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Artillery Branch Timeline
   The Act of 1821. The basic organizational structure of Civil War artillery dated back to the Act of Congress of March 2nd, 1821. That Act reorganized the existing artillery forces of the United States╣ into four regiments of nine companies each. The regiments thus created were not specifically designated as either foot or field artillery, and were considered available for service in either capacity. The Act also required that one company in each regiment be equipped for service as light artillery, but in practice this was often overlooked. Each company was allowed a total strength of sixty officers and men. The Act also merged the Ordnance Corp into the artillery. Each artillery regiment was assigned an extra captain to perform ordnance duty.

   The experiment of merging the Ordnance with artillery was soon seen to be a failure and in 1832 the Ordnance Corp was reestablished and the supernumerary captains who had been doing ordnance duty were removed▓.

These were the Corps of Artillery, the Regiment of Light Artillery, and the Ordnance Corp.
Rodenbough, Theophilis Francis, & Haskin, William L. The Army of the United States Historical Sketches of Staff and Line with Portraits of Generals-in-Chief. (New York: Maynard, Merrill, & Co., 1896). 312
Ibid. 302, 313

   The Nullification Crisis, 1832. In 1832, several southern States, most notably South Carolina and Alabama, threatened to block the enforcement of unpopular tariffs passed by Congress. They argued that each state had the right to "nullify" particular federal laws within their own territory. Federal troops, including companies representing each artillery regiment, were sent to assist in upholding the laws and defending goverment property. The situation quieted and no hostilities resulted.

   The Seminole War, 1836-42. Large forces of federal troops, including numerous companies from the four artillery regiments, participated in the suppression of the Seminole Indians. Environmental conditions were extremely difficult on the troops involved in this campaign and illness caused many casualties. There were few full-scale battles but numerous alarms and small skirmishes.

   The Act of 1838. A tenth company, to be designated "K", was added to each artillery regiment by this Act.

   The Act of 1847. Two additional companies, designated "L" and "M" were added to each artillery regiment by this Act. It also specified that a second company in each regiment should be designated and equipped as light artillery.

   The Mexican War, 1846-48. On May 13th, 1846, the United States declared war on Mexico. Over the next two years, the substancial superiority of the American artillery branch over its Mexican counterpart helped lead the United States to a resounding military victory.

   Secession Crisis, Fort Sumter 1860-61. South Carolina passed its ordinance of seccession on December 20th, 1860. Six days later, Major Robert Anderson, 1st Regiment of Artillery, moved his entire garrison (Companies E and H) from Fort Multrie to Fort Sumter. On April 12, 1861, Confederate batteries opened fire on Fort Sumter, commencing the American Civil War. Three days later, Lincoln called upon the various states to raise troops for the suppression of the rebellion.

   Proclamation of President Lincoln, May 4th, 1861. The creation of the 5th Regiment of artillery for the regular army was ordered by the president. Congress upheld this action on July 12th, 1861, but by then the regiment had already been formed. This regiment differed slightly in organization from the previous regiments. Although not specifically designated as "field" or "light" artillery, all twelve batteries were immediately equipped for service as field batteries and it was clear that the regiment was raised for service in that capacity.


  ©2005 Richard McCoy. View Copyright Info or learn more About the Author.