A Look Inside The History Of Battery A – First Regiment, Rhode Island

This is one of the books in our newest Civil War CollectionNortheast Regimental Histories. These valuable research sources offer unique perspectives on the Civil War. They provide details on the organization and achievements of particular units, including such items as regimental rosters, transportation documents, honor rolls and casualty statistics and promotion and court martial documents.

The History Of Battery A First Regiment Rhode Island Light Artillery In The War To Preserve The Union 1861-1865


HON. WILLIAM SPRAGUE, Rhode Island's War Governor

HON. WILLIAM SPRAGUE, Rhode Island’s War Governor

After dispatching the First Rhode Island Detached Militia and battery to the seat of war Governor Sprague, on his own responsibility, began immediately to raise and organize Battery A and the Second Rhode Island Infantry before President Lincoln’s second call was made.

When the second call for troops came the governor quickly responded, and started immediately with the battery and regiment for Washington, and remained with them and participated in the battle of Bull Run where he rendered conspicuous and gallant service and where his horse was killed under him.

Besides being Governor of the State at that time he was also Colonel of the Marine Corps of Artillery. He is the only Civil War Governor now living.


COMRADES OF BATTERY A: It affords me great pleasure to present to you a record of the service of our battery during the period we were battling for the sacred cause of the Union.

Of all the light batteries Rhode Island sent to the field, none ever excelled the Second, or Battery A in efficiency, endurance, or the intelligence of its men. It was well said by an officer of the Second Army Corps that “Battery A will stay and fight without officers.” It is not an easy task to thus record our services, and, without doubt, there will be many who will not agree with me in all the statements I have made.

But we must remember there are no two persons who see alike. I have tried by the aid of my diary kept throughout the whole period of my army service, and through other sources to give an accurate account of everything of interest that occurred in relation to our battery, and I hope that my efforts will assist my comrades who read it, to bring vividly to their minds the scenes and incidents which transpired long ago, and of which perchance they may have forgotten in the years that have intervened since that memorable struggle.

To the following individuals who have kindly assisted me in my labors I am greatly indebted: Capt. Charles C. Gray, Lieut. Henry W. Newton, Sergt. Stephen M. Greene, Henry F. Hicks, and John G. McKay.

To Mr. William E. Foster of the Providence Public Library, and his assistants; also to Mr. Harry L. Koopman, Librarian of Brown University, and Mr. Henry R. Davis, of the Providence Journal, I desire to acknowledge my grateful appreciation for many kindly and courteous services rendered.

If I shall have interested my comrades and the general public in this portrayal of the events connected with our battery, I shall feel repaid for the many long and laborious hours spent in preparing this work for publication.

Thomas M. Aldrich

Table of Contents

  • Organization of the Battery — Departure for Washington — Camp Clark
  • March to Bull Run and the Battle
  • Back at Washington — Sandy Hook — Point of Rocks — Darnestown — Edwards Ferry — Muddy Branch — Poolesville
  • From Harper’s Ferry to Fair Oaks
  • From Fair Oaks to Harrison’s Landing
  • From Harrison’s Landing to Antietam
  • The Battle of Antietam
  • Antietam to the Rappahannock
  • The Battle of Fredericksburg
  • Chancellorsville
  • Back at Falmouth
  • From Falmouth to Gettysburg
  • The Battle of Gettysburg
  • Gettysburg to the Rappahannock
  • Bristoe Station
  • Mine Run
  • Winter Quarters at Mountain Run
  • Wilderness Campaign
  • Spottsylvania
  • North Anna and the Totopotomoy
  • Cold Harbor
  • Return Home of the Veterans
  • Reorganization of the Battery and its Subsequent Consolidation with Battery B.


  • Hon. William Sprague (War Governor)
  • Thomas M. Aldrich (Author), as he appeared June 19, 1903
  • Lieut.-Col.William H. Reynolds
  • Capt. Thomas F. Vaughn
  • Lieut.-Col. John Albert Monroe
  • Lieut.-Col. John A. Tompkins
  • Capt. William B. Weeden
  • Col. George E. Randolph
  • First Lieut. Henry W. Newton
  • Capt. Charles D. Owen
  • Lieut.-Col. T. Frederick Brown
  • Major Harry C. Cushing
  • Gen. John G. Hazard
  • Capt. Jeffrey Hazard
  • Lieut. Charles H. Clark
  • Capt. William A. Arnold
  • First Lieut. George W. Field
  • Capt. Elmer L. Corthell
  • Capt. Gamaliel L. Dwight
  • First Lieut. Peter Hunt
  • Second Lieut. Benjamin II. Child
  • First Sergt. William D. Child
  • Second Lieut. James P. Rhodes
  • Sergt. Amos M. C. Olney
  • Sergt. Stephen M. Greene
  • Sergt. Augustus S. Towle
  • Corp. James B. Buffum
  • Henry F. Hicks
  • John F. Leach
  • Edward Shaw
  • William C. Dore
  • Thomas M. Aldrich (as he appeared June 19, 1861)
  • Courtney House’
  • Scene of Pickett’s Charge

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