1st Tennessee Heavy Artillery Battalion

Also called 1st Tennessee Light Artillery Battalion

This was a temporary organization which served under Major General Frank Gardner at Port Hudson, Louisiana from December, 1862 until the surrender of that point on July 10, 1863. It was composed of three companies of light artillery which served as heavy artillery during this period. It was sometimes referred to simply as the 1st Tennessee Artillery. The three companies were the Maury Artillery (Sparkman’s), the Nelson Artillery (Fisher’s), and the Rock City Artillery (Weller’s). See the individual histories of these three batteries for details as to other service.

During the first part of their service at Port Hudson, the three captains alternated as commanding officer of the battalion, but on February 6, 1863, Major General Gardner, in reporting on the organization of the troops in his command, reported: “The Heavy Artillery consists of the 12th Louisiana Battalion and the 1st Tennessee Battalion, under Lieutenant Colonel P. F. DeGournay; and a portion of the 1st Alabama Regiment.”

On April 30, 1863, Lieutenant Colonel Melancthon J. Smith was in command of all the Artillery at Port Hudson. Lieutenant Colonel DeGournay, of the 12th Louisiana Battalion continued to command both his own battalion and the 1st Tennessee Battalion until the final surrender.

By order of Major General Leonidas Polk, this battalion was consolidated with the remnant of the 1st Tennessee Heavy Artillery Regiment in January 1864. General Polk’s order consolidating the 1st Tennessee Light Artillery Battalion with the 1st Tennessee Heavy Artillery Regiment seems to have been intended to cover not only these three batteries, but also Caruthers’ and Lynch’s Batteries, which had been temporarily attached to the 1st Tennessee Regiment at Vicksburg. Lynch’s Company joined General John C. Vaughn’s Cavalry Brigade in East Tennessee, but at least some members of all the other companies were found in the reorganized and consolidated 1st Tennessee Heavy Artillery Regiment.

This unit history was extracted from Tennesseans in the Civil War, Vol 1. Copyrighted 1964 by the Civil War Centennial Commission of Tennessee and is published here with their permission. This history may not be republished for any reason without the written permission of the copyright owner.

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