During the war, Illinois provided two regiments of artillery and a regiment’s worth of independent batteries. Many of those batteries achieved fame on the battlefield, and are well known to those familiar with the Western Theater. Looking at their equipment, we will discover a wide array of issued weapons among these regiments. We see that with the summary statement of the 1st Illinois Light Artillery Regiment:
We see that even into December 1862 the Illinois batteries reflected the “rush to war” in the nature of the cannons reported. Also worth noting is the number of batteries which were not only “in the field” but also actually engaged in combat as of December 31, 1862:
- Battery A: At Vicksburg Mississippi with four 6-pdr field guns and two 12-pdr field howitzers. Battery A was assigned to the Thirteenth Corps, Army of the Tennessee at reporting time. They were part of the action at Chickasaw Bayou outside Vicksburg at the end of the year.
- Battery B: Also at Vicksburg, but with five 6-pdrs and only one 12-pdr field howitzer. Battery B was also at Chickasaw Bluffs.
- Battery C: At Murfreesboro, Tennessee. They were assigned to Third Division (Sheridan), Right Wing, Fourteenth Corps, Army of the Cumberland. In action on December 31, they fired 1,154 rounds, lost 95 horses, and all their guns. Thus the slim return for this summary. I don’t know exactly what Battery C had going into battle, but know they had at least some rifled guns.
- Battery D: No return received. The battery was part of the Right Wing, Thirteenth Corps, Army of the Tennessee, operating out of Jackson, Tennessee at the time.
- Battery E: At Vicksburg with six James 3.80-inch rifles. I don’t find this battery on the order of battle for Chickasaw Bayou, but it was part of the District of Memphis, from which Sherman drew his forces for the campaign.
- Battery F: Camp Sherman, Mississippi with four James 3.80-inch rifles. The battery was in the Right Wing (McPherson), Thirteenth Corps at the reporting time.
- Battery G: Had four 24-pdr field howitzers. Battery G was part of the District of Corinth, Thirteenth (later Seventeenth) Corps.
- Battery H: At Vicksburg with two 6-pdr field guns and two 20-pdr Parrott rifles. Also at Chickasaw Bayou.
- Battery I: No return received. Battery I was also part of McPherson’s Right Wing, Thirteenth Corps. They were guarding the railroads outside Memphis at the time.
- Battery K: Paducah, Kentucky with ten Union Repeating Guns (or the Agar “coffee mill” gun). This is intriguing, as we most identify the use of this weapon in the Eastern Theater. (UPDATE: Battery K likely did not have these guns, but some other “light” weapon. More on this in a follow up post.)
- Battery L: At New Creek, Virginia, with two 12-pdr Napoleons and four James 3.80-inch rifles. Battery L was part of the Eighth Corps, and posted in soon-to-be West Virginia.
- Battery M: Munfordsville, Kentucky, reporting three 10-pdr Parrott rifles.
As you can see, there are a lot of threads to follow among those twelve batteries. Again, were this post not focused on the summary, I’d love to break down individual battery histories.
But that is not the line of march today. So onward to the smoothbore projectiles reported. We’ll look at this in two sections. First the 6-pdrs and 12-pdrs:
These were reported in three batteries:
- Battery A: 6-pdr field gun – 148 shot, 512 case, and 117 canister. 12-pdr field howitzer – 120 shell, 107 case, and 36 canister.
- Battery B: 6-pdr field gun – 350 shot, 270 case, and 131 canister. 12-pdr field howitzer – 30 shell, 160 (?) case, and 19 canister.
- Battery L: 6-pdr field gun – 70 shot. 12-pdr Napoleon – 136 shot, 122 shell, 180 case, and 88 canister.
Note the entry for Battery L with seventy 6-pdr solid shot. It was often reported that batteries would use 6-pdr ammunition in James rifles. The projectile fit, of course. Here we see documentation of that practice in the field.
A lesser note here – Battery H, with two 6-pdrs, reported no rounds for those pieces on hand.
Also in the smoothbore category, we have Battery G with those big 24-pdr field howitzers:
So for four howitzers only 36 shells, 30 case, and 24 canister on hand.
Moving to the rifled projectiles, first on the sheet are those of Hotchkiss Patent:
Follow this close:
- Battery F: Wiard 3.67-inch – 107 shot on hand.
- Battery L: James 3.80-inch – 210 shot and 28 “bullet shell” or case. 3-inch – 40 percussion shells and 160 fuse shells.
For two lines, we have a lot to talk about. Remember these are Hotchkiss-type projectiles made to work with particular types of rifled artillery – in the case of these two batteries those are James rifles. But, what about Wiard? My first response is “if it fits, we fire it!” The difference between the Wiard 12-pdr’s 3.76-inch bore and the James 3.80-inch bore allows that. But let us relegate that for the moment to supposition and speculation. This could also be due to a mistake in the supply system… or a mistake in reporting. That explanation could also carry over to the entries for Battery L, which would have little to no use for 3-inch projectiles.
Moving to the next page, none of the 1st Illinois batteries reported Dyer’s Patent projectiles. But they did, of course, have those of James’ Patent:
Three batteries reporting quantities of “6-pdr James” of 3.80-inch bore:
- Battery E – 480 shell and 160 canister.
- Battery F – 100 shot, 378 shell, and 100 canister.
- Battery L – 320 shot, 36 shell, and 19 canister.
So as one might expect in terms of issue, but interesting that Battery L had small quantities of shell and canister on hand. Instead that battery had a lot of solid shot (also count the 70 6-pdr smoothbore and 107 Wiard solid shot mentioned above). We’ll see more tallies for Battery L below.
Batteries H and M had Parrott rifles on hand, and they reported projectiles for those guns:
- Battery H: 20-pdr (3.67-inch) Parrott – 120 shell, 48 case, and 57 canister.
- Battery M: 10-pdr (2.9-inch) Parrott – 285 shell and 105 canister.
The next set of columns listed Schenkl projectiles:
Here we find Battery L had 132 Schenkl shells for their James rifles. Still only a fraction of the shells on hand for the two western batteries.
On the far right of that snip, we can add 172 Tatham’s pattern canister, in 3.80-inch caliber, for Battery L’s James rifles. However, Battery F reported 183 Tatham’s pattern canister in 3.67-inch for their James rifles. One wonders how the logisticians kept track of projectiles which differed by just over a tenth of an inch.
Finally, the small arms:
Entries in almost every column:
- Battery A: 14 Army revolvers, 60(?) Navy revolvers, two cavalry sabers and a horse artillery saber.
- Battery B: 50 Navy revolvers and 11 cavalry sabers.
- Battery C: 8 Navy revolvers and 8 cavalry sabers.
- Battery E: 10 cavalry sabers.
- Battery F: 25 Army revolvers and six cavalry sabers.
- Battery G: 45 of what ever the .58-caliber long arm reported in the third column (See update below). 45 cavalry sabers and 16 foot artillery sabers.
- Battery H: 17 Navy revolvers and 9 cavalry sabers.
- Battery K: 12 Springfield .58-caliber rifles and 114 horse artillery sabers.
- Battery L: 17 carbines and 148 cavalry sabers.
UPDATE: Phil Spaugy suggested the third column’s written header could be “Whitney, cal .58.” Those being modified Model 1841 rifles. This matches information from Arming the Suckers by Ken Baumann, for Battery G.
Sorry for the length of this post. But that’s what it takes to detail some of the anomalies in the 1st Illinois Light Artillery, as of December 1862.