A Brief Narrative of
Warren Light Artillery
Known during the “Civil War,”
1861, ’62, ’63, ’64 & ’65,
“Army of Northern Ky.”
“Army of Tenn.”
Written for my family
Notes to Reader
This is a typed copy of a copy, which source was the original handwritten memoirs of Major Charles Swett. I tried my best to keep it identical to the copy, but there may have been mistakes in the copying of the original. There are too many commas, some obsolete words, some grammatically incorrect sentences and a few nonsensical statements, but I believe that this was the way it was originally written. Despite these problems, the reader should still be able to follow the intended content.
Some points of interest:
Lieut. Thomas Havern, who was killed while serving with Swett’s Battery, was Charles Swett’s brother-in-law.
Daniel Swett Jr. and William H. Swett, Charles’s brothers, also served in Swett’s Battery. They were teenagers at the time. Both survived the war.
Early in the war, Charles Swett invented the “land mine”, which he called a “sub-terra torpedo”. These weapons were used extensively throughout the war, causing great harm to Union soldiers.
One year before the end of the Civil War, Charles Swett was appointed to the position of Inspector General of Artillery for the Army of Tennessee. Sometime later his rank was advanced from Captain to Major, despite his longtime reluctance to accept any promotions (source- Civil War Records for the State of Mississippi).
A brief narrative of the part taken by Warren Light Artillery (W.L.A.), known as “Swett’s Battery”, during the Civil War, 1861, 62, 63, 64, and 65, in Hardee’s Corps, army of Northern Kentucky and army of Tennessee.
After a lapse of forty-five years, and not knowing whether there are ten of the original members of the “Warren Light Artillery” living, and my constant refusal for the last twenty-five years to do so, I have attempted to write what I could of the company referred to. Much of the work is from memory, some from histories in my possession, notably, “The Confederate Soldier in the Civil War”, and a portion from a partial diary loaned to me by Mr. Earnest Grammer, whose father was a member of the battery, a gallant soldier, and died a few years ago in Texas, a Master of Arts and minister of the Baptist Church.
We left Vicksburg, as the narrative will show, with one hundred all told. We were constantly being recruited by transfers for the Infantry and otherwise, and on December 9th, 1863, fifty-three men were assigned to us from a disbanded battery, by Maj. General B. F. Cheatham, temporarily in command of Hardee’s Corps.
The list of killed and wounded herein recorded is certainly incomplete, though I have made every effort to be accurate. The best roll of the company I have been able to get contains one hundred and ninety-five names, which is too small by many. A few years after the war, a member of the company wrote an article that was published in the Vicksburg Herald, in which he stated concerning the company, “What manner of men they were, and to what perils they were exposed is shown by the losses in killed and wounded, between two hundred and fifty, and three hundred men”. I knew at the time we received the fifty-three men above referred to, our number being about the same, I suggested an election, which was acceded to, and not to be outdone by us, the vote was unanimous for the officers of the battery. I have forgotten what battery the men were sent from, but am sure no company contained better or braver men.
I requested all who may have the patience to read the following pages, to remember that the writer is in his eighty-first year, and therefore should not be expected to do more than has been performed, after the lapse of nearly half a century. I also request, that anyone hearing of a person who was a member of “Swett’s Battery”, or a son, daughter, brother, sister, granddaughter, or grandson of such person, that the address will be sent to me. If I have departed this life, the case will be attended to by my son, L. C. Swett, or one of his brothers who will send to such a person a “Memorial” gotten up by me for “the man behind the gun”.
Age 80 years
Born in Georgetown, D.C., (now West Washington) April 8th, 1828
FROM VICKSBURG TO BOWLING GREEN
In 1861, Dr. Harvey Shannon, Thomas Havern and Charles Swett, all of Vicksburg, Miss., determined to raise a cavalry for Confederate Service, and communicated with Gov. Pettus, in order to first, ascertain whether he would accept it, which he refused to do, as he had enough cavalry. He was then asked if he would take an artillery company, which he agreed to do.
The company was raised, and organized by the election of Charles Swett, Captain, and J. M. Oslin, Dr. Harvey Shannon and Thos. Havern lieutenants. The guns (four smooth bore six pounders), carriages, caissons, battery wagon and forge, were furnished us by the State, and the harness was made in Vicksburg. The construction of all that was necessary was supervised by Col. S. G. French, a West Pointer, and afterwards commander as General of French’s Division, Army of Tennessee.
I believe at the time the company was raised, he was Adjutant General of Mississippi. (Margin Note: S. G. French was Chief of Ordinance of Mississippi with the rank of Lt. Col. when we were mustered in.) We were mustered into the State service by him, not dreaming that we would have any trouble in getting out of it.
The people of Warren County were appealed to for horses, and they were very promptly supplied. The company went into camp on the ground connected with the county residence of the late Daniel Swett, four miles east of Vicksburg.
We occupied this camp for a short time, when Maj. John H. Crump, a citizen of Vicksburg, and at this time quartermaster of Hindman’s Legion, that was at Pittman’s Ferry, on the northern line between Arkansas and Missouri, and connected with Gen’l Hardee’s command. Maj. Crump’s business in Vicksburg was to purchase wagons and other supplies for Gen’l Hardee, that pertained to his department. All the officers of the company and many of the men knew Maj. Crump, I having known him nearly all my life. When he reached Vicksburg and found me in command of a company, he was simply determined to have it.
He came out to see us before we knew he was in Vicksburg. He assured me that he would take us with him, as also an infantry company in Vicksburg, the “Swamp Rangers”, Capt. Keep, which was ready to go. The Major went to Jackson, and the Governor being absent, arranged the matter with Col. Wm. Brown, Adj’t Gen’l of the State. The Maj. had chartered the twin side-wheel steamers, two beautiful boats that were in the Vicksburg and Yazoo River trade, the Prince and the Charm, to carry his purchases and the two companies as far as water would permit.
The following is the program under which we were to act. We were to be mustered into the Confederate service by Maj. Crump. The infantry company and all freight was to be put on the Prince, and the W.L.A., horses, etc. on the Charm. When the Prince was loaded, the W.L.A. was to leave camp in the afternoon, be loaded on the Charm at once, and we would depart; all of which was carried out as desired, except our departure, which occurred the next morning. We afterwards heard that the Governor on his return to Jackson, and learning the artillery had left the State, directed Col. Brown, Adj’t Gen’l to order it back; to which the Col. replied, “It left by steamer, had been gone several days, and he didn’t know how to reach us by telegraph”. The Gov. accepted the situation and the case was closed.
The company left Vicksburg on the steamer Charm, on the morning of August 20th, 1861, reaching Powahatan, on Black River, on the 26th; started for Pittsman’s Ferry on the 28th and arrived there on the 30th. We found at the Ferry, Capt. Pat. R. Cleburne, in command of an infantry company. It is well known he became a Major General and was killed at Franklin, Tenn., where the Confederate side lost five Generals, Adams, Cleburne, Reynolds, Gist and Strahl. Before “skipping” as we did, we had exhausted every means in our power to get the consent of Gov. Pettus. We had communicated with President Davis, as did also our member of Congress, Hon. Wm. A. Lake and others, and our efforts received the reply, “I must leave the matter with Gov. Pettus”.
At Pittsman’s Ferry, we met Gen’l Hardee, who became a Lieut. Gen’l, Major Shoup, who became a Brigadier Gen’l, and others who were much pleased with our outfit, and from that day to the close of the war, were our fast friends, and did everything that we requested, which was also the case with Brig. Gen’l Liddell, and Brigadier Gen’l Govan, and after I was Inspector of Artillery, and on the staff of Maj. Gen’l Elzey, my services were called for by the “Boys in Gray”, and I was never refused what was asked for. This was very gratifying, but I confess, at times, caused me to hesitate because of the unmilitary character of some of the appeals.
At Pittsman’s Ferry, the Warren Light Artillery was an unknown quantity, and “Swett’s Battery” was fairly launched.
The battery was drilled here by Maj. Shoup, who was a West Pointer, and at the beginning of the war was an instructor at the Academy. He entered West Point from Indiana, yet cast his fortunes with the South.
Gen’l Hardee soon left this locality with his entire command (Sept. 25th) for Columbus, Ky. where we arrived the day before the battle of Belmont, Oct. 1, 1861. We were not in the fight, as Belmont was on the west and we were on the east side of the Miss. River.
It is well known in the battle referred to, the Confederate won a complete victory; Gen’l Grant narrowly escaping capture by getting on a transport. We remained only a few days at Columbus, and started for Bowling Green, Ky., on the 10th, where Gen’l A. S. Johnston’s army then was, and was called “The Army of Northern Ky.”, which appellation was afterwards changed to “Army of Tennessee”. We reached Bowling Green on Oct. 10th. At Bowling Green, drilling the battery was continued by Maj. Shoup, and the officers instructed in class, (we had several copies of U.S. Artillery tactics) until we were told his services were no longer needed. From that time the battery was drilled by its commander, Swett, “every day and Sunday too”, which neither I nor the company fully endorsed, but military orders are given to be obeyed, and we lived through it.
The army needing a great quantity of forage, a large number of wagons was sent to points north of Bowling Green, to collect and haul it to various places, and it was sent by rail. Gen’l Hindman’s command was ordered to the front to protect the forage collectors. We stopped at Bell’s Tavern for awhile, and then moved forward to Cave City, and to Horse Cave. At Cave City, we were joined by Col. Terry and his regiment of Texas Rangers. Near here, was the town of Woodsonville, on the south side of Green River, and Munfordville directly opposite. Gen’l Siegel was at the latter place with a command, but gave Gen’l Hindman no trouble till he crossed a force to Woodsonville, when Gen’l H. thought he should be driven back, and attacked him, bringing about what we now call a “scuffle”. We had few casualties (artillery none) as to number, but they were great in importance, as we lost the gallant Col. Terry, who charged the enemy over a piece of ground that was almost covered with large flat rocks, which was very favorable to the enemy, as it prevented the cavalry from going at a gallop. The Federal side lost an officer of high rank, whose name and rank I am unable to recall. Lieut. Shannon, seeing a man getting over a fence, aimed a gun at him, which was fired with deadly effect.
We afterwards saw an account of this in a Louisville paper, to which city, the remains of the officer were carried. Siegel recrossed the river, Swett’s Battery’s first battle was ended, and the entire command returned to camp.
While we were at Cave City, Gen’l Hindman wanted to do something that would check the enemy’s progress between Louisville and Bowling Green over the railroad, in case we had to leave in a hurry. Our friend Maj. Crump suggested that he send for me if he wanted anything of that kind done. I was sent for and asked if anyone in the company knew how to blast rock, as he wanted to blast the end of a tunnel a short distance from our camp, and throw the rock on the railroad. The tunnel was through solid limestone. I promised to inquire and report. The facts were stated to the company, and all were ready to go if necessary. We threw the earth above the tunnel on the track, blasted the rock so uncovered, which we continued until the mouth of the tunnel was nearly closed. The Gen’l inspected, and was pleased. My opinion was, the Federal Army would remove the obstruction in two days, but did not give expression to that opinion. I pondered over the matter, and the idea of a sub-terra torpedo suggested itself to my mind. I saw the Gen’l, told him of it, and describing the device as near as possible, promised to make a drawing of it, which was done, submitted and approved, and sent to Gen’l Hardee at Bowling Green. An embankment was selected, which was shown in the drawing, as well as the ends of cross-ties, rails, etc. and the drawing described by letters. The magazine, as I called the powder case, was to be fired by the locomotive’s weight depressing the rail, (which was provided for) drawing the serrated wire from a friction primer, which would shoot its fire into a can, or jug of powder, and a result would follow.
A few days later, a short leave was granted me to go to Bowling Green to get better rations than we had. My leave was for twenty-four hours, all Gen’l Hindman could grant, but expressed the belief Gen’l Hardee would extend it if I wished. The trip to Bowling Green was made. When I called on Gen’l Hardee, who asked me where I was stopping, my reply was, “at the Hotel”, and he invited me to come to his quarters. On being told that my leave was for only twenty-four hours, he replied, “stay longer if you wish; nothing is going on up there, and I will send you up on a locomotive if anything occurs”. I thanked him and remained several days.
Just as I reached the depot on my way back to Cave City, I was hailed by one of Gen’l Hardee’s staff, who was on horseback, and told Gen’l Hardee wanted to see me. The first question of Gen’l Hardee’s was, after I reached his presence, “Are you sure the device you suggested to Hindman will work?” I replied, “Just as sure, Gen’l, as I am that the hammer of a rifle will fire a percussion cap”. He continued by saying, “I want you to go to Nashville to Capt. Wright, who is there in charge of the laboratory, etc., and he will get up what you want”. A letter was given to me and I departed.
For obvious reasons, no requisition was given to me, and my drawing and description were with Gen’l Hardee. I met Capt. Wright, who read my letter and asked for the requisition. On telling him I had none, he said, “I don’t know what to do about it”. I left soon, telling the Capt. I would see him again before leaving the city. A telegram was sent to Gen’l Hardee, which destroyed Capt. Wright’s “red tape”, and when I called to bid adieu, he requested me to tell him what was required. When completed, all was to be sent to Gen’l Hindman.
Donelson surrendered, and Gen’l Grant being in route for Pittsburg Landing, very near the southern boundary of Tennessee, and about twenty-five miles from Corinth, Miss., which caused Gen’l A. S. Johnston to fall back to the latter place, and we never received what Capt. Wright was to get up. The Capt. was a West Pointer. Capt. W. moved his establishment to Atlanta, (here he was made a Colonel) and it was ultimately sent to Savannah, Ga., and added to the laboratory, etc., of Col. Raines. Both sub-terra torpedoes were extensively used after this date, and Col. Raines was said to be the inventor. “Sic transit Gloria mundi”.
My opinion of the sub-terra torpedo, was similar to that of Gen’l Sherman, who came in contact with them on his “March to the sea”. An officer lost a leg by one of them, concerning which Sherman says in his memoirs, Vol. 11, page 194, “This was not war, but murder, and made me very angry. I immediately ordered a lot of rebel prisoners to be brought from the provost guard, armed with picks and spades, and made them march in close order along the road, so as to explode their own torpedoes, or discover and dig them up. They begged hard, but I reiterated the order, and could hardly help laughing at their stepping so gingerly along the road, where it was supposed sunken torpedoes might explode at each step, but they found no other torpedoes till near Fort McAllister”. Query – If any of the prisoners were killed, was it murder?
BOWLING GREEN TO SHILOH
The army left Bowling Green for Corinth, January 12th 1862. The battle of Shiloh was fought on April 6th and 7th 1862. Albert Sidney Johnston, commander of Confederate forces, and U.S. Grant of the Federal.
It was Gen’l Johnston’s intention, knowing Buell to be on his way to join Grant, to bring on the battle Saturday morning April 5th, but the roads were so bad he was not in line of battle till Sunday morning. The line moved forward between daylight and sunrise, the battery being on the left of Hindman’s command. Very soon after we started, the Gen’l came to me and said, he was going to a place he pointed out, at double-quick, and wanted me to follow him as rapidly as possible. We moved forward and met Gen’l H. as we were ascending a gentle slope. From this point, we could see tents less than half a mile in our front, and I asked him for a position. His reply was, “Open on the camp”. The command; “Forward into Battery on the right piece; commence firing”, was given at once and the six guns were soon at work.
Before firing on the camp, we could plainly see persons walking about and the scene presented the appearance of a picnic. Surprised? Yes. Infantry soon appeared among the tents, and begin firing at us. Several of the company had fallen, and I thought it a matter of a few minutes when most of us would be down. We couldn’t see our infantry, as it was lying down to our right, and a little in rear of us. General Hardee making his appearance and taking in the situation, said, “Hindman, charge and save the battery”. (Told to me by one of Gen’l Hardee’s staff after the battle) General Hindman rode up to us and gave the order “Cease firing Captain, I’ll charge”. I don’t remember whether I repeated his order; really it was not necessary to do so, but I well know that I said, “Just in time, Gen’l”. The infantry charged and the camp was abandoned, very speedily. Then and there, the first gun was fired on the field of Shiloh. At our next position, infantry lying down, we fought a battery almost directly on our right. I couldn’t understand the situation, and looking round for someone to unravel the matter; seeing Gen’l Bragg not far in rear of us, galloped to him, stated the case, and told me it was the enemy. I then realized that Gen’l Hindman was in advance of the Confederate line of battle. We continued to fight the battery referred to, until the Captain saw some of our infantry in his front, when he undertook to limber to the rear and get away. In making that movement, the horses’ sides are exposed in the “left-about”, which we took advantage of, and the battery was nearly wrecked. We soon moved forward, and saw no more of the battery, getting our information for Col. Kennard of Gen’l Hindman’s staff, concerning the damages we inflicted.
We moved forward to our third position under the following circumstances. On our right was Col. Marmaduke, standing in front of his regiment, who said to me, “Swett, those fellows are in that piece of woods in our front. Let’s go get them”. I replied, “All right, I’m with you”. We went for them, and they left.
Up to this time, the Confederates had things pretty much their own way. I don’t remember the hour. The Federals now had a line of battle formed, and we had serious work before us up to 2 P.M., at or near which hour, Gen’l A. S. Johnston was killed, and both armies ceased firing for an hour or longer; why, I am unable to say, unless the other side was waiting for us to attack, which was probably the case, as we had driven them before us all day. Between three and four o’clock, a staff officer came to me with an order for Gen’l Hardee to hurry with the battery to where he was, which we did as rapidly as possible. On approaching the place, we saw the Gen’l on his horse, very much exposed, and one of our batteries nearby that was badly injured. As soon as we were in sight, someone called out, “For God’s sake hurry”.
Our six guns were soon throwing shells, and it was not long before the enemy retired and moved across our right front, through a piece of woodland. My opinion is they moved by the left flank in order to get in near of Gen’l Prentiss, who had been surrounded and captured, with many of his men and a portion of his artillery, which we were ignorant of, but they doubtless knew. When no one was in our front, we limbered up and moved to the right, in order to rejoin our Brigade. While on the way, sharp-shooters behind a pile of sacked corn began to shoot at us, which we stopped by firing solid shot into the pile. We again limbered up, and just as I was about to give the command forward, a shot struck Robert Redrick in the forehead. He was driver of a wheel team, on horseback, and his head was on a level with mine. I was very close to him, and the shot may have been fired at a star on my hat; the right brim of the officer’s hats being turned up and fastened with a brass star.
As we were moving on, we saw something that caused us to halt and investigate. I had a fine field glass, and all the officers took a view and decided they were Federals. I did not think so, and continued the march. We were not long in ascertaining that Prentiss was captured, and we were with our Brigade, and the blue and gray were mixed. We saw Gen’l Prentiss, who was there, holding his sheathed sword in his left hand.
The Brigade cheered as we drove up, but I confess the scene caused a mournful feeling to come over me. This occurred between four and five o’clock. We were away from our Brigade not more than an hour. As the sun sets on the 6th of April, very close to 6:45, and darkness coming on in an hour, we still had two hours for battle.
At sunset, or just before, our Brigade crossed a piece of cleared and very stumpy ground, to the woods, where they came to a “lie down”. Not knowing exactly where the enemy was, I ordered the company to keep out of view, and not expose themselves to sharp-shooters, while I went to the front to find a position. We were soon ready, but saw nothing in front, or on our left. In a few minutes, a large gun was fired from the direction of Pittsburg landing, the shell passing over us and far to our rear. We knew better how far we were from the landing, than those at the gun referred to, knew of our distance from them, which was not exceeding half a mile.
The battery was brought into action, we continuing the fire, though we could not see them, until they stopped. I have no doubt they ceased firing to cause us to quit. After the war was over, Gen’l Buell had an article in the “Century Magazine” concerning Shiloh, and said the last firing that was done was by some heavy guns on the bluff, that he directed Col. Webster to man and fire towards the Confederates, which caused a rebel battery to respond, the projectiles from which going into the river, some among Federal soldiers for Grant’s Army, (about ten or fifteen thousand) and some across the river.
This was after sunset, and seeing nothing in any direction, except an infantry command on our left going to the rear, we limbered up and retired until we reached a cluster of tents, where we halted and fed the horses, there being plenty of corn and hay at hand; we also found plenty of good things to eat.
We heard no more firing except on occasional shell from the gun-boats during the night. We were afterwards informed, that a gun-boat was ordered to fire a shell every five minutes.
I slept that night on a cot, in what must have been a Chaplain’s tent, as there was a table with a large Bible on it at my head. We were up pretty early, and found we had camped very close to Gen’l Hardee. I went to the General, who in course of conversation told me we had whipped 75,000 men the day before. All soon left this camp, moving to the west, or left, looking towards the landing. Firing was heard in front, and no infantry being near for me to operate with, I asked the Gen’l to give me a position, and was directed to go into battery there.
The ground occupied by us was slightly elevated, and immediately in front was a large apple orchard. A line of the enemy’s skirmishers soon reached the orchard, and seeing nothing else to fire at, directed their fire against us, the balls seeming to hit everything but our men. I went to the Gen’l, who was close by, explaining the situation and he ordered me to retire the battery, which was done, but not before Lieut. Oslin had received a shot that hit him just below the left clavicle. He recovered sufficiently to be with us once afterwards, but had to leave and resign. Some years ago, I heard of his death in Texas, from the effects of the wound, which would have caused the death of many persons in a short time. He was a gallant officer, and claimed to be a veteran of the “War with Mexico” in 1846-7.
Monday, April 7, 1862. Affairs today were very different from yesterday’s, as we fought, retired, halted, fought and retired, always before greatly superior numbers, until late in the afternoon, when from some cause the enemy ceased to advance. Gen’l Hardee’s command was in rear of others of the infantry, with the cavalry in our rear to cover the retreat.
When nothing could be seen of either our army or the enemy, except a body of our cavalry moving across our front, Gen’l Hardee directed me to fire by piece in the direction of the enemy, with an elevated trajectory, to see if anything could be stirred up. After firing six shells and failing to develop anything, the Gen’l rode away, we following. We heard no more firing, as the enemy didn’t seem disposed to press us. Gen’l Sherman says in his memoirs, Vol. 1, page 249, “The battle of Shiloh was fought on the 6th and 7th of April, and when the movement of the 8th revealed that our enemy was gone, in full retreat, leaving killed, wounded and much property by the way, we all experienced a feeling of relief”. The movement referred to above, is mentioned in his memoirs, as follows, after naming the troops that were trying to follow up – “The enemy’s cavalry came down boldly at a charge, led by Gen’l Forest in person, breaking through our line of skirmishers, when the regiment of infantry, without cause, broke, threw away their muskets and fled”. We had no trouble on our way to Corinth. Most of the ammunition used by the battery we found on the field, there being plenty of all kinds.
We reached Corinth with the battery intact in all respects, except a diminished number at roll-call. The battle of Shiloh has passed into history. My horse was shot on Monday, without injury to myself.
It is positively certain Swett’s Battery fired the first shot at Shiloh on Sunday morning, when the battle opened, and we who survive are satisfied, the last gun on Sunday, except what came from the gun-boats, and the last shot on Monday afternoon, all of which has been referred to. Gen’l Hardee has the following in his report of the battle of Shiloh, concerning the movement of Gen’l Hindman on opening the battle, which confirms my opinion when I questioned Gen’l Bragg on the field when my second position was taken on Sunday morning. “Hindman’s Brigade engaged the enemy with great vigor on the edge of a wood and drove him rapidly back. The conduct of Gen’l Hindman on the field was marked by a courage which animated his soldiers, and a skill which won their confidence. He was disabled on Sunday. He has never transmitted his report and I am unable to do justice to his brave command”.
He has the following to concerning Monday afternoon. “Our artillery shelled the woods, but evoked no reply, while disordered regiments and stragglers assembling, withdrew slowly, without pursuit or molestation, to the rear”. The artillery referred to, was the W.L.A., or “Swett’s Battery”. The horse of Gen’l Hindman and Col. Shaver were killed about the middle of the forenoon on Sunday, by a cannon shot that broke their spines in rear of the saddles, Gen’l H. being so badly injured as to necessitate his removal from the field. Col. S. as was the case with myself, the next morning, was unhurt.
June 6th. The army left (for) Corinth on the night of May 29th 1862. “The killed and wounded at the battle of Shiloh, reached about 30 percent of the entire number engaged. Wellington’s loss at the battle of Waterloo was less than 12 percent. In the great battles of Marengo and Austerlitz, sanguinary as they were, Napoleon lost less than fifteen percent, while at Shiloh, ‘Americans against Americans’, the killed and wounded numbered more than twice the casualties of Wellington’s army at Waterloo”. (Allen in Taylor’s Magazine) The same writer stated – “Speaking of Gen’l Sherman many years after, I asked him, what do you regard as the bloodiest and most sanguinary battle of the Civil War? Shiloh, was the prompt response”. Lieut. Wiggins of Robert’s Battery, was with us at Shiloh, in command of two 12 pound Howitzers, and rendered splendid service. They afterwards joined the cavalry.
The following is a list of killed and wounded at Shiloh, many of the wounded dying in a few days.
- (#) Lieut. J. M. Oslin
- (K) Robert Redrick
- (W) N. E. Cloud, died
- (W) J. Buhler
- (W) Cooley Mann
- (K) ------ Scott
- (K) C. Allinger
- (W) A. Goodman
- (W) A. Morbley
- (W) J. H. Smith, died
- (W) H. Reisman
- (K) F. Kinsell
- (W) C. McDermott
(#) Died from wounds several years later (W) Wounded (K) Killed
On the field of Shiloh, Lieut. Havern, Chief of line Caissons, was directed to keep the battery supplied with ammunition. A member of the company, in an article written (for) The Vicksburg Evening Post, several years after the war, states – “The record shows that Swett’s Battery had twenty positions, each in advance of the other on Sunday, and a record of the shots fired in the two days was nearly eighteen hundred, over one thousand being captured ammunition”.
I kept a diary, which was lost in the destruction of my residence by fire, in 1866.
We remained at Corinth, with nothing unusual occurring, until the 27th of May, when two regiments, one under Col. Marmaduke, (both were very soon Brigadiers) were sent to Farmington, distant about five miles, and on the road to Shiloh, to make a reconnaissance; the battery going with them. We very soon stirred up something. Two guns in our front fired on us from the cover of a ridge, the guns being forwarded by hand, and the recoil carrying them under cover.
Fortunately for us, they were throwing spherical case with the fuse cut too short, and they exploded too far from us to do any great damage, though the balls came through the battery, along the ground, like handfuls of marbles. One exploded so near Jos. R. Peller that one thigh was terribly lacerated. He was sent to Corinth on a caisson, taken home by his father, and died from the wound. A. C. Marble was also wounded. We had been in action about twenty minutes, when Col. M. came to us and directed that we “limber to the rear” as though on drill, and start for Corinth, as he had sent back the information we were being pursued by a large force.
The Col. and I rode along together at the side of the battery, and hearing the rattle of artillery wheels, we fixed prolonged and dragged the rear gun, so that we could load and fire while we were moving forward, if anything appeared in the road. The noise ceasing and being satisfied no one was after us, the gun was limbered up. When we reached Corinth; I thought the whole army was in the works.
I was quite unwell when we went to Farmington, which Col. Marmaduke knew, and the night of that day, I was very sick. Col. M. came to see me and made known we were to leave Corinth, and suggested that I go home, as I certainly could not make the trip in my condition, saying he would go to Gen’l Hardee and get me a leave, which he did after telling me the army would be found near Tupelo, on my return. That night the army started south, stopping at Tupelo, Lee County, Miss.
On my return after a few days absence, the army was found here, under the command of Gen’l Bragg; Gen’l Beauregard retiring on account of bad health. During our stay at Tupelo, everything seemed to be undergoing inspection and general overhauling, in which Swett’s Battery came in for its share of outside work. Inspectors were here, there and everywhere, examining bores of guns, harnesses, etc., talking as they thought very wisely, but not acting in that way on many occasions. As an indication of the value of the report made to Gen’l Hardee concerning the condition of his artillery that I commanded in camp, though he had a Chief of Artillery who never came near us, I will say, being at the Gen’l’s quarters soon after the inspection, he remarked that the inspectors reported some of the wheels in bad condition. My reply to that was, I had been informed the army had a movement on hand, but I didn’t know where it as going, but wherever its destination, the artillery would follow, as I disagreed in total with the report he had received. He said, “I am glad to hear you say so”, and then informed me we were going to Chattanooga.
While in Tupelo, we had to drill an artillery company that the Gen’l found, (they) knew comparatively little of the drill, examine wagon masters, artillery officers, and do this and that, being kept almost constantly busy, and doing much that I thought was the duty of others, and not myself. The battery in question, was without a captain, from some cause which I cannot recall, though it had its full number of lieutenants, (3). Gen’l Hardee was aware that the company needed drilling, and desired to place an officer in command who could drill a company. The first lieutenant, Freeman, gave me this information, and asked me to intercede for him, using a stereotyped expression that often annoyed me, yet continued to the end of the war, “Gen’l Hardee will do anything for you”. One day at his quarters he told me to drill this battery, which made an opening for me, and was used as I believed to the company’s advantage. The drilling was attended to every day. On another day the Gen’l told me he would see the artillery drill the next day, naming the hour; on being asked what batteries, he said “Freeman’s; and you may bring your own”. He knew what we could do, and our battery remained in line during the whole time. After the drill was over he invited me to his quarters with him, and we rode off together. While there, he told me to examine the officers of that battery and report, which was done, and the next time I met the Gen’l he made such an opening, that my opinion caused him to say, “Tell Freeman he shall have command of the company”.
On my way back to camp, I met Freeman on his way to Tupelo, and saluted him as captain. He smiled and said, “I knew you could do it”. “But if I failed?” I asked. He replied, “I would have thought you didn’t try”. I thought he was not very liberal, and the matter was laughed over and closed. This battery afterwards went to Forest, I think at Forest’s request, and rendered splendid service; Forest mentioning it in his report of his expedition into West Tenn. in 1863 in two places. One was as follows, “The fire of our artillery for accuracy and rapidity was scarcely if ever excelled, and their position in the fence corners, proved to the enemy, instead of a protection, a great loss, as our shot and shell scattered them to the winds. Capt. Freeman and Lieut. Morton of our batteries, with all of their men, deserve special mention, keeping us as they did, a constant fire from their pieces, notwithstanding the enemy made every effort at silencing them by shooting down the artillerists at the guns”.
This incident is mentioned to show, that a fine company might have been almost useless if a person had been put in command who was not wanted. Would it not have been a company in the same position as the “Army of Tenn.” under Bragg, whom no one wanted? The case is not without a moral. But to return again to the inspectors. It is not necessary to ask why, but it is a well known fact, that too many persons are occupying positions in every direction that they do not fill. The inspectors may have been gentlemen of education, and no doubt were, and were perhaps capable of solving the most abstruse problems in calculus, but as inspectors of wheels, I would sooner take the opinion of any old wagoner who couldn’t answer the question, what is the half of half?
Swett’s Battery prided itself on always being ready for whatever was to be done. The company had four artificers, viz: two wood workers, one harness maker, and one horse shoer and black-smith, all of whom had horses on the march, so as not to be too tired to work, all night if necessary, at the end of a day’s march.
It was the duty of all to see that nothing was out of order when we made a start in the morning, though the lieutenants, chief of sections, were reported to. McTaggart, our harness repairer, helped to make the battery harnesses in Vicksburg; and certainly understood his business, yet he brought to me at one time, a collar that was in bad fix, which he said he could do nothing with. I examined it, laid it down and said, “Mack, I’ll repair the collar”. He at once, took it up, saying, “If you can repair it, I can”. He never came to me again. Mack was a splendid workman, thoroughly understood his trade, and in a shop with tools and material to work, could have put the collar in order in a little while. He was not a natural mechanic, and seemed to have no resources outside of what he had been taught.
On one occasion, we were changing our base, Col. Shaliah having charge of artillery on one wing, and Swett’s Battery on the other. We had corn, but no meal. There was a mill not far from us. We had a steamboat engineer in the company, who said he could grind a load of corn and come to us that night. S., our quartermaster and commissary, was very much bothered to know what to do with the meal, as he had nothing to put it in. He was asked if he could get a tent fly; yes he could. He was told to spread the fly across the wagon, pour the meal in the center of it, draw up the fly, tie it where necessary, and come on. We received the meal that night.
This same individual came to camp one evening minus a wagon that he had to leave and come to get a linch-pin made, as one was broke. He was told to go back to the wagon, get a green, hard wood stick, whittle out a linch-pin, put in through the axle and bring in the corn. He looked amazed, saying he never heard of such a thing. The wagon was brought in and a pin made for it. That man would have been a dismal failure as commander of a battery, which may be very appropriately denominated, all machinery.
When we reached Chattanooga, I paid my respects to Gen’l Hardee, who asked if the artillery came through all right. It did, with the exception of one company, which I regretted very much, as the battery was from Miss. The horses were very thin, the shoulder of many of them being in such a plight as almost to render them unable of working. I knew the captain well, and he reported the case to me, seemingly greatly distressed. I could do nothing, not being in command during our march to Chattanooga, Gen’l Hardee’s Chief being in charge, with whom I had nothing to do, and to whom I had nothing to say, except to tell him when he asked it, what commands to give in parking the artillery for the night on the right or left of the road, so that the company in front today would be in rear tomorrow. I never saw this chief on the battle-field, but was told he could not be discounted as a soldier.
Our two wood workers were not only finished carpenters, but could do anything in wood that was ever placed before them, but our horse shoer, who learned his trade in New York, had a poor idea of general black-smith work. What pursuit can a man follow successfully, who has comparatively no mechanical ideas? The above is referred to as a sample of what a battery commander has to contend with. There are men who can do very fine work at their chosen trade when they have everything necessary to do with, but give them a broad-axe, hand saw, jack knife and a cord of wood, and they would never make a model of a steam engine, as some whittlers have done. Oh! For the everlasting fitness of things!
On July 24th 1862, the battery and other artillery of Hardee’s command started for Chattanooga, (the infantry going by rail) which place we reached August 19th. On the 26th, the battery was assigned to Liddell’s Brigade, and remained with it until he was sent to Mobile, and Col. D. C. Govan was made a Brigadier, with whom the company remained until the “closing scene”, (so far as the battery was concerned, at Jonesboro, a short distance south of Atlanta).
August 27th 1862, we left Chattanooga for Kentucky. Sept. 16th, at Rowlett’s Station, near Woodsonville, we found a Federal Fort and troops, commander’s name not remembered. Bragg demanded surrender of Fort Craig, as it was called, which was refused, and we were ordered to open on the fort at day-light Sept. 17th. Our position was very elevated, being on a ridge, and every shot would have plunged into the enclosure. This was nine months to the day since we had a brush with Siegel, and on almost the exact spot. Daylight came and we were waiting to hear artillery fire, being satisfied we were not the only company with instructions like our own. The sun appeared and perfect quiet was in possession, still we thought best to burn no powder. In a few minutes an officer on horseback rushed up and gave the information that the fort surrendered at 1 O’clock A.M.!! We thought things, said nothing, and joined our brigade without the stain of murder on our hands.
Sept. 20th, we were in line of battle, expecting Buell, till 3 P.M. Buell failed to put in an appearance and we again took up the line of march northward.
We reached Perryville Oct. 6th, Liddell’s Brigade and the battery in front. General Polk was in command at Perryville, because of Gen’l Bragg being called to Frankfort on business of a public character, yet he returned before the fight was over.
The battle was opened on the morning of Oct. 8th 1862. Gen’l Polk states in his report, “About 10 O’clock, Liddell (our Brigade) was hotly engaged and it became evident that the enemy was disposed to press upon our right. I directed Gen’l Buckner to retire Liddell’s Brigade, and let it all back upon our general line, and ordered Gen’l Cheatham to move the whole of his command from the left to the right of our line. These orders were promptly executed, and Cheatham’s command was held in column on Brigade”. At this place, about 1 O’clock, Liddell had held the enemy in check for about 2 hours. During the time, a large body of cavalry made a dash, but was scattered to the rear at a double-quick, the Battery firing canister, which is never used except at very close quarters.
At another place in Gen’l Polk’s report, he says, “As the enemy was yielding towards the close of the day, the Brigade of Brigadier Gen’l Liddell, approached from my left and rear, and halted on the crest of a hill to determine a point to which to offer its support. It was directed to the place where it was most wanted, and moved upon it with deafening cheers. Here, owing to the fading twilight, it was for a few moments difficult to determine whether the firing in our front was from our men or the enemy’s troops. This difficulty however, was speedily removed; it was the enemy, and in obedience to orders, that veteran Brigade under its gallant commander, closed the operations of the day in that part of the field in a succession of the most deadly volleys I have witnessed (Margin Note: Only one volley, C. S.). The enemy’s command in their immediate front was well nigh annihilated. At this point a number of prisoners were taken, and among them several Corps, Division and Brigade staff officers, and darkness closing in, I ordered the troops to cease firing and to bivouac for the night”. Before this, and immediately in our front, when Gen’l Liddell received his last order, was a battery, and infantry command. We engaged them, severely handling the battery, while the Brigade gave the infantry all they wanted, when they double-quicked in a flank movement, the artillery company going off with the gun limbers and caissons, leaving their guns on the field.
We climbed rather a steep hill, to comparatively level ground, in scattering woods. It was nearly dark; the moon being about four days old. About fifty yards in front of us was a command firing, to the right oblique, but not one could tell whether it was Federal or Confederate. Either Gen’l Polk, or Col. John Kelly of the 8th Ark. Regiment, went forward and asked what command it was, and received the reply “22nd or 23rd Indiana”. “Do you want me down there”? The answer was a negative, and in a minute the whole of Liddell’s Brigade fired on them, nearly all who were not killed, being taken prisoners. The artillery did nothing here. Everything being quiet, I was talking to the Col. of the Regiment, and he explained, “My God! You killed nearly every man I had”. (Margin Note: Our brigade had one man wounded – none killed, C. S.)
We remained here till midnight, and bivouacked in a field of shocked corn close by, where the horses were fed.
In the morning before the line of battle was formed, Gen’l Hardee came to me and directed that the battery occupy the position where it was. This was our extreme left. He then asked how far it was to a brick academy east of us. I told him what I thought to be the distance, and he told me to come with him. We reached the academy, where I found a battery of 12 pounder Napoleon guns. The Gen’l directed me to remain with it, as he wanted the battery to protect the left of our line. My situation was, to say the least, a very awkward one, but fortunately I knew the officers well, and on stating the case, they expressed themselves by saying they were glad of it. The company was a very fine one, but had never been in action. It rendered splendid service to the close of the war.
In a short time, Gen’l Buckner, whom I knew, rode up and the case was made known to him, when he told me as he was back, his chief would take charge, and I returned to the battery, which I found in a few minutes.
Before we reached Perryville, the road was exceedingly dusty, which the battery would raise in such clouds as almost to strangle us. As for water, there was none. We could not exclaim as did the “Ancient Mariner”, “Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink”, but, water, water nowhere, and I’m dying for a drink.
Killed and wounded.
Mike Devine, Killed
Ed Dowling, Killed
There must have been more.
PERRYVILLE TO MURFREESBORO
Oct. 9th 1862. The day after the battle, we started for Cumberland Gap, reaching camp, Dick Robinson the next day. Here we found 2000 barrels of pork, and took all we wanted. On the 21st, passed through the Gap and arrived at Knoxville on the 25th. The next morning the snow was four inches deep on the Caisson chests, though I slept well under a blanket, with the additional coat of snow. Oct. 31st. Left Knoxville and reached Shelbyville on Nov. 23rd. The enemy advancing in force from Nashville, to attack us, the army was concentrated at Murfreesboro, which place we reached on Dec. 28th, and formed line-of-battle. Though Nashville is only 20 miles from Murfreesboro, the cavalry was so skillfully handled that Rosecrans was four days in reaching us.
BATTLE OF MURFREESBORO
We were in line-of-battle for three days, during which time there was much heavy skirmishing, and many dashes made by the cavalry. Our Corps, Lieut. Gen’l Hardee’s, was ordered to attack the enemy at daylight on Wednesday, Dec. 31st. At that time we were not quite half a mile from the enemy. Between 7 & 8 O’clock, the rattle of small arms and boom of artillery evinced the fact that the battle was in progress. The enemy not expecting the attack, were to some extent surprised and not prepared to oppose us successfully, consequently we drove the Federal right back to a right angle with their line, our Brigade, Liddell’s capturing six guns. After this, Johnson’s Brigade being repulsed, caused our Division, Cleburne’s to fall back. The next morning, Jan’y 1st 1863, we had a brush with cavalry, though it was rather quiet on our left. Both armies seemed to be preparing to renew the fight, but very little was done until the next morning, Jan’y 2nd, at which time we had been in line-of-battle five days, and were not only uncomfortable, but pretty well worn-out. Up to this time, Stone River could be forded almost anywhere, but a continuous rain caused it to rise, and the condition was reversed and changed the status of both armies. That night at near 12 O’clock, Bragg retired from the field to a position on Duck River, the cavalry remaining until the 5th. Nothing followed us. We were informed that the Federals lost nearly thirty pieces of artillery, including the 6 pieces taken by our Brigade, Liddell’s.
In this battle, Lieut. Havern’s horse was killed, by a cannon shot passing through him, though Havern was not seriously hurt by the fall. About a foot of the muzzle of one of our guns was blown off, and we secured another at a depot near by. We took from the field two rifled guns, one a Parrot 10 pounder, which was taken from the enemy.
Killed and wounded.
- (K) Martin Green, lived a few hours
- (W) John Bircher
- (W) J. McMullen
- (W) F. Bonengal
- (W) C. McDermott
- (W) E. H. Dugger
- (W) Peter Hogan
Martin Green’s last words were, “Go on boys, and do your duty, I shall not last long”. Some of the wounded died – Don’t remember whom. C. S.
MURFREESBORO TO TULLAHOMA, CHATTANOOGA AND CHICKAMAUGA
Jan. 3rd 1863. Last night we started for Manchester, camping in the evening within five miles of that place. After being in line-of-battle for seven days instead of five, as previously stated. We arrived at Manchester at 10 A.M. on the 5th and reached our old camp ground at Estill Springs, at 5 O’clock P.M.
Jan. 8th. Gen’l Liddell being ordered to the front with his Brigade, we started this morning for Wartrace, located north of Tullahoma, camping near Rowell, 8 miles distant, and arrived at Wartrace on the 9th of Jan. On the 16th, we received a detail of 12 men from the infantry, to complete our gun detachments. At this time the rest of Hardee’s Corps was at Tullahoma, and Polk’s Corps at Shelbyville. We remained here, doing very little, until a gun under command of Lieut. Havern was sent to Normandy to protect a bridge on the railroad, where Lieut. Havern was killed by a falling tree, after being in every engagement of the company, from Woodsonville Ky. to the present time. He was buried at Wartrace, in the Beechwood Cemetery, and Mrs. Col. Irwin placed a marble slab at the head of his grave, as also at head of other graves of officers whom she knew, using a marble mantle piece for the purpose.
Feb. 2nd 1863. Sent to depot for a rifle gun, and received another the next day. Gen’l Hardee desiring another rifle battery in his command, said we should have it, and directed me to go to Chattanooga for it.
March 8th. Resolutions were drawn concerning Lieut. Havern’s death, and adopted by company. March 9th. An election was held for Lieut. to fill vacancy caused by Havern’s death, and Sergeant W. P. McDonald was elected. On the 27th, I was in command of Hardee’s Artillery and went to Tullahoma.
April 21st. Today we had target practice. On the 24th, Gen’l Hardee’s Corps arrived at Wartrace, the Gen’l’s Headquarters being at Col. Irwin’s residence. When Hardee’s Corps arrived at Wartrace, the company moved to Bell Buckle with our Brigade.
May 9th. Left Bell Buckle for Wartrace, being relieved by another battery. May 23th. Received two Napoleon guns.
June 2nd. Twenty horses were sent to us. June 4th. We were ordered to cook two days rations, but started in such a hurry nothing was cooked. Arrived near Fairfield about 3 A.M. next morning, where cooking was done. The Brigade skirmished with the enemy. June 7th. Two guns were ordered to go to Liberty Gap; the Federals making no demonstration, the artillery was not used. June 15th 1863. Second section relieved first section, which returned to Bell Buckle. June 17th. Oslin having resigned, Henry H. Steele was elected Lieut. to fill the vacancy. June 25th. Fighting at Liberty Gap. We took no part in this affair, which was simply heavy skirmishing. On June 27th, began to fall back towards Tullahoma, and arrived there on the 28th at 12 M.
July 1st. We are with the Brigade at Elk River and in position for action, commanding Manchester road. July 2nd. Arrived at Decherd, going from there to Wahatchie, where all but the horses was loaded on cars for Chattanooga, the horses going by dirt road.
Aug. 6th. Target practice at 1200 yards. Aug. 10th. In camp, principal duty being pasturing horses. Aug. 20th. Left Graysville and reached Harrison, near Tenn. River. Aug. 22nd. Shelling by Federals from opposite side of river. They shelled Chattanooga several days ago. Gen’l Liddell has command of a Division, composed of his and Walthall’s Brigades. Aug. 29th. Threw up breastworks near the river.
Sept. 2nd. Order came from Gen’l Bragg transferring us to our old Brigade, and heart cheers were given. Sept. 4th. Reached camp about two miles from Chickamauga. Nearly all of troops are going towards Chattanooga, as Rosecrans has made his appearance near that place. Sept. 6th. Received orders to cook three days rations immediately. Sept. 7th. Left about 7 P.M. for Ringgold, which was reached on the following morning at sunrise, and found the enemy retreating. Left here at 5 P.M., and camped at night in a corn field, plenty of provender for the present. Sept. 9th. Traveled 17 miles and reached LaFayette, about 5’ O’clock P.M. We are now attached to W.H.F. Walker’s Corps. Left camp 11th, at 6 A.M., going about four miles, and joined line-of-battle at McLemore’s Cove, where we had pretty heavy fighting with Sigel’s Corps. We went into camp about dark. Sept. 12th, returned to our old camp. At 3 P.M. same day, left camp, traveled 12 miles, and again joined a line-of-battle. Sept. 13th, Forest reporting no Federals, returned to old camp. Sept. 15th, cooked three days rations, leaving camp on the 17th, and traveled 10 miles. 18th, traveled 5 miles and again joined the line-of-battle. Here the company was engaged for a time, the Federal’s cavalry being driven across Chickamauga Creek, and we crossed after them, camping about two miles from creek.
BATTLE OF CHICHAMAUGA
Sept. 19th 1863. This morning, the battle of Chickamauga was on in earnest, the enemy attempting to regain the ford over which he passed to the east and returned, we crossing to the west. Their cavalry fought Forest very stubbornly, without success. Our Brigade was sent to relief of the cavalry, being soon hotly engaged, driving the enemy, capturing several pieces of artillery and many prisoners, but we were compelled to retire a short distance. We were repulsed several times today, because of our being flanked. Gen’l Cleburne came to our rescue, charged the enemy and drove them from their breastworks.
The boys are not captivated with the idea of being in Walker’s Corps, greatly preferring Gen’l Hardee. They no doubt remember Gen’l Hardee’s many acts of kindness.
Our Brigade was flanked today for the first time. Late in the evening out Brigade charged the enemy, firing in the dark. The division captured a battery and we supplied ourselves with “hard tack”, bacon, etc. We fell back a short distance and bivouacked for the night.
Sept. 20th. This morning we went around to the left and joined our old division, that is, D. H. Hill’s, since Gen’l Hardee left, which occupied that part of the line. Company did comparatively little till after noon. I was placed in command of Division Artillery immediately in rear of Gen’l Breckinridge, who was trying to dislodge the enemy from behind logs. This command charged several times but was forced to retire, yet they went in again. Gen’l Hill told me to place his artillery in line with what we had, he saying, “I’ll be responsible for the loss of the guns”. This rather amused me. At or about this time, he made what I thought was a very strange suggestion concerning what the art’y might do, which the assembly of officers not approving, I boldly expressed the opinion that in such a movement, all the horses, or most of them, would be killed; to which the Gen’l replied, “We had better lose horses than men”. What would have happened to the men of the artillery while we were losing horses? I am neither a born, nor an educated soldier, yet will say this. On several occasions I considered the Gen’l’s views to be very peculiar, to say the least.
I rode along the line of artillery and told the men no order would be given to “limber to the rear’; the enemy must be fought to the muzzle of the guns, and then with hand-spikes and rammers”. My idea was this: -- if Breckinridge’s command fell back to the low ground – he being on a piece of ground gently sloping upwards – his men could pass through the line of artillery, from in our rear, the artillery would open with canister, and the mix-up would be pretty hot for a few minutes.
There was a not very deep ravine on the right of Gen’l Breckinridge, running westward, and it occurred to me something might be done in that location by the artillery. Without saying anything to Gen’l Liddell, I took Fowler’s splendid company and its four 12 pounder Napoleons, each of which could fire half a gallon of small balls at a discharge, explained to the company what we would try to do, and drove up the ravine. After going to a point I thought to be very near the enemy’s left flank, halted and went forward to find a place where the battery could be masked, the locality being a scattered woods with considerable undergrowth.
Finding a place that suited me, I turned to beckon to the company, and saw Gen’l Breckinridge talking to Fowler. On returning to the battery, the Gen’l asked me if I intended to take the artillery up there; my reply was, I had intended to do so in order to help him if I could, but considered myself under his command. He remarked, “My men are falling back”, which I was aware of, and told him they went in again, and my aim was, if the enemy passed the front of the battery, to open on their flank and cause a panic, when they would retreat beyond their logs, and could keep them running. He thought for a minute and said, “You exercise your own judgment”, and rode to the rear of his command.
If I thought at all, I felt safer after seeing Gen’l Breckinridge, and was about to move forward when someone called, “Swett! Swett!” Looking to the rear seeing one of Gen’l Liddell’s staff officers, asked what was wanted, he telling me, the Gen’l says, “Get out of here, and get out quick”. We drove back, put the battery in line, and reported to the Gen’l, who didn’t scold after I had laid my plan before him, but simply said, “Oh, it was too dangerous”.
Since the war, this incident has recurred to my mind more than once, and is mentioned here to show, what chances a soldier will often take. Our success was dependent upon our not being discovered. Fifty men, by dividing and attacking us on each flank, would have captured the battery. If Gen’l Breckinridge had placed 200 men in our rear, such an event could not have occurred. My impression now is the same as that expressed by Gen’l Liddell, viz: “It was too dangerous”.
Sept. 20th. Late in the afternoon, Gen’l Liddell told me he was ordered to a plateau in our front, about seventy-five feet above and west of us, (which we found to be about 500 or 600 acres in extent) adding, “We can’t stay there a minute, the enemy has perfect range of it; I have been there”. I asked what batteries he wanted and he replied, “Yours and Fowler’s”. We drove to the plateau by a road to its edge, where was a line of our infantry lying down, which made an opening for us to pass through, when we turned to the right and proceeding about 200 yards brought the company into action against a battery that had opened on us northwest of our position. Before Fowler’s battery could get in position, I remarked to Shannon, “I will tell you when to leave”. He replied, “All right”. Being on the lookout, the infantry was seen to fall back to the valley, and a long line of the enemy was coming towards us at a double-quick. I at once gave the order, “Limber to the rear”, and with the command, “By piece from the left, front into column”, then “head of column to the left”, and “Go quietly through the woods to the valley”. The drivers saw the line of Federal infantry and knew they couldn’t make the road downhill that we came over, without a gallop. For the first and only time during the war, they seemed to lose their heads. They dashed off, disregarding my command to turn to the left, though I was close to the front driver, and kept up, giving the command several times.
They reached the road, and while rushing down, one of Fowler’s horses was shot down, which checked us, and it seemed for a moment the batteries were lost, but the infantry at the foot of the road charging, drove the enemy back and the artillery was brought to a place of safety. Meeting Gen’l Liddell, he exclaimed, “My God! Where is the artillery?” Being told it was out, he was greatly relieved, and said, “I told you we couldn’t stay there a minute”. The old gentleman seemed to be very angry with someone, probably Gen’l Hill.
At this place, Chas. K. Detterly and R. N. Norris were killed. How often do we see “great results from little causes”. If I had told Shannon what Gen’l Liddell said to me, and informed him that there was a way out immediately on our right, all would have been well. I was certainly remiss in not doing so, and in thinking of the event in after years, have almost accused myself of being the cause of Charley Detterly and Bob Norris losing their lives. Their bodies were found in the morning laid away side by side.
Some of our boys were captured, but in the charge, succeeded in getting away. A Federal was going to the rear with one of our boys on each side of him, when a shot from a Federal battery took off his head, and his prisoners returned to the company. This affair was in what was called, the “peach orchard”. Talking with one of Gen’l Liddell’s staff officers after the war, and referring to the orchard, he told me he asked Gen’l Walthall how he got out of the place, and received the reply, “Put spurs to my horse and came out”.
Sept. 21st. After putting things in order, repairing damage etc., went to the position we occupied yesterday afternoon, where we remained until 2 P.M., and took up line of march for Chattanooga, the Federal army having departed the night before, and the battle of Chickamauga had passed into history.
Never at any time or place, did the shells burst around us as rapidly as at our last position at Chickamauga. Three batteries concentrated their fire against us from the west, southwest and south.
Killed and Wounded.
- (W) Pat Mallon
- (W) J. J. Cable
- (W) J. L. Barefield
- (W) Thos. H. White
- (W) A. Murphy
- (W) F. B. Henry
- (K) Lieut. W. P. McDonald
- (K) R. A. Norris
- (K) C. K. Detterly
- (W) George Van Horne
- (W) Jos. A. Craig
Remember only 3 of the killed. C. S.
BATTLES OF LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN, MISSIONARY RIDGE AND RINGGOLD
Sept. 21st. Camped at Bird’s Mills at night, and remained there until the 23rd, leaving camp early in the morning, crossing “Missionary Ridge” to our line-of-battle at foot of Lookout Mountain. Sept. 24th. Enemy shilling from two forts. Near 12 M., our line of skirmishers was advanced to feel the enemy until it came in range of two batteries, when it fell back to our line. Sept. 29, Longstreet commenced shelling Chattanooga from Lookout. At 12 M. received orders to hitch up, and after waiting till a late hour, ordered to unharness.
Oct. 5th. Commenced shelling Chattanooga today from Missionary Ridge, and threw shells occasionally during the night and next day. Oct. 8th. Some cannonading from Ridge, very few shells reaching enemy’s forts. Oct. 10th. Lieut. McDonald, wounded at Chickamauga, dying, Jos. Ashton was elected to fill the vacancy. We are having almost constant rain. Oct.
21st. Rain, rain continued until about noon today, when it ended with a thunder storm. Oct. 22nd. Shelling continued. Oct 23rd. The army seems to be moving. Oct. 25th. At 3 O’clock A.M., receiving order for “boots and saddles”, harnessed, moved inside the breastworks where we remained until daylight, and moved towards our left. The movement referred to, was no doubt made because of Longstreet’s Corps going further to the left. Cannonading continues.
We camped on side of Missionary Ridge, and found wood to be very scarce and the weather uncomfortably cool. Heavy shelling on our left all day. Oct. 30th. Constant shelling from both sides.
Nov. 1, 2, 3, and 4th. Constant shelling. Nov. 4th. Gen’l Longstreet started for Knoxville with his Corps, to drive away or capture Burnside, which he failed to do so, as Sherman was sent to his relief and Longstreet left for Virginia. Up to the middle of the month constant shelling.
Nov. 16th. Moved camp over the ridge, and going into camp about four miles from Chickamauga Station. Nov. 22nd. Ordered to be ready to move by 2 P.M., when we started for Chickamauga Station, reaching there about sunset, where we were ordered to cook three days rations. Received a detail of men for company, which occurs very often. Supposed we were going to Longstreet. Nov. 23rd. Order to leave by train countermanded, and we were ordered back to M. Ridge. Fighting all day on Lookout.
Nov. 24th. Constant shelling; pretty hard fight on Lookout, commencing at or near 10 A.M. We were ordered to take another position, but the enemy got there first, when we crossed the railroad, taking a position that commanded a good deal of the railroad. Here for the first time, every cannoneer stood guard at night, with one hour reliefs. Nov. 25th. Moved out early this morning, going around to our left, ascended the Ridge, taking a position on the top, and soon became engaged, enemy’s Parrot battery shelling our position continually, doing very little damage. At this place, we were supported by a Brigade of Texas and Arkansas troops, commanded by Gen’l Smith. No better troops ever fired a gun on any field. This gallant officer was mortally wounded at this point, and Lieutenants Shannon and Ashton were also wounded, neither leaving the field. Soon afterwards Lieut. Ashton was wounded again, that caused his death in a few days at the hospital.
A section of the battery was ordered to report to Gen’l Liddell’s Brigade, and while it was going off, Lieut. Shannon and Sam. Raney were wounded. Corporal Williams now in command of the other section. The enemy charged the breastworks in front of us three times, but were repulsed. At a point known as Tunnel Hill, (because of the railroad running through it) the fighting was very heavy. The enemy knew this to be an important part of our line, and if taken, would result in our right being turned. Gen’l Cleburne’s report contains the following. “The enemy advanced rapidly on Smith’s line, and finally made a heavy charge on Swett’s Battery on the apex of the hill. The artillerymen stood bravely to their guns under terrible cross fire, and replied with canister at short range, but still the enemy advanced. When he had reached within fifty steps of the battery, Brigadier Gen’l Smith charged them and the enemy was routed”. Gen’l Cleburne says further, “In these attacks, so many non-commissioned officers and men had been killed and disabled in the battery, Col. Granbury was forced to make a detail from the infantry to work the guns”. In another place in the General’s report, he says, “It is but justice for me to state, that the brunt of this long days fighting was borne by Smith’s (Texas) Brigade, together with Swett’s and Key’s batteries. The remainder of my division was only engaged in heavy skirmishing”. Both batteries belonged to Cleburne’s division, and to say that Key’s company was from Arkansas, is enough.
Everybody was certainly kept busy in this battle, and Cleburne’s artillery was not idle, according to his own statements. Cleburne never was quiet if he could get into a fight, and was never so happy as the when he could smell smoke. He was an Irishman and that tells. If one of that race was hungry, had a full haversack and a fight should be started, he would go into the fight and open his haversack after it ended.
The enemy cut out left center about an hour before sunset, near Bragg’s Headquarters. We left the place, going as far as Chickamauga Station, where we remained all night.
Nov. 26th. Before leaving here, we buried our dead, which we brought from the field in a wagon; placing boards at head of graves, with their names. This was done at night.
Nov. 27th. This morning we had an early start and camped within one mile of Ringgold. Our division, Cleburne’s, was covering the retreat, and hearing sharp fighting in the vicinity of Ringgold, we returned to render what assistance we could. We found Cleburne at Ringgold Gap, where he had made a stand, and punished the enemy terribly with both small arms and artillery. He caused a section of Semple’s battery, two Napoleon guns to be masked in the Gap, and the enemy was fearfully punished when that place was reached. We were on hand and the company did its duty, as was always the case. Here, Cleburne’s command captured seven stands of colors. We were hotly pressed up to this point, before reaching which, Gen’l Hardee contemplated burning his wagons (so we heard) but Cleburne told him he would hold the enemy in check until the wagons were safe, which he did, and was informed about noon that he could retire.
Nov. 28th. Started early and traveled in the direction of Dalton, camping at night near a creek so we might have water. Nov. 29th. Broke camp about 2 P.M. and camped two miles from Dalton. Nov. 30th. Left this camp early in the afternoon and camped with other artillery of Division, one mile from Dalton.
Killed and wounded at Lookout, Missionary Ridge and Ringgold.
- (W) Lieut. Shannon
- (K) Jos. Ashton
- (W) R. Raney
- (W) W. L. Fontaine, died
- (K) Albert G. Marble
Albert Marble was killed by concussion; a cannon shot passed very close to him. He was caught by Jas. H. Walsh, of Vicksburg, as he was falling. The above is certainly incomplete, as was the case at Perryville, and at other places, but is the best that can be done.
Dec. 1st to 5th. Nothing of importance occurred except the retirement of Gen’l Bragg, and Gen’l Hardee assuming command.
Dec. 25th. Up to this time, routine duty was all we had to occupy our time, when an order was received to grant furloughs to one man in each thirty, with permission to remain at home ten days. To the close of the month nothing unusual happened. We have almost constant rain, and it is unnecessary to speak of comfort. Who wouldn’t be a soldier, and “seek the bubble reputation, even at the cannon’s mouth”.
Feb 1st 1864. Up to this date, all remained as quiet as a “May morning”, and as “dull as ditch water”. Feb. 22nd. Learning that the enemy is advancing on Dalton, “boots and saddles” was ordered, but in half an hour we were ordered to unharness. Feb. 23rd. Harnessed up early this morning and soon unharnessed, “boots and saddles” being ordered again, left camp, out and joined the line-of-battle that was then forming.
Here we remained all day, reports of enemy advancing, no rations cooked, and a detail of men was sent back to attend to that important matter.
Feb. 24th. There was some fighting at Tunnel Hill, as we could plainly hear the cannonading. Feb. 25th. We were “on the go” early this morning, leaving camp at 4 A.M., not going far, when we again entered a line-of-battle. Here we unlimbered for the second time and engaged a Parrot battery that was firing on our line. The battery occupied a position more elevated than ours, and had the advantage in guns as well, and we were ordered to retire. The 4th piece was disabled as we were going into battery, by a shell bursting in the muzzle of the gun. Corporal Allen was wounded by pieces of the shell striking him on the breast and face. Feb. 26th. Here we were under Gen’l Stevenson; Corps commanded by Gen’l Hindman, who visited the company today accompanied by Gen’l Stevenson, whom he told, “We were his old comrades, and all brave men”. The boys didn’t fail to remember (those who survived) that they helped to make Gen’l H. a Maj. Gen’l at Shiloh. All quiet today; the enemy retiring last night at 10 O’clock, though skirmishing is going on at the gap at our left. Cleburne’s Div. arrived today. Smith’s Texas Brigade drove the Federals from a gap below us today that they had taken possession of. Feb 28th. Passed through Dalton and camped one and a half miles out of town.
March 1st. Nothing doing except a snow-ball fight in which we were worsted. March 6th. Commander of Swett’s Battery appointed Inspector Gen’l of Artillery on staff of Brig. Gen’l F. A. Shoup, commanding artillery of army. March 7th. Had a sham battle, that was a sham in reality, though it was witnessed by a very large crowd, ladies being present.
April 15th. During this month nothing occurred except the boys returning from and going on furlough. Of course we wanted to know of those who returned, all they could tell us. Having been appointed Insp. Gen’l Art’y of Army, I went with Gen’l Shoup to a house he was occupying between Dalton and Rocky Face Ridge. (Margin Note: From this time, the company was commanded by Harvey Edwards, the company scouting for Gen’l Hardee to close of war, C. S.)
ROCKY FACE RIDGE, RESACA, DALTON AND NEW HOPE CHURCH
As stated, Gen’l Joseph E. Johnson assumed command of the army Dec. 27th and at once began an improvement in all things, and every branch of the service. Feb. 17th. President Davis ordered Gen’l Johnson to send Gen’l Hardee with nearly all the infantry of his Corps to aid Gen’l Polk against Sherman in Miss., which was done, though the Federal army at the time, numbered over 80,000 and ours was 36,826. The artillery didn’t go. The Federal army advanced to Ringgold on the 23th, and the next day drove in our advanced posts, from which time skirmishing was going on there and at other points until May1st, when the enemy was reported to be advancing en masse.
May 1st. At this time, our army amounted 44,900, while Sherman had a force of over 85,000. May 9th. Five assaults were made on Gen’l Hood at R. F. Ridge, all of which were repulsed. May 10th. The enemy was reported to be at Snake Creek Gap, and Gen’l Hood’s command was sent to Resaca, when the enemy retired. Artillery doing very little. May 11th.
The Federal army moved by Snake Creek Cap towards Dalton. At night, the artillery marched to Resaca, infantry also, though the cavalry did not until the 13th. May 12th. Formed line-of-battle and very soon something was doing, the battery being with Covan’s, our Brigade.
May 14th & 15th. The battle of Resaca was fought, and the battery was hotly engaged most of the time. Of course the army had to retire before more than double our number, the army retreating on the night of second day, May 15th.
May 25th. Battle fought at Dallas, and the army retired to New Hope Church, where fighting was going on, and in the vicinity, for a week. Sherman, in his memoirs, says, Vol.2, page 44, “New Hope was called by the soldiers, “Hell-Hole”.
June 1st. Retired from New Hope. I was walking along the front of Cleburne’s Div., on the ground occupied the evening before, and came up with Generals Polk and Cleburne, who were engaged in conversation, and heard Gen’l Polk say to Cleburne, “you see what can be done when you reserve you fire”, to which Gen’l Cleburne replied, “I always do it”.
Cleburne’s men came up to the position, which was a gentle slope, (the enemy doing the same) and fired as he swung into line. Key’ Ark. Battery and W.L.A., were on the left of Cleburne, and caused great destruction by raking Cleburne’ front, their fire being up as the enemy retired, and for at least a mile. In front of Cleburne, it was estimated that about 700 were killed, the same number that Hood lost at the battle of Franklin, on his march to Nashville, when Sherman started on his “march to the sea”.
From New Hope Church to Atlanta, I have no record of importance except a list of killed and wounded, which I am sure is entirely too small. This list was obtained from comrades James H. Walsh and Brotherton (Bob) Stricker.
Killed and wounded.
- (K) W. H. Fowler
- (W) Cooley Mann
- (K) Warren Huffman
- (K) Monroe Huffman
FROM NEW HOPE CHURCH, TO ATLANTA AND JONESBORO, GA.
After the battle of New Hope Church, I saw the battery seldom, yet I was here, there and everywhere almost, but am reasonably certain it was kept pretty busy; being connected with Cleburne’s Division, which command was generally found where work was to be done.
On July 9th, Gen’l Jos. E. Johnson crossed the Chattahoochee, and Gen’l Hood was placed in command of the army. In the Georgia Campaign or “hundred days fight”, there was fighting to a greater or less degree at Rocky Face Ridge, Buzzard Roost, Calhoun, Powder Springs, New Hope, Lost Mountain, Pine Mountain, Kennesaw line, Marietta, Dalton, Peachtree Creek, Atlanta, Lick Skillet Road and Jonesboro.
During the ninety-two days that elapsed between Rocky Face Ridge to the close of the campaign, there was not a quiet day. July 19th. Gen’l Sherman had his entire command on the east bank of the Chattahoochee, and the battle of Peachtree Creek occurred July 20th. The Confed. Artillery in this battle, was massed by Gen’l Shoup on our right, but failed to accomplish what was expected, and the battle resulted in favor of Sherman.
The battle of Atlanta proper, was fought on July 22nd. Here Gen’l McPherson of the Federal Army and Gen’l W. H. T. Walker of the Confed. Army were killed. This battle also was in favor of the Federal Army. The battle of Lick Skillet Road was fought on the 28th, by S. D. Lee’s Corps to prevent Sherman from placing his left on Utoy Creek. On the 30th, the enemy moving towards Jonesboro, Hardee’s and Lee’s Corps were sent there, and on Sept. 1st, were attacked by Sherman, and the battle of Jonesboro was fought, that nearly resulted in Hardee’s entire command being captured; he escaping at night.
The battery was in all of these fights but the Lick Skillet Road.
I will here insert what was written by a member of the company and published in the Vicksburg Herald on May 16th 1891.
“At Jonesboro, Hardee’s Corps met nearly the entire army of Gen’l Sherman. The First Arkansas Brigade, to which the battery was attached, was by this time merely a skirmish line, yet had to confront an army. The battery being without protection, was exposed to a terrific fire of artillery, and its carriages were demolished by shot so that they could not carry off the guns. The Confed. infantry was beaten back by superior numbers, and the enemy charging with fixed bayonets, rushed into the battery. Its guns were firing after the first Federal line had passed their muzzles, and a hand to hand fight ensued, the cannoneers using their hand-spikes to defend themselves. Some of these gallant men yet surviving, bear the scars of Federal bayonets received on that memorable day … Swett’s Battery was lost, and around its shattered carriages lay its dead. Lieut. F. M. Williams, in command, seeing that all was lost, exclaimed as he fell mortally wounded, “Save yourselves boys”. Near him lay many others, dead and wounded; some were captured – but few escaping. This desperate struggle closed the battery’s career. A command that can inscribe such a glorious list of battles on its banner has certainly a record to be proud of, and the present successors of the men who won such a record, have a noble example for their guidance”.
In this battle, Brotherton (Bob) Stricker, when about to fire his piece, was yelled to by a Federal soldier who said, “Fire that gun, I’ll kill you”, yet “Bob” did pull the lanyard, killing many, and the enemy was in the battery, “Bob” receiving a bayonet thrust, the bayonet passing entirely through him, coming out at his back, after going through the lower part of his right lung.
His statement to me after a few years was as follows, “I was taken to a Federal hospital, and told I could not recover. A young doctor seeing my desperate condition, said he would attend to me at once, and gave me the closest attention, even to putting a drummer boy at my side to fan me with a leafy limb. No one could have received better treatment. I was in the hospital several weeks, when I was exchanged and returned to the Company”.
Gen’l Hardee stopped at Lovejoy Station for some time after the battle of Jonesboro, and under flag of truce, Gen’l Hood proposed to Sherman an exchange of prisoners, which was effected at a neutral point, Rough and Ready, the first station south of Atlanta on the railroad, and the “battery boys”, those who survived the terrific fight at Jonesboro, were again together, and did not fail to come at me with everlasting – “Gen’l Hardee will do anything for you”, and desired that I should get the General’s consent to let them scout for him. As soon as I mentioned the matter, the Gen’l said, “Want to give them another battery. I would be willing to lose another at the same cost to the enemy”. Having more than one talk on the scout question, he at last consented, which I don’t believe he would have done if he had not determined to leave the army under Hood. The boys were happy, went to scouting until the war closed, and were paroled at Greensboro, N.C. I saw nothing of them until we straggled back to Vicksburg in 1865, a mere handful to our number when we left the “Hill City” on the 20th day of August, 1861.
I was commander of the battery until the last three months of its military life, and can say, the company never did, at any time or place, give me the least trouble. At the beginning, I had to do a little talking, but never had a guard tent, nor was any sort of extra duty imposed on anyone. They soon learned to know me, and to recognize that fact that I had no arbitrary ways, and all was well.
When they were hungry, thirsty or tired, my condition was the same. When they were cold, I was not warm, and when they slept on the ground, my bed was not as soft as that of Heliogabalus.
One of the most remarkable facts concerning the officers of the company, is not one of us ever drank a drop of winous, spitituous or malt liquors before the war, nor did we during the war. The company originally had three Lieutenants; that is, when it entered the service; four were elected to fill vacancies, and none of them were drinking men. After Jonesboro, the company had only one Lieutenant, but suppose others were elected. Vicksburg sent out many splendid companies, among them the battery of the ever-to-be-lamented Capt. J. J. Cowan, but none could have come nearer doing its full duty than did the W. L. Artillery.
As far as applicable, the W.L.A. was governed by the following rules, though they were not written until my youngest boy, L. C. Swett, left Vicksburg for Jackson to join the “Volunteer Southrons”, that it was believed would go to Cuba, when a copy was given to him, and was also published in the Vicksburg “Evening Post”, and copied by the other evening paper the next day.
Rules for Government of a Soldier’s Action
1st. Always obey every command, and show at all times, proper respect for your officers, from the President down to the lowest Corporal in the company. No one can ever know how to command, until he knows how to obey.
2nd. Always be “slow to anger”, and ever be cheerful and considerate for the feelings of others; remembering that a company “divided against itself” like a house mentioned in the Bible, cannot stand.
3rd. Never turn your back on an enemy unless you are ordered to do so, and in that case give a parting shot if you can, as it may put someone out of the ranks.
4th. Never complain if it can possibly be avoided; and should you have to eat rations cooked 24 hours before, remember that your father, during four years of war, often had to eat corn bread that had been cooked for three days, and at times, beef without bread or salt, and was glad to get it.
5th. Never fire your gun without being satisfied your shot will effect, and not for the purpose of scaring someone, as the Chinese do. The stocks of all army guns nearer straight than the guns you have used, therefore the liability to shoot high.
6th. The primary object is not to kill in war, but to disable; the reason being, if a man is badly wounded, two will be required to carry him off; whereas, if he is killed, you get rid of only one man.
7th. Always aim low, as it will be better for your shot to strike the ground in front of an enemy, than to pass over his head. A ball striking the ground twenty yards in front of a line-of-battle will ricochet and may hit someone not above his shoulders, because of the fact that the angles of incidence and reflection are equal.
8th. When an order is given to you, never reply in order to discuss the case, but go, making every effort to succeed; dying in the effort if necessary.
9th. Never unnecessarily expose yourself, as it would be foolish to do so. If you are ordered to an exposed position, and one of great danger, go in your entire length, and go in to win, without thinking of the consequences.
10th. Always “do unto others as you would that others should do unto you” in your association with your comrades, and be sure to do your duty to your God, your country, and your name, never failing as you go into battle, to invoke Divine protection in the little prayer I used on many fields of blood – “HEAVENLY FATHER, WATCH OVER, BLESS AND PRESERVE US FROM HARM, FOR CHRIST’S SAKE, Amen.” Then go in, not only believing, but knowing you are under the protection of “One who doeth all things well”.
To Louie Chase Swett.
The following is the only list I could get of the killed and wounded on the “Georgia Campaign”, though I have written to some of the old members of the casualties, and perhaps not that many.
- (W) Harvey Shannon, Com’r.
- (K) F. M. Williams, Lieut.
- (W) Cooley Mann, lost arm
- (K) Warren Hoffman
- (K) Monroe Hoffman
- (W) Jos. A. Craig
- (K) W. M. Fowler
- (W) B. Stricker, bayonet through him
- (W) Geo. A Grammer, lost arm
- (W) Valentine Voewinkle
- (W) G. Goodman
- (W) Brotherton (Bob) Stricker.
The few members of the battery that returned to Vicksburg after the war, reorganized the company by electing Chas. Swett, Captain, the Lieutenants not remembered. I had to give it up in a short time, and John McMullen, an old “battery boy”, was elected to command; bad health causing him to give it up, and J. J. Hayes was elected Captain. The company is now under the following officers –
Denis Hossley, Captain
Joseph Genella, 1st Lieut.
A FEW WORDS CONCERNING MYSELF
As Inspector of Artillery on staff of Maj. Gen’l Elzey, I was at Franklin and Nashville, and might write something concerning what occurred on that disastrous expedition from the time our army crossed the Tennessee River at Florence, going to Nashville, to the time of our recrossing the river at Bainbridge Crossing, on our retreat, that might interest some readers. I might also give in detail conversations had with Gen’l D. C. Govan concerning Spring Hill, and with Gen’l Walthall concerning our retreat, but the main points are matters of history, and it is not necessary to do so. I will state this much. On the retreat, the army was probably saved by two yoke of oxen. I was sent back to assist Maj. Green in hurrying the pontoon boats and plank to the crossing. The road was very bad in many places, and the oxen were used at such points. Everyone who has had experience with oxen, knows they will work in mud as long as they can step, which is not the case with mules. The first rush of the enemy at Nashville, when our retreat began, was checked for some time by the “Eufaula Battery”, which was placed in position under cover of a ridge, and supported by less than a hundred infantry, on the “Granny White” pike. I know to whom Gen’l Elzey gave the credit for this, but it is due to the brave men “behind the guns” both infantry and artillery.
The battery was coming across a field and was met, “Captain, you have men, have you ammunition and equipment?”
“I have and my men will fight.”
“I am satisfied of that. Head of column to the right forward. Forward into battery on right piece, under cover of the ridge and open on the first appearance of the enemy.”
The infantry came up and both opened on the enemy, they coming to a halt as they knew nothing of what was in front of them. The idea was to hold position as long as possible, then retire by a left oblique, uncovering this position, when other artillery on the pike would open.
On the line at Nashville, we lost over forty guns, which was made known in a report Gen’l Elzey directed me to write, that he sent to Richmond. The most continuous and exhausting work of my life, was done on the Nashville Campaign.
Generals Hood, Lee, Walthall and Elzey have passed away, and I shall simply say, I tried to do my duty at all times and in all places, and am sure it was done to the satisfaction of those who commanded me. The best reward anyone can have for his action, is the approval of conscience, and second to that, is the endorsement of those whom we have endeavored to serve; - the first of which is secure, and I hope my claim to the second will not be disputed.
As I have heard on more than one occasion, astonishment expressed concerning my refusing promotion during the war. I have a few words to say concerning my action, which was true. Soon after the battles of Shiloh, my friend, Brig. Gen’l S. Marmaduke, a graduate of West Point, informed me that I was wanted to take command of a regiment of infantry, which I declined. I was wanted by Maj. Gen’l Pat Cleburne to take charge of his artillery, on the recommendation of Maj. Chas. Ball, who left him to join the cavalry, which was declined and a compromise effected by my promising to come down every Saturday and give him a written report, the army being at Tullahoma and the battery in the advance at Bell Buckle.
On one of my visits to T., I met Col. Hollonquist, Gen’l Bragg’s Chief of Artillery, who told me that Gen’l Bragg asked him who had Ball’s place, and when told, he was directed present his compliments to me and his wish that I stay with the company, and as a side remark, “He’s too good a battery commander to have charge of Cleburne’s.” Hollonquist was a West Pointer. I knew him well, and expressed the hope that I would be let alone, as it would be time enough to give me something when I asked for it, but it was not likely I would apply.
Col. Wright, also a graduate of West Point, and in charge of the Gov’t Laboratory at Atlanta, wanted me, and wrote to the War Dep’t requesting my promotion and assignment to duty with him. I saw the letter – not wanted. I knew the Col., as I was in Atlanta several months before this, for a few days, and did certain things for him that must have pleased him.
Why did I refuse? I believed I had as efficient a company as could be found in the service; composed of men against not one of whom could “Mene, mene, tekel upharsin” be recorded, and I was under the impression I could render one man’s service acceptably where I was.
I could not look upon promotion as a reward of merit, and certainly knew, in some instances that came under my observation, it was not. I have in my possession two letters, one from Lieut. Gen’l W. J. Hardee, and the other from Lieut. Gen’l S. B. Buckner, received after the war, that will be sufficient legacy for my children; and in addition, I have the “Southern Cross of Honor”, presented by that glorious organization, the Vicksburg Chapter, Daughters of the Confederacy, which I consider to be the greatest reward ever bestowed upon a soldier by any organization or country. It is the wish of the “Daughters” to bestow a cross upon every worthy Confederate soldier, whether of the Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery or Navy. I certainly hope they may succeed in placing one in the keeping at least of each one who did work of the war – “the man behind the gun”.
My prayer is that “The Giver of all good” may watch over and bless each one of the “United Daughters of the Confederacy”, in this life, and at the “Closing scene”, place them in the House not made with hands, eternal in the Heavens – Amen.
“The Civil War”, or “War between the States”, closed so far as I was concerned, in 1865, and I can truthfully say, I entertain no feeling of animosity towards those who opposed me, who entered the service on principle, did their duty, respected the weak and helpless, and committed no acts of vandalism. I am now an “American Citizen”, and will close by quoting a statement made by Washington soon after he became president. No fear of encountering difficulties, and not dread of losing popularity, shall ever deter me from pursuing, what I conceive to be the true interest of my country”.
Vicksburg, Miss. July 1908
Charles Swett, at 80 years, and only survivor of all the commissioned officers of the company.
COMPANY FROM DALTON TO JONESBORO
Com’r Harvey Shannon Wounded twice, and died in Nashville, Tenn., about two years ago.
Lieut. W. P. McDonald Killed at Chickamauga.
Lieut. Thomas Havern Killed at Normandy, Tenn.
Lieut. Joseph Ashton Killed at Missionary Ridge.
Lieut. F. M. Williams Killed at Jonesboro, Ga.
Lieut. J. M. Oslin Died in Texas from Shiloh wound.
Lieut. Henry N. Steele Died in Vicksburg many years ago
ROLL OF WARREN LIGHT ARTILLERY; SWETT’S BATTERY,
In “Civil War”, 1861, 62, 63, 64, 65
Warren Light Artillery was organized in Vicksburg, Miss., in August 1861, and entered the Confederate service with 100, all told.
1. Charles Swett, Capt.
2. J. M. Oslin, 1st Lt.
3. H. Shannon, Jr., 1st Lt.
4. Thomas Havern, 2nd Lt.
5. T. G. Birchett, Surg.
6. L. B. Lake, Or.M.
7. A. R. Keeser, Or. Serg.
8. W. P. McDonald, Serg.
9. D. P. Smith, Serg.
10. J. K. Rapp, Serg.
11. A. Shirley, Serg.
12. Sam Putnam, Corp.
13. R. S. Stout, Corp.
14. T. H. White, Corp.
15. N. E. Cloud, Corp.
16. J. M. McMullen, Corp.
17. J. R. Peeler, Corp.
18. B. Stricker, Corp.
19. Jos. Ashton, Corp.
20. Chas. Allinger, Corp.
21. John Aiken, Aftif.
22. J. B. Alspaugh
23. Jeff Barefield
24. John Bircher
25. J. H. Barefield
26. J. L. Barefield
27. S. T. Barefield
28. Julius Buhler
29. Henry Reisman
30. F. Bonengal
31. S. H. Brown
32. J. W. Barefield
33. J. S. Ballon
34. Jos. Boyle, (Smith)
35. A. L. Blake
36. C. C. Bolling
37. O. V. Corson
38. M. V. Corson
39. J. J. Cable
40. R. E. Charles
41. Jos. A. Craig
42. M. Craig
43. P. W. Casey
44. Isham Curtis
45. Sam Coody
46. Sam Crayton
47. F. Castleberry
48. Mike Devine
49. Ed Dowling
50. E. H. Dugger, (Deserted)
51. William Denis
52. C. R. Detterly
53. George Denny
54. Mike Elligot
55. John Eley
56. Joseph Erwin
57. W. L. Fontaine
58. L. S. Fortner
59. Joseph Farribon
60. Sam Feist
61. J. M. Frazier
62. J. Fookes
63. R. N. Fish
64. Val. Fowinkle
65. J. N. Gwinn
66. J. S. Grammer
67. G. A. Grammer
68. A. Goodman
69. F. L. Guscio
70. Martin Green
71. P. Guscio
72. R. H. Gibson
73. A. T. Grimer
74. C. M. Gendici
75. F. Gendici
76. T. P. Graves
77. J. M. Huffman
78. Warren Huffman
79. Peter Hogan
80. James Harris
81. W. T. Halpin
82. W. H. Hall
83. J. M. Harton
84. F. B. Hardy
85. F. B. Henry
86. L. B. Jones (Deserted)
87. J. W. Jaynes
88. B. Johnson
89. F. W. Jiggetts
90. W. F. Johnson
91. F. Kinsell
92. William Kelly
93. H. B. Lewis
94. J. F. Lowe
95. R. D. Merrell
96. D. A. McDonald
97. R. M. Marshall
98. Gooley Mann
99. Pat Mallon
100. Chas. McDermott
101. A. Murphy
102. A. Morbley
103. Wm. McTaggart
104. A. G. Marble
105. J. T. Metzger
106. A. C. Marble
107. Gid. Montjoy
108. J. N. Morrow
109. John Morris
110. I. J. Minshall
111. L. W. Neal
112. Robert Norris
113. J. C. Petit
114. G. G. Pegram
115. Rufus Raney
116. E. Rucker
117. R. Redrick
118. Jas. K. Rapp
119. Sam Raney
120. Henry N. Steele
121. J. H. Smith
122. G. W. Spangler
123. F. A. Scanlan
124. L. Saunders
125. J. C. Tanner
126. J. B. Tanner
127. J. W. Tanner
128. J. N. Treat
129. G. D. Van Horn
130. J. M. Wells
131. J. H. Wall
132. Jas. H. Walsh
133. J. J. Ward
134. Jos. Wardhoff
135. E. Waters
136. F. M. Williams
137. A M. Weams
138. D. L. Watons
139. John E. Wood
140. W. B. Wooten
141. Daniel Swett
142. J. D. Wilson
143. John Fontaine
144. Wm. H. Swett
This list, so far as I know, includes those who went out with us, and those who joined us from time to time. It was obtained, I have been told, from the United States War Department. How or where the Department obtained it, I am unable to say.
The named below, were assigned to duty in Swett’s Battery Dec. 9, 1863, by Maj. Gen’l. Cheatham, commanding Hardee’s Corps.
1. F. M. Fowler
2. T. E. Watts
3. Jho. B. Watts
4. H. W. Allen
5. E. P. Burnett
6. J. D. Echols
7. F. W. Adams
8. B. B. Battle
9. N. O. Battle
10. O. M. Bigdie
11. Isaac W. Cooper
12. G. M. Crabtree
13. J. Cookson
14. D. F. Cook
15. H. Campbell
16. F. Culbertson
17. W. H. Cook
18. F. M. Davis
19. O. P. Davis
20. L. A. Ellis
21. E. M. Fanbush
22. Calvin Fish
23. Chas. Garvitt
24. T. J. Heath
25. J. Henon
26. C. C. Hall
27. B. R. Harrell
28. J. M. Kirvan
29. Joseph Kirby
30. John Kirby
31. A. Leadbetter
32. Dan. McKenzie
33. W. E. McRae
34. Wash McRae
35. R. G. McRae
36. A. Maxey
37. J. C. Mitchell
38. J. B. McRae
39. J. D. Morris
40. Sam Rose
41. F. Robertson
42. C. C. Smith
43. John Sherry
44. J. E. Torrance
45. W. A. Weldon
46. Jas. Paulk
47. W. F. Roberts
48. A. W. Stinson
49. Hardy Smith
50. W. Tatum
51. P. H. Weldon
52. George Weldon
145 plus 52, equals 196, which I am satisfied is not enough by nearly 100 of those who served with the Battery, yet I have no means of getting a more correct roll.
The company entered the service with three lieutenants, 1 Shannon, 2 Oslin, 3 Havern. In all, the company lost five lieutenants. Shannon was wounded twice, not seriously, and died in Nashville, Tenn. May 14 1906.
The Five lieutenants lost were:
1st, J. M. Oslin Desperately wounded at Shiloh, was with us for a short time afterwards, but resigned and died in Texas.
2nd, Thomas Havern Killed at Normandy.
3rd, W. P. McDonald Killed at Chickamauga.
4th, Joseph Ashton Killed at Missionary Ridge.
5th, F. M. Williams Killed at Jonesboro, Ga.
Aet. 80 years.
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