United States Regiments & Batteries > New York

“Empire Battery”

Battery B lost 16 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded and 10 enlisted men to disease during the Civil War. It is honored by a monument at Gettysburg.

See two photographs of Battery B.

Organized at Elmira, N.Y.
August 30 Mustered in under Captain Rufus D. Pettit
October 21 Albert S. Sheldon was mustered in as first lieutenant
October 31 Left State for Washington, D.C. and duty in the Defenses of that city attached to Sumner’s Division, Army of the Potomac
November 12 Second Lieutenant Robert Rogers transferred in from Busteed’s Battery
March 10-15 Advance on Manassas, Va. attached to Artillery, 1st Division, 2nd Army Corps, Army of the Potomac
March Moved to the Peninsula, Va.
April 5-May 4 Siege of Yorktown
May Attached to Artillery Brigade, 2nd Army Corps
May 31-June 1 Battle of Seven Pines or Fair Oaks
June 25 Oak Grove, near Fair Oaks
June 25-July 1 Seven days before Richmond
June 27 Battles of Gaines’ Mills
June 29 Peach Orchard and Savage Station
June 30 White Oak Swamp Bridge and Glendale
July 1 Malvern Hill
July-August At Harrison’s Landing
August 16-30 Movement to Alexandria, thence to Centreville
September 1 Near Centreville
September 2 Germantown Road
September 15 Arrived at the heights near Sharpsburg around 11 a.m. Engaged the enemy’s batteries until night, firing 400 rounds without loss.
September 16 Relieved by a battery of 20-pounder Parrotts and moved a short distance to the rear. Was under enemy artillery fire for four hours, having one man wounded. Ordered to cross Antietam Creek and took up position in battery on a hill.
September 17
Battle of Antietam

Ordered forward at the beginning of of the fighting. Private Nicholas House was killed by a ball while going into battery and was buried on the field.

September 18 At dawn was ordered to take position on the left of Hancock’s Division, under fire of sharpshooters.
September 22 Duty at Harper’s Ferry
October 16-17 Reconnaissance to Charlestown
October 20-
November 17
Advance up Loudoun Valley and movement to Falmouth, Va.
November 2 Snicker’s Gap
November 17 Falmouth
December 12-15
Battle of Fredericksburg
January-April Duty at Falmouth
January 20-24 “Mud March”
April 27-May 6 Chancellorsville Campaign
May 1-5
Battle of Chancellorsville

Seargeant Charles Gates and Privates Robert Donahue and Bernard McBride were wounded. Donahue reportedly drowned in the Delaware River during his stay in a hospital in Philadelphia

May Attached to 1st Volunteer Brigade, Artillery Reserve, Army of the Potomac
May 1 Sergeant Joseph Slauson promoted to second lieutenant
May 15 First Lieutenant Edward Underhill transferred from Battery A
May 30 Captain Petit resigned due to health, leaving Lieutenant Albert S. Sheldon in command.
June Attached to Artillery Brigade, 2nd Army Corps
July 1-3
Battle of Gettysburg

Battery B brought 114 men to the field serving four 10-pounder Parrott Rifles. It was commanded from July 2-3 by Captain James McKay Rorty.

Rorty had been Second Corps Ordnance Officer, but had persuaded General Hancock to give him a combat command for the battle, and he took over Battery B from Lieutenant Sheldon on July 2nd, probably in the afternoon before Longstreet’s assault.

On Juy 2 the battery fought near the Wheatfield before being withdrawn to the line of batteries set up by Lt. Colonel Freeman McGilvery along Plum Run. It lost one man killed and eight wounded, as well as 13 horses killed or disabled.

On July 3 the battery was placed on Cemetery Ridge just south of the Copse of Trees – directly in the path of Pickett’s Charge. The intense bombardment before the charge disabled three of the four cannon of the battery, blowing one from its carriage. Captain Rorty dropped his sword belt and coat and grabbed a sponge staff to help work the remaining gun. He shouted a desperate plea to Colonel Arthur Devereau of the nearby 19th Massachusetts Infantry for a dozen men to help work his guns, and was rewarded with a score of volunteers. Lieutenant Moses Shackley risked his life to fill a sponge bucket from a nearby spring to keep the gun firing.

Captain Rorty was killed and Lieutenant Sheldon wounded as the final charge of Confederate Brigadier General James Kemper’s Virginians swept up and over the battery. Sergeant Lewis Darveau shot a Confederate captain who had placed his colors on one of the guns, brained him with a handspike, and was in turn shot down.

Captain Rorty, Sergeant Darveau, Privates John Barry, Michael Halloran, Patrick Kelley, Amos Maynard, Charles Radue, Henry Rosegrant, Napoleon Twitchell were killed or mortally wounded and 16 men were wounded. Lieutenant Robert E. Rogers then took over the battery.

July Attached to 2nd Volunteer Brigade, Artillery Brigade, Army of the Potomac,
August 10 Lieutenant Sheldon promoted to captain
October 9-22 Bristoe Campaign
November 7-8 Advance to line of the Rappahannock
November 26-December 2 Mine Run Campaign. Attached to Artillery Reserve, Army of the Potomac
December 2 Sergeant De Witt Perine promoted to second lieutenant
December 13 Sergeant John Gibson transferred from Battrey H and promoted to second lieutenant
December 15 Second Lieutenant Joseph Slauson promoted to first lieutenant
January Attached to 1st Brigade, Artillery Reserve, Army of the Potomac
March Attached to 2nd Brigade, Artillery Reserve, Army of the Potomac
May 3-June 15 Campaign from the Rapidan to the James
May 5-7
Battle of the Wilderness
May 8-12 Laurel Hill May 8; Spottsylvania
May 9 Lieutenant Rogers transferred to Battery C
May 12-21
Battle of Spotsylvania Court House
May 16 Attached to Artillery Brigade, 5th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac
May 23 Jericho Mills
May 26-28 On line of the Pamunkey
May 28-31 Totopotomoy
June 1-12
Cold Harbor
June 1-3
Bethesda Church

Captain Albert Sheldon and Privates James O’Hara and James Wheeler were wounded, Wheeler mortally.

June 16-18
First Assault on Petersburg

Siege of Petersburg begins

July 30 Mine Explosion, Petersburg (Reserve)
August 18-21
Weldon Railroad

Corporal Daniel Rodgers was mortally wounded and Prinate Alonzo Ketcham was killed. Corporal Rogers died of his wounds on August 30 in Washington.

September 29-
October 2
Poplar Grove Church, Peeble’s Farm
September 21 First Lieutenant Joseph Slauson discharged
October 18 First Lieutenant Edward Underhill transferred to Battery M and prmomoted to captain
October 27-28 Boydton Plank Road, Hatcher’s Run
October 31 Second Lieutenant John Gibson promoted to first lieutenant
November 28 First Lieutenant Gibson discharged, end of term of service
December 13 Private Charles Rooney promoted to second lieutenant
December 16 Captain Albert Sheldon discharged for disability for his wound from Bethesda Church
March 9 Second Lieutenant Darius Chapin transferred from Battery L and promoted to first lieutenant
March 28-April 9 Appomattox Campaign
March 31 White Oak Road
April 1
Battle of Five Forks
April 2 Fall of Petersburg
April 3-9 Pursuit of Lee
April 9
Appomattox Court House

Surrender of Lee and his army.

April 22 Second Lieutenant Charles Rooney promoted to first lieutenant and Sergeant John Cunningham to second lieutenant
May Moved to Washington, D. C.
May 23 Grand Review
June 3 Second Lieutenant James Decker transferred from Battery F
June 18 Mustered out under First Lieutenant Charles Rooney