Captain Arthur M. Rutledge’s Light Battery

Also called First Company, Tennessee Artillery Corps: Company “A”, First Tennessee Artillery

No muster rolls on this organization were found, so the exact time and place of organization are not known. W. W. Clayton’s History of Davidson County lists it as one of the units from Davidson County.

A report of July, 1861, listed the battery as part of the forces in East Tennessee, with 110 men, four six-pounders and two howitzers. On July 24, 1861, Brigadier General S. R. Anderson, at Lynchburg, preparing for the Cheat Mountain campaign, reported that Captain Rutledge’s Artillery Company of six pieces at Knoxville would come forward as soon as fully equipped.

Plans must have been changed, for on September 24, 1861, Rutledge’s Company, with 97 present, 108 present and absent, was reported as part of Brigadier General Felix K. Zollicoffer’s forces at Cumberland Ford, Kentucky. On October 16, it formed part of an expedition from Camp Buckner, Cumberland Ford, towards Barbourville, Kentucky.

On November 17 Zollicoffer, at Knoxville, reported that having seen to the fortifications along the Kentucky border in East Tennessee, he was starting the regiments of Colonels Statham, Newman, Cummings and Battle, the First Battalion, 16th Alabama Cavalry, Branner’s Cavalry Battalion, and Rutledge’s Battery around by Wartburg on the way to Jamestown, Tennessee and Monticello, Kentucky, where he proposed to establish a strong camp. On November 20, listed as First Tennessee Artillery, Company “A”, it was reported at Wartburg, with four officers, 105 men present for duty, 126 present, 137 present and absent.

On December 1, General Zollicoffer, at Mill Springs, ordered: “Colonel W. S. Statham and Major Landis, with their commands, will march so as to reach a position opposite the enemy camp near Waitsborough before day to-morrow morning. They will take with them and give support to four pieces of Artillery from Captain Rutledge’s Artillery, under the command of Lieutenants Falconnett and Wheeler.” On December 31, 1861, the artillery at Beech Grove, Kentucky, consisted of McClung’s and Rutledge’s Batteries with 14 guns.

On January 7, 1862, the battery reported 135 men present for duty, 157 present and absent. On January 19, 1862, at the Battle of Fishing Creek, the battery was in General Zollicoffer’s Brigade. Major General George B. Crittenden reported that, due to the nature of the ground, he was not able to use his artillery to advantage, and that on the retreat from Fishing Creek to Beech Grove, one of Rutledge’s guns mired up and had to be abandoned. On reaching Beech Grove McClung’s and Rutledge’s batteries returned the fire of a Federal battery which was trying to sink the steamboat which was the only means of getting across the Cumberland River to Mill Springs. In the evacuation of Beech Grove that night, the guns and horses had to be abandoned for lack of transportation.

The battery was next reported on February 23, at Murfreesboro, Tennessee, attached to Colonel W. S. Statham’s Brigade of Crittenden’s Division. It moved from Murfreesboro to Corinth, and in the Battle of Shiloh, April 6-7, 1862, it was attached to Statham’s Brigade in Brigadier General J. C. Breckinridge’s Reserve Corps. Brigadier General Daniel Ruggles listed it as one of the concentration of batteries which he assembled, which struck Prentiss’ Division with an enfilading fire on his right flank, throwing his force into confusion and precipitate retreat. Brigadier General S. A. M. Wood also spoke of Rutledge’s Battery holding in check for over half an hour large masses of the enemy who were coming up and pressing his right.

Following the Battle of Shiloh, the battery was consolidated with McClung’s Battery about May 1, 1862.

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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