Unit History – Battery A, 1st Rhode Island Light Artillery

28 06 2022

First Regiment, Light Artillery – Col., Charles H. Tompkins; Lieut. Cols., William H. Reynolds, John A. Monroe; Majs., John A. Monroe, John A. Tompkins, John G. Hazard. The organization of this regiment was begun early in 1861, but was not completed until the fall of 1862.

Battery A. – Capts., William H. Reynolds, John A. Tompkins, William A. Arnold, was organized in connection with the 2nd R. I. infantry. It was mustered into the U. S. service for three years on June 6, 1861, at Providence, and left for Washington on the 19th. It went into camp at Camp Sprague, and was attached to Burnside’s brigade, Hunter’s division, McDowell’s corps. In the first battle of Bull Run it lost several men in killed and wounded, and had a number of its guns and horses captured by the enemy. The battery returned to Camp Sprague and on July 28, was ordered to Sandy Hook, Md., where it received the guns and equipment from the 1st light battery, then about to be mustered out. Upon the organization of a battalion of light artillery in August and of an entire regiment in September this command became battery A of the 1st R. I. light artillery, its captain being appointed lieutenant-colonel of the regiment. Winter quarters were established at Poolesville, Md., but camp was broken in March, 1862, for the Peninsular campaign, in which the battery took an active part. It was held in reserve at Chantilly; was active at Antietam, where 4 men were killed and 15 wounded; participated in the battle of Fredericksburg; wintered at Falmouth; was active at Marye’s heights and at Gettysburg, losing in the last battle 5 killed and 23 wounded, besides 30 horses; then moved southward with the Army of the Potomac; fought at Bristoe Station and in the Mine Run campaign, and went into winter quarters at Mountain run. On Feb. 6, 1864, it was engaged at Morton’s ford and on May 3, broke camp for the Wilderness campaign, during which it was active at the Wilderness, Spottsylvania, the North Anna river, Cold Harbor, etc., and became noted as a reliable command. On June 18, 1864, its term of service having expired, the battery was mustered out, but Lieut. Dwight immediately reorganized it and it continued in the field with the Army of the Potomac. On Sept. 30, 1864, it was consolidated with Battery B. During the entire term of service of the battery its casualty list numbered 1 officer and 17 men killed in action, 90 wounded and 4 captured. Four years’ hard fighting was the portion of its members and its history is that of arduous duties faithfully and efficiently performed.

From The Union Army, Vol. 1, p. 251


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