1st U. S. Colored Light Artillery Regiment

Mustered in at Knoxville, February 20-October 22, 1864, with men from the 2nd Congressional District; mustered out March 31, 1866.


  • Colonel-John A. Shannon.
  • Lieutenant Colonels-John A. Shannon, John E. McGowan.
  • Majors-John E. McGowan, William Gray, James M. Johnson.


  • Orlando A. Russell, Co. “A”. Mustered in February 20, 1864.
  • Alexander G. Cassill, Co. “B”. Mustered in February 20, 1864.
  • Samuel R. Russell, E. L. Foster, Co. “C”. Mustered in February 27, 1864.
  • James M. Johnson, T. H. B. Correll, Co. “D”. Mustered in March 21, 1864.
  • Orrin M. Gross, Co. “E”. Mustered in April 19, 1864.
  • A. F. MeMillan, Co “F”. Mustered in May 9, 1864.
  • John T. Collons, Co. “C”. Mustered in May 27, 1864.
  • J. B. Quarles, Co. “H”. Mustered in June 17, 1864.
  • Edward F. Browne, Co. “I”. Mustered in July 15, 1864.
  • Edwin B. Bigelow, Co. “K”. Mustered in August 10, 1864.
  • George R. Campbell, Co. “L”. Mustered in September 26, 1864.
  • J. D. Summers (1st Lt.), Co. “M”. Mustered in October 22, 1864.

The first mention of this regiment found in the Official Records was dated April 10, 1864, when Battery “A” 1st U. S. Colored Heavy Artillery was reported in Brigadier General Davis Tillson’s Brigade, 4th Division, XXIII Corps, Department of the Ohio. The regiment continued under Tillson’s command first as Brigade Commander, later as Division Commander until July, 1865. On April 30, 1864, the regiment, under Major John E. McGowan, was reported in the brigade, and on May 31, was reported as commanded by Lieutenant Colonel John A. Shannon, who later became colonel of the Regiment.

On June 15, 1864, Adjutant General L. Thomas, reporting on the organization of colored troops, said: “At Knoxville, the 1st U. S. Colored Heavy Artillery is organizing. The regiment has about 1100 men mustered in.

In August, 1864, at the time of Major General Joseph Wheeler’s raid into East Tennessee August 15-25, General Tillson, in listing the forces he had available at Knoxville, listed the regiment with 906 men.

On September 15, 1864, Lieutenant Colonel Shannon was directed: “You will have the 600 men, or more, of your command ready to move immediately, prepared with rations and ammunition, as directed by General Tillson.” This order was in consequence of the move which Brigadier General John S. Williams and Colonel George G. Dibrell were making through East Tennessee to Saltville, Virginia. These troops had become cut off from General Wheeler’s main body, but the Federals thought it possible that all of Wheeler’s forces were following Dibrell and Williams.

On October 10, 1864, Colonel R. D. Musey, Commissioner for the Organization of Colored Troops, said the 1st U. S. Colored Heavy Artillery then numbered about 1700 men, some of whom had been secured from North Carolina. On November 26, Major General George Stoneman, at Knoxville, advising Major General John M. Schofield of the condition of forces in East Tennessee listed the regiment with about 1100 effectives “ready to take the field.”

On January 14, 1865, Colonel Shannon, in command of a foraging expedition at Dutch Bottom, Tennessee, on the French Broad River, advised General Tillson: “I have not sent Companies “D” and “I” of my regiment to Knoxville as yet, because I do not deem the position here a safe one for so small a force as I would then have.” He explained that he was under constant pressure from guerrillas and cavalry forces under Brigadier General John C. Vaughn.

On February 28, 1865, Lieutenant Colonel John E. McGowan was reported in command of the regiment, in Colonel Chauncey G. Hawley’s Brigade, with Tillson in command of the Division. On March 13, McGowan was in-structed to have the regiment ready to take the field by Wednesday March 15. The division then moved further into East Tennessee, and on April 3, General Tillson, at the mouth of Roane’s Creek advised; “I will place the 4th Infantry and one battalion U. S. Colored Heavy Artillery at Taylorsville, and proceed to Boone and Deep and Watauga Gaps.” The battalion left at Taylorsville consisted of 420 men, under Major Gray. The command remained in the territory between Greeneville, Tennessee, and Asheville, North Carolina, for some weeks, and returned to Greeneville May 18, 1865, having in the meantime re-ceived the surrender of the Confederate troops under Colonel William M. Bradford, and other isolated bands.

On July 20, 1865, the regiment was placed in Brevet Major General Charles Cruft’s Brigade, with headquarters at Greeneville, Tennessee, where it remained until mustered out of service March 31, 1866.

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