Summary Statement, 1st Quarter, 1863 – Massachusetts Batteries

Keeping strictly to the order presented in the summaries, the next state’s volunteer batteries to consider are from Massachusetts:


At first glance, this looks “clean” compared to the respective sections from western states.  Twelve numbered batteries, with nine reporting, and no lines for sections attached to cavalry or infantry.  But there are still kinks to work out and questions to ask:

  • 1st Battery: White Oak Church, Virginia.  Six 12-pdr Napoleons.  The battery was assigned to First Division, Sixth Corps, Army of the Potomac. Captain William H. McCartney commanded.
  • 2nd Battery: No return.  Captain Ormand F. Nims commanded this battery, assigned to the Fourth Division, Nineteenth Corps, Department of the Gulf.  As of January 1863, the battery reported six 6-pdr rifled field guns (if strictly interpreted, 3.67-inch caliber, but 3.80-inch sometimes were identified as such). Reports indicate the battery’s duty station was Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
  • 3rd Battery: Falmouth, Virginia with six 12-pdr Napoleons (corrected from the previous quarter’s return… see 5th Battery below). Assigned to the First Division, Fifth Corps and under Captain Augustus Martin.
  • 4th Battery: At Baton Rouge, Louisiana with four 12-pdr Napoleons and two 3-inch steel rifles. This battery was assigned to the Third Division, Nineteenth Corps, under Captain George G. Trull (though Lieutenant Joseph B. Briggs was temporarily in command during part of the winter).  The nature of the 3-inch rifles is a question for me.  With Sawyer and Wiard weapons of that caliber associated (by presence of surviving examples) with Massachusetts, but no direct citations at my grasp, I’ll leave full identification open.
  • 5th Battery: At Falmouth, Virginia with six 3-inch rifles.  Also assigned to 1st Division, Fifth Corps. The battery was under Captain Charles A. Phillips. The previous quarter, this battery supposedly had six 12-pdr Napoleons.  I think this a mix-up between the 3rd and 5th Batteries by the clerks, being corrected here in the first quarter of 1863.
  • 6th Battery: No return.  The battery was assigned to First Division, Nineteenth Corps, under Lieutenant William W. Carruth, with four 6-pdr Sawyer guns and two 12-pdr howitzers.
  • 7th Battery: Suffolk, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance rifles.  Assigned to the Seventh Army Corps, commanded by Captain Phineas A. Davis.
  • 8th Battery: No return.  Mustered out the previous November at the end of a six-month enlistment.
  • 9th Battery: Fort Ramsay, Virginia.  Six 12-pdr Napoleons.  The battery was part of the defenses of Washington.  The 9th Battery Light Artillery was part of Abercrombie’s Division with Lieutenants Charles Erickson and later John Bigelow, commanding.  Of course, we know the battery went on to some renown for action later in the year.
  • 10th Battery:  Poolesville, Maryland with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. The battery was assigned to the defenses of Washington, assigned to the Corps of Observation.  Captain J. Henry Sleeper commanded.
  • 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 and commanded by Captain Edward J. Jones..
  • 12th Battery:  At New Orleans, Louisiana, with an annotation, “Stores turned over March 27 to…” a Lieutenant who’s name is illegible to me. Lieutenant Edwin M. Chamberlin commanded this battery of unattached artillery in the Nineteenth Corps. The battery arrived in Louisiana that winter and performed garrison and guard duties through the winter and early spring.

Turning now to the ammunition reported with the smoothbore types first:


Four batteries reporting, all of the same caliber:

  • 1st Battery: 396 shot, 74 shell, 251 case, and 131 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.
  • 3rd Battery: 192 shot, 96 shell, 387 case, and 96 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.
  • 4th Battery: 136 shot, 64 shell, 264 case, and 112 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.
  • 9th Battery: 272 shot, 242 shell, 191 case, and 191 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.

Of note, in each battery were were always more shot than canister.  And on most reporting lines more shell and case. While there are more canister on hand than one might expect, the majority of the rounds on hand reflected the tactical preference for artillery use.  I often wonder if the reported quantities of canister reflected some “over stock” due to the issue process.  As issue was often by chest (akin to what modern armies do with a “unit of fire”), there may have been a portion of unused canister retained.

Moving to rifled projectiles, we again find just one caliber to deal with.  And when turning to the Hotchkiss projectiles, we find five batteries reporting:


For those 3-inch rifles (be they standard Ordnance or otherwise):

  • 4th Battery: 40 canister, 240 percussion shell, and 120 fuse shell for 3-inch rifle.
  • 5th Battery: 80 canister, 120 percussion shell, 413 fuse shell and 540 bullet shell for 3-inch rifle.
  • 7th Battery: 205 canister, 198 percussion shell, 284 fuse shell, and 750 bullet shell for 3-inch rifle.
  • 10th Battery: 123 canister, 110 percussion shell, 240 fuse shell and 760 bullet shell for 3-inch rifle.
  • 11th Battery:  117 canister, 512 percussion shell, and 575 bullet shell for 3-inch rifle.

We are able to skip the next page of rifled projectiles as there were no Dyer’s, James’, or Parrott’s on hand.  Turning to the Schenkl columns:


A couple of lines:

  • 5th Battery: 80 Schenkl canister for 3-inch rifles.
  • 10th Battery: 15 Schenkl shell for 3-inch rifles.

Thus by a wide margin the Massachusetts artillerists had Hotchkiss projectiles for the first quarter.

Lastly, the small arms:


By battery:

  • 1st Battery: Thirteen Army revolvers, twelve cavalry sabers, and seven horse artillery sabers.
  • 3rd Battery: Twelve Army revolvers, eight cavalry sabers, and twenty-four horse artillery sabers.
  • 4th Battery: One .54 caliber carbine, seven Army revolvers, and forty-two horse artillery sabers.
  • 5th Battery: Six Army revolvers and forty-six horse artillery sabers.
  • 7th Battery: Nineteen Army revolvers and 143 horse artillery sabers.
  • 9th Battery: Fourteen Army revolvers and thirty horse artillery sabers.
  • 10th Battery: Twenty Navy revolvers and twenty horse artillery sabers.
  • 11th Battery: Twenty Army revolvers and twenty horse artillery sabers.

Other than the 7th Battery’s large number of sabers, all within reason!

Published by Craig Swain

"Historical marker hunter" and Civil War enthusiast.

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