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CONFEDERATE FIELD ARTILLERY

CONFEDERATE FIELD ARTILLERY. During the Civil War twenty-six batteries of field artillery organized in Texas for service in the Confederate Army. The batteries numbered from fifty to one hundred men, normally commanded by a captain, and usually armed with four to six cannon, which fired from six-pound to twelve-pound projectiles. The cannon included both smoothbore and rifled types.

In 1861, fourteen batteries formed, beginning with the Alamo City Guards, under Capt. William M. Edgar, that helped capture the U.S. arsenal in San Antonio in February. The battery went on to serve in Arkansas and Louisiana as well as Texas. The Galveston Artillery had formed as a social group in 1840, but enlisted for six months in 1861 under Capt. H. Van Buren and joined in the capture of Fort Brown in March and the U.S. ship Star of the West in April before disbanding. Another prewar organization, the Dallas Light Artillery, enlisted in 1861 under Capt. John J. Good. After aiding the capture of Federal troops near San Antonio, the battery joined the Confederate Army to fight at Pea Ridge in Arkansas and then became the only Texas battery to serve east of the Mississippi River with the Army of Tennessee. The Brazoria Volunteers under Capt. William G. Mosley served on the Texas coast at Velasco and Galveston and later in Louisiana. Capt. James M. Daniel in June at Paris formed the Lamar Artillery that campaigned in Arkansas and Louisiana. In the summer the Austin Light Artillery enlisted under Capt. Herman Willke in Travis County and went on to serve along the Texas coast and in the Rio Grande Valley. Three artillery batteries organized at San Antonio in mid-to-late 1861. Capt. Robert B. Maclin's battery also saw duty along the Texas coast, while the Van Dorn Light Artillery under Capt. William T. Mechling campaigned in Arkansas and Louisiana. James R. Marmion's battery appears to have been disbanded by the end of the year, perhaps because its immigrant members were suspected of Unionist sympathies. A battery raised in Fayette County and commanded by Capt. Edmund Creuzbaur defended the Texas coast and fought briefly in Louisiana. Pratt's battery, led by Capt. J. H. Pratt, also formed in 1861 and went on to campaign in Arkansas and Missouri. Three cavalry companies that enlisted in 1861 found themselves reorganized into artillery batteries. Capt. Trevanion T. Teel led one battery to El Paso in the late spring and early summer. There the Fourth and Fifth Texas Mounted Rifles under Gen. Henry H. Sibley arrived with two howitzer batteries led by Lt. William S. Wood and Lt. John Reily.

In 1862 the three batteries with Sibley fought in New Mexico but left their short-range cannon behind in the withdrawal over difficult terrain while the men returned to cavalry duty. In their place a battery formed under Capt. Joseph D. Sayers to employ the six Union cannon captured at the battle of Val Verde, which gave its name to the Val Verde Battery. That year two new batteries organized to serve in the Indian Territory under Capt. E. Abat and Capt. Sylvanus Howell. Three additional batteries enlisted in 1862, under Captains M. V. McMahan, William H. Nichols, and George R. Wilson, that went on to serve along the Texas coast and in Louisiana. McMahan's unit previously had been a company in the First Texas Heavy Artillery Regiment. In 1863 six artillery batteries formed. Capt. William Butler Krumbhaar organized the Texas Guards Battery that served in the Indian Territory, as did the battery of Capt. Roswell W. Lee. Infantry raised in Columbia, Texas, and converted to artillery made up the battery of Capt. William E. Gibson that campaigned in Louisiana. Another former company of the First Texas Heavy Artillery, under Capt. O. G. Jones, became a battery of field artillery for service on the coast and along the Rio Grande. The efforts of Capt. H. H. Christmas to raise a battery in San Antonio proved only partially successful, which led to the combining of his unit with that of Jones in 1864. A final field artillery unit organized in Texas under Capt. John S. Greer to fire rockets made in San Antonio. Test firings failed, however, and the battery was disbanded.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Alwyn Barr, "Confederate Field Artillery," Texas Military History I (August 1961). Alwyn Barr, Confederate Artillery in the Trans-Mississippi (M.A. thesis, University of Texas at Austin, 1961). Paul C. Boethel, The Big Guns of Fayette (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1965). Lucia Rutherford Douglas, comp. and ed., Douglas's Texas Battery, CSA (Tyler, Texas: Smith County Historical Society, 1966). Lester Newton Fitzhugh, ed., Cannon Smoke: The Letters of Captain John J. Good, Good-Douglas Texas Battery, CSA (Hillsboro: Hill Junior College Press, 1971).

Alwyn Barr

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Alwyn Barr, "CONFEDERATE FIELD ARTILLERY," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/qkc03), accessed August 20, 2014. Uploaded on February 24, 2011. Modified on June 8, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.