26th New York Independent Battery's Civil War Newspaper Clippings

From the Advocate.
April 17th, 1863.
DEAR SIR—Feeling under great obligations to the many friends of this Battery, it being raised wholly from the towns of Byron, Stafford, Alabama, Pembroke, Ridgeway, and Hartland, and sent to this far off land, in defense of its country, being one of the youngest batteries, we have never as yet had a chance to make ourselves famous—although in this country we feel very large. We arrived in the city of New Orleans on the 4th of February, 1863; after a journey of 6l days from New York City, being shipwrecked twice on our way, loosing all our baggage, one hundred and six horses, and in fact everything but our own lives, kind providence on our side, and sparing us.
On the 3d day of March we received our horses and guns, and on the 4th hitched up for the first time to try our luck at drilling; and have followed the example nearly every day since. On the second day of April, we were ordered before Gen. Sherman with four other batteries, for inspection, and was pronounced by him the finest drilled battery in this department, there being at that time some eighteen or twenty here; including some regulars. We have been continuing our practice nearly every day since, and yesterday for the first time we made an excursion trip to the lake, some ten miles distant, to try our luck at target shooting. We were accompanied by the first Vermont Battery which has already been in the field a little over a year. Our gunners John Kirsh and Aaron Hartwell of Byron, and A. M. Mudge and Geo. Papworth of Hartland; all eager to see which could make the best shot, although a little tried by trying their luck with experienced men, they stood at their post with firmness. A target was placed on a platform in the lake a distance of fourteen hundred yards, and at precisely eleven o'clock the first round was fired, each piece fireing five rounds. And at the winding up, the prize was given to John Kirsh as best shot, who pierced the target through at the second round. We then resumed our journey home, our boys in the best of spirits; all feeling with firmness that were we to face the enemy we could do it without a falter. We shall in all probability have an opportunity to show our skill before many days. There is a strong force here and everything indicates active movements against the enemy, both at Port Hudson and Vicksburg, before the lapse of many days, both by land and river. We are quartered for the present in the buildings known as Appollo Stables, and formerly occupied as the headquarters of a heavy omnibus line. We are very comfortable. The dance has already begun up at Brashear City, some four days ago, and at last accounts they were having very warm times, nearly every train from the scene of action brings fruits of their labors. Hundreds of prisoners and wounded soldiers are ushered to our midst. The enemy are retreating and are followed by our forces at a rapid rate. The fighting thus far is done principally with Artillery, covered with Infantry. We are holding ourselves in readiness to march at any minute, and I think were we to receive orders at any hour of the day or night, in fifteen minutes time we would be mounted and ready for action. Hoping some future day you may receive intelligence that will liberally reward the many friends for the bounties and other expenditures in fitting us out. 
I remain very Respectfully,
Your ob't humble servant,

The 26th N. Y. Battery.—In the account of the retreat of Gen. Bank's army from Alexandria to the Mississippi, which was published elsewhere, several engagements occured with the rebels. In one of these, at Avoeylles Plains, May 10th, particular mention is made of a gallant charge by the 26th N. Y. Battery. This battery was recruited here by Capt. Barnes, and the account which we publish of this movement possess additional local interest from that fact. It is probable that the 26th Battery was engaged with other troops in building Col. Bailey's dam, by which our gunboat fleet managed to escape.

The body of LEVI F. BARDEN, late of Capt. Barnes' 26th N. Y. Battery, arrived by train yesterday morning. Mr. Barden died in hospital at New Orleans. The remains have been conveyed to his relatives in the southwest part of the town for interment.

Headquarters, 26th N. Y. Battery.
THIBODEAUX, LA. Oct. 24th, 1863.
My Dear Friend:—
Thinking that perhaps a few lines from the 26th would be read by you with some interest, as some of its members are from your place, I take this opportunity, it being a rainy day, to write you a few lines. Thibodeaux is situated about three miles north of the railroad running from new Orleans to Brashear City; it is about sixty miles from here to New Orleans, almost directly east and thirty from here to Brashear. We have two regiments of infantry in camp here, besides our company, enough we think to hold the town in case of invasion by the rebels. The population here is about one thousand principally French and Niggers. Although they seem to be friendly and happy, you can by talking with them find they are (chuckfull) secesh yet, and would give all they are worth, if it was necessary to whip the Yankees. Gen. Bragg's plantation is about three miles from here, which I meant to have visited before this time, and give you a description of it, but I have not been able to do so. You would be astonished to see the improvement made by this Battery since one J. W. B. was dismissed from it, (and from the service of the United States.) I thought for quite a spell that the 26th N. Y. Battery would soon be numbered with the things that WERE, and it doubtless would have been so in a very short time had not this gentleman resigned as he did. By the kindness of Gen. Arnold, Chief of Artillery, he appointed or gave Geo. W. Fox command of us, and gave him just thirty days to find out whether there was material or metal enough in the company to make a good battery. We had then been commanded by Lieutenants and Captains three or four months and one would naturally suppose that if we could not learn the first lesson in that length of time under so many and efficient commanders, that it would be of little use for Geo. W. Fox to attempt to make anything out of us in the short space of thirty days. At the end of the thirty days we were reviewed by Gen. Arnold, and Fox told us that the General praised us up—that we done first rate. But I have since doubted it very much, for to see the difference in our drilling now and the awkward movements made by us at that time could not draw forth any such praise, unless it came from a Barnes or a Lillie. We seemed to be the laughing stock of other batteries and companies up to the end of our thirty days time being discharged from service. It is very true that it looks sometimes as though we had whipped and punished them severe enough, that they would be satisfied that there was no use, they might just as well quit now as at any time hereafter, for they have got to come to it sooner or later, if they do dislike the Northern Yankees and despise the Abolitionists, as they do a snake. There is no use of my repeating here what I have written to you before,—my opinion what would be most likely to bring this war to a close effectually and permanently, and I have not seen anything as yet to alter my opinion. I have been told that the Supervisors have stopped paying the monthly payments to the Family's who was called on, and urged, and almost prayed with to enlist and save our glorious country, I wonder if they could not with just as much consistency, demand of the poor soldier, after his term of service expired and returns home again, after going through the privations and hardships that every one must pass through during such a campaign as this, the town and county bounty that was paid him as a bonus to enlist. Deliver me from such patriots and patriotism. Well I am afraid that I have wearied your patience already, and therefore I will close for this time.
Excuse all mistakes and correct punctuations, for I have written this in a room where they are talking and playing, and have written it as fast as I could to get through, so I remain truly yours, A. D. MEAD.
To H. C. Swift, Esq.