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12pdr Napoleon | Civil War Artillery

Battery I, Original Unit History


The following is a brief summary of events preceding the American Civil War.


Battery I, 1st US Artillery traces it’s amazing history back to June of 1798.  In this year the U.S. Congress authorized the forming of a second regiment of Artillery.  Light Company A,  is one of the 10 companies formed in this new regiment.


Left: Battery I's position during Picketts Charge on

July 3rd 1863.

Behin you can see the Albert Woolson monument. The last surviving Civil War veteran who lived and died in Duluth MN.

In 1821  the U.S .Congress authorizes the formation of a third regiment of Artillery.  Light Company A, 2nd U.S. transfers to 1st Regiment as Light Company I in an attempt to spread out the veteran officers and NCO’s within the 3 Regiments. The term “Light Company” is dropped just before the Civil War and Light Company I becomes simply “Battery I.”

Rickett's Battery | Civil War Artillery

An original wood carving block print of the Battery in action.

Rickett's Battery | Civil War Artillery | 12pdr Napoleons
Rickett's Battery | Civil War Artillery | 12pdr Napoleons

2 photos of the Battery merged to form a panoramic.

Abbreviated History from Seminole to Present Day:


Seminole War


During the Seminole War and combat operations in Florida, Battery I spends most of its time in the Tampa area and is involved in only a limited way and mostly as infantry, detached from their guns. Battery I looses a large number of its men to cholera that is picked up while on transport via ship. The Battery is eventually transferred back to Tampa, Florida where it stays for some time. Florida was a severe test for the men as the conditions of service, heat, mosquitoes and disease took their toll.


Mexican War (Operations in Central Mexico)


Battery I, is stationed in and around Tampa, Florida and remains there as the force under the command of  General Scott starts to move into Texas in August of 1846. The US Navy captures the port city of Tampico and upon that capture, Battery I and other forces under the command of Major Whiting, arrive at Tampico, Mexico in January 1847.. from Tampa Florida.  From this location they travel to the Isle of Lobos and from there to the harbor of Sacrificios, just south of Vera Cruz. Here they make a beach landing with no opposition.  Battery I is involved in skirmishing and then into Fort #4, where it mans 3- 24 pounder siege guns under the command of Capt. Magruder. Battery I remains at this post until its surrender on March 27th, 1847, directing accurate and effective fire.


The battle of Cerro Gordo is marked by the conspicuous gallantry of Captain Magruder, who taking command of the artillery with Battery I, directs a devastating fire upon the defending forces and helps secure victory. He is commended by Col. Harney following the battle.


In May of 1847, Battery I is tranformed into a “Light Battery” by the addition of 2 – 12 pounder guns and a Mountain Howitzer along with horses, harness and equipments and becomes the 2nd Light Battery in the Regiment by act of Congress.  (March 1847)


Campaign for Mexico City


Battery I, under the divisional command of General Pillow (Captain Magruder commanding the Battery) moves on the defenses of Mexico City and the city itself. The battery plays a pivotal role and takes heavy casualties.


Under the command of Captain “Prince” John Magruder it distinguishes itself and leaves no doubt that it is one of the best light artillery batteries in the Old 1st Regiment. A young Lt. by the name of Thomas Jackson commands one of its sections and receives praise from Gen. Scott. Worth for gallantly continuing the fight and holding his important position on the field  while loosing almost all his horses and a good portion of his men (Chapultepec) ..


Regarding Thomas Jackson’s service... Joining the 1st Artillery in Mexico at Vera Cruz, 2nd Lt. Jackson was often commended for his soldierly conduct and soon received successive promotions for gallantry at Contreras and Churubusco. Captain Magruder, afterwards a Confederate general, thus mentioned him in orders: “If devotion, industry, talent, and gallantry are the highest qualities of a soldier, then is he entitled to the distinction which their possession confers.” Jackson was one of the volunteers in the storming of Chapultepec, and for his daring there was brevetted major, which was his rank at the close of the Mexican war. He would later  pick up the nickname “Stonewall” …..but that is another story.


They stay on post in Mexico City following the armistice and in May of 1848 they embark for Vera Cruz and on their way to Governors Island, New York.  On the trip home, Yellow Fever takes its toll and the battery looses 10 men in transit.


Shortly after the Mexican War, Battery I, 1st US Artillery is dismounted and ceases for a time to be “light artillery” .. They make an 8 month trip by ship (The Monterey) and  are placed on duty (August of 1850) in San Diego, California as “Heavy Artillery.”  They stay at that post until late 1856, when they travel (again by ship,) to Rhode Island and are refitted as a light Battery once again. In 1857-58 they take part in the re-established “school of practice” at Ft Monroe, polishing up on drill and recruiting. In 1858 they are ordered to report to the frontier and depart for Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. It would be from Ft. Leavenworth that the “Old Battery” would be called upon and emerge in 1861, when civil war seemed impossible to avoid.


It should be noted that it was customary at the time to transfer “Regular Army” artillery units to a new post after roughly 2  years of service at any post.


Civil War  1861 – 1865 

Battery I, 1st US Artillery participates in the US Civil War from First Bull Run to Appomattox and suffers more casualties than any of the other batteries of the 1st Regiment during the war. It’s gallant service in the battles of Bull Run, Fair Oaks, Antietam, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg place this battery as one of the finest batteries to serve during the war. Commanded by Rickett’s, Kirby ,Woodruff and Randol, they were in nearly  every engagement fought by the Army of the Potomac during the war.


Battery I 1st US Artillery (Actions/Battles)

Stationed at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., January, 1861. Moved to Washington, D.C., January 7-29, 1861, and duty there until July. Attached to Wilcox’s Brigade, Heintzelman’s Division, McDowell’s Army Northeastern Virginia, to August, 1861. Stone’s Brigade, Division Potomac, to October, 1861. Stone’s (Sedgwick’s) Division, Army Potomac, to March, 1862. Artillery, 2nd Division, 2nd Army Corps, Army Potomac, to November, 1862. Reserve Artillery, 2nd Army Corps, to May, 1863. Artillery Brigade, 2nd Army Corps, to November, 1863. 2nd Brigade, Horse Artillery, Artillery Reserve, Potomac, to May, 1865. Defenses of Washington, D.C., 22nd Corps.


SERVICE.–Advance on Manassas, Va., July 16-21, 1861. Battle of Bull Run July 21. Moved to Poolesville, Md., August 7-15. Duty there and at Edward’s Ferry until March, 1862. Ball’s Bluff October 21, 1861. Edward’s Ferry October 22. Ordered to the Virginia Peninsula March, 1862. Siege of Yorktown April 5-May 4. Battle of Fair Oaks, Seven Pines, May 31-June 1. Seven days before Richmond June 25-July 1. Peach Orchard and Savage Station July 29. White Oak Swamp and Glendale June 30. Malvern Hill July 1. Moved to Alexandria, Va., August 16-23. Maryland Campaign September 6-22. Battle of Antietam September 16-17. At Harper’s Ferry until October 30. Movement to Falmouth, Va., October 30-November 17. Battle of Fredericksburg December 11-15. “Mud March” January 20-24, 1863. At Falmouth until April. Chancellorsville Campaign April 27-May 6. Battle of Chancellorsville May 1-5. Gettysburg (Pa.) Campaign June 11-July 24. Battle of Gettysburg July 1-3. Advance to line of the Rapidan September 13-17. Bristoe Campaign October 9-22. Bristoe Station October 14. Advance to line of the Rappahannock November 7-8. Mine Run Campaign November 26-December 2. Campaign from the Rapidan to the James. Battles of the Wilderness May 5-7; Spotsylvania Court House May 8-21; North Anna River May 23-26; Totopotomoy May 28-31; Cold Harbor June 1-7; Gaines’ Mill, Salem Church and Haw’s Shop June 2. Sheridan’s Trevillian Raid June 7-24. Trevillian Station June 11-12. Black Creek or Tunstall Station and White House or St. Peter’s Church June 21. St. Mary’s Church June 24. At Light House Point June 29-July 27. At Camp Barry, D.C., until September. Arthur’s Swamp September 29. Poplar Springs Church September 29-October 1. Wyatt’s Road October 1. Boydton Plank Road October 27-28. Warren’s Raid on Weldon Railroad December 7-12. Dabney’s Mills February 5-7, 1865. Appomattox Campaign March 28-April 9. Dinwiddie Court House March 30-31. Five Forks April 1. Namozine Church April 3. Paine’s Cross Roads April 5. Sailor’s Creek April 6. Appomattox Court House April 9. Surrender of Lee and his army. Moved to Washington, D. C., May. Grand Review May 23.


For Additional, indepth Civil War Narrative explore the other tabs under About us such as: Civil War Exploits & Officers!


Post Civil War info that we know of:

Interesting note:

Major Randol, who commands Battery in 1864 takes command again (post war) at Fort Wood 

and serves as CO until transferred to Key West Barracks. His rank is reduced in the Post War 

Army to Captain.. Randol will command Battery I for almost 10 years running.

Following the Civil War, the battery was transferred to many stations and Army posts in the south and Northeast..until 1901

Posts that Battery I occupied post Civil War:


Transferred to Washington DC defenses at end of war and stands post there 1865 - ?


Transferred to Post in NY Harbor - Fort Wood from about 1870 to 1873


Transferred to Post in Dry Tortugas at Key West Barracks, Florida 1873 -1880


Service Records missing for 1880 to 1896


Transferred to Fortress Monroe, Virginia from 1896 to 1898


Transferred to Fort Morgan in Mobile Bay, Alabama from 1898 to 1901 


-At this point Battery I, 1st US Artillery ceases to exist as that name, becoming part of the Coastal Artillery 

There are some transfers not recorded in these notes but it represents what we know at this time.
We are continuing
research into these missing time periods. 


1st Artillery Regiment broken up 13 February 1901 and its elements reorganized and re-designated as separate numbered companies and batteries of Artillery Corps



The following is a lineage that is used by the US Army (modern day) that brings us to modern day


Reconstituted 1 July 1924 in the Regular Army as the 1st Coast Artillery and partially organized with Headquarters at Fort de Lesseps, Canal Zone


(1st Battalion activated 1 June 1926 at Fort Randolph, Canal Zone; inactivated 31 July 1926 at Fort Randolph, Canal Zone. 1st and 2d


Battalions activated 15 April 1932 at Forts Randolph and Sherman, Canal Zone, respectively. 3d Battalion activated 15 March 1950 at Fort Randolph, Canal Zone. 1st and 2d Battalions inactivated 30 March 1941 at Forts Sherman and Randolph, Canal Zone, respectively; activated 17 April 1942 at Fort Sherman, Canal Zone)


Regiment broken up 1 November 1944 and its elements reorganized and re-designated as follows:


Headquarters and Headquarters Battery as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Coast Artillery Group


Remainder of regiment as the 1st Coast Artillery Battalion


After 1 November 1944 the above units underwent changes as follows:


Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Coast Artillery Group, reorganized and re-designated 2 January 1945 as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, Harbor Defenses of Cristobal Inactivated 15 January 1947 at Fort Sherman, Canal Zone Re-designated 21 June 1950 as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Antiaircraft Artillery Group Consolidated 18 November 1952 with Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Antiaircraft Artillery Group (see ANNEX), and consolidated unit designated as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Antiaircraft Artillery Group Activated 15 April 1953 in Germany Inactivated 26 December 1957 in Germany


1st Coast Artillery Battalion disbanded 1 February 1946 at Fort Sherman, Canal Zone Reconstituted 21 June 1950 in the Regular Army as the 1st Coast Artillery to consist of the 1st and 2d Battalions; 1st and 2d Battalions concurrently re-designated as the 1st and 54th Antiaircraft Battalions, respectively.


1st Antiaircraft Battalion re-designated 17 March 1955 as the 1st Antiaircraft Artillery Missile Battalion Activated 15 April 1955 at Irwin, Pennsylvania Inactivated 1 September 1958 at Irwin, Pennsylvania.


54th Antiaircraft Battalion re-designated 15 December 1954 as the 54th Antiaircraft Artillery Missile Battalion and activated at the United States Army Chemical Center, Maryland Inactivated 1 September 1958 at the United States Army Chemical Center, Maryland.


Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Antiaircraft Artillery Group, and the 1st and 54th Antiaircraft Artillery Missile Battalions consolidated 19 March 1959 with the 1st Field Artillery Battalion (organized in 1907) and consolidated unit reorganized and redesignated as the 1st Artillery, a parent regiment under the Combat Arms Regimental System.


1st Artillery (less former 1st Field Artillery Battalion) reorganized and redesignated 1 September 1971 as the 1st Air Defense Artillery, a parent regiment under the Combat Arms Regimental System (former 1st Field Artillery Battalion concurrently reorganized and redesignated as the 1st Field Artillery – hereafter separate lineage).


1st Air Defense Artillery withdrawn 16 June 1987 from the Combat Arms Regimental System and reorganized under the United States Army Regimental System.



Battery I’s battle honors are now carried by the 1st Battalion, 1st Regiment Air Defense Artillery out of Fort Sill, Oklahoma, currently serving in Okinawa Japan.







A more complete accounting of the Civil War Unit's exploits can be found under the "Civil War Exploits" tab under unit history.  




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