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Last Updated: 02/23/2020

 

4th US Artillery

Battery B

Unit History

In 1821, John C. Calhoun as Secretary of War worked to reorganize and modernize the War Department and the army for the turn of the century, which included the creation of several proper regiments of artillery, including that of the 4th US Artillery. The various batteries were stationed across Florida and the Gulf Coast, though these frontier posts at the time were terribly hostile to the basic health of the garrisons, including sixteen deaths to disease of just officers alone, let alone 220 enlisted men killed over the course of their duty in the south. After five years the unit's headquarters was moved to Fort Columbus on Governor's Island near Manhattan, while the individual batteries themselves were stationed widespread across the frontier, and took an active role in the various Indian Wars of the 1830s, as well as the occupation of Corpus Cristi during the Mexican-American War. Several of the men were detailed with other proper infantry to storm Federacion Hill in the battle of Monterey, achieving many distinctions in official reports. 

By the time of the Civil War, most of the batteries were detailed to various locations in the west, including Utah for Battery B, where they acted as cavalry keeping the roads clear for settlers and mail to go through to the west, even while the storm of war brewed throughout the summer of 1859. When the storm broke, and the official declarations of war were drawn, the batteries were quickly sent for to return to the East to their new headquarters first at Fort McHenry in Boston, and then to Fort Washington to the south of the Capital to guard the Potomac.

 

Battery B was one of the light batteries in the regiment, armed with six 12-pdr Napoleons through til 1864, when it was standardized with four guns. A few months after taking over the garrison of Fort Washington, the battery was then assigned to the Army of the Potomac under General Pope in mid 1862, and by August was engaged in some of it's first major fighting in the war at Cedar Mountain. Under McClellan, the battery was reassigned to General Hooker's 1st Corps, and took active part in much of the Maryland Campaign, including being right within the thickest of fighting as the 1st Corps moved down the Hagerstown Pike near the Miller Farm. During the fighting over Fredericksburg, they received great accolades from their new Corps commander John Reynolds, since Hooker had been wounded at Antietam.

In 1863, artillery as a whole were again subject to reorganization, and instead were formed as their own brigade in each corps rather than being assigned among the infantry brigades. Shortly after, the men of "Jock" Stewart's battery were at the forefront of fighting near Cemetery Hill, almost being captured twice but able to retreat in time, but taking serious casualties including thirty-three horses killed, one caisson blown up, another three broken down, and two of their guns spiked to prevent Rebel capture. Following that, the battery continued to take an active role in fighting at the Wilderness, Spottsylvania Courthouse, and ended the year of 1864 in the vicinity of Petersburg. Their prowess in battle was equaled only by their comrades in Battery K, but found no equal besides.

Equipment and Unit Info

The artillery is an integral part of the armies of both sides, and often one of the heaviest hitters, able to eliminate threats from a greater distance than any other branch could achieve alone. Below is a list of some of the requirements for taking part, so take a look at our sutler's page to find anything you might need. But please bear in mind before any purchase to check with your assigned guide as to what would be correct or not. Similarly, this unit is currently one that can go either Union or Confederate, so while the list below will showcase mostly Union requirements, you can take a look here for the other unit and it's requirements. 

 

Uniform:

* Kepi, Forage Cap, or Slouch Hat (not to be confused with a cowboy hat, they are not period)

* Sack coat or shell jacket with red artillery trim

* Muslin or homespun shirt

* Sky blue trousers

* Suspenders

* Thick socks, preferably wool

* Brogans or period boots (not cowboy boots)

Equipment:

* Canteen (VERY important), with dark blue wool cover, cotton sling

* Waist belt with US belt buckle

Weaponry:

* (Optional) Any correct period revolver such as the 1851 Navy Colt, 1858 Remington, or the 1860 Colt Army.  Or, an artillery carbine such as the J.P. Murray, or the P-58 Enfield, used by both armies.  Remember, the cannon is your main armament, and is the focus of an artilleryman's attention.

Camping and other Necessities:

* A-tent or Shelter/Dog Tent (full or half)

* Period-looking seat of some sort, whether stool or full chair

* Mess kit; tin or steel plate and cup, and knife, fork, and spoon.

* Cotton dress gloves

We must note here that any other necessities will depend on your style of camping. Some prefer to have a cot while some prefer to sleep on the ground with a period ground cloth and plenty of blankets for comfort and heat. The inside of the tent is up to you and is not a public space unless you want it to be. Add to this list based on your own needs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

The 4th US Artillery at the Battle of Antietam