4th Maryland Light Artillery
History









The Fourth Maryland Light Artillery (also referred to as the Chesapeake Battery as well as Brown's Battery then Chew's Battery) was organized in January 1861 by a group of young Maryland volunteers originally intended for infantry under the command of Captain Joseph Forrest of St. Mary's County and Captain William D. Brown of Baltimore. The men were principally from the eastern and western counties of Maryland and made their mark on more than one desperately fought field. At the time of its formation guns were very difficult to procure, and as a consequence the battery was not able to take the field until several weeks after its organization. In the winter of 1861 the unit was finally equipped with four cannons of inferior caliber and sent to Camp Lee, Richmond, Virginia for Instruction. At the Camp of instruction, Martin Harvey and Peter Williams, two young Virginians, were detailed from the Richmond Howitzers as instructors, and remained permanently with the battery. At Camp Lee it was fully organized and William D. Brown was elected Captain.

During the Peninsular Campaign in the spring of 1862, the 4th Maryland was held in reserve, but thereafter it was attached to Colonel Snowden Andrews' Battalion, where it fought alongside Carpenter's Battery and the 1st Maryland Artillery. Colonel Andrews won fame at Cedar Mountain/Cedar Run near Culpeper Courthouse in August 1862, and the 4th Maryland distinguished itself so creditably in the engagement that General Early presented the battery with four ten-pound Federal Parrott cannons captured in that battle, thus enabling the battery to discard its obsolete smooth bore pieces which had prevented them from participating more conspicuously in other engagements.

August 1862, during the Second Battle of Manassas, while Stonewall Jackson moved to Manassas Junction and destroyed the great stores that the Federal army had built, the 4th Maryland was actively engaged at Bristoe. In the midst of the hottest part of fire, the men were startled by the appearance of General Stonewall Jackson quietly looking on, and evidently pleased with the performance of the battery. Seeing Jackson watching them, the men stopped the firing to cheer the commander, but he simply ordered the battery to renew their fire. That night the battery was heavily engaged in a fire fight with a Federal battery. Although having the advantage of position, the 4th Maryland suffered several casualties, but when day broke on the Federal position, the Federal battery was gone and much of its crew, supporting infantry and horses lay dead or wounded on the ground.

In September 1862 the 4th Maryland participated in the Maryland Campaign and Siege of Harpers Ferry and one of the shells from the battery was responsible for the death of Colonel D.H. Miles, the Federal commander at Harpers Ferry. The battery remained in Harpers Ferry during the Battle of Sharpsburg (Antietam) due to the lack of horses. Returning to Virginia, the battery moved to Fredericksburg, took a prominent part, and fought valiantly on December 13, 1862 at Hamilton's Crossing, and suffered severe losses. After Fredericksburg the battery went in to winter quarters in DeJarnett's Woods in Caroline County, near Bowling Green where the men had many weeks of much needed rest.

In the spring of 1863 the Federal army under General Hooker occupied a strong position at Chancellorsville. The 4th Maryland, still assigned to Colonel Snowden Andrews' Artillery Battalion under Early's division, participated in Early's defense against Federal assaults on the Confederates position above Fredericksburg. Although the 4th Maryland was not engaged at Chancellorsville, it returned to occupy a position near Hamilton's Crossing - nearly upon the same ground that it occupied almost 6 months prior. During the engagement the 4th Maryland was ordered to take the place of Dement's Battery (1st Maryland), whose twelve-pound Napoleons were ineffective against the Federals long range cannons. The battery held its position until the entire battalion was moved back near Telegraph Road. There, Andrews' artillery battalion, hidden from the advancing infantry, dealt it a series of devastating volleys, allowing Early's infantry to push the staggering column back and retake the hills overlooking Fredericksburg.

The 4th Maryland was attached to Ewell's Corps in June 1863, and moved with him to the Valley as he made his way north. The Battery was not engaged in Winchester, and did not see much fighting until it reached Gettysburg.

At Gettysburg the 4th Maryland was assigned to Colonel Snowden Andrews' Artillery Battalion commanded by subordinate, twenty year old Major Joseph Latimer. Major Latimer chose Benner's Hill, the only offensive position he could find, which provided little shelter and was exposed to crossfire. Benner's Hill was opposite Culp's Hill and the artillery was placed there to support Ewell's assaults on Culp's Hill and Cemetery Hill. Major Latimer crowded fourteen guns into the cramped space. The Fourth Maryland, led by Captain William Brown, went to the right near Hanover Pike and Carpenter's Battery poised in the center with the 1st Maryland. Major Latimer opened fire about 4 PM and for more than one hour all cannons engaged the forty cannons comprising the Federal batteries on Cemetery Hill and Culp's Hill. The Federal artillery on Cemetery Hill, on a much higher elevation, dominated the Confederate artillery and poured in a destructive bombardment that caused heavy casualties to the crowded Confederates on Benner's Hill. 4th Maryland Captain William Brown was mortally wounded as he rode to the front of his battery to rally his men to stand manfully to their guns for the honor of their native state Maryland. He fell mangled by a solid shot. Lieutenant Walter S. Chew was now in command of the 4th Maryland or what was left of it. The battery had three guns silenced during the artillery duel. Lt. Chew shifted his able-bodied men to the one remaining piece that had a wheel shattered which the crew replaced and continued firing. 4th Maryland's losses at Gettysburg's second day of battle were eight men killed, eight wounded and half of the battery's horses were killed as well.

After Gettysburg the 4th Maryland continued with the Army of Northern Virginia where the battery under Andrew's Artillery Battalion participated in the Bristoe, Virginia and the Mine Run Campaigns from October to December 1863. January 1, 1864 the battery was assigned to Braxton's Artillery Battalion, Ewell's Corps until April 30, 1864. May 4 to June 2, 1864, the 4th Maryland was assigned to Col. Bradley Johnson's Maryland Line in the Richmond Defense; then on to the Battle of Cold Harbor where it was stationed on Turkey Ridge attached to Pegram's Battalion. From June 18, 1864, to the remainder of the war, the battery was involved in the Defense of Petersburg, assigned to McIntosh's Artillery Battalion, III Corps. The 4th Maryland was eventually stationed at Fort Gregg, near Petersburg with the Washington Artillery where the battery saw severe action and took a prominent part in the gallant defense of Fort Gregg. Each unit was provided one gun. On one occasion the battery ran out of ammunition and employed a Lieutenant's coat to pick up Federal shells so they could be lobbed back at the Union guns. On April 2, 1865, Captain Chew and majority of the surviving members of the 4th Maryland were captured when Fort Gregg fell.

On April 9, 1865, Sergeant J.D. Richardson and 11 privates surrendered at Appomattox Court House as part of the McIntosh's Battalion, which was commanded by Lt. Colonel W. M. Owens. The 4th Maryland Light Artillery was credited with participation in 13 engagements.

SOURCES:
Maryland and the Confederacy by Harry Wright Newman
Maryland in the Civil War by Harold R. Manakee
Maryland In The Civil War The South, Book 1 by Thomas V. Huntsberry
Marylanders at Gettysburg by Daniel Carroll Toomey
The Guns at Gettysburg by Fairfax Downey
The Maryland Line In The Confederate Army 1861 - 1865 by W.W. Goldsborough

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CASUALTIES AND WOUNDED

CEDAR MOUNTAIN

Private John Shanahan, Wounded

SECOND MANASSAS

Private Henry Baker, Wounded
Private Frederick Cusick, Wounded
Private Andrew Egan, Wounded

FREDERICKSBURG
December 13, 1862 - May 3, 1863


Lieutenant John Grason, Killed
Sergeant Robert Crowley, Wounded
Corporal Thomas Carberry, Wounded
Corporal Alexander Hopkins, Killed
Private __________Grahame, Killed
Private John Green, Wounded
Private Vincent Green, Wounded
Private Richard E. Langley, Wounded
Private Philip Oldner, Wounded
Private John Shanahan, Wounded
Private James Stewart, Wounded
Private Thomas Toy, Wounded

GETTYSBURG

Captain William D. Brown, Killed
Lieutenant Benjamin Roberts, Killed
Sergeant Philip Brown, Wounded
Sergeant Thomas LeCopmte, Wounded
Sergeant James Wall, Wounded
Corporal Daniel Dougherty, Killed
Private Doctor Jack Brian, killed
Private Frederick Cusick, Killed
Private James Green, Wounded
Private Richard Hardesty, Killed
Private Philip Oldner, Killed
Private Henry Parker, Wounded
Private Thaddeus Parker, Killed
Private Nich. Richardson, Wounded
Private Smith Warrington, Wounded
Private James Henry Wilson, Wounded

FORT GREGG

Corporal William Pinder, Wounded
Private William Culver, Killed

DEATHS IN HOSPITAL

Private John Poisal
Private Edward Stansbury

ACCIDENTAL

Private Robert C. Jones, lost an arm at Heathsville, Virginia


For more information on the 4thMaryland Light Artillery, please contact Jean Roger Buchen at  JRBuchen@msn.com


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