12th Independent Battery, NY Volunteers
Civil War Newspaper Clippings
"TWELFTH NEW YORK BATTERY."
Albany has again to mourn the loss of one of her noble sons, who fell bravely
fighting for the "Union." Lieut. Harry D. Brower, of the Twelfth
New York Battery was shot at the late engagement at "Reams Station,
Va." He fell by a Minnie bullet through the brain, fighting bravely
by his piece, falling across the trail of the same. The enemy charging at
the time, his body could not be obtained. He was a young man possessed of
many social and rare qualities, and beloved by his comrades. He was a brave
and accomplished officer; and enlisted in the defense of his country with
mingled feelings of pure patriotism and justice. His death will cast a gloom
over a large circle of relatives and friends in this city and the army, of
whom he was loved and beloved.
My friend Henry, thou art sleeping,
Beneath the Southern tree;
And friends for thee are weeping,
And long will weep for thee.
The grave has now enclosed thee;
Within its narrow cell;
No more will we behold thee,
Dear friend—soldier farewell.
Camp Near Petersburg, Va.
TWELFTH BATTERY.—The following is a list of the killed, wounded and
missing in the Twelfth New York battery, in the battle at Reams' Station, last
Thursday, while under the command of Lieut. G. K. Dauchy, of this city: Killed—Second
Lieut. Henry D. Brower, Corporal Arnold Harris, private Chas. Mogland.
Wounded—Privates Chas H. McNear, Nicholas Porter.
Missing—Sergeant Chas. O. Gregory, Corporal John Muloy, privates Wm.
H. Higgins, Jas. M. Berry, Alexander Teslin, Gustavo Puls.
Thirty-two horses were killed. One-gun and two caissons were lost.
TWELFTH NEW YORK BATTERY.—In a letter from Lieut. G. K. Danchy, of this
city, the following casualties are given in the Twelfth New York battery, which
was partly raised in this city and vicinity by Lieut. D. In the action of last
Tuesday this battery lost four guns:
Killed—First Sergeant John Palmer, V. Jordan.
Severely Wounded—Joseph Lewis.
Prisoners—Sergeant Conklin, Amsterdam; Corporal Kinney, New Fane; Corporal
Martin, Ballston; Corporal Thos. Kelly, Cohoes; G. D. Benell, Kendall; Jos.
B. Hoyt, Troy; Reuben R. Richards, Troy; John McDonald, New York; John A. Rollo,
There are from fifty to sixty Trojans in the company.
A GOOD SOLDIER PROMOTED.--The Jordan Transcript says that Elisha Conklin,
who enlisted from that village, has been promoted to First Sergeant in the
Twelfth New York. Independent Battery, in place of John Farmer, of that village
who was killed on the 22d ult. Young Conklin is every inch a soldier, and it
is related of him that when the rebels demanded a surrender on that occasion,
he replied, "I can't see it until I drive this spike," and he actually
spiked his gun in the face of the rebels before they could secure him as a
CAPTURE OF CAPT. MCKNIGHT'S BATTERY.
We regret to learn from the second edition telegraph of Saturday that the 12th
New York Battery, commanded by Captain George McKnight, of this city, was
captured by the enemy on the 23d inst. Lieutenant Bull and one other officer,
besides Captain McKnight, are young men of this city. We trust subsequent
accounts will bring good news of their safety.
THE CAPTURE OF MCKNIGHT'S BATTERY.—A correspondent of the Herald with
the Second Corps, gives the following account of the capture of Capt. M'Knight's
Battery, which occurred in the battle before Petersburg on Wednesday last.
The many friends of the Captain and of Lieut. Bull hereabouts, will rejoice
to hear of their safety:—
As the enemy swept over the angle which marked the left of the division line,
he enveloped a battery of four guns, which occupied an advanced position behind
the parapet, and almost before the officers were aware of the situation of
affairs the artillery was practically in the enemy's hands. It was Capt. McKnight's
Twelfth New York Battery. The moment the rebels appeared in sight Capt. McKnight
opened on them with canister. They separated in front, and, coming in on the
right and left, completely surrounded the guns. A rebel color bearer immediately
mounted and planted his co1ors on the parapet. Capt. McKnight and Lieutenant
Bull both scorned the summons to surrender and fired several rounds of canister
at the enemy, with the rebel flag floating by their battery. Both those young
officers distinguished themselves by the bravery they displayed and the exertions
they put forth to save their pieces. But it was impossible to take them off
The horses had been sent to the rear, because the advanced position which the
battery occupied, and the open ground behind it, rendered it impossible for
horses to live amid the deadly fire to which in an engagement the battery would
be exposed. But although Captain McKnight had spoken about the danger of the
location, it was a splendid position for artillery, and the battery would have
done great damage to the enemy had it been properly supported. But there is
where the trouble lies—the infantry failed to support it, and so we lost
the guns. Two sergeants of the battery were shot in assisting Lieutenant Bull
to haul off one of the pieces. The officers were then compelled to abandon
it, and, jumping over the breastwork, the captain and lieutenant both miraculously
managed to creep along on the outside towards the right of Gibbon's line and
thus escaped being killed or captured by the enemy. These gallant officers
are in great grief at the loss of their battery, but the circumstances fully
exonerate them from all censure concerning it. Captain McKnight offered to
load a force of infantry to retake them.
FROM BELOW PETERSBURG.—A private letter from an officer in the Federal
army, written last Friday in camp near Petersburg, contains a few items of
interest. The letter was not intended for publication.
The weather was extremely hot and the soldiers were suffering considerably
in consequence. The army is forming one vast line of entrenchments from City
Point to a road five miles south of Petersburg and this is the main line of
our army. Lee is staking all on the safety of Petersburg. If he can break our
line and cripple us, he will do so, and if we can break his south of the city,
the struggle will soon be ended. The Rebels charged on the 2d Corps, drove
it back and captured McKnight's 12th N. Y. Battery, and the 49th and 57th N.
Y. V. The Heavy Artillery regiments again saved the line, for as the Rebels
came in they poured such volleys into their ranks as drove them back. The Irish
Legion now swear by the Heavy Artillery,
The 108th New York is lying in the second line of breastworks before Petersburg.
The 4th Heavy Artillery is lying three miles south of Petersburg, having reached
that precise point last Thursday. The regiment had just left the advanced line
of rifle pits where it had been sent to relieve the 91st Pa. and 164th N. Y.,
two regiments which had been in the pits several days and were much fatigued.
While in the rifle pits one day the 4th lost one killed, Stephen Durocke, (an
old soldier of the 13th N. Y.) and had three wounded, viz: Sergt. James A.
McDonald, Privates Herman Erhardt and John Murphy.
ARMY OF THE POTOMAC.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
June 23, 6 a. m.—Wilson's division of cavalry moved off in the direction
of the Weldon railroad. When last heard from, they had reached Rives' station,
and were tearing up the track along the road.
The Second and Sixth Corps moved from their old positions on the right, towards
the Weldon Railroad.
Gen. Lee seems to have anticipated the movement by our left flank, or else
he desired to turn our right, as when near the Jerusalem plank-road, the 2d
corps were confronted by Gen. Hill's corps, and a smart engagement ensued.
The battery of the 12th N. Y. Artillery was annoying the rebels, who succeeded
in getting around on the flank and charging it. The infantry supporting the
battery were surprised, and after a faint show of resistance retired, leaving
four guns in the hands of the enemy. Our lines then re-formed. The men were
being accustomed to Gen Lee's new practice of acting entirely on the defensive,
and must have been confused by his bold and fearless onset.
Two divisions of the 5th corps are within easy supporting distance on the right,
and the 6th Corps were ready for any hostilities on the left.
Charges were made by the Rebels, who suffered severely in each fresh assault.—There
was heavy firing in front of the 9th Corps, about midnight. At times the musketry
broke out into regular vollies, and all night our cannon kept tiring at regular
The Loss of Capt. McKnight's Battery.
CAMP NEAR PETERSBURG, VA.,
June 27th 1864.
To the Editor of the Buffalo Express—
Sir: Seeing erroneous accounts in circulation through the press in relation
to the action of the 22d inst., in which the 12th N. Y. Independent Battery,
commanded by Capt. Geo. F. McKnight, of Buffalo, was lost, I take the liberty
of writing a few words to you giving the facts in the case. We were placed
in position (the left battery of the corps) about half a mile to the left of
the Petersburg and Jerusalem plank road, in the edge of a piece of woods through
which we had to cut a road to a winding wood road in order to get our guns
into position. at 3 o'clock in the morning of the 22d inst, about a hundred
yards from the enem'ys skirmishers, in some lunettes just thrown up by pioneers,
very defective in every respect. We were so near the enemy that we had to dismount
our amunition chests and sink them in the ground and send the horses to the
rear. Our men were immediately set to work to make the lunettes tenable. About
noon the enemy opened upon our position with four guns from an old fort and
redoubts about a thousand yards to our right and front, throwing their shot
and bursting their shell in and about our works with most accurate range. We
were ordered to open upon them, and immediately set our men to altering the
embrasures (facing before to the front, as we were informed the enemy would
probably open upon us from our immediate front,) so as to enable us to return
the fire of the enemy.
This being effected we opened fire upon the enemy's batteries at about 2 P.
M., when he replied with a very heavy musketry fire and with a rapid fire from
eight guns, bursting their shells over and in our works. After firing about
an hour we heard considerable cheering at some distance to our left and shortly
after some infantrymen came running along crying out, "The left is flanked." "The
enemy is coming in upon our left." We paid little attention to this, supposing
it to be some panic stricken straggler; but presently the enemy advanced upon
our left front, when we drove them back with canister from our left piece,
the only one which could fire in that direction, owing to the change in the
embrasures before mentioned. Shortly after we saw the infantry upon our left
running entirely unprotected, and immediately after the enemy appeared full
upon our flank coming along the breastworks of the rifle pits and planting
their flag upon our left lunette, they called to us to surrender. Not until
then did the men of the battery leave their pieces. Being entirely defenceless,
with no weapons but their guns, which unfortunately could not be turned toward
the enemy, the cannoneers then retreated to the woods with a loss of eleven
out of forty-five, a heavy proportionate loss, but much smaller than it would
have been if it had not been for the close proximity of the woods, enabling
them to spring to cover upon the enemy's appearing upon the works.
The behavior of Capt. McKnight and Lieut. Bull, of your city, was most gallant,
the former having hold of the prologue fixed to the right gun, with several
men of the battery and some of the 1st Minnesota Infantry endeavoring to haul
off the piece, when the enemy appeared over the breastworks and calling upon
them to surrender, fired a volley at them as they turned to run, preferring
to take the chances of death to captivity in a rebel prison. At this time fell,
amongst others, John Farmer, 1st Sergeant of the battery, a most brave and
efficient officer, whose place it will be hard to fill. While Lieutenant Bull
remained at his post until the rebel standard bearer waved his flag from the
left Runette, and then endeavored to rally men to retake the pieces, and both
officers remained until night participating in the fight made by the troops
in the effort to retake the position. The position was retaken the next morning,
but the enemy had succeeded during the night in drawing off the guns and three
out of four limbers, while the other was filled with bullets and was so badly
torn by shell as to be nearly worthless, showing the terrible fire the battery
The fact that the military authorities sent the next day for four new guns
to replace these lost, is considered by the Battery as the highest compliment
that could be paid to its efficiency. G.
TROY DAILY TIMES.
SATURDAY AFTERNOON, JULY 9, 1864.
A Tribute to Troy "Boys."
CAMP NEAR PETERSBURG, June 27.
Editors of the Troy Daily Times: I beg leave through your columns to pay tribute
to the gallantry and bravery of one of your citizens with whom it has been
my pleasure to serve in the United States army for the past thirteen months,
and also to some of the gallant sons which your city has sent forth to do battle
for the glorious institutions bequeathed to us by our Fathers of '76, and whom
I have the honor command.
The first to whom I refer is First Lieutenant George K. Dauchy, who was instrumental
in recruiting and bringing into the field the Twelfth New York independent
battery, which with many other campaigns has taken an active part in the one
of the past fifty days, a campaign to which history furnishes no parallel.
Seeing many statements in the different papers which are entirely erroneous
in regard to the circumstances attending the capture of the Twelfth New York
battery, on the 22d inst., I deem it fitting to give you a statement of the
conduct of both officers and men on that trying occasion. The battery was placed
in position at 3 A. M., on the morning of the 22d inst. The lunettes which
had been thrown up hastily by the pioneers were found to be very imperfect,
and accordingly ordered my own men to strengthen and improve them, which work
they commenced and followed up steadily until 2 P. M. of the 22d. About 12
M., the enemy opened upon us with four guns from a fortification to the right
of our position, an old and very strong work. The embrasures of our lunettes
being made facing to the front, it was necessary to alter them entirely in
order to bring our guns to bear upon the enemy's battery. This was done as
quickly as possible, excepting that of the left gun, and our guns opened upon
the enemy at 2 P. M. No sooner had we opened than the enemy opened four more
guns upon us, two in our front and two on our extreme right, accompanied by
a very heavy musketry fire. We continued firing for the space of an hour, when
a terrific musketry fire opened upon our left. At the same time, infantrymen
came running in from the left reporting that we were flanked, and that the
left had broken. The left gun—the only one which could be used to our
front and left—opened at once with canister and case shot, driving back
the line that was advancing upon our left front. Suddenly, however, our left
support gave way in confusion —leaving that flank of the battery entirely
exposed. The enemy followed closely down the works, and planting their colors
on the lunette of the left gun, ordered us to surrender. Up to this time, not
a man of the battery had left his post, nor did they do so until ordered.
I have noticed in the press, statements to the effect that the battery was
surprised, and also that the cannonneers escaped on horses. Both of these statements
are entirely untrue. The fact of having been constantly firing for an hour
previous to the charge, is sufficient to refute the first, and as to the second,
the ammunition chests were dismounted and sunk in the ground, and the horses
removed at least a mile to the rear, as it would have been impossible for them
to have lived under the fire.
It affords me great pleasure to attest to the gallant conduct of Lieut. Dauchy,
who remained at his post until the last, and did all in his power to rally
the infantry supports to return and help drag off the pieces, and also to Lieut.
H. D. Brower, of Albany, whom I had dispatched to the rear for ammunition a
few moments before, and who returned at this time, and gallantly assisted in
endeavoring to rally the supports, and to every man of the battery present,
whose actions on that occasion stamped each a hero of whom the Empire State
may well be proud.
Very respectfully, Geo. F. McKnight,
Captain Twelfth N. Y. Independent Battery.
The Twelfth New York Battery reached here yesterday morning. It numbers 116
men, many of whom are Trojans. The following are its officers: Captain, C.
A. Clark; First Lieutenant, T. F. Batty; First Lieutenant, Kingsbury; Second
Lieutenant, Little; Second Lieutenant, Conkling.
Back to the 12th Independent Battery
during the Civil War
New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military
May 4, 2006