6th Ohio Independent Battery of Ohio Volunteer Artillery (1861-1865)

Also Known As: Sixth Ohio Independent Battery of Ohio Volunteer Artillery

Updated: January 21, 2014

In the American Civil War, Ohio provided the federal government with 260 regiments of men, including infantry, artillery, and cavalry units. Ohioans also served in several other regiments from other states, most notably from Kentucky, West Virginia, and Massachusetts, as well as in federal units. Almost 330,000 Ohio men, including 5,092 African Americans, served in the Union military during the conflict.

In the American Civil War, Ohio provided the federal government with 260 regiments of men, including infantry, artillery, and cavalry units. Ohioans also served in several other regiments from other states, most notably from Kentucky, West Virginia, and Massachusetts, as well as in federal units. Almost 330,000 Ohio men, including 5,092 African Americans, served in the Union military during the conflict.

Artillery batteries formed in Ohio became known as batteries of Ohio Volunteer Artillery. They served for varying lengths of time, averaging one hundred days to three years. On November 20, 1861, the 6th Ohio Independent Battery of Ohio Volunteer Artillery mustered into service at Camp Buckingham, near Mansfield, Ohio. United States Senator John Sherman played a pivotal role in the battery's organization. The organization consisted of four ten-pound Parrott guns and two six-pound bronze Rodman cannons.

On December 15, 1861, the 6th Battery departed Camp Buckingham for Louisville, Kentucky, where the organization boarded a steamer and sailed to Nashville, Tennessee. Upon reaching the Tennessee capital on December 20, 1861, the battery entered camp at Camp Gilbert within the confines of the city. On January 12, 1862, the 6th departed Nashville for Columbia, Kentucky, arrivingĀ  at this location three days later. The organization was to use its cannons to prevent Confederate use of the Cumberland River. To accomplish this task, officials placed the battery's two Rodman cannons at Columbia, while the four Parrotts were located at Jamestown, Kentucky.

In mid-March 1862, the 6th boarded a steamer and arrived at Nashville on March 19. In April, the battery traveled to Savannah, Tennessee, before encamping at Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee on April 15, 1862. The organization next advanced on Corinth, Mississippi and participated in the siege of this city. The 6th entered Corinth on May 31, 1862, following the Confederate evacuation of this city. On the following day, the battery began an advance across northern Mississippi and northern Alabama, arriving at Mooresville, Alabama on July 3, 1862. Six days later, the 6th moved to Decatur, Alabama to protect the town from an anticipated Confederate assault, but the attack never materialized. On July 18, 1862, the organization marched to Stevenson, Alabama, where the battery remained encamped until August 21, 1862, when the 6th joined the Union's Army of the Ohio's pursuit of the Confederacy's Army of Tennessee, which was advancing into Kentucky and threatening Ohio's southern border.

On September 28, 1862, the 6th Ohio arrived at Louisville, Kentucky. In early October, the battery joined the Union advance against the Army of Tennessee. The two forces met at the Battle of Perryville, Kentucky on October 8, 1862. The 6th arrived on the battlefield late in the day and did not engage the Southerners. Following this Union victory, the battery joined the Northern pursuit of the retreating Confederates. The 6th fired a few shells at Confederate cavalrymen near Stanford, Kentucky on October 14, 1862 but saw no additional combat during the pursuit. On November 26, 1862, the battery returned to Nashville and joined the newly created Army of the Cumberland. At Nashville, the 6th participated in several foraging expeditions and skirmished on multiple occasions with Confederate General Joseph Wheeler's cavalry.

In late December 1862, the 6th joined the Army of the Cumberland's advance against the Confederacy's Army of Tennessee, which was located at Murfreesboro, Tennessee (December 31, 1862-January 2, 1863). On the march to Murfreesboro, the battery shelled Confederate forces at Lavergne, Tennessee and, upon arriving at Murfreesboro, shelled a Confederate four-gun battery into submission. In the Battle of Stones River (December 31, 1862-January2, 1863), on the engagement's first day, Rebel forces drove back the Union right. Although the battery withdrew multiple times, the organization kept up a steady fire, allowing the Union soldiers to regroup and eventually to drive back the Southerners. On the next day, the 6th remained engaged, repulsing a Confederate infantry assault. On January 2, an artillery barrage erupted that prompted the 6th to withdraw after the organization's support batteries fled from the field. The Ohio battery regrouped and helped to repulse a Confederate assault against the Union left. After this failed attack, the Confederates withdrew from the battlefield and moved into southern Tennessee and northern Alabama. After the battle, the 6th Ohio's commanding officer issued the following report:

HDQRS. SIXTH OHIO BATTERY, On Battle-field, near Murfreesborough, Tenn., January 5, 1863.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following official report of the engagement of December 30 and 31, 1862, and January 1 and 2, 1863, viz:

At 8 a.m., December 30, the battery was put in position on the left bank of Stone's River and near camp, and engaged a four-gun battery of the enemy at a range of 1,500 yards, who held a high, strong, and commanding position on the opposite bank of the river, and silenced the enemy's battery after an engagement of fifteen minutes, expending 72 rounds of shell and solid shot, sustaining no damage, except the loss of one sponge-bucket, struck by an enemy's shot.

At 8 a.m., December 31, the battery, in accordance to orders, proceeded to the right of our lines. At 10.30 a.m. engaged two four-gun batteries of the enemy, supported by two brigades of infantry, at a range of 250 yards. We received fire from the infantry as well as the batteries. We held our position twenty minutes, pouring a heavy and destructive fire upon the infantry, at the same time engaging the batteries with good effect, expending 150 rounds of case-shot and canister, and sustained a loss of 1 man wounded and 2 horses killed.

Our left flank having been turned, I retired my battery and took a position 500 yards in the rear. Again opened upon the enemy (with case and canister), who were advancing in force. After an engagement of five minutes, and expending 12 rounds of ammunition, I was again compelled to retire my battery and abandon two pieces of the battery, one of which I had spiked (since removed), and sustaining a loss of 1 man killed, 2 men wounded, and 1 man missing; also 8 horses killed and 3 wounded. About this time Col. Shoemaker charged the enemy with the Thirteenth Michigan Regiment, driving them off the field and recovering the guns, and for which Col. Shoemaker should receive full credit.

About 8 a.m., January 1, I again changed position to the front lines, and, in conjunction with several batteries, opened upon the enemy with case-shot and shell at a range of 2,000 yards, driving them back, expending 54 rounds of ammunition and sustaining no damage.

January 2, while occupying a position on the front line, the enemy advanced eighteen guns (supposed), and opened fire upon my battery with solid shot and shell. About 8 a.m. I was supported upon the right by two six-gun batteries, which gave way early in the action and retired. I silenced the enemy's guns and held the position, expending 177 rounds of ammunition, and sustaining a loss of 5 men wounded, 5 horses killed, and 3 horses wounded. About this time Capt. Stokes' (Chicago) battery opened upon my battery several rounds of canister from a position 250 yards in rear, and from which I sustained much damage.

At 2 p.m. the enemy advanced a heavy column upon our left lines, and supported by two four-gun batteries. My battery took a strong position and opened on the enemy at a range of 3,000 yards with good effect, expending 35 rounds of shell, and sustaining no damage.

I take pleasure in noticing the promptness and coolness displayed by First Lieut. O. H. P. Ayres, Second Lieut. A. P. Baldwin, and First Sergt. G. W. Smetts for the manner in which they managed their respective sections; Lieut. Ayres having been slightly wounded, also his horse being wounded, and Lieut. Baldwin having his horse shot.

The following non-commissioned officers and privates greatly distinguished themselves, viz: Sergts. G. W. Howard, H. Hartman, T. O. Casey, S. Miller, and J. Hersh; Corpls. N. Poole, H. A. Collier, and Acting Corpl. S. O. Kimberk. Corpl. E. H. Neal is entitled to much credit for the promptness and carefulness he displayed in keeping the caissons well screened, and for keeping the battery well supplied with ammunition. Privates W. C. Stough, J. Robinett, D. H. Evans, J. G. Barger, and Frank Leslie greatly distinguished themselves. The whole company, with but few exceptions, displayed great coolness, and are entitled to much credit.

Respectfully,

CULLEN BRADLEY, Capt., Cmdg. Sixth Ohio Light Battery.

Maj. S. RACE, Comdg. Artillery, First Division, Fourteenth Army Corps.

The 6th Battery remained encamped in the vicinity of Murfreesboro until late June 1863, when the organization embarked upon General William Rosecrans's Tullahoma Campaign (June 24-July 3, 1863), a Union advance through southern Tennessee and northern Alabama. The battery remained in northern Alabama until early September 1863, when the command joined the Union's Army of the Cumberland's advance against the Confederacy's Army of Tennessee at Chickamauga, Georgia. At the Battle of Chickamauga (September 19-20, 1863), the 6th remained engaged both days, firing a total of 383 rounds of ammunition. Following this Northern defeat, the Army of the Cumberland withdrew to Chattanooga, Tennessee, where the Army of Tennessee besieged the Northern force. During the Siege of Chattanooga, the 6th primarily remained at Fort Wood.

Upon the siege's conclusion, with the Union victory at the Battle of Missionary Ridge (November 25, 1863), the 6th Battery remained at Chattanooga due to not having a sufficient number of horses to pull the battery's cannons. On January 1, 1864, two-thirds of the battery reenlisted in the Union military. The re-enlistees received a thirty-day furlough to their homes in Ohio. Upon returning to the frontlines, the 6th, in early May 1864, embarked upon General William T. Sherman's Atlanta Campaign. During the campaign, the battery fought in practically every major engagement but was especially engaged in the Battles of Dallas, Kennesaw Mountain, Atlanta, and Jonesborough. With the Union's occupation of Atlanta, Georgia on September 2, 1864, the campaign came to a successful conclusion. The 6th entered the city on September 9, 1864 and entered camp. After the campaign, the 6th Ohio's commanding officer issued the following report:

SIXTH OHIO BATTERY, ARTY. BRIG., 4TH ARMY CORPS, Camp near Jonesborough, Ga., September 6, 1864.

LIEUT.: I have the honor herewith to present a synopsis of the part taken by the Sixth Ohio Independent Light Battery, during the campaign in Georgia, under Maj. Gen. W. T. Sherman, commanding Military Division of the Mississippi, commencing on the 3d day of May, 1864, at McDonald's Station, Tenn., and ending on the 5th day of September, 1864, on Macon and Atlanta Railroad, at or near Lovejoy's Station, Ga. I would remark that it is almost impossible to give a minute report. The unusual length of time consumed in making the campaign, (a little over four months) precludes the idea. I would also state the battery has been commanded by three different officers during the campaign, viz, first, by First Lieut. O. H. P. Ayres, who commanded until June 1, 1864 ; second, by First Lieut. L. D. Immell, Battery G, First Regt. Missouri Volunteer Light Artillery, who commanded until August 1, 1864. Up to the 1st day of August, 1864, I was acting chief of artillery, Third Division, Fourth Army Corps.

On or about the last of July the artillery of the Fourth Army Corps was organized into an Artillery Brigade, under command of Capt. Lyman Bridges, Illinois Volunteer Artillery, thus relieving me from the duties of chief of artillery and returning me to the command of my battery. On the 3d day of May, 1864, the battery was under command of First Lieut. O. H. P. Ayres, and consisted of 4 commissioned officers, 153 enlisted men, 6 12-pounder light Napoleon guns, 6 caissons for 12-pounder guns, 128 rounds of ammunition per gun, 1 forge (A), 1 battery wagon (C), 5 baggage wagons, 114 horses, and 32 mules.

Left camp at McDonald's Station, Tenn., at 12 m.; consumed twelve days in marching to or near Resaca, Ga., where we found the enemy in force, and on 15th took up position on main line and expended--shot, 49: shell, 74; spherical case, 65; canister, 10; total, 198 rounds ammunition; Private Simpson slightly wounded by musket-ball 1 horse killed. Left camp on the 16th and again came upon the enemy at or near Adairsville, Ga. Took position on main line and expended--shot, 9; shell, 66; spherical case, 61; total, 136 rounds. Left camp on 19th; consumed seven days in marching to Pumpkin Vine Creek, where we again came upon the enemy. Took position on the 26th on main line, expending--shot, 34; shell, 35; spherical case, 21 total, 90 rounds; Corporal Fix severely wounded by musket-ball. 27th, expended 37 shot, 81 shell, 54 case, and 2 canister: total, 174; Corporal Mathews severely wounded. 28th, expended 9 shot, 2 shell, and 1 canister; total, 12. 29th expended 11 shot, 6 shell, and 30 case ; total, 47; Private Whitney killed. 30th, relieved by Capt. McDowell's (Pennsylvania) battery, and took position near headquarters Fourth Army Corps. Left camp June 6; consumed eight days in marching to or near Acworth, Ga., coming upon the enemy on the 14th. Took position on main line, expending--shot, 18; shell, 26; case, 11; total, 55 rounds. 15th and 16th, moved on Marietta road. 17th, came upon the enemy near Pine Hill, Ga.; took position with Third Division. Fourth Army Corps; expended--shot, 27; shell, 17; total, 44 rounds. 18th, pursued the enemy, driving him, and expending--shot, 121; shell, 113; case 90; total, 324 rounds; Private Hersh killed; Privates Craig and Everett wounded severely; one spare wheel destroyed by shell. 19th, moved on Marietta road. 20th took position on main line near Kenesaw Mountain, and remained until July 2, expending rounds of ammunition as follows: June 20, 457. June 22, 44. June 23, 155. June 27, 5 shot. July 1, 3 shot, 8 shell, 9 case; total, 20. July 2, 11 shot, 20 shell, 27 case; total, 58.

July 3, left camp and pursued the enemy, coming up with him on the 5th near Chattahoochee River; took position on main line; remained until 10th, expending ammunition as follows: 5th, 12 shell, 14 case; total, 26. 6th, 30 shot, 5 shell, 88 case; total, 177; First Lieut. O. H. P. Ayres severely wounded. 7th, 43 shot, 39 shell, 43 case; total, 125. 9th, 25 shot, 18 shell, 17 case; total, 60. 10th, 10 shot, 20 shell, 9 case ; total, 39 11th, left camp; consumed eight days in marching to Buck Head, where we again engaged on the 19th, expending 8 shot, 10 shell, 16 case; total, 34 rounds. Left camp on 20th, and on 22d took position on main line before Atlanta, where we remained until August 25, expending ammunition as follows:* August 16, erected temporary furnace for heating shot and threw six shot into the city, also four shell filled with port fire. August 25, left camp at 10 p. m.; consumed two days in marching to Camp Creek, Ga., where we engaged the enemy on the 27th, expending 8 shot, 6 shell, 7 case; total, 21 rounds. Left camp on the 28th at 6.30 a. m.; consumed six days in marching to the Montgomery railroad, where we again engaged the enemy, expending 3 shot. September 3, expended 36 shot, 17 shell, 39 case, 3 canister; total, 89 rounds. September 4, right section moved out on main line near Lovejoy's Station, Ga.; expended 23 shot, 6 shell, 4 case, 28 canister; total, 61 rounds. 5th, expended 5 shell, 3 case; total, 8 rounds. In noting the different times the battery has been engaged or fired no mention is made of the results, simply because it was not known. All the firing done has been at the enemy's batteries or main lines. When at their batteries they have been silenced by a few rounds. During the campaign our firing has been mostly behind works. All firing has been done by order of chief of artillery of the corps or general commanding division or army.

Recapitulation: Killed, enlisted men, 2; horses, 1. Wounded, commissioned officers, 1; enlisted men, 5. Ammunition expended, total number of rounds, 4,412.

I am, lieutenant, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

CULLEN BRADLEY, Capt. Sixth Ohio Battery, Cmdg.

Lieut. L. D. IMMELL, Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen., Arty. Brig., 4th Army Corps.

On October 3, 1863, the 6th Ohio departed Atlanta and joined the Union's pursuit of Confederate John Bell Hood's army, which was advancing through northern Georgia, northern Alabama, and southern Tennessee, in the direction of Nashville. At the Battle of Franklin, Tennessee (November 30, 1864), the battery helped repulse a Confederate attack against a wagon train, before the entire Union army withdrew to Nashville. On December 15 and 16, 1864, the Union force took the offensive and, in the resulting Battle of Nashville, the 6th Battery took up a position in front of Overton's Hill. In an artillery duel with Sanford's Mississippi Battery, the Ohioans silenced the enemy guns. The Confederate army withdrew from the field, and the 6th participated in the Northern pursuit as far as Huntsville, Alabama, where the battery entered camp on January 15, 1865. After the Nashville Campaign, the 6th Ohio's commanding officer issued the following reports:

HDQRS. SIXTH OHIO BATTERY, Nashville, Tenn., December 3, 1864.

LIEUT.: I have the honor to submit the following report as the part taken by this command in the campaign from Pulaski, Tenn., to Nashville, Tenn.:

The battery marched from Pulaski November 23 at 3 p.m., marching eleven miles, camping near Lynnville at 10 p.m. November 24, marched at 4 a.m., arriving at Columbia 1 p.m. By direction of the corps chief of artillery the battery reported to Gen. Wood, Third Division, and was assigned a position on Col. Streight's brigade line. On the morning of the 26th instant the enemy advanced in our immediate front. The battery opened fire, and, spending fifty rounds of ammunition, repulsing the enemy. The enemy fired a few rounds with rifled artillery, doing no damage. The battery forded Duck River on the eve of the 27th. On the 28th the battery again reported to Gen. Wood, but did not go into position. On the 29th the command marched at 8 a.m., arriving at Spring Hill at 4.30 p.m. Here the enemy's cavalry made a heavy attack upon our trains. The battery was thrown into position, but did not open fire. On the 30th again marched at 3 a.m. for Franklin. Information having been received that the batteries might possibly fall into the hands of the enemy before reaching Franklin, every arrangement was made to cut down the carriages and to spike the guns, the gun equipments were issued, and the gun detachments kept at their posts. At sunrise, when within four miles of Franklin, the enemy's cavalry charged the trains in strong force. The battery was promptly put in position on the left of the road and opened fire, repulsing the enemy. For the promptness and effectiveness of the battery on this occasion the command was complimented on the spot by Gen. Wood, also by Capt. L. Bridges, chief of artillery, Fourth Army Corps. The battery arrived at Franklin 10 a.m. The enemy pressing up closely, the battery was ordered into position on Gen. Reilly's brigade line, Twenty-third Army Corps. The enemy continued advancing, about 3 p.m. engaging our skirmishers. About 4 p.m., as soon as their lines came within range, the battery opened fire and continued firing until dark, expending some 550 rounds of ammunition. The enemy continued pressing their lines close up to our works, notwithstanding our heavy fire of artillery and infantry. The enemy tried hard to force a passage at the right embrasure of the battery. They several times got into the embrasure, pushing their guns through and fired upon the cannoneers. They were so unpleasantly close that we had to resort to the use of sponge staves, axes, and picks to drive them back. Private Jacob Steinbaugh killed a daring rebel with an ax and disabled another with a pick. The officers and men behaved splendidly; every man stood to his post.

No less than thirteen stand of colors were captured on the battery front by Gen. Reilly's brigade, one of which by right should, as a trophy of that bloody engagement, be in possession of the battery.

In this engagement the battery sustained the following losses: Wounded, Private William B. Welch [mortally in right breast], Private John Shepherd [slightly in left arm], Private George Bradley [slightly in right leg], Private A. C. Stanart [severely in right arm]; 1 horse slightly wounded, 1 mule drowned fording Duck River, 1 ax thrown through embrasure by Private Steinbaugh.

The battery was safely retired from Franklin at 8 p.m. November 30, 1864, arriving at Nashville December 1, at 6 a.m., the march being very rapidly performed from Pulaski to Nashville, forcing the column to trot a portion of the time. Many horses were injured by the rapid traveling; otherwise everything went well.

All of which I do most respectfully submit.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. P. BALDWIN, First Lieut., Cmdg. Sixth Ohio Battery.

Lieut. GEORGE W. JAMES, Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen., Arty. Brig., Fourth Army Corps.

HDQRS. SIXTH OHIO BATTERY, Huntsville, Ala., January 9, 1865.

LIEUT.: I have the honor to transmit the following report of the operations of this command during the recent campaign, commencing at Nashville, Tenn., December 1, 1864, and ending at Huntsville, Ala., January 5, 1865:

December 3, the battery was placed in position in the First Brigade, Third Division, Fourth Army Corps line, firing more or less daily at the enemy's line of earth-works, some 800 yards distant, until December 15, expending 702 rounds of ammunition apparently with good effect, drawing no artillery fire from the enemy after the first day, viz, December 3, 1864. December 15, the battery operated with Third Division, advancing about one mile, expending ninety-nine rounds of ammunition. About dark the Third Division carried the enemy's line of works, capturing four 12-pounder guns, which by direction of general commanding I sent to corps headquarters; found fifteen boxes 12 pounder artillery ammunition, which I sent to the artillery ordnance train. December 16, the battery was placed in position to the left of the Franklin pike fronting Overton Hill, which was held by the enemy's infantry and Stanford's [Mississippi] battery. The battery opened fire and expended 696 rounds of ammunition. During the firing two of enemy's limbers exploded with shells. This line of works was carried with the capture of Stanford's [Mississippi] battery about 4 p.m. The battery continued to operate with Third Division, Fourth Army Corps, up to its arrival at Huntsville, January 5, 1865, but was not again engaged. From Pulaski to this point the battery horses suffered greatly, owing to the bad state of roads, being in some places almost impassable.

During every engagement with the enemy the men behaved splendidly, with great credit to themselves and the battery.

I am, lieutenant, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. P. BALDWIN, Cmdg. Sixth Ohio Battery.

Lieut. G. W. JAMES, Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen., Artillery, Fourth Army Corps.

On February 1, 1865, officials ordered the 6th to Eastport, Mississippi, but while the battery was on the march, the organization received new orders, sending the unit back to Huntsville. The Ohioans remained at Huntsville until late August 1865, when officials ordered the 6th to Camp Chase at Columbus, Ohio, where the command mustered out of service on September 1, 1865.

During the 6th Ohio Independent Battery's term of service, nine men, including one officer, died from wounds received on the battlefield. An additional thirty-four enlisted men died from disease or accidents.

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"6th Ohio Independent Battery of Ohio Volunteer Artillery," Ohio Civil War Central, 2021, Ohio Civil War Central. 20 Sep 2021 <http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=1204>

APA Style

"6th Ohio Independent Battery of Ohio Volunteer Artillery." (2021) In Ohio Civil War Central, Retrieved September 20, 2021, from Ohio Civil War Central: http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=1204

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