“A battery of field artillery is worth a thousand muskets.”
Gen William Tecumseh Sherman
On September 11, 1894 the Wisconsin National Guard Field Artillery was born when twelve men signed an agreement to organize a battery in Milwaukee. The formal organization occurred on May 11, 1885 with the creation of the First Light Battery. The Battery 65 of members battery occupied the Farwell Avenue Skating Rink and trained in a vacant lot on North Prospect Avenue in Milwaukee. As the Battery grew, it moved to an Armory at 815 N. Broadway and would share the Armory with the “Light Horse Squadron.”
Bay View Riot
In May of 1886, Governor Rusk would order National Guard units to assemble at the Broadway Armory in response to what would be known as the Bay View Labor Riot. The First light Battery was called to State active duty on May 4, 1886 and having been held in reserve was released on May 10, 1886.
Spanish American War
On 9 July 1898 Battery “A” 1st Light Artillery was mobilized during the Spanish-American War. At the time, Battery “A” was commanded by Captain Benjamin Dally and made up of 108 artillerymen from the Milwaukee area. The unit arrived at Camp Douglas, WI in early July 1898 and spent the summer drilling and preparing for active duty. When hostilities ceased in August, it was decided that Battery’s services were no longer needed. The Battery returned to Milwaukee in September 1898. However, Soldiers from Battery “A” were used to fill the Wisconsin Infantry Regiments, including CPT Dally who would command Company “M” of the 4th Wisconsin Infantry.
Mexican Border Incident
In June 1916 the Wisconsin National Guard would expand the 1st Light Artillery from a single Battery to a full battalion known as the 1st Field Artillery. On June 14, 1916, Battery “A”, 1st Light Artillery was re-designated as Battery “A”, 1st Field Artillery, on June 8, 1916, Battery “B” was established in Green Bay, Wisconsin and on June 12, 1916 Battery “C” was established in Racine, Wisconsin. On June 30, 1916, 157 officers and men of Battery “A”, 1st Field Artillery commanded by Captain Philip C. Westfahl would muster into federal service at Camp Douglas, WI and begin preparing for service on the Mexican Border. Battery “A” moved to Camp Wilson near San Antonio, Texas on July 1, 1916 where they would train. Battery “A” was released from Federal Service and returned to Wisconsin on October 26, 1916. See links to a medal issued by the City of Milwaukee to members of the Battery and a Battery “A” 1st Light Artillery Pennant.
* On small screens, swipe right to left to view entire table *
|1885||1889||First Light Battery||Joseph B. Oliver|
|1889||1890||First Light Battery||Howard J. Gilson|
|1890||1891||First Light Battery||Howard J. Gilson|
|1891||1894||First Light Battery||Harry E. Ellis|
|1894||1895||Battery A, 1st Light Artillery||Harry E. Ellis|
|1895||1898||Battery A, 1st Light Artillery||Benjamin H. Daily|
|1898||1908||Battery A, 1st Light Artillery||Charles F. Ludington|
|1908||1916||Battery A, 1st Light Artillery||Phillip C. Westfahl|
1897-BATTERY “A” SOUVENIER