Summary Statement, 1st Quarter, 1863 – Vermont Batteries

For the fourth quarter of 1862, the batteries of Vermont got no love from the clerks at the Ordnance Department.  For the first of 1863, at least the batteries received mention:

0148_1_Snip_VT

A small state, Vermont provided only two light batteries up to this point of the war (a third would be mustered in January 1864).  Both active batteries served in the Army of the Gulf.  Likewise, both would play parts in the campaign against Port Hudson, Louisiana later in the spring and into summer.  The receipt date for both batteries is within bureaucratic tolerance – August and May of the reporting year, respectively.

  • 1st Vermont Light Battery: Listed at New Orleans, Louisiana with six 3-inch rifles. In January, Captain George W. Duncan resigned. Captain George T. Hebard assumed command of this battery at the start of the spring.  The battery was assigned to Second Division, Nineteenth Corps.
  • 2nd Vermont Light Battery: Placed at Baton Rouge, Louisiana with six 3.67-inch rifles. Assigned to Third Division, Nineteenth Corps under Captain Pythagoras E. Holcomb.

When attempting to identify the specific type of cannon assigned to these batteries, I have to pause to offer simply the calibers reported.  I’m most certain the six 3.67-inch rifles of the 2nd Battery were Sawyer 6-pdr Steel Rifles.  But, we see here those are reported as bronze rifles.  With so many case where columns were “re-purposed” by the clerks, why not one more.

And for the 1st Battery, the weapons assigned were specifically identified as steel rifles. However, there is much inconsistency in the reports, correspondence, and records in regard to “steel rifles”.  Some times standard wrought iron Ordnance Rifles were so identified.  However, the identification leaves open the possibility that Sawyer rifles, or even Wiard rifles, in that caliber were used by the battery.  And that would be just a short list of possibilities.  I would like to think, given 2nd Battery’s association with the Sawyer rifles, that 1st Battery also had weapons of that origin.

Moving past the speculation about the guns, let us find out what they fired.  No smoothbore weapons on hand, so no smoothbore projectiles.  So we skip forward to the Hotchkiss rounds:

0150_2_Snip_VT

And allow me to add to that snip the continuation columns on the next page:

0151_1A_Snip_VT

The total tally for Hotchkiss projectiles looks as such:

  • 1st Battery: 120 canister, 444 percussion shell, and 625 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 2nd Battery: 939 fuse shell and 347 canister for 3.67-inch rifles.

The batteries did not report any Dyer’s, James’, or Parrott’s on hand.  Nor any Schenkl.  So we move directly to the small arms:

0151_3_Snip_VT

Of the two:

  • 1st Battery: Eighteen Army revolvers and thirty-three horse artillery sabers.
  • 2nd Battery: Eight Army revolvers and fifty-eight cavalry sabers.

Aside from the precise identification of the cannons, the two Vermont batteries offer a simple report to interpret.

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