6th Indiana Battery Light Artillery

Ole Miss

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The 6th Indiana Battery Light Artillery was badly used at Shiloh on the 1st day of battle. I have copied the presentation speech at the placement of the battery's monument during the Indiana at Shiloh, 1904 celebration. The death and resurrection of this unit is very interesting but not as simple as portrayed in this monument dedication ceremonial book. I will present more material.
Regards
David

Indiana at Shiloh 1904

THE Sixth Battery of Light Artillery (Morton Battery) was recruited at Evansville and mustered into service
at Indianapolis September 7, 1861, with Frederick Behr as Captain.
On October 2d the battery left Indianapolis by rail and proceeded by way of Evansville to Henderson, Kentucky, thence to Calhoun, South Carrollton and Owensboro, Kentucky. In the spring of 1862, it joined General Sherman's command at Paducah, and on the 4th of March moved with General Sherman's Division
to the Tennessee River on steamers and disembarked at Pittsburg Landing. Moving to the bridge over Owl Creek on the Purdy road, it guarded the bridge and was in that position on the extreme right, when, on the morning of the 6th of April, the rapid advance of the enemy opened the Battle of Shiloh.
For over two hours the battery held its position, supported by McDowell's Brigade, but was eventually forced back by the strong columns of the enemy. While the battery was retiring it was met by General Sherman at the intersection of the Corinth road, who gave orders to Captain Behr to bring his guns into battery. Directly after this order was given Captain Behr was struck by a musket ball and fell dead from his horse. The loss of this brave officer caused confusion and the enemy, pressing vigorously forward, captured most of the guns of the battery, sixty-eight of the horses having been killed.
After the death of Captain Behr, Lieutenant Mueller assumed command. New guns were procured and the battery moved with the army upon Corinth.
https://babel.Indiana .org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015026642671;view=1up;seq=83
 

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Ole Miss

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The following are excerpts from the Official Records of the Rebellion* The War of the Rebellion: a compilation of the official SERIES I—VOLUME X—IE TWO PARTS.
PART I.—REPORTS.

The 6th Indiana Battery emulated the Phoenix at the Battle of Shiloh by dying on April 6th and rising from the ashes on April 10th.
Regards
David

Report of Brig. Gen. Willam T. Sherman, U. S. Army, commanding Fifth Division.
Headquarters Fifth Division,
Camp Shiloh, April 10,1862.
Page 248

At that time (7 a. m.) my division was arranged as follows: First Brigade, composed of the Sixth Iowa, Col. J. A. McDowell,; Fortieth Illinois, Colonel Hicks; Forty-sixth Ohio, Colonel Worthington, and the Morton Battery, Captain Behr, on the extreme right, guarding the bridge on the Purdy road over Owl Creek.

Page 250
I rode across the angle and met Behr’s battery at the cross-roads, and ordered it immediately to unlimber and come into battery, action right. Captain Behr gave the order, but he was almost immediately shot from his horse, when the drivers and gunners fled in disorder, carrying off the caissons and abandoning five out of six guns without firing a shot. The enemy pressed on, gaining this battery, and we were again forced to choose a new line of defense.

Page 272
Report of Maj. Ezra Taylor, First Illinois Light Artillery, Chief of Artillery, Fifth Division,
Battalion Headquarters,
Camp near Pittsburg, Tenn., April 10,1862. Sir : I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the forces under my command in the affair of the 6th and 7th instant: By instructions from the general commanding the division, the Morton Battery, Captain Behr commanding, was placed on the Purdy road, in rear of McDowell’s brigade

Page 274
In regard to Captain Behr, Morton’s Battery, I confess I am unable to give you any further information than that I sent a messenger to him in the morning to have his battery ready for 4 action immediately to which he replied, “All is ready.” The next news from his battery was that it was in the hands of the enemy; a consummation which I must regret, and trust that it may soon be recaptured. In the mean time I think he may be supplied with a battery from those captured from the enemy, there being seven guns at your disposal which have been taken from the enemy, together with five caissons and a good supply of fixed ammunition.

Page 275
Have examined Major Taylor’s report, and approve his recommendation that the Morton Battery be reconstructed out of captured guns. Also make special mention of Captain Barrett, Company B, First Illinois Artillery, and Lieut. P. P. Wood, Company A, Chicago Light Artillery; also of Capt. E. Bouton, of Company I, First Illinois Artillery.
W. T. SHERMAN,
Brigadier- General, Commanding Fifth Division.
*https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924077730160;view=1up;seq=266
 

Ole Miss

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The 6th Indiana Battery Monument at Shiloh.
Regards
David

1555638079417.png

(front of monument)
6th
BATTERY,
MORTON'S,
Commanded by
Capt. FREDERICK BEHR,
1st BRIGADE--Col. J. A. McDOWELL--
5th--DIVISION--Gen.SHERMAN--
ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE.
INDIANA.
(back of monument)
6th BATTERY, MORTON'S, [cont'd]
Commanded by Capt. FREDERICK BEHR. This battery was ordered into action, at this place, by Gen. W. T. Sherman, at 10.30 a.m., April 6, 1862. Capt. Behr was shot from his horse and fell dead. Casualties--killed, 1 officer; ì wounded 5 men; total, 6. [NOTE* The organization of this Indiana battery as noted on the monument is in error. Although Morton's battery was encamped with ì McDowell's 1st Brigade, officially the unit was assigned to division level of operational control. Inscription should only note "5th DIVISION--Gen. SHERMAN" and list the battery as "NOT BRIGADED," ì making no reference to McDowell's brigade -- S. D. Allen, Shiloh NMP Historian, 12/19/95].
 

Ole Miss

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I am re-posting this from another thread which deals with some of the more curious aspects of this unit's actions at Shiloh
Regards
David

I am intrigued with the story of the 6th Indiana Battery Light Artillery at Shiloh and how similar in many ways its experience was to the 13th Ohio Independent Battery.

"On the morning of April 6, when the rapid advance of the enemy opened the battle of Shiloh, it was guarding the bridge over Owl creek on the Purdy road. For two hours it held its position supported by McDowell's brigade, but was eventually forced back by the strong columns of the enemy. While the battery was retiring, Gen. Sherman met it at the intersection of the Corinth road, and gave orders to Capt. Behr to bring his guns into battery The captain had hardly given the order to his men when he was struck by a musket ball and fell from his horse.'

"And as many horses were killed, it was impossible to move the cannon. The men rescued themselves and as many horses as they could. One gun of the battery, under the command of Lieutenant William Mussmann, stood at the bridge where Purdy Road crosses Owl’s Creek. The cannon, the horses, and the men were saved. On the second day of the battle, the remainder of the 6th German battery was augmented with two cannon from the Hoffmann battery and took part in the battle. They were near the German 32nd Indiana regiment and helped recapture the cannons, also of other batteries, that had been lost on the first day. Captain Michael Mueller succeeded Frederick Behr and led the battery through the war with a distinguished record."*
(Page 24-25) Indianapolis Germans and the Beginning ofthe Civil War/ Based on Theodor Stempfel CHAPTER XIII THE CIVIL WAR

The 6th Indiana fell apart after the death of Captain Behr as the 13th Ohio did after the well placed enemy shot hit its caisson.

General Sherman in his Official Report stated the following regarding the 6th Ohio Battery:
"...I rode across the angle and met Behr’s battery at the cross-roads, and ordered it immediately to unlimber and come into battery, action right. Captain Behr gave the order, but he was almost immediately shot from his horse, when the drivers and gunners fled in disorder, carrying off the caissons and abandoning five out of six guns without firing a shot. The enemy pressed on, gaining this battery, and we were again forced to choose a new line of defense."^ (Page 250)

Yet the 6th Indiana Battery was rearmed after the battle on the recommendation of Major Ezra Taylor the Chief of Artillery, Fifth Division. His Official Report is listed below:
Page 272
Report of Maj. Ezra Taylor, First Illinois Light Artillery, Chief of Artillery, Fifth Division,
Battalion Headquarters,
Camp near Pittsburg, Tenn., April 10,1862. Sir : I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the forces under my command in the affair of the 6th and 7th instant: By instructions from the general commanding the division, the Morton Battery, Captain Behr commanding, was placed on the Purdy road, in rear of McDowell’s brigade ^ (Pages 272-275)
Page 274
In regard to Captain Behr, Morton’s Battery, I confess I am unable to give you any further information than that I sent a messenger to him in the morning to have his battery ready for 4 action immediately to which he replied, “All is ready.” The next news from his battery was that it was in the hands of the enemy; a consummation which I must regret, and trust that it may soon be recaptured. In the mean time I think he may be supplied with a battery from those captured from the enemy, there being seven guns at your disposal which have been taken from the enemy, together with five caissons and a good supply of fixed ammunition.^

General Sherman's reply to Major Taylor's recommendation regarding the 6th Ohio
Have examined Major Taylor’s report, and approve his recommendation that the Morton Battery be reconstructed out of captured guns. Also make special mention of Captain Barrett, Company B, First Illinois Artillery, and Lieut. P. P. Wood, Company A, Chicago Light Artillery; also of Capt. E. Bouton, of Company I, First Illinois Artillery.
W. T. SHERMANT,
Brigadier- General, Commanding Fifth Division.^

*http://hoosiergermanheritage.info/Chapter 13 Civil War DV Edits.pdf
^https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924077730160;view=1up;seq=266
+https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924077730160;view=1up;seq=290
 



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