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Sketch of the Third Battery of Maryland Artillery.

By Captain W. L. Ritter.
It was the fortune of the Third Maryland Artillery to serve in a field widely separated from that on which other Maryland commands won their laurels. With the exception of a small body which was for a short time at Charleston, South Carolina, during the summer of 1862, and of Colonel J. Lyle Clark's battalion, which served for a while in Tennessee, the military life of all other Maryland organizations was spent east of the Alleghany mountains, and none saw service beyond the limits of Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland. The Third Maryland Artillery, however, played its part in a wider theatre, and had a more varied experience. Its history has much in it that is novel. Combats with gunboats on the Mississippi, captures of transports, victories over iron-clads, and participation in the operations at Vicksburg, &c., follow upon and relieve the recital of its adventures among the mountains of East Tennessee and the open fields of Kentucky.

On the 24th of October, 1861, Henry B. Latrobe, eldest son of John H. B. Latrobe, of Baltimore, together with John B. Rowan, William T. Patten, William L. Ritter, and other Marylanders, then at Richmond, Virginia, began vigorous measures for recruiting a company of artillery. The first-named gentleman was already authorized to organize such a command, to be composed chiefly of Marylanders, and to be known as the Third Maryland Artillery--the company of Captain Snowden Andrews [329] being the first, and the Baltimore Light Artillery the second. The rendezvous was at Ashland, whither recruits were conveyed as fast as enrolled. The company was ordered to Camp Dimmock for instruction on the 4th of November.

On the 15th Lieutenant H. A. Steuart left for Maryland to obtain medical supplies and raise recruits for the Third Maryland Artillery, but was captured at Millstone Landing, on the Patuxent river. He was imprisoned in the Old Capitol at Washington, and was there killed while attempting to make his escape, about a year after. Such are the fortunes of war.

On the 4th of December the company was ordered to Camp Lee, at the New Fair Grounds, two miles from the city, where more comfortable winter quarters were obtained. Nothing of importance here broke upon the routine of camp life. Among the recruits who were constantly coming in was Albert T. Emory, of Maryland, also a relative of General Emory, of the United States army.

The company was mustered into the Confederete States service as the Third Maryland Artillery, on January the 14th, 1862, to serve during the war. The following is the list of the officers at that time:

Captain, Henry B. Latrobe, of Baltimore, Md.; Senior First Lieutenant, Ferdinand O. Claiborne, of New Orleans, La.; Junior First Lieutenant, John B. Rowan, of Elkton, Cecil county, Md.; Second Lieutenant, William T. Patten, of Port Deposit, Cecil county, Md.; Orderly Sergeant, William L. Ritter, of Carroll county, Md.; Quarter-Masters Sergeant, Albert T. Emory, of Queen Anne's county, Md; First Battery Sergeant, James M. Buchanan, Jr., of Baltimore county, Md; Second Battery Sergeant, John P. Hooper, of Cambridge, Md.; Third Battery Sergeant, Ed. H. Langley, of Georgia; Fourth Battery Sergeant, Thomas D. Giles, of Delaware; Battery Surgeon, Dr. J. W. Franklin, of Virginia.

The company consisted of ninety-two men, exclusive of the commissioned officers. Of the former, about twenty were from Maryland, and ten from Washington or its vicinity.

The battery consisted of two six-pounder smooth-bores, two twelve-pounder howitzers, and there were afterwards added two three-inch iron rifle pieces.

To the West.

On the 4th of February, 1862, the battery was ordered to report at Knoxville, Tenn., and arrived there on the 11th. It was quartered first at Temperance Hall, and afterward at the vacated residence of [330] Mrs. Swan, on Main street. The somewhat famous Brownlow was then under confinement as a State prisoner, at his own residence, and a detachment of the company was detailed to guard his premises from depredation. The Maryland command was selected for this duty, on account of the strict discipline enforced by Captain Latrobe; and a detachment under Lieutenant Claiborne, which soon after guarded Brownlow to the depot on his way North, received a very complimentary notice from him, in a book he subsequently wrote concerning his experiences in the South.

On the 24th of February, two guns were sent to Cumberland Gap, under command of Captain Latrobe and Lieutenant Patten. When, on the 1st of March, Captain Latrobe returned, Lieutenant Claiborne was sent to command the section. On the 16th of March a brigade, consisting of the Twentieth and Twenty-third Alabama, Vaughn's Third Tennessee, and two guns of the Third Maryland, under Captain Latrobe and Lieutenant Rowan--the whole commanded by Brigadier-General Leadbetter--made an expedition to Clinch river. The river was first reached at Clinton, whence the brigade continued forty miles down the valley to Kingston, reaching this point about the 28th. Thence on the next day a detachment, with one gun, accompanied General Leadbetter to Wattsburg, where they surprised and captured twenty-one bushwhackers.

Meanwhile Lieutenant Rowan had been ordered to repair to Knoxville, to command the detachment left there in March; and on the 14th of April Captain Latrobe himself returned, leaving Serjeant Ritter in command of the section. Lieutenant Rowan presently came back, with orders to proceed immediately to Lenoir Station, eighteen miles distant, and there to take the train for Chattanooga, to meet the enemy reported to be marching on that place. It proved to be a false alarm, and the battery marched back to Knoxville, where the right section, which had just returned from Cumberland Gap, was found encamped.

During the stay of the right section at the gap, the enemy had assaulted the Confederate works during a heavy snow storm. The firing was kept up all day, with no loss to the battery but a caison damaged by a Federal shell. In the evening the enemy withdrew, having been repulsed in every assault.

On May 1st, Holmes Erwin was appointed Junior-Second Lieutenant of the battery (having furnished twenty-five Tennessee recruits), and it was made a six-gun battery. Accordingly two more guns were about this time received from Richmond. [331]

On the 11th, orders were received to join Brigadier-General Reynold's brigade, at Clinton, Tennessee. This brigade consisted of the Thirty-sixth, Thirty-ninth, and Forty.third Georgia, and Thirty-ninth North Carolina regiments. On information that the enemy was approaching, the brigade proceeded on the 20th to Big Creek Gap, but no enemy was found. A call being made for volunteers to reconnoitre the front, Lieutenant Claiborne and Serjeant Ritter responded, and mounting their horses, proceeded to climb the mountain for a suitable post of observation; but were soon compelled to dismount and proceed on foot, the way being blocked up by fallen trees. After great difficulty they reached the summit.

The day was bright and clear. Looking southward from their position on the loftiest point of the Cumberland mountains, the scene presented to their view was one of transcendent grandeur. Bathed in brilliant sunlight, peak rose above peak, till vision was lost in the far distance. Immediately beneath, the rich and verdant valley lay displayed in surpassing beauty, exhibiting no sign of smoking camp fires, or other evidences of an enemy's presence. With some reluctance the two observers withdrew, to report to General Reynolds the result of their reconnoissance.

Again on the 6th of June, the brigade proceeded to Chattanooga, Tennessee, and thence to Morristown and Loudon, in the same State. After a few days a march was made to Blain's Cross Roads, where the brigade remained till the 1st of August, 1862.

The camp here was called “Camp Hatton,” in honor of General R. Hatton, who was killed near Richmond in June of the same year. During this encampment the battery received fifty recruits from Georgia.

The next movement was to Tazewell, in East Tennessee, where the enemy was met, defeated, and driven back to Cumberland Gap. On the night of the 16th inst., General Reynolds advanced within four miles of the Gap, driving in the outposts of the enemy and seizing a range of hills on their front. This position was maintained till the 23d, when General Reynolds received orders from General E. Kirby Smith to march by way of Roger's Gap and Cumberland Ford and join him in Kentucky.

Richmond, Ky., was reached two days after the Confederate victory at that place. The enemy had suffered the loss of all their artillery and baggage wagons, and the capture of their whole infantry force.

In the subsequent march through Kentucky to the Ohio river, Reynold's brigade overtook Smith's advance, and the Third Maryland was [332] the first to enter Lexington. They were greeted on all sides with ex-clamations of joy and welcome. Great quantities of clothing which had been captured were turned over to the Marylanders and others. The command proceeded thence to Covington, opposite Cincinnati; the whole movement being intended as a feint, to draw troops from Louisville, on which General Bragg was advancing.

The Confederate advance was ordered back to Georgetown on the 11th of September, and on the 3d of October, at Big Eagle Creek, near Frankfort, there was a review of Reynolds's brigade by General E. Kirby Smith. When, on the 4th, Governor Hawes was inaugurated Military Governor of Kentucky, at Frankfort, the Third Maryland Artillery was selected to fire the honorary salute of fourteen guns. That night, however, Frankfort was evacuated, and Kirby Smith retired toward Harrodsburg. The battle of Perryville was followed by Bragg's withdrawal to Tennessee, and the Maryland battery returned to Knoxville via Cumberland Gap, where needed repairs were received. On the retreat, Reynolds's brigade closed the Confederate rear. While at Knoxville a court martial was convened, of which Lieutenant Rowan served as judge advocate.

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