, the 29th, Captain Brady was ordered to burn a train of cars loaded with ordnance and commissary stores, which had failed to reach White House before its occupation by the enemy. The cars were prepared with combustible materials and fired, and the engine, pushing the train, started towards the Chickahominy, the bridge having already been destroyed. When the locomotive finally reached the crater, an explosion of a carload of gunpowder took place, hurling fragments of the engine, cars and bridge hundreds of feet into the air. Successive explosions continued for several hours. While this was being done, a severe conflict was in progress at Savage Station. But Sumner was there, and the ground was held until the troops and trains had all securely passed.
While the Fourth Corps was passing Charles City Cross Roads, feeling its way towards the James River, Batteries C and D had a spirited engagement with a brigade of the enemy's cavalry, which had mistaken Couch's Division for a reconnoitering party.
On the 30th, the four batteries were united at Turkey Bend, and were posted by General Keyes in the reserve line of the corps, where they remained during the engagements at Charles City Cross Roads and Malvern Hill. On the retreat of the army to Harrison's Landing, these batteries covered the rear of the column. At twilight of July 1st, General Peck, while posting the batteries and their supports for the night, said to Captain Brady, pointing to the woods,' Here is a regiment covering your left, and in yonder woods to your right is another, and this one in rear," pointing to six stacks of muskets and a flag,? will support you," adding "it might be moved closer if desired." To which the Captain replied, "we are safe enough, General, with it there." The General smiled grimly and rode off. Thus by disease and battle had regiments of a thousand strong been reduced in ninety days to a few stacks of muskets and a flag; but these brave men had stood faithfully by their colors, and were now covering the retreat.
On the 4th of July, Battery D was selected to fire a national salute, an honor which was highly appreciated by Pennsylvania troops. On the 5th, the batteries were placed in temporary field works covering the left flank of the army. Upon the promotion of Major West to Colonel, Captain Flood, of Battery D, to Lieutenant Colonel, and Captain James Brady, of Battery I, to Major, Lieutenant Hall was promoted to Captain of Battery D, and Lieutenant Fagan to Captain of Battery H. Immediately afterwards the Parrott guns of Battery H were exchanged for twelve-pounder Napoleon guns, the exchange being intended as a compliment for its efficient service. But the change was anything but gratifying to the men, losing thereby a good rifled piece weighing but eight hundred pounds, for one of twelve hundred, with which they could scarcely hit the side of a hill-excellent for canister when the enemy could be coaxed close enough-but killing to both men and horses when maneuvering in heavy ground. Batteries E and H were here formally designated as reserve batteries of the Fourth Corps, and placed in charge of Major Brady, receiving orders direct from corps headquarters. Lieutenant Thomas G. Orwig was elected Captain of Battery E in place of Captain Miller, resigned. Batteries C and D remained attached to Couch's Division, which was soon after incorporated with the Sixth Corps. At Antietam these batteries were hotly engaged on the extreme left, being posted on an eminence in front of a. clump of woods, overlooking the bridge where Burnside crossed, materially aiding with other batteries in the attack, by drawing the enemy's fire from the bridge. The position for the time was a critical one, the ground on which they stood being exposed to a plunging fire from the heights in front.
When the division reached the Rappahannock opposite Fredericksburg, Batteries C and D were posted on Stafford Heights, opposite the city, and were engaged during the time of the crossing of our troops, and the days and nights of desperate fighting which ensued, in shelling the enemy on the opposite bank. From the 10th until the 16th they remained in position, and were uninterruptedly employed. In the second attempt of Burnside to cross and give battle, in which he was foiled by storm and tempest, the batteries marched to United States Ford, returning with great difficulty on the abandonment of the campaign.
Soon after their return to camp, the two batteries were consolidated by an order from Corps Headquarters. Captain. Hall, of Battery D, a brave young officer, being the junior Captain, was mustered out, the. entire force passing under the command of Captain Mart, non s, Battery D, and raising it to a full six gun battery. In the attack on Maryes Heights, during the battle of Chancellorsville, by Sedgwick's Corps, it bore a conspicuous part. Crossing the river on the 2nd of May, at Bernard's House, it marched to Fredericksburg. At day break, on the 3d, the enemy opened from his fortifications. The battery was brought into position at a distance of three hundred yards, and immediately poured in upon his infantry double shotted canister. It was afterwards employed in shelling the works on Marye's Heights, dismounting several of his guns, and driving the cannoneers from their pieces, a success which the infantry followed up by a most gallant charge, driving the enemy, and capturing the eights. The loss here was one killed and three wounded. The loss in horses was nine killed. The battery immediately advanced upon the heights, where it was engaged with a rebel battery, which was soon captured. It then moved on, shelling the retreating enemy, and came up with him at Salem Church, where it was again engaged, but was compelled by superiority of numbers to retire. Captain McCarthy soon afterwards, on account of sickness, was discharged, and was succeeded in command by Lieutenant Munk.
After the battle of Gettysburg, Battery D was transferred to the army of the Shenandoah, and ordered to report at Harper's Ferry, whence it was sent forward to Winchester, and was picketed at various important points. At the battle of Cedar Creek, October 18, 1864, culminated its eventful career. Here the men fought with handspikes, stones, and clubs, and successfully held the enemy at bay until nearly the last round of ammunition was exhausted. They were finally obliged to yield, being literally pushed from their guns by overwhelming numbers, many of them being wounded and prisoners. The survivors, overwhelmed with grief and mortification at their loss, and filled with indignation that their infantry supports should withdraw without a struggle, and abandon them to their fate, were giving vent to their feelings towards their new comrades of t he Army of the Shenandoah, in unmeasured terms of reproach, comparing them in no very favorable light to their old friends of the Sixth Corps, when, to their great surprise and joy, that corps appeared upon the field at the opportune moment, turning the tide of battle, and routing the enemy. Captain Munk gathered up his remaining men, joined in the charge, and recovered his lost guns and material.
Immediately after this engagement, a strong detachment of recruits, collected at regimental headquarters, at Fort Corcoran, on Arlington Heights, was sent, under Lieutenant S. L. Richards, of Battery H, to reinforce it. Battery was revived, Lieutenant Richards being commissioned Captain thereof, and was pushed forward to Martinsburg. Battery D was posted on Maryland Heights. In these positions they remained during, the sprig of 1865, and at the close of the final campaign were ordered to Harrisburg, where, on the 29th and 30th of June, they were mustered out of service.
When McClellan's army returned from the Peninsula, in 1862, Batteries E and H. remained with Keyes' Corps, the Fourth, which was left to garrison the posts of Yorktown and Gloucester. During the fall and winter, General Wise, in command of the rebel force on the James, made several raids on the outlying troops belonging to these garrisons, and was in turn driven into his fortifications beyond the Chickahominy. Here the batteries had some lively artillery practice over the old battlegrounds. On the 11th of December, a force of infantry, cavalry, and artillery, twenty-five hundred strong, in light marching order, under General Naglee, in temporary command of the corps, crossed the York River and pushed forward to Gloucester Court House. On the following morning an outlying cavalry camp of the enemy was surprised and burned. On the 12th, Major Brady, with a detachment of his mounted artillerymen, attacked and drove off a cattle escort, and captured four hundred head, which were safely driven into camp. On the 13th, the command reached Urbana, the day on which was fought the battle of Fredericksburg, within striking distance of the field; but at that point orders were received to turn back.
At the opening of the Gettysburg campaign, Battery H was ordered to Washington, whence, on the 1st of July, it made a forced march to the battlefield, having a slight skirmish by the way with a small detachment of the enemy, but failed to arrive in time to participate in the battle. The battery was then ordered to report to the commander of the Department of Washington, where it was placed on duty as a reserve battery at Camp Barry. In May, 1864, Battery H was dismounted in common with other volunteer batteries, and ordered to report to Lieutenant Colonel Brady, chief of artillery in the defenses south of the Potomac fronting Washington, and was stationed at Fort Whipple, relieving the garrison which was under marching orders. This was an important post, being the general rendezvous and place of confinement for rebel prisoners. On the following winter they were transferred to Fort. Marcy, covering the approaches of Chain Bridge. In February, 1865, the battery marched to Edwards' Ferry, where. it remained on picket duty for several months. While here, Captain Fagan resigned, and Lieutenant L. B. Richards was commissioned to succeed him. It was mustered out of service at Philadelphia on the 27th of June.
During the spring of 1863, Battery E was on duty with the Army of the James, and rendered valuable service in the attack on Drury's Bluff, and in furnishing and manning the guns at Fort Harrison. During the siege of Petersburg, and indirectly of Richmond, the battery served under General Weitzel. In the attack on the enemy's forts on the Williamsburg road, near Seven Pines, it was hotly engaged, and in the memorable siege events of 1865, it was kept in daily practice upon the enemy's works. Upon the evacuation of Richmond on the 3d of April, it had the honor of being the first battery that entered the city. The batteries of the brigade had received orders to hasten forward, and, in a spirit of honorable rivalry, it attained the head of the column and actually passed the skirmish line in front, reaching the Capital before the enemy's flag was pulled down, and by its timely arrival, hastening the retreat of his rear guard, charged with firing the town, and staying the execution of the order. In turning rapidly the corner of a street; a caisson was overturned, gravely injuring two of the men. It moved steadily forward amid the flames of burning buildings, and the crash of falling walls. Though at times the ammunition in the caissons was seriously endangered, each man remained at his post until the battery had passed through the city, and had reached the defenses beyond.
After the surrender of Lee's army, the battery was detached from corps duty, and with Battery A, was ordered to report to Colonel Brady, under whom it was engaged in dismantling rebel works, and removing and shipping ordnance and ordnance stores. On the 4th of July, it was relieved from duty and ordered to turn in its guns and horses to the ordnance officer stationed at Richmond. From thence it embarked for Philadelphia, where, on the 20th of July, it was mustered out of service.
Battery F was furnished during the month of August, 1861, with horses and equipments, and four smooth-bore pieces, and was transferred shortly after to the camp of the Reserve Corps at Tenallytown. On the 12th of September, it was ordered to join General Bank's command at Darnestown, Maryland, and was never afterwards in any way connected with the regiment or with the Reserves. On the 8th of October, the battery was enlarged by the addition of two Parrott steel rifled, ten-pounder guns, and immediately thereafter orders were received to move with the new section to Williamsport, Captain Matthews in command. Soon afterwards Sergeant Charles B. Brockway was elected Second Lieutenant and placed in command of the detached section, and was sent to oppose the enemy making demonstrations at Hancock, Maryland. A slight skirmish ensued, in which the great accuracy of the rifled pieces was demonstrated, several men and horses being killed and wounded by the first shell discharged. A few days later it was reported that the enemy were destroying the railroad in that vicinity, and Lieutenant Brockway was ordered to mask one of his pieces and open upon the party. The first shot struck the engine employed, and the second burst among the men, killing five and wounding twelve others.
On the 20th of December, the day on which was fought the battle of Dranesville, Lieutenant Rickett's section had an engagement with a body of the enemy's artillery and cavalry, which was attempting the destruction of Dam No. 5, on the Upper Potomac. After having one of his guns dismounted, and several of his men killed and wounded, he retired. Early in January, 1862, Ricketts, with his section, after a wearisome night march, joined General Lander, near Hancock, in- time to participate in the engagement with Jackson in his attack upon the town, and in effecting his complete repulse. Jackson's column consisted of twenty thousand men, and twenty-six pieces of artillery. To oppose him, General Lander had two thousand infantry, and a battery of four guns. Jackson's pieces were of smooth bore and short range, whereas Rickett's section consisted of two rifled, ten-pounder, Parrott guns. He could therefore take position out of range of the enemy, and easily reach him with his missiles. Jackson was consequently forced to withdraw.
Until February, 1862, the guns were kept in motion singly and in sections between Edwards' Ferry and Hancock, occasionally engaging detachments of the enemy. On the 20th, the sections were united at Hagerstown, where new equipments were received, and the guns furnished by the State were exchanged for six regulation, three-inch, rifled guns, together with new carriages and Sibley tents. The morning report of the 1st of March showed its effective strength to be one hundred and nineteen officers and men, with one hundred and five horses. On the same day, the battery moved to Williamsport, where it crossed the river with Banks' advance, and moved on up the Shenandoah Valley. Near Bunker Hill a sharp skirmish ensued, in which the entire battery was brought into position, and the rebels were scattered with considerable loss. As the column approached Winchester, the enemy, eight thousand strong, retreated, and a detachment, consisting of cavalry, infantry and two sections of the battery, was sent out on a reconnaissance towards Strasburg. At Newtown the enemy under Ashby was encountered and soon routed, the artillery proving particularly effective. On the 21st of March, it was ordered to join Abercrombie's Brigade, and move towards Centreville, and finally encamped at Warrenton Junction. On the 7th of April, Lieutenant Ricketts was ordered on a reconnaissance to Rappahannock Station, in connection with a, portion of McDowell's Corps. Ten days later another reconnaissance was made by a force of cavalry and infantry and Godbald's and Brockway's sections of artillery, all under command of Colonel Bryan, of the Twelfth Massachusetts. A spirited engagement with the artillery ensued, the enemy sustaining considerable loss, several of his pieces being silenced and disabled. His force consisted of five to seven thousand infantry, a regiment of cavalry, three full batteries and two siege guns, the whole force well posted and entrenched. Finding that he could not bring his infantry into action without great exposure, Colonel Bryan withdrew, having attained the object of the expedition.
On the 1st of May, General Abercrombie was relieved by General Hartsuff, and the brigade moved to Falmouth, where McDowell's Corps was concentrated in expectation of moving to the Peninsula. The sudden appearance of Stonewall Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley caused a change of plan, and the battery was ordered to make a forced march across the country to Front Royal, with the design of cutting off the retreat of Jackson. The roads were very heavy, and the weather bad; but in six days the guns were taken through, and on the evening of the 31st, after a day's march of twenty-five miles, arrived at Front Royal. The whole corps was here concentrated, but failing to connect with Fremont in time, Jackson escaped without material harm, and it moved back to Warrenton.
On the 8th of August, Jackson, who had returned from the discomfiture of McClellan in the seven days' fight on the Peninsula, again made his appearance on the Rapidan. On the 9th, he advanced to Cedar Mountain, where, with greatly superior numbers and with great advantage of position, he engaged and defeated Banks. On the following day McDowell's Corps was pushed forward and was early engaged, the battery being posted on a commanding knoll. Jackson's guns were silenced, and during the following night he withdrew. Waiting until he was assured that McClellan would evacuate the Peninsula, the enemy again appeared in force, and began to assume the offensive. Pope withdrew his forces across the Rappahannock, and at the crossing Hartsuff's Brigade, with Battery F, was posted upon a wooded knoll upon the south bank, where it completely covered the crossing, and the entire plain beyond. Here a severe engagement between the artillery ensued; but the enemy was successfully held at bay until our forces were secure from attack, and the covering party was ordered to retire. The battery had two guns disabled, and several horses were killed, but the guns were brought off. Lieutenant Godbald, in command of the left section, was struck by a percussion shell, loosing a leg from the effects of the wound, and soon after died. He was a valuable officer and his loss was severely feLieutenant
Jackson being isolated from the rest of the rebel army by the Bull Run Mountains, Hartsuff's Brigade was dispatched to Thoroughfare Gap to prevent the passage of Longstreet, now hurrying to the relief of Jackson's threatened corps. Brockway's section was pushed by hand into position in the gap, and after riddling a stone mill, and some houses, in which the enemy's sharp-shooters were posted, the infantry advanced and took them, and established their lines so as to insure the safety of the battery, and to hold the enemy at bay. The guns held complete command of the gap until dark, when the brigade fell back to join the main body.
The command moved by Bristoe Station and Manassas Junction, and on the 30th the battery was placed in position on the left of the battle line at Bull Run, near the Henry House, the artillery holding a commanding position. At four o'clock in the afternoon, Lieutenant Case was sent with his section to the right to report to General Stevens, leaving Brockway alone-the section disabled at Rappahannock Station not having been repaired. To the left of Brockway was commanding ground, where the enemy had posted fifty pieces of his artillery. At a concerted signal his guns opened, and his infantry moved forward in heavy masses. A fierce cannonade was opened in reply, and his infantry were driven back. The troops in support of our artillery soon disappeared, and the battery was withdrawn to a new position; but here it was discovered that the enemy had possession of the Sudley Spring Road, the only avenue of escape, and the guns were lost. Of the thirty-five men with the battery in the morning, only three remained, and they succeeded in making their way to a point where an effort was being made to stay the advancing tide of the enemy. Another gun, with a fresh detachment of men, was placed under Lieutenant Brockway, with orders to fill the chest full of ammunition."
A slow fire was kept up until dusk upon groups of the enemy wherever seen, when directions were received from General Gentleman, to hold the position until further orders, and to keep up a steady fire in the direction of the enemy. Supposing he was to be supported, Lieutenant Brockway continued his fire, until suddenly he found himself charged upon by the enemy, who were swarming on all sides. The fruits of the rebel charge were one gun and caisson, and eight men, much to the chagrin of the rebel commander. Our troops," says Lieutenant Brockway, "had safely re-crossed Bull Run, and It hen understood that it was intended that we should hold the hill until killed or captured, while the balance of the army retreated behind Bull Run. It was some consolation to know that the ruse had succeeded, and as I afterwards learned, while our solitary gun was booming from the Henry House, the Bucktails were cutting down the bridge across Bull Run."'
Only one gun was saved; and with the remnant of the company remaining marched all night, and on the following day encamped near Centreville. Here the guns and horses of an Indiana battery were turned over to Captain Matthews, and with them the battery was partially re-fitted. In the engagement at Chantilly, it was in line but not engaged. In the series of engagements in Pope's Virginia campaign, the battery lost eight men killed, fifteen wounded and five taken prisoners. The prisoners, including Lieutenant Brockway, were marched away to Richmond. Shortly afterwards, Lieutenant Case was obliged to leave on account of sickness, and never afterwards returned.
At South Mountain the battery was not engaged. On the night of the 15th of September, it encamped on Antietam Creek. On the following day it crossed the stream and moved to the right, where it was in line with Ricketts' Division. At daylight on the 17th, it opened the battle. The position at first was just in rear of the cornfield which has become historic, the Dunkard Church being just beyond. Soon the enemy's fire was concentrated upon it, and it was advanced across the enclosed field to the edge of the cornfield. The enemy several times charged this position, but he was as often repulsed by the storm of canister poured into his ranks. Towards the close of the engagement, Captain Matthews had his horse killed under him. Most of the battery horses were either killed or wounded. Four men were killed and fifteen wounded.
On the 23d, Lieutenant Ricketts re-joined the battery from recruiting service, and Captain Matthews left it on account of sickness, and never afterwards resumed command. The battery at this time, from severe service in the field, was in a sad state. It had been reduced from a six to a two-gun battery; the men were greatly reduced in numbers, and worn down with constant marching and fighting; the horses and equipments were in the most pitiable condition; Lieutenant Godbald was dead, Lieutenant Brockway a prisoner, Captain Matthews and Lieutenant Case absent, prostrated by disease, and the men largely scattered by wounds, sickness and desertion. On the 1st of September, while encamped at Brook's Station, on the Acquia Creek Railroad, Lieutenant Ricketts was ordered to Washington for an additional battery, and obtained two guns, fourteen men, and twenty-nine horses. On the 10th, the battery moved to Falmouth, and reported to Captain De Russy, at Burnside's Headquarters, and was by him posted on the left bank of the river to cover the laying of the lower pontoons, and the crossing of the troops. On the 11th, the cannonading opened, and towards evening the battery was engaged-with the enemy on the opposite side. During the 13th, the batteries posted on the left bank performed very important services, driving away the enemy who had posted his guns so as to enfilade the Union column as it advanced to the attack. They were even more exposed to the enemy's fire than those upon the right bank, being obliged to take position quite close to the river, on low, flat ground, the bluffs, at this point being some distance back from the river. On the two following days, while the troops remained on the right bank, the batteries were of great aid in enabling them to hold their position, and in covering their withdrawal.
Returning to the neighborhood of Belle Plain the battery went into winter quarters. Lieutenant Brockway was exchanged and returned to his command shortly after the battle of Fredericksburg. Early in January, 1863, it was transferred from the Second to the Third Division of the First Corps. During the winter details were temporarily made, from several infantry regiments, of men to serve in the battery. Upon the promotion of Captain Matthews to Major, on the 14th of March, Lieutenant R. B. Ricketts was commissioned to succeed him.*
* Colonel Wainright, in command of the artillery of the First Army Corps, published to his command, on the 25th of February, 1863, the following communication from General Hunt:
The movement upon Chancellorsville opened on the 27th of April. The Eleventh, Twelfth and Fifth Corps moved up to the fords above Fredericksburg position ceased. On the 15th of May, the battery, along with the reserve artillery, moved by forced marches towards Pennsylvania. On the afternoon of July 2nd, it arrived upon the Gettysburg battle ground, and was immediately brought into position in front of the Cemetery gate to the north of the Baltimore Pike, relieving Cooper's battery. Scarcely had it wheeled into position, when it became engaged with the enemy's artillery posted on Benner's Hill, across Rock Creek, and opposite Wolf's Hill. His guns were silenced, but while engaged, a heavy column of his infantry crossed Bock Creek, and was advancing on Wadsworth's position. A few rounds of shrapnel threw it into confusion, and compelled it to make a long circuit to reach its destination. Just at dusk, while yet shelling this column, a line of infantry, reaching from Gettysburg to near Rock Creek, emerged from behind a small knoll south of the Bonnaughtown Road, where it had secretly and silently formed, and advanced with the apparent intention of joining in the attack on Wadsworth, away to the right. So quietly had this powerful division been formed and moved forward, that it was hardly noticed until it was in motion in full view. The artillery opened upon it with shot and shell, when suddenly, as if upon parade, it changed front to the right, and with deafening yells charged full upon Cemetery Hill. It was the famous charge of the Louisiana Tigers, led by Hayes and Hoke.
The battery here occupied an exposed position, which commanded the whole field. Captain Ricketts had been advised that the enemy would doubtless make desperate efforts to take it, and was ordered to hold it to the last extremity. He had, accordingly, sent his horses well to the rear, but had his caissons harnessed and ready to move upon the instant of warning. As soon as he discovered that this compact and desperate rebel column was moving upon his position, he charged his pieces with canister and poured in the deadly volleys, four discharges per minute, throwing five hundred pounds of deadly missiles full in the faces of the. foe. But these desperate men had never failed in a charge, and nothing daunted, they closed up where their line was blown away, and rushed forward with deafening yells. The infantry supports lying behind the stone wall in front, fled in despair, and the battery on the left with its supports was overwhelmed. The batteries on the right were so posted that they could not fire after the enemy began to ascend the hill. The brunt of the attack therefore fell upon Ricketts. But he well knew that the heart of the whole army was throbbing for him in that desperate hour, and how much the enemy coveted the prize for which he was making so desperate a throw. With an iron hand he kept every man to his post and every gun in full play. The giving way of our line upon the left brought the Tigers upon his flank. Pouring in a volley from behind a stone wall that ran close to his left piece, they leaped the fence, bayoneted the men, spiked the gun, and killed or wounded the entire detachment, save three, who were taken prisoners. But the remaining guns still belched forth their double rounds of canister, the officers and drivers taking the places of the fallen cannoneers. The battery's guidon was planted in one of the earthworks, and a rebel Lieutenant was pressing forward to gain it; but just as he was in the act of grasping it, young Riggin, its bearer, rode up and shot him through the body, and seizing the colors, he leveled his revolver again, but ere he could fire, he fell, pierced with bullets, and soon after expired. The rebels were now in the very midst of the battery, and in the darkness it was difficult to distinguish friend from foe. A struggle ensued for the guidon. It had fallen into the hands of a rebel. Seeing this, Lieutenant Brockway seized a stone and felled him to the ground, and the next instant the rebel was shot with his own musket. A scene of the wildest confusion ensued. The men at the batteries were outnumbered, and were being overpowered by a maddened and reckless foe. But still they clung to their guns, and with hand.-spikes, rammers, and stones, defended them with desperate valor, cheering each other on, and shouting, "Death on our own State soil, rather than give the enemy our guns." At this critical moment, Carroll's Brigade came gallantly to the rescue, and the enemy retreated in confusion. The men again flew to their guns and with loud cheers gave him some parting salutes, in the form of double shotted canister. Thus ended the grand charge of Early's Division, headed by the famous Louisiana Tigers, who boasted that they had never before been repulsed in a charge. They came forward, seventeen hundred strong, maddened with liquor, and confident of crushing in our line, and holding this commanding position. They went back barely six hundred, and the Tigers were never afterwards known as an organization.
At early dawn of the 3d a heavy cannonade opened on the extreme right, where Geary was engaged in a desperate struggle, which continued until eleven A. M. There was then a lull and perfect quiet reigned until one P. M., when a single shot, fired near the Seminary, was the signal for one hundred and ten guns, which the enemy had skillfully posted, to open. The position of Ricketts was most unfavorable. Occupying the commanding ground at the angle in the centre, and at the most advanced point of the line, it was fearfully exposed. From Benner's Hill and Seminary Ridge it was completely enfiladed. Turning four of his guns upon the former, he ordered the remaining two to be posted behind the stone wall which skirted his left flank, and replied to such guns on the latter as proved most troublesome. Soon it was ascertained that the ammunition was running low and the fire was slackened, a close watch being kept in the direction of the town for the appearance of the rebel infantry. But still the enemy kept up an unremitting fire which was continued for three hours in one unceasing roar. Then came his grand charge of infantry, and his signal repulse. In the midst of it all General Meade rode up into the battery and said, "We have beaten them back from the centre and taken over a thousand prisoners; all depends upon your saving ammunition." But the enemy had now had enough of battle, and during the night began his retreat. The loss during the entire engagement was nine killed, fourteen wounded and three taken prisoners, about one-half of the number actually engaged. The loss in horses was over forty.
The pursuit immediately commenced, and on the 12th the battery was transferred from the reserve artillery to the Second Corps, and was brought into position facing the enemy at St. James College, near Williamsport; but before preparations could be completed for a general engagement, the enemy escaped into Virginia. Meade's campaign during the remaining months of 1863, which culminated at Mine Run, were participated in by the battery, marching with the Second Corps and engaging the enemy at every favorable point. At Bristoe Station, on the 14th of October, Warren's Corps, the rear-guard of Meade's retreating army, was heavily struck upon the flank by the corps of A. P. Hill. The railroad lay between the contending forces, and both parties were anxious to gain the shelter of its embankments. Ricketts' Battery was ordered into position at a gallop, but was obliged to cross a plain a fourth of a mile wide fully exposed to the enemy's fire. Heath's Division of Hills Corps now hastened forward in line of battle towards the railroad, and General Hayes, to counteract the movement, wheeling from column into line, charged with his entire division and seized the road before the enemy reached it. Ricketts, disregarding the fire of the rebel artillery, immediately opened upon the enemy's infantry upon the right with shrapnel and canister, and soon compelled him to mass on his centre. The battery was now in a critical position. Having galloped away from its supports, it was in danger of being enveloped by the rebel left, which was rapidly closing in. Its canister, liberally delivered, alone saved it. Soon other batteries came into position, and under the fierce storm of shells and bullets the rebel line gave way in confusion. Five guns and a large number of prisoners were taken. The Second Corps was complimented in orders for its gallantry, and Ricketts' Battery, in acknowledgment of the part taken in their capture, was directed to take the guns to the headquarters of the commanding general. The loss in killed and wounded was nine.
On the 22nd of November, Lieutenant Brockway commenced re-enlisting men for the veteran service, and soon after went into winter-quarters. Early in January, over one hundred men having been re-enrolled, (all who were entitled to, under the provisions of the general order, with four or five exceptions, ) they were, on the 10th, re-mustered for three years and an order issued for a veteran furlough. After an absence of thirty days the company rendezvoused at Chester, Pennsylvania, where it was recruited to two hundred. About the1st of March it returned to its old camp on Mountain Run, and the surplus men were distributed to other batteries. From Thompson's Independent Pennsylvania, and G batteries, both of which had been ordered to Washington to recruit and re-organize, the company was ordered to re-fit for active duty.
Grant, who had taken the field with the Army of the Potomac, faced his columns towards the Rapidan, and on the night of the 4th of May, the battery in its place in the Second Corps, crossed at Ely's Ford without opposition, and encamped on the old Chancellorsville battle ground on the very spot where it fought a year before. "We marched," says Captain Brockway, "over the Chancellorsville battle ground, and, by a wonderful coincidence, encamped on the same spot where, one year ago to-day, we were in line of battle engaging the enemy. The spot was full of interest. At this point our batteries had been massed, the horses sent to the rear, and preparations made to hold out to the last. Here General Whipple was killed, and so many desperate attempts made by the enemy to break our line. A few hundred yards to the front was the Chancellor House, and over the whole field was scattered the usual debris of a battle-field. Our entrenchments had been leveled by the enemy after Hooker's retreat."
At noon of the 5th, the enemy was met. The ground which he had selected was in a dense chaparral which covers the country for miles, and is known as the Wilderness. The Union lines were hastily formed along the Brock Road, cutting the Orange Plank Road at right angles, Warren upon the right, Sedgwick in the centre, and Hancock on the left. As Sedgwick's artillery had not yet arrived, Ricketts' Battery was sent to General Getty, commanding a division of the Sixth Corps. It was found, on advancing, that only a single section could be used at a time, and that must advance en echelon. At half past four the order to march was given, and a movement of a few yards showed the enemy's infantry to be in great force in front, with a battery of Napoleon guns masked in the road beyond. Brockway's section replied, using percussion shells, and soon blew up one of his limbers, killing a number of men and five of his horses. The enemy hurled canister, but the percussion shells proved superior and his guns were soon withdrawn. For a moment there was a lull, then his infantry charged, slowly pressing our men back, yelling, as they advanced, like demons. Shells were used against them until the head of their column entered the road, when canister was dealt and the guns were nimbly handled. The plank road was well suited to it, as the splinters did as much execution as the shot. A peck of bullets per minute was too much for rebel digestion, and his column was forced to give way. Advancing through the woods upon the flanks, he succeeded in pushing our lines back beyond the guns, and they were in danger of being lost; but a fresh brigade was promptly sent in, which restored our position. After two hours of constant firing Brockway's section was withdrawn and Snyder's substituted. Upon witnessing the withdrawal the enemy made a rush for the guns. Unfortunately one of Snyder's guns burst on the first discharge, and Lieutenant Campbell's were ordered up; but General Hancock, who had now arrived, ordered the battery to be withdrawn. Later in the day Carroll's Brigade re-captured the abandoned gun and caisson.* During the two following days heavy fighting occurred, and, to add to the horrors of battle, the breast-works, which were composed of logs and rails, and the woods took fire, the wild torrent of flame and smoke enveloping friend and foe. The wounded, helpless and beyond the reach of human aid, perished miserably amid the flames.
At the close of the Wilderness battle, neither side had gained any signal advantage, though both had lost heavily. And now commenced a series of movements by the left flank, the two armies moving on nearly parallel lines towards Richmond, meeting in deadly conflict at every favorable point. The battery marched with the corps, and was almost constantly marching or upon the battle line. Every position taken was strongly fortified, often under fire of the enemy's sharp-shooters, who were exceedingly vigilant, the least exposure of the person drawing forth their deadly missiles. Many of his works were of great strength, and were grass-grown, showing that he had for a long time been in preparation for an advance upon Richmond by this route. At the Pamunky River the Tenth and Eighteenth Corps were met under command of General "Baldy" Smith. At Cold Harbor, Ricketts' Battery was attached to the Eighteenth Corps, and was sharply engaged. The enemy here used mortars for the first time with considerable effect, causing ammunition trains and hospitals to be removed far to the rear, and rendering heavy bomb-proofs necessary*
The section of Ricketts' Battery which moved down the plank road when Birney and Getty attacked, suffered severely in men and horses. It was captured, at one time, during the fight, but was re-taken by detachments from the Fourteenth Indiana and Eighth Ohio volunteers, of Carroll's Brigade. It was then withdrawn for the protection of the gunners. Every one, from general to drummer-boy, burrowed in the earth. " During Sunday, June 5th," says Captain Brockway, ?we still maintained our position, though heavy firing continued during the day.- At dusk a rebel band came to the extreme front of their line and played 'Dixie,' Bonnie Blue Flag,' Maryland' and other confederate airs, to which the men responded by lusty cheers. Our, bands then went as close as possible to their lines and returned the compliment by playing 'Hail Columbia' and 'Yankee Doodle.' The rebels groaned for the one and poured in a volley while the other was played; but 'Home, Sweet Home' drew cheers from both sides." On the 8th, the battery was relieved from duty with the Eighteenth and returned to the Second Corps, having been in line of battle without relief for six days.
On the 14th, the corps reached the James River, and was soon in position before Petersburg. The lines were fortified, and so close to the enemy were they, that the contending parties could throw stones into each other's trenches. The battery opened as soon as posted, and several hundred rounds were thrown into the city, but with what effect could not be seen. On the 20th, the battery moved out of its fortifications and marched with the corps to the Jerusalem Plank Road. Here the enemy, under A. P. Hill, attacked with great impetuosity, taking a battery and some prisoners. The disaster was soon repaired, and a heavy line of entrenchments thrown up, rendering it secure from attack. While here, the battery was captured by a skirmish line of our own men, who had mistaken it for a rebel work, to the infinite chagrin of the officer in command upon the discovery of his mistake. The siege of Petersburg had now fully commenced. Siege guns and heavy mortars were placed along the line, gabions, fascines, and other siege materials were rapidly accumulated, and trenches, parallels, and traverses commenced. On the 18th of July, the corps moved around the rear of the army and crossed the James River at Deep Bottom. The enemy, supposing that a real attack was meditated from the north side of the stream, sent five divisions of his army to re-enforce his feeble lines there. But the real object of the movement was to make a diversion in favor of Burnside, who was about to spring his mine. On the evening previous to the explosion, the corps returned, and was in position ready for action, but was not ordered forward. The result of the operations over the mine proved a failure, and the corps returned to its former position on the left. From this time forward until the capture of Petersburg, the battery participated in all the movements of the corps, being constantly upon the front, and engaged in the active operations of the siege. Upon the fall of the city, on the 3d of April, it was attached to the reserve artillery, and went into camp near City Point. Proceeding hence to Washington, where its guns and horses were turned over, it moved thence to Harrisburg, where, on the 10th of June, 1865, it was mustered out of service.
Battery G, Captain Mark Kern, was armed with four smooth-bore pieces, and after receiving small arms and accoutrements at Camp Barry, was assigned to the command of General McCall, in camp at Tenallytown. Here the company was thoroughly trained, and upon the advance of the Reserves into Virginia, it moved and took position in line with the army of the Potomac, where it went into winter-quarters. In the spring campaign of 1862, it participated in the movement upon Manassas, and retrograde to Alexandria, in the second advance to Catlett's, and thence to Falmouth. Upon the arrival of the Reserves upon the Peninsula, the battery moved with the division to the neighborhood of Mechanicsville, where the enemy was met and a severe battle was fought. The battery now consisted of six twelve-pound howitzers, and was posted in reserve, supported by the Third Regiment, Colonel Sickle. In the progress of the engagement the enemy attacked, in heavy force and with great determination, upon the extreme right, and Kern's guns were ordered forward. For the moment, the flank was in danger of being turned; but the guns were quickly brought into position, and a rapid fire was opened, which checked the rebel impetuosity, and he was soon driven back.
At night the battery was withdrawn, and on the following day participated in the battle of Gaines' Mill. "Captain Kern's Battery," says Sypher, "was put in a commanding position near the left, and was supported by regiments of General Meade's Brigade. At five o'clock in the afternoon, the battery was uncovered by the repulse of the front line of battle. The guns immediately opened on the enemy with good effect. Annoyed by the well directed fire, the enemy made determined efforts to drive the battery from the hill. A heavy column was formed and charged up the hill, coming within fifty yards of the guns. Captain Kern was wounded in the left leg, but standing by his guns continued to cheer on his men. Grape and canister, double-shotted, were poured into the advancing column, tearing the men to pieces, and sending the masses reeling down the hill. Three times they renewed the contest with increased force and a fiercer desperation. Each time they were repulsed with greater slaughter. But the hill must be gained and the battery silenced, without regard to loss. Another column was formed of fresh troops, heavier than the defeated ones, and forward it came, the rebel general carrying the colors in front, and calling his men to follow. There was dreadful carnage in their ranks, but each horrible gap was instantly closed up, and the column pressed forward. When within twenty paces of the battery, at a single round the whole front rank was carried away, the General and his flag were buried in the heap of slain, yet still forward rushed the infuriate enemy to the muzzles of the guns, when, giving them a parting charge of death, Captain Kern limbered to the rear. and with four guns, snatched from the hands of the enemy, retired behind a new line of battle." Captain Kern was wounded; seven men were killed, and twelve were wounded, and two guns were lost.
On the 30th, the division was again engaged at Charles City Cross Roads, and the battery was posted with Cooper's on the centre of the line. The enemy's most persistent attack was upon the left, where, by the shameful conduct of two New York batteries, that day accidentally with the division, the integrity of the line was compromised. In the meantime, repeated charges were made upon the guns on the centre, but his columns were hurled back by storms of canister, and the deliberate fire of musketry. The ground for eight hundred yards in front of Kern's guns was open, and in crossing it the rebel ranks were fully exposed to their fiercest blasts; but notwithstanding this, they rushed boldly forward, closing up as their lines were rent, and dashing forward with infuriate daring. For two hours the struggle for these guns continued. By order of General Seymour the caissons had been taken to the rear. The ammunition in the limbers began to run low, and Captain Kern sent two officers, with urgent messages, for a fresh supply; but failing to receive it, he fired his last charge, and by order of General McCall moved to the rear.
From the Peninsula the battery was transported with the division to Acquia Creek, and joined the Army of General Pope. At Bull Run, on the 30th of August, it was again brought into action. Already on the hard fought fields of-Mechanicsville, Gaines' Mill and Charles City Cross Roads had the battery been inured to most desperate fighting, against overwhelming numbers; but its experience here was even more trying and disastrous than upon any previous field. At four o'clock P. M., the enemy who had been for some time massed and masked, awaiting an attack upon our left, despairing of drawing our columns into his well laid trap, himself advanced to the attack. Kern's guns were the first to feel the shock. With desperate valor he sought to stem the torrent, as he had done on other fields At the critical moment his support failed him, and the guns were lost; but not until their gallant commander had yielded up his life in the mortal strife, and a large portion of his devoted men had gone down by his side. Three men were killed and twenty-one wounded. Four guns, two caissons, two limbers and twenty-seven horses were lost.
The fragment of the battery which was left, returned to Washington, where it was furnished with a battery of four three-inch rifled guns, horses, and equipments, and where a number of those absent in hospitals, and disabled by wounds, returned to the ranks. On the 9th of October it marched, under command of Lieutenant F. P. Amsden, to Sharpsburg, where it rejoined the Reserves and moved with them via Berlin and Warrenton to Falmouth, and on the 13th of December was engaged in the battle of Fredericksburg. In the formation for the attack, the battery was posted between the First and Second Brigades. Before advancing the batteries were ordered to shell the heights and woods in front. The enemy's guns which were opened upon the left, were soon silenced, and the infantry pushed forward to the attack. A battery to the extreme left, which enfiladed the advancing line, now opened and was replied to by Amsden's guns, together with those of Cooper and Ransom. After thirty minutes rapid firing the enemy was forced to abandon his pieces, having had two of his limbers or caissons blown up. The charge upon the enemy's entrenched line, though bravely made and successfully prosecuted, was finally repulsed by overpowering numbers, and the division was withdrawn. The loss in the engagement was one killed and four wounded. Two of the guns were disabled.
The battery next participated in the second advance of Burnside, which was interrupted and finally defeated by the inclemency of the weather. It next met the enemy on the field of Chancellorsville. On the 12th of May, the battery was temporarily attached to Battery F, under command of Captain R. B. Ricketts, and was engaged in the battle of Gettysburg on the 2nd and 3d of July, and in the skirmishes at Auburn, Bristoe Station, and Mine Run. While thus attached, it was under command of Lieutenant Belden Spence, Captain Amsden having resigned on the 25th of May, 1863. Its operations in these campaigns are fully given in connection with the narrative of Ricketts' Battery.
On the 3d of April, 1864, it was detached from Captain Ricketts' command and proceeded, under Lieutenant William Jennings, to Camp Berry, near Washington, where it received six light twelve-pounder guns, horses and equipments. It was soon afterwards moved to Arlington, where the right section was posted in Fort Bennett, the centre in Fort Corcoran, and the left in Fort Haggarty.
On the 3d of July, upon the occasion of the advance of the rebels into Maryland, the battery was ordered to Frederick, where the men were supplied with muskets, and marched thence to Point of Rocks. Here it remained from July 6th, to December 12th, when it was ordered to Maryland Heights, and there turned in the muskets and drew a battery of six light twelve-pounder Napoleon guns. On the 17th of March, Lieutenant Jennings was discharged upon the expiration of his term of service, and was succeeded in command by Lieutenant L. Eugene C. Moore, who was subsequently commissioned Captain. The battery remained at Maryland Heights, changing camp but once, until April 16,1865, when it received orders to turn in its guns and report to General Augur for duty in the defenses of Washington. Here Lieutenant Moore was ordered to Camp Barry, but before the men were fairly settled in their quarters, he was ordered to Fort Lincoln, on the Bladensburg Pike, five miles from Washington. Here the battery was again armed with that weapon so detested by alight artillery-man, the musket, and on the 27th of April, moved to Fort Foote, an extensive work on the left bank of the Potomac, commanding the maritime approaches to Washington, and mounting several of the largest guns known to the service. Here the battery lost two men by disease and had two commissioned from the ranks. When orders were received for the reduction of the army at the close of the war, Battery G, then numbering about one hundred and thirty men, rank and file, was ordered to Philadelphia, and was there mustered out at Camp Cadwalader, on the 29th of June, 1865.
During the winter of 1864-5, so many volunteers enlisted for this regiment that the old batteries were filled up to the maximum number, one hundred and fifty men each, with a sufficient number beyond to form a new company. These men were placed on duty, and under the instruction of experienced non-commissioned officers of the regiment in De Russy's Division, occupying the defenses south of the Potomac. The battery was organized on the 2nd of March, 1865,by the appointment of S. B. Cameron, Captain; Lindley J. Taylor, First Lieutenant, and W. D. Schoenlieberg, Second Lieutenant. It was mustered out of service on the 1st of July, 1865, at Philadelphia.
Source: Bates, Samuel P. (Samuel Penniman), 1827-1902.: History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-5; prepared in compliance with acts of the legislature, by Samuel P. Bates.
Copyright © Pennsylvania Civil War Volunteers 1997-2015 All rights reserved.