2nd Independent Battery, Light Artillery

Nickname: Blenker's Battery; Light Battery A, First Artillery Regiment

Mustered in: August 16, 1861.
Mustered out: June 13, 1863.

The following is taken from New York in the War of the Rebellion, 3rd ed. Frederick Phisterer. Albany: J. B. Lyon Company, 1912.

Varian's Battery, the artillery company of the 8th Militia, its term of service having expired, left the field July 20, 1861, and its guns were left with the Army of Northeastern Virginia. These guns were manned during the battle of Bull Run by detachments from the 8th and 29th Infantry, mainly of Company H, of the latter regiment, under Capt. Charles Bookwood, of the 29th Infantry. This battery was reorganized in the defenses of Washington, D. C., in August, 1861, and known by its synonyms. The men of the 8th and 29th Infantry serving with it were transferred to it and additional men from the regiments of Brigadier-General Blenker's Division were assigned to it. The battery, commanded by Capt. Louis Schirmer, was, August 16, 1861, mustered into the service of the United States for two years, and received from the State, December 7, 1861, its numerical designation. It served at and near Washington from July, 1861; in Blenker's Division, Army of the Potomac, from October, 1861; in 1st Brigade, Blenker's Division, Mountain Department, from April, 1862; in 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 1st Corps, Army of Virginia, from June 26, 1862; in 1st Division, nth Corps, Army of the Potomac, from September, 1862; in 2d Division, 11th Corps, from March, 1863; in the nth Corps from April, 1863. June 6, 1863, the members of the battery not entitled to be discharged with it were attached to Battery I, 1st Artillery, and, June 13, 1863, the battery, commanded by Capt. Hermann Jahn, was mustered out and honorably discharged, at New York city, having lost by death, killed in action, 1 officer, 4 enlisted men; of disease and other causes, 5 enlisted men; total, 1 officer, 9 enlisted men; aggregate, 10.

Captain Wolfgang Bock received authority, August 26, 1863, to recruit and reorganize the battery for three years' service; this authority was revoked October 14, 1863, and the men enlisted were assigned to the 15th Artillery

The following is taken from The Union army: a history of military affairs in the loyal states, 1861-65 -- records of the regiments in the Union army -- cyclopedia of battles -- memoirs of commanders and soldiers, Volume II: New York, Maryland, West Virginia and Ohio. Madison, WI: Federal Pub. Co., 1908.

Second Independent Battery.—Capts., Louis Schirmer, Hermann Jahn. This battery, known as Blenker's, or Light Battery A, ist artillery, was organized in Aug., 1861. Says Capt. Phisterer in his account of the battery, "Varian's battery, the artillery company of the 8th militia, its term of service having expired, left the field on July 20, 1861, and its guns were left with the army of Northeastern Virginia. These guns were manned during the battle of Bull Run by detachments of the 8th and 29th N. Y. infantry, mainly of Co. H, of the latter regiment, under Capt. Charles Bookwood, of the 29th N. Y. This battery was reorganized in the defenses of Washington, D. C, in Aug., 1861, and known by its synonyms. The men of the 8th and 29th N. Y. serving with it were transferred to it and additional men from the regiments of Brig.-Gen. Blenker's division were assigned to it. The battery, commanded by Capt. Louis Schirmer, was mustered into the service of the United States for two years on Aug. 16, 1861, and received from the state on Dec. 7, 1861, its numerical designation." While serving with Blenker's division in the Mountain Department in June, 1862, it was engaged in the neighborhood of Strasburg, Woodstock, Mt. Jackson, Edenburg and Cross Keys, where it had 2 men killed. Soon after it was assigned to the nth corps, and took part in Gen. Pope's Virginia campaign ending with the battle of second Bull Run. It took part in the battle of Chancellorsville with the 2nd division, nth corps, sustaining no casualties, and was on detached service at Gettysburg, where Lieut. Theodore Blume was killed on the first day. On June 6, 1863, the members not entitled to discharge were attached to battery I, 1st N. Y. artillery, and the others were mustered out on June 13, at New York City. Its loss was 5 killed and 5 died of disease.

NYSMM Online Resources

Battles and Casualties from Phisterer (pdf)
Battles and Casualties from Phisterer (spreadsheet)

Muster Roll

Unit Roster

Newspaper Clippings

Other Resources

This is meant to be a comprehensive list. If, however, you know of a resource that is not listed below, please send an email to ng.ny.nyarng.list.historians@mail.mil with the name of the resource and where it is located. This can include photographs, letters, articles and other non-book materials. Also, if you have any materials in your possession that you would like to donate, the museum is always looking for items specific to New York's military heritage. Thank you.