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Service in the War Between the States (also called the War of the Rebellion)
In 1862 Captain George T. Anthony of Ridgeway began recruiting for the 17th New York Independent Battery to enter service for three years. Before long he had enlisted 170 men. In August they went to Camp Church in Lockport, where the organization was completed, with the following officers elected:
Captain, George T. Anthony—Ridgeway
First Lieutenants Hiram E. Sickels and George C. Cook, Ridgeway
Second Lieutenants Irvine M. Thompson, Barre and Hiram D. Smith, Ridgeway.
The Battery left for Washington, DC on October 23 and remained there and at Miner’s Hill, Virginia through the following winter. On July 18, 1863, the Battery joined Corcoran’s Brigade and served with it through that season on the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, afterwards taking up winter quarters at Fairfax Court House (Fairfax, Virginia—just across the river from Washington DC.
The following summer, on July 4, 1864, the Battery was ordered to the front and on the 6th reached City Point. On the 8th, two sections were ordered to occupy two small earthworks within 350 yards of the Confederate line. There they were under fire constantly and became inured to the whiz of bullets.
On the night of July 25, 1864, while supervising the removal of trees to unmask one of the guns in advance of the remainder of the Battery, Lieutenant Thompson was shot through his thigh while at the head of his squad. Between September 28 to 30, 1864, the Battery was engaged in the Battle of Chaffin’?s Farm at New Market Heights.
During the winter of 1864-65, the Orleans Battery was ordered to join the army of the James (River) in the field at Petersburg, Virginia. They participated in the siege of Petersburg and Richmond between July 6, 1865 and April 2, 1865. Their assignment was the north side of the James River, facing Richmond. From March 28 to April 9, they fought in the Appomattox Campaign, fighting at Rice’s Station on April 6, storming the Appomattox Court House on April 9, and in general assisting in the pursuit of Confederate General Robert E. Lee between April 3 to April 8. They were there at Lee’s surrender. After the end of hostilities, they served regular duty until June 1865 in the Department of Virginia and were mustered out June 12, 1865.
Casualties: 1 man killed by enemy fire and 16 dead of disease.
Note: This note was adapted from text provided by Richard Callard entitled History of the 17th New York Independent Battery – Light Artillery “Orleans Battery”?? , a part of “Landmarks of Orleans County”, pages 82 and 83.
One can only speculate that the experience of travelling far from home and learning about other parts of the States played a part in Samuel Gotts’ decision to leave Orleans County, New York and settle in Michigan. Perhaps he served as a dray man while enlisted in the Orleans Battery, hauling artillery and ordnance. He was the only child of George and Ann Gotts who moved a long distance away. Perhaps he learned of the opportunities in Michigan through contact with units recruited there. In the 1880 US Census, he has a 16 year old daughter who is recorded as born in Michigan. For this to be so, he must have moved on quickly to Michigan after mustering out and married very soon there after. He would have been about 22 years old at the time.