As we move forward with the summaries today, we look at the Second Regiment, US Artillery. For the fourth quarter of 1862, we saw varied service for the batteries in this regiment – field and garrison, eastern and western theaters. The service details remained varied into the first quarter of the new year. Furthermore, the changes between the two reporting period reflected some of the organizational changes occurring in the winter of 1863.
That said, let’s examine the administrative details and reported cannon on hand:
Looking at these particulars, I’ll work in the changes with each entry:
- Battery A – No location given. Six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles on hand, as was reported in December. The is was Captain John C. Tidball’s battery. Though part of the Army of the Potomac’s Artillery Reserve, the battery was nominally assigned to Second Division of the Cavalry Corps.
- Battery B – At Aquia Creek, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. An increase of two guns over the last report. Battery assigned to the horse artillery brigade of the Cavalry Corps. When Captain James M. Robertson moved up to command the horse artillery of the Cavalry Corps, Lieutenant Albert Vincent assumed command of the battery.
- Battery C – Opelousas, Louisiana with six 12-pdr Napoleons, an increase of two over last report. The battery was part of Fourth Division, Nineteenth Corps (one of those relatively new formations on paper), in the Department of the Gulf. Lieutenant Theodore Bradley commanded.
- Battery D – No location given. Six 12-pdr Napoleons on hand, as was the case the previous December. Battery D was assigned to Sixth Corps and was thus in camp north of the Rappahannock. A Medal of Honor was in the future (two campaign seasons later) for Lieutenant Edward D. Williston.
- Battery E – Reporting at Lexington, Kentucky with six 20-pdr Parrott Rifles. This battery moved to Kentucky as part of the Ninth Corps in March 1863. Lieutenant Samuel N. Benjamin remained in command. Note the quantity of guns. Hunt indicated the battery had six 20-pdrs during the battle of Fredericksburg. But the December 1862 report clearly shows a “1” in the 20-pdr column. By March 1863, the battery reported six. So was the earlier report in error? Or did the reporting period catch the battery during a stage of refitting with new guns? At any rate, those guns which started the year in Virginia had more travels before June 1863.
- Battery F – No report. The battery remained in the Corinth, Mississippi area and, despite all the reorganizations in the Army of the Tennessee, remained with the District of Corinth. Lieutenant Charles Green commanded, replacing Captain Albert Molinard.
- Battery G – No report. The battery remained with Sixth Corps, north of the Rappahannock. Lieutenant John H. Bulter was in command.
- Battery H – Assigned to Fort Barrancas, Florida as garrison artillery. No field weapons reported.
- Battery I – Fort McHenry, Maryland. No field artillery reported.
- Battery K – Fort Pickens, Florida on garrison artillery assignment.
- Battery L – Reported at Aquia Creek with the annotation “No stores”. Battery L remained consolidated with Battery B (above).
- Battery M – At Bealton Station, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Assigned to the Horse Artillery Brigade, Army of the Potomac. Lieutenant Robert Clarke replaced Lieutenant Robert H. Chapin at the head of this battery.
One last entry line for the regiment is for “Adjutant, stores in charge.” The adjutant reported several types of implements, tools, and supplies but no cannon or projectiles. The adjutant did have a few sabers to rattle around.
Looking to the smoothbore projectiles:
As expected only the Napoleon batteries reported quantities:
- Battery C – 144 shot, 16 shell, 528 case, and 208 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.
- Battery D – 273 shot, 110 shell, 321 case, and 64 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.
So no surprises with the Napoleons.
For the Hotchkiss-types, we have only one battery to mention:
But that reporting a healthy quantity:
- Battery B – 266 shot, 90 canister, 434 percussion shell, 307 fuse shell, and 69 bullet shell for the “3-inch wrought-iron gun.”
Moving to the next page, we see entries for Dyer’s and Parrott’s patent projectiles:
Yes, a lot of space for four numbers for us to consider. I am including, this time around, some of the draft snips such as this one so readers might fully review the entries. I may interpret a stray mark incorrectly, so this is intended to allow better validation (though… alas, I’ve pretty much cut up the workspace by creating the snips to begin with). Looking narrowly here:
- Battery M – 348 Dyer’s shrapnel for 3-inch rifle.
The Parrott projectiles are for those 20-pdrs:
- Battery E – 822 shell, 204 case, and 72 canister for 3.67-inch bore. Plenty for a six-gun battery to start an engagement.
Moving to the next page (full snip here) and Schenkl columns:
Just one battery reporting:
- Battery M – 494 shell and 72 canister for 3-inch rifle.
We have no records for Battery A’s ammunition state at this period of the war.
Moving down to the small arms:
- Battery A – Fourteen Army revolvers, sixty-six Navy revolvers, twelve cavalry sabers, and seventy-three horse artillery sabers.
- Battery B – Thirteen cavalry sabers and two horse artillery sabers.
- Battery C – Twenty-eight horse artillery sabers and twenty-eight foot artillery swords.
- Battery D – Fifteen Army revolvers and sixty-two horse artillery sabers.
- Battery E – Fifty-six Navy revolvers and thirty-three horse artillery sabers.
- Battery M – 120 Army revolvers and twenty-six horse artillery sabers.
- Adjutant – Twenty-four horse artillery sabers.
So… Captain Tidball had time to tally the number of revolvers and edged weapons on hand… and a large number at that! But gave no numbers for ammunition on hand. Are we to believe this storied battery had empty ammunition chests? Or was there something missing in the report? I just can’t see someone with Tidball’s reputation leaving out such an important particular. Must have been something rotten in the Ordnance Department.