McClanahan’s Battery


In 1862 Colonel John Imboden, previously the Captain of the Staunton Artillery, returned to the city of Staunton to recruit a regiment of partisan rangers in the western portion of Virginia. At the time of his arrival, his recruiters, sent in advance, had already partially organized three companies.

Colonel Imboden’s brother, George William Imboden, who had been a member of the Staunton Artillery, had formed the first company for his brother, though not fully equipped; elements of his company possessed four mountain howitzers and a Parrot gun. In June 1862, this company, and the other two companies formed in this area, were ordered to Cross-Keys/Port Republic area to assist General "Stonewall" Jackson in the defense of a bridge over the North River. The battle resulted in the retreat of the Northern Troops and a Confederate Victory. During this battle the battery received no casualties and it received it’s first nom de guerre, the "Jackass Artillery".

The original battery was part of Company B, First Virginia Partisan Rangers, later known as Company K(2nd), 62nd Virginia Mounted Infantry. On July 29th 1862, a portion of men were transferred to Captain John H. McClanahan’s Company of Horse Artillery.

John H. McClanahan was a native of Kentucky, who had resided in Victoria, TX, but had married a girl from Staunton in the previous year. He had served as a private under General McCullough in Texas after it’s secession in February 1861, but then returned to Virginia and enlisted as a private in the Stanton Artillery in December 1861. He was appointed Captain of the Horse Artillery Battery on July 22, 1862, and the battery remained part of the 1st Virginia Partisan Rangers.

In December 1862, Captain George Imboden was ordered to change his regiment from partisan rangers to regular companies. The result was the formation of the 62nd Virginia Infantry, the 18th Virginia Cavalry and McClanahan’s Battery, which was officially formed on February 28, 1863.

McClanahan’s Battery served throughout the war successfully and with honor in the Shendandoah Valley, Battles of Williamsport and Hagarstown, Maryland, the Battle of Gettysburg, the capture of Charles Town, in what is now West Virginia, the Battle of Droop Mountain, the Battle of New Market, the Battles of Piedmont and Lynchburg, a raid at Chambersburg, PA, the Battles of Winchester and Front Royal, and numerous other small raids and skirmishes.

In April 1865, after the "Temporary Cease Fire Agreement" between Generals Lee and Grant, the unit was never officially disbanded. McClanahan’s Battery simply faded away like the last wisps of smoke from one of their artillery pieces. The members were "paroled" and traveled wearily back to their homes to take back up the threads of their lives before the "War of Northern Aggression."


McClanahan’s Battery Strengths and Losses

Enlisted 282

Killed or Died of Wounds 1

Wounded in Action 6

Prisoners of War 36

Died of Disease 9 (one of which was accidental)

Discharged 4

Transferred 9

Deserted 18