Summary Statement: December 31, 1862 – Massachusetts batteries

For the last five sections of the summary statements, we’ve had a western-focus as the order of listing included western states.  So a break from that with the next state – Massachusetts.  However, that is not to say all these batteries introduced today were serving in the east…

Massachusetts’s naming convention was to number each light battery, instead of providing a regimental system (and keep in mind this stands separate from the Heavy Artillery which had a regimental system AND numbered separate companies) . However, in some correspondence those batteries were referred to by letter designations, as if there was a regimental system for the light batteries.  In other words, sometimes 1st Battery was “Battery A”; 2nd Battery was “Battery B”; etc.  For sake of convention here, I’ll use the numbered designations, just as the summaries offered.

During the war, the Bay Staters provided 18 battery-sized light artillery formations.  Subtract from the total one battery from Boston mustered early in the war (and mustered out by August 1861) and the reorganized 11th Battery.  That leaves us with the highest number of the 16th Battery.  Of those, the first eleven were in Federal service as of December 1862.  Two more, the 12th and 13th, were still organizing, and thus left off the summary.  That said, we have 1st Battery through 11th Battery to look at for the December 1862 summary:

0059_Snip_Dec62_MA_1

Of those eleven batteries, nine provided returns:

  • 1st Battery: White Oak Church, Virginia.  Six 12-pdr Napoleons.  The battery was part of Sixth Corps, Army of the Potomac, opposite Fredericksburg.
  • 2nd Battery: Carrolton, Louisiana. No weapons listed.  This battery was among those units involved with the Lower Mississippi (New Orleans and Baton Rouge) campaign and thus part of the Department of the Gulf.  As of January 1863, the battery reported six 6-pdr field guns.
  • 3rd Battery: Warrenton Junction, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Assigned to the Fifth Corps, Army of the Potomac.  Captain Augustus Martin’s battery is credited with Napoleons at Antietam.  And they had Napoleons at Gettysburg.  There’s a longer story than I have room for here.
  • 4th Battery: No return.  This battery was also in the Department of the Gulf, with two sections posted to Fort Pike in December 1862. One section was at Carrolton, Louisiana with two 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 5th Battery: No location listed, but with six 12-pdr Napoleons.  At the time in question, the battery was part of Fifth Corps.
  • 6th Battery: No return.  The battery was also part of the Department of the Gulf, under Captain William W. Carruth, with four 6-pdr Sawyer guns and two 12-pdr howitzers.  A shame we don’t have more details in the summary.
  • 7th Battery: Suffolk, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance rifles.  Assigned to the Seventh Army Corps.
  • 8th Battery: Mustered out, but reporting two 12-pdr field howitzers and four 6-pdr (3.67-inch) rifles.  The battery had been part of the Ninth Corps before their six-month enlistment expired.
  • 9th Battery: Fort Ramsay, Virginia.  Six 12-pdr Napoleons.  The battery was part of the defenses of Washington.  Fort Ramsay was a forward section of the defenses, on Upton’s Hill.  However, photos of the fort show siege weapons in place, not Napoleons.  Further confusing things, the 9th Company (Unassigned) Massachusetts Heavy Artillery was also posted to Fort Ramsay at some point in the war.  That aside for the moment, the 9th Battery Light Artillery was part of Abercrombie’s Division in December 1862.
  • 10th Battery:  Poolesville, Maryland with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. The battery was assigned to the defenses of Washington, but detached for duty.
  • 11th Battery: Centreville, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Also part of Washington’s defenses. This battery was assigned to Casey’s Provisional Division.

Yes, with Captain Richard Arnold’s January report in hand, it is possible to determine the number of cannons, and types, on hand for the Massachusetts batteries.  Though there are still some questions that require chewing.

The batteries reported the following smoothebore ammunition on hand:

0061_Snip_Dec62_MA_1

By battery:

  • 1st Battery: 12-pdr Napoleon – 296 shot, 74 shell, 251 case, and 131 canister.
  • 5th Battery: 12-pdr Napoleon – 192 shot, 96 shell, 387 case, and 96 canister.
  • 8th Battery: 12-pdr Napoleon – 218 shell.  Also reporting 720 12-pdr field howitzer case shot and 79 canister for mountain howitzer.
  • 9th Battery:  12-pdr Napoleon – 199 shot, 267 shell, and 192 case.  Then 192 canister for the 12-pdr mountain howitzer.

The last entry leaves us a small question.  Certainly the use of 12-pdr howitzer case shot and canister in a Napoleon would work under the “if it fits down the bore we shoot it!” rule. However, I am inclined to think that is a transcription error for the 9th Battery.

Likewise, for the 8th battery, I’m inclined to question if the stores included 12-pdr field gun shells or 12-pdr howitzer shells.  Not that it mattered much for the 8th, as it would reflect quantities turned in by that time.

On to rifled ammunition:

0061_Snip_Dec62_MA_2

Reporting Hotchkiss projectiles:

  • 3rd Battery: 3-inch – 160 canister, 413 fuse shell, 540 bullet shell (case).
  • 7th Battery: 3-inch – 212 canister, 192 percussion shell, 346 fuse shell, and 364 bullet shell.
  • 8th Battery: 12-pdr (3.67-inch) – 18 shot and 1,464 fuse shell (!).
  • 10th Battery: 3-inch – 125 canister, 115 percussion shell, 246 fuse shell, and 720 bullet shell.
  • 11th Battery: 3-inch – 117 canister, 572 percussion shell, and 578 bullet shell.

The 8th Battery must have “husbanded” their allotment of shells at Antietam….

There were not reports of Dyer, James, or Parrott projectiles for the Massachusetts guns:

 

 

0062_Snip_Dec62_MA_1

Though I would caution that we don’t have documentation of the three batteries posted in Louisiana for the reporting period.

A lone entry for Schenkl projectiles:

0062_Snip_Dec62_MA_2

3rd Battery reporting 120 3-inch Schenkl shells for their Ordnance Rifles.

Finally, the small arms reported:

 

0062_Snip_Dec62_MA_3

By battery:

  • 1st Battery: 13 Army revolvers, 12 cavalry sabers, and 7 horse artillery sabers.
  • 2nd Battery: 3 Enfield .577 rifles.
  • 3rd Battery:  6 Army revolvers and 46 horse artillery sabers.
  • 5th Battery: 12 Army revolvers, 8 cavalry sabers, and 24 horse artillery sabers.
  • 7th Battery: 20 Army revolvers and 147 horse artillery sabers.
  • 8th Battery: 11 Navy revolvers and 47 horse artillery sabers.
  • 9th Battery: 15 Army revolvers and 3 horse artillery sabers.
  • 10th Battery: 20 Navy revolvers and 20 horse artillery sabers.
  • 11th Battery: 20 Army revolvers and 20 horse artillery sabers.

One would think that, coming from the home state of Ames and Colt, the Massachusetts men would be well equipped for small arms.  I think this part of the summary, across all the states and batteries, is the section to give the most latitude.  We have here the “reported” quantities, which might not directly correlate to the “issued” quantity, nor reflect the “acquired” quantity.  Then again, we don’t usually measure a battery’s firepower by the number of pop-guns and long edged weapons.

One thought on “Summary Statement: December 31, 1862 – Massachusetts batteries

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s