Battery G, 1st West Virginia Light Artillery
Battery G had its origin in Pittsburgh, Pa. When the first call for volunteers was made in Pennsylvania, the number of men responding was much greater than the quota of the State. Among the companies organized under this call was the Plummer Guards, so named in honor of a patriotic merchant, Joseph Plummer, who at his own expense furnished them with complete uniforms. Fearing that the war would be of short duration and that no more men would be needed by their own State, they offered their services to Governor Peirpoint of West Virginia and were promptly accepted, and were mustered into the service as Co. G. in the Second West Virginia Infantry. It was early in the month of May that the company embarked on the steamer John T. McCombs for Wheeling. When the company arrived in Wheeling, it was quartered for a short time on board the steamer Courier, and afterwards was transferred to Camp Carlisle on Wheeling Island. The company left Wheeling for the front on July 5, 1861. They went first to Webster and thence to Laurel Hill, thence to Rich Mountain and Beverly. Took part in the pursuit of Garnet’s retreating forces. Wintered at Elkwater.
On December 13, 1861, a detail of the company took part in the battle of Alleghany Mountains. In the spring of 1862 they were put in charge of some old brass 6-pounder guns, and as artillerymen became so expert as to command the admiration of the various commanders under which they served. In fact, so efficient did they become, that the authorities transferred them to the First Virginia Artillery Volunteers, after which they were recruited to the full battery strength and a splendid equipment of guns given them.
They participated in all of General Milroy’s battles and marches. They were with Fremont in his campaigns, and with General Pope up to and including the second battle of Bull Run. They then returned to West Virginia and became part of General W.W. Averell’s Cavalry Division, and under that gallant leader did grand service at Rocky Gap, Droop Mountain and Salem raid, not to mention numerous other engatements and expeditions. The Rocky Gap fighting by this battery has few parallels in the history of the Rebellion. The history of the Second Virginia and of Averell’s cavalry is the history of Battery G.
The original officers of the company were Captain Chatham T. Ewing; 1st Lieutenant, Alfred Sickman; 2d Lieutenant, Jacob Huggins. Lieutenant Sickman was killed December 13, 1861, in the battle of Allegheny Mountains, and Howard Morton who did gallant service on the occasion was promoted to his place. Lieutenant Huggins resigned early in 1862, and Samuel J. Shearer, a brave and capable officer, succeeded him.
The battery was mustered out on August 8, 1864.
Maj. Howard Morton enlisted in Company G, Second Virginia Infantry, afterwards Battery G, First Artillery. After the battle of Allegheny Mountains he was promoted to first lieutenant, vice Sickman killed. He served the full three years, taking a commendable part in all of the campaigns and battles participated in by the company. He was in command of the battery in several engagements, notably those of Rocky Gap and New Market, where his skill and courage received the plaudits of his comrades and commanders. At the close of his services in West Virginia, he returned to Pennsylvania where he was commissioned major of the Fifth Pennsylvania Artillery, and in that capacity served with bravery and skill.
Major Morton was a soldier by inheritance. On his father’s side he come from two Revolutionary soldiers and three ancestors who were distinguished in the French and Indian wars. On his mother’s side he is descended from Abraham Clark, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and from two more Revolutionary soldiers. He is at present first vice-president of the Pennsylvania Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, and is foremost in every good work which looks to the inculcation of true American principles in the rising generations. He resides in Pittsburg, is happily married and comfortably suited, and has two children, a boy and a girl.
[Source: Loyal West Virginia 1861-1865, by Theodore Lang]
Organized May 26, 1863, from Company “G,” 2nd West Virginia Infantry. Duty at Beverly, Buckhannon, Bulltown, Clarksburg, Parkersburg, Weston and Martinsburg till May, 1864. Operations against Imboden in West Virginia April 20-May 14, 1863. Scout to Beverly June 16. Engagement at Beverly July 2-3. Huttonsville July 4. Hedgesville and Martinsburg July 18-19. Averell’s Raid through Hardy, Pendleton. Highland, Bath, Greenbrier and Pocahontas Counties, W. Va., August 5-31. Jackson River August 25. Rocky Gap, near White Sulphur Springs, August 26-27. Averell’s Raid against Lewisburg and the Virginia & Tennessee Railroad November 1-17. Droop Mountain November 6. Averell’s Salem Raid December 8-25. Salem December 16. Scott’s or Barber’s Creek and Jackson River, near Covington, December 19. Operations in Hampshire and Hardy Counties against Rosser January 27-February 7, 1864. Springfield February 2. Sigel’s Expedition from Martinsburg to New Market April 30-May 16. New Market May 15. Advance to Staunton May 17-June 6. Piedmont June 5. Occupation of Staunton June 6. Ordered to Wheeling, W. Va., via Cheat Mountain, Beverly and Weston. Mustered out June 22, 1864.
The 1st West Virginia Light Artillery regiment lost 33 men, killed and died of wounds; 131 men, died of disease, accident or in prison; total deaths, 164 men. (all 8 batteries)
[Source: Regimental Losses in the American Civil War, 1861-1865,by William F. Fox]
Reader, Francis S.; History of the Fifth West Virginia Cavalry, Formerly the Second West Virginia Infantry, and of Battery G, First West Va. Light Artillery. New Brighton, PA: Daily News, 1890. 304 p. Modern reprint by 35th Star Publishing.
1st West Virginia Light Artillery – National Park Service
1st West Virginia Light Artillery – West Virginia Adjutant General Papers at West Virginia State Archives
Battery G, 1st West Virginia Light Artillery – The Civil War in the East