Monday, September 29, 2008

Battery M, 2nd US Artillery

Battery M, 2nd U.S. Horse Artillery, 1862. Photo by James F. Gibson. Library of Congress

Battery M, 2nd US Artillery was located at Fort Brown, Texas under the command of Captain Henry J. Hunt when Texas seceded from the Union. As such, it was part of the forces that General Twiggs attempted to surrender to the state of Texas with all of their equipment. Captain Hunt was forced to abandon his horses, but successfully evacuated the battery with its guns via the Gulf of Mexico.

Captain Hunt was a Michigan native who graduated 19th in his class at West Point in 1839. He had spent his entire career to that point in the 2nd Artillery, both on the frontier and during the Mexican War. He was brevetted major for gallant and meritorious conduct at the battle of Chapultepec. By the end of the Civil War, he was a brevet major general of both volunteers and the regular army.

After leaving Texas, the battery served briefly in the defense of Fort Pickens, Florida from April until late June 1861. It had joined General McDowell’s army in Washington prior to the battle of Bull Run, where it functioned as light artillery battery with four 12-pounder Napoleons. It was still nominally under the command of Captain Hunt, but given his position of commander of the artillery for Tyler’s division on the left of the Union line, the battery was probably fought by one of his lieutenants. After the battle of Bull Run, he was promoted to Chief of Artillery in the defenses of Washington south of the Potomac, and left the battery. Captain Henry M. Benson of New Jersey took command of the battery.

Benson was no stranger to the 2nd Artillery. He enlisted as a private in the 2nd Artillery on June 6, 1845, and served with distinction in the Mexican War. By the end of the war he had progressed to battery first sergeant, and was promoted to second lieutenant on January 26, 1849. After the Mexican War, he served in South Carolina, Florida, Kansas and Fort McHenry, Maryland, where he was stationed at the outbreak of the Civil War. He was promoted to captain on May 14, 1861, and had also fought at the first battle of Bull Run. Benson was eminently qualified to command, having held every position in an artillery battery from private to captain.

During the winter of 1861-1862, the artillery of the Army of the Potomac was thoroughly organized by General William .F. Barry, and the armament of each battery was standardized. In November, Battery M was made a horse battery equipped with six 3-inch ordnance guns, and it accompanied the Army of the Potomac to the peninsula in March 1862 as part of the army’s Horse Artillery brigade.

During the campaign, First Lieutenant John W. Barlow of New York led the right or lead section, First Lieutenant Peter C. Hains of Pennsylvania led the left or rear section, and Second Lieutenant Robert H. Chapin of New York led the center section.
After the evacuation of Yorktown, the battery accompanied the army’s two cavalry brigades in pursuit. It fought at Grove Wharf on May 4th, Williamsburg on May 5th, and Hanover Court House on May 27th. It was also engaged at Malvern Hill on July 1 and August 5. Captain Benson was mortally wounded during the fighting on August 5th, and died at sea six days later while being evacuated to Washington for further treatment. Lieutenant Hains assumed command of the battery, as Lieutenant Barlow had transferred to the topographical engineers the previous month.

Lieutenant Peter Conover Hains graduated West Point on June 24, 1861, and was immediately promoted to first lieutenant. He earned the new rank less than a month later in the fighting at Bull Run. Hains accompanied the battery throughout the Peninsula campaign, and received a brevet promotion to captain for gallant and meritorious services at the battle of Hanover Court House. He commanded the battery until September 1862, when he too joined the topographical engineers.

Upon its return from the peninsula in September 1862, First Lieutenant Alexander Cummings McWhorter Pennington, Jr. assumed command. A native of New Jersey, he was the son of a Congressman and the Governor of New Jersey. He graduated 18th in his class at West Point in 1860 and was assigned to the 2nd Artillery. Pennington also was no stranger to the horse artillery, having spent the previous campaign in charge of the lead section of Captain John Tidball’s respected Battery A, 2nd US Artillery. Tidball’s Battery, as it was known, was the very first unit assigned and equipped as horse artillery, and had established a reputation for excellence during the campaign.

Lieutenant Pennington and his new battery were very active in the Maryland campaign. They rode in the advance with the cavalry and were engaged near South Mountain and at Antietam. It accompanied the cavalry in pursuit after the battle, fighting at Martinsburg, October 1, and at Nolan’s Ford, October 12. The battery fought at Nolan’s Ford after making a march of 80 miles in a little over 24 hours. Crossing the Potomac, it was engaged with the cavalry during November at Purcellville, Philomont, Upperville, Barbee’s Cross Roads, Amissville and Corbin’s Cross Roads. At Fredericksburg the battery was in reserve.

After a relatively quiet winter, the battery opened 1863 campaigning as part of Stoneman’s raid in May. It was engaged at Beverly Ford during the battle of Brandy station, where Lieutenant Pennington was brevetted captain for gallant and meritorious service. During the Gettysburg campaign the battery was engaged at Hunterstown and Hanover, and on the Union right at Gettysburg on July 3rd. Pennington was brevetted major for his service during the fighting on July 3rd. After the battle the battery once again accompanied the cavalry in the pursuit, fighting at Monterey Pass, Smithsburg, Williamsport, Boonsboro, Hagerstown, and Falling Waters, and at Battle Mountain, Va. It was engaged in skirmishes at James City, Brandy Station and Buckland Mills in October, and at Raccoon Ford and Morton’s Ford in November.

On March 30, 1864, Lieutenant Pennington was promoted to captain in the 2nd Artillery. During 1864 the battery was engaged at Craig’s Meeting House, May 5, and at Todd’s Tavern, and took part in Sheridan’s raids in May and June, being engaged at Meadow Bridge, Strawberry Hill and Trevillian Station. In June 1864, the army’s horse batteries were reduced to four cannons each, two Napoleons and two 3-inch ordnance guns. Battery M went to the Shenandoah valley in August, and was engaged at Summit Point, Kearneysville, the Opequon, and at Lacey’s Springs in December. The battery wintered at Pleasant Valley, Maryland.

In September 1864, Captain Pennington departed the battery, having received an appointment as the Colonel of the 3rd New Jersey Cavalry. By October he was commanding a cavalry brigade. Lieutenant Carle A. Woodruff replaced him in command of the battery.

Carle Augustus Woodruff of New York was appointed a second lieutenant in the 2nd US Artillery from civilian life in the District of Columbia on October 22, 1861. He was initially assigned as the rear or left section chief of combined Battery B/L, 2nd US Artillery, where he served during the Peninsula campaign. He was promoted to first lieutenant on July 24, 1862. Woodruff had been brevetted captain for his services at Gettysburg on July 3, 1863 and major for his efforts at Trevillian Station on June 11, 1864. He spent the entire war as a horse artillery officer.

When the spring campaign began in 1865, the Napoleon section stayed in pleasant valley. The rifle section under Lieutenant Woodruff left in February with Sheridan to join the Army of the Potomac, and was engaged at Waynesboro, Dinwiddie Court House, Five Forks, Namozine Church, Sailor’s Creek, and Appomattox. After the war, the entire 2nd US Artillery Regiment was consolidated at Fort McHenry, Maryland and sent California.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Horse Artillery, Part III

The most important component of the horse artillery was its horses. Without horses, the guns couldn’t move, and might as well have been so many pieces of siege artillery. These batteries were just as dependent on their horses as the cavalry units they supported, and they were also their greatest liability.

Artillery horses were a prime target for enemy fire – disable the horses, and the guns were that much easier to capture if they couldn’t get flee. They were also as vulnerable as the crewmen themselves to the rigors of disease, poor rations, and the often squalid living conditions of army camps. There were always sick horses requiring care. I am not sure if the horse artillery batteries also drew their remounts from the various cavalry depots established in 1863, but I strongly suspect that this was the case.

As their lives and guns so often depended upon their horses, horse artillerymen were generally disposed to accept the requirements for their care without excessive grumbling. Just as with the cavalry units they supported, the bugler would sound stable call after reveille and morning formation, and water call after breakfast. The same routine for the horses would be repeated late in the afternoon. Morning and afternoon drill also meant a workout for the horses, after which they needed to be walked to cool down, curried, and probably watered again.

One driver was assigned to each pair of horses, riding the on (left) horse and holding reins for it and the off (right) horse. Skilled riders were required for this service, which combined the daring of cavalry troopers with the precision teamwork expected of artillerymen. Drivers were issued a leg-guard, an iron plate encased in leather and strapped to the right leg to prevent the limber pole from injuring them.

Civil War artillery not being one of my strong suits, these posts depended heavily on a few excellent websites for the majority of its facts. Its mistakes are of course my own (and yes, some might argue that they are one of my strong suits). Those seeking additional information are encouraged to visit the following sites.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Horse Artillery, Part II

In this segment of our examination of horse artillery, we will examine the organization and equipment of horse artillery batteries.


An artillery battery generally consisted of either four or six guns, and was commanded by a captain. Two guns formed a section, usually commanded by a lieutenant. During movement, each gun was hooked up behind a limber, which carried the ammunition chest, and was drawn by six horses. Each gun also had its caisson, carrying three ammunition chests, which was also drawn by six horses. These two units made up a platoon, which was commanded by a sergeant and two corporals. A battery was also accompanied by a forge, a wagon carrying the tents and supplies, and generally six additional caissons with reserve ammunition.

There were three drivers for each six-horse team, who rode the horses on the left side and held the reins for the horses on the right. A typical gun crew was made up of nine men. Where the artillery was designated as horse artillery, the crewmen each rode a horse, with two additional men acting as horse-holders in action. When there was a shortage of horses, two men could ride on each ammunition chest, but this added to the load for the horses towing the battery.

In addition to the lieutenants commanding each section, another lieutenant usually commanded the line of caissons. There was also an orderly and quartermaster sergeant, five artificers, two buglers, and a guidon-bearer.


First among the battery’s equipment, we must discuss the cannons themselves. Civil War horse artillery primarily used two different type of cannons, the 12-pounder Napoleon cannon and the 3-inch ordnance rifle. We’ll look at each separately.

The Model 1857 12-pound Napoleon cannon was the most popular smoothbore cannon used during the war. It was named after Napoleon III of France and was widely admired because of its safety, reliability, and killing power. It was particularly lethal at close range. The Napoleon reached America in 1857, and was the last cast bronze gun used by the American army. The Union version of the Napoleon can be recognized by the flared front end of the barrel, called the muzzle swell. The 12-pound in its name refers to the weight of the ammunition it fired. The Napoleon could fire solid ball, case, shell, grapeshot and cannister ammunition.

The 3-inch ordnance gun was the most widely used rifled artillery piece used during the war. Unlike the cast bronze Napoleon, the 3-inch was made of iron. It was popular because of its reliability and accuracy, and was exceptionally durable. The 3-inch in its name refers to the size of the bore, or opening at the muzzle. It normally fired solid bolt, case or common shells (generally Schenkel or Hotchkiss shells), but could fire cannister in an emergency. The 3-inch ordnance rifle had a range of roughly 1,800 yards. Although light by artillery standards, its weight was still significant at roughly 1,700 pounds for the cannon itself and its carriage. It was primarily produced by Phoenix Iron Company of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania.
The carriage of an artillery piece allows the cannon to be aimed, holds it in place while it is fired, and allows it to be moved where it is needed. It basically consisted of a cradle, a trail and two wheels.

The limber for field service was basically a two-wheeled cart, simply an axle, with its wheels, surmounted by a framework for holding an ammunition chest and receiving the tongue. At the back of the axle is the pintle hook, on which the lunette on the trail of the gun carriage can be keyed into place. The result is a four-wheeled cart that pivots on the pintle hook. The ammunition chest on the limber could be used as a seat for three crewmen, but in the horse artillery it was customary to spare the horses, and they would ride the limber and caisson only when necessary.

The caisson was intended to transport ammunition, and carried two ammunition chests like the one on the limber. It had a stock like that on the gun carriage, terminating in a lunette, so that it could be hooked to a limber for transportation. A caisson with its limber thus held three ammunition chests, which with the chest on the limber hauling the gun carriage made a total of four. The caisson with its drivers and crew would be under the direction of a corporal, who would report to the sergeant in charge of the gun to which the caisson was assigned. The line of caissons for the battery would be under the overall supervision of one of its lieutenants.

The battery wagon, also drawn by a limber, was a long bodied cart with a rounded top, which contained tools for the saddlers and carriage makers, spare parts, extra harness, and rough materials for fabricating parts. The limber which drew the battery wagon was a portable blacksmith shop, containing a light forge and blacksmith tools. Each battery had only one wagon and one forge, and they were expected to accompany the battery wherever it went.

Wheels for all three of the standard carriages, as well as caissons, limbers and battery wagons, were 57 inches high, and could be easily interchanged. All caissons carried an extra wheel on the back, and changing a broken wheel was a standard drill for a battery of horse artillery.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Horse Artillery, Part I

The mention of Company M, 2nd U.S. Artillery several times in the history of B Company, 6th US Cavalry brought the subject of horse artillery back to my mind. It’s a topic that I’ve considered writing about for quite some time, as the experiences of the horse artillery is intertwined with that of the cavalry units that they fought with. So we’ll spend the next several days discussing what horse artillery was and then examine two batteries of horse artillery who supported regular cavalry units, one from each theater.

Horse artillery, or flying artillery as it was also called early in the war, was a type of light, fast-moving and fast-firing artillery which provided highly mobile support to cavalry units. In a nutshell, the concept was that these units would be as mobile as the mounted units they supported, using speed and positioning to make up for the relatively small caliber of their guns. A close ancestor of today’s self-propelled artillery, the horse artillery consisted of light cannons attached to two-wheeled carriages called caissons or limbers which carried the cannon’s ammunition and equipment. The cannon’s crewmen rode the horses and the caissons during movement. In normal artillery units, the crewmen marched alongside of their cannon.

Once in position, horse artillery crews were trained to quickly dismount, deploy or "unlimber" their guns, then rapidly fire at the enemy. Ammunition for the horse artillery generally consisted of round shot, shells or grapeshot. They could then just as rapidly "limber-up" (reattach the guns to the caissons), remount, and be ready to move to a new position. It was highly versatile and supported cavalry units by disrupting enemy formations and dueling enemy artillery in an offensive role, while they often worked in concert with cavalry units to act as a rearguard to cover the retreat of other units. Mobility was key to their survival, as they rarely fought from prepared positions.

Horse artillery first rose to prominence during the Mexican War, where it played a decisive role in several key battles. During the Civil War, it was made up almost entirely of company-sized batteries from the regular army’s artillery regiments. In the eastern theater, these batteries were nominally assigned to the Army of the Potomac’s U.S. Horse Artillery Brigade, which was assigned to the Cavalry Corps. In actuality, however, the various batteries were detached to support cavalry brigades and divisions, and the entire brigade never fought together as an entire unit. In the western theater, horse artillery consisted of individual batteries loosely grouped and assigned to support cavalry brigades.

The next post will focus on the two most prevalent artillery canon used by the horse artillery, the 12-pounder Napoleon cannon and the 3-inch ordnance rifle.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Battle of Chickamauga: At Reed’s Bridge with the 4th US Cavalry

I apologize for this post being a day late for its 145th anniversary posting, but I misplaced my notes and it took a little longer than planned to finish. I'm not nearly as versed in the western theater, so any and all comments are welcome.

By September 17, 1863, the three Union corps of Rosecrans’ army had closed up and, although not yet united, were much less vulnerable to individual defeat. Despite this, Bragg decided to initiate his attack against the Union left on the morning of the 18th and cut them off from their supply base at Chattanooga.

As Bragg’s forces moved north along the LaFayette Road toward Major general Thomas L. Crittenden’s XXI Corps, his cavalry and infantry fought with Union cavalry and mounted infantry under the command of Colonel Robert Minty and Colonel John T. Wilder. The forces under Hood, Walker, and Buckner crossed West Chickamauga Creek against this pressure and bivouacked just to the west of the creek. Although Bragg had achieved some degree of surprise, he failed to exploit it. Rosecrans, observing the dust raised by the marching Confederates in the morning, anticipated Bragg's plan. He ordered Thomas and McCook to Crittenden's support, and while the Confederates were crossing the creek, Thomas began to arrive in Crittenden's rear area.

I’ve never been able to find much information on these opening moves of the fight against the Union cavalry and mounted infantry picketing the creek. I was delighted when I found the following account of this opening phase of the battle in the vicinity of Reed’s Bridge by a sergeant of the 4th U.S. Cavalry. The source is Sergeant Larson, 4th Cav, by James Larson (San Antonio: Southern Literary Institute, 1935).

General Minty’s brigade was posted near Reed’s Bridge over Chickamauga Creek late on the afternoon of September 17th. The 4th U.S. Cavalry led the advance, and encamped about a quarter of a mile from the bridge, after posting a strong picket about a quarter of a mile on the far side of the bridge. The remainder of the brigade encamped to the rear of its lead regiment. (Larson, pg 174).

“The meat not required for our mess was divided among the others, who started frying it at once and soon had a finished their breakfast and even had a little time to take a smoke when all of a sudden shots were fired at our picket post on the other side of the Chickamauga, soon followed by other shots which rapidly increased to volleys. Men at once ran to their horses and saddled them up without waiting for orders, and the horses were all saddled when the trumpeter sounded “boots and saddles”. As soon as the trumpeter had the last note of the call out of his trumpet he sounded “to horse.” (Larson, page 175)

“We moved out at a gallop by fours, but when we arrived at the bridge we had to file off by twos and cross it ata walk. It was so narrow that two horses could hardly pass side by side and it was a badly built bridge too, besides being so old that it swayed to and fro, creaking and groaning as if ready to fall at any moment.

“After crossing we came on a very large level and open space, which looked like it had been a plantation once, but there was no fence around it then. On the other side of this opening ran a long range of low hills, covered with timber and underwood, and where the road ascended the hills we came to our men, who were disputing the enemy’s advance on the road and as far to the sides as it were possible for so small a body of men to do. The enemy was rapidly deploying and coming into line of battle along those low hills, which left no doubt that it was a general advance of the right wing of Bragg’s army. Hence it became necessary for the 4th Cavalry to fall back to better and more suitable ground. To attempt to stop or make any resistance to the advance of the whole wing of the Confederate Army in the position we then held, would have been worse than folly. To withdraw, we had to recross the old shaky and tottering bridge, and that had to be done very slowly and carefully else it was likely to break down before half the regiment had crossed.

“Orders were at once given to form skirmish lines by companies, and in a moment the twelve companies stood in a line across the open flat, facing the advancing enemy. The companies retained their formation in a column of four so that each company really represented a single man on a skirmish line. There was a great advantage for us in that formation because the enemy was on much higher ground than we were and every man in a company from front to rear could use the carbine over the heads of those in front. A tremendous fusillade was opened on the enemy at once, which had the effect of checking them up short, and it was high time, too, because they were pushing the advance rapidly.

“Then we began the retreat by companies, in alphabetical order. Company A moved slowly toward the bridge as though there were nothing whatever to hurry about, crossed over by twos and at once formed line, facing the enemy again, close to the bank of the Chickamauga. While Company A executed that move, all the other companies kept up a steady fusillade and held the enemy in check, at least in our immediate front, but they were deploying rapidly to right and left along those hills under cover of the timber. Company B next took up the move for the bridge, and went across, came in line with company A, and so the order of retreat was carried out until the twelve companies all had crossed and stood in line on the opposite side of the Chickamauga ready to receive the Rebs as soon as they should move forward out of the hills and timber which sheltered them. The support for the last companies in crossing was the line that was formed by companies already across.

“The movement was beautifully executed, and although under fire continually it was done as slowly and steadily as if on drill or parade. It would have been a grand sight for anyone to witness at a safe distance. For us it was a source of pride and it was undoubtedly a lesson to the enemy, which served to make them cautious and prevented them from attempting to press us too hard, as they could see they had steady troops to deal with.

“After taking up this new line we stood quietly awaiting further developments. We had passed through the first act in the drama without any serious loss, considering the position we had been in. A few killed and wounded, of course, and some horses too. The greatest part of the loss, however, was borne by the picket reserve who met the first onset of the enemy before we arrived on the scene. Most of them were killed or captured. My splendid horse had received two bullets. One was just back of the stirrup strap, entering his stomach, and of course, would cause his death, although he still carried me. The other also entered his body just in front of the hip.

“This was the opening scene of the great Battle of Chickamauga, but with the cavalry, or at least with Minty’s Brigade, that battle commenced on the eighteenth day of September at about 6 o’clock in the morning. That seemed also to be the day and hour Bragg really intended to set his whole army in motion. At least we met his right wing under Bushrod Johnson all right, but it seemed they were not in any great hurry to move across the open flat to attack us again. Perhaps the steady and orderly manner in which we walked out of the trap in which we were in had made it necessary for them to bring some of their artillery.

“General Minty came down the road with the balance of the brigade and the Board of Trade battery on a brisk gallop and in a twinkle the battery was in position on the hill and let loose on the Rebs, firing right over our heads. The very first discharge of that battery created a stir in the enemy’s line. A wheel was knocked from under one of their guns and before it was replaced another one of their guns was disabled.” (Larson, pages 177-179)

Larson leaves out the fight happening nearly simultaneously involving their sister brigade, Wilder’s Lightning Brigade, but he is purportedly writing only what he actually saw himself.

I would be very interested to hear from any of my readers more familiar with the battlefield and its history than I am as to how accurate Larson’s version of the fighting is. As previously mentioned, I haven’t been able to find much information on these opening scenes of the battle.

More on Charles Farrand

I didn't think to check the Cullum entry for Charles Farrand when I did his Fiddler's Green entry. Here's a little more detail on his wartime and post-war service. His Cullum number is 1795, for anyone who wants to check into him more on their own.

Farrand commanded C Company, 2nd Dragoons in General Lyons' campaign in Missouri from July to August 1861. Following that campaign his company conducted picket duty and scouting based out of Paducah, Kentucky until February 1862. He commanded a cavalry squadron during Grant's Tennessee campaign until April 1862. He continued to command C Company, 2nd Cavalry during the Mississippi campaign, fighting at Iuka and Corinth. He was briefly taken prisoner during a skirmish near Corinth in September 1862, but escaped before reaching a Confederate prison. He commanded General Rosecrans' escort and served as a volunteer aide de camp during the battle of Corinth October 3rd and 4th, 1862.

Following the battle, he served on mustering and secret service duty in the vicinity of Corinth until October 1863. Captain Farrand served as the acting Assistant Inspector General on the staff of General Eugene A. Carr at Little Rock, Arkansas from November 1863 to February 1864. He then served as the Chief Mustering and Disbursing Officer for the Military division of West Mississippi until September 1865.

Farrand served in the garrisons assigned to Richmond and Danville, Virginia until August 1866. After this was over a year on recruiting service at Fort Columbus, New York and New York City until October 1867. He rejoined his regiment at Newport Barracks, Kentucky (across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, Ohio) and served with them there until January 1868 when they were transferred to Shreveport, Louisiana.

He moved with the regiment to Baton Rouge the following year, and from there to Fort Snelling, Minnesota in June 1869, where he remained until he was honorably mustered out of service on January 1, 1871.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Time and again during my research I have come across references to "rations," and the insufficiency of them, difficulty finding and receiving them, etc. This naturally enough led me to question what exactly a ration is. The following description is the Ebensburg, Pennsylvania newspaper The Alleghanian in the May 16, 1861 issue:

“What is a Ration?

For the information of numerous inquirers, we give the following list of articles constituting a ration from the army regulations:
20 oz. Fresh and Salt beef or 12 oz. Pork
18 oz. Soft Bread or Flour, or 12 oz. Hard Bread
2 2/3 oz. Beans or 1 3/5 oz. Rice
1 5/6 oz. Sugar
1 oz. Coffee, ground
¼ oz. Candies
2/3 oz. Soap
½ oz. Salt

This must answer for the subsistence of a soldier during the day and properly husbanded, it is enough.”

Soldiers of different ranks received differing amounts of pay for obtaining their rations when not available (while travelling, for instance), but a ration was the same for private or colonel.

This may help bring home what all was involved when one reads accounts of being ordered to prepare 3 days of rations and march immediately to somewhere, as this went into the same haversack with the spare uniforms and other gear.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Fiddler's Green: Charles E. Farrand

This Fiddler's Green entry is about an honorary cavalryman. Charles Farrand was actually an infantry officer, but he commanded cavalrymen for a good portion of the war. In my mind, this makes him an enlightened infantryman, but I do admit a touch of bias.

Charles E. Farrand was born in April 1835 in Cayuga County, New York. His father was a US Navy officer who later achieved the rank of commodore in the Confederate Navy during the Civil War. He was admitted to the US Military Academy on July 1, 1853, listing his residence as Brockport, Monroe County, New York. He graduated four years later, 36th in his class. Initially assigned as a brevet second lieutenant to the 2nd US Infantry on graduation, he was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant, 7th US Infantry on January 2, 1858.

After the outbreak of the Civil War, Farrand was promoted to first lieutenant in the newly-created 11th US Infantry Regiment. He didn't reach his new regiment for some time, however. During the early campaigns in the western theater of the war, he commanded Company C, 2nd US Cavalry. This company had been left without officers after the deluge of resignations at the beginning of the war, and was trying to make its way east to join the rest of the regiment in the eastern theater.

Lieutenant Farrand first commanded the company in combat during the battle of Wilson's Creek. He was commended by his superiors for his conduct during the battle and for securing an abandoned cannon during the retreat. In his report on the battle, General Fremont wrote "Second Lieutenant Charles E. Farrand, First Regiment U.S. Infantry, distinguished for gallant and meritorious conduct under the command of General Sigel." (OR, Ser I, Vol 3, pg 56) He was promoted to captain in the 11th US Infantry on October 24, 1861.

Captain Farrand commanded a cavalry squadron consisting of his company and Company I, 4th US Cavalry through the Forts Henry and Donelson campaign, Shiloh, Iuka and Corinth. He became an aide de camp for Major General William S. Rosecrans in October 1862 during the Corinth campaign, and apparently served with him through the remainder of the war.

After the war, the 20th US Infantry Regiment was created by adding two companies to the second battalion of the 11th US Infantry on September 21, 1866. Captain Farrand was transferred with the battalion to the new regiment on the same date. He was honorably mustered out of service on January 1, 1871.

Charles E. Farrand died on September 29, 1900 according to the Colorado State Archives, and is buried in Riverside Cemetery in Denver, Colorado

Sunday, September 7, 2008

One Company’s War, Part III


July 1st Co. encamped at [Light] House Point Va until
Aug 9 Embarked for Giesboro Point D.C.
Aug 10 Arrived at Giesboro.
Aug 13 Marched to Tennallytown Md.
Aug 14 Marched to Frederick City Md.
Aug 15 Marched to Knoxville Md.
Aug 16 Marched to Bolivar Heights.
Aug 19 Marched to Charlestown Va.
Aug 22 Marched to Halltown Va.
Aug 28 Marched to Charlestown Va. During the most of this time the Co. with the Regt was at Hd. Qr. Mid. Mil. Division.
Sept. & Oct. No changes or casualties except Pvt A.E. Harris captured Sept 17 near Charlestown.
Nov & Dec No changes.


Jany & Feby No casualties.
March 15 Pvt Wm Vanderender killed in action at Hanover Junction.
May 1st Marched from Keepsville towards Petersburg.
May 2 Arrived at Petersburg.
May 10 Marched through Richmond to Yellow Church.
May 11 Marched to within 15 miles of Louisa C.H.
May 12 Marched across North Anna River
May 13 Marched to Catlett’s Station.
May 14 Marched to Fairfax C.H.
May 15 Marched to Arlington Heights Va.
May 24 Marched to Bladensburg Md.
June 1 Marched to Clouds Mills Va.
June 12 Marched to Tennallytown Md.
June 13 Marched to Clarksville
June 14 Marched to Frederick City Md.
July & Aug No changes.
Sept & Oct No changes.
Oct 15 Co. left Frederick City Md. for New York en route for New Orleans.
Oct 19 Embarked from N.Y. on Steamship Herman for New Orleans.
Nov 10 Left New Orleans La. for Austin Texas
Nov 29 Arrived in Austin Texas

“Camp General Sanders
Near Austin Texas
July 19th 1867

Respectfully submitted

Samuel M. Whitside
Bvt Major U.S.A.
Capt. Comdg “B” Co.
6th U.S. Cav.”

Friday, September 5, 2008

One Company’s War, Part II


Feb 7 Relieved from Escort duty with Genl Sumner and joined Regt
Feb 14 On Picket at Richards Ford Va.
Feb 15 Nine en. Men viz. Corpl J. Lepper & Pvts U. Donnelly, D.B. James, G. Leader, W.H. Lee, W. McMahon, E. Staley, L. Webb & R. Webster were missing from Picket line, being Captured by Enemy.
Feb 25 On Picket near Corbins Creek & remained balance of month.
March Furnished regular detail for Picket until
April 14 When Co. made a reconnaissance to Kelly’s Ford and returned.
April 15 Marched to Rappahannock Station, but ordered to Deep Run.
April 16 Swam the horses across Deep Run and returned to Morrisville.
April 21 Marched to Bealton Station.
April 22 Marched to Warrenton Junction and remained there until the 28th, then returned to Bealton Station.
April 29 Marched to Kelly’s Ford, crossed & went on Picket on the road leading to Culpeper C.H.
April 30 Crossed the Rapidan at Ely’s Ford.
May 1 Crossed the North Branch of the North Anna River.
May 2 Crossed the South Branch of the North Anna R. and marched thru Louisa C.H. to Thompson’s Cross roads.
May 3 With Squadron made a reconnaissance towards Va. Cen. R.R. about 8 miles East of Louisa C.H. & returned.
May 4 Marched towards Charlottsville, driving the enemy’s Pickets nd encamped on a road leading to James River.
May 5 Marched all day and night, reaching the North Anna
May 6 Marched to Raccoon Ford on the Rapidan, crossed and encamped on the North side.
May 7 Marched to Kelly’s Ford & remained on the South side.
May 8 Swam the Horses across the Ford & marched to Rappahannock Station.
May 9 Marched to Bealton Station.
May 10 Marched to Deep Run.
May 11 Marched to Harwood Church & remained there for bal. of month. Lost two Pvts A.J. Brock & F. Leach supposed to be captured.
June 9 Pvt H. Cruise missing in action at Beverly Ford.
June 21 Pvt N.W. Turner missing in action at Upperville Va. During mo. of June marched from Harwood Church to Emmitsburg Pa.
July 3d Participated in an engagement with the enemy at Fairfield Pa. losing 19 en. Men viz. Sergt. T. Dodd, Corpl F. Beck & J.W. Hare and Pvts Burroughs, Chilcoat, Colton, Cray, Eaton, Greible, Harris, Herron, Jack, Lewis, McGovern, Murray, Pasdoner, Porter, Smith & Skiff taken Prisoners by the enemy.
July 4 Joined Brigade & marched to near Fredk City Md.
July 6 Marched to Boonsboro & had a skirmish with the enemy.
July 7 Engaged the enemy at Funkstown Md, with a loss of one killed and 7 taken prisoners. Viz. Corpl D.E. Oby killed 1st Sergt G.W. Oby, Sergt J.J. Cocker and Pvts Bigelow, Lewis (?), Vanderender and Webster by the enemy.
July 9 Skirmished with the enemy, no casualties.
July 10 Were dismounted & had a slight skirmish.
July 11 Ordered on Detchd Service at Genl Pleasonton’s Hd.Qrs.
July 15 Marched to Berlin Md.
July 18 Marched to Lovettsville Va.
July 19 Marched to Wheatland Va.
July 21 Marched to Uniontown, Va.
July 22 Marched to Upperville Va.
July 24 Marched to Salem Va.
July 25 Marched to Warrenton Va.
Aug 1 Marched to Warrenton Junction Va.
Sept 12 Marched to Rappahannock River.
Sept 13 Marched to Culpeper C.H. and remained there until Oct 10.
Oct 11 Marched to Brandy Station. Had an engagement with the enemy. “Corpl Schmith and Pvt Stroup” wounded each in right knee. “Pvts Burroughs & Meyer” captured with arms and accoutrements. Crossed River same day & encamped.
Oct 13 Marched to Catlett’s Station. Guard of Cav. Corps Wagon Train.
Oct 14 Marched to near Centreville. Lt N. Nolan Comd’g Co. was wounded in left arm by a Carbine ball while reconnoitering the enemy’s line.
Oct 19 Marched to Groveton.
Oct 20 Marched to Gainsville.
Oct 21 Marched to Warrenton.
Oct 26 Marched to near Auburn.
Oct 30 Moved camp 2 miles west.
Nov 7 Broke camp & moved to Kelly’s Ford.
Nov 10 Marched to & encamped near Glendale.
Nov 11 Marched to & crossed Rappahannock river at R. Station and encamped at Brandy Station.
Nov 26 Marched to & encamped at Germanna Ford.
Nov 27 Escorted Hd. Qr. Mail Train to Rappahannock Station.
Nov 28 Picketed road from Robinson’s Tavern to Raccoon ford.
Dec 1 Marched from Robinson’s Tavern to Rapidan & encamped.
Dec 2 Resumed the march and encamped at Brandy Station. From this time until July 1st 1864, there are no records to show that the company was engaged in any battles or skirmishes.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

One Company’s War, Part I

As I’d mentioned previously, I discovered company histories for the 6th Cavalry submitted in 1866 as the regiment attempted to reconstruct the records of its activities during the war. I have decided to post one of the versions of one of those histories here in its entirety, spread over several posts, to illustrate one company’s wartime experience. The author of this report, Captain Samuel Whitside, started the war as an enlisted soldier and was commissioned during the war. He would later achieve the rank of general before he retired just after the Spanish-American War. The history will be posted in three segments, 1861-1862, 1863, and 1864-1865. The typos and misspellings are retained for accuracy. I hope to have Company B's roster complete before the end of the month, though I haven't yet determined how or if I should post it.

“Record of “B” Co. 6th U.S. Cavalry from its organization to the close of the war.

There are no records of the Company at present with it, except Muster Rolls, therefore hope the following will be accepted by the Gen’l Comd’g, it being all that I can possibly furnish, having served with the Co. but a few weeks.

The company “B” was organized August 16, 1861 at Camp Scott, near Pittsburg, Pa. and the following officers assigned to it viz August V. Kautz Captain, Herbert M. Enos 1st Lieut and Curwen B. McClellan 2nd Lieut.


Aug 26 Left Camp Scott for Bladensburg Md.
Aug 28 Arrived at Camp near Bladensburg, moved during the month to Washington & encamped near Capitol. Remained in Camp at latter place until March 62 when the Co with Regt was sent to Yorktown Va. Remained in Camp near Yorktown until


May 4 When the Co. with Regt left Yorktown in advance of the Army in pursuit of the enemy. Came up with them near Williamsburg Va in their works, and were present at the Battle of Wmsburg May 5.
May 7 Left Williamsburg in pursuit of the enemy, the Regt forming part of the advance under Genl Stoneman. Co’s B & H formed 1st Squadron, “the only one with carbines.” Lead the advance guard, acting as skirmishers from Wmsburg to the Chickahominy. Engaged the enemy’s rear guard at Station Mills May 9th & frequently engaged with enemy’s pickets.
May 24 Led the advance upon Mechanicsville.
May 27 Led the advance of Genl Fitz John Porter’s command. Drove the enemy’s picket on their reserve, and brought on the engagement of Hanover Court House.
May 28 A portion of the Co under Lieut Kerin burned the Central R.R. bridge across the South Anna fork of the Pamunkey.
May 29 The 1st Platoon acted with Capt Abert “Comdg 2d Squadron” and burned the Fredericksburg R.R. bridge across the South Anna. Returned with Genl Porter’s command the same day to camp on the Chickahominy. A very fatiguing march.
June 13&14 Were with the command of Genl Cooke from Camp to Tunstall Station in pursuit of Rebel Genl Stewart.
June 16 With 1st & 2nd Squadrons made a demonstration upon Ashland driving in the enemy’s pickets to that point. A trying march. Left camp at midnight and proceeded to Hanover C.H. and back same day.
June 25,26&27 Served with Regt protecting right flank of Genl Poerter’s comd.
June 28,29&30 With Genl Stoneman to the White house & from thence to Yorktown Va arriving at Fortress Monroe July 3rd.
July 7 Left Fortress Monroe for Harrison’s Landing. Arrived at Harrison’s Landing, and picketed the Charles City road the balance of the month.
Aug 4 Left Camp near Harrison’s Landing.
Aug 5 Participated in Battle of 2nd Malvern Hill.
Aug 6 While making a reconnaissance at night the enemy’s infantry fired on the Co. Lost 3 men, Corpl J. Lepper & Pvts J.F. VanZant & A. Duzette taken prisoners, while in Hospital near Coal Harbor June 24, 62 and Corpl G.W. Oby & Pvts Cruishank & E.J. Headley missing in action July 6.
Aug 19 Arrived at Yorktown Va.
Sept 3d Arrived at Alexandria Va marched to Upton Hill.
Sept 4 Marched to Tennallytown Md.
Sept 5 Marched to Dawsonville Md & picketed the Fredk City road for 4 days.
Sept 9 Marched to Poolesville.
Sept 10 Made a reconnaissance to Sugar Loaf Mountain, and Pvt Gibby wounded in arm.
Sept 11 Marched to Greenfield Mills.
Sept 12 Marched to Lickville & Point of Rocks.
Sept 13 Marched to Jefferson & picketed road to Point of Rocks for 4 days.
Sept 17 Marched to Burkettsville.
Sept 19 Marched this Rohrsville and to Sharpsburg.
Sept 21 Marched this Antietam.
Sept 23 Arrived at Harpers Ferry.
Sept 24 Made a Reconnaissance with 5 & 6th Cav’y & Robinson’s Battery towards Charlestown Va & captured several prisoners.
Sept 26 Made a Reconnaissance with “H” Co 6th Cav’y on the Leesburg road as far as Hillsboro.
Sept 27 Made a Reconnaissance with 5 & 6th Cav’y & Robinson’s Battery in the direction of Charlestown. Captured 5 prisoners.
Sept 29 Arrived at Harpers Ferry.
Oct ~ During this month the Co formed part of a Brigade under Genl Kimball, and accompanied same ina reconnaissance to Leesburg. The 1st Platoon of the Co charged this Waterford and captured 7 prisoners. Returned to Harpers Ferry and formed part of the command under Genl Pleasonton in pursuit of the Rebel Stuart. Was with Genl Hancock in a reconnaissance in force towards Charlestown, & part of the month the Co. picketed that road.
Oct 29 Marched to Purcellsville Va under Genl Pleasonton.
Nov 1 Participated in an engagement at Philamont.
Nov 2 Supported Battery “M,” 2d Artillery in a fight near Uniontown. Skirmished on foot driving the enemy about 2 miles.
Nov 3 Supported Battery “M” 2d Artillery in a running fight near Uniontown to Upperville. “Sergt Lepper wounded in arm and Pvt Murray in two first fingers on right hand.”
Nov 4 Marched to Markham Station.
Nov 5 Marched to near Barbour’s Crossroads, dismounted under fire of the enemy’s sharpshooters and 1 piece of artillery & drove the enemy’s skirmishers from the field. “Pvt Addis wounded in leg.”
Nov 6 Formed part of Brig. Under Genl Pleasonton, made a reconnaissance towards Aldie.
Nov 7 Marched thru Amosville & made a reconnaissance towards Culpeper C.H. Drove a Squadron of Cavalry, 2 pieces of Artillery & some Infantry about 3 miles. Captured 1 prisoner.
Nov 13 Marched to Waterloo Heights.
Nov 16 Marched to Warenton.
To 18 On picket near White Sulphur Springs.
Nov 19 Marched to Falmouth.
Nov 22 Reported to Genl Sumner as Escort. Balance of month encamped near Falmouth Va.
Dec 11 Under fire of the Enemy during bombardment of Fredericksburg.