MADISON LIGHT ARTILLERY,
aka Capt. Richards Company,
& aka Wards Battery
(from Dunbar Rowlands "Military History of Mississippi, 1803-1898")
Mustered into State service April 28, 1861.
First Lieutenant--James S. Reid.
Second Lieutenant--Thomas J. Richards.
These were the original officers.
As organized December 12, 1862, Richards was Junior First Lieutenant; W. Frank George, Second Lieutenant; J. K. Kearney, Junior Second Lieutenant.
Original roll, 66; killed, 15; wounded, 12; died, 5.
At the battle of Gettysburg Captain Ward was in command of two batteries, and subsequently he was promoted to Major, commanding a battalion of artillery. Capt. Thomas J. Richards then commanded the Madison battery, which was reported in March, I864, as 127 men, 59 horses and four 12-pounder Napoleon guns.
The battery served under Col. R. L. Walker, attached to the Third corps in the campaign of 1864. Walker's twenty batteries were put in motion, attending the divisions of Heth and Wilcox, down the Plank road toward the Wilderness, Poague's battalion in front, early in the morning of May 5. When Heth's division, in advance, encountered the Federal cavalry, Richards' battery was pushed forward and assisted in driving it back upon the main body. Poague's battalion was posted by the artillery chief of the army at the only place near the front where artillery could be used, and one gun of the battalion, being further advanced, was effectively used in the bloody repulse of the attack on Heth and Wilcox that afternoon. Next day, when fresh Federal troops pushed back the weary divisions of Heth and Wilcox, the guns under Poague and Ward checked the onslaught and enabled Longstreet's troops, just arriving on the field, to take a favorable position and drive the enemy back. In the battle of Spotsylvania they aided in repulsing the Federal attack on another salient of the Confederate line than the Bloody Angle. When the scene of battle was changed to the South Anna and the enemy made a demonstration higher up the river, at Jericho ford, Poague's battalion was sent with Heth's division to meet that danger. The repulse of the Federal infantry was followed by a sharp battle of artillery. "Major Ward, second in command of Poague's battalion, a devout Christian, gallant soldier and efficient officer, was here killed by a cannon shot," General Pendleton reported. At Cold Harbor, June 3, the Madison artillery was ordered into a position over the protest of Poague, in which they were exposed to the fire of a heavy line of skirmishers. The battery was almost entirely crippled, and many lives lost to very little purpose, Pendleton reported. "Richards' pieces were with much difficulty gotten back to the works occupied by the infantry. They were there, however, used with some effect, as the enemy attempted to advance, the cannoneers being to some extent protected."
In the final campaign in Virginia the battery was commanded by Lieutenant John W. Yeargain. [END OF AN ALL TOO BRIEF HISTORY FOR THIS GALLANT BATTERY]
Do you have an ancestor in this unit? If so, contact the Mississippi Department of Archives and History for his service record. Then contact us for a membership application.