Before the war, the Chatham Artillery had been an elite militia organization from Savannah, Georgia. In early 1862, the battery entered Confederate service, campaigning primarily along the Georgia and South Carolina coasts. The four guns of the Chatham Artillery, commanded at Olustee by Captain John F. Wheaton, provided the Confederates with its most experienced artillery in the upcoming battle.
The battery entered the Battle of Olustee at 2:20 p.m. and, "was constantly engaged from the commencement to the close of the action and expended nearly all its ammunition, except its canister." Although heavily engaged at Olustee, the battery, which brought eighty men into the battle, lost just "three men slightly wounded, neither of whom left the field until the action closed." In addition, one battery horse was killed in the engagement and three wounded. No newspaper casualty list for this unit has been found, and an examination of the units Confederate Service Records did not identify the individuals who were wounded.
After Olustee, the Chatham Artillery served in Georgia and the Carolinas for the rest of the war, with part of the battery captured at Fort McAlister near Savannah in December 1864.
Report of Capt. John F. Wheaton commanding Chatham Artillery, on the engagement at Olustee, Florida
HEADQUARTERS CHATHAM ARTILLERY,
Sanderson, February 22, 1864.
COLONEL: In obedience to your order of this date I have the honor to report that my battery entered the action on the 20th instant with 80 men, rank and file, at 2.20 p.m., taking position on the right of the line. After firing 20 rounds at the enemy's batteries, was ordered to advance and take position in rear of the center of our lines, where we opened with shell, firing 50 rounds, when [we] again advanced and directed our fire against the enemy's batteries, with good effect. As the enemy retired we were again ordered to the front, and took position in the rear of the marsh, directly in rear of the center of our lines, directing our fire on all parts of the enemy's lines and batteries until he was forced from his position and fled from the field. The battery was constantly engaged from the commencement to the close of the action, and expended nearly all its ammunition, except its canister.
My men conducted themselves in a highly satisfactory manner and fought with great spirit. First Lieut. Samuel B. Palmer was very efficient, and handled his section with good judgment and skill. I was also much indebted to Sergt. Maj. James Miller, who (in absence of the commissioned officers attached to the battery) had charge of the left section and managed it in an admirable manner. All my non-commissioned officers and men were prompt and efficient and performed their respective duties in gallant style.
I had during the action 3 men slightly wounded, neither of whom left the field until the action closed. We had 1 horse killed and 3 wounded. During the night I took from the field 1 of the enemy's 12-pounder guns, with 2 caissons, 200 rounds of shot, shell, and spherical case-shot.
I have for duty to-day 111 men, rank and file. I now have 230 rounds of ammunition in my chests, exclusive of canister.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JNO. F. WHEATON,
Captain, Commanding Chatham Artillery.
Col. R.B. THOMAS,
Chief of Artillery
Copied from The Official Records of the War of Rebellion.