12th New York Independent Battery's Civil War Newspaper Clippings

12th Independent Battery, NY Volunteers
Civil War Newspaper Clippings


Albany has again to mourn the loss of one of her noble sons, who fell bravely fighting for the "Union." Lieut. Harry D. Brower, of the Twelfth New York Battery was shot at the late engagement at "Reams Station, Va." He fell by a Minnie bullet through the brain, fighting bravely by his piece, falling across the trail of the same. The enemy charging at the time, his body could not be obtained. He was a young man possessed of many social and rare qualities, and beloved by his comrades. He was a brave and accomplished officer; and enlisted in the defense of his country with mingled feelings of pure patriotism and justice. His death will cast a gloom over a large circle of relatives and friends in this city and the army, of whom he was loved and beloved.

My friend Henry, thou art sleeping, 
Beneath the Southern tree;
And friends for thee are weeping,
And long will weep for thee.

The grave has now enclosed thee;
Within its narrow cell;
No more will we behold thee,
Dear friend—soldier farewell.
Camp Near Petersburg, Va.

TWELFTH BATTERY.—The following is a list of the killed, wounded and missing in the Twelfth New York battery, in the battle at Reams' Station, last Thursday, while under the command of Lieut. G. K. Dauchy, of this city: Killed—Second Lieut. Henry D. Brower, Corporal Arnold Harris, private Chas. Mogland. 
Wounded—Privates Chas H. McNear, Nicholas Porter.
Missing—Sergeant Chas. O. Gregory, Corporal John Muloy, privates Wm. H. Higgins, Jas. M. Berry, Alexander Teslin, Gustavo Puls.
Thirty-two horses were killed. One-gun and two caissons were lost.

TWELFTH NEW YORK BATTERY.—In a letter from Lieut. G. K. Danchy, of this city, the following casualties are given in the Twelfth New York battery, which was partly raised in this city and vicinity by Lieut. D. In the action of last Tuesday this battery lost four guns: 
Killed—First Sergeant John Palmer, V. Jordan.
Severely Wounded—Joseph Lewis.
Prisoners—Sergeant Conklin, Amsterdam; Corporal Kinney, New Fane; Corporal Martin, Ballston; Corporal Thos. Kelly, Cohoes; G. D. Benell, Kendall; Jos. B. Hoyt, Troy; Reuben R. Richards, Troy; John McDonald, New York; John A. Rollo, Stephentown. 
There are from fifty to sixty Trojans in the company.

A GOOD SOLDIER PROMOTED.--The Jordan Transcript says that Elisha Conklin, who enlisted from that village, has been promoted to First Sergeant in the Twelfth New York. Independent Battery, in place of John Farmer, of that village who was killed on the 22d ult. Young Conklin is every inch a soldier, and it is related of him that when the rebels demanded a surrender on that occasion, he replied, "I can't see it until I drive this spike," and he actually spiked his gun in the face of the rebels before they could secure him as a prisoner.

We regret to learn from the second edition telegraph of Saturday that the 12th New York Battery, commanded by Captain George McKnight, of this city, was captured by the enemy on the 23d inst. Lieutenant Bull and one other officer, besides Captain McKnight, are young men of this city. We trust subsequent accounts will bring good news of their safety.

THE CAPTURE OF MCKNIGHT'S BATTERY.—A correspondent of the Herald with the Second Corps, gives the following account of the capture of Capt. M'Knight's Battery, which occurred in the battle before Petersburg on Wednesday last. The many friends of the Captain and of Lieut. Bull hereabouts, will rejoice to hear of their safety:—
As the enemy swept over the angle which marked the left of the division line, he enveloped a battery of four guns, which occupied an advanced position behind the parapet, and almost before the officers were aware of the situation of affairs the artillery was practically in the enemy's hands. It was Capt. McKnight's Twelfth New York Battery. The moment the rebels appeared in sight Capt. McKnight opened on them with canister. They separated in front, and, coming in on the right and left, completely surrounded the guns. A rebel color bearer immediately mounted and planted his co1ors on the parapet. Capt. McKnight and Lieutenant Bull both scorned the summons to surrender and fired several rounds of canister at the enemy, with the rebel flag floating by their battery. Both those young officers distinguished themselves by the bravery they displayed and the exertions they put forth to save their pieces. But it was impossible to take them off the field.
The horses had been sent to the rear, because the advanced position which the battery occupied, and the open ground behind it, rendered it impossible for horses to live amid the deadly fire to which in an engagement the battery would be exposed. But although Captain McKnight had spoken about the danger of the location, it was a splendid position for artillery, and the battery would have done great damage to the enemy had it been properly supported. But there is where the trouble lies—the infantry failed to support it, and so we lost the guns. Two sergeants of the battery were shot in assisting Lieutenant Bull to haul off one of the pieces. The officers were then compelled to abandon it, and, jumping over the breastwork, the captain and lieutenant both miraculously managed to creep along on the outside towards the right of Gibbon's line and thus escaped being killed or captured by the enemy. These gallant officers are in great grief at the loss of their battery, but the circumstances fully exonerate them from all censure concerning it. Captain McKnight offered to load a force of infantry to retake them.

FROM BELOW PETERSBURG.—A private letter from an officer in the Federal army, written last Friday in camp near Petersburg, contains a few items of interest. The letter was not intended for publication.
The weather was extremely hot and the soldiers were suffering considerably in consequence. The army is forming one vast line of entrenchments from City Point to a road five miles south of Petersburg and this is the main line of our army. Lee is staking all on the safety of Petersburg. If he can break our line and cripple us, he will do so, and if we can break his south of the city, the struggle will soon be ended. The Rebels charged on the 2d Corps, drove it back and captured McKnight's 12th N. Y. Battery, and the 49th and 57th N. Y. V. The Heavy Artillery regiments again saved the line, for as the Rebels came in they poured such volleys into their ranks as drove them back. The Irish Legion now swear by the Heavy Artillery,
The 108th New York is lying in the second line of breastworks before Petersburg. 
The 4th Heavy Artillery is lying three miles south of Petersburg, having reached that precise point last Thursday. The regiment had just left the advanced line of rifle pits where it had been sent to relieve the 91st Pa. and 164th N. Y., two regiments which had been in the pits several days and were much fatigued. While in the rifle pits one day the 4th lost one killed, Stephen Durocke, (an old soldier of the 13th N. Y.) and had three wounded, viz: Sergt. James A. McDonald, Privates Herman Erhardt and John Murphy.
June 23, 6 a. m.—Wilson's division of cavalry moved off in the direction of the Weldon railroad. When last heard from, they had reached Rives' station, and were tearing up the track along the road.
The Second and Sixth Corps moved from their old positions on the right, towards the Weldon Railroad. 
Gen. Lee seems to have anticipated the movement by our left flank, or else he desired to turn our right, as when near the Jerusalem plank-road, the 2d corps were confronted by Gen. Hill's corps, and a smart engagement ensued.
The battery of the 12th N. Y. Artillery was annoying the rebels, who succeeded in getting around on the flank and charging it. The infantry supporting the battery were surprised, and after a faint show of resistance retired, leaving four guns in the hands of the enemy. Our lines then re-formed. The men were being accustomed to Gen Lee's new practice of acting entirely on the defensive, and must have been confused by his bold and fearless onset. 
Two divisions of the 5th corps are within easy supporting distance on the right, and the 6th Corps were ready for any hostilities on the left.
Charges were made by the Rebels, who suffered severely in each fresh assault.—There was heavy firing in front of the 9th Corps, about midnight. At times the musketry broke out into regular vollies, and all night our cannon kept tiring at regular intervals.

The Loss of Capt. McKnight's Battery.
June 27th 1864.
To the Editor of the Buffalo Express—
Sir: Seeing erroneous accounts in circulation through the press in relation to the action of the 22d inst., in which the 12th N. Y. Independent Battery, commanded by Capt. Geo. F. McKnight, of Buffalo, was lost, I take the liberty of writing a few words to you giving the facts in the case. We were placed in position (the left battery of the corps) about half a mile to the left of the Petersburg and Jerusalem plank road, in the edge of a piece of woods through which we had to cut a road to a winding wood road in order to get our guns into position. at 3 o'clock in the morning of the 22d inst, about a hundred yards from the enem'ys skirmishers, in some lunettes just thrown up by pioneers, very defective in every respect. We were so near the enemy that we had to dismount our amunition chests and sink them in the ground and send the horses to the rear. Our men were immediately set to work to make the lunettes tenable. About noon the enemy opened upon our position with four guns from an old fort and redoubts about a thousand yards to our right and front, throwing their shot and bursting their shell in and about our works with most accurate range. We were ordered to open upon them, and immediately set our men to altering the embrasures (facing before to the front, as we were informed the enemy would probably open upon us from our immediate front,) so as to enable us to return the fire of the enemy.
This being effected we opened fire upon the enemy's batteries at about 2 P. M., when he replied with a very heavy musketry fire and with a rapid fire from eight guns, bursting their shells over and in our works. After firing about an hour we heard considerable cheering at some distance to our left and shortly after some infantrymen came running along crying out, "The left is flanked." "The enemy is coming in upon our left." We paid little attention to this, supposing it to be some panic stricken straggler; but presently the enemy advanced upon our left front, when we drove them back with canister from our left piece, the only one which could fire in that direction, owing to the change in the embrasures before mentioned. Shortly after we saw the infantry upon our left running entirely unprotected, and immediately after the enemy appeared full upon our flank coming along the breastworks of the rifle pits and planting their flag upon our left lunette, they called to us to surrender. Not until then did the men of the battery leave their pieces. Being entirely defenceless, with no weapons but their guns, which unfortunately could not be turned toward the enemy, the cannoneers then retreated to the woods with a loss of eleven out of forty-five, a heavy proportionate loss, but much smaller than it would have been if it had not been for the close proximity of the woods, enabling them to spring to cover upon the enemy's appearing upon the works.
The behavior of Capt. McKnight and Lieut. Bull, of your city, was most gallant, the former having hold of the prologue fixed to the right gun, with several men of the battery and some of the 1st Minnesota Infantry endeavoring to haul off the piece, when the enemy appeared over the breastworks and calling upon them to surrender, fired a volley at them as they turned to run, preferring to take the chances of death to captivity in a rebel prison. At this time fell, amongst others, John Farmer, 1st Sergeant of the battery, a most brave and efficient officer, whose place it will be hard to fill. While Lieutenant Bull remained at his post until the rebel standard bearer waved his flag from the left Runette, and then endeavored to rally men to retake the pieces, and both officers remained until night participating in the fight made by the troops in the effort to retake the position. The position was retaken the next morning, but the enemy had succeeded during the night in drawing off the guns and three out of four limbers, while the other was filled with bullets and was so badly torn by shell as to be nearly worthless, showing the terrible fire the battery was under.
The fact that the military authorities sent the next day for four new guns to replace these lost, is considered by the Battery as the highest compliment that could be paid to its efficiency. G.

A Tribute to Troy "Boys."
Editors of the Troy Daily Times: I beg leave through your columns to pay tribute to the gallantry and bravery of one of your citizens with whom it has been my pleasure to serve in the United States army for the past thirteen months, and also to some of the gallant sons which your city has sent forth to do battle for the glorious institutions bequeathed to us by our Fathers of '76, and whom I have the honor command. 
The first to whom I refer is First Lieutenant George K. Dauchy, who was instrumental in recruiting and bringing into the field the Twelfth New York independent battery, which with many other campaigns has taken an active part in the one of the past fifty days, a campaign to which history furnishes no parallel. 
Seeing many statements in the different papers which are entirely erroneous in regard to the circumstances attending the capture of the Twelfth New York battery, on the 22d inst., I deem it fitting to give you a statement of the conduct of both officers and men on that trying occasion. The battery was placed in position at 3 A. M., on the morning of the 22d inst. The lunettes which had been thrown up hastily by the pioneers were found to be very imperfect, and accordingly ordered my own men to strengthen and improve them, which work they commenced and followed up steadily until 2 P. M. of the 22d. About 12 M., the enemy opened upon us with four guns from a fortification to the right of our position, an old and very strong work. The embrasures of our lunettes being made facing to the front, it was necessary to alter them entirely in order to bring our guns to bear upon the enemy's battery. This was done as quickly as possible, excepting that of the left gun, and our guns opened upon the enemy at 2 P. M. No sooner had we opened than the enemy opened four more guns upon us, two in our front and two on our extreme right, accompanied by a very heavy musketry fire. We continued firing for the space of an hour, when a terrific musketry fire opened upon our left. At the same time, infantrymen came running in from the left reporting that we were flanked, and that the left had broken. The left gun—the only one which could be used to our front and left—opened at once with canister and case shot, driving back the line that was advancing upon our left front. Suddenly, however, our left support gave way in confusion —leaving that flank of the battery entirely exposed. The enemy followed closely down the works, and planting their colors on the lunette of the left gun, ordered us to surrender. Up to this time, not a man of the battery had left his post, nor did they do so until ordered. 
I have noticed in the press, statements to the effect that the battery was surprised, and also that the cannonneers escaped on horses. Both of these statements are entirely untrue. The fact of having been constantly firing for an hour previous to the charge, is sufficient to refute the first, and as to the second, the ammunition chests were dismounted and sunk in the ground, and the horses removed at least a mile to the rear, as it would have been impossible for them to have lived under the fire.
It affords me great pleasure to attest to the gallant conduct of Lieut. Dauchy, who remained at his post until the last, and did all in his power to rally the infantry supports to return and help drag off the pieces, and also to Lieut. H. D. Brower, of Albany, whom I had dispatched to the rear for ammunition a few moments before, and who returned at this time, and gallantly assisted in endeavoring to rally the supports, and to every man of the battery present, whose actions on that occasion stamped each a hero of whom the Empire State may well be proud. 
Very respectfully, Geo. F. McKnight,
Captain Twelfth N. Y. Independent Battery.

The Twelfth New York Battery reached here yesterday morning. It numbers 116 men, many of whom are Trojans. The following are its officers: Captain, C. A. Clark; First Lieutenant, T. F. Batty; First Lieutenant, Kingsbury; Second Lieutenant, Little; Second Lieutenant, Conkling.