Captain J. B. Caruthers’ Heavy Artillery Company

This battery was organized for State service May 15, 1861, and mustered into Confederate service August 12, 1861. The place of organization is not known, as there is no muster roll on file, and the only records are from prisoner of war and parole records.

It served at Columbus, Kentucky, until about March 1, 1862, when it moved to Madrid Bend, Missouri. Brigadier General J. Trudeau, Chief of Artillery, Camp Polk, Madrid Bend, Missouri, in reporting on the situation when he arrived there, wrote: left Columbus, Kentucky, on March 1 for this place. The companies of heavy artillery under my command had already arrived the same day, to wit: Captains A. Jackson’s, R. Sterling’s, Humes’, Hoadley’s, Caruthers’, Jones’, Dismukes’, Rucker’s, Fisher’s, and Hamilton’s, (now Johnston’s) siege battery, ‘the Southern Guards.”‘ After expressing his surprise and disappointment at the very inadequate state of preparation of the fortifications for receiving the batteries, he continued: “The large battery, still unfinished, known as Battery Number 5, was placed in the hands of the Sappers and Miners, Captain Jones, Dismukes and Caruthers working on it with their men day and night, like all the other companies of artillery.”

On April 16, Captain A. Jackson, Jr., reporting on the evacuation of the post at Madrid Bend, and the escape on April 7 of the heavy artillery companies there under his command, stated that he ordered the guns spiked, and each captain to conduct his company to Reelfoot Lake, in the rear of the post, and to follow it down to Stone’s Ferry, where it was hoped that a crossing to the other side could be made. They left the post at 6:30 P. M., and after struggling some twenty miles through woods and swamps, reached Stone’s Ferry, and landed on the opposite side of the lake about sunset April 8. From here they proceeded to Bell’s Station on April 11, and to Memphis on April 14. He wrote: “On reaching Bell’s Station, (the 11th) I found that, contrary to orders, Captain Caruthers’ company had gone to Trenton, Tennessee, in command of Lieutenant Roe. I ordered Captain Caruthers, who had escaped, though sick, and had overtaken this command, to Trenton, to collect the members of his company.

Two lieutenants and six men from the company were captured in the evacuation of Madrid Bend and the surrender of Island Number 10, and Captain Caruthers evidently had difficulty in rounding up the other members of his company, for General Leonidas Polk, in May, ordered the company disbanded, and one lieutenant and the rest of the men were transferred to T. N. Johnston’s Tennessee Heavy Artillery Company.

Upon protest to the Secretary of War, the men were ordered restored to their original command in December, 1862. The next record of the company was at Vicksburg, in 1863, where Caruthers’ Battery was reported as attached to the 1st Tennessee Heavy Artillery under Colonel Andrew Jackson, Jr. This regiment formed part of the River Batteries during the siege of Vicksburg, and on April 23, 1863 took part in the bombardment of the fleet of Federal gunboats and transports running down stream past the batteries. The Federals suffered heavy damage, but did manage to get past the batteries and establish themselves south of Vicksburg. At the surrender of Vicksburg July 4, 1863, Caruthers’ Company was surrendered as part of Brigadier General John C. Moore’s Brigade, in the River Batteries commanded by Colonel Edward Higgins, 1st Tennessee Heavy Artillery Regiment, consisting of Dismukes’, Neyland’s, Norman’s and Parks’ Companies, with Caruthers’, Johnston’s and Lynch’s Companies attached.

In January, 1864, Major General Leonidas Polk ordered the 1st Tennessee Light Artillery Battalion consolidated with the 1st Tennessee Heavy Artillery Regiment. It is believed that this order was intended to cover Caruthers’ Company, and Fisher’s, Sparkman’s and Weller’s Companies which were surrendered at Port Hudson, Louisiana, shortly after the surrender of Vicksburg.

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.

Comments are closed.