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26th Indiana Light Battery
in the American Civil War

Online Books:
26th Indiana Light Battery Officer Roster - Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Indiana, Volume 3, by W.H.H. Terrell, Adjutant General, Indiana, 1866 View Entire Book
26th Indiana Light Battery Soldier Roster - Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Indiana, Volume 7, by W.H.H. Terrell, Adjutant General, Indiana, 1867 View Entire Book

Regimental History
Twenty-sixth Indiana Light Battery. — Capts., Silas F. Rigby, Hubbard F. Thomas. This battery was recruited in May, 1861, by Capt. John T. Wilder as a company of light artillery, but was not accepted as such. It then joined the 17th Ind. infantry, of which it became Co. A. Capt. Wilder was promoted to lieutenant-colonel of the 17th and Silas F. Rigby, who had been commissioned first lieutenant, was appointed captain of the company. It left the state on July 2 with the regiment and proceeded to western Virginia, taking 2 wrought-iron 6-pounders that had been presented to it by the people of Decatur county. It was organized and detached as an artillery company on reaching Elk Water, W. Va., bearing the designation of the 1st independent battery, generally referred to as "Rigby's Battery." During Reynolds' operations at Cheat mountain it did good service, and it accompanied Milroy's expedition to Camp Alleghany in December. With Milroy's forces it moved over the mountains in April, 1862, and was in the engagement at McDowell in May, retreating with the command to Franklin. With Gen. Fremont it took part in the pursuit of Stonewall Jackson's forces up the Shenandoah Valley, being engaged at Cross Keys and at other points. At Winchester it was attached to a brigade commanded by Col. Piatt, remaining with it on garrison duty and in picket and scouting work until the advance of Lee's army towards Maryland, after the second battle of Bull Run. At Harper's Ferry it was compelled to surrender with the other forces in September. The officers and men were paroled, sent to camp Douglas, Chicago, and later to Camp Butler, Springfield, Ill. When exchanged, the battery was sent to Indianapolis, where it was reorganized by the appointment of Lieut. Hubbard T. Thomas of the 3d battery as captain, and the promotion of some of the non-commissioned officers as lieutenants in the different grades. It was known as the "Wilder Battery" in honor of Col. Wilder, and moved for Cincinnati and Covington in command of Lieut. McLaughlin. On March 18, 1863, it joined Gen. Gillmore's command at Lexington, Ky., and was engaged at Danville, Dutton's hill and other points during its stay in Kentucky. Capt. Thomas joined the battery at Somerset on May 9. Moving into eastern Tennessee with Burnside's forces in August, it participated in the affairs at Carter's station on the Virginia railroad, and at the Watauga river. The battery was conspicuously engaged in the defensive operations at Knoxville, and claimed to have fired the first gun in that engagement. Moving close to the enemy's lines in sections at night, it harassed him by an incessant fire, and when the siege was raised it accompanied the pursuit of Longstreet's forces, engaging them at different places. In Jan., 1864, 103 men of the battery reenlisted at Strawberry plains, and visited home on furlough. Of these about 55 were remustered, the others being considered not eligible for veteran muster. Leaving Indianapolis March 18, 1864, the battery returned to Tennessee and in April was attached to Hovey's division, then at Charleston, but the failure to secure equipment in time prevented its accompanying the army on the Atlanta campaign. It was sent to Knoxville and attached to the reserve artillery, commanded by Gen. Tillson. On June 12 the non-veterans were sent to Indianapolis for muster-out. The battery remained at Knoxville on garrison duty and engaged in building fortifications until the following March, when it was equipped as a 4-gun battery and joined Tillson's command in Gen. Stoneman's movement into North Carolina. At the conclusion of this campaign it went into camp at Greeneville, Tenn., remaining there until ordered home. It reached Indianapolis July 11, 1865, with 5 officers and 105 men, and was mustered out on the 19th.

Footnotes:
Regimental history taken from "The Union Army" by Federal Publishing Company, 1908 - Volume 3

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