Captain Thomas F. Tobin’s Battery

Also called Memphis Light Battery-Tobin’s Horse Artillery

Formerly Captain W. Orton Williams’ Battery-Captain L. Hoxton’s Battery.

This company was organized in Memphis in July, 1861, by Thomas F. Tobin, and he was elected captain. In order to secure a battery of guns, he waived his right to the captaincy, and allowed Major General Polk to appoint W. 0. Williams as captain, and the company was mustered into Confederate service at Memphis, August 5, 1861 as Captain W. 0. Williams’ Company. Williams did not actually report to the company until December 13, 1861. He was given another appointment on March 1, 1862, and L. Hoxton was appointed to succeed him, and served until July 6, 1862, after which Captain Tobin was in command.

On October 24, 1861, at Columbus, Kentucky, Williams’ Battery was attached to Colonel D. W. C. Bonham’s Second Brigade of Colonel John S. Bowen’s 4th Division, of General Leonidas Polk’s forces. On November 30, at Camp Beauregard, Kentucky, it reported two officers, 43 men present for duty, total present 49, present and absent, 57.

On March 7, 1862, Colonel Pickett, commanding at Union City, advised General Polk: “Captain Tobin’s battery is without men or horses at all adequate. He is therefore sent by me for the purpose of having such of his men, horses, etc. as are at Humboldt, or elsewhere on the road, immediately forwarded here. I think it of the utmost importance that his battery should be placed in condition for service, or sent away from this post.” At that time the battery was reported in the First Division, Army of the Mississippi, with Headquarters at Humboldt. After the Battle of Shiloh, Byrne’s Mississippi Battery was disbanded and some of the men assigned to Hoxton’s Battery

On May 9, 1862, Hoxton’s Battery, armed with two James rifled guns, was engaged at Farmington, Mississippi, as part of the force under Brigadier General Daniel Ruggles. Hoxton’s report said his battery was armed with three rifled six-pounders, and one 12-pounder rifled James; and that the left section was stationed on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, and not engaged.

On June 30, General Bragg, with Headquarters at Tupelo, reported Hoxton’s as one of the batteries in the Artillery Reserve attached to Brigadier General D. H. Maury’s Division. On July 20, 1862 it was reported in the Army of the West, under General John P. McCown. Company reports for the next several months mention the battery as being at Plantersville, near Tupelo, luka, Baldwyn, and near Corinth, Mississippi. Here, on October 3-4, 1862., attached to Maury’s Division, it took part in the Battle of Corinth, suffering ten casualties, among them Captain Tobin, who was captured, and the loss of one gun.

It then moved to Holly Springs, to Lumpkin Mills, to Abbeville, to Grenada, and from Grenada moved by rail to Vicksburg, where it arrived January 1, 1863. On September 25, 1862, a detachment from the 2nd Alabama Artillery Battalion was temporarily attached to the battery and remained with it until after the fall of Vicksburg, July 4, 1863. During the Vicksburg campaign one section of the battery was stationed for awhile at Snyder’s Bluff, one section at Chickasaw Bluffs. The two sections united at Haynes Bluff on March 13, and moved by the steamer Alagnolia to Yazoo City, Mississippi, on March 20, where the battery manned two 20-pounder Parrott guns. It moved to Fort Pemberton March 28, back to Haynes Bluff April 20, from there to Warrenton, where it did picket duty from May 3 to 17. From that time on it was in the center line of the fortifications at Vicksburg until the surrender.

From Vicksburg it moved to the Camp for Paroled Prisoners at Enterprise, Mississippi, arriving July 21, where it was furloughed for 30 days. After the company was exchanged in October, 1863, it was so depleted that only 28 enlisted men were present for duty. It left Enterprise to report to Major General D. H. Maury, at Mobile, Alabama, on November 13, 1863. Some of the men attached themselves to Colonel H. Maury’s 15th Confederate Cavalry until General Maury ordered Colonel Denny, commanding the Conscript Bureau, to fill the company up as soon as possible.

It remained most of the time in the Department of the Gulf, under General Maury until the evacuation of Mobile on April 11, 1865. During this period it served in Brigadier General J. H. Clanton’s Brigade until December 31, 1863; then in Colonel W. H. Jenifer’s Cavalry Brigade until April 30, 1864; then in Brigadier General D. H. Reynolds’ Cavalry Brigade till May 24, when for a short time it was assigned to Major D. Trueheart, of Major General Stephen D. Lee’s Department of Mississippi, Alabama and Eastern Louisiana. On June 30, 1864, it was back in the Department of the Gulf, Colonel Isaac W. Patton’s Brigade, until September 3; then in Brigadier General St. John R. Liddell’s Brigade until October 28, when it was reported in Major Henry C. Semple’s Command of Light Artillery, Department of the Gulf. During this time it was armed with two 12-pounder field howitzers, and two three inch rifled guns. Company reports mention being stationed at Pollard, Alabama, in March; an expedition to Pensacola, Florida, and return in April; back to Pollard, Alabama; from there to Blakely, Alabama, in August.

On October 31, 1864, it was once more reported in the Department of Alabama, Mississippi, and Eastern Louisiana, under Lieutenant General Richard Taylor. At this time it was at Greenwood, Alabama, with three officers, 50 enlisted men present for duty, 57 present, 129 present and absent, with four pieces of field artillery, attached to Colonel Henry Maury’s 15th Confederate Cavalry. On December 7, Colonel R. McCulloch was ordered to move to Leaksville, Mississippi, and was advised: “Colonel Maury with 250 cavalry and Tobin’s Light Battery will reach here (Mobile) to-night from Blakely. He will be ordered to report to you and to move on the Leaksville Road at daylight to-morrow.” Company reports say the battery was back at Mobile on December 13, 1864, and moved to Hall’s Mills, Alabama, on December 28. The report gave total distance moved in November and December, 1864 as 351 miles.

On January 23, 1865, a Federal report of the forces in and around Mobile stated: “Colonel Maury’s Regiment (15th Confederate) about 12 miles from Mobile at Hall’s Mills on the Pascagoula Road. With him is Tobin’s Battery Flying Artillery with 150 men, 12 guns (six howitzers, six rifles). This is supposed to be the most effective light battery in the vicinity of Mobile.”

On February 25, 1865, Tobin’s Battery was listed as one of the light mounted batteries at Mobile, with two three inch rifles, two 12-pounder howitzers, five officers, 91 men present for duty, 109 present, 151 present and absent. On March 10, Tobin’s Battery was still listed as attached to Colonel Maury’s command, but on April 10, 1865, in preparation for the evacuation of Mobile, Colonel P. B. Spence was instructed: “Oppose the enemy’s advance upon the city, and retard as long as possible. Tobin’s Battery will be under your orders. When you can no longer check the enemy, move to a position to cover the railroad and the Tombigbee River.” On April 13, he was instructed to fall back to Citronelle, Alabama, and use his command as the rear guard and for the wagon train. “Send Tobin’s Battery to Citronelle, Alabama by rail if possible.”

At Citronelle, Alabama, on May 4, General Richard Taylor surrendered his forces, and on May 8 they were paroled. The last record of the battery was two days after the surrender. On May 6, Semple’s Battalion, at Cuba Station, composed of Tobin’s Battery, Slocomb’s Louisiana Battery, and the Third Missouri Battery, was instructed to march on in to Meridian, Mississippi, where the paroles were issued.

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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