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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

CLEVELAND LIGHT ARTILLERY

CLEVELAND LIGHT ARTILLERY

The CLEVELAND LIGHT ARTILLERY was organized 6 July 1839 by 9 members of the gun squad of the CLEVELAND GRAYS. Like the Grays, the Artillery drew its membership from the area's leading families. As Ohio militia law did not recognize artillery as a military service, the unit originally received no state support. The men purchased uniforms and procured a 6-lb. cannon, for which they built the carriage and caisson and made the ammunition. Membership increased, and in 1845 the gun squad detached itself from the Grays and elected drill sergeant David Wood as captain. In 1846 the Cleveland Light Artillery traveled west, attending conventions and ceremonial functions and inspiring other cities to establish their own artillery units. By 1851 the artillery had influenced state authorities to furnish needed guns and harnesses. In 1852 the Light Artillery was called to its first duty, suppressing a riot at a medical school on the corner of Ontario and Prospect avenues. After 48 hours, the rioters were subdued, and the artillery's popularity surged. In 1859 the state legislature revised the militia law, permitting artillery to muster. Subsequently, 6 companies were formed, 4 in Cleveland and 1 each in Brooklyn and Geneva. Organized together, the 6 companies were commissioned as Battery A, the 1st Regiment of Light Artillery, Ohio Volunteer Militia, by Governor Chase in Aug. 1860. Led by Col. JAMES BARNETT, the regiment first appeared in public in Sept. 1860.

When the CIVIL WAR started in Apr. 1861, the Cleveland Light Artillery did a 3-month tour of duty in West Virginia, the first of many wartime engagements. After the war, the artillery made many special public appearances and later served as the cornerstone of the formation of Battery B, 135th Field Artillery, Ohio National Guard. (See 1ST OHIO VOLUNTEER LIGHT ARTILLERY.)


Davidson, Henry M. History of Battery A, First Regiment of Ohio Volunteer Light Artillery (1865).