John Winfield Scott was born in Mississippi, in approximately 1825. In 1862 Scott was a merchant in New Orleans. With the outbreak of the Civil War he would enlist as a private, in the 5th Company of the famed Washington Artillery, of Louisiana.
The Washington Artillery Battalion was originally organized in 1838. It would see service during the Mexican War. Originally called the Native American Battery, it would be reorganized in 1852 and receive its new designation: Washington Artillery. The 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Companies would be involved in many of the largest battles, in the east, including First Manassas, Fair Oaks, The Seven Days, Second Manassas, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. They would remain with the Army of Northern Virginia through the surrender at Appomattox Court House. The 5th Company was organized in New Orleans in April, and May 1862. The 150 artillerists in the 5th Company would elect W. Irving Hodgson as their captain. On March 6, 1862 they would be officially mustered into the Confederate service.(i) Assigned to CS General Albert Sidney Johnston’s army, they would arrive at Corinth Mississippi on April 1, and be assigned to CS Brigadier General Patton Anderson’s Brigade.
J.W. Scott, who had enlisted in March 1862, would be with his artillery company at the Battle of Shiloh. His battery would push towards US Major General William T. Sherman’s camp in the early morning hours of April 6. With their four cannon unlimbered, firing double cannister, they would suffer greatly by musketry fire coming from infantry troops still in their tents. After pushing through the Crossroads area of the battlefield, they would be engaged with Federal divisions commanded by brigadier generals Benjamin Prentiss, and W.H.L. Wallace. This area be forever known as the Hornet’s Nest, and would experience some of the most brutal fighting at Shiloh. Over the two days of fighting, at Shiloh, the 5th Company would fire over 700 artillery rounds. Captain Hodgson, in his official report, stated, “The badly torn wheels and carriages of my battery from Minie balls will convince any one of the close proximity to the enemy in which we were.”(ii) He complimented Scott for his gallantry at Shiloh.
The 5th Company would stay with the Army of Tennessee through the end of the Civil War. In 1864 Scott would be promoted corporal. He would suffer two wounds during the war, the first being at Kolb’s Farm, during the fighting at Kennesaw Mountain and the second being at Overall Creek, during CS Lieutenant General John Bell Hood’s 1864 Tennessee Campaign. He would leave the army when he was paroled, along with the rest of his company, on May 10, 1865.
After the war, Scott would reside in Mississippi, with his last known public record being in Grand Lake, Arkansas in 1899. His date of death is unknown. Corporal Scott served the Confederacy bravely and should be considered an American HERO.
(i) 5th Company, Washington Artillery was used to research portions of this article. The manuscript can be read here.
(ii) Coddington, Ronald S., Faces of the Confederacy, Pgs. 23–24.