Major A. P. Stewart’s Heavy Artillery Battalion

This was a temporary organization, lasting only a few months, in the early days of the war. The exact composition of the battalion is not known. Major (later Lieutenant General) Alexander P. Stewart was at Randolph, Shelby County, in May, 1861, instructing the newly organized companies in artillery drill, and management of guns. A little later, the heavy batteries were moved to Fort Pillow, on the Mississippi River, about 15 miles north of Randolph.

On August 17, 1861, Major General Polk advised Brigadier General Gideon I. Pillow: “I shall today send forward Neely’s Regiment, with the three artillery companies from Randolph, under Major Stewart, to relieve Colonel McCown at Island No.10.” Pillow seemed to have had other plans for these units, for two days later, on August 19, there followed a rather angry note, saying that the orders to Neely and Stewart had been transmitted to them direct, and that the Major General expected them to be carried out, as ordered. On August 20, a report of the progress of fortifications on Island No. 10 stated: “We have the three companies of Artillery under Major Stewart.”

On November 7, 1861, during the Battle of Belmont, Major Stewart was in command of the heavy batteries at Columbus, Kentucky, across the river from Belmont, and General Polk reported that he directed Major Stewart to open fire upon the Federal gunboats, and upon Federal troops across the river, when the situation was such that these guns could be used without danger to the Confederate troops.

On November 16, still at Columbus, Kentucky, A. P. Stewart’s Artillery Battalion reported 13 officers, 175 men present for duty, 226 present, with an aggregate of 239.

On the same date, Brigadier General A. P. Stewart was ordered to report to duty to General A. S. Johnston, C. S. Army, at Bowling Green, Kentucky, and with Stewart’s promotion, Stewart’s Battalion came to an end.

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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