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Bankhead's Battery Co.

Bankhead's Battery was originally formed in May 1861 at Memphis, Tennessee, by Smith P. Bankhead, an attorney, and a group of other Memphians. It started out at Ft. Pillow, manning a battery of heavy artillery. It returned to Memphis and was reformed as a light artillery unit and equipped with four pieces and sent to New Madrid, Missouri in August 1861. In April 1862, the Battery served at the Battle of Shiloh with the Army of Mississippi. During the battle the Battery lost one gun but captured seven. Capt. Bankhead was promoted to Major and moved up in rank and Capt. Scott took command around July 1, 1862, and commanded the Battery until November 25, 1863; at the Battle of Missionary Ridge, the Battery was overrun by Union forces and as they stood to their guns, many were killed or wounded and the few that escaped were not enough to form a new battery, so they were sent to fill in other artillery units. The present Bankhead's Battery was incorported May 1, 1975, by Memphis attorney Tarry Beasley, using an original Confederate cannon, a 12 cast iron Howitzer, manufactured in Richmond, Virginia, by the Tredegar Foundry; subsequently, a 6 pounder iron smooth bore made at the Noble Bros. Foundry in Rome Georgia, in Noverber 1861 was acquired. The Battery now uses the 6 pounder that was rescued when a Northern cemetery wouldn't pay the bill for having the carriage rebuilt and the barrel sleeved. The sleeving of the tube was unfortunate, but it did make the cannon safer to shoot. Over the years the guns and crew have appreared in television shows and in the "North and South" mini series, the movie "Glory", and in about 10 historical movies made of the Civil War re-enactments. The Battery has participated in all of the major 125th Civil War anniversary battles, from Manassas to Gettysburg and Franklin, with most of the others. Bankhead's Battery works closely with the 52nd Tennessee Infantry re-enactment group, other Battery's, and the 7th Tennessee Cavalry. At the present time the Battery has two officers, two sergeants, two corporals and about seven privates. All the officers and non-commissioned officers have between 5 and 15 years experience each. Safety rules have been our watchword, and over the years we have been free of any accidents. When doing living histories, we set up a camp complete with a command tent, cook tent, and "A" frame tents for the crew to sleep in. A new member can start for less that $125.00 for uniforms and equipment, and add on as his money permits. Most of our re-enactments are in the spring and summer and the coat is not always needed.

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Smith P. Bankhead
Battle History