Varian's Battery, Light Artillery

Nickname: First Troop, Washington Grays

Left state: April 19, 1861
Mustered out: August 2, 1861.

The following is taken from New York in the War of the Rebellion, 18th ed. Frederick Phisterer. Albany: J. B. Lyon Company, 1912.

Organized February 4, 1833, as Washington Light Battery, 3d Regiment, State Artillery; reorganized in 1836 into a troop of cavalry and designated the Washington Gray Troop; July 27, 1847, the designation of the 3d Regiment Artillery was changed to 8th Regiment, and the troop assigned to it as Company I; in 1861, the troop was organized as a battery, known as Varian's Battery; January 22, 1867, the troop was formed into a battalion of cavalry, which, in 1870, was consolidated into one troop; in 1879 the troop was reorganized as Battery E, which designation was changed to 2d Battery, December 17, 1882, and as such is still in the service of the State and located in the city of New York. It was on duty at the Abolition Riot, July 14, 1834; Stevedore Riot, February 24, 1836; Croton Water Riots, April 22, 23, 1840; the Great Fire, July 19, 1845; Astor Place Riot, May 10, 1849; Quarantine Riots, September, 1858; Draft Riots, July, 1863; Orange Riots, July 12, 1871; Railroad Riots, July, 1877; Motormen's Strike, Brooklyn, January, 1895.

It entered the service of the United States for three months, and left New York city, its home station, April 19, 1861, commanded by Capt. Joshua M. Varian, and was mustered out in New York city August 2, 1861. Immediately after its muster out about forty of its members entered the volunteer service, forming what was to be an artillery company for Serrell's Engineers, and which finally became the 4th Independent Battery.

The battery, as part of the 8th Regiment, re-entered the service of the United States for thirty days, during the Pennsylvania campaign, in 1863, performing duty as artillery and cavalry, generally detached from the regiment and commanded by Capt. Robert Brown.

It took part in the following engagements: Near Light-House at Smith's Point, Chesapeake Bay, Md., May 18, 1861; at Fairfax Court-House, Va., July 17, 1861; at Shippensburg, Pa., June 23, 1863; Kingston, Pa., June 26, 1863; Oyster Point, Pa., June 28, 1863; near Fort Washington, Pa., June 29, 1863; at Sporting Hill, Pa., June 30, 1863, and Carlisle, Pa., July 1, 1863.

Officers of the Battery. For names and records of the officers see Company "I" of the 8th Regiment.

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.

Varian's Battery, Light Artillery.—Capt., Joshua M. Varian. This battery in 1861 formed the 1st troop or Co. I of the 8th regiment, known as the Washington Grays (q. v.). It entered the service of the United States for three months, and left New York city on April 19, 1861. It was mustered out at New York city July 20, 1861, and some of its members later formed the nucleus of the 4th light battery (q. v.). As part of the 8th regiment, it was again mustered into the U. S. service in June, 1863, for 30 days, and did duty during the campaign in Pennsylvania as cavalry and artillery. During its 3 months' enlistment in 1861. it was engaged at Smith's Point, Md.. and Fairfax Court House, Va. In 1863 it was active at Shippensburg, Kingston, Oyster Point, near Fort Washington, Sporting hill and Carlisle, Pa.