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2nd Arkansas Field Battery
Flag of Arkansas.svg
Arkansas state flag
Active August 1, 1861–May 26, 1865
Disbanded May 26, 1865
Country Confederate States of America
Allegiance Dixie CSA
Branch Artillery
Size battery
Nickname(s) Dallas Artillery
Engagements

American Civil War Battle of Pea Ridge,

Battle of Arkansas Post
Commanders
1861-1865 Captain William Hart
Arkansas Confederate Artillery Batteries
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The 2nd Arkansas Field Battery (1861–1865) was a Confederate Army artillery battery during the American Civil War. Also known as: Second Arkansas Artillery; Dallas Artillery, Hart's Battery. Note that the records of Hart’s Dallas (Arkansas) Artillery are sometimes confused with those of Good’s Dallas (Texas) Light Artillery. The battery served its entire existence in the Department of the Trans-Mississippi The battery went throgh two re-organizations. Following a charge of cowardice during Battle of Pea Ridge, the battery was ordere to be broken up. After being cleared of that charge the battery was reorganized and served until captured at the Battle of Arkansas Post. After being exchanged and organized for the thrird and final time, it served until the final surrender of Confederate forces.

Organization[edit | edit source]

The Dallas Artillery was organized at Dallas, Polk County, Arkansas, in the late Spring of 1861, and enlisted in Confederate service at Fayetteville on August 1, 1861, with 75 officers and men on the rolls. The original officers included Captain William Hart, First Lieutenant J. W. Thomas, and Second Lieutenant Charles Ringer. The battery was equipped with four 6-pounder guns.[1] No muster rolls for this first organization have been discovered. Officers: Captain William Hart; Lieutenant D. O’Connell; Lieutenant G. W. McIntosh; Second Lieutenant E. A. Dubose; Second Lieutenant James Nolan.

Battles[edit | edit source]

In January 1962, Hart’s Battery was assigned to Colonel Louis Herbert's 2nd Brigade of a division commanded by Colonel James Mcintosh in northwest Arkansas and the Indian Territory.[2] It was still assigned to the Second Brigade when it fought in the Battle of Pea Ridge (Elkhorn Tavern) in Benton County, Arkansas, March 7–8, 1862.[3]

During the Battle of Pea Ridge, Union forces captured two of the battery’s guns, along with its colors. According to William Shea and Earl Hess in "Pea Ridge: Civil War Campaign in the West," on the second day of the battle General Earl Van Dorn ordered Hart's Battery and Clark's Missouri Battery from reserve into the front line. Hart's Battery arrived first and unlimbered but came under converging fire from twenty-one Federal guns. His men, who were green and untried, became unnerved by the enemy fire and within minutes limbered to the rear. On reaching Elkhorn Tavern, Hart complained to Van Dorn that the fire had been too hot for them. In anger Van Dorn placed him under arrest for cowardice, redistributed his ammunition to Clark's Battery and ordered Hart's guns to the rear.[4]

In the reorganization of the Confederate Army of the West that took place after the defeat at Pea Ridge, Hart's unit was initially assigned to Brigadier General D. M. Frost's artillery brigade of Major General Sterling Price's Division.[5] The general commanding the Trans-Mississippi District issued General Orders No. 10, dated March 22, 1862, which censured several members of Hart’s Battery, and disbanded the battery “for shameful conduct in the presence of the enemy.” According to General Orders No. 15, July 17, 1862[6] Hart's Battery was disbanded after the Battle of Pea Ridge for "shameful conduct in the presence of the enemy." Its four 6-pounder guns were reassigned to MacDonald's St. Louis Battery. Captain Hart continued to serve with the Army of the West, attaching himself to Captain David Provence's Battery. The Provence's battery participated in the Battle of Farmington, Mississippi, on May 9, 1862. During this engagement, Capatin William Hart, of the Dallas Artillery, served one of Provence's guns as a gunner.[7] Over the next few months, a court of inquiry into the allegations against Hart's Battery was convened, which resulted in the following action:

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE WEST,
Priceville, July 17, 1862.
General Orders No. 15.
It having been satisfactorily proven to a court of inquiry, convened for the purpose of investigating the conduct of certain men, formerly members of the artillery company known as Hart’s Battery, at the battle of Elkhorn, that those men were guilty of no misconduct on the battle-field, it is hereby ordered that they, viz, Charles E. Steele, M. M. Tice, W. D. Moore, John Kennedy, B. L. Allen, William Masterson, N. B. Milton, and James Pitkins, be, and they are hereby, relieved from the censure contained in General Orders No. 10, dated Headquarters Trans-Mississippi District, Van Buren, Ark., March 22, 1862, disbanding Hart’s Battery Light Artillery ‘for shameful conduct in the presence of the enemy’.
By order of Major-General Price:
THOMAS L. SNEAD,
Assistant Adjutant-General.”[8]

While Captain Hart and others had managed by July 1862 to clear their names of the censure from the Battle of Pea Ridge and begin the process or reorganization, other members of the battery were apparently condemned for desertion.

Head Quarters Army of the South West
Little Rock Arks
Aug 1st 1862.
Circular. The misconduct of a comparatively small number of bad men is bringing all the troops into disrepute. Through mistaken feeling of Kindness, their offences have been again and again forgiven, or else but, lightly punished. - This course has increased, instead of lessening, the evil. A different one will henceforth be adhered to. - Discipline, of the strictest sort, will be enforced, at all hazards. - The severest penalties will be inflicted, without hesitation, upon offenders of all grades. Desertion, Mutiny, Disloyalty, and Plundering, or any attempt at either, or manifestation or expression of any such intention, will be punished with death. Two men of Morgans Regiment of Arkansas Infantry [26th Arkansas Infantry] and two men of [William] Harts battery have suffered death today. - Their names were Amsick McCance and Michael Donahoo of Morgan’s Battalion and Thomas J and John Welch of Harts battery. - Their crime was desertion. Let this example be remembered. Good men have nothing to fear, Bad men must reform, or share the fate of these deserters.
By order of Maj Gen [Thomas C.] Hindman R.
[Robert] C. Newton Chief of Staff

With the censure lifted, at least officially, Hart’s Battery was reconstituted on August 1, 1862, at Camp White Sulphur Springs, Arkansas. Few of the members of the original Dallas Artillery rejoined the second organization. The battery was augmented with a large number of unassigned recruits from depots at Monticello and Little Rock, and transfers from several Arkansas regiments, especially the 24th Arkansas Infantry.

30th. June:
Nelson to Newton
Your communications by the cars are just in, owing to a fire on the train which caused considerable loss, which I have not time to explain and will be telegraphed you from Brownsville. ..... My report shows you my effective force which may be summed up in round numbers at two thousand. My position is a good one and if the men are steady and firm I can hold it against five thousand, but this is to test. You know the material as well as I do. I have sent Capt. Daniel with one of his pieces to Pyburns Bluff five miles by land below this supported by two companies cavalry to fire on the enemy's transports and harass him so as to detain him. I have the three heavy guns in battery half mile below depot on a Bluff from which a ridge makes out to the Prairie some two miles on the crest of the hill. I have an entrenchment running around the crest for a distance of four hundred yards. Hart's three small pieces on the left at angles to strengthen my left so as to leave me more men to use on my right in case they attempt to flank me....Capt. Daniels company is so prostrated by sickness he can only serve four of his pieces. Of course I shall use them at the points most needed...
July 5, 1862
Hindman to Col Nelson cmdg. Fort Hindman
Consolidate Hart's and Brown's artillery companies ordered to Devalls Bluff by Rust

On July 21, 1862, Special Orders Army of the South West #40, ordered Major Rundell to assume command of a battalion of artillery composed of Woodruff's battery, Pratt's battery Daniels' battery and Hart's battery..... and set up camp of instruction[9]

August 4, 1862
Special Orders Army of the South West #56

Capt Hart cmdg. Battery will go to Pine Bluff and report to Gen. Roan. Gen. Roan will detail the necessary number of men to fill Hart's battery

August 5, 1862
HQ TRANS-MISS DIST, Little Rock, Ark.
General S. COOPER from Gen Hindman,
The arms brought out by Captain Hart, together with those brought by General Parsons, have relieved me of embarrassment and enabled me to make effective the greater part of my command. If Major Bankhead arrives safely, as I think he will, I can then arm the balance of my men. I am waiting anxiously to hear of that officer's arrival on this side of the river. I have six batteries containing forty brass pieces and one battery of iron guns. I have a company of artillery encamped near this place, to which I will give the 8-gun battery coming in charge of Major Bankhead. By some blundering mistake a box of friction primes intended for me was left at Grenada. I have sent a courier to meet Major Bankhead, and if he has not a full supply of them the courier is to go on to Grenada to request Major Chambliss to send forward those left by Captain Hart.[10]

On September 28, 1862, the battery was assigned to Colonel Robert R. Garland's brigade of Texas troops.[11]

Hart’s star-crossed battery reorganized just in time to be part of another disaster. Colonel Garland’s Texas Brigade, with Hart's Battery was stationed at Battle of Fort Hindman (Arkansas Post).[12] The Confederate forces at Arkansas Post consisted of the Second Division, Second Corps, Trans-Mississippi Department, commanded by Brig. Gen. Thomas J. Churchill. He styled his command the "Army of Lower Arkansas and White Rivers". Hart's battery with 83 officers and men and four guns was captured with the rest of the garrison when Confederate forces surrendered on January 11, 1863. The surrender is still a subject of controversy today, and the Arkansas Post troops were forced to live under a cloud of suspicion; however, from all accounts, Hart’s Battery served their guns professionally and courageously during the siege. The battery suffered three killed, thirteen wounded and twenty two wounded during the Battle of Arkansas Post.[13]

After being exchanged in April 1863, Hart’s Battery was again reconstituted, and spent the remainder of the war in the Trans-Mississippi Army. There are few references to Hart’s Battery during the last year of the war. A report of the organization of the army on September 30, 1864, shows Hart’s Battery in the army siege train, manning large siege guns, presumably around Alexandria, Louisiana. On November 19, 1864, Hart’s Battery was redesignated as the Second Arkansas Field Battery. At this time, it was assigned to the reserve artillery battalion, equipped with four mounted guns. No later reference has been found, nor has any record of the paroles of the men of Hart’s Battery been located.

Surrender[edit | edit source]

At the end of the war the battery was with the Reserve Battalion at Marshall, Texas and Captain William Hart was still in command. The battery surrendered with General E. Kirby Smith on May 26, 1865.5.[14] The date of the military convention between Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith and Union General Edward Canby for the surrender of the troops and public property in the Trans-Mississippi Department was May 26, 1865, however, it took awhile for parole commissioners to be appointed and for public property to be accounted for. As a result, a final report of field artillery which was part of the accounting process, was not completed until June 1, 1865.[15] According to the final accounting, at the time of the surrender, the battery was with Reserve Battalion at Marshall, Texas but had no guns.[16][17]

See also[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Shea, William & Hess, Earl. Pea Ridge, Civil War Campaign in the West, University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 1992: 331-339.
  2. United States. War Dept.. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union And Confederate Armies. Series 1, Volume 8., Book, 1883; digital images, (http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth154611/m1/735/?q=Hart Battery : accessed February 03, 2013), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, http://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries, Denton, Texas.
  3. Shea, William L., & Earl J. Hess. Pea Ridge: Civil War Campaign in the West. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1992. ISBN 0-8078-2042-3: pages 331-339
  4. United States. War Dept.. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union And Confederate Armies. Series 1, Volume 8., Book, 1883; digital images, (http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth154611/m1/316/?q=Hart Battery : accessed February 03, 2013), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, http://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries, Denton, Texas.
  5. United States. War Dept.. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union And Confederate Armies. Series 1, Volume 8., Book, 1883; digital images, (http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth154611/m1/794/?q=Hart battery: accessed February 15, 2013), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, http://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries, Denton, Texas
  6. Official Records Vol.8, p.330
  7. United States. War Dept.. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union And Confederate Armies. Series 1, Volume 10, In Two Parts. Part 1, Reports., Book, 1884, Page 924; digital images, (http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth154613/m1/932/?q=Provence : accessed August 19, 2013), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, http://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department, Denton, Texas.
  8. United States. War Dept.. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union And Confederate Armies. Series 1, Volume 8., Book, 1883; digital images, (http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth154611/m1/336/?q=Hart Battery : accessed February 03, 2013), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, http://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries, Denton, Texas.
  9. Odom, Danny "Re: Attn: Bob Meeks, re Artillery Transfers", Arkansas in the Civil War Message Board, Posted 5/3/2007, accessed 15 February 2013, http://history-sites.com/cgi-bin/bbs62x/arcwmb/webbbs_config.pl?md=read;id=15506
  10. United States. War Dept.. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union And Confederate Armies. Series 1, Volume 13., Book, 1885; digital images, (http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth154621/m1/882/?q=Hart Battery : accessed February 03, 2013), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, http://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries, Denton, Texas.
  11. United States. War Dept.. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union And Confederate Armies. Series 1, Volume 13., Book, 1885; digital images, (http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth154621/m1/891/?q=Hart Battery : accessed February 03, 2013), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, http://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries, Denton, Texas.
  12. United States. War Dept.. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union And Confederate Armies. Series 1, Volume 17, In Two Parts. Part 1, Reports., Book, 1886; digital images, (http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth154626/m1/794/?q=hart Arkansas Battery : accessed February 03, 2013), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, http://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries, Denton, Texas.
  13. United States. War Dept.. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union And Confederate Armies. Series 1, Volume 17, In Two Parts. Part 1, Reports., Book, 1886; digital images, (http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth154626/m1/796/?q=hart Arkansas Battery : accessed February 03, 2013), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, http://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries, Denton, Texas.
  14. Sikakis, Stewart, Compendium of the Confederate Armies, Florida and Arkansas, Facts on File, Inc., 1992, ISBN 978-0-8160-2288-5, page 34.
  15. Howerton, Bryan R., "Re: Trans-Mississippi artillery report" Arkansas in the Civil War Message Board, Posted 19 December 2012, Accessed 20 December 2012, http://history-sites.com/cgi-bin/bbs53x/arcwmb/webbbs_config.pl?noframes;read=27566
  16. Howerton, Bryan R. "Trans-Mississippi artillery report", Arkansas in the Civil War Message Board, Posted 6 September 2007, Accessed 19 December 2012, http://history-sites.com/cgi-bin/bbs62x/arcwmb/webbbs_config.pl?page=1;md=read;id=16548
  17. United States. War Dept.. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union And Confederate Armies. Series 1, Volume 48, In Two Parts. Part 2, Correspondence, etc., Book, 1896; digital images, (http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth139841/m1/964/?q=Zimmerman : accessed August 04, 2013), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, http://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department, Denton, Texas.

References[edit | edit source]

  • Shea, William L., & Earl J. Hess. Pea Ridge: Civil War Campaign in the West. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1992. ISBN 0-8078-2042-3
  • Sifakis, Stewart (1992). Compendium of the Confederate Armies, Florida and Arkansas,. New York: Facts on File. ISBN 0-8160-2288-7. 
  • U.S. War Department, The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1880–1901.

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