Recruitment and Training
First Wisconsin Light Artillery Battery (1st Wisconsin Light Artillery Battery) was organized at La Crosse, Wisconsin, and it mustered into service on October 10, 1861. The battery then moved to Camp Utley in Racine, Wisconsin, where it continued to train and prepare for service.
On January 23, 1862, the battery left Wisconsin and traveled to Louisville, Kentucky, to join the Union Army's efforts in the Western Theater of the Civil War. Once in Kentucky, the battery was assigned to the Army of the Ohio and began its service in the field.
In April of 1862, the battery moved to Lexington, Kentucky, and participated in the Cumberland Gap Campaign from March 28 to June 18, 1862. They also saw action at Tazewell, Tennessee, on August 6, 1862. In October of 1862, the battery was transferred to Memphis, Tennessee.
Later that year, in December 1862, the battery joined forces assembling to battle at Vicksburg, Mississippi, and fought alongside General Sherman in several actions to secure a position above the city. On April 30, 1863, they crossed the river with General Grant's forces, and on May 1, they fought in the Battle of Port Gibson. On May 19, 1863, the battery took its place in the line of entrenchments and opened fire on the Confederates at Vicksburg. After the surrender, they accompanied Union forces on the Campaign against Jackson, Mississippi, from July 5 to 25, 1863.
In August of 1863, the battery transferred to southern Louisiana and participated in the Red River Expedition in April of 1864. They then served primarily in southern Louisiana, operating from Baton Rouge as an initial point, making long marches and participating in many minor movements and frequent contact with the enemy.
The battery lost five enlisted men and one officer who were killed and mortally wounded. Twenty-two enlisted men perished by disease.
For Further Research
Search our collections for photos and artifacts from Wisconsin in the Civil War. Read about other Wisconsin Civil War regiments. For detailed regimental histories of the U.S. Civil War, consult the Frederick H. Dyer, Compendium of the War of the Rebellion: Regimental Histories.
The histories above, unless otherwise noted, are adopted from Charles E. Estabrook, ed., Records and Sketches of Military Organizations, (Madison, 1914).