5th Independent Battery Light Artillery

Nickname: First Excelsior Light Artillery

Mustered in: November 8, 1861.
Mustered out: July 6, 1865.

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

This battery was organized in New York City and was to be part of the Excelsior Brigade. The men were recruited principally at New York City, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Yonkers and Peekskill, and the battery was mustered in the United States service for three years November 8, 1861. It left the State November 16, 1861, under Capt. Elijah D. Taft. December 12, 1863, it received by transfer eighteen of the enlisted men of the 4th Battery; June 27, 1864, some of its own men were transferred to the 6th Battery. At the expiration of its term of service the men entitled thereto were discharged and the battery retained in service. It served at and near Washington, D. C., from November, 1861; in detachments with Batteries E 2d, K 4th and K 5th, U. S. Artillery of the Artillery Reserve, Army of the Potomac, from March, 1862; in the Artillery Reserve, 5th Corps, Army of the Potomac, from September, 1862; in the Artillery Reserve, Army of the Potomac, from December, 1862; in the 2d Volunteer Brigade, Artillery Reserve, Army of the Potomac, from May, 1863; in the Horse Artillery, Army of the Potomac, from June, 1863; in the 3d Brigade, Artillery Reserve, Army of the Potomac, from July, 1863; in the 2d Volunteer Brigade, Artillery Reserve, from August, 1863; in the 1st Volunteer Brigade, Artillery Reserve, Army of the Potomac, from January, 1864; in the 2d Brigade, Artillery Reserve, Army of the Potomac, from March, 1864; in the Artillery Brigade, 5th Corps, from May 16th to 19th, 1864; in the defenses of Washington, D. C, 22d Corps, from May 19, 1864; in the 6th Corps, from July, 1864; in the 1st Division, 19th Corps, from August, 1864; in the Army of the Shenandoah from October, 1864; in the Department of West Virginia from February, 1865, and July 6, 1865, commanded by Captain Taft, it was honorably discharged and mustered out at Hart's island, New York harbor, having lost during its service by death, killed in action, 4 enlisted men; of wounds received in action, 2 enlisted men; of disease and other causes, 15 enlisted men; total, 19 enlisted men; of whom 1 died in the hands of the enemy.

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.

Fifth Independent Battery.—Capt., Elijah D. Taft. This battery, known as the First Excelsior Light Artillery, was organized in New York city and was originally intended to form part of the Excelsior brigade. Its members were recruited in the counties of New York, Kings and Westchester; it was mustered into the U. S. service Nov. 8, 1861. for three years, and left the state a week later commanded by Capt. Taft. On the expiration of its term of service the original members (except veterans) were mustered out and the battery, composed of veterans and recruits, continued in service. It was stationed at Washington during the winter 1861-62; served with the artillery reserve of the Army of the Potomac throughout the Peninsular campaign, taking part in the siege of Yorktown, the engagements at Fair Oaks, New bridge and the Seven Days' battles. Attached to the artillery reserve, 5th corps, it then embarked on the Maryland campaign, fighting at Antietam and Boteler's ford. In the artillery brigade, Army of the Potomac, it was active at Fredericksburg, Pollock's Mill creek, Marye's heights, Salem Church, Gettysburg (where it lost 3 killed), Rappahannock Station, and Mine Run. In May, 1864, it fought at the Wilderness and Spottsylvania, when it was ordered into the defenses of Washington until July. It then participated in Sheridan's campaign in the Shenandoah, being in action at Halltown, the Opequan, Fisher's hill, New Market and Cedar creek, where it saw its last fighting. Under command of Capt. Taft it was mustered out at Hart's island, N. Y. harbor, July 6, 1865. During its term of service it lost 6 men killed and died of wounds, and 13 men died of disease and other causes, a total of 19.

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.

 

Items the museum holds are in bold.