1st MD history-click to expand
At the outset of the war a number of Marylanders from Baltmore City and the Eastern Shore crossed the Potomac and made their way to Fredericksburg. Many of the men had been members of the Charles County Volunteer Cavalry, and so it was decided among them that they should form a company of cavalry under the command of a Colonel Jennifer, who had yet to arrive in Fredericksburg. While they waited for Colonel Jennifer, the Marylanders were joined by more and more men from their home state as well as Virginia. One of the later Marylanders, R. Snowden Andrews, purposed that since Jennifer had not appeared, that they form a company of artillery instead. Andrews was appointed Captain, William Dement First Lieutenant, and a young Missippian with an artillery background named Frederick Dabney was appointed Third Lieutenant.
The company moved to Richmond, and on July 10, 1861 was mustered into the Confederate Army. As the Marylanders were without a state to sponsor them, Andrews petitioned Governor Letcher of Virginia and was provided eight guns, four Napoleons, and four Parrotts. Immediately the men were put to drilling by Lt. Dabney.
The 1st Maryland was moved back to Fredericksburg, and then to Brooks Station near Aquia Creek, where it remained until October. The battery was then sent to join the Confederate batteries over looking the Potomac. The battery remained on the Potomac, hoening it's skills by firing on and sometimes sinking, Federal ships, until March of 1862.
When General Johnston fell back from Manassas in March, the 1st Maryland was moved to Fredericksburg and attached to General Pettigrew's Brigade. It was then moved to Ashland and then Yorktown, taking part in the delaying action against the Federals moving towards Richmond. The battery was moved to several places as the Confederates fell back, eventually winding up at Poor's farm just prior to the Battle of Seven Pines.
The battery was hotly engaged on June 26 at Mechanicsville, loosing several men and horses. Andrews was wounded but would not leave the field. The battery received several honorable mentions in offical reports. Andrews was promoted, and Dement was given comand of the battery. The following day the battery was in the thick of the fighting at Gaines Mill, followed by Frazier's Farm and Malvern Hill.
Following Malvern Hill, the battery did away with it's Parrotts. Dement's Battery was assigned to Jackson's Army, Lawton's Gerogia Brigade,and fought with the Georgians at Cedar Run. It has been written that the 1st Maryland's fire was so accurate that day that they decimated a Federal battery opposite them.
Following Cedar Run, General lee was looking for a way around Pope's Army along the Rappahanock. Jackson was sent to Warrenton Springs. Always on the offensive, Jackson pushed General Jubal Early's Brigade along with some artillery, including Dement's and the Chesapeake Artileery, across the river. During the night a heavy rain storm swelled the river, cutting the small command off from the main body. During the following day, while Jackson built a bridge to provide Early a means of escape Early's infantry and the Maryland batteries beat back several attacks on their most dangerous position.
Afterwards Jackson moved around Pope's right to Manassas Junction and then the old battlefield of Manassas. The 1st was heavily engaged at Manassas and lost several men and horses. During the invasion of Maryland the battery was employed in the reduction of Loudon Heights during the capture of Harper's Ferry. Though the battery moved as quickly as it could afterwards to Sharpsburg, it arrived to late to particpate in the Battle of Antietam.
Still assigned to Early's Division, the 1st followed Early back into Virginia to Martinsburg and the lower Shenandoah. In December the battery joined the Army of Northern Virginia at Fredericksburg. The battery took up a position at Hamilton's Crossing on the 12th, and on the 13th was placed on Early's left. The battery saw little action itself, but was fired upon hotly both days.
After the Battle of Fredericksburg both armies settled into winter quarters. Dement was moved back to Bowling Green, where there was more forage, and the battery could refit. At this time it was assigned to Andrews' artilery battalion, Lee having re-aligned his command, creating division and Coprs level artillery elements, instead of brigade level. This gave him more flexability in moving artillery on the battlefield.
When Hooker moved around Lee's left to Chancellorsville, Early remained at Fredericksburg to cover Lee's rear as he moved the bulk of his army to meet Hooker. When General Sedwick's infantry attacked Early, the 1st maryland, Cheasapeake and Pogue's batteris were moved into positon on Mayre's Heights. The battery suffered some casualties getting into position, but once in place their fire was deadly. Eventually though the shear weight of Sedgwick's force enabled him to capture the heights. Snowden pulled his battalion back to a concealed position near the Telegraph Road and unleashed a terrible fire upon the advancing infantry with twenty guns at short range. The infantry was forced to retire beyond Lee's Hill, giving Early time to counter-attack, and drive the Federals from the heights.
In June of 1863 the 1st Maryland, now assigned to Genral Johnson's Division of Ewell's Corps, moved into the Shenandoah and advanced north toward Winchester, where General Early's command was engaged with General Milroy. Believing Milroy would steal away during the night, Ewell ordered General Johnston to move around winchester and block Milroy's escape. Johnson's tired troops arrived at Stephenson's Depot just ahead of Milroy, and deployed in battle line. Milroy wasted no time in attacking and a vicious night battle ensued. According to General Ewell the battery was placed well within "musket range of the enemy on June 15, and maintained its position till thirteen of the sixteen men in the two detachments were killed or wounded." All in all there were five men killed and fourteen wounded, including the wounding of Colonel Andrews and several other officers not assigned directly to the battery, but who came to its aide when its gunners were disabled.
After crossing the Potomac into Maryland Johnson's Division continued north into Pennsylvannia toward Carlisle, then west toward Fayetteville, where they spent the night of the 30th, before marching to a town called Gettysburg the following morning. As the division neared the hamlet the men could hear the cannon fire and hastened their steps, but still they were to late to be of use on the first day of battle. Johnson aligned his men along the Hanover Road. The following day Andrews' Artillery Battalion, now under the direction of Major Latimer, took up a position on Benner's Hill, a position totally dominated by the Federal artillery on Cemetery Ridge. Losses through out the battalion were staggering, and before days end the artillery was forced to retire.
After Gettysburg the 1st Maryland was moved into the Valley, but by December it was with Lee's main body opposing Meade at Mine Run. After Mine Run the battery was assigned to the "Maryland Line", which was directed to protect Lee's flank at Hanover Junction. There the 1st remained until General Grant moved into the Wilderness. The battery was then assigned to General John Breckenridge. The battery was engaged along the Totopotomoy in late May, then joined the main body at Cold Harbor, where it withstood the grand assault of June 3, firing nothing but canister at close range during the course of the entire day.
On June 22nd the battery particpated in a movement by General Mahone's Division of the Third Corps against a Federal position, and afterwards was moved into a fixed position in one of the Confederate forts, where it remained until it was nearly vaporized by the great mine explosion of General Burnside. Many of the men were wounded by falling debris, and then came under a tremendous artillery barage. As a unit the 1st Maryland never fought again. Many of it's crewmen were sent to Drewry's Bluff to man the large guns over looking the James. When the order came to evacuate the Petersburg defenses in April, the remnants of the 1st Maryland Artill;ery, with muskets in hand joined the ravaged column. As infantry men they made their final stand at Sailor's Creek, and were among those who surrendered at Appomattox.
Though it lost a number of men and horses to both death and disease, the 1st Maryland Artillery never lost a single gun in four years of battle.