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General Griffin, who led the first light battery into Washington Major-General Charles Griffin stands in the center of his staff officers of the Fifth Army Corps, of which he attained command on April 2, 1865. He was the man who led the first light artillery into Washington, the famous Battery D of the Fifth United States Artillery, known as the “West Point Light Battery.” When war was threatening, Colonel Charles Delafield, then Superintendent of the Military Academy at West Point, directed Lieutenant Charles Griffin, then of the Second Artillery and instructor in the Tactical Department, to form a light battery of four pieces, with six horses to the piece, and enough men to make the command seventy strong. On February 15, 1861, it left for Washington with its four 12-pounder Napoleons. Reorganized July 4th as Company D of the Fifth United States Artillery, its organizer promoted to its captaincy, its strength increased to 112 men, and equipped with four 10-pounder Parrotts and two 12-pounder gun-howitzers, it proceeded to Arlington and thence to the battlefield of Bull Run. The “West Point Light Battery” was the first to enter the City of Washington in 1861, with Captain Charles Griffin, and Lieutenants Henry C. Symonds and Alexander S. Webb, his subordinates. At Bull Run the battery was wrecked, nearly all its horses killed, and one third of its men either killed or wounded. At West Point there is a memorial tablet to this battery bearing the following names: Bull Run, Mechanicsville, Hanover, Gaines's Mill, Malvern Hill, Manassas, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Rappahannock, Wilderness, Spotsylvania, North Anna, Cold Harbor, Weldon, Appomattox. General Griffin commanded the artillery at Malvern Hill, and as leader of the Fifth Corps he received the surrender of the arms of the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox. The Maltese Cross on the flag was the badge of his corps.

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