“Memphis Southern Guards”; “Southern Guards Artillery”
Formerly Captain James Hamilton’s Company; Captain S. H. D. Hamilton’s Company; Company “L”, Artillery Corps of Tennessee.
This company was organized at Memphis, Tennessee, April 21, 1861, with James Hamilton as its first captain. It was mustered into Confederate service at New Madrid, Missouri on August 20, 1861. It was first stationed at Fort Pillow, Tipton County.
On August 2, Brigadier General Gideon J. Pillow requested that Jackson’s Company be sent to Fort Pillow to relieve Hamilton’s Company, and that Hamilton’s Company be sent to New Madrid, Missouri. This was done, and the company mustered into Confederate service at that point. In the organization of the forces at Columbus, Kentucky, in September 1861, Captain Hamilton’s Battery, Siege Artillery, was placed under the immediate orders of General Pillow. On October 24, in the reorganization of the forces, Captain S. H. D. Hamilton’s Siege Battery was attached to Pillow’s Division. At the Battle of Belmont, November 7, 1861, Hamilton’s Battery, on the Columbus side of the river, fired on the Federal gunboats and drove them up the river.
In January 1862, still at Columbus, Captain Johnston’s Siege Battery was reported in the 3rd Division, division commander not shown. Captain S. H. D. Hamilton had died on January 1, 1862, and Johnston had succeeded him as captain. The battery remained at Columbus, Kentucky until about March 1, when it moved to Madrid Bend. Brigadier General J. Trudeau, Chief of Artillery, reported that “Captain Johnston was ordered to place at the Island (No.10) his four guns in battery (three 24-pounder siege guns and one 12-pounder) and to take charge of the four 64-pounder howitzers, with 30 rounds of ammunition for each piece.” On March 10, A. B. Gray, Chief Engineer Island Number Ten, reported “This morning Captain Johnston with two pieces of his siege battery (24-pounders) proceeded to the point opposite the village of Point Pleasant, to endeavor to dislodge the enemy. I am afraid that their works have progressed too far for us, from this side, to do much.”
Johnston’s Battery remained on Island Number Ten during the siege of that place beginning March 18 and ending with the evacuation of the island and the capture of a portion of the garrison on April 8, 1862. At the evacuation of the island, the guns were spiked and lost, but Johnston’s Battery was not among the troops surrendered there. Being a twelve months’ organization, and its term of enlistment having expired, it was mustered out of service by General Beauregard on April 14, 1862. Captain Johnston later commanded another battery, and some of the men from this battery re-enlisted in it, but that was another unit which will be reported elsewhere.
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.