The History of: Bedford Light Artillery


In 1861, all well informed persons believed there would be war between the Northern and Southern states. Volunteer military companies were formed. A number of persons in Liberty, Bedford County, Virginia and its vicinity were organized into a company calling itself the Bedford Light Artillery. Four men met at the Court House on the night of the 22nd of January, 1861. T. C. Jordon was elected captain as was appropriate for one who raised the company. The lieutenants elected were W. S. Myler, R. B. Clayton, R. T. Aunspaugh, and J. A. Stover, named according to rank.

First Lieutenant W. S. Myler acknowledged his acceptance with a brief speech…. "I am a man of deeds and not of words. All I ask is, shew me the enemy; and he is mine." 1st Lt. Myler resigned his office of 1st Lt. For good and sufficient reason a short period of time after his acceptance. James O. Hensley was elected to fill this vacancy.

After a couple of months of drilling and arranging for uniforms, the company tendered its services to the Governor of the State of Virginia, thereby being accepted in the month of April. On May 8, the services of the company was enrolled for active service for one year by the Governor of Virginia; and henceforth on every muster roll, this date is given as the time from which it must be paid. And all officers are commissioned except J. A. Stover who is refused a commission, since only three lieutenants are allowed to a company. On this same date orders are received to leave Liberty to be in camp at Lynchburg.

The Bedford Light Artillery served its Country and State well in numerous battles throughout the duration of the war.  Including but not limited to: 2nd Manassas, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, and Sailors Creek.   

Military companies are spoken of as coming from a county instead of the town in which they are recruited, as well as designating the kind of military service they wish to engage in. This company was therefore called the Bedford Light Artillery, as they were recruited in Liberty, the county seat of Bedford County, Virginia. The Bedford Light Artillery was the only one organized with a view to serve as light artillery. From a copy of the muster roll it is stated: "This company was organized and mustered into service as a light artillery company, and is in every way admirably adapted to that branch of the service, being composed of men of intelligence, youth, energy, and activity".

Part of this information is extracted from The History of the Bedford Light Artillery 1861-1865 by Rev. Joseph A. Graves.

-Return to Home Page-