Heavy artillery that made marvellous infantry-drilling before the Wilderness
Save for the drills in the forts about Washington, the big heavy artillery regiments with a complement of 1,800 men had an easy time at first.
But in 1864, when General Grant took command of the armies in the field, the heavy artillery regiments in the vicinity of Washington were brigaded, provisionally, for service at the front.
On May 19th, at the battle of Spotsylvania, the veterans cracked no end of jokes at the expense of the new troops.
“How are you, heavies?”
they would cry. “Is this work heavy enough for you?
You're doing well, my sons.
If you keep on like this a couple of years, you'll learn all the tricks of the trade.”
They had no more such comments to make after they had seen the “heavies” in action.
They bore themselves nobly.
Many of the severest casualties during the war were sustained by the heavy artillerists in the Wilderness campaign and at Petersburg. |