McAllister’s 1st Illinois Light Artillery, Battery “D”

Ole Miss

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1st Illinois Light Artillery, Battery "D", under the command of Captain Edward McAllister was one of the busiest units in the 2 day Battle of Shiloh with at least 8 known established postions. Being armed with 4 24 pounder Howitzers, Battery "D" was a powerful deterrent to the attacking Rebels. These large tubes could fire solid 19.5 pound shell 1,300 yards 3/4 of a mile and were devastating when firing cannister or case shot at advancing closely packed infantry. Each battery carried a number of ammunition chests and for the 24 pounders, 23 rounds were in the chest: 15 solid shells; 20 spherical case; 4 canister.

Battery D, First Illinois Light Artillery, was organized at Cairo, Illinois, September 2nd 1861, by Captain Edward McAllister and on September 18th, moved to Fort Holt, Kentucky. February 3d, 1862, ordered to Fort Henry, with three 24-pdr. iron howitzers. Was engaged in the siege of Fort Donelson, two of the guns being disabled. March 6th, moved to Paducah. Later moved to Savannah, Tennessee, with four 24-pdr. bronze howitzers. On April 6th and 7th, took part in battle of Shiloh ; took 8 positions during the action.*

The Shiloh National Military Park has been able to place 24 pounder howitzers at 2 of the marked positions of Battery "D"
Regards
David

This photo of the unit's monument and 2 tubes, shows their position in the Northwest corner of Review Field shows what a commanding spot this was for their 4 24 pounders as the Confederates attacked from the right and center of this view
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A close up view of the Illinois State Monument for Battery "D"
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*Report of the adjutant general of the state of Illinois ... [1861-1866]
https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/009557713
page 189
 

Ole Miss

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Unfortunately, Captain McAllister received 4 wounds---yet did not leave his command---and did not submit an after action report so we are only able to gleam a bit from General John McClernand's Official Report. The excerpt is shown below
Regards
David

Report of Maj. Gen. John A. McClernand, U. S. Army, Commanding
First Division.
Headquarters First Division,
Camp near Pittsburg, Tenn., April 24,1862.

(Excerpt)
...McAllister’s battery opened from the corner of the field referred to (Review Field), and by a well-directed and effective fire kept the enemy from crossing it (for 2 hours) until his battery was nearly surrounded and his support forced back, when, after silencing a battery in the woods on the opposite side of the field, he withdrew three of his pieces along the Corinth road towards Pittsburg Landing. The fourth piece was left behind for want of horses to take it off, but was recovered next day. In this engagement Captain McAllister was four times slightly wounded, but kept the field. An acting sergeant and 7 men were severely wounded and a number killed. *

Regards
David

This view from behind the left tube shows Review Field, the scrub growth in front was not there at the time of the battle, and what a killing field these 24 pounder howitzers would have created. The monument in the background is that of the 77th Pennsylvania the only Eastern unit in the Army of the Ohio.

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The bore of the 24 pounder howitzer was 5.82" and here is that view of the maw of this beast
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*Official Records of the Rebellion
Series 1, Volume X, Part 1
Page 116
 

Ole Miss

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It is been difficult to find much documentation about McAllister's Battery so I am sharing the brief unit descriptor below.
Regards
David
This photo of a 24 pounder howitzer marks the last location held by this battery on Sunday, April 6 and is located along Cavalry Road just South of Jones which is the far right of Grant's army. The scrub growth in front of the tube was not there at the time of the battle
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This is tablet that marks the location

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Illinois at Shiloh; Report of the Shiloh Battlefield Commission and Ceremonies at the Dedication of the Monuments

BATTERY D (McALLISTER'S). First Division (General McClernand's), 1st Regt. Ill Light Artillery, Not Brigaded, Captain Edward McAllister, Commanding Battery.

On Sunday morning, April 6th, 1862, when General McClernand formed his ist and 2nd brigades along the Corinth road, he placed McAllister's battery at the northwest corner of Review field at the center of the line. Here, after a hot fight, in which the battery took a leading part, McClernand's line was driven back. Battery D withdrew down the Corinth road toward the Landing, leaving one gun for want of horses to draw it. It was engaged with McClernand's in Jones field at 2 p. m., and formed part of the line of massed batteries at the Landing, where the battery spent Sunday night. Monday morning it advanced with McClernand and was in action during the day driving the enemy back over the ground lost the day before. At four o'clock p. m. the battery was relieved of service, the battle being at an end. General Sherman especially commends the work of this battery in the struggle east of Shiloh church on Monday afternoon. "The guns," he says, "were served as well as guns ever could be." ^


^Illinois at Shiloh; Report of the Shiloh Battlefield Commission and Ceremonies at the Dedication of the Monuments
http://livinghistoryofillinois.com/...f the Shiloh Battlefield Commission, 1905.pdf
Page 156
 

Belfoured

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Good material. It's unfortunate that the only report seems to be McClernand's. If we had the battery commander's report we might know rounds expended, types of rounds, and range. That's a great head-on look at the tube and bore. Lots of room to spray canister.
 

Ole Miss

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The only range distance I can find is that Battery "D" opened up on the Confederates around 9 am at the NW edge of Review Field which was about 600 yards away. I have consulted Ed Bearss, unpublished Artillery Study - Shiloh NP from February 1964 which alas has no additional information about this unit.
Unless someone has and will share letters or diaries from members of McAllister's Battery we may never find the additional information we are seeking.
Regards
David
 
Joined
Sep 3, 2015
There is an excellent book on McAllister's Battery called "Always in the Middle of the Battle" by David Edward Wall. Quoting from the book, it was reported that McAllister's Battery fired 50 rounds of canister, 152 shrapnel and 230 shells during the Battle of Shiloh. I highly recommend the book.

StarkvilleCivilWarArsenal.com
 

Belfoured

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
The only range distance I can find is that Battery "D" opened up on the Confederates around 9 am at the NW edge of Review Field which was about 600 yards away. I have consulted Ed Bearss, unpublished Artillery Study - Shiloh NP from February 1964 which alas has no additional information about this unit.
Unless someone has and will share letters or diaries from members of McAllister's Battery we may never find the additional information we are seeking.
Regards
David
I don't have Bearss but I didn't find anything in Witham.
 

Belfoured

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
There is an excellent book on McAllister's Battery called "Always in the Middle of the Battle" by David Edward Wall. Quoting from the book, it was reported that McAllister's Battery fired 50 rounds of canister, 152 shrapnel and 230 shells during the Battle of Shiloh. I highly recommend the book.

StarkvilleCivilWarArsenal.com
Thanks.
 

Ole Miss

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Thank you for the information and the source! Would love to see more posts from you about this battery and artillery in general
Regards
David
 
Joined
Sep 3, 2015
I think I might have one of the limber chests from McAllister's Battery. I would like to know if anyone is interested in helping with some research assistance on this project. If possible, I would also like to continue this discussion by phone if anyone is interested. Thank you. Duffy Neubauer at StarkvilleCivilWarArsenal.com
 
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