A4any distinguished Civil War commanders served their military apprenticeships with the artillery during the Mexican War, a conflict which became a golden age for this branch of the service. One company from each of the four American artillery regiments was designated as a light battery and with each member of the battery mounted could manoeuvre as fast as the cavalry. One commander, Sam Ringgold, even had special uniforms issued to his command that included dark blue jackets, faced red, sky blue trousers, and a shako with red cords that became known as the Ringgold cap.
After the Mexican War, the artillery started going into decline. For the sake of economy many of the light batteries were dismounted and at the start of the Civil War there were only five regular artillery regiments. Each regiment had 12 companies, but only two of these companies in each regiment were equipped as field artillery with guns and horses. The rest of the companies served as infantry or heavy artillery manning the cumbersome heavy guns on the coast.
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