During the years which have followed the close of the Civil War
, there have appeared many histories of various companies, regiments and different divisions of the volunteer troops, all of value both to the historian and to the participants in the great struggle.
So far as can be learned, almost nothing has been published of the military history of the 2d Massachusetts Light Artillery, better known as Nims
' Battery, save a few short sketches necessarily incomplete and sometimes inaccurate.
In 1870, at the Anniversary Dinner
of the Nims' Battery Association, the matter of “publishing a history of the battery during its service throughout the war of the Rebellion
, 1861-1865,” was brought forward and a committee was appointed to take the necessary steps toward this work.
The committee, which consisted of Col. O. F. Nims
, J. S. Knowlton
, John R. Smith
, A. M. Norcross
, D. M. Hammond
and A. B. Burwell
, issued a call to the members of the battery asking each one to forward to the committee any information in his possession such as diaries, letters, newspaper clippings or matter of any kind that might aid in the work, and urging the hearty cooperation of all “to the end that the glorious record made by Nims
' Battery-second to no other — may not be suffered to perish in oblivion in our day and generation, but be handed down to our children and children's children for all time.”
So far as can be ascertained, nothing further was done in the matter and the only records to be found are those incorporated in the general histories of the war or in war records, which are not always easy of access.
At the request and through the generosity of a member
of the Nims' Family Association, the writer has prepared the following brief account of the military career of Nims
' Battery, together with the life of its commander, the history of the Battery
Association and the complete roster.
After a period of fifty years, it has been impossible to gather together the personal reminiscences and to bring before our readers the life of an artillery man as clearly as we could wish.
We trust, however, that there will be found in the pages of this book a fairly complete and reasonably accurate record of the military career of this organization.
At a meeting of the Nims' Battery Association held on April 19, 1912, the manuscript of the entire history was read to the members present and received their support and commendation.
The author wishes to express her obligation to all who have assisted in any way in the preparation of this work, and especially to W. G. Hidden
, Fitchburg, Mass.
, for the loan of diary, newspaper clippings and suggestions, to Capt. E. K. Russell
for his comments and suggestions and to Mrs. Mathews
, stepdaughter of Col. O. F. Nims
for the loan of papers, letters and pictures once the property of Colonel Nims
Thanks are also due Clarence K. Knowlton
for the copy of the diary of his father, J. S. Knowlton
, to Mrs. C. B. Maxwell
for the diary of C. B. Maxwell
, to Mr. George Houghton
, for the diary of his father, George Houghton
The expense of the preparation and publication of the book has been borne to a large degree by Mr. E. D. Nims
of Kansas City
whose generosity is appreciated both by members of the Battery
and by the Nims' Family Association.