6th New York Heavy Artillery: Foot artillery in the Army of the Potomac

A point of order on myself, if you will.   Earlier today I brought up Brigadier-General Henry Hunt’s request for foot artillery to support operations of the field artillery in the Army of the Potomac. In context, Hunt was requesting regiments of the heavy artillery forces to be used as a foot artillery formation (without guns that is).  I neglected to add that Hunt already had one such regiment at his disposal – the 6th New York Heavy Artillery.

During the Gettysburg campaign, the 6th New York Heavy Artillery, under Colonel John Howard Kitching, was part of the third brigade of Major-General William French’s division based at Harper’s Ferry.  That division was of course, a bone of contention between a couple of generals though eventually transferred into the Army of the Potomac.  The 6th participated in the pursuit-retreat phase of the campaign, at one point guarding Crampton’s Pass on South Mountain.

John Howard Kitching

With reorganizations in the late summer of 1863, the 6th New York received assignment to the artillery.  Throughout the fall and into the winter, organization tables and returns listed the regiment as an ammunition guard, attached to the army’s artillery.  The 6th camped with the Artillery Reserve during the winter of 1864.

Again, we see Hunt was speaking from a point of experience when suggesting the transfer of heavy artillery regiments.  Indeed, he had part of the system in place.

UPDATE:  Bud Hall passed along this view of the 6th New York Heavy Artillery’s winter campsite:

Such neat rows in the camp.  Compares well to the camp at Harper’s Ferry, seen above.  The location where this photo was taken lies within the Civil War Trust’s property on the Brandy Station battlefield.


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