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5th Washington Artillery


Brief Summary of the History of the Washington Artillery of New Orleans:

1838- Formed as the Native American Artillery, Later changed to current name.

1839- Assigned to right flank company of the Washington Regiment, the only military organization in the American quarter of New Orleans.

1845 August 22 - As part of the Regiment, they volunteer to serve with Zachary Taylor in the Mexican War and return to Louisiana after three months of service.

1846 Feb. 22- Received regimental flag.

May 9- Volunteered as infantry (Company A of the Washington Regiment) and served three months in the Mexican War.

1857- Col. Walton Commanding, they adopt the emblem.

1861 Jan 9- Board steamer National for secret mission to seize the arsenal at Baton Rouge. Return victorious on Jan 11.

May- Joined the Army of the Confederacy without permission of the Governor of Louisiana and needed a special law passed by the government of the Confederacy to avoid the attendant problems. First command to operate as an artillery battalion.

May 26- Mustered in Lafayette Square in New Orleans. Companies 1, 2, 3 and 4 left for service in the Army of Northern Virginia. 20 members left behind to form the 5th Company.

August- The blue cloth dress uniforms are shipped home.

September- Each man of the Washington Artillery had new tailor-made uniforms made at his own expense, Richmond gray in color, and gave the command a neat and distinctive appearance.

The uniforms of the first four companies were to include gray private purchase uniform jackets, together with the gold trimmed, red kepi, the vest from the old uniform and sky blue trousers, the final break with the 1858 Federal style uniform was made.

Together with the gold trimmed, red kepi, the new uniforms of the 5th and 6th Companies were to be entirely made in gray.

The Battalion Washington Artillery

Without a doubt, the Washington Artillery was the most famous and unique artillery organization, not only in the service of the Confederacy, but also the United States.
F ormed in 1838, they served in the war with Mexico and entered the Civil War as a complete artillery Battalion, fully equipped with private funds, owing nothing to the state of Louisiana. They were so popular the Governor Moore donated a Napoleon cannon and limber from his own funds.

Six companies were raised, the first four served in the Army of Northern Virginia under General Lee and the 5th company served in the Army of Tennessee, initially under General Beauregard.

When the 5th Company Washington Artillery left the city in 1862, reserve members were left in New Orleans to form a 6th company. However, this unit could only muster 102 men, mostly comprised of older men, some who had even served in the Mexican War. Members of the sixth company helped serve on the city's riverside artillery defenses near Chalmette, Louisiana as Farragut approached the city in 1862. However, the fall of New Orleans forced its members to turn over their guns and disband into obscurity.

The 5th company- the story of one of the finest batteries in the Civil War

When companies 1-4 left for Virginia, the battallion commander, Major Walton ordered Captain W. Irving Hodgson to remain in New Orleans to recruit additional reserve companies and to forward supplies to Virginia. Hodgson immediately went to work. He placed an advertisement in the local True Delta newspaper, and the response to it was overwhelming. Applicants abounded. Soon there were enough men and supplies to muster a 5th company into service. In fact, this company boasted an amazing original roster of 388 members, surpassing the ranks of the first two companies combined. However, this newly formed company did not proceed to Virginia. A state of military affairs in February of 1862 warranted the diversion of this 5th company to the western theater to aid Beauregard, who had taken command there.
While the wartime experiences of the other four companies of the Washington Artillery, those that served in the Army of Northern Virginia, have been thoroughly documented, the exploits of the Fifth Company have been curiously neglected.

The Fifth Company, Washington Artillery of New Orleans, fought with the Confederate Army of Tennessee from Shiloh to Chickamauga, from Perryville to Mobile, and from Atlanta to Jackson, Mississippi. Slocomb's Battery, as it was also known, won repeated praise from every commander of that army. Although it sustained high losses, the company was recognized as a cohesive, well-disciplined organization that fought boldly and tenaciously and was considered the Army of Tennessee's finest close-combat battery.

The Fifth Company was composed of educated, propertied men who had known each other prior to the war and who would band together as a benevolent association at its conclusion. The Confederacy possessed no finer soldiers than those of the Fifth Company. Their popular and capable leader, Cuthbert H. Slocomb, repeatedly refused promotion so that he might remain with the battery. P. G. T. Beauregard specifically asked the Fifth Company to remain in the West with the Army of Tennessee to fight beside the Louisiana Brigade until Missionary Ridge. The unit was also associated with William B. Bate's division, which contained the Orphan Brigade.

They served, through victories and defeats in over forty battles. “Try us!” the unit's enthusiastic artillerymen would shout. And they would be tried, again and again.

Facts, battles and assignments of the 5th Co W.A

Organization : Organized in Lafayette Square, New Orleans on March 6, 1862. It was armed with two 6-lb. Smoothbores, two 6-lb. Rifles, and two 12-lb. Howitzers on April 6-7, 1862. 
It was armed with two 6-lb. Smoothbores and two 12-lb. Howitzers on March 29, 1864 . 
Surrendered by Lieutenant-General Richard Taylor, commanding the Department of Alabama, Mississippi, and East Louisiana, at Citronelle, Alabama on May 4, 1865 , It was armed with one 3-inch rifle and three 12-pounder Napoleons at the time of the surrender.

One of the 12-pounder Napoleons- Columbus Arsenal; 1864; No. 31; 1220 lbs. still exists and is located today in Middletown, Connecticut.

First Commander : W. Irving Hodgson, CPT [resigned June 13, 1862 ]

Captain : Cuthbert H. Slocomb [ June 13, 1862 ]

Assignments :  Department #1 (Mar 62); Anderson's Brigade, Ruggles'-Cheatham's-Ruggles' Division, 2nd Corps, Army of the Mississippi, Department #2 (Mar-Jun 62); Anderson's Brigade, 2nd Corps, Army of the Mississippi, Department #2 (Jun-Jul 62); Anderson's Brigade, Jones' Division, Army of the Mississippi, Department #2 (Jul-Aug 62); Anderson's-Adams' Brigade, Anderson's Division, 2nd Corps, Army of the Mississippi, Department #2 (Aug-Nov 62); Adams' Brigade, Anderson's Division, 2nd Corps, Army of Tennessee (Nov-Dec 62); Adams' Brigade, Breckinridge's Division, 2nd Corps, Army of Tennessee (Dec 62-May 63); Adams' Brigade, Breckinridge's Division, Department of the West (May-Jul 63); Artillery Battalion, Breckinridge's Division, Department of the West (Jul 63); Artillery Battalion, Breckinridge's Division, Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana (Jul-Aug 63); Artillery Battalion, Breckinridge's Division, 2nd Corps, Army of Tennessee (Aug 63-Feb 64); Cobb's Battalion, Artillery, 2nd Corps, Army of Tennessee (Feb-Apr 64); Cobb's Battalion, Artillery, 1st Corps, Army of Tennessee (Apr 64-Jan 65); Cobb's Artillery Battalion,  Right Wing, Defenses of Mobile, Artillery Reserves, etc., District of the Gulf, Department of Alabama, Mississippi, and East Louisiana (Mar-Apr 65); Cobb's Battalion, Smith's Artillery Regiment, Department of Alabama, Mississippi, and East Louisiana (Apr-May 65).

Battles : Shiloh (April 6-7, 1862); Corinth Campaign (April-June 1862); Monterey (April 29, 1862); Farmington (May 9, 1862); Kentucky Campaign (August-October 1862); Munfordville (September 17, 1862); Perryville (October 8, 1862); Overall's Creek (December 31, 1862); Murfreesboro (December 31, 1862-January 3, 1863); Jackson Siege (July 10-17, 1863); Chickamauga (September 19-20, 1863); Chattanooga Siege (September-November 1863); Chattanooga (November 23-25, 1863); Atlanta Campaign (May-September 1864); Resaca (May 14-15, 1864); Dallas (June 25-27, 1864); Atlanta Siege (July-September 1864); Franklin (November 30, 1864); Murfreesboro (December 5-7, 1864); Nashville (December 15-16, 1864); Mobile (March 17-April 12, 1865); Spanish Fort (March 27-April 8, 1865). The battery was at Meridian , Mississippi, at the surrender, May 8, 1865. During the war, approximately 388 men served in the battery. Of that number, 43 were killed in battle, 1 died in an accident, and 6 died of disease.