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Adjutant and Inspector General Reports

1864 Report

Troops in the Field

First Battery Light Artillery

The FIRST BATTERY OF LIGHT ARTILLERY have served in the Department of the Gulf during the year, until the expiration of their term of service.

On the 16th of September, 1863, they left Algiers, La. by the New Orleans and Opelousas Railroad, for Brashear City, 175 miles. On the 18th they crossed Berwick Bay to Berwick City, on the 23d marched 20 miles and encamped above Camp Bisland, on the 28th returned, to Berwick City and crossed the bay to Brashear City, where they remained until March 3d. From Oct. 16th to Oct. 29th, 1863, Lieut. Read, with one gun and detachment of 12 men, was absent on reconnoisance up Atchafalaya River. From Jan. 30th to Feb. 2d, Lieut. Greenleaf, with 20 men and two guns, went on an expedition to Grand River, Capt. George T. Hebard commanding; and Capt. Hebard, with 20 men and two guns was also absent on detached service to Grand River from Feb. 4th to Feb. 7th. On the 3d of March the Battery crossed to Berwick City, and on the 4th marched to Franklin, 29 miles, where their armament was increased by the addition of two twelve pound Napoleon guns.

On the 15th of March the Battery left Franklin, with the First Division of the Nineteenth Army Corps, and marched to Alexandria, La., 180 miles, arriving March 26th. On the 28th they left Alexandria and marched to Natchitoches, arriving April 2d, and from thence, on the 6th, marched to Pleasant Hill, arriving

on the 7th. From thence they proceeded to Wallace's Mills, 15 miles. On the 9th they retired, with Gen. Cameron's Division of the 13th Army Corps, to Pleasant Hill, where they were stationed on the left of the Natchitoches road, and at 3 P. M. were engaged with the enemy, doing good execution. Being charged upon by the enemy in force, a severe fire of cannister was opened upon them, at short range, and the attack was repulsed. They were engaged during the residue of the battle, firing upon the enemy at different points, and remained in position upon the field until 2 A. M. of the 10th, when they retired with the army to Grand Ecore. During this severe engagement the officers and men behaved with great courage. Capt. Hebard reports, that "even when the enemy were within fifty yards, and within speaking distance, not an officer or man left his post." The casualties were slight, -- one man being wounded and five horses killed and wounded.

The battery arrived at Grand Ecore, 40 miles from Pleasant Hill, April 12th, where they were transferred to the reserve artillery of the Corps, and the guns sent away on detached services, as guards on board transports.

Orders were received to fall back to Alexandria, April 22, -- and on the 23d, the enemy were found posted on a bluff at the crossing at Cane River, with seven guns in position and a large force of mounted infantry. Gen. Birge crossed the river above and attacked the enemy in flank, and Capt. Hebard , with one section of his Battery, under Lieut. Rice, and three 20 pound Parrots, opened upon the enemy's artillery in his front. The action was severe, lasting about two hours, when the enemy retreated. Capt. Hebard, with one section of his own battery and two guns from other batteries, in connection with the cavalry, pursued the enemy until midnight. The march to Alexandria was resumed on the 24th, and on the 25th they reached that place. The casualties at the battle of Cane River were very slight, -- two or three horses wounded.

On the 28th Capt. Hebard was ordered to New Orleans, on detached service, and was absent until May 22d. On the 2d of May, Sergeant Emery, in charge of one gun on transport had a very severe engagement, continuing about two hours, about 25 miles below Alexandria, with 500 mounted infantry and one piece of artillery, but succeeded in driving them off, with great loss, and dismounting their gun, with no casualties to his command.

On the 12th of May, the Battery marched from Alexandria, not being engaged in the battle at Marksville on the 16th, and on the 17th arrived at Semmesport. On the 18th, Lieut. Rice, with four guns, was ordered to report to Brig. Gen. Mower, commanding the rear guard at Yellow Bayou, and was by him ordered into position near Bayou De Glaze. Lieut. Rice having been ordered to report in person to Gen. Mower, the Battery was placed in position by Lieut. Greenleaf, under a severe fire from three batteries of the enemy. He engaged the enemy for thirty, when the Infantry were ordered to retire, followed by the Battery about 1000 yards, where it again went into position. On the 20th they again engaged the enemy for two hours, at long range, and then retired to Semmesport, rejoined the reserve artillery of the Nineteenth Corps, and marched to Morganza, arriving on the 23d.

The Battery has been greatly distinguished for its thorough discipline and the effectiveness of its drill, and the officers and men have had large experience in the dangers and vicissitudes of battle, and have on all occasions distinguished themselves for their cool daring and determined courage. I annex, in Appendix C, the detailed report of Capt. George T. Hebard of the last campaign in which they were engaged.

Their term of enlistment having expired, the Battery proceeded to Brattleboro, Vt., and was mustered out of the service of the United States on the 10th of August, with four officers and seventy-five enlisted men. Fifty recruits, whose term of service had not expired, were transferred to the Second Battery.

The changes in the Battery, during the year, have been as follows: Mustered out of service 79; Transferred to Invalid Corps 1; discharged 5; Died 10; Transferred to 2d Battery 50; Total 145.

The following Table shows the condition of the Battery at the several dates specified:--


Sep. 30, '63 Brashier, City, La. 111 81 29 1 - - -
Oct. 31, '63 "107 90 16 1 - - -
Nov. 30, '63 "105 92 12 1 - - -
Dec. 31, '63 "98 86 10 2 - - -
Jan. 31, '64 "101 82 4 2 - 3 -
Feb. 29, '64 "140 124 14 1 - 1 -
Mar. 31, '64 In the field. 141 123 17 - - 1 -
April 30, '64 Alexandria, La. 141 119 21 - - 1 -
May 31, '64 Morganzia, La. 140 111 28 - - 1 -

A - Date
B - Station
C - Aggregate
D - On duty
E - Sick
F - Absent with leave
G - Absent without leave
H - In arrest or confinement
I - Prisoner of War

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