Canon Blasts: Civil War Artillery in the Eastern Armiesby L. Vanloan Naisawald
Field artillery has had a great tradition in American military history. Arming and manning the field batteries on both sides rose from this tradition, although the Union army gained an advantage using the regular army units as a basis to build upon. Based on the records, artillery did not inflict the casualties that one might expect; however, all serious Civil War buffs can recall instances when the field guns played a major role in the action.
Both sides were fortunate in having, from the very onset, brilliant men heading their respective artillery arms. The North was also blessed at the start with two men who saw the need to better organize and employ their batteries. They were Generals William F. Barry and Henry Jackson Hunt. Both men were regular army Mexican War artillery veterans and both were West Point graduates. Behind them would come a number of outstanding artillery commanders.
On the Confederate side there was, initially, retired Colonel William N. Pendleton, a West Point class of 1830 graduate. A legion of younger outstanding artillery commanders would also follow after him: E. Porter Alexander, Armistead Lindsay Long, Willie Pegram, William Poague, and others. Lee's gunners always seemed to be outgunned from the start.
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