Captain John W. Stewart’s Battery

Also called Company “M” Artillery Corps of Tennessee

This company was mustered into Confederate service on August 21, 1861, at Camp Polk, Columbus, Kentucky. A number of the men in it had previously served in the Steuben Artillery, Captain Fred Krone, which was attached to the 154th Senior Tennessee Infantry Regiment, but which was disbanded before this regiment was mustered into Confederate Service, and the guns and equipment turned over to Captain J. W. Stewart. Other enlistment records were from Grand Junction, Hardeman County. Lieutenant Colonel Milton A. Haynes, of the Tennessee Artillery Corps, in a list of field officers and captains in the Artillery Corps appointed by Governor Harris, and confirmed by the Tennessee Legislature, listed Captain Krone’s Company as having been disbanded June 1, 1861, and Captain John W. Stewart in command of a heavy battery at New Madrid, Missouri, July 25, 1861. However that may be, this battery was not mustered into Confederate Service until August 21, 1861.

On November 21, 1861, Major General Leonidas Polk instructed Brigadier General Gideon I. Pillow to move the guns from the fort at Island Number Ten, and place them in the works under construction at New Madrid, Missouri, and to move Captain Stewart’s company to man them.

In January, 1862, in the order of battle for General Polk’s forces, Stewart’s Battery was listed in the Third Division, stationed at Columbus, Kentucky. On February 25, 1862, Brigadier General John McCown, reporting on the progress of the fortifications at New Madrid, said the town was defended by Fort Thompson, a small work, and well armed with cannon, where Colonel E. W. Gantt was in command of a force composed of the 11th and 12th Arkansas Infantry Regiments, and Stewart’s and Upton’s Companies of Tennessee Artillery.

Brigadier General A. P. Stewart, in reporting upon the evacuation of New Madrid, listed the same units at Fort Thompson, one mile below town, armed with five 32-pounders, five 24-pound siege guns, and some smaller pieces. The Federal forces under General Pope started a bombardment of the position on March 13, and General McCown evacuated the position the same day, moving his forces across the river into Madrid Bend. The guns were spiked, and lost, and the battery of Captain Stewart disappeared from the records from that time.

A comparison of the muster rolls indicates that Stewart’s Battery, with other companies not known, was merged to form Captain T. N. Johnston’s Company “L”, First Tennessee Heavy Artillery Regiment in early 1862. This company of Captain Johnston’s should not be confused with the first battery which he commanded, which was mustered out of service by General Beauregard at Corinth, Mississippi on April 14, 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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