The Federals crossed three pieces of artillery to Ball's Bluff. Two mountain howitzers from the 2nd New York State Militia, detached under Lt. Frank French of Battery I, 1st U.S. Artillery, occupied this area for much of the afternoon. A 12-pdr James rifled cannon from Battery B, 1st Rhode Island Light Artillery, commanded by Lt. Walter Bramhall of the 6th New York Independent Battery, was near today's cemetery. Being in the open, many of the artillerists were shot down and replaced by infantrymen.
Sgt. Frank Donaldson of the 1st California was one of the foot soldiers who helped man a mountain howitzer. Testifying to the tenacity with which they were served, he later wrote, "...the gun crew killed or wounded ... it was being served by a few infantrymen as best they could, and I assisted in filling it with stones and dirt, as, with the exception of a few flannel poweder bags, all ammunition had been expended." This position was taken by the 8th Virginia in a bayonet charge around 5 p.m.