Thread: Horse Artillery
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Old 08-10-2019
Theodoric Theodoric is offline
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Originally Posted by caledonia View Post
for a practical study of the forementioned tactics review the southern horse artillery as used on the right wing of the confederate line at fredericksburg (first battle)... this was a purrely offensive maneuver, from a defensive position, used to break up the federal columns advancing across the bottom lands of the rappahanock (sp.?)
I believe the young officer executing the maneuver was named pelham.



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William Nelson Pendleton

First Rockbridge Artillery

Contributed by Matt Atkinson

The First Rockbridge Artillery was organized on April 29, 1861, in Lexington, Virginia, and served throughout the duration of the American Civil War (18611865), firing its first shot in anger at the First Battle of Manassas on July 21, 1861, and fighting in most major battles of the Army of Northern Virginia until its surrender at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865. Initially led by Lexington rector and West Point graduate William N. Pendleton, the battery quickly became renowned for its daring and firmness under fire as part of the Stonewall Brigade. Pendleton, with ecclesiastical panache, named the first four tubes of the battery "Matthew," "Mark," "Luke," and "John." MORE...











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Title: General John A. McCausland

General John A. McCausland

The unit's seventy members elected Pendleton to train the battery after its first captain, John A. McCausland, a mathematics professor at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, was sent to train troops gathering in Charles Town, Virginia. The unit's initial armament consisted of two six-pounder cannon from VMI and two more cannon from Richmond. On May 11, the battery proceeded to Harpers Ferry to join the Virginia brigade of Confederate general Thomas J. Jackson.

On July 18, Confederate forces, including Jackson's brigade and the Rockbridge Artillery, started east to unite with Confederate general P. G. T. Beauregard's forces at Manassas Junction. On July 21, at the First Battle of Manassas, the battery helped defend the critical position at Henry House Hill. The brigade's stand would earn it, and its commander, the sobriquet "Stonewall." During the Union retreat, the battery even received a visit from Confederate president Jefferson Davis, who had traveled to Manassas to witness the fight personally. After the victory, the Rockbridge Artillery acquired a new complement of cannon that the Confederates had captured from the Union troops.

Later in July, Pendleton received a promotion to chief of artillery and Captain William McLaughlin assumed command of the battery. In November, the Rockbridge Artillery returned to the Shenandoah Valley to rejoin Jackson's command. During the winter of 1861 and 1862, the battery participated in Jackson's ill-fated Romney Campaign. At the Battle of Kernstown on March 23, 1862, it assisted in holding Union forces in check during the Confederate retreat but lost a six-pounder cannon and caisson in the process. In April, Captain William T. Poague assumed command of the battery. On June 9, 1862, at the Battle of Port Republic, Poague and the Rockbridge Artillery helped prevent the capture of Jackson as he fled U.S. soldiers pouring into the town. The unit deployed its guns, drove the Union troops out, and then later assisted in their pursuit.

Later that month, Jackson and the rest of his command joined the Army of Northern Virginia outside Richmond but did not participate in any of the Seven Days' Battles except for Malvern Hill. There, Confederate batteries, including the Rockbridge Artillery, proceeded into the fight piecemeal, allowing the Union batteries to concentrate their fire against the isolated Confederate guns. The Rockbridge Artillery expended all of its ammunition during Malvern Hill, but because it had been emplaced well, it suffered fewer casualties than did other batteries engaged.

On August 29, 1862, at the Second Battle of Manassas, Union general John Pope hurled his troops against Jackson's line. The Rockbridge Artillery fought side by side with the infantry in repulsing the attacks. The next day the battery shifted to the right and assisted in repulsing renewed attacks against Jackson's front. On September 17, at the Battle of Antietam, the Rockbridge Artillery was positioned near the Dunkard Church where it endured such a severe counter-battery cross fire from Union artillery that some Confederate gunners dubbed the battle "artillery hell." Although the battery was not as badly damaged as other units were, the ferocity of the fire prompted Robert E. Lee Jr., a member of the battery, to recall that the unit had been "severely handled" while aiding Confederate general J. E. B. Stuart's artillery fire on the Union flank. Lee also recalled that after the battle, his visage begrimed with powder and sweat, his own father, General Robert E. Lee, failed to recognize him. He remembered that "when he found out who I was, he congratulated me on being well and unhurt. I then said: 'General, are you going to send us in again?' 'Yes, my son,' he replied, with a smile: 'You all must do what you can to help drive these people back.'" Defiantly, the Army of Northern Virginia would remain on the field for another day before prudently retreating.

Licking its wounds after the savagery of Antietam, the Army of Northern Virginia withdrew to Virginia. It faced the Army of the Potomac again at the Battle of Fredericksburg on December 13, 1862. The Rockbridge Artillery, split into two sections, deployed its long-range guns on the extreme right flank of the Confederate line to support the guns of Major John Pelham and its other pieces closer to the center of the Confederate right flank at Prospect Hill. The battery sustained losses of six killed, sixteen wounded, and thirty-seven horses killed during the battle.
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