M'Laughlins (Thirteenth Virginia) Battalion of Light artillery.
Some introductory statements are necessary.
The Thirteenth Virginia Light Artillery consisted of Bryan
's and Lowry
For a time the Otey Battery belonged to it, and for a short while Jackson
's Battery; but during the last days the three batteries named constituted the battalion.
In the ‘Official Records
’ and elsewhere it is invariably called ‘King
's Artillery;’ but this is a misnomer.
It was McLaughlin
's Battalion of King
's Division, the other battalion of the division consisting of reserves and never appearing on the returns forwarded from the army in the field.
The battalion commander was Major William McLaughlin
, afterwards Judge McLaughlin
; the division commander, Lieutenant-Colonel J. Floyd King
This battalion was attached to Breckinridge
's command [Wharton's and Gordon
's Divisions], under General Early
during the Valley
campaign of 1864.
At the close of the campaign it went into winter quarters near Fisherville
, in Augusta county
, but soon afterwards was ordered to deposit its guns in Lynchburg
and go with the horses to the Narrows of New River
, in Giles county
, to winter.
The reason for this was that Bryan
's battery [by what authority does not matter] kept a detail of several men at that place, cultivating rice bottom lands and raising some four or five thousand bushels of corn and seven or eight hundred bushels of potatoes each summer.
This detail, [known in the battery as the ‘Life Insurance Company,’] was ordered in when the effort was made during the campaign of 1864 to strengthen the army by every possible means.
A strong protest was made against this order, and the writer of this article [who, though only a sergeant, twenty years old, happened to be in command of the battery], wrote to the Secretary of War
on the subject.
The protest was sustained and the detail remained at the Narrows, naturally supposed that they and the horses were to subsist upon the crops raised by Bryan
's details; but when they had gone into winter quarters there an order came for the drivers to take the horses home with them and keep them, the compensation being the privilege of wintering at home.
Special provision was made for sergeants' and wagon horses.