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Building a…

Field Artillery Traveling Forge

for US Army 1849-1865

Three members of Taylor’s Battery have taken on the challenge of building a Traveling Forge, sometimes referred to as a “Battery Forge”. Steve, Jason, & Mike. The first step was buying 2nd hand wagon wheels in 2004 from another local artillery group. Construction of the carriage components started February 2005, the first being the Axle and Coal Box. We are all located west of Chicago Illinois along the Fox River.

To give an idea of what is involved in building one, I'm told it equals the amount of work of making 3 or 4 gun carriages. The large box attached to the carriage is the Bellows House. It contains a double chambered Great Bellows. The small box on the rear is to store coal. The pan in the front is the hearth of the forge. At this time we do not plan to build the limber carriage (the front two wheeled part that the 6 horses would get attached to). We estimate it will probably take us 2 years between our jobs, family, and reenacting of course, to get the forge complete enough to where we can bring it to events.

During the American Civil War 1861-1865 one of these was issued to each 6 gun battery and cavalry troop. The forges were portable blacksmith shops intended to keep all the carriages of the battery operating and the horses shoed. Each battery typically has six "Artificers" which were the tradesmen needed to work on the company equipment, primarily were blacksmiths and carpenters.

This is not ours! Some day this picture will be replaced by one of the forge we are making. This one belonges to Wayne Hensen and 2nd Illinois Light Artillery, Battery G. This photo was taken at an event in
Greenbush Wisconsin, October 2004.

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Last updated: October 4, 2006