All told, thirty-six formations from New York received the designation “Independent Battery, Light Artillery” during the war. Some of these were simply re-designation of existing batteries, to better align record keeping with practice (such as Battery L, 2nd New York Heavy discussed last week, which became the 34th Independent Battery). Others were completely new batteries formed outside the regimental system. Of those, some were short lived or never completely formed. Still, these independent batteries were a rather substantial number of lines to account for in the quarterly summaries. For the first quarter, 1863, there were thirty-two enumerated:
Let us look at these in batches, for better focus:
Starting with the first dozen:
- 1st Independent Battery: At Belle Plain, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Captain Andrew Cowan commanded the battery assigned to Second Division, Sixth Corps, Army of the Potomac.
- 2nd Independent Battery: No return. At the start of the winter, Captain Louis Schirmer commanded this battery, assigned First Division, Eleventh Corps. When Schirmer was promoted to command the corps’ artillery reserve later in the spring, Captain Hermann Jahn took command of the battery.
- 3rd Independent Battery: At Potomac Creek, Virginia with six 10-pdr Parrotts (an increase from the last quarter). The battery served in Second Division, Sixth Corps, under Lieutenant William A. Harn.
- 4th Independent Battery: No return. Assigned to Second Division, Third Corps. We are familiar with the 4th, thanks to their stand at the Devil’s Den at Gettysburg, and know they had six 10-pdr Parrotts. Through the winter, the battery saw several officers depart for other commands and Lieutenant George F. Barstow, 3rd US Artillery, took command late in the winter. “The men were despondent,” Captain James E. Smith later recounted, “and became lax in their duties, not without some excuse.” For this, and other reasons, Smith returned to command his old battery in May.
- 5th Independent Battery: At Falmouth, Virginia with four 20-pdr Parrotts. This was Captain Elijah D. Taft’s battery in the Army of the Potomac’s Artillery Reserve.
- 6th Independent Battery: No location listed, but with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. At the start of the winter, the 6th was under Captain W. M. Bramhall and part of the Artillery Reserve. By spring, Lieutenant Joseph W. Martin assumed command with the battery transferred to the Horse Artillery (First Division, Cavalry Corps, Army of the Potomac).
- 7th Independent Battery: At Norfolk, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Captain Peter C. Regan’s battery supported the Seventh Corps.
- 8th Independent Battery: At Yorktown, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Part of the Fourth Corps, on the Peninsula, Captain Butler Fitch commanded this battery.
- 9th Independent Battery: Fort Reno, District of Colulmbia, with only infantry stores. Captain Emil Schubert, of the 4th US Artillery, was commander of this battery, assigned to the Twenty-Second Corps. As indicated, the battery was not equipped as light artillery.
- 10th Independent Battery: At Falmouth with six 12-pdr Napoleons. Lieutenant Samuel Lewis replaced Captain John T. Bruen during the winter. The battery remained with Third Division, Third Corps until later in the spring.
- 11th Independent Battery: Also at Falmouth but with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Battery also assigned to Third Division, Third Corps. Lieutenant John E. Burton replaced Captain Albert Von Puttkammer in command.
- 12th Independent Battery: At Camp Barry, Artillery Camp of Instruction, District of Columbia and reporting four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Captain George F. McKnight replaced Captain William H. Ellis.
A few changes in command and only one significant transfer through the winter. And not many changes in the number and type of cannon. Notice all these batteries served in the Eastern Theater. More specifically, in Virginia and the defenses of Washington.
Only one battery reported smoothbores on hand:
But we have two lines?
- 5th Battery: 56 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
- 10th Battery: 288 shot, 96 shell, 288 case, and 96 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.
Why would Taft’s Battery have canister for 6-pdr smoothbores? Perhaps for use in their 20-pdr Parrotts. The bore size was the same. Notably, the battery didn’t report these in the previous quarter.
Meanwhile, 10th Battery seemed short of ammunition for it’s Napoleons. No change from the previous quarter’s report. Such leads me to believe someone made “quick work” of their duties.
Hotchkiss projectiles were favored for the 3-inch Ordnance Rifles in the Army of the Potomac, and accordingly, we see a lot of those reported on hand:
Six batteries with entries:
- 1st Battery: 129 canister, 211 percussion shell, 370 fuse shell, and 570 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
- 6th Battery: 59 canister, 285 percussion shell, 44 fuse shell, and 323 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
- 7th Battery: 114 canister, 47 percussion shell, 259 fuse shell, and 715 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
- 8th Battery: 175 canister and 45 percussion shell for 3-inch rifles.
- 11th Battery: 151 canister, 258 fuse shell, and 775 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
- 12th Battery: 137 canister, 73 percussion shell, 40 fuse shell, and 120 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
Not to fret about the 8th Battery, as they were not short on ammunition. Turning to the next page:
We see the 8th had Dyer’s patent projectiles:
- 8th Battery: 369 shell and 650 shrapnel for 3-inch rifles.
And there are two Parrott batteries (not counting Smith’s which didn’t submit a report):
- 3rd Battery: 480 shell , 480 case, and 190 canister of Parrott for 10-pdr Parrotts.
- 5th Battery: 45 Parrott Shell for 20-pdr Parrotts.
And the last page of rifled projectiles has a couple more entry lines for Schenkl:
- 1st Battery: 29 Schenkl shell for 3-inch rifles.
- 3rd Battery: 120 Schenkl shell for 10-pdr Parrotts.
Lastly, we turn to the small arms reported on hand:
Seems like everyone had something:
- 1st Battery: Twenty-eight Navy revolvers, eight cavalry sabers, and fifteen horse artillery sabers.
- 3rd Battery: Four Army revolvers and twelve cavalry sabers.
- 5th Battery: Twenty-three Army revolvers and twenty-one horse artillery sabers.
- 6th Battery: 155 Navy revolvers, twenty cavalry sabers, and two horse artillery sabers.
- 7th Battery: Eighteen Navy revolvers and twenty-six cavalry sabers.
- 8th Battery: Fourteen Navy revolvers and fourteen horse artillery sabers.
- 10th Battery: Fifty-eight Navy revolvers and eleven horse artillery sabers.
- 11th Battery: Twenty Army revolvers and twenty-two cavalry sabers.
- 12th Battery: Twenty-eight Army revolvers and twenty-nine horse artillery sabers.
For the next installment, we’ll look at the second batch of New York’s independent batteries – 13th through 24th.