26th Independent Battery, NY Volunteers
Civil War Newspaper Clippings
From the Advocate.
NEW ORLEANS CORRESPONDENCE.
DEFENCES OF NEW ORLEANS,
April 17th, 1863.
HEADQUARTERS 25TH INDEPENDENT
BATTERY N. Y. S. V. A.
DEAR SIR—Feeling under great obligations to the many friends of this
Battery, it being raised wholly from the towns of Byron, Stafford, Alabama,
Pembroke, Ridgeway, and Hartland, and sent to this far off land, in defense
of its country, being one of the youngest batteries, we have never as yet had
a chance to make ourselves famous—although in this country we feel very
large. We arrived in the city of New Orleans on the 4th of February, 1863;
after a journey of 6l days from New York City, being shipwrecked twice on our
way, loosing all our baggage, one hundred and six horses, and in fact everything
but our own lives, kind providence on our side, and sparing us.
On the 3d day of March we received our horses and guns, and on the 4th hitched
up for the first time to try our luck at drilling; and have followed the example
nearly every day since. On the second day of April, we were ordered before
Gen. Sherman with four other batteries, for inspection, and was pronounced
by him the finest drilled battery in this department, there being at that time
some eighteen or twenty here; including some regulars. We have been continuing
our practice nearly every day since, and yesterday for the first time we made
an excursion trip to the lake, some ten miles distant, to try our luck at target
shooting. We were accompanied by the first Vermont Battery which has already
been in the field a little over a year. Our gunners John Kirsh and Aaron Hartwell
of Byron, and A. M. Mudge and Geo. Papworth of Hartland; all eager to see which
could make the best shot, although a little tried by trying their luck with
experienced men, they stood at their post with firmness. A target was placed
on a platform in the lake a distance of fourteen hundred yards, and at precisely
eleven o'clock the first round was fired, each piece fireing five rounds. And
at the winding up, the prize was given to John Kirsh as best shot, who pierced
the target through at the second round. We then resumed our journey home, our
boys in the best of spirits; all feeling with firmness that were we to face
the enemy we could do it without a falter. We shall in all probability have
an opportunity to show our skill before many days. There is a strong force
here and everything indicates active movements against the enemy, both at Port
Hudson and Vicksburg, before the lapse of many days, both by land and river.
We are quartered for the present in the buildings known as Appollo Stables,
and formerly occupied as the headquarters of a heavy omnibus line. We are very
comfortable. The dance has already begun up at Brashear City, some four days
ago, and at last accounts they were having very warm times, nearly every train
from the scene of action brings fruits of their labors. Hundreds of prisoners
and wounded soldiers are ushered to our midst. The enemy are retreating and
are followed by our forces at a rapid rate. The fighting thus far is done principally
with Artillery, covered with Infantry. We are holding ourselves in readiness
to march at any minute, and I think were we to receive orders at any hour of
the day or night, in fifteen minutes time we would be mounted and ready for
action. Hoping some future day you may receive intelligence that will liberally
reward the many friends for the bounties and other expenditures in fitting
I remain very Respectfully,
Your ob't humble servant,
Lieut. I. D. SOUTHWORTH.
The 26th N. Y. Battery.—In the account of the retreat of Gen. Bank's
army from Alexandria to the Mississippi, which was published elsewhere, several
engagements occured with the rebels. In one of these, at Avoeylles Plains,
May 10th, particular mention is made of a gallant charge by the 26th N. Y.
Battery. This battery was recruited here by Capt. Barnes, and the account which
we publish of this movement possess additional local interest from that fact.
It is probable that the 26th Battery was engaged with other troops in building
Col. Bailey's dam, by which our gunboat fleet managed to escape.
The body of LEVI F. BARDEN, late of Capt. Barnes' 26th N. Y. Battery, arrived
by train yesterday morning. Mr. Barden died in hospital at New Orleans. The
remains have been conveyed to his relatives in the southwest part of the town
Headquarters, 26th N. Y. Battery.
THIBODEAUX, LA. Oct. 24th, 1863.
My Dear Friend:—
Thinking that perhaps a few lines from the 26th would be read by you with some
interest, as some of its members are from your place, I take this opportunity,
it being a rainy day, to write you a few lines. Thibodeaux is situated about
three miles north of the railroad running from new Orleans to Brashear City;
it is about sixty miles from here to New Orleans, almost directly east and
thirty from here to Brashear. We have two regiments of infantry in camp here,
besides our company, enough we think to hold the town in case of invasion by
the rebels. The population here is about one thousand principally French and
Niggers. Although they seem to be friendly and happy, you can by talking with
them find they are (chuckfull) secesh yet, and would give all they are worth,
if it was necessary to whip the Yankees. Gen. Bragg's plantation is about three
miles from here, which I meant to have visited before this time, and give you
a description of it, but I have not been able to do so. You would be astonished
to see the improvement made by this Battery since one J. W. B. was dismissed
(and from the service of the United States.) I thought for quite a spell that
the 26th N. Y. Battery would soon be numbered with the things that WERE, and
it doubtless would have been so in a very short time had not this gentleman
resigned as he did. By the kindness of Gen. Arnold, Chief of Artillery, he
appointed or gave Geo. W. Fox command of us, and gave him just thirty days
to find out whether there was material or metal enough in the company to make
a good battery. We had then been commanded by Lieutenants and Captains three
or four months and one would naturally suppose that if we could not learn the
first lesson in that length of time under so many and efficient commanders,
that it would be of little use for Geo. W. Fox to attempt to make anything
out of us in the short space of thirty days. At the end of the thirty days
we were reviewed by Gen. Arnold, and Fox told us that the General praised us
up—that we done first rate. But I have since doubted it very much, for
to see the difference in our drilling now and the awkward movements made by
us at that time could not draw forth any such praise, unless it came from a
Barnes or a Lillie. We seemed to be the laughing stock of other batteries and
companies up to the end of our thirty days time being discharged from service.
It is very true that it looks sometimes as though we had whipped and punished
them severe enough, that they would be satisfied that there was no use, they
might just as well quit now as at any time hereafter, for they have got to
come to it sooner or later, if they do dislike the Northern Yankees and despise
the Abolitionists, as they do a snake. There is no use of my repeating here
what I have written to you before,—my opinion what would be most likely
to bring this war to a close effectually and permanently, and I have not seen
anything as yet to alter my opinion. I have been told that the Supervisors
have stopped paying the monthly payments to the Family's who was called on,
and urged, and almost prayed with to enlist and save our glorious country,
I wonder if they could not with just as much consistency, demand of the poor
soldier, after his term of service expired and returns home again, after going
through the privations and hardships that every one must pass through during
such a campaign as this, the town and county bounty that was paid him as a
bonus to enlist. Deliver me from such patriots and patriotism. Well I am afraid
that I have wearied your patience already, and therefore I will close for this
Excuse all mistakes and correct punctuations, for I have written this in a
room where they are talking and playing, and have written it as fast as I could
to get through, so I remain truly yours, A. D. MEAD.
To H. C. Swift, Esq.
Back to the 26th Independent Battery
during the Civil War
New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military
May 4, 2006