Pettus Flying Artillery

(aka Capt. Hoole’s Company,

and aka Hudson’s Battery)

 

(from Dunbar Rowland’s "Military History of Mississippi, 1803-1898"; company listing courtesy of H. Grady Howell’s "For Dixie Land, I’ll Take My Stand’)

 

Mustered in State army May 4, 1861, Panola County. Captain -- Alfred Hudson, killed at Shiloh. First Lieutenant -- Thad. D. Randolph. Second Lieutenant -- James L. Hoole, promoted Captain. Third Lieutenant -- John R. Sweaney, killed at Vicksburg.

Lieutenants promoted: E. S. Walton, wounded at Vicksburg; Milton H. Trantham, in command at surrender of Vicksburg.

In the organization of the army under General Polk at Columbus, Ky., in the fall of 1861, Hudson's Battery was, with Blythe's Battalion, attached to Preston Smith's Brigade in Cheatham's Division. At Camp Beauregard, Ky., November, with Bowen's Division, present and absent, 109. In the next month General Polk broke up this camp, sending the troops to General Johnston at Bowling Green. He wrote: "1 send you Hudson's Battery, a very fine one." It was attached to Bowen's Brigade, in Floyd's Division of the army under General Hardee. After the retreat to Corinth Bowen's Brigade was a part of General Breckenridge's "Reserve Corps." Breckenridge fought in the front line at Shiloh, but he

made no detailed report, and Bowen was severely wounded, and the Hudson Battery is not mentioned in the official reports.

Served in defense of Vicksburg, July, 1862, under colnmand of First Lieut. J. R. Sweaney, attached to Helm's Brigade. Under command of Sweaney participated in the battle of Baton Rouge, August 5, 1862, with the division under General Clark, General Breckenridge gave them honorable mention in his report. The battery had six men wounded. Attached to Rust's Brigade of Lovell's Division, Van Dorn's Army, at the battle of Corinth, October 1862, Lieutenant Sweaney in command, but had no opportunity to participate. With Rust's Brigade, January, 1863, Port Hudson district; same, March, Lieut. Sweaney commanding. Transferred to Jackson, Miss., sent April 18, with Lowry's Regiment, to reinforce General Bowen at Grand Gulf. At I A.M., April 30, hearing that Grant was crossing the river to Bruinsburg, Bowen sent a section of the Hudson Battery, with Col. Robert Lowry's Regiment and a part of Green's Brigade to occupy the roads in front of Port Gibson, in all 775 men, which he reinforced during the battle of May 1 with other infantry and artillery to a total of 5,000. General Green reported that in the opening of the battle, three hours before dawn, on the Rodney road near Union Church, "the Hudson Battery, though in a very warm place, succeeded in driving the enemy's battery from its position. This, however, was soon replaced by another, which opened upon us with great fury. Our battery replied with signal success, though the enemy's shells and balls fell thick around them wounding many; yet they stood by their guns and kept up a regular fire. After three hours hard fighting the enemy ceased firing and withdrew a short distance." Sweaney retired his battery for ammunition, but soon returned and was engaged until Green was compelled to retreat about 11 o'clock.

"The Hudson Battery brought off all their pieces," General Bowen said, "but had lost so many horses they were compelled to abandon their caissons. This battery suffered severely, having twenty wounded."

May 14, Lieut. Sweaney's section, camped near the Cox hospital, placed at disposal of General Forney for defense of Big Black bridge.

On the Vicksburg line tablets 131 and 132 mark the right and left guns (12- pounder howitzers) of Hudson's Battery. These guns took position on the morning of the investment and remained until disabled. First Lieut. E. S. Walton commanded two guns in the railroad redan. From this detachment four men were captured during the charge made upon the fort. Tablet 150 marks the site of a 6-pounder gun, commanded by Lieuts. Sweaney and Trantham. Sweaney was killed and Walton desperately wounded, and Lieut. Trantham was left in command.

In parole camp at Enterprise, November, 1863, Captain James L. Hoole commanding; present, 64; aggregate, 102, December, exchanged. Chalmers sent Hoole's Battery of mountain howitzers, with his reinforcements, to General Forrest during the Meridian campaign, and they participated in the battle of Okolona, February 22, 1864, both in the town, and in the attack five miles out where Col. Jeff. Forrest and Colonel Barksdale were killed. Hudson's Battery, Lieut. E. S. Walton, two 10-pounder Parrotts and two 12-pounder howitzers, in Morton's Artillery Battalion of Forrest's Cavalry, with batteries of Morton, Thrall and Rice.

In battle of Harrisburg, July 14, 1864, on the fight of the line, with Roddey's Division.

In the attack on Athens, Ala., September 23, 1864, "Hudson's Battery, commanded by Lieut. E. S. Walton, was placed northeast of the fort," (Forrest's report) which surrendered after artillery firing was kept up a short time. Walton's guns were also in action at Sulphur Springs, where another garrison was taken, September 25, and at Eastport, October 10, Walton, supported by Kelley's Cavalry, defeated two gunboats and three transports loaded with troops. "Two balls penetrated one gunboat and a shell burst in one of the transports, causing it to be enveloped in steam and flame." The battery was with Forrest in the raid in West Tennessee, which followed, and at Johnsonville, November 3, with Morton's and Thrall's Batteries, made the famous fight against the land batteries and gunboats defending the military depot. About fifty guns were in action, mostly on the Federal side. "The gunboats, in fifteen minutes after the engagement commenced, were set on fire, and made rapidly for the shore, where they were consumed. My batteries next opened upon the transports, and in a short time they were in flames. The immense amount of stores were also set on fire, together with the huge warehouse above the landing. The enemy continued a furious cannonading on my batteries." (Forrest's report.) At times the rammers were shot from the hands of the cannoneers and men were nearly buried under the dirt thrown on them by the explosion of shells from the land batteries, and their work was possible only by reason of their remarkable accuracy and rapidity of firing.

General Chalmers reported that a section of the battery aided in the capture of the transport Cheeseman, October 30, at Paris Landing.

March 23, 1865, General Forrest, at West Point, ordered General Chalmers at Pickensville, Ala., to send Arrnstrong's Brigade with Hudson's Battery to Selma. April 11, Hudson Battery with General Starke at Greensboro.

 

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Military History