Private Allison Spikes, Company A (the “Ellis Light Artillery”), 10th Regiment N.C. State Troops (1st Regiment N.C. Artillery)

In April 1861 a light artillery battery known as the “Ellis Light Artillery” or the “Ellis Flying Artillery” organized at Raleigh. (The company named itself for North Carolina’s governor, John Willis Ellis.) One of its first acts was to elect as captain Stephen Dodson Ramseur of Lincoln County, an 1860 West Point graduate and future Confederate major general. By May 1 Ramseur had joined the company, sixty-two men strong, and camped at the city fairgrounds. Although the men had organized for twelve months service, Ramseur persuaded them to reorganize for an enlistment of three years or the duration of the war. The battery was soon armed, although some of the guns were obsolete: “two 12-pounder howitzers, three 6-pounder bronze smooth bore guns, and one 3-inch rifle gun taken from the Fayetteville Arsenal.”

The “Ellis Light Artillery” mustered into service on May 8, 1861, and was designated Company A, 10th Regiment N.C. State Troops (1st Regiment N.C. Artillery). On May 20, the date of North Carolina’s secession, the battery fired a one-hundred gun salute from the State Capitol grounds. In July the company moved to Virginia, and became one of the handful of North Carolina light artillery batteries to serve with the Army of Northern Virginia.

One of the original members of the “Ellis Light Artillery” was Allison “Tam” Spikes of Wake County. Muster rolls for the company cover only the period from organization through February 1863, and Spikes was reported present on all of them. He was wounded in action at the Battle of Chancellorsville, May 1-4, 1863, and again at the Battle of Cold Harbor, June 3, 1864. His name appears on a clothing receipt roll dated December 31, 1864. At Appomattox Court House, hearing news of the surrender, the men destroyed their guns, mounted the battery horses, and escaped into North Carolina. Spikes was likely among the escapees. He was paroled at Raleigh on May 17, 1865.

Spikes (1838-1913) is buried at the Tyson Family Cemetery, Raleigh, Wake County.

Image: N.C. Office of Archives and History.

Source Note:
Gary Gallagher, Stephen Dodson Ramseur: Lee’ Gallant General (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1985), 30-31; Manarin et. al., North Carolina Troops 1:40-41, 49; service record files of Allison Spikes, 10th Regiment N.C. State Troops, Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers from the State of North Carolina (M270), RG109, NA;