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Before and After Gettysburg - the Sixth New York Artillery Story

By: Kent Courtney and Robert Silverman


Bob Silverman forwarded the Unit History Outline (below) to me.  What is interesting to see is what happened to the 6th NY Artillery, before and after the Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

The Battle of Gettysburg

The Battle of Gettysburg was massive with tens of thousands of soldiers fighting over a relatively small amount of ground.  Keeping track of what the generals did is hard  for the student of the battle.

We sometimes forget that battles are the result of thousands of actions of individual soldiers and small units.  It's difficult to get your head around the concept that these men came from somewhere, fought battles before Gettysburg and went on to fight elsewhere before The War ended.

The Battle of Hanover

It was in Hanover, Pennsylvania, on the 30th of June in 1863 when Union units, under the command of Brigadier General Judson Kilpatrick, including the newly appointed Brigadier General George Armstrong Custer, clashed with Confederate Cavalry veteran Major General James Earl Brown (J.E.B.) Stuart's dashing horsemen, igniting events which lead to the Battle of Gettysburg on 1, 2, and 3 July 1863.


Horse-Drawn Artillery Going Into Action

Imagine moving with horse-drawn teams of cannon up to various positions on the battle line.  Six horses would be maneuvered to position the piece, often under the rain of enemy bullets and artillery shelling.  The cannon is disconnected from the limber, while the horses move the limber (loaded with gunpowder and artillery shells) a few yards away.  Then, the horses are led away from the battery, but close enough to be called back in case of enemy advance.

The artillery men dash to their positions.  Enemy targets are brought into view.  The officer calls for the type of shot - solid, exploding or cannister and the limber is opened to remove its deadly stores to load the cannon.

As soon as the cannon started firing, that cannon and other pieces of artillery in its battery became the target of everything the enemy could throw at it.  Because there was usually little time to prepare defensive positions, the artillerymen were exposed to small arms fire, as well as, the exploding shells and solid shot of enemy artillery

Command Structure

The 6th New York Independent Battery Light Artillery  was assigned to the Calvary Corps at the Battle of Gettysburg.  They were under the command of United States Army Major General Alfred A. Pleasonton, who had about 11,475 men under him at Gettysburg.

The 6th New York Battery was commanded by Captain Joseph W. Martin, with about 103 artillery men under him.  The 6th New York was brigaded with the B & L/Second US Artillery and the 9th Michigan Battery, in the 1rst Brigade of the 3rd Division Artillery.  The Brigade Commander was Captain James M. Robertson and the Division Commander was Brigadier General Judson Kilpatrick, of Battle of Hanover fame.

This following is Robert Silverman's Unit History Outline.


A Brief History of the 6th New York Independent Battery Light Artillery

Mustered into US service: June 15, 1861 in New York, NY.

Mustered out of US service: July 8, 1865 in New York, NY

The 6th New York Independent Battery was originally recruited in Rahway, NJ as Company K of the New York 9th Militia. Company K was a 6-gun mounted artillery battery supporting the militia regiment’s infantry companies and its six artillery pieces were James rifles.

The battery left for Washington, DC on June 16, 1861 and within 6 months, the battery was detached from the regiment and designated the 6th New York Independent Battery. In March 1862, all six James rifles were replaced with 3-inch ordnance rifles.

In October and November of 1862, the battery received additional horses, equipment, and individual weapons, refitting it as a 6-gun horse artillery battery to support the cavalry (the battery’s mission for the rest of the war).

In July 1864, the battery was refitted as a 4-gun horse artillery battery equipped with 12-pounder Napoleons.

In all, the 6th New York Independent Battery served 4 years, 3 weeks, & 3 days. By the end of the battery’s service, it had participated in 37 battles and its total losses were 17 dead and 2 missing.

 

Year

Dates

Assignment

Events

1861

Jun-Oct

Stone’s Division, Army of the Potomac

Marched to Washington, DC under Capt. Thomas W. Bunting’s command.

Co. K detached from NY 9th Militia on Aug 25.

Battles: Pritchard Farms, MD; Point of Rocks, MD

1861

Oct-Nov

Bank’s Division, Army of the Potomac

Battles: Bolivar Heights, VA; Ball's Bluff, VA

1861-62

Nov-Mar

Hooker’s Division, Army of the Potomac

Co. K designated 6th New York Independent Battery Light Artillery on Dec 7.

Walter M. Bramhall formally assumes command Feb 5.

1862

Mar-Jun

2nd Division, III Corps, Army of the Potomac

All six James rifles replaced by six 3-inch ordnance rifles on Mar 20.

Battles: Siege of Yorktown, VA; Williamsburg, VA; Fair Oaks, VA; near Dispatch Station, VA; near Fair Oaks, VA

1862

Jun-Dec

Artillery Reserve, III Corps, Army of the Potomac

Battery refitted as 6-gun horse artillery battery Oct-Nov.

Battles: Seven Days’ Battle, VA; Malvern Hill, VA

1862-63

Dec-Mar

Artillery Reserve, Army of the Potomac

Joseph W. Martin assumes command c. Feb 16.

1863

Mar-Dec

1st Brigade Horse Artillery, Army of the Potomac

Battles: Kelly’s Ford, VA; Chancellorsville, VA; U. S. Ford, VA; Brandy Station, VA; Uppersville, VA; Gettysburg, PA; Fairfield Gap, PA; Emmitsburg, MD; Old Antietam Forge, MD; Harper’s Ferry, WV; Halltown, VA; Shepardstown, VA (twice); Sulfur Springs, VA; Auburn, VA; St. Stephen’s Church, VA; Bristoe Station, VA; Mine Run Campaign, VA

1863-64

Dec-Mar

Artillery Reserve, Army of the Potomac

 

1864

Mar-Jun

1st Brigade Horse Artillery, Army of the Potomac

Battles: Wilderness, VA; Spotsylvania Court House, VA; Sheridan’s raid to James City, VA; Totopotomoy, VA; Cold Harbor, VA

1864

Jun-Sep

XXII Corps, Army of the Potomac

Original troops completed their enlistments & replaced by troops from 10th NY Ind. Batt’y

Battery refitted as 4-gun horse artillery battery (12-pounder Napoleons) early Jul

1864-65

Sep-Apr

Army of the Shenandoah

Moses P. Clark assumes command Feb 15.

Battles: Tom’s Brook, VA; Cedar Creek, VA; near Newtown, VA

1865

Apr-Jul

XXII Corps, Army of the Potomac

 

 

About the commanding officers:

  1. Captain Thomas W. Bunting: Enlisted as Captain 6/15/61, discharged 1/23/62.

  2. Major (Brevet) Walter M. Bramhall: Enlisted as 2nd Lieutenant 6/15/61, promoted to Captain 1/23/62, brevetted Major in the summer of 1862 (while Acting Commanding Officer, Artillery Reserve, III Corps, Army of the Potomac), resigned 2/3/63.

  3. Captain Joseph W. Martin: Enlisted as Private 6/15/61, commissioned Lieutenant 6/20/61, promoted to Captain 6/8/63, mustered out 2/15/65 (the end of his term of service).

  4. Captain Moses P. Clark: Promoted from Sergeant to 2nd Lieutenant 9/1/61, promoted to 1st Lieutenant 2/1/63, promoted to Captain 3/65.

 

 

Story© 2009 Kent Courtney; Unit History © 2009 Robert L. Silverman

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Before and After Gettysburg - the Sixth New York Artillery Story

By: Kent Courtney and Robert Silverman
   
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