History of the Warren Light Artillery

History of the Warren Light Artillery

Captain Charles Swett commanded the Warren Light Artillery, from Vicksburg, MS; and at Chickamauga, served as St. John Liddell’s divisional artillery chief. His ‘battalion’ consists of only two batteries – 8 guns – his own and that of William Fowler’s Alabamians. Like most gunners at Chickamauga, he had little opportunity to fight, and when he did find a place to drop trail, more likely than not he would be forced to think fast if he wanted to save his pieces.

In fact, each of his batteries temporarily lost a gun on the evening of September 20th, to the Mad Russian (John Basil Turchin) in the field directly north of the modern visitor’s center. Those guns were re-captured, because Turchin’s men were breaking out to Rossville from what they saw as an encirclement, and not interesting in trophy-hunting.

I bring up Swett because he penned a memoir that covers Chickamauga in some detail, and has a lot to say about Hill. Above is a link to a transcribed copy.


though the memoir was written when Swett was 80, it is clearly based on a diary or other more contemporary account. the detail matches very well with other accounts.

Mike Sweet, who transcribed this account, notes that Swett was a graduate of West Point and a serving artillery officer in the U S Army before secession, but resigned to go south. Unfortunately, none of that can be corroborated: neither West Point or Heitman’s biographical register of army officers shows him as either cadet or lieutenant. I contacted Mike, and he told me that information comes from a file at the Old Courthouse Museum in Vicksburg, but he has no further information either.

I find myself become really interested in this little condundrum. Was Swett a West Pointer? Or is that just family legend…

One Response to “History of the Warren Light Artillery”

  1. Pat Kane Says:

    I think it is family legend. The 1860 census shows him as a 31 year old farmer with two children living in Warren County, MS. The 1850 census shows him living in Warren County as a 22 year old clerk living with his father Daniel. My grandmother shared the same story above with me when I was a kid.

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