Tag Archives: Army of the Cumberland

“With these changes this army will be a unit in all respects”: Sherman organizes for his march on Atlanta

On this day (April 2) in 1864, Major-General William T. Sherman wrote Lieutenant-General U.S. Grant seeking approval for organizational changes in his department, in front of preparations for the spring campaign season:

Hdqrs. Military Division of the Mississippi,
Nashville, Tenn., April 2, 1864. (Received 6 p.m.)
Lieut. Gen. U.S. Grant,
Washington, D.C.:
After a full consultation with all my army commanders, I have settled down to the following conclusions, to which I would like to have the President’s consent before I make the orders:

First. Army of the Ohio, three divisions of infantry, to be styled the Twenty-third Corps, Major-General Schofield in command, and one division of cavalry, Major-General Stoneman, to push Longstreet’s forces well out of the valley, then fall back, breaking railroad to Knoxville; to hold Knoxville and Loudon, and be ready by May 1, with 12,000 men, to act as the left of the grand army.

Second. General Thomas to organize his army into three corps, the Eleventh and Twelfth to be united under General Hooker, to be composed of four divisions. The corps to take a new title, viz, one of the series now vacant. General Slocum to be transferred east, or assigned to some local command on the Mississippi. The Fourth Corps, Major-General Granger, to remain unchanged, save to place Major-General Howard in command. The Fourteenth Corps to remain the same. Major-General Palmer is not equal to such a command, and all parties are willing that General Buell or any tried soldier should be assigned. Thomas to guard the lines of communication, and have, by May 1, a command of 45,000 men for active service, to constitute the center.

Third. Major-General McPherson to draw from the Mississippi the divisions of Crocker and Leggett, now en route, mostly of veterans on furlough, and of A. J. Smith, now up Red River, but due on the 10th instant out of that expedition, and to organize a force of 30,000 men to operate from Larkinsville or Guntersville as the right of the grand army; his corps to be commanded by Generals Logan, Blair, and Dodge. Hurlbut will not resign, and I know no better disposition of him than to leave him at Memphis.

I propose to put Major-General Newton, when he arrives, at Vicksburg.
With these changes this army will be a unit in all respects, and I can suggest no better.

Please ask the President’s consent, and ask what title we shall give the new corps of Hooker, in lieu of the Eleventh and Twelfth, consolidated. The lowest number of the army corps now vacant will be most appropriate.

I will have the cavalry of the Department of the Ohio reorganize under Stoneman at or near Camp Nelson, and the cavalry of Thomas, at least one good division, under Garrard, at Columbia.

W. T. Sherman,

Looking at this request 150 years after the fact, we know Longstreet’s corps in East Tennessee returned to Virginia before Major-General John Schofield’s Army of the Ohio had anything to say about the matter.  The Army of the Ohio was for all practical matters simply the Twenty-third Corps when counting maneuver elements.  But Sherman purposely kept that command separate for use as a “left guard.”

Major-General George Thomas’ Army of the Cumberland formed Sherman’s “center.” And Sherman mentioned two very significant changes within that army.  The first of which, consolidating the old Eleventh and Twelfth Corps into (though not known at the time of writing) the Twentieth Corps, involved old Army of the Potomac formations sent west in the fall of 1863.  Generals Alpheus Williams, John Geary, and Daniel Butterfield retained divisions in that consolidated corps.  And of course, Major-General Joseph Hooker remained employed as the head of that corps.  So the names involved were familiar to you “easterners.”

The Fourth Corps, Army of the Cumberland, received a new commander in the form of Major-General O.O. Howard.  Major-General John Newton, formerly of the Army of the Potomac’s First Corps, took command of the Second Division of Howard’s Corps.  So disregard that “exiled to Vicksburg” line from Sherman.  Major-General Henry Slocum drew that assignment instead.

The Fourteenth Corps, Thomas’ old corps, was, in my opinion, the cornerstone of the Army of the Cumberland.  But despite Sherman’s reservations, Major-General John Palmer remained at the head.  Don Carlos Buell left the service instead of serving under Sherman.  Buell’s explanation was he held date-of-rank over Sherman.  Read into that what you will, as Grant has long since weighed in on the matter.

The Army of the Tennessee was once Grant’s command and later Sherman’s. Now it served under the very capable Major-General James McPherson. Note however, the three corps in that army had non-West Pointers in charge – Major-General John A. Logan with the Fifteenth Corps; Major-General Grenville Dodge with the Sixteenth Corps; and Major-General Frank P. Blair with the Seventeenth Corps.

With mention of these commands and commanders, I would pose a question.  Were the personalities and internal friction in Sherman’s command any better or worse than that of armies in the east?

(Citation from OR, Series I, Volume 32, Part III, Serial 59, page 221.)

All those captured guns from Missionary Ridge

I have not blogged about Chattanooga through the sesquicentennial of that battle. Mostly because I was unable to make an expedition that way during the fall to refresh my photographic archives.  Lots of cannon stories and interesting subjects for “walk arounds.”  But I’ve not visited since the late 1990s, and don’t have good pictures to back up the posts.

That said, let me pull up one familiar wartime artillery photographs taken at Chattanooga which featured artillery:


I count eighteen tubes in this view.  All 12-pdr Napoleons.  Some with the straight muzzle of Confederate manufacture.  Others with a muzzle swell, which could be captured Federal (but not in this case) or those of early Confederate manufacture.

Captain Thomas G. Baylor, Chief of Ordnance for the Army of the Cumberland provided a by-type listing of guns that Army captured at Chattanooga.  Since the photo carries the caption linking to that particular field army, let us figure odds are good the weapons in the photo are among those listed in Baylor’s report.  Baylor tallied:

  • Eight 6-pdr guns
  • Thirteen 12-pdr light field guns, Confederate pattern
  • Six 12-pdr light field guns, Leeds & Company, New Orleans
  • Three 12-pdr field howitzers
  • One 3-inch rifle, Confederate pattern
  • Four 10-pdr Parrott rifles, 2.9-inch bore
  • Two rifled 6-pdrs with 3.67-inch bore
  • One James rifle with 3.8-inch bore
  • Two 24-pdr siege guns.

A grand total of forty guns. That does not count a handful of weapons captured by other formations (outside of the Army of the Cumberland) in the battle.  Aside from the siege guns, no real surprises here.  The Army of the Tennessee had benefited from  the battlefield captures from Chickamauga.  With the defeat on Missionary Ridge, the Army of Tennessee lost almost a third of its artillery.  And a substantial portion of the guns remaining were off near Knoxville in another ill-fated endeavor.

So eighteen of the nineteen Napoleons show up in that photo (maybe I miscounted or maybe one is tucked away at the end of the line).  That’s almost five (four gun) batteries of the preferred Napoleons.  And all of those Napoleons recorded by Baylor were Confederate manufacture.  That was like a solid punch in the gut to the southern war effort.  All the time and resources allocated to producing those fine guns ended up a naught.  Another photo of that line of Napoleons, taken from a different angle, best illustrates that point:


The markings are out of focus.  But looking close at the trunnion on the second gun in the row, there’s a three line manufacturer stamp.


Sort of reminds me of the stamp used by Augusta Arsenal:

Pitzer Woods 10 Aug 08 461

The fourth gun also teases with an out of focus stamp:


If I had to venture a guess, I’d say Leeds & Company.  But that would be a wild guess.

Others who have interpreted this photo pick out the stencil on the carriage trail for the first gun in the line:


“Macon Arsenal // 1863 // GA.”

So total up the cost to produce one bronze gun tube, a carriage, limber, implements, and such.  Multiply that by nineteen.  There’s the cost of that line of guns in dollars in cents to the Confederate war effort.

And by the way, those nineteen guns?  That would represent about 5% of the total Confederate bronze Napoleon production through the entire war.  All in a nice row, but under new ownership.  No doubt a few of them destined for a return to the battlefield… but as static displays long after the sounds of war disappeared.

(Baylor’s report appears in OR, Series I, Volume 31, Part II, Serial 53, pages 99-100.)

150 Years Ago: The Federal Artillery at Chickamauga

Back in December, I posted about the Federal artillery at Stones River. Let me continue working that thread by turning yet again to a report from Colonel James Barnett, Chief of Artillery for the Department of the Cumberland. The Army of the Cumberland reorganized from three wings into three corps – Fourteenth, Twentieth, and Twenty-first – with a reserve and cavalry corps. In his report of the battle, Barnett detailed each battery assignment complete with the number and type of guns:

Fourteenth Army Corps:

First Division.–Battery H, Fifth U.S. Artillery, Lieutenant Burnham commanding: Four 12-pounder Napoleons, two 10-pounder Parrotts. Fourth Indiana Battery, Lieutenant Flansburg commanding: Two 12-pounder Napoleons, two 6-pounder James rifles, two 12-pounder howitzers. Battery A, First Michigan, Lieut. G. W. Van Pelt commanding: Six 10-pounder Parrotts….

Second Division.–Company M, First Ohio Artillery, Capt. F. Schultz commanding: Four James rifles, two 3-inch rifled guns. Company G, First Ohio Artillery, Capt. A. Marshall commanding: Four 12-pounder Napoleons, two 3-inch rifled guns. Bridges’ (Illinois) Battery, Capt. L. Bridges commanding: Two 12-pounder Napoleons, four 3-inch rifled guns….

Third Division.–First Michigan Battery, Capt. J. W. Church commanding: Two 10-pounder Parrotts, two 6-pounder James rifles, two 12-pounder howitzers. Company I, Fourth U.S. Artillery, Lieut. F. G. Smith commanding: Four 12-pounder Napoleons. Company C, First Ohio Artillery, Lieut. M. B. Gary commanding: Four James rifles, two 12-pounder Napoleons….

Fourth Division.–Eighteenth Indiana Battery, Capt. Eli Lilly commanding: Six 3-inch rifled guns, four mountain howitzers. Nineteenth Indiana Battery, Capt. S. J. Harris commanding: Four 12-pounder Napoleons, two 3-inch guns. Twenty-first Indiana Battery, Lieutenant Chess commanding: Six 12-pounder Napoleons….

Twentieth Army Corps:

First Division.–Second Minnesota Battery, Lieut. A. Woodbury commanding: Two 10-pounder Parrotts, four 12-pounder Napoleons. Eighth Wisconsin, Lieut. J. D. McLean commanding: Two 12-pounder Napoleons, four 3-inch guns. The Fifth Wisconsin Battery, being on duty with Colonel Post’s brigade, was not engaged….

Second Division.–Fifth Indiana Battery, Capt. P. Simonson, commanding: Four 6-pounder James rifles, two light 12-pounder guns. Company A, First Ohio Artillery, Capt. W. F. Goodspeed commanding: Four 6-pounder James rifles, two light 12-pounder guns. Twentieth Ohio Battery, Capt. E. Grosskopff commanding: Four 3-inch rifled guns, two light 12-pounder guns….

Third Division.–Company G, First Missouri Artillery, Capt. H. Hescock commanding: Four light 12-pounder guns, two 10-pounder Parrotts. Company C, First Illinois Artillery, Captain Prescott commanding: Four 3-inch rifled guns, two 12-pounder howitzers. Eleventh Indiana Battery, Capt, A. Sutermeister commanding: Four 12-pounder light guns, two 3-inch rifled guns.

Twenty-first Army Corps:

First Division.–Sixth Ohio Battery, Capt. Cullen Bradley commanding: Four 10-pounder Parrotts, two light 12-pounder guns. Eighth Indiana Battery, Capt. George Estep commanding: four 6-pounder smooth-bore guns, two 12-pounder howitzers. The Tenth Indiana Battery, belonging to this division, was not engaged, being with General Wagner’s brigade at Chattanooga….

Second Division.–Company B, First Ohio Artillery, Lieut. N. A. Baldwin commanding: Four James rifles, two 6-pounder smoothbore guns. Company M, Fourth U.S. Artillery, Lieut. F. L. D. Russell commanding: Four 12-pounder Napoleons, two 24-pounder howitzers. Company H, Fourth U. S. Artillery, Lieut. H. C. Cushing commanding: Four 12-pounder howitzers. Company F, First Ohio Artillery, Lieut. G. J. Cockerill commanding: Four 6-pounder James rifles, two 12-pounder howitzers….

Third Division.–Third Wisconsin Battery, Lieut. C. Livingston: Four 10-pounder Parrotts, two 12-pounder howitzers. Seventh Indiana Battery, Capt. George R. Swallow: Four 10-pounder Parrotts, two 12-pounder Napoleons. Twenty-sixth Pennsylvania Battery, Capt. A. J. Stevens: Four 6-pounder smooth-bore guns, two 6-pounder James rifles….

Reserve Corps:

Eighteenth Ohio Battery, Capt. C. C. Aleshire commanding: Six 3-inch rifled guns. Company M, First Illinois Artillery, Capt. George W. Spencer commanding: Four 12-pounder Napoleons, two 3-inch rifled guns. Company I, Second Illinois Artillery, Capt. C. M. Barnett commanding: Two 12-pounder Napoleons, two 6-pounder James rifles, two 10-pounder Parrotts.

Not mentioned in Barnett’s report, The Chicago Board of Trade Battery and a section from Battery D, 1st Ohio Light Artillery accompanied the Cavalry Corps.

Just as in December 1862, the Army of the Cumberland retained the “one battery per brigade” assignment on paper. Of the thirty-two batteries who’s armament was detailed by Barnett, only five are “pure” with one type of weapon (though we might throw in the 18th Indiana as a sixth with it’s unique mountain howitzer section).

Over the winter, the Army of the Cumberland increased its artillery park by about a third. In those thirty-two batteries listed, Barnett had 192 guns, with a type breakdown as such:

  • Sixty-two 12-pdr Napoleons
  • Thirty-six 3-inch rifles
  • Thirty-two James Rifles or 6-pdr Rifled Guns
  • Thirty 10-pdr Parrotts
  • Sixteen 12-pdr field howitzers
  • Ten 6-pdr smoothbores
  • Four 12-pdr mountain howitzers
  • Two 24-pdr field howitzers

In comparison to the December 1862 armament, the increase came mostly with the 12-pdr Napoleons and 3-inch rifles. In fact, the number of Napoleons increased by six times, while the number of 3-inch rifles over four-fold. The Wiard guns disappeared from the field.

The guns of the Army of the Cumberland were well crewed during the September fighting. Yet a large number of those guns were in Confederate hands by the end of the battle. That’s the next length of thread on this storyline.

(Citations from OR, Series I, Volume 30, Part 1, pages 233-6.