A BRIEF HISTORY OF  
CARPENTER'S BATTERY, C.S.A.

 

AS THE POSSIBILITY OF WAR BETWEEN THE STATES BECAME A VIRTUAL CERTAINTY, YOUNG MEN IN THE SOUTH BEGAN ORGANIZING INTO VOLUNTEER MILITARY COMPANIES, AS PROVIDED FOR UNDER STATE MILITIA LAWS.

ONE SUCH UNIT WAS THE "ALLEGHANY ROUGHS", AN INFANTRY UNIT ORGANIZED IN COVINGTON, ALLEGHANY COUNTY, VIRGINIA, ON THE 20TH DAY OF APRIL, 1861.  A FEW WEEKS LATER THE UNIT WAS MUSTERED INTO SERVICE AT HARPERS FERRY, VIRGINIA AND OFFICIALLY BECAME COMPANY A OF THE 27TH REGIMENT OF THE 1ST VIRGINIA BRIGADE OF INFANTRY. THE UNIT FOUGHT WITH DISTINCTION AT THE WAR'S FIRST MAJOR BATTLE AT MANASSAS JUNCTION.  IT WAS AT THIS BATTLE THAT THE 1ST BRIGADE, INCLUDING THE 2ND, 4TH, 5TH, 27TH AND  33RD VIRGINIA REGIMENTS ADOPTED THE NICKNAME GIVEN THAT DAY TO THEIR COMMANDER, THOMAS J. JACKSON.  THEY WERE, FROM THAT DAY ON, "THE STONEWALL BRIGADE".

THE "ALLEGHANY ROUGHS" FIRST COMMANDER WAS CAPTAIN THOMAS McCALLISTER.  DUE TO ILLNESS, HE WAS FORCED TO RELINQUISH  COMMAND TO HIS 1ST LIEUTENANT, ONE JOSEPH HANNA CARPENTER.  WHEN REVIEWING THIS CHANGE OF COMMAND, GENERAL JACKSON RECOGNIZED CARPENTER'S NAME AS THAT OF ONE OF HIS FORMER ARTILLERY STUDENTS AT VIRGINIA MILITARY INSTITUTE (V.M.I.).  ON ORDERS FROM JACKSON, THE UNIT WAS CONVERTED FROM INFANTRY TO ARTILLERY.  THE NEW UNIT WAS CALLED THE "ALLEGHANY ARTILLERY" BUT WAS KNOWN  THEREAFTER AS "CARPENTER'S BATTERY."

THE UNIT NUMBERED APPROXIMATELY 80 MEN AT THE TIME OF CONVERSION TO AN ARTILLERY BATTERY, FIELDING FOUR IRON 6-POUNDER GUNS FROM THE FOUNDRY AT TREDEGAR WORKS IN RICHMOND, VIRGINIA.  BY GETTYSBURG THE UNIT HAD ACQUIRED TWO 12-POUNDER NAPOLEONS AND TWO 3-INCH ORDNANCE RIFLES (WHICH WERE PROBABLY CAPTURED).  THE BATTERY REMAINED AT FIGHTING STRENGTH THROUGH MOST OF THE WAR BY THE ADDITION OF NEW RECRUITS AND BY GAINING THE REMNANTS OF DISBANDED ARTILLERY UNITS.

IN THE NEARLY TWENTY FIVE BATTLES AND COUNTLESS SKIRMISHES THAT CARPENTER'S BATTERY FOUND ITSELF ENGAGED , 46 MEN WERE KILLED AND 124 BADLY WOUNDED.   ON APRIL 1, 1865, AT THE BATTLE OF FIVE FORKS NEAR DINWIDDIE COURTHOUSE, COMMAND OF CARPENTER'S BATTERY WENT TO CORPORAL JOHN WILLEY, AS ALL COMMISSIONED OFFICERS HAD BEEN KILLED OR WOUNDED.  IN THAT BATTLE THE BATTERY'S GUNS AND MANY OF ITS CANNONEERS WERE CAPTURED, WITH THOSE FEW ABLE TO FLEE JOINING THE SCATTERED FRAGMENTS  OF GENERAL LEE'S ARMY IN THEIR RETREAT FROM PETERSBURG TO APPOMATTOX.   AT THE FORMAL SURRENDER ON THE NINTH DAY OF APRIL, 1865, THE ONCE PROUD BATTERY HAD BUT TWO MEN IN ATTENDANCE.

 


THIS CONFEDERATE BRONZE 12 pdr. NAPOLEON NOW MARKS THE SPOT ON BENNER'S HILL WHERE CARPENTER'S

BATTERY FOUGHT WITH DISTINCTION AT THE BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG. (FACING TOWARD CEMETERY HILL)


MAJOR BATTLES

MANASSAS (AS INFANTRY)                                     HANOVER COURTHOUSE

KERNSTOWN                                                               WADES DEPOT

WINCHESTER                                                               SECOND WINCHESTER

SEVEN DAYS BATTLE                                                 GETTYSBURG

MALVERN HILL                                                            FALLING WATERS

CEDAR MOUNTAIN                                                     KELLY'S FORD

SECOND MANASSAS                                                    POLE GREEN CHURCH

HARPER'S FERRY                                                           COLD HARBOR

SHARPSBURG                                                                  THIRD WINCHESTER

FREDERICKSBURG                                                         FISHER'S HILL

SECOND FREDERICKSBURG                                        CEDAR CREEK

SPOTTSYLVANIA                                                            FIVE FORKS

CHANCELLORSVILLE

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION


SON'S OF CONFEDERATE VETERANS

 

 

SUGGESTED READING

THE STONEWALL BRIGADE, BY JAMES I. ROBERTSON, LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY PRESS

I RODE WITH STONEWALL, BY HENRY KYD DOUGLAS, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS

HISTORY OF CARPENTER'S BATTERY OF THE STONEWALL BRIGADE 1861-1865, BY C.A. FONERDEN, BUTTERNUT PRESS

THE GILES, ALLEGHANY, AND JACKSON ARTILLERY, BY KEITH S. BOHANNON, H. E. HOWARD, INC., LYNCHBURG, VA

THE LONG ARM OF LEE, BY JENNINGS CROPPER WISE, UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA PRESS