Battery E, 1st Illinois Light Artillery at Shiloh

Ole Miss

Captain
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Regtl. Staff Shiloh 2020
Joined
Dec 9, 2017
Location
North Mississippi
Battery E, 1st​ Illinois Light Artillery also known as Waterhouse's Battery was attached to Sherman’s Division on April 5, 1862 the day before the Battle of Shiloh. The battery under the command of Captain Allen C. Waterhouse was positioned above the Shiloh Branch overlooking the Rea House. On Sunday morning at about 7 am, 1 section of 2 guns was moved about 300 yards forward on the right flank of the 53rd​ Ohio Infantry. This position was maintained for about 30 minutes then this section was recalled to join the battery above the spring.

Waterhouse’s men held their position till 9:30 when they retired toward the Hamburg-Purdy Road and eventually to Pittsburg Landing. In the retreat one 3.5” James rifle and two 4.5” James rifles were abandoned due to overwhelming numbers of the enemy. Captain Waterhouse and his second-in-command were wounded and command devolved to Lieutenant John Fitch.

I will have follow up posts to in more detail the actions of this unit but now I wish to share photos of the various monuments and tablest that maked the positions held by Battery E. I am a poor photographer, so I posting connections to existing photos from 2 members
Regards
David

@MS2623 has a excellent post with photos of Battery E and the area they were assigned
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/rhea-springs-from-a-soldiers-view.170672/#post-2226127
@mt155 is a fatastic photographer and his work needs to be shared with others!
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/waterhouse.151638/#post-1926933
Another of @mt155 threads
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/waterhouse-in-rhea-field.110196/#post-1060339
 

mt155

First Sergeant
Annual Winner
Joined
Feb 24, 2007
Location
Clear Lake, Texas
1610760822721.png


1610760887039.png
 

Ole Miss

Captain
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Regtl. Staff Shiloh 2020
Joined
Dec 9, 2017
Location
North Mississippi
Captain Waterhouse received a serious leg wound on Sunday, the first day of battle, and did not submit an Official Report so I have studied that of Major Ezra Taylor his immediate superior.
Regards
David

Excerpt from
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; Taylor’s battery, Captain Barrett commanding, to the right and in advance of the chapel, on the road leading to Corinth; Capt. A. C. Waterhouse’s battery near the left of the division—four guns on the right bank of Owl Creek and two guns on the left bank of Owl Creek.

The enemy appearing in large masses, and opening a battery to the front and right of the two guns, advanced across Owl Creek. I instructed Captain Waterhouse to retire the two guns to the position occupied by the rest of his battery, about which time the enemy appeared in large force in the open held directly in front of the position of this battery, bearing aloft, as I supposed, the American flag, and their men and officers wearing uniforms so similar to ours, that I hesitated to open fire on them until they passed into the woods and were followed by other troops who wore a uniform not to be mistaken. I afterward learned that the uniform jackets worn by these troops were black. As soon as I was certain as to the character of the troops I ordered the firing to commence, which was done, in fine style and with excellent precision. After instructing the battery to be cool and watch all the movements of the enemy, who was throwing large forces into the timber on the left of its position,…

In the mean time the enemy was pushing our force on the left of both of these batteries—Waterhouse’s and Taylor’s. Seeing Waterhouse’s battery limbering to the rear, and fearing the result of a too hasty retreat, I hastened to the position, and finding him retiring, I at once ordered him to unlimber and contest every foot of ground, while I sent a messenger to hnd another battery to come to their assistance. My order was promptly obeyed, and they were soon throwing canister among the enemy; but their bravery alone could not drive back the masses who were swarming around their left and pushing back the infantry and opening a hank hre of musketry and a battery, which they had succeeded in planting in the timber in front, they were compelled to retire under a galling hre, leaving three guns and their entire camp and garrison equipage on the held. I take great pleasure in stating that the conduct of this battery was such as to entitle them to my entire approbation, and I consider too much praise cannot be bestowed upon them for their gallant conduct on their first battle-field.
I respectfully refer you to the official report of Lieut. J. A. Fitch, commanding, Captain Waterhouse and Lieutenant Abbott both being severely wounded.”

Official Records of the Rebellion
Series 1, Volume X, Part 1
https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924077730160&view=1up&seq=291&q1=272Pages 272-273
 

Belfoured

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
Battery E, 1st​ Illinois Light Artillery also known as Waterhouse's Battery was attached to Sherman’s Division on April 5, 1862 the day before the Battle of Shiloh. The battery under the command of Captain Allen C. Waterhouse was positioned above the Shiloh Branch overlooking the Rea House. On Sunday morning at about 7 am, 1 section of 2 guns was moved about 300 yards forward on the right flank of the 53rd​ Ohio Infantry. This position was maintained for about 30 minutes then this section was recalled to join the battery above the spring.

Waterhouse’s men held their position till 9:30 when they retired toward the Hamburg-Purdy Road and eventually to Pittsburg Landing. In the retreat one 3.5” James rifle and two 4.5” James rifles were abandoned due to overwhelming numbers of the enemy. Captain Waterhouse and his second-in-command were wounded and command devolved to Lieutenant John Fitch.

I will have follow up posts to in more detail the actions of this unit but now I wish to share photos of the various monuments and tablest that maked the positions held by Battery E. I am a poor photographer, so I posting connections to existing photos from 2 members
Regards
David

@MS2623 has a excellent post with photos of Battery E and the area they were assigned
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/rhea-springs-from-a-soldiers-view.170672/#post-2226127
@mt155 is a fatastic photographer and his work needs to be shared with others!
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/waterhouse.151638/#post-1926933
Another of @mt155 threads
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/waterhouse-in-rhea-field.110196/#post-1060339
Thanks for the post. Another way of labeling the guns is four 3.67" James and two 3.80" James, all 6 pdrs. Any idea if these were re-bored or new?
 

Ole Miss

Captain
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Regtl. Staff Shiloh 2020
Joined
Dec 9, 2017
Location
North Mississippi
This Official Report by Lieutenant Fitch is the only one for Battery E. I have had the opportunity to see the terrain occupied by Waterhouse's men and they were very close to the enemy, about 250 to 300 yards, as thousands of Rebels stormed into Rea Field and ascended the small hill held by the Federals. Maintaining this position for over 2 and 1/2 hours was very impressive effort by these young Chicagoans!
Regards
David

"Report of Lieut John A. Fitch, Battery E, First Illinois Light Artillery.
Headquarters Waterhouse’s Battery,
April 9, 1862.
Sir: I would respectfully submit the following report of the part taken by Company E, First Regiment Light Artillery Illinois Volunteers, in the action of Friday, the 6th instant:
The battery consisted of four 3 1/2-inch and two 4 1/2-inch James rifled cannon. We had received our horses ten days previous to the action and had been in camp one week, in which time we had opportunity for drill only three days. Under these disadvantages we went into action. By your order the battery took position at 7 a. m., two sections on a hill to the left and front of General Sherman’s headquarters, and one section across Owl Creek, about 150 yards to the front. The section in advance was compelled to retire, and took position to the left of the other sections. At this time the enemy had a strong force in the woods on the left, and another force, supported by a battery, on the right; a column also advanced across an open field in front. The battery held this position one hour and three quarters, silencing the enemy’s battery, when the infantry supporting us on the left gave way and exposed us to a severe flanking Are. At this time Captain Waterhouse was wounded and was obliged to leave the field, first giving the order to retire. The rear part of one caisson, having been caught among the trees by reason of the rawness of our horses, was necessarily left here. The battery was retiring slowly, under command of Lieut. A. B. Abbott, when you ordered it to open fire a second time at a point about 100 yards in the rear of our first position. This position was held but a few minutes. The infantry on our left continued to retreat, and the enemy again outflanked us, this time advancing rapidly up the hill upon our left. Lieutenant Abbott, being now wounded, I gave the order to retreat, which was effected under a close fire of musketry, when the enemy had approached to about 50 yards from our position. Many of our men and horses had been wounded, and I was obliged to leave on the field two 4 1/2-inch and one 3 1/2-inch guns. After retiring from action it was found upon examination that the remaining guns were disabled from faulty construction of the iron part of the axle-tree. By your order the battery retired to the river. One gun was so far disabled that it broke down and was left on the way to the river. That night, by your advice, I detailed one lieutenant and 24 men, with 3 horses, temporarily to assist Company B, Captain Barrett commanding. The camp and garrison equipage of the company was almost entirely destroyed.
The battery is at present unfit for service.
Respectfully submitted.
J. A. FITCH,
First-Lieutenant, Commanding Company.
Maj. Ezra Taylor,
Chief of Artillery, Fifth Division, Army of the Tennessee."

Official Records of the Rebellion
Series 1, Volume X, Part 1
https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924077730160&view=1up&seq=295&q1=276Page 276-277
 

gggfJulius

Cadet
Joined
Apr 29, 2018
Location
Illinois
Thank you for these posts. My great great grandfather was a corporal in this unit. He mustered out as a duty sergeant. I have been trying to gather information on Battery E. I have downloaded and reviewed a few books of after action reports and summaries of unit movements, but any detailed particulars of this unit are scarce. As a great great granddaughter of one of the men of this battery, it makes me proud to read of their bravery considering the little amount of training they had previous to the battle at Shiloh.
 

Ole Miss

Captain
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Regtl. Staff Shiloh 2020
Joined
Dec 9, 2017
Location
North Mississippi
Since you live in Illinois it might be easier for you to secure a copy of this magazine that has the article listed below that deals with your ancestor's unit that I could not acquire. The author is a volunteer Ranger at Shiloh.
Regards
David

The Chicago Light Artillery at Shiloh

by Bjorn Skaptason

Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society (199:cool:
Vol. 104, No. 1/2, Civil War Sesquicentennial Issue (Spring-Summer, 2011), pp. 73-96 (24 pages)
 
Top