New Old Guy

Jan 21, 2019
Hello and welcome from Wake County, North Carolina. I have a question for you. How do you protect your hearing when working with artillery? I have quite a few modern day firearms and a couple of black powder pistols and they are loud enough even with earmuffs and earplugs. I bet your ears ring for days after an reenactment.

I like to use cotton, straight from the field. If I take a seed, still covered in fiber, roll it tight and place it in my ear canal, it stops the concussion. I think the solid seed is what does it, rolled cotton fiber without the seed is not nearly as effective. Also, as you likely know, opening your mouth allows the pressure wave to hit both sides of the ear-drum, preventing large amounts of movement. Also I wear a beaver fur hat with a 5 inch brim (the one in my picture). When I'm on the gun I tip it down to allow the hat to deflect the shock-wave away from my ears...

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Dec 31, 2010
Kingsport, Tennessee
Thanks, I have these reports, they tell a lot. The first report, at Shiloh, leaves out a fact I am impressed with. The artillery duel took place on the southeast side of what is now called "Lost Field", at Shiloh National Military Park, on April 6th at about nine AM. It was the first time the men of Stanford's Mississippi Battery heard the report of their guns, as they ad never had ammunition to fire their cannon. They had drilled to the point of exhaustion, but never fired them. They were commended for "Doing their duty as veterans, not the unseasoned men they were".
I have copies of four diaries and letters from three other men in the unit.
Excerpts from those diaries & letters would make a great post !

Ole Miss

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Dec 9, 2017
North Mississippi
Here is the Shiloh National Military Park's Facebook post about Stanford's Battery.

Stanford's Battery at Shiloh*

Stanford’s Mississippi Artillery Battery was recruited and organized in the fall of 1861 by Thomas J. Stanford, a merchant and manufacturer, from Black Hawk, Mississippi. They were mustered into the Confederate service on November 6, 1861 at Grenada, Mississippi with Stanford as captain. Shortly after this they received their first guns, two 12-pounder howitzers. Then the next day, November 7th, the battery was sent by rail to Columbus, Kentucky, arriving just after the Battle of Belmont, across the Mississippi River in Missouri. The battery went into winter quarters near the town of Columbus, building cabins reluctantly, since they did not yet consider labor a part of soldiering. On February 18, 1862, after the fall of Fort Donelson, they left their winter quarters behind and moved south to Humboldt, Tennessee. After a few days they traveled on to Corinth. Mississippi where they made camp about two miles to the north of the depot. By this time the battery had six brass cannons including: three 12-pounder howitzers, two six-pounder smoothbores, and one rifled six-pounder. While camped at Corinth the battery had their first chance to drill with their guns and horses under the supervision of former West Point Cadet, Lt. William Watkins Dunlap. To fill out the numbers of the battery, volunteers from Vaiden’s Mississippi Battery, who had not yet received guns, were called.

On April 3, 1862 the battery joined the column marching toward Shiloh at sundown and marched until after midnight. They continued marching at daylight on April 4th and stopped to camp in the middle of the evening. On April 5th they were delayed by some misunderstanding about the route, but finally arrived and were placed in battle line before sunset.

As the Battle of Shiloh began on April 6th, Stanford’s Battery was part of Gen. A.P. Stewart’s Brigade, but became separated when the infantry moved through thick undergrowth. Gen. Thomas Hindman directed the battery to unlimber on a rise near Lost Field at about 10 AM and engage a Union battery at a range of about 600 yards. Before they could fire, a Union shell blew up one of their ammunition chests, and another cut off the limber pole of the third detachment. This was the first time the battery had been in battle and when they came under counter battery fire, Sergeant William Brown commented: “I felt sure we must all be killed and expected every moment to have the life jerked out of me by a cannon ball. I thought it impossible for a man to live many moments in that terrible storm.” A cannon ball took the leg off one horse, and another shot the right arm off of Sgt. William Jones. After about fifteen minutes, though the Union battery ceased fire and was captured by Confederate infantry.

The opposing Federal battery, the 14th Light Ohio Battery, commanded by Lt. Jerome Burrows, got the worse of the encounter. From artillery and infantry fire they soon lost 70 horse killed, and Burrows and a number of his officers were wounded. The battery was forced to abandon its guns which were captured by Gen. S.A.M. Wood’s Brigade. Sgt. Brown observed the remnants of the Union battery: “The dead almost covered the ground, being across each other and in every position. Rebels and Yankees together. Horses had fallen, lead together, the reins still grasped by the cold, pale hands. Numbers still held their guns in the various positions in which death had found them. One team of six horses all dead, lay still harnessed to the limber of a gun.”

Later in the afternoon of April 6th, Stanford’s Battery joined the line of Confederate artillery known as “Ruggle’s Battery” and then advanced toward the last Federal line where they came under fire from the timberclad gunboats before falling back for the night.

On the morning of April 7, 1862, Stanford’s Battery advanced with five guns in support of Gen. John C. Breckenridge’s command near Duncan Field (The rifled cannon had been disabled the previous day). At 11 AM they came under counter-battery fire from a Union battery across the field. Stanford responded with solid shot and case shot at a range of 500 yards. The bombardment lasted about thirty minutes. The battery was swept by shot and shell with one of the riders on a limber horse, Private John Bowen hit below the hip tearing his leg away. Many of the horses were hit by artillery fire and went down.

Gen. Breckinridge’s infantry made at attack to take the Federal guns but were repulsed and fell back in confusion followed by Union forces. Capt. Stanford urged them to make a stand but they continued retreating leaving the artillery alone. For thirty minutes Stanford’s Battery held them at bay with canister at a range of 300 yards or less. They continued firing until the Union line reached within 50 yards and they were ordered to limber up and withdraw. With most of the horses they could only bring two guns off the field. The Battery lost four killed, fourteen wounded, and sixty horses killed.

Stanford’s Battery was re-equipped and fought with the Army of Tennessee until the Battle of Nashville in December 1864. Capt. Stanford was killed at the Battle of Resaca, Georgia on May 15, 1864 and is buried there.


James N.

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Feb 23, 2013
East Texas
I'm glad to be on line with ya'll. I'm many years into researching The Men of Stanford's Mississippi Battery and my "new" quest, Turner's Battery, that is 1st Mississippi Light, Company C. I've reenacted static and horse drawn artillery for about 20 years now.
Welcome to the forums from the host of the Stonewall Jackson Forum! I used to reenact for many years, now many years ago, at an annual event held at Champion's Hill and sponsored or hosted by members of a reconstituted Stanford's Battery. Our group was usually Federal infantry or artillery and several of us participated as Gen. Grant and staff:


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