Second Arkansas Artillery; Dallas Artillery, Hart's Battery
The Dallas Artillery was organized at Dallas, Polk County, Arkansas, in the late Spring of 1861, and enlisted in Confederate service at Fayetteville on August 1, 1861, with 75 officers and men on the rolls. The original officers included Captain William Hart, First Lieutenant J. W. Thomas, and Second Lieutenant Charles Ringer. The battery was equipped with four 6-pounder guns. No muster rolls for this first organization have been discovered. From other records, it is known that Hart’s Battery served in northwest Arkansas and the Indian Territory in the Second Brigade of McCulloch’s Division during the winter of 1861-1862. It was still assigned to the Second Brigade when it fought in the Battle of Pea Ridge (Elkhorn Tavern) in Benton County, Arkansas, March 7-8, 1862. The Yankees captured two of the battery’s guns, along with its colors. For reasons that are still unclear, the general commanding the Trans-Mississippi District issued General Orders No. 10, dated March 22, 1862, which censured several members of Hart’s Battery, and disbanded the battery “for shameful conduct in the presence of the enemy.”
Over the next few months, a court of inquiry was convened, which resulted in the following action:
“HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE WEST, Priceville, July 17, 1862. General Orders No. 15. It having been satisfactorily proven to a court of inquiry, convened for the purpose of investigating the conduct of certain men, formerly members of the artillery company known as Hart’s Battery, at the battle of Elkhorn, that those men were guilty of no misconduct on the battle-field, it is hereby ordered that they, viz, Charles E. Steele, M. M. Tice, W. D. Moore, John Kennedy, B. L. Allen, William Masterson, N. B. Milton, and James Pitkins, be, and they are hereby, relieved from the censure contained in General Orders No. 10, dated Headquarters Trans-Mississippi District, Van Buren, Ark., March 22, 1862, disbanding Hart’s Battery Light Artillery ‘for shameful conduct in the presence of the enemy’. By order of Major-General Price: THOMAS L. SNEAD, Assistant Adjutant-General.”
With the censure lifted, at least officially, Hart’s Battery was reconstituted on August 1, 1862, at Camp White Sulphur Springs, Arkansas. Few of the members of the original Dallas Artillery rejoined the second organization. The battery was augmented with a large number of unassigned recruits from depots at Monticello and Little Rock, and transfers from several Arkansas regiments, especially the 24th Arkansas Infantry.
Hart’s star-crossed battery reorganized just in time to be part of another disaster. Assigned to Colonel Robert R. Garland’s Texas Brigade at Fort Hindman (Arkansas Post), with 83 officers and men and four guns, the battery was captured with the rest of the garrison when Confederate forces surrendered on January 11, 1863. The surrender is still a subject of controversy today, and the Arkansas Post troops were forced to live under a cloud of suspicion; however, from all accounts, Hart’s Battery served their guns professionally and courageously during the siege.
After being exchanged in April 1863, Hart’s Battery was again reconstituted, and spent the remainder of the war in the Trans-Mississippi Army. There are few references to Hart’s Battery during the last year of the war. A report of the organization of the army on September 30, 1864, shows Hart’s Battery in the army siege train, manning large siege guns, presumably around Alexandria, Louisiana. On November 19, 1864, Hart’s Battery was redesignated as the Second Arkansas Field Battery. At this time, it was assigned to the reserve artillery battalion, equipped with four mounted guns. No later reference has been found, nor has any record of the paroles of the men of Hart’s Battery been located.
See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2nd_Arkansas_Field_Battery and http://www.typepad.com/site/blogs/6a00d8341cb81853ef01539184464f970b/page/compose