Excerpt from the Annual Report of the Adjutant General of Missouri for the Year ending December 31, 1865.
1st MISSOURI LIGHT ARTILLERY
FIRST REGIMENT ARTILLERY, MISSOURI VOLUNTEERS.
Danville, Missouri, December 27, 1865
Colonel Samual P. Simpson, Adjutant General of Missouri
COLONEL: The 1st Regiment Light Artillery, Missouri volunteers, having been mustered out of service, and its commanding and other officers having been scattered over the State, the undersigned offers the following sketch of the operations of that regiment, during the year which terminated its glorious career—glorious, because it has done honor to itself, and reflected credit on the State which gave it a name. Also, a brief account, without exact dates, of the entire operations of the regiment, from organization to muster out.
The regiment was organized as infantry, with Frank P. Blair as Colonel, during the early part of April, 1861, just at the time when men were first called upon to stand out in behalf of their flag and country, at the Turner Hall, in St. Louis, and at St. Louis Arsenal.
While yet in its infancy, this regiment marched out to Camp Jackson, near St. Louis, and assisted in breaking up that nest of traitors, so early in the rebellion that it has been considered the first act of hostility; and the part taken by this regiment on that occasion has given to its memory a name never to be forgotten by the people of St. Louis and Missouri, and which will be held in grateful remembrance, and the survivors of that occasion, wherever they go, will meet the hearty word of cheer from those who stood by our country in its hour of peril.
From St. Louis, the regiment moved up the Missouri river with General Lyon’s command, with which they participated in the engagement with the rebels under Price at Boonville, where several of its members were killed—the first offering, in the shape of human life, upon the altar of our country, in the State of Missouri.
From Boonville the regiment proceeded with General Lyon on his great march through the southwestern portion of the State, where it was called upon to perform the most laborious marches and engage in the most bloody confict of the early part of the war, at the battle of Wilson’s Creek, where General Lyon was killed, and where this regiment performed signal service, losing many men, but ever sustaining the highest character for good conduct and efficiency.
After the battle of Wilson’s Creek, the regiment returned to St. Louis, where it arrived in the early part of September, and was encamped at Camp Cavender, near the city, where it was reorganized as a regiment of light artillery. Remained at Camp Cavender but a short time, where, as soon as a battalion could be fitted out, it moved west to Sedalia, as early as October; this battalion consisting of batteries E, F, and G, Captains Cole, Murphy and Cavender. This battalion was engaged in all the trials of General Fremont’s campaign through southwestern Missouri, standing the brunt of every engagement and never faltering in the discharge of its duty.
Meanwhile the 2d Battalion was being organized at Jefferson Barracks, whither the remnant had been removed after the departure of the 1st Battalion, under command of Major Lothrop, Colonel Blair being absent in Washington. About the middle of October, Company A was sent to Pilot Knob, under the command of Captain F. H. Manter, thence to Fredericktown, where it was engaged with great credit to itself, and was complimented by the general commanding.
The organization of the 2d Battalion, consisting of companies D, H, and K, Captains Richardson, Welker and Stone, being completed, it was sent south February 1, 1862, under command of Major John S. Cavender, arriving at Fort Henry, Tennessee, on the 7th inst., a few hours after its capitulation. The battalion was disembarked and encamped near the fort, where it remained until the army under General Grant moved against Fort Donelson, when it moved out and formed the first line before that position, February 12, 1862. It was continually in the hottest of the fight for the several succeeding days of conflict and suffering of the Federal armies at that place. Never faltering or wavering, it performed every duty assigned it, and gained the commendations of the general commanding, as well as of the entire army. The 2d Battalion, in this engagement, was unsurpassed in the excellence of its practice, and the faithfulness with which the men withstood the fire of the enemy and the inclemency of the weather. When, on Saturday, the 15th inst., General Charles F. Smith’s division made its celebrated charge on the enemy’s works, which resulted in the capture of the fort, and which is considered by military men a sone fo the grandest achievements of the war, one section of Battery K of this regiment actually participated in the charge, making their way up the hill, through a heavy abattis, over logs and through ditches, reaching the enemy’s line of works nearly as soon as our advance line of infantry. This section was closely followed by Battery H of this regiment. Some idea may be formed of the difficulties encountered by the artillery in making their way to the enemy’s works, when, on the next day after the surrender of the fort, it took twenty horses to haul a single gun up this hill, and that, too, after a road had been made, logs cut away, and ditches filled up.
Leaving Fort Donelson in March, this battalion moved up the Tennessee river with the army under General Grant. Arriving at Pittsburg Landing, the first batteries that disembarked were those of this battalion. Here the batteries were encamped until the sanguinary battle of April 6 and 7, 1862, in which it deported itself most nobly, losing quite a number of men and horses, gaining the highest encomiums for gallantry, both from officers and men of the entire army.
Leaving the 2d Battalion recuperating after the trials of Shiloh, we will return to Jefferson Barracks, where our regimental recruiting party, under Lieutenant John H. Hogan, had been doing good work, having organized three companies, which were sent out at different times to the seat of war.
About this time, Buel’s Light Battery was assigned to the 2d Battalion at Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee, giving that battalion four batteries. The 2d Battalion, remaining with General Grant, participated in the siege of Corinth, during which it was constantly on the front line, doing good work, for which it received great credit. After the evacuation of Corinth by the enemy, this battalion was encamped with its division, near that place, where it remained during the succeeding winter, participating in many important expeditions into the surrounding country, especially into Alabama. It was engaged in the battle of Corinth, October 3 and 4, 1862, receiving the heaviest and most determined charges ever witnessed, and without the least disorder, steadily retiring before greatly superior numbers; at all times preserving the most rigid order and soldierly conduct, receiving the highest praise from General Rosecrans. General Van Dorn himself, in his report of that battle, stated that but for the accuracy of its fire and the stubbornness with which it held its ground, Corinth had been taken, and the truth of this statement was corroborated by the great number of slain who bore the marks of canister and shell, and testified to the fearful ravages of these batteries. Terrible as were the events of these two days, not a man faltered in the discharge of his duty. The batteries engaged were D, H, I, K, and M, commanded by Captains Richardson and Welker, Lieutenant Thurber, and Captains Stone and Powell.
Whilst the 2nd and 3rd battalions were winning laurels under the leadership of General Grant, the 1st Battalion was not idle. Batteries E, (Cole’s) F, (Murphy’s) and L, (Backof’s) were engaged in preserving order and quiet in Missouri, then overrun by numerous bands of guerrillas and marauders, under such desperadoes as Quantrell, Jackman, Freeman, Tim. Reeves, Coffee, and others. A number of hand-to-hand conflicts ensued between these bands and the Federal forces—the 1st Missouri Light Artillery accompanying the various expeditions, by piece, section, half batteries, and otherwise, as circumstances demanded, it being the invariable rule of the Commanding General that some part of these batteries should accompany the mounted troops in their movements and scouts, to insure success. In November, 1862, the batteries of the 1st Battalion joined the Army of the Frontier, commanded by Major General Schofield, and advanced into the extreme southwestern portion of Missouri and Northern Arkansas. I quote the following from Brigadier General Heron’s official report of the battle of Prairie Grove:
“It being impossible to move my command across the ford under their fire, I ordered Colonel Huston, commanding 2d Brigade, to cut a road through the timber, and move Captain Murphy’s battery, F, 1st Missouri Light Artillery, to a point on the south side of the creek and half a mile from the regular ford, my intention being to draw the fire of the enemy, to enable my infantry to cross the creek at the ford. The movement was entirely successful, the battery getting into position and opening fire upon the enemy before he discovered the movement. Under cover of its fire, I ordered forward the batteries of Captains Foust, Backof, and Buel, supported by the 19th Iowa, 20th Wisconsin and 94th Illinois Infantry. So rapidly was the order obeyed that the eighteen pieces were in position and at the work before the enemy could obtain our range. The fire was rapidly replied to by the rebel batteries, they having every advantage in position, but so accurate was the firing that in two hours nearly all their batteries were silenced.
“Never was there more real courage and pluck displayed, and more hard fighting done, than at this moment by the artillery of my command. Advancing almost up to the muzzles of the guns, the rebels received such a murderous fire that they were compelled to retreat in disorder, receiving as they ran a terrible fire, causing great slaughter among them. I must especially mention the working of Murphy’s, Foust’s, Backof’s, and Buel’s batteries. The former fired his guns with the precision of a sharpshooter, while the others worked their pieces gallantly in the midst of terrible infantry fire.”
General Blunt, in his official report, says:
“…The fighting was desperate on both sides, and continued until it was terminated by the darkness of the night….My artillery made terrible destruction in their ranks.”
Lieutenants James Marr and J. L. Matthai received special mention for gallantry, skill and coolness in the most trying moments of the battle. In recognition of the services rendered on this occasion, Captain Murphy was promoted to Major, and Lieutenants Marr and Matthai to captaincies in the regiment.
Shortly after this, batteries E and F were ordered to St. Louis, where they were re-equipped with new caissons, guns, harness, etc., and then sent to Vicksburg, Mississippi, to assist in the reduction of that rebel stronghold. En route, these batteries were joined by Battery B, Captain Welfley. The battalion, under command of Major David Murphy, formed on the extreme left of the investing line around Vicksburg, and assisted in its reduction, entering the city, with the army, on the 4th day of July, 1863.
Shortly after the battle of Corinth the 2d and 3d battalions were broken up and the batteries separated. About this time the order relative to veteran enlistments was issued, and a number of these batteries were among the first to respond. Company H, commanded by Captain Welker, was the first body of veteran volunteers which reached St. Louis, where they were received with great splendor, and a grand feast was given them. Company H was soon followed by Company K, and others no less gallant.
During the year 1864 the batteries of this regiment were scattered widely—Company A, with the Army of the Gulf, participating in all the maneuvers of General Banks in Louisiana; Company B the same; Company C, moving from Vicksburg to Atlanta, participating in engagements of the 17th Army Corps in that campaign; Companies D and G in reserve at Huntsville and Chattanooga; Company E was mustered out at Brownsville, Texas; Company F, spending the year in Texas and Louisiana; Company H, moving with the Army of the Tennessee, participated in the Atlanta campaign and Sherman’s march to the sea. The splendid manner in which it withstood the desperate assaults of the enemy at Dallas, the precision of its fire before Kenesaw Mountain, the determination with which it fought on the 22d of July beside the prostrate form of the lamented McPherson, together with its untiring energy and patience while in the trenches before Atlanta and Jonesboro, during the hot and sultry days of August and September, the long and wearisome miles of Sherman’s campaign through Georgia, which resulted in the capture of Charleston and Savannah, and in fact gave the death blow to the rebellion, to say nothing of its losses in men and horses, forty-four men and sixty-nine horses, gave it a name for excellence which cannot be eclipsed, and which will be remembered by all the soldiers who composed the Army of the Tennessee.
Company I was mustered out at Kingston, Georgia; Company K, stationed at Little Rock, Arkansas, taking part in several expeditions into the surrounding country; Company L, stationed at Springfield; Company M figured extensively in the movements of the army near the Mississippi river, being engaged in the Meridian, Red river and Tupelo expeditions, in all of which it conducted itself with signal gallantry. During the Red river expedition this company, under the command of Captain John H. Tiemeyer, was in twelve different engagements. The officers and men were complimented in official reports by the Commanding General. At the battle of Sabine Cross Roads, Company A, commanded by Lieutenant Charles M. Callehan, received plaudits of all who witnessed its splendid fighting.
During the present year all of these batteries have been mustered out of service, but some of them not without adding fresh laurels to those already won. Companies A and F, under command of Captains Fish and Foust, participated with honor in the siege and capture of Mobile and Montgomery, Alabama. Company H, under command of Captain Callehan, was with General Sherman’s army, and participated in the great achievements of that illustrious hero during the early spring, assisting in the capture of the last army of importance left to the rebellion. At the battle of Bentonville, North Carolina, this battery did splendid execution, receiving the compliments of its division and corps commanders, both of whom declared that artillery was never used to better advantage. This was the last battle of the war in which the Army of the Tennessee was called upon to participate. Thus it will be seen that this company had the good fortune of being engaged in the first and last battle of this glorious army, Fort Donelson, Tenneseee, and Bentonville, North Carolina.
After passing in the grand review at Washington they were forwarded to St. Louis, where they were mustered out with honor on the 16th of June, 1865, Company H ws followed by the others as rapidly as they could be brought from the field, and on the 5th day of August by the field and staff.
The following is an incomplete list of the battles in which this regiment has participated from date of its organization to its muster out:
Camp Jackson, St. Louis, May 10, 1861.
Boonville, Mo., June 17, 1861.
Forsythe, Mo., July, 1861.
Dug Springs, Mo., August 2, 1861.
Wilson’s Creek, Mo., August 10, 1861.
Newtonia, Missouri, September 20, 1861.
Fredericktown, Mo., November, 1861.
Black Water, Mo., December 18, 1861.
Fort Donelson, Tenn., Feb. 12 to 16, 1862.
Paris, Tenn., April, 1862.
Shiloh, Tenn., April 6 and 7, 1862.
New Madrid, Mo., March 3 to 6, 1862.
Island No. 10, April 10 to 13, 1862.
Pea Ridge, Ark., March 7 and 8, 1862.
Prairie Grove, Ark., December 7, 1862.
Siege of Corinth, May 5 to June 1, 1862.
Iuka, Miss., September 19, 1862.
Corinth, Miss., October 3 and 4, 1862.
Hatchie River, Miss., October 5, 1862.
Farmington, Miss., May 9, 1862.
Boonville, Miss., May 9, 1862.
Oxford, Miss., December 9, 1862.
Van Buren, Ark., December 28, 1862.
Perryville, Ky., 1862.
Forty Hills, May 3, 1863.
Raymond, Miss., May 12, 1863.
Champion Hills, May 16, 1863.
Vicksburg, Miss., May 22 to July 4, 1863.
Helena, Ark., July 4, 1863.
Little Rock, Ark., 1863.
Stone River, Tenn., Dec. 30 to Jan. 2, 1863.
Black River Bridge, May 17, 1863.
Thompson’s Hill, May 1, 1863.
Chickamauga, September 19, 1863.
Lookout Mountain, November 24, 1863.
Missionary Ridge, November 25, 1863.
Bolivar, Miss., 1863.
Jackson, Miss., May 14, 1863.
Bear Creek, Ala., April 1863.
Lundy’s Lane, Ala., April, 1863.
Town Creek, Ala., April 29, 1863.
Salem, Miss., October, 1863.
Fort Esperanza, Texas, Nov. 29 and 30, ’63.
Sabine Cross Road, La., 1864.
Grand Ecore, La.., 1864.
Tupelo, Miss., 1864.
Meridian, Miss., 1864.
Resaca, Ga., 1864.
Snake Creek Gap, Ga., 1864.
Lay’s Ferry, Ga., 1864.
Rome Cross Roads, Ga., 1864.
Kingston, Ga.., 1864.
Dallas, Ga., 1864.
Kenesaw Mountain, Ga., 1864.
Nicajack Creek, Ga., 1864.
Battle before Atlanta, Ga., July 22, 1864.
Siege of Atlanta, Ga., 1864.
Jonesboro, Ga., 1864.
Lovejoy’s Station, Ga., 1864.
Fort McAllister, Ga., 1864.
Savannah, Ga., 1864.
Henderson’s Hill, La., April, 1864.
Battle of Nashville, Tenn., December, 1864.
Bentonville, N. C., 1865.
Columbia, S. C., 1864.
Spanish Fort, Ala., 1865.
I will here state that the regiment has been represented in a number of skirmishes, of which no official reports were received at regimental headquarters.
The regiment was organized in the very beginning of the rebellion, and, always in the front, has probably rendered as much service as any other regiment of volunteers in the service of the United States during the late war. Organized in the city of St. Louis, at the very time when popular opinion, in that city, was running in the current of treason, when men of loyal principles hardly dared speak their opinions, before the loyalty of the majority had been tested, and before the loyal element had been roused, its ranks were filled with the most undaunted as well as the most willing soldiers who went forth into the ranks of the true.
The annexed report of Company G of this regiment has been received from its commanding officer since the compilation of the foregoing history:
Battery G was organized as a company of infantry, 1st Regiment Missouri Volunteers, April 22, 1861, and as a battery of light artillery September 1, 1861, by Captain John S. Cavender. For successful services rendered the country during the rebellion this battery stands second to none in the regiment. The following list of captures, sieges and battles are on its records: Camp Jackson, Boonville, Dug Springs, Wilson’s Creek, New Madrid, Island No. 10, siege of Corinth, Perryville, Stone River, Chickamauga. Captain Henry Hescock, the brave and efficient commander of the battery, at Chickamauga, was taken prisoner and held by the rebels nearly eighteen months, and from the effects of ill treatment died in St. Louis April 28, 1865. Lieutenant Talliafero was killed at Stone River.