« ПретходнаНастави »
moved forward to the Conrad house and until 9 p. m. continued the action in the direction of Centerville. A platoon of the First Company, under Lieutenant Edward Owen, was used on the 31st to “speed the parting guest.” The casualties for the three days were one killed and nine wounded. No record is available of the loss of horses or the expenditure of ammunition.
In the battle of Antietam, or as it is called in the South, “Sharpsburg,” the First Company, under Captain Squires, was posted on the ridge east of the town, on the right of the turnpike, with two 3-inch rifles and two 10-pounder Parrotts. On the right of the First Company was the Third Company, Captain Miller, with four 12-pounder Napoleons; across a ravine on the right, in an orchard in front of D. R. Jones' Division, the Second Company, under Captain Richardson, with two 12-pounder Napoleons and two 12-pounder howitzers. Still farther to the right was the Fourth Company, Captain Eshleman, with two 6-pounder bronze guns and two 12-pounder howitzers.
At a critical moment when the center of Lee's front was heavily pressed, the Third Company was in front of a corn field and orchard, through which the enemy was advancing in force. Here one of its caissons was exploded, but the battery remained in position; inflicting heavy loss, until 4 p. m., when it was withdrawn to replenish ammunition. So depleted were the gun detachments that Longstreet's staff officers served as cannoneers, the general himself directing the fire.
The sectors of the First and Second Companies included the Stone Bridge. At about noon the Fourth Company shifted its fire to a six-gun battery just going into action near the lower ford.
A. P. Hill reached the field at 2:30 p. m., and in the last phase of the fight on September 17th, the Washington Artillery was represented by ten guns drawn from all the batteries and played an important role in checking and pushing back Burnside's Corps. The casualties were 13 killed, 51 wounded, and 2 missing. No record is available of the expenditure of ammunition, but this must have been considerable as caissons were frequently refilled throughout the day or new ones sent to the guns.
At Fredericksburg, December 13, 1862, the First, Third, and Fourth Companies occupied redoubts on the crest of Marye's Hill, while the Second Company reported to General Pickett, near Lee's Hill. This was the first occasion on which the Washington Artillery used earthworks. The Fourth Company, Captain Eshleman, with two 12-pounder howitzers and two 12pounder Napoleons, occupied the right. On the left of the Fourth Company came the Third Company, under Captain Miller, with two 12-pounder Napoleons. On the left of the Third was the First Company, Captain Squires, extending to the Plank Road, with two 3-inch rifles and one 10-pounder Parrott, one of which, under Lieutenant Galbraith, being placed in the road. Incessant fire was maintained for five hours, and the guns were withdrawn at 5 p. m., the losses being 3 killed and 24 wounded. This was, like Gettysburg, one of the great panoramic battles where the whole field was in sight, and the effect of the fire at point blank ranges was easily observed. During the battle one of the Napoleons was taken from the redoubt and placed in the open to secure greater effect.
Some days after the battle a subscription was raised to relieve the destitute people of Fredericksburg and the Battalion Washington Artillery contributed $1,391.00.
While Lee and Jackson were fighting Hooker in that astounding battle of Chancellorsville on May 3, 1863, a very important duty was assigned the Battalion, which, with Barksdale's Mississippians and Hay's Louisianians, was sent back to retard Sedgwick in any effort to reach Hooker in time to aid him. Again the guns of the command occupied the crest of Marye’s Hill with the 18th and 21st Mississippi in the sunken road. The First Company, under Squires, with two 3-inch rifles, occupied a position to the right of the Marye’s house. An ammunition chest under the tree still marks the spot. The Second Company, with four guns, under Richardson, was sent to Hamilton's Crossing, on the extreme right. The Third Company, with two 12-pounder Napoleons, under Lieutenant Brown, was posted near the plankroad. One gun, under Lieutenant A. Hero, accompanied General Hayes to the left. One howitzer of the Second Company and one of the Fourth, under Lieutenants Apps and DeRussy, occupied works to the left of thể plank road. These works are still plainly traceable. On the extreme left the Fourth Company placed two guns under Captain Joseph Norcom.:;:;;
After a stubborn defense, the weakness of the line was discovered during a flag of truce, and Marye’s Hill was overrun. Each battery lost one gun, except the First Company, which lost two, the first guns lost by the Battalion. Four men were killed, nine wounded, and three officers and 29 men were captured with their guns. The Second Company, coming to the rescue, could accomplish nothing and sacrificed a gun before it would retire, making, six guns lost in all, two 3-inch rifles, two 12-pounder howitzers, and two 12-pounder Napoleons. Sedgwick, however, failed to reach Hooker. The officers and men captured were taken to Washington, thence to Fort Delaware, and on the 20th were exchanged and reported for duty after an absence of just twenty days.
At Gettysburg, the Battalion reached the field at 8 a. m. on the 2nd of July, and on the morning of the 3rd was placed on the left of the peach orchard under the command of Major B. F. Eshleman. The two signal guns for the great cannonade which preceded Pickett's charge were fired by the right platoon of the First Company, under Lieutenant C. H. C. Brown, the right gun under Sergeant W. T. Hardie, the second under Sergeant P. 0. Fazende, each exploding a caisson of an opposing battery. .
The First Company with two 12-pounder Napoleons, under Captain Squires, occupied the extreme right of all the artillery, near the Emmitsburg Road, at the peach orchard; the Second Company, with one 3-inch rifle, one 12-pounder Napoleon and one 12-pounder howitzer, under Captain Richardson, was placed on the left of the First Company. The Third Company, under Captain Miller, with three 12-pounder Napoleons, occupied a position on the left of the Second Company, and on their left was the Fourth Company, under Captain Norcom, with two 12pounder Napoleons. The First and Third Companies followed Pickett's charge to a point where they could enfilade the enemy's line until Pickett fell back and their ammunition was exhausted.
The losses were 3 killed, 26 wounded and 16 captured; 39 horses were killed. The expenditure of ammunition is not recorded, but must have been heavy as the cannonade was continued until the chests were empty: :iin.
At Drewry's Bluff on May 16th, 1864, Hagood's Brigade and the First Company, under: Captair Edward Owen, with four guns, were sent forward on the turnpike to a point near the outer line of works and there captured Captain Belger and his two 12-pounder Napoleons and Captain Ashby's (3rd, N. Y. Artillery) three 20-pounder Parrotts. Colonel Eshleman, Adjutant Kurshedt and Sergeant Major Randolph manned one of the captured Parrott rifles to accelerate the retreating foe. The captured guns were presented on the field to the First Company in recognition of their splendid work. The Second Company, under Richardson, occupied Fort Stevens with four guns. The Third Company, under Captain A. Hero, with four guns, was near the Saddler house, to the right of Beauregard's headquarters. The Fourth Company, under Captain Norcom, occupied a position on the right flank near the R. & P. R. R. and beside three field pieces manned four guns of position. The casualties were 9 killed and 21 wounded..
The command went into the trenches at Petersburg on June 18th, 1864, and there remained until April 2nd, 1865, making the last stand at Fort Gregg, under Lieutenant F. McElroy. During the retreat at Appomattox the Second Company, under Captain Richardson, served with the rear guard and was engaged up to 11 p. m. the night before the surrender.
One officer, Lieutenant C. H. C. Brown, and nine men from the First and Fourth Companies served as an escort for President Davis and were present at his capture.
In all, 808 men had served in the ranks of the Washington Artillery in Virginia and Tennessee, of whom 139 were killed or died of wounds. Four hundred and twelve were present for duty at the end of the war, of whom 92 still survive.
The Battalion had fought in sixty battles and a number of minor engagements, six of its officers were promoted out of the command, several rising to the rank of Major and Brigadier Generals.
As soon as a sufficient number of its members had returned to New Orleans after the surrender, two attempts were made to reorganize the Battalion, but the Federal commander dispersed both meetings and Confederate military organizations were prohibited, so the Washington Artillery took on a civil and benevolent character to care for its impoverished members and their families and the families of the dead. In 1875 the embargo was removed, and, at once, the command was armed and equipped at its own expense, purchasing a battery of 3-inch Parrott rifles from the Government.
· Colonel Walton and the old officers again assumed command, but the reduced members formed but three batteries, known as A, B and C, successors to the Third, Fifth and First Companies, respectively.
In 1876 Colonel William Miller Owen, the Civil War Adjutant, was elected to the command of the Battalion, and in 1880. a monument was erected to the memory of the men in its ranks who gave their lives to their country. In 1881 LieutenantColonel John B. Richardson was promoted to command, and the Battalion purchased its present arsenal.
In 1898 the Battalion volunteered for service in the SpanishAmerican War, and one battery, commanded by Captain Fred Kornbeck, recruited from the entire command, was accepted, but the war terminated before the Government could equip it for the field.
Following the Spanish War the Washington Artillery again expanded into five batteries, but upon the enactment of the Dick Bill, fearing that the interpretations to be placed upon its requirements might injure its “esprit de corps” or destroy its identity, the Battalion mustered out of the service, and existed at its own expense as an independent command.
On January 31st, 1906, death removed the commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Richardson, who had served the command for 26 years, and Major W. D. Gardiner was elected to the command of the Battalion April 11th, 1906. About a year later, January 7th, 1907, Major Gardiner was promoted to Brigadier General, and Major Thomas C. Hyman succeeded him in command May 15th, 1907. Major Hyman's administration was brought to sudden close by death July 1st, 1909. On November 17th of the same year the present commanding officer was commissioned.
After the enactment of the Dick Bill, the command, in spite of earnest and devoted work upon the part of its officers and members, seemed to decline, until upon the death of Major Hyman there were but two batteries.
On the evening of December 13th, 1909, the command was inspected by Captain Fred T. Austin of the 3rd U. S. Field Artillery, and Batteries A and B, with a total strength present of 66 men, were accepted under the Dick Bill, and shortly after the army artillery equipment for one battery was received. Then followed a strenuous period of upbuilding.