Summary Statement: December 31, 1862 – Pennsylvania’s Independent Batteries and Miscellaneous Returns

Problems, problems, problems.  That’s what we have to sort out with the Pennsylvania independent batteries and the summary for fourth quarter, 1862.     Just look at these entries:

0075_Snip_Dec62_2_PA_1

These were “storied” batteries, some of which played important parts in great battles.  While tracking these batteries by the name of a commander or organizer will fit into those stories, there are some administrative inefficiencies to that manner of identification.  And as these summaries are more administrative in nature, there is some matching and sorting needed to ensure a complete and accurate assessment of the data.

We see thirteen entry lines on the summary page.  Of those seven returns are logged.  One of those seven returns, from the 2nd Pennsylvania Reserves, lists no guns.  Let us sort through the entries as they appear, then circle back to check that all the independent batteries are accounted:

  • Durrell’s Battery:  No return.  This was Captain George W. Durell’s battery, also known as Pennsylvania Independent Battery D.   This battery reported six 10-pdr Parrotts earlier in the fall.
  • Nevin’s Battery:  No return.  Here’s where the battery designation could have helped.  There were two Nevin’s Batteries.  Captain John I. Nevin’s battery, known as Pennsylvania Independent Battery H, was organized in late September 1862.  Captain Robert J. Nevin’s Pennsylvania Independent Battery I was not organized until June 1863 (with a six month enlistment).  So let us assume this to be John Nevin’s.  In that case, Nevin’s battery was at Camp Barry at the time.
  • Keystone Battery: At Union Mills, Virginia with six 10-pdr Parrotts. This was Captain Matthew Hastings’ battery, assigned to Casey’s Division and part of the Washington defenses.
  • Hampton’s Battery:  At Aquia Creek, Virginia with six 10-pdr Parrotts. This would be Captain Robert B. Hampton’s Pennsylvania Independent Battery F, assigned to Second Division, Twelfth Corps.
  • Illegible name in row 20: I cannot make out what the battery name is on this row.  At first I though “Isaac” but that does not match to any in my records.  At any rate, the line is blank with no return.
  • Knap’s Battery:  At Fairfax Court House with six 10-pdr Parrotts.  Captain Joseph M. Knap’s efficient battery was also known as Pennsylvania Independent Battery E.  The battery was also assigned to Second Division, Twelfth Corps.
  • Shaffer’s Battery:  No return.  This, I think, is Captain Frank Schaffer’s Pennsylvania Independent Battery A, assuming there is a missing “c” in the name. If correct, then this battery’s location was Fort Delaware, where it spent the entire war.
  • Schooley’s Battery:  No return. The only match I have for this name is Schooley’s Independent Company Heavy Artillery, Captain David Schooley in command.  If that is the case, then the battery’s location was at Fort Lincoln, Washington, D.C. for the reporting period.
  • Thompson’s Battery: At Fletcher’s Chapel, Virginia with four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. This would be Captain James Thompson’s Pennsylvania Independent Battery C.  Assigned to Second Division, First Corps at this time.
  • Ulman’s Battery:  No return.  The name matches to Captain Joseph E. Ulman’s independent battery organized in February 1862.  This battery was not accepted as artillery and disbanded when told to reorganize as infantry, in March of that year.  Why it was still on the rolls is a 150-year-old question for the clerks.
  • Stevens’ Battery: At Murfreesboro, Tennessee with four 6-pdr field guns and two 3.80-inch James Rifles.  There was but one Pennsylvania battery at Stones River, and that was Lieutenant Alanson J. Stevens’ Pennsylvania Independent Battery B.  I’ve seen it mentioned in correspondence as the 26th Pennsylvania Battery, and Muehler’s Battery (after Captain Charles F. Muehler who organized the unit).  The battery supported Third Division, Left Wing, Fourteenth Corps.  Stevens reported expending 1,650 rounds during the battle, losing seven horses, two men killed, and seven men wounded.
  • 11th Cavalry stores in charge:  At Camp Suffolk, Virginia.  Reporting three 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • Company F, 2nd Pennsylvania Reserves: Reporting from Belle Plain, Virginia with no cannon but stores on hand.  I am not familiar with any association of this formation to an artillery battery. And this will be a significant amount of ammunition on hand.

This listing, somewhat out of order, gives us all of the lettered independent batteries save one.  Allow me to translate here in a quick list:

  • Battery A – Schaffer’s Battery
  • Battery B – Stevens’ or Muehler’s Battery
  • Battery C – Thompson’s Battery
  • Battery D – Durrel’s Battery
  • Battery E – Knap’s Battery
  • Battery F – Hampton’s Battery
  • Battery G – Young’s Battery – not listed above.
  • Battery H – John Nevin’s Battery
  • Battery I – Robert J. Nevin’s Battery (not formed until June 1863)

Looking a few months into the future, as it would be from December 1862, we know that Batteries C and F would later consolidate.  So there is one battery we might plug into that row 20 question mark.  Captain John Jay Young’s battery, organized in August 1862, spent the war at Fort Delaware (good duty if you can get it), to the chagrin of the War Department.

Another pair of batteries that deserve mention with respect to Pennsylvania batteries at this time in the war was Segebarth’s Battalion Marine Artillery, Batteries A and B. Those were also posted to Fort Delaware in December 1862.  That unit would become part of the 3rd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery later in the war.

So, after an administrative interpretation that was long enough to be a blog post by itself, let us go through the ammunition reported.  For convienence, I am going to use the name designations seen on the summary.  For smoothbore ammunition:

0077_Snip_Dec62_2_PA_1

Just two entry lines for discussion:

  • 11th Cavalry: 24 shell, 24 case, and 12 canister for 12-pdr field howitzer.
  • 2nd Reserves:  292 shot, 111 shell, 421 case, and 181 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.

Stevens’ Battery might be excused, having fired all those rounds at Stones River, from offering a quantity for their 6-pdr guns.

Moving to rifled projectiles, we few Hotchkiss projectiles in use:

0077_Snip_Dec62_2_PA_2

  • Thompson’s Battery: 82 canister, 16 percussion shell, 144 fuse shell, and 259 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 2nd Reserves: 400 fuse shell and 132 bullet shell for 3-inch rifle.

Moving to the next page, we find Dyer’s, Parrott’s, and Schenkl’s patent projectiles:

0079_Snip_Dec62_2_PA_1

Starting from the left side columns and Dyer’s:

  • Thompson’s Battery: 216 3-inch Dyer’s shrapnel, 3-inch bore.

Now the Parrott pattern projectiles:

  • Keystone Battery: 684 shell, 339 case, and 319 canister in 10-pdr.
  • Hampton’s Battery: 120 shell, 480 case, and 144 canister of 10-pdr.
  • Knap’s Battery:  507 shell, 213 case, and 136 canister for 10-pdr.

For Schenkl:

  • Hampton’s Battery: 480 Schenkl shot for 10-pdr Parrott.

The second page of Schenkl projectiles has but one entry:

0079_Snip_Dec62_2_PA_2

That is Thompson’s Battery with 33 Schenkl shell for 3-inch rifle.

At last, the small arms:

0079_Snip_Dec62_2_PA_3

By battery:

  • Keystone Battery: Fourteen Army revolvers and 150 horse artillery sabers.
  • Hampton’s Battery: Twenty Navy revolvers, sixty cavalry sabers, and ten horse artillery sabers.
  • Knap’s Battery: Thirty-seven Navy revolvers and eight horse artillery sabers.
  • Thompson’s Battery: Thirty-two Navy revolvers and six cavalry sabers.
  • Stevens’ Battery: Eight Navy revolvers and eight cavalry sabers.
  • 2nd Pennsylvania Reserves: 2 horse artillery sabers.

Yes, a lengthy post for just a handful of batteries.  Consider, if you will, the problem confronting the clerk entering this information.  They have “friendly” names assigned that mention battery commanders.  But there was an official designation that the commanders in the field were using (at least in some correspondence and order of battle).  The clerk could not consult the “Alternate Designations” section in the back of the Official Records or search through Frederick H. Dyer’s Compendium.  Maybe we don’t have room to complain?

One thought on “Summary Statement: December 31, 1862 – Pennsylvania’s Independent Batteries and Miscellaneous Returns

  1. It’s interesting how far “out of wack” the allotment of shell, case/shrapnel, and canister in these 10 lb. Parrott batteries is with Senor Hunt’s prescribed ratios. And, again, the variety of types of rifled projectiles fits right into his dislike for rifles.

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