Confederate Regiments & Batteries > Virginia


1859
November 9 Organized by George Wyeth Randolph after John Brown’s Raid on Harpers Ferry. Randolph was elected as the first captain of the company
Marched to Charles Town to maintain order during John Brown’s trial and execution.
1860
The company was designated Company H of the First Regiment of Volunteers.
1861
April 19 Ordered to the Spotswood Hotel in Richmond.
April 21 Mustered into state service for one year and sent to Wilton’s Bluff with the Fayette Artillery and Richmond Grays to defend against the Federal gunboat Pawnee. The Pawnee never appeared.
April 23 Returned to Richmond
April 28 Moved to the Baptist College Artillery Barracks near Fush Hill in Richmond. Detached from the First Regiment of Volunteers and attached to an artillery battalion commanded by Captain J.W. Randolph. Captain John Shields took over command of the company, which was redesignated 1st Company, Richmond Howitzer battalion.
May 3 Captain Randolph was promoted to major. Lieutenant John T. Brown took a section of the battery to Gloucester Point on the York River.
May 7 Lieutenant Brown’s rifle fired on the Federal steamer Yankee. The Yankee withdrew after trading a few shots.
May 8-10 The Second and Third Companies were created under Captains John Thompson Brown and Robert C. Stannard, with all thre companies under the command of Major G.W. Randolph. All three companies were sent to camp at Howard’s Grove except for the section still at Gloucester Point.

The First Company was assigned two 12-pounder Howitzers and two 6-pounders.

May 15 Moved from Howard’s Grove to Chimborazo.
May 25 Left Richmond by railroad for Manssas Junction.
May 26 Arrived in the evening at Manassas Junction and went into camp at Camp Pickens.
June 20 Assigned to the First Brigade of the Army of the Potomac under Brigadier General Bonham.
June 29 Moved to Fairfax Court House.
July 3-4 One section consisting of one six-pounder and one 12-pounder under Second Lieutenant E.S. McCarthy moved to Mills Crossroads in support of Colonel Kershaw’s South Carolina regiment. It engaged Union pickets on the morning of July 4.
July 17
Blackburn’s Ford

Withdrew to Mitchell’s Ford on Bull Run. Federal guns fired on the battery but remained out of range. The four guns of the Howitzers did not return fire.

July 21
Battle of Manassas (Bull Run)

The four guns of the battery guarded Mitchell’s Ford while the heavy fighting of the battle took place within sight further upstream. After the Federals collapsed and began their retreat to Washington Lieutenant William Palmer’s section accompanied Bonham’s Brigade to Centreville, but was not engaged. The other two sections of the battery moved to Fairfax Courthouse and to Vienna.

July 23 The battery reunited at Germantown.
July 25 Assigned to the Fourth (Longstreet’s) Brigade of the First Corps
July 27 Moved to Centreville.
August 9 Attached to the Seventh (Evans’) Brigade of the First Corps at Leesburg.
August 10 Moved to Leesbrg and went into camp at Mead’s Farm, with Lieutenant Edward McCarthy’s section at Big Springs.
August Expeditions to White’s Ferry and Point of Rocks. Two guns were added to the battery.
September Captain Brown was promoted to major.
October 9 Lieutenant Palmer’s section moved to the Edwards Ferry Road.
October 16 Lieutenant McCarthy’s section supported Colonel Turner Ashby’s attack on Harpers Ferry.
November 17 Captain Shields was promoted to lieutenant colonel and sent to Richmond. Lieutenant Palmer was elected captain and took command of the company.
End of December The company went into winter quarters at Leesburg.
1862
March 7 Withdrew from Leesburg to rejoin Johnson’s main army.
Early April Moved to the Peninsula
April 10 The company arrived in Richmond and stayed a few days at Camp Lee, commanded by their former commander, Lt. Colonel Shields. The men were feasted and allowed to visit the city.
April-June Peninsula Campaign
April 14 The battery went by steamer down the James River
April 16 The battery was put into position at Dam No. 1, exposed to Federal artillery fire and sharpshooters.
Mid-April The battery re-enlisted for the duration of the war and elected Lieutenanant McCarthy as captain, Captain Palmer having decided to join the army’s medical staff.
May 2 Withdrawn from Dam No. 1 to Fort Magruder.
May 5
Battle of Williamsburg

Supported R.H. Anderson’s Brigade south of Williamsburg and in Fort Magruder, repelling a Federal attack, fighting side by side with three guns of the Richmond Fayette Artillery. The company appropriated a Federal 3″ rifle which had been abandoned during the fight.

mid-May In camp near Richmond
May 17 Picket duty from Meadow Bridge to Garnett’s Farm.
May 31-June 1
Battle of Seven Pines

Fired across the Chickahominy at Federal forces.

June 25-July 1
Seven Days Battles

Assigned to support Griffith’s Brigade of Magruder’s Division.

June 29
Battle of Fair Oaks

Under fire but not engaged

July 1
Battle of Malvern Hill

Three pieces were engaged until using up their ammunition. A 6-pounder was hit in the muzzle by a Federal 12-pounder shot, and a number of gun carriages were damaged.

August One section of the battery was attached to Barksdale’s Brigade of McLaws’ Division at Gordonsville while the other section remained behind at Richmond to refit.
September
Maryland Campaign

The sections of the battery reunited, bringing two 10-pounded Parrott rifles and to 6-pounder howitzers

September 13-15 Siege and Capture of Harpers Ferry
September 17
Battle of Sharpsburg (Antietam)

The battery was commanded by Captain Edward S. McCarthy and attached to Barksdale’s Brigade of McLaws’ Division. It was armed with two 10-pounder Parrott Rifles and two 6-pounder guns, although the two 6-pounders were probably left behind at Leesburg. The battery spent the entire day in the lines and lost 1 man killed and 2 wounded out of 33 men engaged.

October In camp near Culpeper Court House
November Moved to Fredericksburg area
December 13
Battle of Fredericksburg

The two 10-pounder Parrott rifles of the battery were engaged shelling the Federal attack from behind the Howison House to the east of Telegraph Road. The shorter ranged 6-pounders were not engaged.

1863
April The artillery of the Army of Northern Virginia was reorganized, with the First Company of Richmond Howitzers assigned to Cabell’s Artillery Battalion in McLaw’s Division of Longstreet’s First Corps.
May 1-5
Chancellorsville Campaign

The battery was engaged the Battle of Chancellorsville and the Battle of Salem Church, losing two men killed and two wounded.

April 29 On Lee’s Hill in Fredericksburg.
May 1 Major Hamilton (temporarily commanding the battalion) ordered the Howitzers along with Manly’s Battery to join the division
May 2 Relieved Pegram’s Battalion in its position on the turnpike outside Chancellorsville. The line withdrew later in the day and the battery’s two 6-pounders were positioned at the front.
May 3 The battery’s two 10-pounder Parrotts were also moved to the front. In the afternoon the battery joined the division in moving to Salem Church.
May 4 Engaged around Salem Church
May 5 Attached to Kershaw’s Brigade of McLaws’ Division
May The battery rearmed with two 3″ Ordnance rifles and two 12-pounder Napoleons.
June 3 Began the march to Pennsylvania
June 26 Crossed the Potomac
July 1 Camped a few miles west of Gettysburg
July 2 & 3
Battle of Gettysburg

On July 2 the battery moved into position north of the Snyder farm. The rifles opened fire around 4:00 p.m. to support Longstreet’s attack, with the shorter ranged Napoleons nearby in reserve. The rifles fired 200 rounds at the Devils Den. In turn, they were exposed to the heaviest artillery fire they had experienced, losing seven men wounded and thirteen horses killed.

On July 3 the battery was positioned well in advance of the skirmish line and drove back a Federal advance with twenty rounds. The battery then repositioned to the center of the Confederate line on Seminary Ridge for the grand barrage which would prepare for Pickett’s Charge. The barrage opened around 1:30, firing 300 rounds. A wheel was shot off one of the rifles and a caisson was abandoned when its team was killed. Two men were killed and two wounded and ten horses were lost. During the two days of the fighting the rifles fired about 600 rounds and the Napoleons 264.

From the marker on the Gettysburg battlefield:

July 2. At 3.30 P. M. placed in reserve near here. The rifled guns advanced to this position at 4 P. M. and engaged in severe artillery fight until dark. The men of the Napoleon section sometimes relieved those of the rifled section.

July 3. Advanced and formed part of the main artillery line the rifle section near Emmitsburg Road the Napoleons further to the left all hotly engaged sometimes changing positions. Retired from the front after dark.

July 4. In position near here. One Napoleon aided in checking a hostile advance. All withdrew from the field at night.

Ammunition expended about 850 rounds. One rifle was disabled.

Losses Killed 2 Wounded 8 Horses killed or disabled 25

July 6
Hagerstown

The battery took up defensive positions but was not engaged.

July Moved south, camping at Bunker Hill near Winchester and at Millwood and Gaines’ Cross Roads.
July 25 The battery reached Culpeper Court House.
Fall-Winter The battery was stationed at Morton’s Ford on the Rapidan River. McLaws’ Division had been transferred to the Western Theater with most of Longstreet’s First Corps but the Howitzers were left in Virginia along with Cabel’s Battalion and were assigned to the army Artillery Reserve.

1864

April Longstreet returned to the Eastern Theater. McLaws had been replaced by Joseph B. Kershaw as division commander and the First Company Richmond Howitzers was assigned to Kershaw’s Division.
May 6
Battle of the Wilderness

The battery moved to Parker’s Store, then to New Hope Church. It was not engaged, as no good ground could be found to position artillery.

May 7-8 Moved to Spotsylvania Court House and was placed on a rise on the left of Longstreet’s line.
May 10
Battle of Spotsylvania Court House

The battery was engaged in heavy fighting. A Federal attack broke the Confederate line close to the battery’s position. It was forced back when Sergeant E.G. Steane enfiladed the attack with double canister.

May 28 Moved to Pole Green Church on Totopotomy Creek and was involved in heavy skirmishing and sharpshooting.
May 30 Moved to near Old Cold Harbor, supporting Kershaw’s Division.
June 1-3
Cold Harbor

Heavily engaged in the lines at Cold Harbor, particularly in repulsing the disastrous Federal assault on the June 3.

June 4 In position east of Gaines’ Mill Pond. Captain Edward S. McCarthy was killed by a rifle shot through the head. Captain Robert M. Anderson took over command of the battery
June 15 Moved to Petersburg.
June-April Siege of Petersburg

The company camped near Port Walthall Junction between Richmond and Petersburg at Dunn House and saw little action, operatinng as a reserve. The two 3″ rifles had been replaced by this time and the battery was armed with four Napoleons.

1865
April 2 The Petersburg and Richmond lines were evacuated and the battery fell back to Amelia Court House. The poor condition of the horses caused many to give out on the march. It was decided to destroy the battery’s caissons, even though it dangerously limited the battery’s ammunition, so that the remaining servicable horses could be used in the gun teams. At Amelia Court House the battery was attached to General Reuben L. Walker’s artillery.
April 8 Engangement with Federal cavalry in a surprise attack near Appomattox Court House using canister and small arms. Left the man body of the army to march for Lynchburg.
April 10 The battery was near near Red Oak Church when it learned of the surrender of the army. They buried their cannon in a ravine, destroyed the carriages and other equipment, and disbanded.