The history of the Third United States Artillery dates from the reorganization of the army pursuant to Act of Congress, March 2, 1821. This act reduced the military establishment, and fixed the line at four regiments of artillery and seven of infantry. It marks an important epoch in the history of the army.
It is true that, prior to this, there had periodically existed in the United States army a third regiment of artillery. There was one during the Revolution; it was organized originally in 1775 by Colonel Richard Gridley, of Massachusetts, a half-pay British officer, the command soon passing to Henry Knox and finally to John Crane. Although numbered third it was in fact the oldest of the four continental artillery regiments. It began its career before and lasted longer than any other. Crane ranked all the other artillery colonels and, when the artillery was consolidated in 1783, he was given command by General Washington. Excepting one company, the revolutionary artillery was soon after disbanded.
The reorganizing Act larch 16, 1802, provided for one regiment of artillerists. The Act of January 11, 1812, authorized two regiments of artillery. The primary object was to utilize these regiments as sea-coast defenders; a light artillery regiment, to move with armies in the field, having been authorized, for a limited time, by the Act of April 12, 1808. The three seacoast regiments were, in so far as promotions and other details of service were concerned, kept as distinct as though they had belonged to three different arms; nevertheless, officially, they were designated the first, second and third regiments of artillery. Alexander Macomb, afterwards General-in-chief of the army, was colonel of the Third Regiment, which enjoyed a brief, though highly distinguished career, serving, like its revolutionary predecessor, from first to last in the face of the enemy. But the heavy artillery, in the War of 1812, principally did duty as infantry, taking its place in the works on the sea-coast or in line of battle on the field, as occasion demanded. Pursuant to Act March 30, 1814, this arm was reorganized into a so-called corps, and here the new Third Artillery disappeared.
It thus will be seen that, if the hiatuses from 1783 to 1812, and from 1814 to 1821 be bridged, the Third Artillery legally may trace its history to 1775, when the Colonial army first confronted the British at Boston. The regiment does not, however, claim the right to do this. It does not seek thus to span two such periods in an hypothetical existence. But should the halcyon days come in which the War Department sanctions uniting the prehistoric with the present, the regiment's genealogical tree will be found planted near the source of the stream.
The army had been reduced in 1815, after the war with Great Britain, to 10,000 men, and the Act of 1821 still further reduced it to 5600 enlisted. The reorganization consequent upon the latter reduction was based upon no well considered military principle. Alleged economic reasons alone prompted the measure. The new artillery, however, had some features worthy of notice. The Ordnance Department—previously a corps of mechanics—was now merged in that arm, and a supernumerary captain attached to each artillery regiment also, assisted by detailed artillery lieutenants, was to perform ordnance duty. It was further provided that one company in each artillery regiment should be designated and equipped as light artillery. Although the language of the law was mandatory, this feature long remained a dead letter on the statute-book. The companies so designated continued to carry muskets and serve as infantry or sea-coast artillery for many years; their only distinction being some slight differences of uniform, and the fact that their field-music consisted of bugles instead of the fife and drum. In later years, under the able and enlightened administration of Secretary of War Poinsett, this provision of the law was given effect, and, as the event has proved, to the imperishable glory not only of the artillery but of the army.
Prior to the reorganization of 1821 the artillery embraced the light regiment and the corps; the former of 10 companies, the latter of 32 arranged to 8 equal battalions, in all 42 companies—3860 enlisted men. The four new artillery regiments numbered 36 companies—9 each—a total reduction of 6 companies, but of 1872 enlisted men—nearly 50 per cent. Before this reduction there were in the artillery 1 colonel, 10 other field, and 190 company officers—or 1 officer to 19.2 men; afterwards, 4 colonels, 8 other field, and 190 company officers, or 1 officer to 10.1 men. Here, for the first time, the skeleton regular peace establishment plan—many officers and few men, to expand in time of war—was put in operation; a veritable military ignis fatuus which, as to the regular army, in practice, has never materialized.
After the reduction of 1815 the 8 artillery-corps battalions—4 companies to each—were arranged with strict impartiality to the geographical military divisions. In each division the artillery companies were lettered from A to Q inclusive, excluding J; 4 companies, numbered from 1 to 4 inclusive, constituting a battalion. The companies of the disbanded artillery organizations which were arranged to form the present Third Artillery pursuant to the Act of 1821 were as follows:
|Letters Of 3d.||Former designation.|
|A||E 3d Battalion Northern Division.|
|B||B 2d Battalion Southern Division.|
|C||F 3d Battalion Northern Division.|
|D||K 2d Battalion Southern Division.|
|E||I Lt. Art. and Q 1st. Bat. So. Div.|
|F||E 1st Battalion Southern Division.|
|G||P 2d Battalion Southern Division.|
|H||F Light Artillery.|
|I||O 2d Battalion Southern Division.|
The staff embraced 1 colonel, lieutenant-colonel, major, adjutant, sergeant-major and quartermaster-sergeant each, the adjutant being a company officer. This organization remained intact until the Act of April 5, 1832, took away the supernumerary captain for ordnance duty, while organizing
the Ordnance Department anew, although artillery lieutenants continued to be detailable under the Act of 1821 for duty therein.
There was here perpetuated in the artillery, as a permanent part of its organization, a feature that always did and always will prove a curse, namely, giving each company a double-row of both first and second lieutenants. This as to first lieutenants hag remained unchanged, as to second lieutenants it now is simply authorized. No army is wisely organized which does not, by the ordinary casualties of service, furnish the officers a reasonable chance of promotion. The corps as organized in 184 had the same fault. In both cases it was expected that the extra lieutenants would be available for ordnance or other kindred duties directly in the line of the artilleryman. The trouble was and has continued to be that, when the ordnance department was reorganized in 1832 and 1838, these extra lieutenants were not placed therein and cut off from the regimental organizations.
It was a fundamental error to unite the light and heavy artillery as was done in 1821. The duties of these two branches of the arm are so dissimilar that, to be most efficiently performed, their organizations must be radically different.
It would naturally result that, in a regiment with three field officers to nine companies, and four lieutenants to each captain, promotion, unless stimulated by a bloody war or sickly season, would soon come to a standstill. For a time after 1821 stagnation in promotion was even worse in the lower branches of the artillery than it is now. In greater or less degree the same stagnation affected the other arms of service, but not to the same extent as the artillery. To such a pitch did the evil attain that in January, 1836, sixty-nine graduates were attached to the army as brevet second lieutenants. Plainly the supply was greater than the demand. As a natural result of this state of affairs again, officers began to turn from a profession which furnished so little hope of advancement. During the same year 117 officers resigned, and seven others, including a lieutenant-colonel, declined commissions. Among those who left the Third Artillery at this time was Lieutenant George G. Meade, the future victor at Gettysburg.
This extraordinary exodus of the best young officers in service attracted the serious attention of Congress. It was seen that the attempt to maintain a cheap army, when all avenues to promotion were practically closed to officers of subordinate grades, was a failure. So-called economy had overreached itself. About this time the Florida war was precipitated and for years dragged its slow length along amidst miasmic swamps more fatal than the weapons of the concealed and savage foe. Regimental officers were all required in the field, where death by the enemy's bullet or sickness greatly and rapidly depleted their numbers. The occasion was considered propitious for a general rectification all along the line! this was particularly the case with the staff, which then, as since, found the hey-day of their happiness when the regiments were fighting the enemy in the field, and which staff, by Act of July 5, 1838, was very largely augmented. The artillery was at the same time increased by one company—K—in each regiment, while the number of privates per company was temporarily increased by 16, bringing the number up to 58, and the number of company second lieutenants reduced to
one, the surplus officers being absorbed gradually either in the new staff or in their regiments. But in truth the great number of resignations, together with the Florida war, had so reduced the army that there were very few to be thus absorbed. The increase of 16 men per company was only for the Florida war, which virtually terminated in 1842, when, by Act of August 23d, that year, the number of privates was reduced to the same number, and the artificers to one less per company, than fixed by the Act of March 2, 1821.
The Mexican War, soon after precipitated, wrought a very considerable, and, contrary to expectation at the time, permanent change in the organization of the artillery. The expansive idea for the regular army was now attempted to be acted upon, and the President, by Act May 13, 1846, was authorized to increase the number of privates to 100 in each company and at discretion reduce it again to 64; the Act February 11, 1847, added a second major and a quartermaster, the Act March 3, 1847, gave two principal musicians and one principal teamster to each regiment, two teamsters to each company, two additional companies to each artillery regiment, authorized the equipping another company in each as light artillery, and gave all the latter mounted pay. These acts were therefore important for the artillery. All this was not without reason; and the immediate reason was the approved fighting qualities of the artillery on the Rio Grande and in Mexico. The country wanted more troops of that kind. The increase was, however, intended to be temporary only, except the additional two companies. The extra majors were wanted for recruiting duty. The regimental quartermaster, and the teamsters, regimental and company, were authorized upon the recommendation of the Quartermaster-General, after reports by General Taylor of the inefficiency of that department in the field. The quartermaster, not being an extra officer, was not affected by the clause providing for disbandment after the war; the majors were retained permanently, and the principal musicians temporarily, by Act July 19, 1848, but the teamsters disappeared with the war.
The only other act, prior to the Civil War, affecting the artillery, was that of June 17, 1850, which fixed the number of privates in a light company at 64, but authorized the President to increase the number of privates in any company under certain circumstances, to 74 at the expense of other companies.
The organization of the Third Artillery, like that of all the four old regiments, remained unchanged until after the War of the Rebellion, when by Act of July 28, 1866, it was given, with slight modification, the same organization as the Fifth Artillery, organized by Act July 29, 1861. The effect was to increase the number of majors by one, to make the adjutant, the quartermaster and commissary extra lieutenants, increase the regimental non-commissioned staff by 1 commissary sergeant, 2 principal musicians and 1 hospital steward, and the battery by 1 sergeant, 4 corporals and a number of privates to raise the whole number to not exceed 122 at the discretion of the President, who was also authorized to add to each battery 1 first and 1 second lieutenant, 2 sergeants and 4 corporals—battery being the new legal designation for the old company. The Act of March 3, 1869, added a chief musician, while that of
July 15, 1870, abolished the grade of regimental commissary sergeant and hospital steward, and reduced the number of corporals per battery to four. Under the operation of these laws, therefore, the maximum organization of a regiment of artillery at this time is: 1 colonel, 1 lieut-colonel, 3 majors, 1 adjutant, 1 quartermaster and commissary, 1 sergeant-major, 1 quartermaster-sergeant, 1 chief musician, 2 principal musicians, and 12 batteries, each battery 1 captain, 2 first and 2 second lieutenants, 1st sergeant, 1 quartermaster-sergeant, 8 sergeants, 4 corporals, 2 musicians, 2 artificers, 1 wagoner, and not to exceed 122 privates. Such remains the organization of the artillery regiments to-day. The vicious feature is the retention of 4 lieutenants to 1 captain. This is simply annihilation to the ambition of younger officers, who in consequence labor under disadvantages which do not, to anything like an equal degree, affect any other part of the army.
The Fifth was organized as a light artillery regiment. But its organization was a mistake, if it was to be maintained after peace, as, though the act authorizing it did not so contemplate, was actually the case. From 1821 and before then, this excessive number of subaltern artillery officers relatively to others, has proved detrimental in the matter of promotion; and yet no other branch of service, tested by the demands of actual warfare, has finished a greater number of distinguished commanders.
The officers arranged to the Third Artillery in 1821, were a distinguished body of men. Colonel W. K. Armistead, a soldier of twenty years service, was transferred from the position of chief of Engineers to make way for Macomb, razeed from brigadier. The other field officers, Mitchell and Bankhead, were veterans of the War of 1812; the former soon resigned, serving afterwards in Congress; the latter, as colonel of the Second Artillery, lived to distinguish himself again in the war with Mexico.
Of the captains, Roger Jones, Samuel B. Archer and Felix Ansart had been brevetted for gallant conduct in battle. The former was afterwards for many years Adjutant-General, and Archer Inspector-General of the army. Captain Henry Knox Craig became chief of ordnance, while 1st Lieutenant John A. Dix, the distinguished Union general, and 2d Lieutenant Samuel Ringgold, who subsequently commanded and fought with the first company of horse artillery equipped in the United States Army, were among the subalterns.
It would be an interesting and grateful task to trace the honorable careers of officers whose names from time to time have graced the rolls of the Third Artillery. Space, however, will permit us hereto recall but a few. The oldest living graduate, Mr. Wm. C. Young of New York City, whose labors have done so much to develop the railroad system of the country, was a 2d lieutenant in 1823; George S. Greene, the gallant old soldier who, though threescore years of age, left the position of chief engineer Croton Water Works, when the Civil War broke out, and served with highest honors as colonel and general officer, joined the Third Artillery as lieutenant in 1823; Robert P. Parrott, so well and favorably known to the world through his invaluable services to the Union cause by a new system of ordnance, was a lieutenant from 1824
to 1836; so also from 1825 to 1832, was Benjamin Huger, subsequently a major-general in the Confederate service; Albert E. Church, the honored West Point Professor of Mathematics, served from 1828 to 1838; Robert Anderson, the hero of Ft. Sumter, was an officer of the regiment for thirty-two years, from 1825 to 1857; Erasmus D. Keyes, afterwards a major-general of volunteers, from 1832 to 1858; George G. Meade from his entry into service until he resigned as before mentioned. Thomas W. Sherman continuously from 1836 to 1861, and again from 1863 to 1870 as colonel; Braxton Bragg, afterwards lieutenant-general in the Confederate service, from 1837 to 1856; William T. Sherman from 1840 to 1850; Stewart Van Vliet from 1840 to 1847; Jubal A. Early, the Confederate lieutenant-general, from 1837 until he resigned; George H. Thomas from 1840 to 1855; John F. Reynolds, who was killed while commanding his corps on the first day at Gettysburg, from 1841 to 1861; E. O. C. Ord from 1839 to 1861; Samuel G. Field, afterwards a Confederate major-general, from 1843 to 1848; A. E. Burnside from 1847 to 1853; Romeyn B. Ayres from 1847 to 1861, and as lieutenant-colonel from 1870 to 1879; Beekman Du Barry, subsequently commissary general, from 1850 to 1861; Henry J. Hunt, the distinguished chief of artillery, Army of the Potomac, was lieutenant-colonel of the regiment from 1863 to 1869, and George W. Getty colonel from 1870 to 1883; besides many others, whose services with the regiment, though rendered in less conspicuous stations, have, as hereafter will more fully appear, been none the less faithful or honorable. The Army Register for 1866, the first issued after the close of the Civil War, sets forth the proud record of the Third Artillery. The lieutenant-general, 2 major-, and 1 brigadier-generals of the 17 general officers of the fighting part of the army—nearly one-fourth—served their novitiate and received their first practical lessons in the military art in the commissioned ranks of the regiment. Moreover, not one of these generals was a mere political appointment: Not one of them was made a general officer for what he was expected to do, but for what he had done.
From 1821 to 1827 the. Third Artillery occupied the central Atlantic stations from Annapolis, Md., to Charleston, S. C. This was a season of quiet. The arm was not, however, professionally inactive. In 1824 "the artillery corps of instruction" was established at Fortress Monroe, Va.,—the forerunner of the present school there—and maintained until broken up by the demands of the Florida War for troops.
In 1827 the stations of the Third were changed to the New England coast, headquarters, Ft. Independence, Massachusetts. Existence was tranquil, duties merely routine. The early thirties, however, brought more excitement. In 1831, B, E, H, took station at Fortress Monroe, whence, next year, B and H were sent to Charleston, S. C., to put down the nullificationists; proceeding thence to the disturbed Seminole and Creek Indian districts of Florida and Alabama. When the Florida War broke out C and I were also in the hostile country. This was precipitated by a tragic event familiarly known as Dade's massacre. On December 28, 1835, Brevet Major and Captain Francis L. Dade, 4th Infantry, with one company of the Second
and B of the Third, was ambushed near the crossing of the Withlacoochee River, Florida, and all but 4 privates killed, one of whom belonged to B. Captain Upton S. Fraser, 2d Lieut. R. R. Mudge, Brevet 2d Lieut. John L. Keais, and thirty-one enlisted men of the Third fell on the field.
Upon receipt of this intelligence, the steps of the whole regiment were at once bent towards the theatre of hostilities—where A, D, E, F, G arrived in June, 1836. Meanwhile the companies in Florida were actively engaged. On December 31, 1835, C, H were with General Clinch when he defeated the Seminoles near Withlacoochee ford. On March 29, 1836, C, H, I, part of the force under General Clinch, were again engaged near the Withlacoochee. The same companies met the Indians again on June 9 and 19, 1836, the former near Macinope, the latter between that place and Ft. Drane. Later in the year, A, C, H, I encountered the Indians at Ft. Drane, August 21st; on the Withlacoochee River, October 13th; and in the Wahoo swamp, on November 21, 1836. At this time the other companies of the regiment, except B, were in Alabama assisting to overawe the Creeks. B, after its annihilation, was reorganized in Massachusetts, and joined the regiment in the field in January, 1837, being engaged with the enemy at Camp Munroe, Fla, February 8th, following.
During 1837 all the companies were actively employed against the enemy, driving them from one fastness to another, yet rarely seeing them. The service was distressing beyond description. It was almost impossible to bring the Indians to bay except they wished it. Besides, the bullets of a concealed savage foe were less destructive to life than the reptiles abounding and diseases contracted under a vertical sun in the almost boundless and impenetrable swamps. The year 1837 was the season of General Jesup's advent upon the theatre of operations. It were tedious and unprofitable to follow the companies of the Third in all their wanderings through the everglades. Suffice it to say they were constantly on the move, drawing tighter the cordon about the Indians who gradually were being made prisoners or exterminated. All the companies were in the field, traversing the hostile district in every direction. In May, 1837, C was mounted, and with B, 4th Artillery, performed the duty of scouts until the 12th of the following December when the horses were turned in.
The termination of this year was signalized by an event of great interest to the regiment. For the first time since its organization all the companies were united; they were mustered together December 31, 1837, at Fort Christmas, Florida.
The next day the regiment, under Lieut.-Colonel Gates, marched, in Brevet Brigadier Eustis' brigade, against the hostiles, who were defeated, January 24th, at the Locheehatchie. The Indians were now coming in rapidly. But the Cherokees, in the northern part of Georgia, were now to be removed west of the Mississippi, and troops were needed to start them. Accordingly, in April, 1838, A, F, H, I, under Lieut.-Colonel Gates, followed, May 7th, by D, C, E, G, under Brevet Major McClintock, 4th Artillery, and later by B, marched across the peninsula from Fort Jupiter to Tampa Bay, and proceeded via New Orleans and Tuscumbia, Ala., to Chattanooga, Tenn., where the regiment was again, and, so far as known, for
the last time united; for, although K was authorized at this time, it was not yet organized. Here the Third remained, camped on the sites of subsequent famous battle-fields, until the Cherokees started west, when it returned, piecemeal, via Augusta, Georgia, to the theatre of active operations in Florida. On November 19, 1838, C was broken up, the men transferred to other companies, and the lieutenants ordered to Carlisle, Pa., where the company, as will hereafter be narrated, was being reorganized as horse-artillery. To keep up the equilibrium in Florida, however, K, the newly authorized company, joined December 24, 1838.
During the remaining years of the Florida War, 1839, '40, '41, '42, there was no relaxation in the arduous nature of the services required of the regiment, which was scattered all over the northern part of the peninsula, building roads and posts, following and skirmishing with the Indians. The latter, while ordinarily small affairs, judged by casualties alone, were generally brought about only after great suffering on the part of the troops, to whom the innumerable annoying and venomous insects of the swamps rendered existence intolerable. To fight the Indian was a relief, for it had at least the charm of excitement. But they had learned by dear experience that they were no match for the whites in the long run, and therefore avoided the latter except when fortuitous circumstances gave them every advantage. Nevertheless, the Third had frequent passages at arms with them in the campaign of 1839 under Brevt. Brigadier-General Z. Taylor; again on July 26, at New River inlet, November 1, on the Picolata road, December 3-24 in the Everglades, all in 1840; and at the latter place, January 7, 1841. The campaign of 1840, carried on through the tropical heat of summer, was particularly trying.
The war may be said to have ended August, 1842. The Indians, originally 7000 strong, excepting 300, 95 of whom were warriors, were killed or expelled, and those excepted were compelled to live within certain prescribed limits. Eleven officers of the Third died in Florida during that war; of these three fell in action, and one died of wounds; 45 enlisted-men were killed by the Indians, and 113 died of disease. Nearly every officer of the Third was in the field. Ten were brevetted for gallantry in specific actions.
The war being over, the Third, in 1842, occupied the stations from Smithville, N. C., to St. Augustine, Fla., where it remained until the Mexican War.
The re-organizing act of March 2, 1821, provided, as before mentioned, that in each regiment of artillery, one company should be designated and equipped as light artillery. In 1838 the initiatory steps were taken to carry this provision into effect. Brevt. Major Samuel Ringgold, captain 3d Artillery, was selected by Secretary Poinsett for this work. Hitherto the great objection to carrying the law into execution was the attendant expense. But now a number of horses rendered surplus, after some of the southern Indians had been removed, were available for the purpose of mounting C company as horse artillery in which rôle it served until after the Mexican War. Companies of the other artillery regiments were also soon afterwards mounted, but as field artillery. In Ringgold's company the drivers were armed with the sabre; all other enlisted men with sabre and pistol. In the field companies, the mounted men were armed in the same way, but the can-
noneers each with musketoon and artillery sabre, which must have proved extremely inconvenient.
The Mexican War soon brought every officer of the Third into the field again. As during the Florida War, headquarters moved into the enemy's country. The action of the Congress and President of the United States in 1845, regarding the annexation of Texas, precipitated hostilities. A, C, E, I, with other troops, were sent that year to Corpus Christi, Texas, forming General Z. Taylor's army of occupation.
A, C, I, were present when the opening gun of the war was fired at Palo Alto, May 8, 1846. Ringgold, while skillfully fighting his guns, was mortally wounded by a cannon-shot, dying on the 10th of the same month. He was one of the most accomplished officers of the regiment, and the beau-ideal horse artilleryman. The command of C then devolved upon 1st Lieutenant Randolph Ridgely who retained it until after the capture of Monterey. A and I formed part of the artillery foot-battalion both at Palo Alto and the next day at Resaca de la Palma. Lieut. Churchill of the Third commanded two heavy 18-pounder guns from this time until after the army crossed the Rio Grande. In his report of the battle of Palo Alto General Taylor states: "Our artillery, consisting of two 18-pounders and two light batteries (C, Third, A, Second) was the arm chiefly engaged, and to the excellent manner in which it was manoeuvred and served is our success mainly due." E during this time was at Ft. Brown forming part of the garrison which, for 160 hours stood off and finally repulsed an overwhelming besieging force. Shortly afterwards it was mounted as light artillery, Braxton Bragg commanding, with George H. Thomas and John F. Reynolds as assistants. What a trio that was! the first the victor at Chickamauga; the second at Nashville; the third the incomparable commander of the first Army Corps who fell in the fore-front at Gettysburg!
Under the Act of May 13, 1846, authorizing 100 privates per company, many companies in the field were broken up, the men transferred, and an officer sent home to recruit. This happened to I, July 7, 1846, whose captain, Martin Burke, was dispatched to North Carolina to reorganize the company, which he did and then rejoined the army at Perote on General Scott's line of operations. The place of I in the foot-battalion was filled by B which arrived at Mier, Mexico, July 31, 1846, officered by Capt. Vinton, Lieuts. Van Vliet, Joseph Stewart and Francis J. Thomas.
In the movement on Monterey, A and B were part of the foot-artillery battalion, 1st Brigade, Worth's Division; C, marching with the dragoons, formed part of the 3d Brigade, Twiggs'. Division. In the attack upon that place, as is well known, the army was divided. Worth, making a detour to his right attacked from the west: Twiggs, Butler and Quitman from the east. Both C and E moved with Twiggs' column. The gallantry of these two light companies was never surpassed. Impression upon the substantial earth-works and heavily built houses of the town they could make little; but whenever the enemy showed themselves in the open they were at once assailed by the light artillery in such manner as to cause them soon to seek shelter. The part taken by A and B, while not so brilliant, contributed however in no less degree to the success of our arms. They formed part
of the storming column sent against Lomade Federacion ; Captain John R. Vinton commanding the artillery battalion, Van Vliet, B., and Lt. Francis Taylor, A. The brave fighting of the troops was conspicuous, and was continued the next day, September 22, when the Bishop's Palace was taken, and thence from house to house into the centre of the city, which then capitulated.
Soon after this event both Worth and Twiggs' regular, and Butler's and Ouitman's volunteer commands joined General Scott's army destined to the southern line of operations, Vera Cruz—City of Mexico. C and E alone of the Third were left to General Taylor, their commanders having been meanwhile changed. Ridgely was accidentally killed October 27, 1846, at Monterey, and Bragg was, November 7th, transferred to C; Capt. Thomas W. Sherman, who, promoted May 28, 1846, to E, had been arbitrarily kept out of its command by General Taylor, now was assigned to his proper position, joining his company February 14,1847, just in time to take part in the fighting at Buena Vista.
The American army being thus divided, and Taylor left with only about 4000 men, Santa Anna, whether by instinct or accident, determined to act upon the correct military principle and beat the widely separated parts in detail. Hence resulted the battle of Buena Vista, which shed an unfading lustre on the American arms. On our left, the volunteers at first fled ingloriously. The torrent of defeat was stemmed by the light artillery, O'Brien of the 4th Artillery losing his pieces, his horses being killed and the infantry supports gone. This was the supreme moment. Santa Anna launched his reserves on our centre, at first with irresistible force. Everything gave back before the enemy's masses. But E was there, and, although compelled to recede, did so only by the recoil of its splendidly served guns. Bragg, with C, had gone to the left to assist righting matters; but, seeing the movement against the centre, hurried as fast as his jaded horses could travel to meet it. What followed is best described in the language of General Taylor's report: "Captain Bragg, who had just arrived from the left, was ordered into battery. Without infantry to support him, and at the imminent risk of losing his guns, he came rapidly into action, the Mexican lines being but a few yards from the muzzles of his pieces. The first discharge of canister caused the enemy to hesitate, the second and third drove him back in disorder and saved the day." Bragg stated that he expended 250 rounds of ammunition per gun that day. In his official report General Wool stated that, "without our artillery, we could not have maintained our position a single hour."
There has always been an amiable tradition in the army since Buena Vista that General Taylor; when Bragg came up at the interesting moment above referred to, remarked "A little more grape, Captain Bragg." This has been echoed in popular histories of the war, until the incident has obtained general credence. Now the spirit of the supposititious occurrence is above criticism; it has the true ring of the, battle-field. Artillerymen have, therefore, permitted it to pass unchallenged, not knowing but that it might have occurred, and not wishing to spoil a good story; at the same time, as they knew very well that Bragg carried no grape in his ammunition chests,
they doubted its truth, yet with a conscious look of commiseration, patronizingly put the whole thing down as doubtless the not unnatural mistake of an infantry general. Fair play, however, demands that this reflection on old "Rough and Ready's" technical knowledge be removed. Bragg himself has furnished the evidence that the incident, as narrated, never transpired. Afterwards when he was lieutenant general, his attention was called to it, and he said that he remembered the circumstance perfectly; but that General Taylor, far from wasting any time on imaginary grape, called out in clarion tones, "Captain, give them hell." The transition was doubtless made by some one more piously than truthfully inclined. We tender, as seems fitting in this year of jubilee and "historical sketches" this the amende honorable to our infantry brethren, craving pardon for having given countenance to an insinuation, which we all felt was probably unjust, against the accuracy of the professional language of one of the best and truest soldiers they have ever produced; one under whom every artilleryman loved and was proud to serve; one whose indomitable will and honesty of character triumphed over every obstacle, turning, as at Buena Vista, seeming disaster into glorious victory !
One more word aside: When the Mexican reserves pierced our lines just before Bragg "saved the day" there fell, gallantly fighting at the head of his regiment, Col. William R. McKee of the 2d Kentucky. An educated soldier, his was an exalted and noble spirit! A fitting sire of that other accomplished officer, Major George W. McKee, whose death the army and a host of devoted friends recently have been called upon to mourn. Stricken down in the prime of intellectual vigor, in Major McKee the army saw pass away one of its brightest ornaments and most useful members, one upon whom nature had showered her choicest gifts; possessed at once of every attribute which renders man respected, admired, beloved.
We will now follow the companies of the Third on other theatres of operation. Before General Scott left the Losbos Islands he had designated H as a mounted company. It served as such during the war, commanded first by Captain Wall and then by Steptoe. A, B and G arrived at Vera Cruz in time to take part in the siege, March 9-28, 1847, being joined April 11, by K. Colonel Gates with headquarters were, with D, temporarily established at Tampico, an important port of entry, and the capital of a district held under military government with Gates as governor. D remained at Tampico and vicinity during the whole war, being equipped part of the time as horse artillery. F, in which W. T. Sherman was a subaltern, was at Monterey, Upper California. I was being recruited, and L and M not yet organized.
At Vera Cruz Captain John R. Vinton was killed in the trenches by one of the first shots from the enemy. It was one of those singular cases in which death results from the close proximity of a projectile in its flight. His clothes were not even disarranged. The projectile, afterwards recovered unexploded, now rests upon his grave at Providence, R. It was a Paixhan shell, and, when the fuse was drawn, was found to contain 320 leaden bullets. In the death of Captain Vinton the Third lost another of its most valuable officers.
In organizing the army for the advance upon the City of Mexico A, B, G, K, formed a battalion under command of Lieut-Col. Belton, 3d Artillery, in the 1st (Garland's) brigade, Worth's division, and here the battalion remained during the war, except, that, at Perote, A was stopped, and I, under Captain Burke took its place. In the advance H was assigned to Patterson's volunteer division, and it served with the volunteers until the army left Mexico.
Vera Cruz was an affair wholly of engineering and siege artillery. The next battle, at Cerro Gordo, was one, on our side, almost wholly of infantry. Unfortunately, moreover, Worth's division, which had done most of-the work at Vera Cruz, did not get into position at Cerro Gordo until there was little for it to do. By one of those accidents which sometimes happens, Worth, while going into action, was halted to permit Pillow to file in front of him into position on the extreme left. As a result, when Worth reached the Cerro Gordo hill he found the enemy already fleeing from it, and could therefore only join in the unsatisfactory duty of facilitating that flight. H, however, was more fortunate. The armament of the company consisted of four 12-pdr. brass guns and two 24-pdr. howitzers. The battle was fought on the 18th of April 1847. During the night of the 17th, Steptoe and Lt. H. Brown, 3d Artillery, after immense toil, in which they were assisted by the infantry, placed the two 24-pdr. howitzers on the hill Atalaya 900 yards from the Cerro Gordo, the stronghold of the Mexicans, and from which next day, during the assault, they were served with great effect upon the enemy. For his conduct here Steptoe was brevetted major.
From this time on the Third took part in all the battles except Contreras on Scott's line of operations. That battle was fought by Twiggs' division. There was no fighting of consequence after Cerro Gordo until the American army was within sight of the Capital. The army advanced from Puebla August 7, 1847. B, G, I, K, formed the foot battalion of the Third. Captain Wall of H was left sick at Puebla, where, August 13th he died, and the company then was commanded by Steptoe, being attached to Quitman's volunteer division. The officers present were: Lt. Col. Belton, commanding battalion; B, Lieuts. Farry and Lendrum; G, Capt. Anderson, Lieut. Shields; I, Capt. Burke, Lieut. Ayres; K, Lieut. R. W. Johnston; Light Company H, Capt. Steptoe, Lieuts. Judd, H. Brown, Francis J. Thorns, and Welch. Brevet Major R. D. A. Wade was also present, sick, not commanding his company, K, but acting as field officer.
While Twiggs' division was assaulting the enemy's lines at Contreras, August 20, 1847, Worth's division, on the right, moved against Cherublasco and the fortified village of San Antonio. Here the Third, particularly K, in its advance as a forlorn hope against the latter place, had an opportunity to render conspicuous service. San Antonio being taken, K remained temporarily to garrison it, while the other companies pressed on to assail and capture Cherubusco. Seven men of the Third were killed, and Lieut.-Colonel Belton and twenty-seven men wounded. H was not in the battle; it was back in San Augustine with Quitman, protecting the supply depots, and the army from attack in rear by the enemy's cavalry.
The fruitless armistice which followed this event having been terminated, the battle of Molino del Rey was fought September 8, 1847. Here the brave Farry and Ayres fell. Farry, with fifty men of the Third joined the storming party directed against the fortified centre of the Mexican position at the Casa Mata. The attack was successful, but 12 of the 14 officers of the party fell in the assault. The battalion of the Third entered el Molino on the right of our line, and here, while gallantly leading his men, Lt. Ayres was killed, while Captain Anderson and Lieut. George P. Andrews were wounded. H was not present. The battle was fought by Worth's division, to which it was not attached.
Chepultepec alone remained to be fought. Molino was preparatory thereto. At Chepultepec all the Third with the army were engaged. H was placed on September 11th on the right, to threaten an attack on the San Antonio and Candelaria gates of the city. It remained there constantly employed until the evening of the 13th when it rejoined Quitman who, in the general battle, had stormed the Belen gate, but without artillery support, could not advance further against the fire from the Citadel 300 yards away. Steptoe, by greatest industry placed in a well constructed battery some heavier guns, but at dawn of day a white flag bespoke the enemy's surrender. H then moved in, being the first light company to enter the City of Mexico. Meanwhile, the foot-battalion had not been idle. Details were assisting to construct the batteries to play on the fortifications of Chepultepec. Lieut. R. W. Johnston with a party of the Third were told off to the storming party. The remnants of the Second and Third Artillery, under Lt. Col. Belton, were temporarily formed into 4 companies, Shields and Lendrum commanding those from the Third. They moved with Worth's division along the causeway, driving the enemy, until, at San Cosmo garita, night put an end to the conflict. Next morning Santa Anna had fled the Capital.
The war was practically ended. The light companies of the Third had a few brushes with the enemy besides those mentioned, but the heavy fighting has been narrated. And it was heavy fighting. The strength of the positions occupied by the enemy was remarkable. The nearest approximation in this century to the style of fighting our army there did was exhibited by Wellington's war against fortified places in the Spanish Peninsula. The City of Mexico was ours September 14,1847. But before this, D, under Capt. F. O. Wyse had a most creditable affair at the Callabosa River. D at this time was equipped as horse artillery. A, equipped as field artillery, was present at Huamantla, October 9, 1847, at Atlixco, October 19th, and at Matamoras, near Puebla, November 23, 1847. These were among the last of Santa Anna's guerilla efforts. The light company—A—won high encomiums for its conduct.
The army evacuated the City of Mexico June 12, 1848, Worth's division being the last to leave. L and M saw no fighting in that war. They left New York City for the scene of hostilities October 12, 1847, were wrecked and put in to Charleston, S. C., November 5, left Fort Moultrie December 17, and arrived at the Mexican capital early in 1848, where also was established regimental headquarters. Colonel Gates remained Governor of Tam-
pico, and Captain Martin Burke temporarily commanded the regiment. At this time the companies of the Third were distributed: A, Perote; B, G, H, I, K, L,. M, City of Mexico; C, E, Walnut Springs near Monterey, Mex.; F in California; D, Tampico. C, D, were equipped as horse artillery; A, E, H, as field artillery; the rest marched as infantry.
The companies of the Third on Scott's line all left Vera Cruz July 16, 1848. The regiment, except C, E, F, was concentrated at Fortress Monroe, and thence distributed to the New England stations which it had left thirteen years before for the Florida War. E left Ft. Brown, Texas, October 26, 1848, for Fort Trumbull, Connecticut. C, under Lt. Judd, marched via Chihuahua to Santa Fé, N. M., where the guns were soon stored, and the company, equipped as cavalry, served two years against the Indians, eventually joining Bragg, with the few men whose terms of service had not expired, at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, in 1850. F still held the fort at Monterey, California.
Soon the Seminoles who had been left in Florida became restive. Accordingly in September, 1849, B, under Geo. H. Thomas; D, under Wyse; H, Steptoe; L, under Austine, embarked for Palatka, Fla., near the scene of disturbance. Here they remained, marching through the swamps, until order was restored, when they returned to their stations in 1850.
The regiment now looked forward to the enjoyment for a time at least of a quiet life. But this hope was short-lived. In the nature of things it could not long be indulged. We had acquired a vast and unsettled territory by conquest; it was inhabited by savages or semi-savages. The army was needed to keep them in subjection.
Before narrating, however, the part acted by the Third in this field of duty, it will be best hurriedly to glance at the experiences of the light companies from the close of the Mexican until the breaking out of the War of the Rebellion in 1861. During this time the light artillery was the sport of the War Department. On the plea of retrenchment, the number of light artillery companies in the army was reduced to four, including C, Third, in September, 1848. April, 1849, four additional companies were authorized; but, in the Third, instead of E, B was selected and ordered to West Point, where Shover, its captain, was instructor of artillery. Captain T. W. Sherman had again to fight for his rights. But he triumphed; the order was modified, and E, not B, was mounted. The termination of this controversy was supposed, at the time, to establish the legal principle "once a light company, always a light company"; for the contention then was, and the War Department apparently conceded the point, that when the President had designated two companies in each artillery regiment as light artillery, under the Acts of March 2, 1821, and March 3, 1847, he thereby fixed their legal status as that of light companies until the law should be changed. This is not the place to argue regarding the correctness of the proposition; more recent practices have not been in accordance therewith. However, in 1851 E was dismounted again; in 1853, Congress having appropriated money expressly for the purpose, it was remounted, took station in Minnesota, where, excepting some expeditions over the Western Territories, it remained until 1861. C, after being remounted at Jefferson Barracks, 1850,
served at Forts Gibson and Washita, Indian Territory, where the expense of maintaining it was enormous, and where, as a school of instruction, it was almost valueless. In 1856 it was dismounted, and, with three others, one company each from the respective artillery regiments, stationed at Fortress Monroe, Va., to reestablish the artillery school of practice; in 1858 it was remounted, ordered to Salt Lake to take over the light artillery armament which the Ordnance Department was masquerading with, and went thence in 1859 to Fort Vancouver, Washington Territory, where it remained until 1861.
In October, 1848, M, under Lieut. Geo. P. Andrews, sailed for California around the Horn, to join F. The movement of the regiment, though contemplated, was deferred. But our recently conquered subjects were restless, and had to be kept in order. With this object in view, B and L were sent early in April, 1853, to Texas, where they remained until early in 1854. This was for them a most fortunate circumstance, as they thus missed one of the direst calamities that has ever befallen our army on the seas.
How this was, we will now proceed to state. Pursuant to General Orders No. 2, H. Q. Army, September 26, 1853, Headquarters and the ban d with A, D, G, H, I, K, and large detachments of recruits for B and L. embarked December 21st, that year, for California, via Cape Horn, in the commodious steamer San Francisco. The vessel was new, its machinery excellent, and it was believed to be seaworthy. There were about 600 souls on board, including 500 belonging to or connected with the regiment. On the 22d the vessel was at sea. The 23d ended with a fresh breeze and, cloudy weather. By that time the weather was very threatening. An ominous calm prevailed. At 9 P. M. that night the wind came up with terrific force out of the northwest. The sea rolled mountains high. The ship, spite of all efforts of her skillful and devoted crew, soon became unmanageable. By 1.30 A. M. of the 24th she was entirely at the mercy of the waves, her machinery being disabled, and sails blown away. At 9 A. M., 24th, a huge wave struck her, stripping everything from the upper deck, including the saloon, in which, in addition to the regular passengers, a large number of soldiers had taken refuge. It was estimated that 175 souls perished at this time, including about 150 soldiers and Major Washington, Captain Francis Taylor, Captain Field and Lieutenant Smith, together with Mrs. Taylor and Colonel Gates' son. Nothing could exceed the terror of the situation. Fortunately there were men on board who were fit to command. The officers of the vessel, and of the army, and Lieut. F. K. Murray of the Navy, set an example of heroism. The men, except a few dastardly souls, nobly seconded their efforts. To add to the horrors of the storm a leak was sprung, and only by intelligent, systematic, incessant and prolonged exertions was the vessel kept afloat. On the 25th the brig Napoleon was spoken but sailed away. The arrival of this vessel at Boston gave the authorities their first knowledge of the disaster. On the 26th, in latitude 38°20', longitude 69°, another vessel was sighted, but lost in the night. The men now began to die from exposure and exhaustion. On the 28th the bark Kilby of Boston stood by the wreck, and, the weather moderating on the 29th somewhat, ran a hawser and took off 108 passengers. That night the storm freshened, the haw-
ser parted, the San Francisco drifted out of sight, and the Kilby, after a vain search for 2½ days, sailed for New York. At 9.30 A. M., December 31st, the British ship Three Bells of Glasgow was spoken and lay to. The storm, however, was unabated. No communication, except by signals, could be had. On January 3, 1854, the Three Bells was joined by the Antarctic of Liverpool. On the 4th and 5th all survivors were tranferred to these two vessels. The Antarctic carried hers—42—to Liverpool. The Three Bells hers to New York. On January 12th the Kilby transferred most of her passengers to the Packet Lucy Thompson, bound to New York, making, herself, for Boston. Thus ended this appalling event. The ship was never seen or heard of more.
A Court of Inquiry, of which General Scott was President, was instituted to examine into the circumstances of this wreck, and as a result, whether justly or unjustly, Colonel Gates was relieved from command of the regiment which he did not resume until November, 1861.
Nothing daunted, the Third was soon again en route, this time by the Isthmus. April 5, 1854, headquarters with B and L, embarked at New York on the steamer Illinois, arriving, L at the Presidio, and B and headquarters at Benicia, California, May 5th following. The band, with D, G, I, K, were not so fortunate. They embarked on the steamer Falcon, and very nearly repeated the experience of the San Francisco. The vessel, though disabled in a storm, managed to make Hampton Roads, where the troops landed at Fortress Monroe. In May, 1854, the steamer Illinois picked them up, and they finally, after many tribulations, reached the California stations. H and A marched overland, via Salt Lake, Utah, where they wintered 1854-55, arriving, July 25, 1855, at Benicia.
From 1854 to 1861 the Third was actively employed in marching and scouting over the Pacific Coast throughout its length and breadth. There was not an Indian tribe from the Rockies to the Pacific Ocean whom they did not visit. They became veritable foot-cavalry, In this school some of the best soldiers of the War of the Rebellion were developed.
Scarcely had D landed at Benicia when it was sent on an expedition against the Indians of Pitt and McCloud rivers. L marched against the Umatillas, and both B and L, under command of Major G. R. Rains, 4th Infantry, against the Yakimas in October and November, 1855. During the same year D was engaged against the Klamath and M against the Puget Sound Indians. In the action at Hungry Hill, Oct. 31-Nov. 1, 1855, Lieut. H. G. Gibson, since colonel of the regiment, commanding D, was wounded. In the winter of 1855-56 the Rogue Rivers went on the war-path. B and H formed part of the command sent against them. E. O. C. Ord commanded the former, John F. Reynolds the latter. Ord attacked a party of hostiles at their village, Mackanootney, Oregon, March 26, 1856, routing them and burning their town. On April 28th, following, he met and defeated them again. Reynolds was fighting the same enemy elsewhere. In June, 1856, the Indians sued for peace. General Scott in orders from army headquarters complimented these officers and their commands for their gallant conduct in this war. In the same order the services of M under Keyes on Puget Sound, and L under Piper at the cascades of the Columbia were men-
tioned with commendation. It was at the latter affair that Lieut. P. H. Sheridan so distinguished himself. E also, under its indefatigable captain T. W. Sherman was doing good service. The Indians at the Yellow Medicine Agency began to manifest an ugly disposition. Sherman took their breath away by appearing among them with his battery, thus, in the language of the General Order before mentioned (14, H. Q. A., 1857) "by his promptness, judgment and firmness preserving the country from a war with the tribes of the Sioux nation."
The Pacific Slope Indians, having been severely punished all around in 1856, remained quiet during the next year. Not so, however, in 1858. May 17, that year, Steptoe, now a major 9th Infantry, was surprised by Indians at Tohotsnimme 40 miles north of Snake River on the road between the present towns of Almota, and Colfax, Washington. The uprising was entirely unexpected, but the news spread, and the neighboring tribes flew to arms. Safety to the frontier settlements required the chastisement of the Indians. Accordingly an expedition was fitted out for this purpose under Colonel Wright, 9th Infantry. The Third composed the major part of the troops, and they were rapidly concentrated. A, from Yuma; B, Rogue River; D, San Diego; G, San Bernardino; K, Ft. Miller; M, the Presidio, were united at Fort Walla Walla. The Indians were vastly more numerous than the troops, but the latter were armed with rifle-muskets, just then issued to the army, the former with smooth-bores. The superiority of the rifle was at once strikingly manifest. The Indians, waiting until their smooth-bores were effective, found themselves mowed down by troops whom their own projectiles could not reach. They were signally defeated at Four Lakes, September 1, Spokane Plains September 5, and Spokane River, September 8, 1858. Nine hundred ponies were shot in one spot, on the Spokane River, which to this day is marked by their whitened bones. The principal chiefs were captured and hanged, and the tribes so humbled that they have never gone on the war-path since. In general orders from headquarters of the army, General Scott testified his appreciation of the services of the regiment in this campaign in most eulogistic terms.
The defeats of 1858 had the effect of keeping the Indians quiet in 1859. But the dispute over the boundary-line, and who should own San Juan Island seemed likely to precipitate war with Great Britain. Accordingly, August 8, 1859, A, B, D, G, left Ft. Vancouver and joined other troops at Camp Pickett on the southern, while the British troops occupied the northern end. In this position the forces of the two countries glared at each other for years; but as there was no fear of immediate hostilities after General Scott arranged for joint-occupation, the companies mentioned returned to Ft. Vancouver in December, 1859.
Early in 1860, Indian hostilities broke out in another quarter. A party of prospectors, headed by a Mr. Meredith, were massacred near Pyramid Lake, then in Utah, but now Nevada. Young Winnamucca was the leading spirit in this affair. An expedition was at once fitted out to punish the Indians involved. D, under Lieutenant Joseph Stewart, and a detachment of I, under Lieutenant H. G. Gibson, formed part of this force. The Indians were attacked and defeated near Truckee River, Carson Valley, June 2, 1860, several
soldiers and many Indians being killed and wounded. On July, 9, same year. A, B, M, left Ft. Vancouver, W. T., to scout through the Snake River country, returning in September. In August they met and routed the Indians at Harney Lake, Oregon. L, during the same year left Fort Umpqua to scout through the Klamath country, the theatre of the Modoc war of 1873, so often traversed by the Third during its tour on the Coast.
This practically ended the campaigning of the Third on the Pacific. Events soon called for its presence elsewhere. Meantime, to replace C, Co K, (Capt. Ord) left Ft. Vancouver, after the Spokane campaign of 1858, arriving at the Artillery School of Practice, January 1, 1859; and as, by War Department orders in 1858, two instead of one company from each artillery regiment were to be stationed there, F, then at Ft. Yuma, was sent to Fortress Monroe also arriving September 28, 1859. Here they remained, being only called out during the John Brown disturbance at Harper's Ferry, until they joined the army at Washington as light artillery in 1861. In August, 1860, J. F. Reynolds was appointed Commandant of Cadets, West Point, and, in October, Captain E. O. C. Ord transferred to light company C.
When the War of the Rebellion was precipitated, the Government was extremely anxious about the temper of the States on the Pacific Coast, particularly California. This led at once to energetic measures to secure the safety of San Francisco. All the companies of the Third on the Coast, except D, were at once concentrated in that harbor. Much, however, as they were needed there, they were needed in the east more. Accordingly, October 14, 1861, headquarters with H, G, L, M, and C, the horses and guns being turned in, embarked for New York via the Isthmus. This left A, B, L at San Francisco and D at Ft. Vancouver, the latter proceeding in February, 1862, from Camp Pickett, San Juan Island, to Alcatraz Island, San Francisco Harbor.
Here Band D remained during the whole war. I came east in 1864 and was equipped as a light battery. A, similarly equipped, joined Colonel Carlton's column which marched in 1862 from California across the deserts to Tucson, Arizona, to secure that Territory from usurping rebel, authority. This task having been successfully accomplished, it marched with other Union troops into New Mexico where it served as a light battery until 1865 when it was transported to Boston Harbor. While in New Mexico the light battery saw exceedingly hard service. It was marching much of the time, when not as artillery, against the Indians as cavalry. No company of the regiment saw harder service during the war than A. And it was of a nature precisely like that of horse company C, in the same section of country, from 1848 to 1850.
We now turn to the companies on the great theatre of war. E came in from Fort Ridgley, Minn., in May, 1861, and was present at Blackburn's Ford, July 18, and again at the first Bull Run July 21, 1861. Lieutenant L. Lorain was wounded at the former. The company was attached to W. T. Sherman's (1st) brigade of Tyler's (3d) division. In the battle of the 21st it attacked, with Sherman, at the centre; but as Bull Run was not there fordable, it had to content itself with engaging the enemy at long range. It assisted, with other batteries, to cover the retreat of the army. In
these engagements it lost several men killed and wounded. During the retreat the battery lost 3 caissons and its baggage wagons, these having been sent ahead, when the horses were cut out and ridden away by the cowardly fugitives fleeing from the battle-field.
Soon after this E started on an expedition to the South-Atlantic coast, and, as its services thereafter during the war were in a theatre distinct from the other companies of the regiment, they will be mentioned here. Its old and honored captain, T. W. Sherman, had been regularly promoted major, April 27, 1861, appointed Lieut.-Colonel of the new 5th Artillery May 14, and brigadier general of volunteers May 17, 1861. He was now to command the land forces of the joint expedition against Port Royal, South Carolina. From this time until January 1864, E served in the Department of the South, along the coast of South Carolina and Florida. It had six guns, and these were often divided up, a section (2 guns) going hither and thither in the petty warfare constantly carried on among the islands of the coast. It was engaged, June 10, 1862, at Secessionville, S. C., at Pocotaligo, Oct. 22, where hard fighting was done. In the latter affair Lieutenant Gittings was wounded. The battery was attached to the 2d brigade of Wright's (2d) division. It joined in the assault and repulse at Fort Wagner, S.C., July, 18, 1863, under Myrick, and engaged in the siege of that place July 18th to September 7th, 1863. On February 20, 1864, it was present at the sanguinary battle at Olustee, Fla., in the army commanded by General Truman Seymour, and suffered great loss. All the officers, Capt. Hamilton, Lieut. Myrick, and two volunteers attached were wounded; 11 men were killed, 18 wounded and 6 missing—a loss as great as that of Senarmont's famous battery at Friedland. This terminated the services of E in the south. Pursuant to General Grant's plan to concentrate all the available forces to move against the Army of Northern Virginia, it left the Department of the South in April, 1864, under command of Lieut. J. P. Sanger, 1st Artillery, with the 10th Army Corps, and was assigned to duty with the Army of the James, being part of the artillery brigade of the 3d division. It was present at all the battles in which that "bottled up" army was engaged, on the 7, 16, 19, 20, April, 1864, afterwards in the intrenched lines at Bermuda Hundred, and on both sides of the James River, and in the works before Petersburg from August to September. Lt. Myrick was again commanding. It was present at Laurel Hill, Va., October 7, 1864, when the 10th Corps repelled Longstreet. It was present at both the attacks on Fort Fisher, North Carolina. After the successful issue of the second attack it marched with the army against Wilmington, N. C., having several skirmishes with the enemy. In March, 1865, E with the 10th Corps joined W. T. Sherman's army, engaging in the pursuit of J. E. Johnston, until the final surrender of the rebel armies.
When McClellan's army moved to the Peninsula in 1862, the other light batteries of the Third were attached to the artillery reserve. H, however, after being some time equipped as light artillery, was broken up just before the army started, and sent out to San Francisco under Captain Joseph Stewart to recruit. Captain John Edwards had transferred to M from B with George P. Andrews. This left C, E, F, G, K, L, M, on the Atlantic
Coast. The artillery reserve was, however, not a reserve as that term generally is understood. The idea was not to retain its batteries necessarily in the hands of its commander until their guns could be launched against the enemy at the supreme moment. It is true that they might be so used. But, aside from this use, it was expected that the reserve was to be a source of artillery supply whence the divisions could draw batteries for their needs, to be returned when this temporary service had been rendered.
From the first, consolidation of companies was necessary, because of the difficulties of recruiting for the regular army, and the demand for regular officers for other duties. The companies of the Third which marched with McClellan were (C-G) consolidated, equipped as horse-artillery, under H. G. Gibson, (F-K) under Capt. Livingston, and (L-M) under Capt. Edwards, the two latter consolidated companies as field artillery. (C-G) was soon detached with Stoneman's cavalry, and (L-M) with Sykes' brigade of regulars. The first was hotly engaged at Williamsburg, Va., May 4, 1862, 2d Lieut. W. De Wolf being mortally wounded, and the battery losing one piece, several caissons, and seventeen horses. When the army made the flank march from the Chickahominy to James River, (C-G) was cut off with Stoneman's command toward the old base of supplies at the White House, and, after its destruction, rejoined the army via Gloucester Point. (L-M) was engaged at Newbridge June 19, Mechanicsville June 26, and Gaines' Mill June 27, 1862. At Mechanicsville it was attached to Griffin's brigade, McCall's division, on the extreme left. At Gaines' Mill it was on the right, about 500 yards in front of the line, where it fought with great gallantry, and, it truthfully can be said, under great disadvantages; for at that early day, the necessity for concentrating artillery fire was not understood by subordinate infantry generals. Nevertheless, both our own and the enemy's general officers praised the conduct of the artillery on that day. (L-M) lost one section, Lieut. Hayden, its commander, being wounded, and the horses all killed. During the change of base to the James River (L-M) fought at Turkey Bend June 28-29, at Turkey Bridge June 30, and side by side with (F-K) at Malvern Hill June 30-July 1, 1862, during which all its lieutenants were wounded. At Malvern Hill the artillery acted a decisive part. The enemy attributed their repulse to our superiority in that arm. The Union artillery that day illustrated the truth of the maxim that artillery, under favorable circumstances, can defend itself against a frontal attack.
The Third was not present at the second Bull Run. When the army after that disaster moved into Maryland, (C-G) was with Pleasanton's cavalry, and (L-M) with the 9th Army Corps, though unattached. On the 13th and also at South Mountain on September 14th, the former rendered excellent service, as it did also at Antietam, where, with the other horse batteries, it filled the gap in the centre of the main line of battle between Hancock's division and Burnside's corps.
Soon after this, by War Department orders, G was formally broken up and the officers and men attached to C. For two years G remained a paper company only.
At Fredericksburg (December 11-15, 1862), C was attached to the Cavalry brigade, left grand division of the army. Livingston, captain (F-K), com-
manded the artillery 3d Corps, to the first division of which this battery (F-K), under Lieut. Turnbull was attached. When the Union army crossed the Rappahannock to the attack, it was stationed to cover the crossing, at the middle bridge. After the repulse of the right grand division it moved to the left and joined in the battle with its proper command; (L-M) crossed the river with General Sumner, but the jammed condition of the streets and character of the country prevented its coming into action.
In March, 1863, the 9th Corps was sent west, (L-M) accompanying it. The corps arrived at Vicksburg in season to take part in the siege of that place, and afterwards, July 10-16 in the siege of Jackson, Miss. From this time until March 16, 1864, (L-M) operated in the west. On May 24, that year, it again rejoined the Army of the Potomac. All this time it formed part of the artillery of the 9th Corps. It took part meanwhile in Burnside's campaign in east Tennessee, in 1863. It was engaged at Philadelphia, Tenn., October 16, Campbell Station, Tenn., November 16, was in position in the trenches during the siege of Knoxville, November 17-December 5, in pursuit of Longstreet's army at Blain's cross-roads, Tenn., December 17, 1863, and again at Strawberry Plains, Tenn., January 21, 1864. Its next fighting was in the Wilderness, under General Grant, from May 5th to 14th, 1864, whence it was sent back to the defences of Washington.
When Hooker made his march around the left flank of Lee's army, before the battle of Chancellorsville, C, under Lieut. Meinell, was left with the force which was intended to cross below Fredericksburg and hold the enemy in his works. It thus missed the battle. (F-K), under Turnbull, was more fortunate. On the 2d of May it rendered the Union cause most opportune service. It was still attached to the 1st division 3d Army Corps. When the 11th Corps was routed, a battery of 22 guns was hastily thrown together at Hazel Grove, on ground dominating the enemy's advance. (F-K) was of this battery, the fire from which, at short range, hurled back the victorious enemy discomfited. Of this struggle General H. J. Hunt, chief of artillery of the army, remarked in his official report: "When the enemy, flushed with success, appeared before this battery, they were met with a storm of canister first checking and then driving them back from whence they had emerged at three hundred yards distance. It was a desperate combat between artillery and infantry, in which the former repulsed the latter, flushed as they were with a great success, which they were following up when checked by this battery."
At Gettysburg, July 1-3, 1863, (F-K) again acted a distinguished part, losing Lt. Manning Livingston and 8 enlisted men killed, 14 wounded, 1 missing and 45 horses killed. It was on the Emmittsburg road supporting Humphreys' division when Sickles' corps was attacked at Peach Orchard. This was about 3.30 P. M. July 2d. Here Captain D. R. Ransom while placing (F-K) in position was wounded. When Sickles' corps fell back, (F-K) was rescued with only the greatest difficulty. It was in the thickest of the fight when A. P. Hill took Birney's division in flank. Humphreys speaks in highest terms of the performance of the battery that day.
When Lee moved from in front of Hooker on the offensive campaign which terminated at Gettysburg, C was with Gregg's cavalry guarding the
Union right flank. It was in the engagements at Brandy Station June 8, Aldie June 17, Middleburg June 18-19, Upperville June 21st. Detached with General Huey's brigade it marched for York, Penn., in which general direction the rebel army seemed bent. It was upon this service when the battle of Gettysburg was fought. Being recalled, it arrived near the battle-field just in time to harass the retreating enemy. In doing this it was engaged at Smithburg, Maryland, July 5; Williamsport, Md., July 6; Boonsborough, Md., July 8; Antietam and Funkstown, Md., July 10 and 11; near Port Royal, Va., September 1st; at Brandy Station, Culpepper and Rapidan River, September 12-14, at Madison Court-house and Robertson's ford September 22-23, 1863.
C was early in the field in 1864. It accompanied Kilpatrick in his raid to Richmond, being engaged at Mechanicsville, Va., March 1st, and stopped long enough in passing to throw 150 shells into the works guarding the enemy's capital. Soon after this (C-F-K), consolidated, became one battery, serving with the cavalry. Under Sheridan it was actively employed. It accompanied him in his raid on Richmond, May 9-24, 1864, passing the right of the enemy's army, defeating his cavalry, rejoining General Grant June 24, near Chesterfield, Va. During the flank march to the James River, the battery was engaged at Hanover Court House, May 31; Ashland, June 1, Bethesda Church, June 3, and in the works at the White House, June 20, 1864.
The next service of (C-F-K) was with Sheridan in the Shenandoah Valley. It was attached to the horse artillery brigade, commanded by Captain L. L. Livingston. Engaged near Winchester, August 11, on road to Front Royal, August 16, at Woolperth's cross-road and Sheperdstown, August 25, and Smithfield, August 29, 1864. The character of these affairs presaged the nature of the fighting that was to follow. Each commander, but particularly Early, seemed anxious to test the capacity and mettle of his opponent.
In the battle of Cedar Creek, October 19, 1864, (C-K-F) was present. After this it was engaged with others of Sheridan's troops in sweeping the Shenandoah Valley of the enemy, the engagement at Mount Jackson, Va., being the severest in which the battery took part. This practically closed the fighting of the battery during the war. That winter it went into quarters at Pleasant Valley, Maryland, and the next spring moved to the vicinity of Washington City.
When the 9th Army Corps came east in March, 1864, it was increased, before joining the Army of the Potomac, by several regiments and batteries, and among the others, G, equipped as field artillery. This battery accompanied the corps to the Wilderness where it partook in all the fighting of the latter until May 14. As is well known the country was not favorable for the manoeuvre of light artillery, and consequently General Grant sent a large part back to the defences of Washington, and among others G. (L-M) arrived at the same time. Later they were joined by I. They remained in a condition of preparedness for active service; but, from this time on, except when Early made his attempt on Washington in July, 1864, nothing seriously demanding their attention occurred.
Thus it will be seen that B and D alone were not at some time equipped
as light artillery with the armies in the field. They remained at San Francisco harbor, where their services were deemed to be of more importance than they could be elsewhere. And when we reflect upon the absolute necessity that existed for preventing that city from falling into the enemy's possession, through their cruisers, it must be conceded that these companies best served their country as garrison artillery in the city's defences. C, as has been seen, was equipped as horse artillery during the Mexican War, so that B remains the only organization in the Third which at some time has not been equipped as light artillery.
Here terminates the "historical sketch" of the Third, for the pages of the JOURNAL OF THE MILITARY SERVICE INSTITUTION. It would be interesting to pursue the subject to later periods; yet subsequent events can scarcely be spoken of as "historical." but what is of determinative importance in the matter, we have already occupied to the full the limits permitted us in the JOURNAL'S pages. The Third Artillery stands on its record. It has ever done its whole duty. Neither the regiment nor any of its officers has ever intrigued to impose that duty on another.