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The Confederate artillery—its organization and development

David Gregg McIntosh, Colonel of Artillery, Confederate States Army

The largest Confederate gun at Yorktown — a 64-Pounder burst in the effort to reach Federal battery no. 1 in McClellan's works before the beleaguered Confederate city


The organization of the Confederate field-artillery during the Civil War was never as symmetrical as that of the cavalry and infantry, and its evolution was slow. This was due in part to the lack of uniformity in the equipment of single batteries, and the inequality in the number of men in a company, running all the way in a 4-gun battery from forty-five to one hundred, and also to the tardiness with which the batteries were organized into battalions with proper staff-officers.

The disposition of the Government was to accept all bodies which volunteered for a particular branch of the service, and this did not tend to due proportions between the different branches. Outside of a limited number of smooth-bore guns in possession of certain volunteer associations, the Government had no equipment of field-artillery to start with. What was found in the arsenals in the Southern States which fell into the hands of the Confederate Government, consisted of old iron guns mounted on Gribeauval carriages, manufactured about 1812, but there was not a single serviceable field-battery in any arsenal.

The few guns belonging to the different States were short of harness, saddles, and other equipment. Not a gun or guncarriage, and, except during the Mexican War, not a round of ammunition had been prepared in any of the Confederate States for fifty years. When hostilities began, the only foundry for casting cannon was at the Tredegar works in Richmond, and with the exception of a battery of Blakely guns, imported by the State of South Carolina, and a single battery [57]

Inside a Confederate “water battery,” Pensacola harbor, in 1861: this and the following three photographs were taken within the Confederate lines in 1861 This vivid view of great events in the making reveals the green Confederate volunteers without uniforms and still inexperienced. They show more enthusiasm than efficiency as they awkwardly handle the guns. It was not long before these quickly recruited gunners had become expert enough to give a good account of themselves. On November 22 and 23, 1861, they sustained and replied to a bombardment by the United States vessels Niagara and Richmond and by Fort Pickens and the neighboring Union batteries. Although Fort McRee was so badly injured that General Bragg entertained the idea of abandoning it, the plan of the Union commanders to “take and destroy it” was not executed. Time and again when the Federal blockading fleet threatened various points along the Confederate coast, requisitions were sent for these guns, but they were always needed in this fort. At the outset of the Civil War not a gun or gun-carriage, and, excepting during the Mexican War, not a round of ammunition had been prepared in the States of the Confederacy for fifty years. They were forced to improvise all of the vast paraphernalia necessary for war.

[58] of six 10-pounder Parrotts, there was not a rifled field-piece south of the Potomac.

The first step to supply this want was to ream out a number of old 4-pounder iron guns belonging to the State of Virginia to get a good bore, and then rifle them after the manner of the Parrott. Besides these, that State purchased a few Parrott guns, used by Colonel Magruder at Big Bethel, in June, 1861.

Of the volunteer associations, the Washington Artillery, of New Orleans, organized in 1838, and having seen service as Company A in Persifal Smith's regiment in the Mexican War, was best known. In 1861, the organization consisted of five batteries, four of which served in Virginia, and one in the Army of Tennessee. On May 3, 1861, the battalion, through Judah P. Benjamin, offered its services to the Confederate Government, and was mustered in on the 26th of that month. The battalion made its mark at Bull Run on July 18th, but its most conspicuous service was at Fredericksburg, in December, 1862, when from Marye's Heights it played an important part in repulsing repeated assaults of the Union troops. Its strength was afterward much reduced, and in Virginia the batteries consisted of three guns each.

Next in importance was the Richmond Howitzers, organized at the time of the John Brown raid by George W. Randolph, afterward Confederate Secretary of War. In 1861, it was recruited up to three companies and formed into a battalion, though in the field the first company was never associated with the other two. It has been said that the flower of the educated youth in the South gravitated toward the artillery, and it is claimed that over one hundred men were commissioned from this corps, of every rank from that of second lieutenant to Secretary of War. One of its features was the Howitzer Glee Club, led by Crouch, the author of “Kathleen Mavourneen” ; another was the Howitzer Law Club, in which mootcourts were held. Many of its members were from the [59]

The Confederate gunners in 1861

Brigadier-General W. N. Pendleton It is clear that these Confederate gunners at Pensacola are untried and undisciplined, but it is also evident that they are enthusiastic. They are manning the guns which are to open later on Fort Pickens, the first Fort on the Confederate coast seized by the Federals, and held by them throughout the war. This was due to the enterprise of Lieutenant Adam J. Slemmer, ably seconded by Lieutenant J. H. Gilman. Lieutenant Slemmer's report says of Lieutenant Gilman: “During the whole affair we have stood side by side, and if any credit is due for the course pursued, he is entitled to it equally with myself.” The demand was refused, and Fort Pickens never passed into the hands of the Confederates. The battery seen in this photograph was at Warrington, nearly opposite Fort Pickens. It commanded the entrance to the harbor. General Pendleton, who was a graduate of West Point in the class of 1830, was chief of artillery in Lee's army of Northern Virginia. He entered the war as captain in the artillery corps July 19, 1861, and became colonel and chief of artillery July 21, 1861. The mortar in this photograph is an old style piece dating from before the Mexican war. The new Confederate soldiers had at times to content themselves with very old guns.


University of Virginia, where out of six hundred and four students in 1861 over one-half entered the Confederate service.

Besides these organizations, was the Washington Artillery, of Charleston, South Carolina, organized in 1784; the Marion Artillery, of the same place; Delaware Kemper's Artillery, of Alexandria, and a number of other organizations.

The great bulk of the artillery, however, was composed of companies which volunteered for that branch of the service, and were compelled to accept such equipment as the Government could furnish. This embraced a great variety. There was the small 6-pounder gun, at first largely predominating, and afterward the 12-pounder known as Napoleon, and also the 12-pound and 24-pound howitzer, all of bronze. The rifled guns were somewhat nondescript. Those turned out by the Ordnance Department were generally of 3-inch caliber with five or seven grooves adapted to the same ammunition, though not uniform in length or shape, and varying in weight. Many of these were withdrawn and replaced by guns of the Parrott type, or the 3-inch U. S. pattern.

It was extremely rare at any period of the war to find a battery with uniform equipment. There was at no time in the Army of Northern Virginia more than six or eight batteries of Napoleon guns, and a less number of 3-inch rifles. It seems to have been thought desirable to have a section of rifles and a section of smoothbores. But it was not unusual to find in the same section rifles of different caliber, or a Napoleon with a 6-pounder, or perhaps a howitzer; and in a battery of four guns, there was not infrequently at least three different calibers which required different ammunition. This made the supply of ammunition more difficult and impaired the effectiveness of the battery. Experience taught the value of concentrated fire, and that four Napoleons or four rifles were more effective than the fire of a mixed battery.

The Napoleon and the 3-inch rifle, U. S. pattern, were the favorite guns; the former, because it was equally adapted to the [61]

Brigadier-General E. P. Alexander, who commanded Longstreet's artillery at Gettysburg E. P. Alexander was the Confederate officer who commanded Longstreet's eighty guns in the great artillery battle which preceded Pickett's charge at Gettysburg. He entered the Engineer Corps of the Confederate Army April 2, 1861, and served on the staff of General G. T. Beauregard as engineer and chief of signal service till August of that year. As chief of ordnance of the Army of Northern Virginia, he distinguished himself on the bloody field of Antietam. He directed the eighty pieces on Longstreet's front at Gettysburg, which prepared the way for Pickett's charge until they had shot away practically all their ammunition. He was acting chief of artillery in Longstreet's corps from September 25, 1863, till February 26, 1864, and was appointed chief of artillery of the corps with which he remained till Appomattox, serving in the Wilderness, at Spotsylvania, and the siege of Petersburg. On February 26, 1864, he had been appointed brigadier-general of Artillery. Within two weeks after Lee's surrender he was at the Brandreth House in New York city attempting to arrange for a commission in the Brazilian army. Later, he became general manager and president of various Southern railroads, Government director of the Union Pacific Railroad Company from 1885 to 1887, and in 1901 engineer arbitrator in charge of the mooted boundary survey between Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

[62] use of shell, spherical case, or canister, and was most effective at close quarters; the latter, because it was light and easily handled, and its range and accuracy remarkable. At the siege of Petersburg, in the summer of 1864, a battery of 20-pound Parrotts from a Confederate work shelled passing trains behind the Union lines, which excited the ire of some 3-inch rifle batteries. The Confederate work was heavily built and well provided with embrasures for the guns, but these were torn away day by day and replaced at night. The range was finally so accurate that if a Confederate cap on a stick was raised over the edge of the parapet, it would immediately be cut down by a shot. The Confederate 30-pound Parrotts did not prove a success. Two of them mounted on Lee's Hill, at the battle of Fredericksburg, burst, one at the thirty-ninth, the other at the fifty-seventh discharge.

Besides the home-made guns, which were all muzzle-loaders, a number of guns of various make, Whitworth, Armstrong, James, Blakely, and Hotchkiss, were brought in through the blockade. Two Whitworths were sent to the Army of Northern Virginia. They had a great reputation for range and accuracy of fire, but beyond the shelling of distant columns and trains, proved a disappointment. The length and weight of the guns were above the average, making them difficult to transport, and the care and length of time consumed in loading and handling impaired their efficiency for quick work.

Transportation, after all, was one of the most difficult problems with the Confederate artillery. Four horses to a piece, and the same to a caisson, was the utmost allowance, excepting, perhaps, the 20-pounder Parrott gun. In consequence, the cannoneers were required to walk, and General Jackson issued more than one order on the subject. When A. P. Hill's artillery was hurrying from Harper's Ferry to Antietam to General Lee's assistance, the first battery to arrive on the field was worked by less than half the complement of men, officers, commissioned and non-commissioned, lending a hand. [63]

Confederate artillerists These Confederate artillerists, members of the famous Washington Artillery of New Orleans, had but few field-pieces with which to face their foes when this photograph was taken, early in 1862. Some ordnance stores had been secured when the Confederate Government seized coastwise guns and forts. But a visit to the artillery camps later in the war would have revealed the fact that most of the three-inch rifles, the Napoleons, and the Parrott guns had been originally “Uncle Sam's” property, later captured in battle; and an inspection of the cavalry would have shown, after the first year, that the Southern troopers were armed with United States sabers taken from the same bountiful source. During the first year, before the blockade became stringent, Whitworth guns were brought in from abroad. But that supply was soon stopped, and the Southerners had to look largely to their opponents for weapons. The Tredegar Iron Works in Richmond was almost the only factory for cannon, especially for pieces of heavy caliber. It is estimated by ordnance officers that two-thirds of the artillery in the South was captured from the Federals, especially the 3-inch rifles and the 10-pound Parrotts.


The forces under General Johnston in May, 1861, while at Harper's Ferry were supplied with the 6-pounder gun and 12-pounder howitzer. When Johnston joined Beauregard at Manassas in July, he brought four brigades with four batteries and two in reserve. Beauregard had eight brigades with thirty-four guns, which, under orders of July 20th, he distributed for the action as follows: Six pieces to Ewell, eight to Jones, eight to Longstreet, and twelve to Cocke. The Washington Artillery at this time had four 12-pound howitzers, four 6-pounders, and three rifles, distributed among the different batteries. Twenty-eight pieces captured in the battle added to the supply.

General Henry A. Wise, in West Virginia, reports about the same time having “ten small pieces, six of iron, three of brass, and one piece, private property,” with nine officers and one hundred and seventy-seven men.

In April, 1862, the artillery in Johnston's army had grown to thirty-four batteries, McLaws' Division of four brigades having nine batteries, Toombs' Division of three brigades having two battalions, Longstreet's Division of five brigades having five batteries, with Pendleton's Artillery, thirty-six pieces, and the Washington Artillery in reserve.

In July, 1862, the batteries were distributed as follows:

Longstreet's Division:6 brigades,8 batteries
A. P.Hill's Division:6 brigades,9 batteries
Jones' Division:2 brigades,3 batteries
D. H. Hill's Division:6 brigades,7 batteries
Anderson's Division:3 brigades,6 batteries
McLaws' Division:4 brigades,4 batteries

This gave thirty-seven batteries to twenty-seven brigades, with Pendleton's First Virginia Artillery of ten companies, Cutt's Georgia Artillery of five companies, and three battalions of eleven companies in reserve.

During the operations around Richmond in August, 1862, the artillery of the army was distributed as follows: [65]

A distinguished Confederate battery from Tennessee-“Rutledge's” This photograph shows the officers of Rutledge's Battery, Company A, First Tennessee Light Artillery. It was taken at Watkin's Park, Nashville, in the latter part of May, 1861, just after the battery was mustered in. The cannon for this battery were cast at Brennon's Foundry, at Nashville, and consisted of four 6-pounder smooth-bore guns, and two 12-pounder howitzers. During the first year of the war the battery took part in several engagements and two notable battles — Mill Springs, or Fishing Creek, and Shiloh. The officers here shown from left to right, starting with the upper row are: Frank Johnson, George W. Trabui, Jack B. Long, James C. Wheeler, E. T. Falconet, A. M. Rutledge, Joe E. Harris, George E. Purvis, J. P. Humphrey, J. Griffith, and M. S. Cockrill. Three of the officers in this picture — Falconet, Rutledge, and Cockrill — were promoted. Captain Rutledge was promoted to be major of artillery and assigned to duty on the staff of General Leonidas Polk. First-Lieutenant Falconet became a captain in the cavalry service, and Second-Lieutenant Cockrill was appointed first-lieutenant and assigned to duty in the ordnance department. Hence, and because of heavy losses, the battery was merged, at the expiration of the year for which it had enlisted, with McClurg's Battery, and its history after that time is the history of that battery.


Jackson's Corps:4 divisions,14 brigades,17 batteries
Magruder's Corps:2 divisions,6 brigades,13 batteries
Longstreet's Corps:3 divisions,15 brigades,22 batteries

Pendleton with five battalions, twenty batteries, was held in reserve, and five more unattached, making a total of seventy-seven batteries.

In the Seven Days Battles around Richmond, General Lee must have found his artillery something of an encumbrance. The artillery numbered about three hundred guns, nearly four guns to every thousand men, of which ninety-eight were in the general reserve. It has been said of the artillery during that time by a critic not unfriendly to the cause, that “it left only the faintest trace of its existence.” Its use, generally, was fragmentary and detached, and nowhere did it achieve results comparable to the concentrated fire of the Union batteries at Malvern Hill. It was not until Second Manassas, when S. D. Lee brought eighteen guns to bear on the heavy masses attacking Jackson's right and succeeded in breaking them up in a short half-hour, that the value of concentrated artillery fire was learned. At Fredericksburg, fourteen guns were massed on Jackson's right at Hamilton's Crossing, and were used with brilliant results.

General Lee must have been impressed with the fact that his artillery was unwieldy, for in the expedition into Maryland, in the following fall, many batteries were left behind. In the right wing were one hundred and twelve pieces: forty-five rifles, thirteen Napoleons, and fifty-four short-range. In the left wing one hundred and twenty-three pieces: fifty-two rifles, eighteen Napoleons, fifty-three short-range; and in the reserve fifty-two guns.

On October 14, 1862, fourteen of these batteries were disbanded under general orders, and the men and guns distributed to other commands, and four batteries consolidated into two.

In the winter of 1862-63, the practice of assigning batteries to infantry brigades ceased, and the artillery was organized [67]

A Confederate artillery wreck at Antietam: a tragedy of the tremendous cannonade-why Lee did not renew the battle The battery-horses lie dead beside the shattered caissons and the litter of corn-cobs where, only a few hours before, they had munched at their last meal. The heavy loss to Lee's artillery in horses, caissons, and guns affected his decision not to renew the battle. From researches of Henderson, the British military historian, it appears that on the morning of September 18, 1862, after the roar of Antietam had died away, General Lee sent for Colonel Stephen D. Lee, and told him to report to General Jackson. They rode together to the top of a hill on which lay wrecked caissons, broken wheels, human corpses, and dead horses. Their view overlooked the Federal right. “Can you take fifty pieces of artillery and crush that force?” asked General Jackson. Colonel Lee gazed earnestly at the serried Union lines, bristling with guns unlimbered and ready for action, but could not bring himself to say no. “Yes, General; where will I get the fifty guns?” “How many have you?” asked General Jackson. “About twelve out of the thirty I carried into the action yesterday.” “I can furnish you some, and General Lee says he can furnish you some.” “Shall I go for the guns?” “No, not yet,” replied General Jackson. “Colonel Lee, can you crush the Federal right with fifty guns?” Although Colonel Lee evaded the question again and again, General Jackson pressed it home. Reluctantly the brave artillery officer admitted: “General, it cannot be done with fifty guns and the troops you have near here.” “Let us ride back, Colonel.” Colonel Lee reported the conversation to General Lee, and during the night the Army of Northern Virginia, with all its trains and artillery, recrossed the Potomac at Boteler's Ford.

[68] into a number of battalions, usually of four batteries, with one or two field-officers with the rank of major or lieutenant-colonel to each. These battalions were supplied with an ordnance officer and a quartermaster. An adjutant was usually detailed from one of the batteries. The battalion commanders reported to the chiefs of artillery of the army corps, and on the march or in battle acted with, and received orders from, the general of the division with which they happened to be.

In the Chancellorsville campaign, Longstreet with two divisions was absent. With the remaining divisions of that corps, there were two battalions of artillery and ten batteries in reserve. With the Second Corps there were four battalions and ten batteries in reserve, with a further general reserve of six batteries, making a total of fifty-one batteries.

On June 4th, prior to the Gettysburg campaign, the army having been divided into three corps, an officer of the rank of colonel was assigned to the command of the artillery of each corps, the battalion organization continuing as before.

Of these, five battalions, with twenty-two batteries, were assigned to the First Corps; five battalions, with twenty batteries, were assigned to the Second Corps; five battalions, with twenty batteries, were assigned to the Third Corps.

The equipment was as follows:

31 rifles,42 Napoleons,10 howitzers= 83in the 1st Corps
38 rifles,32 Napoleons,12 howitzers= 82in the 2d Corps
41 rifles,26 Napoleons,15 howitzers= 82in the 3d Corps

The particular equipment in the battalions of the Third Corps was as follows:

Cutts:10 rifles,3 Napoleons,4 howitzers= 17
Garnett:11 rifles,4 Napoleons,2 howitzers= 17
McIntosh:10 rifles,6 Napoleons, = 16
Pegram:8 rifles,9 Napoleons,24 howitzers = 19
Cutshaw:2 rifles,5 Napoleons,74 howitzers= 14


After the battle of Chattanooga-captured Confederate guns The Confederate artillery was never equal in number or weight to that of the Union armies. In the West these ancient 12-pounder howitzers were mounted on rough wooden carriages, those above, for instance. These guns are aligned in front of General Thomas' headquarters. They were taken late in November, 1863, at the battle of Chattanooga, and the photograph was made early in 1864. Behind the guns can be seen the pole to one of the caissons. When the Confederate armies captured a gun they almost invariably whirled it around, detailed artillerymen to man it, and set it promptly to work, but by this time the Union armies were so well equipped that captured guns might be parked. Many pieces had changed hands several times, and had barked defiance at both armies. The equipment of the Confederate batteries was seldom uniform. Among four guns there might be found three different calibers, requiring different ammunition. The batteries' efficiency was still further impaired during the fight by the inability of the chief of artillery to select positions for his guns, which were often placed so far apart that he was unable to assemble them for concentrated fire. This was due to the custom of apportioning the field-artillery to infantry divisions, and placing them under orders of the brigadier-general, who could not give them proper attention. The plan was not changed until the early part of 1863. In the face of all these difficulties the Confederate artillery made a glorious record.


There were in Richmond, at this time, three battalions of light artillery and five batteries unattached, besides two divisions with two battalions each of heavy artillery.

The battalion organization continued to the close of the war, the exigencies of the service producing minor changes, and shifting of commands at various times. As many as six or eight batteries were sometimes assigned to a battalion commander.

At the battle of Cold Harbor, the opposite lines at one point approached quite near, and it was discovered that the Union troops were laying a mine, the approach to which was along an open trench. The battalion commander took advantage of a ravine in his rear, and sinking the trail of a smooth-bore gun so that it could be used as a mortar, threw shells with a slight charge of powder and time-fuses aimed to fall and explode in the trench. When the Union forces withdrew and the ground was examined, a number of shells were found in the trench unexploded, showing accuracy of fire, but failure of the fuse.

The organization as described was adopted generally in the Southern and Western armies. In the Department of North Carolina, General Holmes had, in 1861, three brigades to which six batteries were assigned. In the Army of Kentucky, six batteries were assigned to six brigades, with two in reserve.

In 1862, in Bragg's Army of the Mississippi, Polk's Corps contained one division of four brigades, and a battery assigned to each brigade. In Hardee's Corps the batteries were assigned to brigades or divisions, indiscriminately. In Van Dorn's Army of West Tennessee, a battery was assigned to each brigade or infantry. In Kirby Smith's Army of Tennessee, there were two divisions, four brigades to each, and a battery attached to each brigade. [71]

Captain John Donnell Smith This photograph well reflects the bearing of a representative artillery officer in the Army of Northern Virginia. At the time--May, 1863--he was in Richmond, following the battle of Chancellorsville. He was then First-Lieutenant of Jordan's Battery, Alexander's Battalion of Artillery, First Corps, Army of Northern Virginia. Battery A of Huger's (formerly Alexander's) battalion of Artillery, Longstreet's Corps, Army of Northern Virginia. of which John Donnell Smith later became captain, was then in Camp near Bowling Green, Caroline County, Virginia. Captain Smith helped to serve the guns at Gettysburg. On June 4, 1863, prior to the Gettysburg campaign, the army having been divided into three corps, five battalions with twenty-two batteries were assigned to the first, five battalions with twenty batteries were assigned to the second, and five battalions with twenty batteries to the third. The total number of Confederate guns at Gettysburg, including rifles, Napoleons, and howitzers was two hundred and forty-eight. These opposed 320 Union guns, all in action.


Memories of Gettysburg

F. M. Colston1
Alexander's battalion of artillery, which I joined in the spring of 1863, had gained renown under Colonel, afterward Lieutenant-General, Stephen D. Lee, especially at Second Manassas and Sharpsburg. This renown was increased under the command of Colonel E. Porter Alexander, afterward brigadier-general and chief of artillery of Longstreet's corps. He had graduated No. 3 at West Point, in 1857, and entered the Engineer Corps of the United States Army. He was more consulted by General Lee than any other artillery officer in the Confederate service. In later life he became president of several railroads, Government director of the Union Pacific Railroad, and engineer arbitrator of the boundary survey between Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

The battalion was composed of six batteries--two more than customary--four Virginia, one South Carolina and one Louisiana. Together with the more noted Washington Artillery of New Orleans, with four batteries, it composed the reserve artillery of Longstreet's corps, Army of Northern Virginia. They were called the “reserve” because they were not specially attached to any division, but kept for use whenever and wherever wanted. Hence the battalion explanation that “we ere called ‘reserve ’ because never in reserve.”

After taking part in the battle of Chancellorsville, our battalion was moved down to Milford, Caroline County, to refit. On June 3d commenced the forward march that ended at Gettysburg. When we went into action there, July 2d, just south of the peach orchard, the batteries actually charged, action front, with a front of over four hundred yards--the finest sight imaginable on a battlefield. One of the batteries, which was short-handed, had borrowed five men from the adjacent Mississippi regiment. In the fight two were killed and [73]

Confederate artillery officers: problems of Lee's artillery.

After General Alexander became acting chief of artillery, Huger succeeded to the command of his battalion. The fine faces of these officers recall the trying times through which they passed. For the last two years especially, the Confederate field-artillery fought against the odds of lack of horses. Behind them stood no such supply depot as Giesboro outside of Washington, which furnished the Federal armies thousands of fresh horses, and cared for sick ones. A Confederate artillery piece seldom boasted more than four horses after 1862. When some of these were killed, the gun was handled by the horse or horses left and the men of the battery. However, Huger's battalion went through the campaigns of Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, East Tennessee, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania Court House — fought with the Army of Northern Virginia through the siege of Petersburg — and “never had to run.” The men boasted they occupied their ground after every fight, and buried their own dead.

W. T. Poague was captain of the Rockbridge Artillery in the Stonewall brigade before he became lieutenant-colonel of artillery, Third Corps. This was in the Army of Northern Virginia. The efficiency of its artillery was crippled until the winter of 1862-63 by the system of attaching the batteries to various brigades and divisions, and not handling it as a separate corps so that its batteries could be massed. The chief of artillery was not even allowed to choose the positions for his guns. But during that winter the artillery was organized into a number of battalions, and the battalion commanders reported to the chiefs of artillery of the army corps, and on the march or in battle acted with and received orders from the general of the division with which they happened to be. After the batteries could be massed they were much more effective as they abundantly proved on the battlefield of Gettysburg and in the later Virginia campaigns.

Lieutenant-Colonel Frank Huger

Lieutenant-Colonel W. T. Pogue

[74] one wounded, so that we could return only two--which the regiment seemed to think a small return of borrowed property! We then took a position in front of the Emmittsburg road and a little north of the peach orchard. We lay all night there, opposite the center of the Federal line, the cemetery being a little to our left front, and the Round Tops on our right.

At one o'clock the next day the great artillery duel, the heaviest in the history of war to that time and probably not exceeded since, was opened by the previously arranged signalgun of the Washington Artillery. It was promptly answered by the Federals--and the din of war was on.

The roar of our guns was terrific. The explosion of the Federal shells, with a different sound, added to the tumult. In the midst of it our officers and men engaged were busy with their work, pausing only to give a cheer at the sight of an exploding caisson of the Federals. The work went on mechanically. Few orders were given and those had to be shouted. As soon as Pickett's division passed through our guns on their way to the charge a respite was gained, the dead were removed, the wounded cared for, and the survivors breathed more freely.

The question is often asked, “How does a man feel in such an action?” Comparatively few men are physical and moral cowards. Even when the courage is wanting, the example and opinion of comrades often acts in place of it. Brave men cheerfully acknowledge their appreciation of the danger. The most trying time is “waiting to go in.” The silence before the coming battle is oppressive. Many mental and physical exhibitions will be noticed, and if the battle is on, the sight of the wounded men streaming back is disheartening.

But when once engaged, the sense of duty and the absorption of occupation will greatly overcome every other sensation. Every man has his duty to do, and if he does it he will have little time to think of anything else. No place can be considered safe. In this action, a man was standing behind a tree near our battalion, safe from direct fire. But a passing shell exploded just as it passed; the fragments struck him and tossed his dead body out. The sight reassured those who were in the open.

1 Lieutenant and Ordnance Officer in Alexander's Battalion of Artillery, Longstreet's corps.

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