All About Us



"Can anyone of common sense believe the absurdity that a faction of any state, or a state, has a right to secede and destroy this union and the liberty of our country with it; or nullify laws of the union; then indeed is our Constitution a rope of sand; under such I would not live...The union must be preserved, and it will now be tested, by the support I get by the people. I will die for the union."

President Andrew Jackson, November, 1832


 

Michigan in the Civil War

 


Who We Were

The original Battery D, under the command of Captain William W. Andrew, was mustered into service for the Union army on Sept. 17, 1861 to December 7, 1861 in White Pigeon, MI and left for the war on Dec. 9. The Battery was attached to 1st Division, Army of the Ohio, to September, 1862. Artillery, 1st Division, 3rd Corps, Army of the Ohio, to November, 1862. Artillery, 3rd Division, Center 14th Army Corps, Army of the Cumberland, to January, 1863. Artillery, 3rd Division, 14th Army Corps, Army of the Cumberland, to October, 1863. Artillery, 2nd Division, Artillery Reserve, Dept. of the Cumberland, to March, 1864. Garrison Artillery, Murfreesboro, Tenn., Dept. of the Cumberland, to July, 1864. 1st Brigade, Defenses of Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad, Dept. of the Cumberland, to March, 1865. 1st Brigade, 1st Sub-District, District of Middle Tennessee, Dept. of the Cumberland, to August, 1865.
On January 11, 1862, Captain Andrew resigned, and was replaced by Alonzo Bidwell. Captain Bidwell resigned August 2, 1862, and was replaced by Josiah W. Church, who served as such until his promotion to major on the 23rd of March, 1864. Henry B. Corbin was then promoted to Captain, until his discharge on Feb. 8th, 1865. Jesse B. Fuller then assumed command until March 13th, when he was breveted to Lt. Colonel of the Battery. The Battery saw duty at Camp Dick Robinson and Somerset, Ky., until January, 1862. They took part in the advance on Camp Hamilton, Ky., January 1-17, Mill Springs, Fishing Creek, January 19, then moved to Nashville, Tenn., February 10-March 2. During March 20-April 8, they marched to Savannah, Tenn. The Battery was next involved in the advance on and siege of Corinth, Miss., April 29-May 30. Following this, they were also involved in the Pursuit to Booneville, from May 31-June 12. Following this, they saw duty at Iuka, Miss., and Tuscumbia, Ala., until August. From August 21-September 26, they marched to Louisville, Ky., in pursuit of Bragg. The Pursuit of Bragg to continued to Crab Orchard, Ky., October 1-15. The Battery was then utilized in the Battle of Perryville, Ky., on October 8. Following this, they marched to Nashville, Tenn., during the period of October 16-November 7, and saw duty there until December 26. They were involved the advance on Murfreesboro December 26-30, and were in the Battle of Stone River December 30-31, 1862, and January 1-3, 1863. Duty at Murfreesboro resumed, until June. The Middle Tennessee (or Tullahoma) Campaign occupied the Battery from June 23 to July 7, and Hoover's Gap during June 24-26. They were present for the Occupation of Middle Tennessee until August 16, when they made passage through the Cumberland Mountains, and across the Tennessee River, for the Battle of Chickamauga (Ga.) Campaign, August 16-September 22.

A couple of newspaper correspondents wrote as follows:

"This battery was hotly engaged early in the battle of the 19th., being with the 1st. Brigade, 3rd. Division of the 14th. Corp. The enemy advancing, the battery fired shell until they were within two hundred yards, when seeing the support on the left break, it was ordered to double shot the guns with cannister, and by firing low and rapid, with the help of the infantry support on the right, the enemy were soon driven from our entire front, so far as could be seen. On the 20th., at about 12 o'clock at night, the battery was in the front line on the right of the 7th. Ohio Infantry and on the left of the 11th. Michigan Infantry, belonging to Colonel Stanley's brigade of Negley's division, and remained there until after daylight. After changing position several times with but little firing, until it arrived at the last position. It had been in this position for about an hour when orders were received to limber up, the fighting being heavy on the left and gradually advancing in front upon the battery. While this was being accomplished the enemy attacked, and were immediately engaged as they advanced, having an enfilading fire on a portion of his force, and by hard fighting for about fifteen minutes his advance was checked and a battery silenced which had been playing on the line. Firing then ceased for a short time, and until the enemy again engaged. The front was held in good order for some twenty minutes, when the enemy again advanced obliquely on the right, and in such overwhelming numbers that the support on the right was obliged to give way while endeavoring to change their front. The enemy was then so near that Captain Church ordered the guns double shotted with cannister, which kept them back for a short time. The 7th. Ohio having fallen back, the 82nd. Indiana advanced to the line as a support, taking possession of a slight rail breastwork, but the firing proving too heavy for so small a body of men to contend with, they were obliged to fall back. All support having failed and many horses shot, orders were given to move the pieces off by hand, and four were retired about fifty yards. Here three of them were limbered up with much difficulty under a most galling fire, and got away, moving to a ridge in the rear where the reserve artillery was posted. Firing continued here, and all that was saved of the battery was a twelve pounder howitzer, having been obliged to abandon the other guns for want of horses, when Captain Church, with what was left of his battery, moved to the rear on the Chattanooga Road."

And:

"No battery was more skillfully handled nor did a better execution on that bloody battle-field than Church's and although five of his guns were captured after the horses were killed, he has the proud satisfaction of hearing it said by his superiors that 'No commander could have fought longer under like circumstances, nor retreated from the field with more honor.' He maintained his position until the last, and made terrible havoc among the rebel masses. At every discharge of his pieces--and the messages followed each other in quick succession-- wide gaps were opened in the ranks of the maddened foe, and strange to say, they as often closed such gaps as regularly as on dress parade. When the rebel General Preston, who led the charge, got possession of the guns, he looked around and inquired of a wounded soldier lying on the ground, whose battery it was. 'Captain Church's Michigan Battery.' 'Well' said he, 'If you live to see Captain Church, give him my compliments, and tell him he had the d----est battery I ever fought. I have lost over 400 men in taking it, but, thank God, I have got it now, and mean to keep it.'

At Hoover's Gap, they inflicted severe damage upon the southern forces. Their loss in this action was one man wounded. At Chickamauga they were heavily engaged, and overwhelmed by numbers, having to abandon five of their pieces, bringing off only a 12 pounder Howitzer. Their loss was nine wounded and three missing, Captain Church being among the wounded. On the 1st. of November, 1863, the Battery was lying in camp at Chattanooga,Tn. They were on the 23rd., furnished with a battery of 20 pound Parrot guns, and took position in Fort Negley, one of the principal forts in the line of works at Chattanooga, and immediately in front of that place. The Battery, from Fort Negley, shelled the rebels during the battles of the 23rd.,24th., and 25th. of November. They also aided in covering Hooker's advance up Lookout Mountain, and on the assault on Mission Ridge. They were then ordered to Nashville, Tenn., December 5, and garrison duty there until March 30, 1864. They were then moved to Murfreesboro March 30, and garrison duty at Fort Rosecrans until July, 1865, being involved in the Siege of Murfreesboro December 5-12, 1864. It was mustered out of service in Jackson, MI on August 3, 1865, then soon after paid off and disbanded.. While in service, it had on its rolls 334 officers and men, and had lost 1 man killed in action, 1 died of wounds, and 38 of disease.

Who We Are

We are members of the National Civil War Association. Our members are both relatives of those who served in the Civil War and those who simply enjoy looking back and experiencing that period of time. We come from every walk of life imaginable. We find ourselves, individually, drawn to reenacting for several reasons: historical interests, comaradarie, interest in guns and military studies, artistic interests (musical, theatrical, and others), and more. Collectively, we aim to learn about history as we teach it, mainly by bringing it alive to those who witness. Because the most important thing to remember, is that in order to make a better future, we must better understand the past. History is our record of our development as a whole, including all of the mistakes made before. Understanding history, is studying how to better handle the challenges that rise before us. All ages are welcome and encouraged to join our organization, but in order to serve on the guns you must be 16 years of age.

 

What We Do

We strive to portray the most historically accurate presentation of life during the Civil War. We have regular reenactments (battle AND living history), guest speaking appearances, and classroom visits, where we try to teach and learn more about the way of life in the 1860's, by providing an entertaining look at history. We also strive to impress upon people today the trials and tribulations that the typical, hardworking person underwent merely to survive in those times, notwithstanding the pressures of war, and to teach our fellow human beings that the war, and the symbols and reminders of it, should not be erased as signs of hatred, but remembered as lessons of the past, and tributes to those who gave uncompromisingly to build this Great Country in which we now live. We have complete families assisting in this portrayal, from babies to geezers.

 

Notables

The Original Battery D has a monument in its honor placed on the battlefield of Chickamauga, near the Poe House, erected by the veterans in 1895, although now it has been the victim of vandalism. Several of our members hope to one day raise enough support to assist in restoring the monument to its original grandeur.


 

Jim Newkirk,our Founding member, is the Past Commander of the National Civil War Artillery Association. He has also been awarded the Daughters of The American Revolution's "American History Teacher of The Year Award" for the State of Michigan.

Ethan Barnett is Past Secretary for The National Artillery Association, and Present Commander of the National Civil War Artillery Association.

Many of our family are members of the Sons of Union Veterans, amongst other honorable organizations.

Several of our members have been in the movies Gettysburg and/or Gods and Generals, as well as the movie Kill the Messenger.

 

 

 

 

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