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William A. Harn commanded a New York artillery battery in the American Civil War.

Pre War[]

William A Harn was born in 1834.

The Creation of the 3rd New York Battery[]

The 3rd New York Battery began its existence as Company D of the 2nd New York Militia. It was designated a howitzer company. It was to Washington, D. C. with the regiment, which became the 82nd New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Led by Capt Thaddeus P. Mott, the company left New York State on May 19, 1861. Shortly after the regiment was mustered into federal service on June 17, the company was detached and organized as a battery of light artillery. On December 7, 1861, the unit was designated the 3rd New York Independent Battery.[1]

The battery served in the defenses of Washington until March 17, 1862, when it was send south to serve in the Peninsula Campaign. It had been assigned to BG William F. Smith's division of the Army of the Potomac in January of that year, and the division had joined IV Corps in March of, 1862. The division joined VI Corps when it was formed in May 1862. It first saw combat under Capt Mott at the Battle of Yorktown, and it was heavily engaged in the Battle of Williamsburg. The battery was engaged during the Seven Days Battles, including at the Battle of White Oak Swamp and the Battle of Malvern Hill. Mott resigned soon thereafter. Lt William Stuart was in command in the Maryland Campaign, in which the battery served with the division of BG Darius N. Couch.

William Harn’s Command of the Battery[]

Lt Harn took charge of the battery late in 1862, commanding it in the division of BG Albion Howeat the Battle of Fredericksburg. Harn previously had been a lieutenant in the 1st New York Light Artillery Regiment. Commissioned first lieutenant of Battery E on March 1, 1862, Harn had moved to Battery G on April 13 of the same year. He moved to the 3rd New York Battery in late 1862 but was not commissioned Captain until April 13, 1863.[1]

Under Harn’s command, the battery served with the Light Division of Col Hiram Burnham at the Second Battle of Fredericksburg and the Battle of Salem Church. In the artillery brigade of VI Corps, the 3rd New York served at the Battle of Gettysburg. It then participated in the Bristoe Campaign, especially at the Battle of Rappahannock Station, and in the Battle of Mine Run.

Harn’s battery remained in VI Corps in 1864, participating in the Overland Campaign. It then participated in the Siege of Petersburg, not campaigning with MG Philip Sheridan in the campaign of the Army of the Shenandoah. When VI Corps returned to the Petersburg front, Harn’s battery rejoined its artillery brigade. In that formation, it participated in breaking a confederate attack in the Battle of Sayler's Creek during the Appomattox Campaign.[2]

Capt Harn was dismissed from the service on April 5, 1864, but he was reinstated on April 20. He was mustered out with the Battery on June 24, 1864.[3]

Post war[]

Major Harn became keeper of a lighthouse, St. Augustine Light in Florida, beginning circa 1879. The major and his wife, The keeper’s house was constructed during his tenure at the lighthouse. The Harn’s earned a reputation for hospitality, including by serving lemonade to visitors. William Harn died on May 31, 1889 at the age of 54 and was buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Saint Augustine.[2]

The monument to Harn’s battery in the Gettysburg National Military Park, on the Taneytown Road, was made by the Smith Granite Company.


  • Parsons, Philip W., The Union Sixth Corps in the Chancellorsville Campaign, Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2006. ISBN 0-7864-2521-0
  • Phisterer, Frederick, New York in the War of the Rebellion, 6 vols., Albany, J.B. Lyon company, state printers, 1912.
  1. New York in the War of the Rebellion, vol. 2, pp. 1215, 1225, 1566.
  2. New York in the War of the Rebellion, vol. 2, p. 1566.
  3. New York in the War of the Rebellion, vol. 2, p. 1566.