This company was originally part of Captain George H. Monsarrat's Battery, "The Harding Artillery," which was enrolled at Camp Harris, Nashville, May 15, 1861. On November 20, 1861 it was reported as Company "B", Monsarrat's Battalion at Camp Lookout, near Chattanooga. On December 9, 1861, Brigadier General W. H. Carroll, at Knoxville, in reporting on the forces in East Tennessee, listed Captain Monsarrat's Company near Knoxville, with E. Baxter as Senior 1st Lieutenant, and Freeman as 2nd Lieutenant. Captain Monsarrat was reported as Post Commandant at Knoxville, on December 27, 1861, and the battery, at about this time, was divided into two parts, one of which was Captain H. Baker's Battery, the other this battery under Captain Ed Baxter, although it continued to be referred to as Monsarrat's Battery until April, 1862.
On December 28, 1861, Major General G. B. Crittenden, in reporting on the forces in his command, listed: "Captain Monsarrat's Battery, consisting of ten pieces, but the company is not yet filled up, the intention being to augment it to 250 men." On January 24, 1862, General A. S. Johnston instructed the Ordnance Department at Nashville: "You will send to General Crittenden, by the Cumberland River, for Monsarrat's Battery, composed of three 6-pound smooth bore and one 8-pound rifled cannon, a supply of spherical shells for 6s and shells for the rifled guns." Evidently, some time between these two dates, the l0-gun battery had been divided into two parts.
On February 23, 1862, Baker's Battery and Monsarrat's Battery were both listed in Brigadier General W H. Carroll's Brigade, Crittenden's Division of the Central Army, with Headquarters at Murfreesboro. The battery here reported as Monsarrat's was evidently now commanded by Captain Baxter, for Monsarrat was still at Knoxville in command of the post, and never had any further connection with either of these two batteries.
On April 26, 1862, Baxter's Battery with 73 effectives was reported in Major General Hardee's Corps, Colonel R. G. Shaver's Brigade at Corinth, Mississippi. On June 30, still in Hardee's Corps, it was reported in Brigadier General S. A. M. Wood's Brigade. Captain Baxter was assigned to post duty, and the battery was organized as Captain Samuel L. Freeman's Battery on July 20, 1862. Company reports state it was engaged in shelling the enemy at Battle Creek, near Chattanooga, August 27-28; and dislodged and routed the enemy in an engagement at Stevenson, Alabama on August 31, as part of a force under Colonel McKinstry, 32nd Alabama Regiment.
Early in September, 1862, the battery received 50 recruits from Loudon County. On September 21, Major General Sam Jones ordered Freeman's Battery to march to Tullahoma, to be under the command of Colonel H. Maury, with the purpose of producing an impression that a force was moving on Nashville from Chattanooga. On October 4, Colonel Maury was directed to move up to Murfreesboro, and Freeman's Battery to La-Vergne. On October 9, Freeman's Battery was ordered to report to Brigadier General N. B. Forrest, and it remained with his command until after the Battle of Chickamauga.
On November 5, the battery was with Forrest in his raid into the outskirts of Nashville, being stationed first on the Nolensville Pike, and later between the Franklin and Nolensville Pikes, where it did effective work in shelling the enemy troops on the pikes. General Forrest reported: "Great credit is due Captain Freeman and his officers and men for their coolness and discretion during this engagement."
An inspection report dated November 11 showed Freeman's Battery armed with two 6-pounder guns and two 12-pounder howitzers, bronze, and stated that it required new harness. On November 14, Freeman's Battery, with six guns, was reported with Forrest six miles from Nashville.
It accompanied Forrest in his raid into West Tennessee the last half of December, and was under his immediate command in his dash into Trenton, on December 20. It was with Colonel Dibrell in the Battle of Parker's Cross Roads, December 31, 1862, and Colonel Dibrell spoke of the effective work
of a 12-pound howitzer, manned by Sergeant Nathan Baxter, of Freeman's Battery.
Returning to Middle Tennessee, it was with Forrest in the capture of Thompson's Station on March 5, and of Brentwood on March 25. But Freeman's exploits came to an end April 19, 1863, on the Lewisburg Pike near Franklin. A Federal report stated: "Freeman's Battery was taken and destroyed by chopping it to pieces. He, one lieutenant, and several men were killed; two lieutenants and 29 men captured. In other words, the battery was defunct." Confederate reports of the engagement state that the attacking troops were from the 4th United States Cavalry. They are in practical agreement with the list of casualties; Lindsey's Annals states: "As the enemy did not get any of the pieces off the field, Lieutenants Douglass and Crudup took charge of the battery and had it prepared for service, the wheels having been hacked up in the effort to cut the battery down." A. L. Huggins was one of the lieutenants captured in this engagement, but when he was exchanged he became captain of the company, and served as such until the end of the war.
The Federal report was over-optimistic in stating that the battery was "defunct," for on May 10, 1863, it reported four officers, 99 men present for duty, 110 present, 181 present and absent. Following the withdrawal to Chattanooga of Bragg's Army in July, the battery was stationed at Kingston, Tennessee on August 3, 1863.
In the Battle of Chickamauga, September 19-20, Huggins' and Morton's batteries were attached to Colonel George G. Dibrell's Brigade. Huggins' Battery was sent to the relief of Maney's Brigade, and General Forrest reported; "The conduct of the officers and men of the battery deserves special mention. They kept up a constant and destructive fire upon the enemy until they were within 50 yards of the guns, getting off the field with all their pieces, notwithstanding the loss of horses."
Forrest's high regard for the battery is evidenced by the fact that when he applied for transfer to West Tennessee he asked for either "Freeman's" or Morton's Battery as part of the minute expeditionary force which was to accompany him. Morton's Battery was the one assigned to this duty, and Huggins' Battery was placed in Brigadier General G. C. Wharton's Division, Lieutenant General Long-street's Corps, for Longstreet's invasion of East Tennessee. On December 10, it was in Brigadier General F. C. Armstrong's Division of Major General Joseph Wheeler's Cavalry Corps, but reported as detached in East Tennessee. On December 31, it was reported in Brigadier General John T. Morgan's Division of Major General William T. Martin's Cavalry Corps, but on January 31, 1864, it was once again reported in Armstrong's Division. At this time it reported five officers, 86 men present for duty, 101 present, and 141 present and absent, with four pieces of artillery.
On February 29, the report showed four officers, 77 men present for duty, 92 present, 110 present and absent. On April 1, it was with Dibrell's Brigade, en route from East Tennessee to Dalton, Georgia. On May 5, at Dalton, Georgia, it was attached to Brigadier General John H. Kelly's Division.
On June 30, Huggins', Ramsey's, and White's Tennessee Batteries, Ferrell's Georgia, and Wiggins' Arkansas Batteries were reported in a battalion commanded by Lieutenant Colonel F. H. Robertson, forming the Artillery Reserve for Wheeler's Cavalry Corps, and remained in this battalion through August 31, 1864. In August the battery accompanied General Wheeler in his raid into Tennessee, and returned with Wheeler to do what was possible in impeding General Sherman's march to Savannah. Captain Huggins was placed on Brigadier General John K. Jackson's Staff at Savannah, Georgia, as Chief of Artillery, and Lieutenant Nat Baxter took command of the battery. Upon the evacuation of Savannah, Captain Huggins rejoined the battery, and fell back with it through South Carolina to North Carolina.
On January 31, 1865, a report of the forces in Hardee's Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, showed Huggins, White's, Ramsey's Tennessee, and Wiggins' Arkansas Batteries in Major James Hamilton's Artillery Battalion. The battery was surrendered as part of General Joseph E. Johnston's Army and paroled at Greensboro, North Carolina May 1, 1865
DEATH OF CAPTAIN FREEMAN
Taken from the book: The artillery of Nathan Bedford Forrest's cavalry: "the wizard of the saddle,"
By John Watson Morton
At the same time, by the luck that seemed to attend the Federals that day, General Stanley had without orders moved his position on the Murfreesboro Turnpike and collided with Colonel Starnes on the Lewisburg Turnpike along which the Confederates in fancied security were marching in column. The collision was equally unexpected to both commanders Captain Freeman who was in advance in personal command of his battery immediately threw his four pieces into position but before he could fire a single shot the enemy was upon him and he was captured with the major portion of his battery. This was to the author one of the saddest episodes of the whole four years of struggle for the killing of the Confederate artilleryman because he could not move faster was not only a gross violation of the rules of military propriety but it removed a man whose character was of the highest in every capacity he was called upon to fill. A personal friend of long standing and tried under the hardest circumstances the writer felt his loss keenly and although it has been over forty years since his brutal taking off he cannot now recall it without a thrill of indignation and regret Dr Skelton and Lt. Nat Baxter who were captured at the same time report that the circumstances were nothing more nor less than sheer brutality. The Federals being obliged to retreat came running back to the rear and not wishing to give up their prisoners forced them at the point of their pistols to a quick run. Both Dr Skelton and Captain Freeman told them they could not move any faster as they were already exhausted with the efforts they had made and Dr Skelton putting up his hand as an appeal for mercy was shot through that member. Captain Freeman received a charge through the head and fell. His body was left lying on the road and was recovered by friends and taken to Spring Hill where it was buried the next day. The death of Captain Freeman was universally regretted by General Forrest's Cavalry from its commander to the privates. How true it is that Comedy hangs upon the skirts of Tragedy. General Forrest sent a courier, Bob Dalton, with a message to Captain Morton where Captain Freeman fell and the messenger riding up to the rear of Morton's Battery which was on the Columbia Turnpike inquired where Capt Morton was. At the head of the column was the reply. As he rode along he asked again one of the gunners where he could find the Captain and was given the same reply. Nevertheless when he reached the head of the battery and saw it led by a slim youth with a beardless face he hesitated and asked again I don t want to make a mistake and give this message to the wrong person he confided to the man he questioned. If I give this order to that boy Forrest will give me hell.
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XVII/1 [S# 24]
DECEMBER 15, 1862-JANUARY 3, 1863.--Forrest's Expedition into West Tennessee.
NO. 20.--Reports of Brig. Gen. Nathan B. Forrest, C. S. Army, commanding Expedition, of operations, December 11, 1862-January 3, 1863.
Clifton, Tenn., January 3, 1863.
GENERAL: I forwarded you from Middleburg, per Lieutenant Martin, a detailed report of my operations up to the 25th ultimo, which I hope reached you safely.
Captain Freeman and Lieut. [J. W.] Morton of our batteries, with all of their men, deserve special mention, keeping up, as they did, a constant fire from their pieces, notwithstanding the enemy made every effort at silencing their pieces by shooting down the artillerists at the guns. The whole command fought well. We had about 1,800 men in the engagement., and fought six regiments of infantry, with three pieces of artillery, which we charged and took, but were compelled to leave them as the horses were all killed or crippled. We brought off 83 prisoners, and they report their respective regiments as badly cut up. They lost 3 colonels and many company officers.
We have on our side to deplore the death of Col. [T.] Alonzo Napier, [Tenth Tennessee Cavalry], who was killed while leading his men in a charge on foot. He was a gallant officer, and after he fell his command continued to drive the enemy from their position on the right bank, strewing their path with dead and wounded Federals.
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XX/1 [S# 29]
NOVEMBER 5, 1862.--Action at Nashville, Tenn.
No. 4.--Report of Brig. Gen. Nathan B. Forrest, C. S. Army, commanding cavalry.
La Vergne, Tenn., November 6, 1862.
GENERAL: Agreeably to orders received, I moved my commands on the night of the 4th instant in the direction of Nashville, distributing them as follows: Col. John T. Morgan's regiment [Fifty-first Alabama], of Partisan Rangers, and Capt. W. C. Bacot's battalion, Forrest's regiment, to the right of the Murfreesborough pike, with instructions to move forward on the Lebanon.
Great credit is due Captain Freeman, of Freeman's battery, and Lieutenant [Hit Counter]and discretion during this engagement. My officers and men acted well during the day, obeying with promptness each command.
All of which is respectfully submitted.
N. B. FORREST,
Lieut. Col. J. A. BUCKNER,