Summary Statement, 3rd Quarter, 1863 – 1st Tennessee Light Artillery

For the previous quarter, we saw the clerks at the Ordnance Department had single line allocated for batteries formed from Tennessee volunteers.  At that time, there were two light artillery batteries, formed from Tennessee unionists.  Though others were forming up.  And two regiments of heavy artillery were getting organized, being recruited from the contraband camps in west Tennessee. 

Moving into the third quarter, the clerks still offered no clarity for the Tennessee artillerymen:

0289_1_Snip_TN

The entry as “1st Battery Artillery” from Tennessee is not specific.  There were two batteries at this time which could lay claim as the 1st Tennessee Battery – The 1st East Tennessee Battery and 1st Middle Tennessee Battery.  But that cumbersome designation system was soon reconciled with both batteries entered into the 1st Tennessee Light Artillery Regiment.  Some sources indicate the regiment was authorized in June 1862.  And there is no doubt the formation was mentioned by authorities from that point forward. But not until November 1, 1863 was the regiment properly organized with commander appointed.  And that commander was Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Clay Crawford.  The regiment, which arguably was but a battalion, comprised of five batteries:

  • Battery A: This was the former 1st Middle Tennessee battery, commanded by Captain Ephraim P. Abbott.  The battery was assigned to Third Division, Reserve Corps, Army of the Cumberland. The battery moved down from Murfreesboro to Chattanooga in September, arriving just after the battle of Chickamauga.  Earlier in the summer, the battery reported two 6-pdr field guns and four 3.80-inch James rifles.
  • Battery B: This was the 1st East Tennessee Battery, and had been commanded by Captain Robert C. Crawford.  By the summer of 1863 it was assigned to the Fourth Division, District of Kentucky.  This battery played a small part in Burnside’s East Tennessee Campaign.  Captain James A. Childress commanded.  The battery was on duty around the Cumberland Gap at the end of September.
  • Battery C: Still being organized, this battery would not muster until early 1864.  Captain Vincent Myers would command. 
  • Battery D:  Likewise still organizing and not mustering until 1864.  Captain David R. Young would command.
  • Battery E: Assigned to the District of North Central Kentucky.  Captain Henry C. Lloyd commanded this battery.  This battery served at various posts – Bonneville, Camp Nelson, Flemmingsburg, Mt. Sterling, and Paris – through the spring of 1864.

In addition to those listed, Batteries F, G, and K appear later in later organization tables.  But at the close of the third quarter of 1863, those were not even planned.  With no returns submitted, we have no cannon, ammunition, or even small arms to discuss in regard to these Tennessee artillerists.  But the record is clear in that three batteries from the 1st Tennessee Light Artillery were mustered as of the end of September and were doing duty. 

But there are other batteries we should tally here. There actually was a fourth light battery, and possibly a fifth, that existed in the fall of 1863 and should mentioned here.  In the “definitely” category is the Memphis Light Artillery.  This battery is sometimes mentioned as the 1st Tennessee Battery, African Descent (or A.D.).  Forming, starting the late summer of 1863, in Memphis and commanded by Captain Carl A. Lamberg (formerly of the 3rd Michigan Battery, which was then at Memphis), the battery’s official muster date was November 23. Later, in the following year, the battery would be re-designated as U.S.C.T. and assigned to the 2nd U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery as Battery F.

In the “maybe” category is an independent battery called “Hurlbut’s Battery.”  During the Vicksburg Campaign, the garrison in Memphis formed a “River Guard” to maintain security along the Mississippi River near the city.  In command of this guard was Major George Cubberly, from the 89th Indiana.  For those duties, Cubberly required some light artillery.  From the garrison’s armory came two 3.80-inch James Rifles and two 6-pdr field guns. This temporary battery actually saw limited action against Confederates along the river.  From one roll:

Hurlbut’s Battery consists of 2 James Rifled pieces and 2 smooth bore 6 pounders. Was in engagement at Bradley’s Landing, Ark., June 17, [1863] about 18 miles from Memphis, Tenn., up the river.  Fired about 60 shell with James Rifled pieces.


Later in the summer, the battery appears on returns in the First Brigade, District of Memphis (along with the Memphis Light Artillery, for what it is worth).   Lieutenant Albert Cudney commanded, from, apparently, Battery I, 1st Illinois Artillery.  And the battery appears on Sixteenth Corps orders at the first of September.  All of which still gives us little to go on.  The battery, temporary as it was, certainly existed during the third quarter of 1863.  And it saw action… at least sixty rounds worth of action.  Though it was likely broken up shortly afterwards.  As for its attribution to Tennessee, that is less certain.  With only an index card heading to work from, evidence is thin.  Rather, this temporary, improvised battery was likely made up of more Illinois or Indiana troops than Tennessee boys.

In summary, though the clerks did not have returns to work from, Tennessee had three batteries in Federal service at the end of September, one USCT battery forming, plus a couple more “unionist” batteries forming.   And that’s why we have a heading for Tennessee in the third quarter, 1863 summaries.

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