Organization Of Confederate Field Artillery

On November 1, 1862, the Confederate Adjutant and inspector General's Office issued its General Orders, No. 81, which spelled oili the organization of the light artillery:

"II, The following will be the organization of a company of light artillery, according to die number of guns composing the battery, viz.:

For a battery of six guns: one captain, 2 first lieutenants, 2 second lieutenants, 1 sergeant-major or first sergeant, I quartermaster-sergeant, 6 sergeants, 12 corporals, 2 buglers or trumpeters, 1 guidon, 2 artificers, 64 to 125 privates.

For a battery of four guns: one captain, I first lieutenant, 2 second lieutenants, I sergeant-major or firet sergeant, ! quartermaster-sergeant, 4 sergeants, 8 corporals, 2 buglers, 1 guidon, 2 artificers, 64 to 125 privates."

These batteries were to be the basic artillery organization; banding them together to form regiments or battalions was not considered,

Rifles being taken into action. although field-grade artillery officers were authorized.

Rifles being taken into action. although field-grade artillery officers were authorized.

Civil War Artillery Reserve Guidon

The Army of Northern Virginia

On May 7. 1861, Virginia authorized its inspector-general to raise six batteries of four guns each for its forces. This made up the nucleus of what would become the field artillery of the Army of Northern Virginia. Following standard prewar practice, each battery was assigned under the command of an infantry brigade commander. Some leading officers

Confederate Army Organization

Soldiers learned after a couple of years of war to dig in whenever they halted for any time at all. The men of Stevens' Battery at Cold Harbor are not only dug in, but the cannoneers duck even while going through their gun drill.

pressed for die formation of battalions ¬°is early as the winter of 1861/62, but this proposal was shelved for the time being. Confederate artillery officer E, Porter Alexander, writing of the Peninsular Campaign of 1862, said: "Our artillery, too, was even in worse need of reorganization. A battery-was attached, or supposed to be, to every brigade of infantry. Beside these, a few batteries were held in reserve under old [Brigadier] Gen. [William]

Pendleton [the army's thief of artillery |. Naturally our guns and ammunition were far inferior to the enemy's, & this scattering of the commands made it impossible ever to mass our guns in effective numbers. For artillery loses its effect if scattered."

Finally, in January, 1862, Pendleton "respectfully proposed that in each corps the artillery be arranged into battalions, to consist for the most part of four batteries each, a particular battalion ordinarily to attend to it certain division, and to report to, and receive orders from, its commander, though liable to be divided, detached, etc., as the commanding general or corps commanders may seem best, past associations tti be so consulted in the constitution of these batteries as that each shall, its far as practicable, contain batteries that have served together, and with the divisions which the battalion is still ordinarily to attend. These battalions ought to have, it is believed, two field officers each, a surgeon, an ordnance officer, and a bonded officer for supplies, if not both quartermaster and commissary,"

This suggestion was accepted and by the start of the Chancel lorsville campaign artillery battalions were generally accepted as commands independent from the infantry. A visiting Austrian officer, FitzGerald Ross, later described the organization as he viewed it in the spring of I86!i: "The artillery is organized into battalions; five battalions in a corps of three divisions, one to each division, and two in reserve. They always mass the artillery now, and commanders of battalions say that they loose no more men in a battalion then they formerly did in a single battery. Each battalion is complete in itself, with quartermaster, adjutant, ordnance officer, surgeon, &c. The whole is under the control of the chief of artillery of the army, but assigned at convenience to the corps commanders, one of whose staff-officers is chief of artillery to the corps, and another chief of ordnance."

Soldiers learned after a couple of years of war to dig in whenever they halted for any time at all. The men of Stevens' Battery at Cold Harbor are not only dug in, but the cannoneers duck even while going through their gun drill.

The Army of Tennessee

In 1861 the State of Tennessee adopted the standard U.S. Army field Organization for its batteries, meaning each one was to have six guns and from 94 to 155 men, al! ranks. This formed the standard for what became the Army of Tennessee, one of the two main field armies of the

Civil War Traveling Forge
A battery, or traveling forge, parked among the guns of a New York battery. (Library of Congress)

Confederacy. Each battery was assigned to serve an infantry brigade, rather than having die batteries massed into battalions.

In March, 1862, Gen. P. G. T. Beauregard, commanding the Army of Tennessee, ordered the corps of Lt. Gen. Leonidas Polk, newly arrived with ihe rest of the army in (lorinth, Mississippi, to standard lie its artillery at three guns

______pei' 1,000 infantry, with uniform calibers in each battery, which were to consist of four or six guns each. In May, 1862, following the battle ofShiloh, Beauregard reduced each six-gun battery to four, with excess lieutenants being posted to heavy artillery or held to replace expected casualties.

Finally, in March, 1864, newly arrived Gen, Joseph E. Johnston organized bis field artillery batteries into regular battalions, each to consist of three four-gun batteries. A major, assisted by a quartermaster, a commissary, two or three surgeons, and an adjutant, commanded each battalion. Three battalions were held as an army reserve, while each of the other battalions was assigned to a division. The three reserve battalions made up one regiment, while each corps had an artillery regiment made up of the battalions assigned to the divisions within that corps. The first regiment had 12 batteries, 48 guns, 742 horses, and 1,243 men; the second regiment had nine batteries, guns, 582 horses, and 1,078 men; the third regiment had nine batteries, 36 guns, 566 horses, and 1,016 men. The battalion of horse artillery had five batteries, 22 guns, some 335 horses, and 420 men.

On 14 November 1864, Lt. Gen. John R. Hood, who replaced Johnston, (much to the chagrin of the army) reorganized the artillery, reverting to the old division-level assignments with each battalion being assigned to a particular division. I bis reorganization would prevent the massing of guns on a full regimental level, but in practice most battalion commanders continued to report directly to their divisional commanders, rather than the regimental commanders. It merely confirmed what had already been taking place.

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