Artillery Experience

Living History Demonstration Near Petersburg
September 10, 1864

About half past two o'clock this morning we were awakened by the rattle of musketry, and in a moment all were at their places. We soon learned that the enemy had advanced their picket line and in so doing, had captured a portion of the pickets in our lines. All this time, the musketry firing was very lively. As soon as there was sufficient light to sight the guns by, the artillery took a hand in, and soon everything began to look a little more interesting than suited me, especially as there was a concentrated fire of six or eight guns on the one to which I belong."
- Ken Wiley, Norfolk Light Artillery Blues

Artillery Crew - (LOC) Field artillery was mainly used as a battery, with four to six guns comprising a battery.
"We dig a ditch two feet wide and three feet deep on each side of our gun, and parallel to the wheels...we then lie down around the gun until morning."
Bedford Light Artillery

Washington Artillery Living History "The unit of infantry was the man; of the cavalry, the man and the horse; of the artillery, the detachment. If an infantryman runs away, he only renders himself useless, he deprives his country of his services alone. Not so with artillery. It takes ten cannoneers to make a gun detachment. Each man has his special part to perform, but all indispensible to the perfect working of the piece, so that each man is dependent on all the rest." - Robert Stiles, Army of Northern Virginia

Battle of Weldon Railroad "About thirty minutes after the signal guns had been fired, our infantry moved forward over the plateau in our front. It having been understood by a previous arrangement that the artillery should advance with the infantry, I immediately directed Captain Miller to advance his and Lieutenant Battles' batteries." - Washington Artillery

Union Battery "As the opposing battery ceases firing, and having limbered up, scampers away, and the last of the enemy's infantry slowly sinks into the woods out of sight and out of reach, a wild cheer breaks from the cannoneers, who toss their caps in the air and shout, shake hands and shout again, while the curtain of smoke is raised by the breeze and borne away."
Edward Stevens McCarthy, Captain First Company Richmond Howitzers

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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