Our Reilly's North Carolina Artillery Room commemorates a Confederate artillery unit that was part of the action on the South Cavalry Battlefield where Battlefield Bed & Breakfast is located
Reilly's North Carolina Artillery participated in an artillery action during the Battle of Gettysburg, shooting cannon shells that landed on the Houghtelin Farm, now Battlefield Bed and Breakfast. The target of the action was Farnsworth’s cavalry charge on the north side of the hill, with over-shots hitting the farm. The Houghtelin Farm itself was occupied by the Union cavalry during the cavalry battle.
An artillery shell is on display at the inn that was most likely fired by Reilly's North Carolina Artillery on July 3, 1863. The shell was found in the 1970's by Wally Murdock who owned the farm at the time. The shell was turned over to the current innkeeper Florence March when she bought the farm to turn it into an inn. The powder was unexploded. Michael Canaras, an inn guest and experienced metal detector, helped transport the shell to an expert who was able to remove the powder and make the shell safe to display.
History of Reilly’s North Carolina Artillery
The artillery battery was first formed before the Civil War in 1858.
Captain James Reilly was asked to command Reilly’s Battery when the unit was brought into active duty May 3, 1861, just two weeks after the war broke out with the firing of the guns at Fort Sumter.
As part of Hood’s Division of the Army of Northern Virginia, the unit participated some of the most intense fighting during the Civil War.
The Seven Days near Richmond Virginia and Gaine’s Mill June 25-July 1, 1862 – Known as Law’s Brigade
Second Manassas August 29-30, 1862
Sharpsburg (South Mountain) September 14 and 17, 1862
Fredericksburg December 13, 1862
Attack on Washington April 10, 1863
During the Battle of Gettysburg on July 2 and 3, 1863, Reilly’s Battery fought under Major M. W. Henry’s Artillery Battalion, Hood’s Division, Longstreet’s Corp. Reilly’s Artillery Battery participated in the action repelling Farnsworth’s Cavalry Charge on the South Cavalry Field.
After the Battle of Gettysburg, Captain James Reilly was promoted and Captain John A. Ramsay commanded the unit. They retired to their winter quarters at Beaver Dam Station on the Virginia Central Railroad.
The battery stayed below Richmond, VA during the year 1864 where they were positioned to defend against Grant's expected attack.
The unit joined Lees retreat to Appomattox Courthouse for the surrender April 9, 1865.
Battlefield Bed & Breakfast has had the honor of hosting the horse-drawn reenactment unit, Reilly's North Carolina Artillery, with commander David Stanley.
Header Image by not listed (James Pierce Collection) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
"History of Reilly's Battery." Reilly's Battery. Ed. Lisa Van Goethem and David Stanley. Www.reillysbattery.org, 25 May 2011. Web. 9 Apr. 2016. <http://www.reillysbattery.org/History/ReillysHistory.htm>.