Bedford Virginia Artillery (Smith’s VA Battery)

   

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Editor’s Note: Do you have information on this unit’s role at the Siege of Petersburg?  Please contact us using the Contact button in the menu at the top of the screen.  We are happy to exchange information with other researchers.

Note: This unit was also known as Jordan’s VA Battery.1

Muster In: Organized on January 22, 1861.2
Muster Out: April 9, 18653

Commander(s):
Captain John Donnell Smith
JohnDonnellSmithBedfordVALtArty4

Commander 2
Commander Image

Commander 3
Commander Image

First Offensive Order of Battle: Huger’s Battalion | First Corps Artillery | First Corps| Army of Northern Virginia | Confederate Army5

  • Commander:
  • Unit Strength:
  • Weapons: 4 x 3-inch Rifles (July 1, 1863-December 28, 1864)6

Second Offensive Order of Battle: Huger’s Battalion | First Corps Artillery | First Corps| Army of Northern Virginia | Confederate Army7

  • Commander:
  • Unit Strength:
  • Weapons: 4 x 3-inch Rifles (July 1, 1863-December 28, 1864)8

Third Offensive Order of Battle: Huger’s Battalion | First Corps Artillery | First Corps | Army of Northern Virginia | Confederate Army9

  • Commander: Captain John Donnell Smith10
  • Unit Strength:
  • Weapons: 4 x 3-inch Rifles (July 1, 1863-December 28, 1864)11

Fourth Offensive Order of Battle: Huger’s Battalion | First Corps Artillery | First Corps | Army of Northern Virginia | Confederate Army12

  • Commander: Captain John Donnell Smith13
  • Unit Strength:
  • Weapons: 4 x 3-inch Rifles (July 1, 1863-December 28, 1864)14

Fifth Offensive Order of Battle: Huger’s Battalion | First Corps Artillery | First Corps | Army of Northern Virginia | Confederate Army15,16

  • Commander: Captain John Donnell Smith17
  • Unit Strength:
  • Weapons: 4 x 3-inch Rifles (July 1, 1863-December 28, 1864)18

Sixth Offensive Order of Battle: Huger’s Battalion | First Corps Artillery | First Corps | Army of Northern Virginia | Confederate Army19

  • Commander: Captain John Donnell Smith (through October 31, 1864)20,21
  • Unit Strength:
  • Weapons: 4 x 3-inch Rifles (July 1, 1863-December 28, 1864)22

Seventh Offensive Order of Battle: Huger’s Battalion | First Corps Artillery | First Corps | Army of Northern Virginia | Confederate Army23,24

  • Commander: Captain J. Donnell Smith (November & December 1864)25,26
  • Unit Strength:
  • Weapons: 4 x 3-inch Rifles (July 1, 1863-December 28, 1864)27

Eighth Offensive Order of Battle: Huger’s Battalion | First Corps Artillery | First Corps | Army of Northern Virginia | Confederate Army28,29,30

  • Commander: Captain John Donnell Smith (January & February 1865)31,32,33
  • Unit Strength:
  • Weapons: 4 x 3-inch Rifles34

Ninth Offensive Order of Battle: Huger’s Battalion | First Corps Artillery | First Corps | Army of Northern Virginia | Confederate Army35,36

  • Commander: Captain John Donnell Smith37
  • Unit Strength: ~80 officers and men PFD38,39,40,41
  • Weapons: 4 x 3-inch Rifles, 1 x Mountain Howitzer42,43

Dyer’s/Sifakis’ Compendium Info:
Siege of Petersburg Battles44:

  • Petersburg Siege (June 1864-April 1865)
  • Trent’s Reach (January 23-25, 1865)45
  • 3rd Petersburg (April 2, 1865)46
  • Saylor’s Creek (April 6, 1865)47,48
  • Appomattox Court House (April 9, 1865)

Bibliography:

    Siege of Petersburg Documents Which Mention This Unit:

      Sources:

      1. Graves, Rev. Joseph A.; The History of the Bedford Light Artillery, Press of the Bedford Democrat, Bedford, VA, 1903. Accessed via https://archive.org/details/05712695.3328.emory.edu on September 4, 2014, Despite Captain Smith’s commanding the battery for the last year of the war, the unit was also known as Jordan’s Battery, after it’s original commander, T.C. Jordan, who organized it in 1861. Hat tip to researcher Barry Truluck who provided this information.
      2. Compendium of the Confederate Armies: Virginia by Stewart Sifakis, pp. 23-24
      3. Compendium of the Confederate Armies: Virginia by Stewart Sifakis, pp. 23-24
      4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Donnell_Smith, accessed on 4 Sep 2014. According to the Wikipedia article, Smith went on to become a renowned biologist and taxonomist. Ssame image as shown in Ashland, Bedford and Taylor Virginia Light Artillery by Marilyn Brewer Koleszar, p. 45. Hat tip to researcher Barry Truluck who provided this information.
      5. The Confederate Order of Battle, Volume 1: The Army of Northern Virginia by F. Ray Sibley, Jr., p. 111
      6. Compendium of the Confederate Armies: Virginia by Stewart Sifakis, pp. 23-24: Sifakis lists this battery as having 4 x 3-inch Rifles from July 1, 1863 to December 28, 1864.  The unit had this setup on both July 1, 1863 and December 28, 1864.  What is unclear is if Sifakis can correctly assume this setup never changed at any point in between those dates.  More research is needed.
      7. The Confederate Order of Battle, Volume 1: The Army of Northern Virginia by F. Ray Sibley, Jr., p. 111
      8. Compendium of the Confederate Armies: Virginia by Stewart Sifakis, pp. 23-24: Sifakis lists this battery as having 4 x 3-inch Rifles from July 1, 1863 to December 28, 1864.  The unit had this setup on both July 1, 1863 and December 28, 1864.  What is unclear is if Sifakis can correctly assume this setup never changed at any point in between those dates.  More research is needed.
      9. The Confederate Order of Battle, Volume 1: The Army of Northern Virginia by F. Ray Sibley, Jr., page 120
      10. The Confederate Order of Battle, Volume 1: The Army of Northern Virginia by F. Ray Sibley, Jr., page 120
      11. Compendium of the Confederate Armies: Virginia by Stewart Sifakis, pp. 23-24: Sifakis lists this battery as having 4 x 3-inch Rifles from July 1, 1863 to December 28, 1864.  The unit had this setup on both July 1, 1863 and December 28, 1864.  What is unclear is if Sifakis can correctly assume this setup never changed at any point in between those dates.  More research is needed.
      12. The Confederate Order of Battle, Volume 1: The Army of Northern Virginia by F. Ray Sibley, Jr., page 129
      13. The Confederate Order of Battle, Volume 1: The Army of Northern Virginia by F. Ray Sibley, Jr., page 129
      14. Compendium of the Confederate Armies: Virginia by Stewart Sifakis, pp. 23-24: Sifakis lists this battery as having 4 x 3-inch Rifles from July 1, 1863 to December 28, 1864.  The unit had this setup on both July 1, 1863 and December 28, 1864.  What is unclear is if Sifakis can correctly assume this setup never changed at any point in between those dates.  More research is needed.
      15. The Confederate Order of Battle, Volume 1: The Army of Northern Virginia by F. Ray Sibley, Jr., page 138
      16. Sommers, Richard J. “Grant’s Fifth Offensive at Petersburg: A Study in Strategy, Tactics, and Generalship.  The Battle of Poplar Spring Church, the First Battle of the Darbytown Road, the Second Battle of the Squirrel Level Road, the Second Battle of the Darbytown Road (Ulysses S. Grant, Virginia).” Doctoral Thesis. Rice University, 1970. Print. p. 1311.
      17. The Confederate Order of Battle, Volume 1: The Army of Northern Virginia by F. Ray Sibley, Jr., page 138
      18. Compendium of the Confederate Armies: Virginia by Stewart Sifakis, pp. 23-24: Sifakis lists this battery as having 4 x 3-inch Rifles from July 1, 1863 to December 28, 1864.  The unit had this setup on both July 1, 1863 and December 28, 1864.  What is unclear is if Sifakis can correctly assume this setup never changed at any point in between those dates.  More research is needed.
      19. The Confederate Order of Battle, Volume 1: The Army of Northern Virginia by F. Ray Sibley, Jr., page 147
      20. Captain Smith was present for duty from July – Oct 64 according to his service record, accessed via www.fold3.com on 4 September 2014. Hat tip to researcher Barry Truluck who provided this information.
      21. The Confederate Order of Battle, Volume 1: The Army of Northern Virginia by F. Ray Sibley, Jr., page 147
      22. Compendium of the Confederate Armies: Virginia by Stewart Sifakis, pp. 23-24: Sifakis lists this battery as having 4 x 3-inch Rifles from July 1, 1863 to December 28, 1864.  The unit had this setup on both July 1, 1863 and December 28, 1864.  What is unclear is if Sifakis can correctly assume this setup never changed at any point in between those dates.  More research is needed.
      23. The Confederate Order of Battle, Volume 1: The Army of Northern Virginia by F. Ray Sibley, Jr., page 155
      24. The Confederate Order of Battle, Volume 1: The Army of Northern Virginia by F. Ray Sibley, Jr., page 163
      25. The Confederate Order of Battle, Volume 1: The Army of Northern Virginia by F. Ray Sibley, Jr., page 155
      26. The Confederate Order of Battle, Volume 1: The Army of Northern Virginia by F. Ray Sibley, Jr., page 163
      27. Compendium of the Confederate Armies: Virginia by Stewart Sifakis, pp. 23-24: Sifakis lists this battery as having 4 x 3-inch Rifles from July 1, 1863 to December 28, 1864.  The unit had this setup on both July 1, 1863 and December 28, 1864.  What is unclear is if Sifakis can correctly assume this setup never changed at any point in between those dates.  More research is needed.
      28. The Confederate Order of Battle, Volume 1: The Army of Northern Virginia by F. Ray Sibley, Jr., page 172
      29. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XLVI, Part 2 (Serial Number 96), page 1176: “Organization of the Army of Northern Virginia, commanded by General R. E. Lee, January 31, 1865”; This list contains many commanders who were not there.  They were the “official” commanders but may have been gone on leave.  I have used none of the leaders from this list as a result.
      30. The Confederate Order of Battle, Volume 1: The Army of Northern Virginia by F. Ray Sibley, Jr., page 182
      31. The Confederate Order of Battle, Volume 1: The Army of Northern Virginia by F. Ray Sibley, Jr., page 172
      32. The Confederate Order of Battle, Volume 1: The Army of Northern Virginia by F. Ray Sibley, Jr., page 182
      33. Captain Smith was present for duty from Jan – Feb 65, according to his service record, accessed via www.fold3.com on 4 September 2014. Hat tip to researcher Barry Truluck who provided this information.
      34. Per researcher Barry Truluck: “while I do not have specific proof that the unit retained the same weapons during Jan – Feb 65, it seems reasonable that they did. I think Graves would have noted it in his history.”
      35. The Confederate Order of Battle, Volume 1: The Army of Northern Virginia by F. Ray Sibley, Jr., page 191
      36. The Confederate Order of Battle, Volume 1: The Army of Northern Virginia by F. Ray Sibley, Jr., page 201
      37. Graves, Rev. Joseph A.; The History of the Bedford Light Artillery, Press of the Bedford Democrat, Bedford, VA, 1903. Accessed via https://archive.org/details/05712695.3328.emory.edu on September 4, 2014, p. 74-75. Smith describes the daily activities of the company from 2 -12 Apr 65.
      38. Per researcher Barry Truluck, “Brett, this is an educated guess based on three different datapoints noted—the number of survivors present at Appomattox + known desertions + prisoners lost at Saylor’s Creek.”
      39. Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 15, pages 49-50, the unit surrendered at Appomattox with 5 officers and 61 men, including Captain Smith.
      40. Koleszar, Marilyn B., Ashland, Bedford and Taylor Light Artillery, H.E. Howard, Inc.; Lynchburg, VA 1994, p. 40. The unit had 11 men captured at Saylor’s Creek.
      41. Graves, Rev. Joseph A.; The History of the Bedford Light Artillery, Press of the Bedford Democrat, Bedford, VA, 1903. Accessed via https://archive.org/details/05712695.3328.emory.edu on September 4, 2014, p.74; Captain Smith noted that 6 men ‘dropped out’ on 4 April 65.
      42. Per researcher Barry Truluck, received the mountain howitzer about 1 Mar 65, abandoned the howitzer on 2 Apr 65, lost 2 x 3-inch rifles at Saylor’s Creek, surrendered two 3-inch rifles at Appomattox. Graves, Rev. Joseph A.; The History of the Bedford Light Artillery, Press of the Bedford Democrat, Bedford, VA, 1903. Accessed via https://archive.org/details/05712695.3328.emory.edu on September 4, 2014, p. 57-58. Graves claims that the ‘small brass piece’—received on or about 1 Mar 65 helped repulse Federal attacks on 2 April, before becoming disabled. The piece, which J.D. Smith calls a ‘mountain howitzer’ was buried when the company abandoned its position.
      43. yyy
      44. Compendium of the Confederate Armies: Virginia by Stewart Sifakis, pp. 23-24
      45. Graves, Rev. Joseph A.; The History of the Bedford Light Artillery, Press of the Bedford Democrat, Bedford, VA, 1903. Accessed via https://archive.org/details/05712695.3328.emory.edu on September 4, 2014, p. 55-56. Graves cites the battle as being on 25 February, but the description matches that of Trent’s Reach, which was fought 23-25 January. Hat tip to researcher Barry Truluck who provided this information. Per Barry, “The battery fired in support of the ironclads which had run aground. The author claims that “they would have been totally destroyed, if our battery of light artillery, which was near the river, had not have been ordered to open on the heavy battery of the enemy. We opened on them with such effect, that we silenced them, and thus saved our gunboats…” p. 56.”
      46. Graves, Rev. Joseph A.; The History of the Bedford Light Artillery, Press of the Bedford Democrat, Bedford, VA, 1903. Accessed via https://archive.org/details/05712695.3328.emory.edu on September 4, 2014, p. 57-58. Graves claims that the ‘small brass piece’ helped repulse Federal attacks on 2 April, before becoming disabled. The howitzer was buried when the company abandoned its position. Hat tip to researcher Barry Truluck who provided this information. Barry noted to me that the Bedford VA Light Artillery was still stationed near the Howlett House overlooking Trent’s Reach on April 2, 1865. Although the battery wasn’t specifically involved in the fighting at the Third Battle of Petersburg, it did see action on that day as the Federals probed all along the Confederate lines.
      47. Koleszar, Marilyn B., Ashland, Bedford and Taylor Light Artillery, H.E. Howard, Inc.; Lynchburg, VA 1994, p. 40. The unit has 11 men captured at Saylor’s Creek. Hat tip to researcher Barry Truluck who provided this information.
      48. Graves, Rev. Joseph A.; The History of the Bedford Light Artillery, Press of the Bedford Democrat, Bedford, VA, 1903. Accessed via https://archive.org/details/05712695.3328.emory.edu on September 4, 2014, p.60-61. The unit lost 2 of its 3 inch rifles to the Federals at Saylor’s Creek. Hat tip to researcher Barry Truluck who provided this information.

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