2nd USCLA Battery A
Five men from Williamson County enlisted in Battery A of the 2nd US Colored Light Artillery Regiment. They all were born in Williamson County and enlisted in Nashville. All but one enlisted on the same day - April 2, 1864.
Cpl. Peter Battle enlisted on April 2, 1864. He was born in Williamson County around 1845. He was described as a 19-year-old farmer. He died in Wilson Hospital, Nashville on Feb 15, 1865 of pneumonia. His remains are buried at the Nashville National Cemetery in Madison, Tennessee.
Pvt. Henry Berry enlisted on April 2, 1864. He was born in Williamson County around 1846.
Pvt. Samuel Covington enlisted on September 16, 1864. He was born in Williamson County around 1844. Following the War, he returned to Franklin, registered to vote in 1867, married Mary Webb and farmed in District 11. Later, he moved his family to Marshall County and used the name Samuel Haley. He applied for a pension under that name in 1891. He died around 1902. No grave has been located.
Pvt. Mack Petway enlisted on April 2, 1864. He was born in Williamson County around 1846. Following the War, he moved to Giles County where he married Emma Jane Webb. The couple later moved to northeast Arkansas where Mack Petway operated a grocery store and was a founding member of a local branch of the fraternal organization the Independent Order of Immaculates. He died in 1914 and is buried in the Gum Grove Cemetery in Newport, Arkansas.
Pvt. Harvey Willington enlisted on April 2, 1864. He was born in Williamson County around 1839 and was a blacksmith. Willington died in USA Hospital No. 16 Nashville on March 23, 1864, of typhoid fever. His grave is not known and his name appears on the Roll of Honor of unknowns at the Nashville National Cemetery. He was described on his enlistment papers as a 25-year-old blacksmith, making him the oldest and most highly skilled of the Williamson County men to enlist in the Battery.
History of Battery A.
In January 1864 Captain Joseph V. Meigs received permission to begin enlisting men into an artillery Battery in Nashville. Meigs had been born in Nashville in 1840 and was the son of a prominent lawyer and Unionist, Return Jonathan Meigs. Among the officers of the Battery was Captain Joseph Meigs and his brother 1st Lieut. Fielding P Meigs. The Battery first camped at Camp Lorenzo Thomas, on the Granny White Pike, opposite Fort Morton.
On February 4, 1864, Adjutant General Lorenzo Thomas wrote:
“It is important that the armament for Captain J. V Meigs’ battery be ordered at once, as all his men will be enlisted long before the battery can get here.”
At the beginning of April, 1864, it moved to "the hill near the old Fair Ground, called Camp Mussy." According to a newspaper account, it was "considered by all who saw it one of the prettiest camps in Tennessee." By April 30, 1864, the Battery appears to have been fully organized. Colonel R. D. Mussey, Commissioner for the Organization of Colored Troops reported on October 10 that:
“The battery is full, and has been stationed here. It has but recently gotten horses. The men are pretty well advanced in the school of the piece, and have had a few mounted drills.”
Next, the Battery went to Johnsonville, where a detachment of the Battery was involved n the Battle of Johnsonville. Colonel J. C. Peterson commanded the detachment, and listed as part of the force: "one section Battery “A”, Lieutenant F. Meigs, two Napoleon guns, 30 men." Colonel Mussey reported about their performance: “The behaviour of the colored troops at Johnsonville, was, I am informed by several eye-witnesses, excellent. A section of Meigs’ Battery made excellent practice, dismounting one of the guns of a battery placed by the rebels on the opposite shore, causing the battery several times to move its position.”This section remained at Johnsonville until November 25, when it was ordered back to Nashville by General George H. Thomas.
The full Battery A was placed on garrison duty at Nashville to help defend the city during the Battle of Nashville (December 15-16, 1865).
As the War wound down, one section of the Battery was stationed at Springfield, Tennessee. In the spring of 1865, Capt. Meigs resigned and his brother F. P. Meigs took the poition. The battery was mustered out January 13, 1866.
The Nashville Daily Union,
Saturday January 30, 1864
These images are from Skinners Auctioneers, which sold this set at auction on November 14, 2010 to collector Julia "Judy" Norrell. These four photographs of Battery A captured them practicing gun drills with the Army of Cumberland in Tennessee around 1863. The images form part of the Norrell Collection at the Morris Museum of Art, Augusta, Georgia. The above image was colorized using the DeOldify software on MyHeritage.
Camped on Grassy Hill
"Capt. Meig's battery of light artillery, a negro company was camped on a grassy hill just back of the home of John Trimble and in front of the residences of Andrew Ewing and Judge Humpries, homes that been taken for refugees"
The Tennessean, Friday May 15, 1914
The 2nd US Colored LIght Artillery, Battery A at Johnsonville, Tennessee
"Mustered out. We briefly announced yesterday morning the fact of the muster out of Battery "A", 2d U.S. Colored [Light] Artillery. Since then we have been favored with a succinct history of the Battery. It originally entered the service at Nashville, Tenn., in January, 1864. The officers at that time were Capt. Joseph V. Meigs, 1s Lieut. Jerry Lewis, 1st Lieut. Fielding P Meigs, 2d Lieut. Andrew Graydon, and 2d Lieut. Augustus W. Slayton. The first camp was Camp Lorenzo Thomas, on the Granny White Pike, opposite Fort Morton. About the first of April, 1864, it marched to the hill near the old Fair Ground, called Camp Mussy, which was considered by all who saw it one of the prettiest camps in Tennessee. This Battery went to Johnsonville, and one section commanded by Lieut. Meigs had the pleasure of throwing iron at the rebs. It arrived in Nashville the second time a little more than one year ago (about the time "Corporal" Hood visited in the vicinity of Nashville [The Battle of Nashville Dec 15-16, 1865]), and went into camp on the second line of works near Mr. Thomas Harding's.
One section was stationed at Springfield, Tennessee, some months, and commanded by Lieutenant Lewis. In the spring of 1865, Capt. J. V. Meigs resigned and F. P. Meigs was promoted Captain. Soon after Lieut. Lewis resigned, leaving the command but three officers. In March, Lieutenant Slayton was detailed as Acting Adjutant Post Artillery; where he remained as long as such an office existed. During the summer, A. B. Williams was appointed Lieutenant by the Secretary of War, and Lieutenant J. P. Hoyt was transferred form the 9th U.S.C.A. (Hv) Lieutenant Slayton was again detailed Col. Shaffter as commandant Post Military Prison, where he remained until relieved to be mustered out. Lieutenant Williams was detailed as Ordinance officer at Clarksville. The battery was mustered out January 13, 1866, by Captain Harrison, of the 15th U.S.C.I, and paid January 16th, by Major Nelson, Post Paymaster. We are pleased to state that the members of this command have given little or no trouble during the two years that they have served at Nashville, which we think speaks well of the officers."
The Nashville Daily Union, Thursday January 18, 1866
Sgt. Peter Battle from Williamson County
Headstone in the Nashville National Cemetery
Headstone of Pvt. Mack Petway.