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Confederate Artillery Part II - Troup Artillery of Cabell's Battalion

Discussion in 'Battle of Gettysburg' started by lelliott19, Jan 5, 2018.

  1. lelliott19

    lelliott19 2nd Lieutenant Forum Host Trivia Game Winner

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    The account below, published in the Athens, Georgia Southern Banner of Aug. 26, 1863, was written by Pvt Anderson W. Reese, a member of Captain Henry H. Carlton's Company (aka "Troup Artillery") of Cabell's Battalion Artillery. @Tom Elmore started a thread a couple of weeks ago about Confederate Artillery in the Wheatfield and which batteries may have been in advanced positions. This is a follow up to that thread and will be of some interest.

    Camp in Orange Co., Va.
    Aug 9, 1863

    The newspapers have long since told you all about the Pennsylvania campaign, historically -- so little remains for me to relate on that score. My object is to give as briefly and succinctly as possible, a detailed account of the part taken in that memorable episode of the war by the "Troup Artillery" -- my old company, which I love and admire more and more, as the exigencies of war develope [sic] its character -- what it can and will do when opportunity offers. When it crossed the river, and where, and what was said and done, and what kind of weather we had, etc. may very well be omitted, as not germain [sic] to the object proposed above.

    Suffice it to say, that after a halt of two or three days near Chambersburg, Pa., we moved forward on the 30th of June on the road towards Gettysburg. Another halt was made at Fayetteville, seven miles from Chambersburg. We reached the vicinity of Gettysburg Wednesday evening, July 1st, hearing as we neared the town, the dying echos of the guns that had thundered so gloriously, and with such a rich fruition for our cause that afternoon. On the morning of the 2nd, we moved forward again, and after considerable delay around 3 PM, got into position on the right of the line, and not more than a half mile in rear of the pike leading from Gettysburg to Emmetsburg, Md., running almost due South. Hood’s division occupied the extreme right, McLaws’ being next. The enemy were posted in a peach orchard and plowed field immediately in our front, distant about 600 yards, and just beyond the pike above alluded to. The skirmishers of both armies were actively engaged as we came in to position – those of the enemy being some distance this side the road, and making a determined stand to hold it. Very soon, however, they were driven back across the road upon their supports, and almost simultaneously with their withdrawal, our battalion opened fire upon the force in the peach orchard and field. The enemy’s batteries (U.S. Regulars) responded promptly, and then the ball fairly opened. The firing was the most rapid I have ever witnessed, and the earth literally vibrated under the continuous roar. For about half an hour, the fight raged without a moment’s cessation, and then away went our infantry at a double quick and the position was won at the point of the bayonet. Our fire, as described by the Major of the 141st P.V., whom I saw the next day, wounded and a prisoner, was the most terrible he had ever seen, and the mortality in the Brigade to which he belonged (supporting the batteries) very great. I have never seen guns better served, and right in the centre of the battalion, working like beavers and covered with dust and smoke, were Carlton’s brave boys as cool and calm as when they chuckled Sedgewick on that memorable 3d of May near Fredericksburg.

    The Yankee dead lay thick around their guns, and dead and wounded horses literally cumbered the ground. Their fire was very effective, too, as our list of casualties shows. In Captain Frazier’s battery from Savannah 19 were killed and wounded including the Captain himself badly and his 3d Lieutenant severely. Our loss was slight, comparatively, in men, only two being wounded, but terrible in horses – the battalion losing some 70 in that short time. Night came on, and the conflict closed upon one of the bloodiest fields of the war. – We had driven the enemy nearly two miles to the base of that range of hills where they made their final and successful stand next day. Our loss had been heavy, but theirs much greater. For almost the first time in the history of the war, had the superiority of our artillery when properly massed, been indisputably shown and the reason of our failure to whip them hitherto with that arm of the service as clearly demonstrated. Notwithstanding we had failed of entire success, there was everything to cheer the army for the morrow’s work, and so we all lay down on that rocky crest calm and confident.

    Early the next morning, the battalion was divided – Carlton’s battery and McCarthy’s Napoleans being sent a considerable distance to the left and in advance of the position of the previous day – the other batteries being distributed at various intervals along the treeline towards the right. An enormous quantity of artillery was massed en echelon along this line, and Cemetery Hill, the key to the enemy’s position, was the point of attack. The enemy did not allow us to take this advanced position without molestation, and shelled Carlton furiously as we moved across the field, and wheeled in to line on the crest of the hill. One man (Adams) was killed instantly by this fire, and another (McConnel) wounded.

    About 11 AM, the signal - two guns discharged in rapid succession from Alexander’s Battalion on the right – was given, and then, from 120 or more iron or brazen throats, there leaped forth the most terrific storm of shot and shell that probably has ever been poured upon a foe. For half an hour or more the racing missiles tore their way through the enemy’s batteries, and with marked effect. Their fire visibly slackened, and their guns were constantly shifted. When it was thought sufficient impression had been made on their works, Pickett’s division, supported by Heth’s which had been lying down on the slope of the hill – one being on the crest – were ordered forward. The artillery fire from the enemy again burst forth with more fury than ever, and was concentrated upon Pickett’s division……In my humble judgement, the position could not have been carried by any troops attacking as they did. It was simply impregnable – that is all. <Extensive excerpt waxing philosophic about the timing of the assault and “what if’s”>

    As on the previous day, Carlton’s battery was in the thickest of the fight, gathering fresh laurels every moment. Carlton himself, was as usual right up front with the cannoneers, inspiring them with his intrepid, cool spirit that ch….[unreadable] in action. Struck on the [shoulder with his? <unclear>] arm broken near the cl[avicle? <unreadable>] he never ceased, until carried [unreadable] to cheer and encourage his men. Lieut Jennings, who was wounded very near at the same time, was found, as ever at his post. Lieut. [C. W.] Motes took command when the captain was struck down, and displayed, as he always does, the greatest gallantry. As his commanding officer remarked the other day, “he is as brave as men ever are.” Lieuts. Murray and Cooper were, as usual, ready at their respective posts, but as their section of Howitzers were not bro’t into position till nearly night, and when the line of artillery was advanced, neither had any very active share in the engagement. At one time the battery was in advance of our line of skirmishers, with not a solitary soldier between it and the enemy. And during the entire time it occupied this advanced position, it had absolutely no support whatever, but our weak line of skirmishers. But there was no excitement, no confusion. My gallant old comrades were equal to the emergency, and like veterans, as they are, were calm and quiet as if no danger was near. If I were to particularize, I would be compelled to name almost every man in the battery, so well did all behave. <Excerpt – detail of impressions of PA, Lee’s orders against plundering, private property, mention of the destruction of Thaddeus Stevens’ Ironworks, and the retreat.>
    Yours & c.
    A.W.R.


    Southern Banner
    , Aug. 26, 1863, page 2.
    Image credits: www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WMEAR6_Carltons_Troup_Artillery_CS_Battery_Marker_Gettysburg_PA and Capt. Henry Hull Carlton, Carlton's Battery (aka Troup Artillery) image from /wiki/Henry_Hull_Carlton
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2018

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  3. Tom Elmore

    Tom Elmore First Sergeant Member of the Month

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    An excellent account, thanks for posting. The signal guns were actually fired by Maj. B. F. Eshleman's battalion.

    Major Israel P. Spalding of the 141st Pennsylvania was hit by two minie balls, one striking his thigh, the other breaking an ankle. The next day, Benjamin G. Humphreys of the 21st Mississippi ordered him taken to the rear, where his wounds were dressed. He was treated kindly by the Confederates until being recaptured after the latter retreated. He died on July 28, leaving behind a wife, two sons and a daughter. (Clement F. Heverly, Our Boys in Blue)
     
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  4. lelliott19

    lelliott19 2nd Lieutenant Forum Host Trivia Game Winner

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    That's a shame about Spalding. I hoped that he had lived to write his memoirs. I'm sure he would have had some interesting observations.

    "Early the next morning, the battalion was divided – Carlton’s battery and McCarthy’s Napoleans being sent a considerable distance to the left and in advance of the position of the previous day....." Any idea where this position would have been, Tom?
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2018
  5. Tom Elmore

    Tom Elmore First Sergeant Member of the Month

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    My take is that at about 4:20 a.m. on July 3, McCarthy's section of Napoleons (two guns) moved west on Spangler's lane to the Spangler farm buildings, then turned right and proceeded behind (west of) the slight ridge there to a point about 1,100 feet further north, and waited on or just behind the hill crest until the cannonade commenced. Carlton's battery soon followed, with his Parrott section placed just on the left (north) of McCarthy's Napoleons. Carlton's two howitzers remained in the hollow behind his Parrotts, but just in front (east) of Spangler's woods. I calculate that when Pickett's men took up their position later that morning, Carlton's Parrotts would have been just in front of the left center of the 19th Virginia, while McCarthy's Napoleons would have been close in front of where the right of the 19th Virginia met the left of the 18th Virginia.
     
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  6. ucvrelics.com

    ucvrelics.com 1st Lieutenant Forum Host

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    Great Read Thanks for sharing.
     
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  7. JOHN42768

    JOHN42768 1st Lieutenant Trivia Game Winner

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    Good info
     
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