site logo
Federal flag

Federal Battery

3rd United States Artillery, Batteries L and M


Commanding Officer on the Antietam Campaign:
  Capt. John Edwards Jr


  4   10-pdr. Parrott


This Battery's Chain of Command:
  Army - Army of the Potomac
  Corps - Ninth Army Corps

Unit history

The history of the Third United States Artillery dates from the reorganization of the army pursuant to Act of Congress, March 2, 1821. This act reduced the military establishment, and fixed the line at four regiments of artillery and seven of infantry. It marks an important epoch in the history of the army.

When the War of the Rebellion was precipitated, the Government was extremely anxious about the temper of the States on the Pacific Coast, particularly California. This led at once to energetic measures to secure the safety of San Francisco. All the companies of the Third on the Coast, except D, were at once concentrated in that harbor. Much, however, as they were needed there, they were needed in the east more. Accordingly, October 14, 1861, headquarters with H, G, L, M, and C, the horses and guns being turned in, embarked for New York via the Isthmus.

When McClellan's army moved to the Peninsula in 1862, the other light batteries of the Third were attached to the artillery reserve. However, after being some time equipped as light artillery, was broken up just before the army started, and sent out to San Francisco under Captain Joseph Stewart to recruit. Captain John Edwards had transferred to M from B with George P. Andrews. This left C, E, F, G, K, L, M, on the Atlantic Coast. The artillery reserve was, however, not a reserve as that term generally is understood. The idea was not to retain its batteries necessarily in the hands of its commander until their guns could be launched against the enemy at the supreme moment. It is true that they might be so used. But, aside from this use, it was expected that the reserve was to be a source of artillery supply whence the divisions could draw batteries for their needs, to be returned when this temporary service had been rendered.

From the first, consolidation of companies was necessary, because of the difficulties of recruiting for the regular army, and the demand for regular officers for other duties. The companies of the Third which marched with McClellan were (C-G) consolidated, equipped as horse-artillery, under H. G. Gibson, (F-K) under Capt. Livingston, and (L-M) under Capt. Edwards, the two latter consolidated companies as field artillery. (C-G) was soon detached with Stoneman's cavalry, and (L-M) with Sykes' brigade of regulars. (L-M) was engaged at Newbridge June 19, Mechanicsville June 26, and Gaines' Mill June 27, 1862. At Mechanicsville it was attached to Griffin's brigade, McCall's division, on the extreme left. At Gaines' Mill it was on the right, about 500 yards in front of the line, where it fought with great gallantry, and, it truthfully can be said, under great disadvantages; for at that early day, the necessity for concentrating artillery fire was not understood by subordinate infantry generals. Nevertheless, both our own and the enemy's general officers praised the conduct of the artillery on that day. (L-M) lost one section, Lieut. Hayden, its commander, being wounded, and the horses all killed. During the change of base to the James River (L-M) fought at Turkey Bend June 28-29, at Turkey Bridge June 30, and side by side with (F-K) at Malvern Hill June 30-July 1, 1862, during which all its lieutenants were wounded. At Malvern Hill the artillery acted a decisive part. The enemy attributed their repulse to our superiority in that arm. The Union artillery that day illustrated the truth of the maxim that artillery, under favorable circumstances, can defend itself against a frontal attack.

The Third was not present at the second Bull Run. When the army after that disaster moved into Maryland, (C-G) was with Pleasanton's cavalry, and (L-M) with the 9th Army Corps, though unattached.

On the Antietam Campaign

The battery was apparently not engaged at Antietam: they were probably detached on the left flank of the Ninth Army Corps below the Lower Bridge over the Antietam.


Initial Strength: 97;

Battlefield Tablets for this Unit

Tablet #56: Ninth Army Corps - 15 Sep, 7 AM to 16 Sep, 3 PM
Tablet #122: Army of the Potomac - 17 Sep, 10 AM to 17 Sep, 6 PM
Tablet #70, cont: Ninth Army Corps - 17 Sep, 3 PM to 17 Sep, 5 PM
Tablet #70: Ninth Army Corps - 17 Sep, 7 AM to 17 Sep, 3 PM
Tablet #57: Ninth Army Corps - 17 Sep, 7 AM to 17 Sep, 5 PM

After the Antietam Campaign

[At Fredericksburg in December they] crossed the river with General Sumner, but the jammed condition of the streets and character of the country prevented its coming into action.

In March, 1863, the 9th Corps was sent west, (L-M) accompanying it. The corps arrived at Vicksburg in season to take part in the siege of that place, and afterwards, July 10-16 in the siege of Jackson, Miss. From this time until March 16, 1864, (L-M) operated in the west. On May 24, that year, it again rejoined the Army of the Potomac. All this time it formed part of the artillery of the 9th Corps. It took part meanwhile in Burnside's campaign in east Tennessee, in 1863. It was engaged at Philadelphia, Tenn., October 16, Campbell Station, Tenn., November 16, was in position in the trenches during the siege of Knoxville, November 17-December 5, in pursuit of Longstreet's army at Blain's cross-roads, Tenn., December 17, 1863, and again at Strawberry Plains, Tenn., January 21, 1864. Its next fighting was in the Wilderness, under General Grant, from May 5th to 14th, 1864, whence it was sent back to the defences of Washington. Later they were joined by [Company] I. They remained in a condition of preparedness for active service; but, from this time on, except when Early made his attempt on Washington in July, 1864, nothing seriously demanding their attention occurred.

References & Notes

See an exhaustive history of the 3rd US online - transcribed from the Regiments adjutant - found at the U.S. Regulars Archive site. That text liberally quoted above.

We have 4 individuals in the AotW database who were on the Maryland Campaign with this unit:


Co. Rank Name Casualty? Details*
LLtHayden, Horace John        We have some details for this person
MLtKelly, James Rigney        We have some details for this person
--LtBartlett, Wiliam Chambers        We have a picture for this person We have some details for this person
--CaptEdwards, Jr, John         We have some details for this person


* If there's a symbol in the Details column ...

We have a picture for this person - We have a picture for this person
We have further details for this person - We have details beyond name and rank
Click on their last name to see more