Kentucky Cavaliers in Dixie: The Reminiscences of a Confederate Cavalryman

By Geo. Dallas Mosgrove | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVIII.
SCHOOLFIELD'S BATTERY.

THE unique little battery commanded by Captain J. J. Schoolfield was invented by a man named Williams, of Covington, Ky., who went to Richmond early in the war and induced the Confederate Government to cast a battery of six guns. This was the only battery of the kind, I think, in the Confederate army. During much of the war it was attached to our brigade, and the twenty-five young men who manned it intimately affiliated with the Fourth Kentucky Cavalry. The names of a majority of the battery membership are to be found on the muster-roll of Captain Bart Jenkins' company.

It was a small breech-loading gun, the breech being thrown out by a spring, when the gun was discharged, thereby permitting a current of air to pass through the long barrel, which had a tendency to keep it cool while being actively worked. It carried a one pound solid ball, but upon occasion it did effective service at short range when loaded with buckshot and half-ounce ball cartridges. The gun could be fired about forty times a minute, and being mounted upon a light carriage it could be run from point to point by hand. The little battery often did great execution, and the Federals were frequently puzzled to know the character of artillery they were fighting.

On one of the inconsequential raids into the mountains of Kentucky Colonel Tom Johnson took one of the little guns with his battalion, but I do not think any of the regular batterymen accompanied it. While encamped somewhere near the Big Sandy River, in a narrow valley, flanked by high mountains, a noted Union partisan, named Patrick, entered Johnson's camp at night and stole the gun away. Patrick told me of the circumstance since the war, and said he was like the man who drew the elephant--that he did not know what to do with the gun after he had captured (?) it. The

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