Captain Marshall T. Polk’s Light Artillery Company

Also called Company “G”, Artillery Corps of Tennessee

This company was mustered into Confederate service at Camp Brown, Union City, on August 7, 1861. Individual records show a good many enlistments from” Hardeman County at Bolivar, May 25, 1861.

It was first reported by Brigadier General Charles Clark as being present, without harness, at Union City, on August 5, 1861. On September 7 it was reported at Columbus, Kentucky, in Colonel W. H. Stephens’ Brigade. On October 24, still at Columbus, it was reported in Colonel J. Knox Walker’s Brigade, Brigadier General Gideon I. Pillow’s Division.

On November 7, 1861, at the Battle of Belmont, Missouri, Polk’s Battery, along with Jackson’s, was sent across the river to reinforce General Pillow. The steamer lost its gangplank in attempting to make the landing, and had to return. Polk’s Battery was landed later in the day, but too late to see action.

On March 9, 1862 it was in Colonel Preston Smith’s Brigade, Corinth, Mississippi. In the Battle of Shiloh, April 6-7, 1862, it was in Brigadier General Bushrod R. Johnson’s Brigade, Major General B. F. Cheatham’s Division. It entered the battle with 102 engaged, reported four killed, 18 wounded, two missing. Out of 81 horses in service it lost 30; and out of six guns used, lost two guns and six caissons. One of the missing was Captain Polk, who had his leg broken, and was taken prisoner.

In the morning of the 6th, the 154th Tennessee Regiment, Blythe’s Mississippi Regiment, and a section of Polk’s Battery were temporarily detached from Johnson’s Brigade by General Bragg, and placed on the right. Colonel Preston Smith, of the 154th Tennessee spoke highly of the section of Polk’s Battery with him.

He stated that Sergeant Pirtle and Corporal John Kenney could hardly be persuaded to leave their gun after all the horses had been killed, and the gun had to be abandoned. General B. R. Johnson also commended the conduct of the section with him. Johnson was wounded, and Colonel Smith took command of the brigade, bringing the two sections together in the afternoon.

Following the Battle of Shiloh, since the term of enlistment had almost expired, and the battery was disrupted by injuries, the loss of its captain, two of its guns, and all of its caissons, the company was disbanded at Corinth, Mississippi in April 1862. By comparison of the muster rolls, 23 men from Polk’s Battery were identified as having reenlisted in Carnes’ Battery, and others may have enlisted in other batteries.

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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