Summary Statement: December 31, 1862 – Virginia’s Batteries? Yes, West Virginia that is!

I always like to respect the particulars of administrative details.  And of course, the clerks at the Ordnance Department in 1863 were also mindful of those details. In the case of West Virginia, it was not formally admitted as a state until June 20, 1863.  So how to classify the batteries recruited and mustered by the Restored Government of Virginia in Wheeling?  Well, they were still Virginians:

0075_Snip_Dec62_VA_1

We see seven batteries of the First Virginia Light Artillery Regiment along with two sub-lines for infantry companies doing artillery business.  To best understand these formations, let’s approach this in reverse … looking at the infantrymen working as artillerists.  Two lines to arbitrate here:

  • Company G, Second (West) Virginia Infantry:  In May 1863, this company was reformed as Battery G, 1st (West) Virginia Artillery.  The unit’s return was received in Washington in January 1864.  So not only was the battery in a new state, but had a new designation.  Thus we see them accounted for on line 58 as a battery.
  • Company C, Sixth (West) Virginia Infantry: Same transition at play here.  The company became Battery F, 1st (West) Virginia Artillery at some point in April 1863.  However, for reasons I can only guess about, the particulars for this return, received in March 1864, were carried against the infantry company designation.

In short, we can account for both these entry lines within the regimented artillery batteries, even if the data entry is not clean.  We see batteries A through G on the summary.  Battery H was not formed until 1864.  Of those existing as of the end of 1862, we have, relatively speaking, a complete summary:

  • Battery A: At Washington, D.C. with six 12-pdr Napleons.  At the end of 1862, this battery was in the Artillery Camp of Instruction, Camp Barry.  Captain John Jenks was in command at the time.
  • Battery B: At Winchester, Virginia with six 10-pdr Parrotts.  Captain John V. Keeper’s battery was assigned to Milroy’s Brigade (at Winchester), in the Eighth Corps, or Middle Department if you prefer.
  • Battery C: At Stafford Court House, Virginia with six 10-pdr Parrotts.  Captain Wallace Hill commanded this battery, which was part of Third Division, Eleventh Corps, then just joining the Army of the Potomac.
  • Battery D: At Winchester, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Captain  John Carlin commanded this battery which was also part of Milroy’s command in the Eighth Corps.
  • Battery E: At Clarksburg, (West) Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Some returns place this battery at Romney, West Virginia, under Captain Alexander C. Moore. The battery was also part of the Eighth Corps.
  • Battery F: Indicated as “Not in service” but as indicated above, carried on the line for Company C, 6th (West) Virginia Infantry.  At what I read to be Palestine, West Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  I think that would be an error.  Department returns indicate Captain Thomas A. Maulsby commanded the company “serving as artillery” and stationed at Martinsburg, with a section at North Mountain.
  • Battery G: At Martinsburg, (West) Virginia with two 6-pdr field guns and two 10-pdr Parrotts.  Captain Chatham T. Ewing commanded this battery, which, as mentioned above, was formed from the 2nd West Virginia Infantry.  This is another entry for which I have questions as to the duty location.  The infantry regiment was at Beverly, West Virginia at the end of 1862. If what was to become Battery G was there, then the command was part of the Department of the Ohio’s District of West Virginia.

So while I have some questions regarding the individual battery duty locations, at least we have an entry for each battery to work with.  We also see those western Virginians were serving primarily in their home state… at least what had been their home state prior to 1861.

As for ammunition quantities reported, we start with the smoothbore types:

0077_Snip_Dec62_VA_1

Just two batteries with smoothbore guns on hand:

  • Battery A: 286 shot, 102 shell, 286 case, and 102 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery G: 140 shot, 84 case, and 56(?) canister for 6-pdr field guns.

That matches to reported smoothbore guns on hand.  Now we move to the rifled guns, where the batteries reported a mix of Ordnance Rifles and Parrotts.  Starting with the Hotchkiss patent projectiles:

0077_Snip_Dec62_VA_2

Two batteries with this type on hand (Note: that I am assuming the battery designation for Battery F, where carried as Company C, 6th West Virginia on the summary):

  • Battery D: 144 canister, 500 percussion shell, 240 fuse shell, and 226 bullet shell for 3-inch rifle.
  • Battery F: 400 canister, 450 percussion shell, 450 fuse shell, and 860 bullet shell for 3-inch rifle.

The next columns to consider are for Parrott-patent projectiles:

0079_Snip_Dec62_VA_1

Three batteries had Parrott rifles, but only two had Parrott-type projectiles:

  • Battery B: 305 shell, 431 case, and 274 canister of Parrott-type for 10-pdr Parrott rifles.
  • Battery C: 810 shell, 270 case, and 144 canister of Parrot-type for 10-pdr Parrott rifles.

No indication of what, if any, the 10-pdr Parrots of Battery G had to fire.

Notice also the entry under the Schenkl column on the right:

  • Battery F (again, carried under Company C, 6th West Virginia): 169 shot, Schenkl-patent, for 3-inch rifles.

More Schenkl-patent projectiles on more columns on the next page:

0079_Snip_Dec62_VA_2A

Entries for:

  • Battery B: 240 Schenkl shells for 10-pdr Parrott.
  • Battery F: 99 Schenkl shells for 3-inch rifles.

How about small arms?  One might think the West Virginians to be well equipped in that regard:

0079_Snip_Dec62_VA_3

Let’s see:

  • Battery A: Thirty Army revolvers and 105 cavalry sabers.
  • Battery B: Twenty-four Army revolvers and 84 horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery C: Ten Navy revolvers and nine cavalry sabers.
  • Battery D: Thirty Army revolvers and thirty horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery E: Twenty-nine Army revolvers and thirty horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery F: Twenty-five carbines, seven Army revolvers, and 151 cavalry sabers.
  • Battery G: Twenty Army revolvers.

We’ve seen odder assortments, but these “mountain men” don’t disappoint!

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