Reprise: Buckley’s Rhode Island Battery

Captain William W. Buckley commanded Battery D, of the First Rhode Island Light Artillery—three brass Napoleon 12-pounders—in the northwest bastion of Fort Sanders. He described their work during the battle in his after-action report in the Official Records:

“The bastion was occupied by detachments from the Seventy-Ninth New York and the Twenty-Ninth Massachusetts Infantry, numbering 80 men, one gun, 3-inch, of [Captain Jacob] Roemer’s (New York) battery, and one of my guns.

“I fired two shots (canister) from my gun placed in barbette in the salient angle of the bastion, and then placed it in embrasure on the right face to allow infantry to occupy the angle.”

When the horses of Roemer’s battery on the left-face embrasure spooked and ran away with the limber, “depriving the gun of ammunition,” Buckley continued, his “sergeant, Charles C. Gray, by my order, with his men, ran Roemer’s gun back from the embrasure, and then carried their own gun over by hand and occupied it.

“They worked the gun there until the engagement was over, firing double and triple rounds of canister. This movement was effected under a very heavy fire, both from artillery and musketry…Sergeant Gray and his detachment deserve great credit for their coolness and promptitude during the assault.”

The Napoleons were invaluable for close-in work, as Benjamin’s Parrotts were rather better at longer ranges.

About Dick Stanley

Retired Texas daily newspaperman
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