17th Independent Battery
New York Volunteers
Civil War Newspaper Clippings
THE ORLEANS BATTERY.
At latest advices the Orleans Battery had moved forward to Fairfax Court House
where it had been joined to the division of Gen. KING, Capt. ANTHONY being
on the sick list the Battery is temporarily under command of Lieut. SICKELS.
The boys are now probably in the advance and are likely to see some active
service. We have no doubt this will suit them better than has monotony of
camp life, to which they had so long been consigned. When they get in range
of the enemy they will probably fire a salute that will be heard with dismay
by the "rebs."
THE ORLEANS BATTERY.—In obedience to orders this Battery has been removed
to Fairfax Court House, and has joined the Division of Gen. King. The probability
is that they will see active service before long. Capt, ANTHONY, who has been
confined to his bed for some time by a severe attack of Dysentery, was unable
to march with the Battery, but we are pleased to learn that his health is improving,
and that he expects to rejoin his command is a few days. Lt. H. E. Sickles
is in command.
IN BALTIMORE.—The 17th battery is now supposed to be in Baltimore. It
went to the front about ten days since, and was assigned to the 18th corps,
which has since been sent to that city.
The 151st regiment is also, it is said, in Baltimore. Col. Emerson is reported
From the Orleans Battery.
Centerville, Va., July 24, 1863.
EDITOR REPUBLICAN:—On Friday morning last, having been assigned to duty
with the division of Gen. Rufus King, the 17th N. Y. Battery, (Lieut. Sickles
commanding,) by three hearty cheers, bid good-bye to Camp Barry where it had
been stationed most of the time since about the 1st of May last, and proceeded
to Alexandria. On Saturday morning we were ordered to join the Brigade of Gen.
Corcoran, and to proceed with it along the Orange and Alexandria railroad.
Near Clouds Mill, on the Alexandria and Centerville Pike, we had halted for
dinner, and to feed our horses, the 155th and 164th N. Y. regiments, (the latter
commanded by Col. McMahon, brother of the late John E. McMahon of Buffalo,
who went out in command of the regiment,) struck across to the railroad and
proceeded along the track to Springfield Station, while the 69th N. Y., (Corcoran's
old regiment,) and our battery, proceeded along the "Pike" to Anandale,
opposite to and three miles distant from Springfield Station, at which place
the brigade halted and encamped. On Sunday morning the 155th regiment was ordered
to Anandale, and the right section of our battery was ordered to report to
Col. McMahon at the Station. Working parties were busily engaged during Sunday
in repairing the railroad track and bridges out from Springfield Station, and
it was for us with the right section, and for the 164th to see that they were
not molested in their work. The railroad, having been put in order for quite
a piece out, during that day and night, the brigade was on Monday morning ordered
to march to Fairfax Court House and await further orders. So the Brigade came
together at Anandale, and proceeded to the Court House where they encamped
until Wednesday morning, at which time it was ordered to this place, where
we arrived at about 12 1/2 o'clock that day. Here the sections composing the
battery are again separated. The right, supported by the 164th, occupy a small
fort to the north of the town; the left, supported by the 69th, a small fort
to the south-west of the town, while the centre section, as a reserve, occupies
a fort just back of the town, and the 155th and 170th N. Y. regiments are encamped
within works, where they can go wherever they are needed. Yesterday afternoon,
clouds of smoke, apparently of burning powder, were visible during the entire
afternoon, in direction of Thoroughfare Gap, and about as distant that from
us, and all here thought an engagement of some kind was then going on. The
wind went down just at night, and we could then distinctly hear the sound cannon.
It is reported this morning that the smoke was caused by an engagement between
1st and 11th army corps Meade's army, forcing passage of Thoroughfare Gap,
which was done, the Gap is now in our possession. I know not how long we shall
remain at place, but we are all hopes that we shall soon join the main army
under Gen Meade. As I promised, I will keep you posted as to our whereabouts,
and should have wrote you of our return to Miner's Hill, from Vienna, (where
were when I wrote you last.) and of subsequent removal to Camp Barry, had not "Gideon" mentioned
the changes in his letters to your readers. Yours &c. 17th
Headquarters 17th N. Y. Battery,
Centreville, Va., July 27th.
FRIEND MORRIS:—Dear Sir Again permit me to occupy a few moments of your
time. Such pleasant weather as we are enjoying now,—bright, cloudless
summer days, and such pleasant moonlight evenings naturally draw the minds
of soldiers back to other days, when the cry of war was unknown to us; & when
the home circle was not broken, but happy and cheerful.
It is with pleasure I acknowledge the receipt of the "Register," occasionally;
through it I receive the local news of Granville, which to me is very interesting.
I received one to day containing the list of the names of the lucky ones elected
to shoulder a musket or "fork over." Among them I find the names
of many acquaintances, through your paper allow me to congratulate them,—glad
to see their efforts to join the army crowned with success; and by-the-by,
I would advise them to use their utmost endeavors to be associated with regiments
already in the field, as they can at once lend a helping hand, and not waste
their valuable time in organizing new companies, &c. Of course they are
very anxious to help those who have gone before them. I would recommend this
organization (the 17th N. Y. Vol. Battery) as one worthy of their attention.
We will receive you kindly with "how are you conscript," and will
cheerfully divide our "hard tack and salt mule," and in every way
do all we can to make time pass pleasantly, and innitiate you in the "Mysterious
of Life in Camp.
During the past winter and so far this summer we have been posted about, and
in every way leading the life of a soldier—except we have as yet done
no fighting. We have often stood at our guns night and day, but so far that
was a sufficient warning to all lurking Greybacks.
Some ten days ago as we were lying in Camp Barry, Washington, we received orders
to report to Gen. King, at Alexandria. There we joined Gen. Corcoran's Legion,
who has been doing duty down at Suffolk, but was among the reinforcements Meade
received from that section, and as we supposed was now on its way to join the
Army of the Potomac, at or near Warrenton, Va. We arrived at Alexandria in
time to pitch tents and make ourselves comfortable for the night.
Found the Brigade camped by the roadside eating, after their weary march.
Next day we proceeded on the pike leading to Fairfax Court House. Camped over
Sunday at Anandale. Monday night camped in Court House Yard at
The direction of our march has been towards the historic plains of Manassas,
through a country so utterly ruined that a century will not bring it back to
its former beauty and lovliness.
The surface of the country on our line of march is much like Washington Co.,
hilly but not rocky, to all appearance once was in a high state of cultivation.
In many places can be seen drive ways, between rows of shade trees leading
back to some rise of ground where once stood the mansion of some well to do
Virginia farmer, who now is a wanderer from a home made desolate by his own
acts.—Nothing left to mark the spot but the tottering, blackened walls
and chimney. Not a fence to be seen, the land overrun with weeds and blackberry
bushes, acres upon acres black with the luscious, ripe but untouched fruit.
Our guns are now placed "in battery" in forts made by rebel hands.
It was just two years ago the day we arrived that our army done some tall marching
towards Washington. After Gen. Corcoran had disposed of his troops, he with
his staff visited the identical spot where just two years ago he was made a
prisoner. The place consists of about a dozen old dilapidated houses, and as
many tottering chimneys the only land mark left to guide the erring ones back
to their once cheerful home.
We are well supplied with the everlasting hangers-on, "Sutlers," but
everything they carry is about as high as the famous "Goose" we read
about. Our cavalry bring in every day numbers of bushwhackers and other suspicious
characters. This country is so well adapted to that kind of warfare that it
is next to impossible to prevent them from passing our lines.
How long we shall stay here is known only to the "powers that be." This
is a splendid place for a camp. Yet we are all anxious for another forward
movement. My health is good and my confidence FIRM
Your truly, J. LEWIS.
The Orleans American.
ALBION, N. Y.
Thursday Morning, Sept. 1, 1864.
FROM THE 17th N. Y. BATTERY.
CENTER SECTION 17th N. Y. BATTERY.
ONE MILE IN REAR OF THE TRENCHES,
NEAR PETERSBURG, Va., Aug., 19th, 1864.
EDITORS AMERICAN.:—It is now 9 o'clock A. M., and a slow drizzling rain
has set in which I presume will continue all day. Your humble scribe is seated
on a "hard tack" box, using for a table another "tack" box
which has been re-constructed in the form of a table, and withal a very good
substitute in this desolate locality. As I write, the 1st and 3d divisions
of the 2d Army corps are passing on their way to the left of our line. The
5th corps are reported to have advanced their lines within the past two days
and gained possession of the Weldon Railroad. If so, we cannot afford to lose
so great an advantage, consequently we would be justified in supposing the
battle-scarred 2d were on their way to make good the transfer of that portion
of rebeldom from Johnny to Jonathan. It is to be hoped Madam Rumor (on whom
we depend for news as much, and perhaps more than you do at home) is perfectly
reliable on this occasion, and that Gen. Warren has accomplished all, and even
more than is credited to him.
Splash, Splash, through the mud move those veteran heroes, the rain continually
aiding to their discomfort yet, notwithstanding many miles intervene between
them and their last halting place, onward they move, quietly and in order,
knowing that where the brave Hancock leads there success awaits them. The 2d
corps is the marching and fighting corps of the Potomac Army. The post of honor
is not assigned them because they are picked men, or better fighters than any
other portion of our army, but for the simple reason that they have full confidence
in their commander and he in them.
All our troops are brave enough and all willing to do their duty, but so many
rash and incompetent officers have led them into one snare after another that
it is not to be wondered at that they sometimes fail to do their entire duty
in the face of the foe. No army in the world ever had better fighting material
than the army of the Potomac if in every case they had had the right men to
lead them. It was not French army so much as Napoleon that made them unconquerable
and a terror to all Europe. When he began to despond and lose confidence in
his ability succeed, the same feeling pervaded his troops, and all was lost
in the short yet decisive battle of Waterloo. Thus it is in all armies. If
a commander prove worthy the confidence of those under him, that confidence
will be his, and his troops will believe themselves capable of performing whatever
he dictates. It cannot be conceded that the rebel army are any braver or composed
of better men than our own army, yet their implicit confidence in Gen. Lee
gains them many battles where nothing else could.
Monday night, the 15th ult., two sections of our Battery left our camp with
the reserve artillery of the 18th corps and were placed in position in the
trenches nearly opposite the Fort exploded by Gen. Grant the 30th of last month.
The 9th corps have moved farther to the left and the 18th have extended their
lines also, and occupy principally with artillery a portion of the line vacated
by the 9th. The center section (composed mostly of Albion
boys) are in the rear with the cassions. We took part in the contest of the
30th of July, and the pieces in the trenches participated in an artillery duel
early yesterday morning. None of our number have been injured in either engagement,
although men of other commands near us suffered quite a considerable in both
The center section, through Lieut. Smith, Chief of section, presented Corp.
N. J. Wickham the necessary amount to purchase a sword, sash and belt, before
leaving us to assume his new duties in the corps d'Afrique, as Lieut. Corp.
Wickham has won the respect and esteem of us all during the past two years,
and leaves us with our best wishes for his well being and future prosperity.
But few men possess the happy faculty of being able to govern themselves under
all the petty vexations of a soldier's life. He has that faculty, and it has
and always will continue to gain him hosts of friends.
Yours truly, CANTINE.
FROM THE 17th N. Y. BATTERY.
17th N. Y, BATTERY,
DEEP BOTTOM, Va., Aug, 29th, 1864.
Editor Orleans American:
Again the 17th Battery has changed its base of operations, and may be found
in good fighting trim at this isolated military station, enjoying camp life
on the river waiting for "something to turn up" as did Macawber,
instead of turning up something ourselves. We never were more pleasantly situated
before during the past two years of our soldier life than now. The right and
left sections of the battery were relieved from duty in the trenches in front
of Petersburg on Wednesday (the 24th) and that night marched to this place.
The center section temporarily in command of Lieut. Sickles, were doing duty
in a Fort on our 2d line of works with the 3d Maine Battery, and were not relieved
to rejoin the other portion of the Battery till the evening of the 26th ult.
We are all together now, the right and center being on duty in a redoubt, the
terminus of our triangle pointing out from the river. The left occupy works
nearer the river at which place the headquarters Battery are, together with
the horses and cassions. The men are, and have been for the few days of their
residence here, busy accumulating household goods necessary for house-keeping,
and all pay frequent visits to the Commissary where we exchange new postage
currency for flour, sugar, &c, which enables us to convert our rations
into very palatable food, as well as to try our skill in cooking dishes of
an extra order. Good wheat pan cakes are to be had at all hours of the day
in most any of the tents, and those most expert get up dishes of a more difficult
nature, where art of cookery is called requisition. Fried cakes and apple dumplings
are on the list of good things, and minute and corn starch puddings are quite
common with us. A long absence from home has taught us to use our ingenuity
in this important branch of business, and that if we would enjoy ordinary luxuries
it must be through our own efforts, as no mother, sister or wife are near to
do these things us.
Several of our boys are sick; Sergt. C. M. Randall was sent to the Geneva hospital
this morning. Sergt. O. C. Benton has been quite under the weather, but we
hope to see him soon restored to duty. "All quiet on the James to-night.
The gun boats and monitors are a terror to the Johnnies, they keep pretty quiet. "Only
eleven a few," as the boys say, and we will, endeavor to gladden a few
homes in Orleans county by our presence. By that time I trust this cruel war
may be ended, and the North and South living in peace under our time honored
banner the Stars and Stripes.
Yours, &c ., W. CANTINE.
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