Battery E, West Virginia Light Artillery

The Upshur Battery

HISTORY

Battery E was organized by Capt. Alexander C. Moore, at Buckannan, West Virginia, in August, 1862; who was commissioned captain of the battery September 23, 1862. Captain Moore was one of West Virginia’s loyal sons who was among the first in the State to illustrate his loyalty to the government by the most practical methods then known; his early enlistment in the army, from the earlest moment of the Secession agitation in the South, Captain Moore was in line, defending the Constitution of the nation in eloquent pleadings upon the rostrum in the cities and towns throughout the counties of Harrison, Taylor, Lewis, Upshur, etc., and then recruits were called for, he enlisted company G, for the 3d West Virginia Infantry. Having commanded this company for one year in its active operations in the State, Captain Moore was well prepared to take charge of this new field of usefulness as an officer of Artillery. He had little trouble, and spent little time in recruiting his company E, among his neighbors and friends who knew him best at Buckhannan and adjoining counties. And even before he had instilled the first lessons of the Artillery school into his company, and before they had been mustered into service he was called upon to defend the town against the advance of the Confederate Gerneral Jenkins. Immediately upon the completion of the enlistment of his company, he was ordered to Clarksburg, and in turn to New Creek and Romney. At the latter place, the battery became, in 1863, a part of Campbell’s Fourth Brigade, First Division, Eighth Army Corps, serving with this brigade in the South Branch Valley, at Romney, Moorefield and vicinity, and with General Kelley in his campaign in the summer of 1863, to Cherry Run, Williamsport and Hedgesville on Lee’s retreat from Gettysburg, returning with the brigade to the South Branch Valley, serving in that locality until the summer of 1864.

Upon General Hunter’s return from Lynchburg, the battery was ordered to join the Army of West Virginia, and accompanied it to the Shenandoah Valley, taking part in the engagements with the enemy at Snicker’s Ferry, Cedar Creek, Kernstown, Bunker Hill and Berryville. At this time the battery was attached to the Artillery Brigade of the Army of West Virginia; was then in the fall of 1864, ordered to Maryland Heights, where it remained until January 1865, when the battery was ordered to the Artillery Camp at Camp Berry near Washington, D.C., and remained there until the close of the war.

While at Maryland Heights, Battery B was consolidated with Battery E, by order of the War Department, the consolidated battery remaining Battery E, under the command of Captain Moore. Lieut. B. H. H. Atkinson and 55 men was the transfer from B. to E. While at Camp Berry, D.C., President Lincoln was assassinated, and a detail from the battery of Lieut. Samuel A. Rapp and 30 men constituted a portion of the escort as the “Guard of Honor” accompanying the remains of Mr. Lincoln form the White House to the Capitol. At the close of the war, President Johnson conferred upon Captain Moore the rank of brevet major “for faithful and meritorious services during the war.”

Battery E was a good battery, composed of the intelligent, patriotic young men from the counties of Upshur, Harrison and Randolph. Officers and enlisted men were proud of each other, and there was no jealousy or bickering from the beginning to the end. Major Moore was a distinguished attorney at law when the war came, and his legal ability was occasionally during the war brought into service as the judge advocate of important courts-martial.

The battery was mustered out of the service, June 28, 1865.

[Source: Loyal West Virginia 1861-1865, by Theodore Lang]

SERVICE

Organized at Buckhannon, W. Va., September 18, 1862. Attached to Railroad District, District of West Virginia, Dept. of Ohio, to January, 1863. Romney, W. Va., 8th Army Corps, Middle Department, to March, 1863. 4th Brigade, 1st Division, 8th Army Corps, to June, 1863. Campbell’s Brigade, Dept. of West Virginia, to December, 1863. 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, Army of West Virginia, to April. 1864. Kelly’s Command, Reserve Division, West Virginia, to July, 1864. Artillery Brigade, West Virginia, July, 1864. Artillery, 1st Cavalry Division, West Virginia, to October, 1864. District of Harper’s Ferry, W. Va., to January, 1865. Camp Barry and Defences of Washington, D.C., to June, 1865.

SERVICE.—Ordered to Clarksburg, W. Va., thence to New Creek and Romney. Railroad guard duty at Romney, Clarksburg, New Creek, Moorefield and Petersburg till January, 1864. Action near Moorefield April 6, 1863. Near Burlington and at Purgitsville and Going’s Ford April 6-7. Moved to Cumberland, Md., January 4-5, 1864, and duty in South Branch Valley till July. Action at Snicker’s Ferry July 17-18. Stephenson’s Depot July 20. Near Berryville July 22. Battle of Kernstown-Winchester July 23-24. Bunker Hill July 25. At Harper’s Ferry and with Reserve Division till January, 1865. Action at New Creek November 28, 1864. Ordered to Washington, D.C., January, 1865, and duty at Camp Barry, Defences of Washington, till June. Mustered out June 28, 1865.

[Source: Compendium of the War of the Rebellion, by Frederick Dyer]

LOSSES

The 1st West Virginia Light Artillery regiment lost 33 men, killed and died of wounds; 131 men, died of disease, accident or in prison; total deaths, 164 men. (all 8 batteries)

[Source: Regimental Losses in the American Civil War, 1861-1865, by William F. Fox]

BIBLIOGRAPHY

The Upshur Battery web site, by Michael Phillips