The Folwell letters, June 25, 1863, morning entry: “We are to lay the other Bridge here….”

Captain William Folwell provided two entries for June 25, 1863.  The first was early in the morning, and apparently written as an addition to the June 24th letter:

June 25th, 7 A.M.  Lt. [John] Davidson brought this letter back to me, having met his Co. on the way up.  We are to lay the other Bridge here and not at Monocacy.  The reserve artillery crossed here last night, and the 11th Corps is coming now.  All bound for Harper’s Ferry, they say.  Must get breakfast now and then to work.  We expect mail today.

Brief, but alluding to a couple of points in the larger story of the crossing at Edwards Ferry.  And June 25th was a busy day at Edwards Ferry, to say the least.

Let us focus on what occurred between midnight and 7 a.m. on that day:

  • Sometime after midnight:  Major-General Oliver O. Howard, then at the Virginia side of Edwards Ferry, receives orders to cross the Eleventh Corps the following morning.
  • 3:45 a.m.:  Eleventh Corps breaks camp.
  • 5 a.m.:  Major E. O. Beers, 15th New York Engineers, arrives at the Maryland side of Edwards Ferry with equipment to lay a second bridge at that point.  But the engineers are still unsure as to where the bridge is needed (upstream or downstream of existing bridge?).
  • Between 6 and 7 a.m.: Orders issued to most of the Army of the Potomac to move towards Edwards Ferry for crossing.  This included the Artillery reserve which was at that time near Fairfax Court House.

And… not until 10 a.m. did a response come down from Army Headquarters providing clarity to the question about bridge placement.

I think, given what we know of the “big picture,” 7 a.m. was an important point on the time line.  Troops were beginning to move towards Edwards Ferry… lots of troops.  A second bridge was about to go in the water.  And all sorts of things would be in motion from that point.  But at 7 a.m., things were paused… perhaps stalled… as all these components were breaking the resting inertia.  Those orders trickling out of headquarters were the force to break that inertia, setting things in motion.

One unit that was already in motion which I did not mention above was Major-General Julius Stahel’s cavalry division (not officially at that time, but soon to become the 3rd Division, Cavalry Corps).  Stahel’s command returned from their picket lines on June 24 (generally on the Bull Run Mountains, for brevity here).  The division was immediately ordered to cross the Potomac and march for Harpers Ferry and support the garrison there.  Their assigned line of march was across Young’s Island Ford.  But this is where the time line for them gets muddled.  Likely, Stahel’s troopers did not reach the ford until the morning of June 25. At which time, they found the ford impassible for the entire column.  At most, some of the troopers crossed.  But the wagons along with the 9th Michigan Battery, which was assigned to the division, had to cross elsewhere.  From dispatches on June 25 and subsequent days, it is clear Stahel’s baggage train didn’t cross with the command (and added to the traffic problems at Edwards Ferry… and to the logistic problems in Maryland).   The only real accounting of their crossing comes from Major-General Hooker, indicating “General Stahel crossed the river this morning near Edwards Ferry….”  Of course Young’s Island Ford was plenty near Edwards Ferry, so this is not a precise description.

I bring up Stahel’s cavalry here in an attempt to reconcile a discrepancy between Folwell and the dispatches in the Official Records.  Small discrepancies in a short passage, but some that need be addressed.  We have Folwell’s mention of the Reserve Artillery.  There is a mountain of evidence indicating the Reserve Artillery did not arrive at Edwards Ferry until the evening of June 25.  The artillery crossed the following day, following the Fifth Corps.

So what was the artillery Folwell mentioned?   It is unlikely any of the reserve batteries were detached at that time, as we have no record of such.  More likely is that Folwell, having enjoyed a good night’s rest, was simply passing along what came to him in conversation… in other words – rumors.  Something with horse teams and wheels crossed that night, but it wasn’t the Reserve Artillery.  I would hold out the possibility that some other artillery crossed early in the morning of June 25. The most likely candidate would be the 9th Michigan Battery, assigned to Stahel.  And such would confirm my long standing assumption that a substantial element of Stahel’s command actually crossed at Edwards Ferry that morning.  But, if I had to bet on this, my money would be on Folwell repeating rumors.

The most important part of this passage, however, is mention of the bridge to be laid.  Folwell, writing at 7 a.m., knew a bridge was to be laid.  But neither him or any other engineer at Edwards Ferry, at that time, knew where the commander wanted that bridge to be laid.  And bridges, once laid, are difficult to move.  Sort of a “you only get one shot to get it right” situation, with the entire Army of the Potomac due to arrive on the Virginia side looking for a dry crossing to Maryland.  More work for Folwell and the rest of the engineers on June 25.  And he would relate that in his second installment for the day, which we will look at next.

(Citations from William Watts Folwell, Civil War Diary, unpublished, transcription retrieved from University of Minnesota Library, pages 417-8 (pages 423-4 of scanned copy))

Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – Kentucky’s Batteries

Kentucky’s batteries appear with different designations across the various sources I have used to formally identify units.  A good example is that organized and commanded through May 1863 by Captain David C. Stone.  The battery appears on the Army of the Cumberland’s return for Stone’s River as “Kentucky, Battery A” which might also be transformed to “Battery A, Kentucky Light Artillery” or as the State Adjutant’s report, compiled post-war, indicated “Battery A, 1st Kentucky Light Artillery.”  But later in 1863, the same battery, under the command of Captain Theodore S. Thomasson, appears in the Army of the Cumberland’s returns as “1st Kentucky Battery” (and there was, just below that entry a 2nd Kentucky Battery, so this was not simply a truncated version with the regimental designation retained).   I’ve written on this before, for the previous quarters.  But for those not tracking posts day-to-day (for shame!), I bring this up again to preface the discussion of the batteries and their returns for the second quarter of 1863.

That all said, we are looking at a couple of numbered batteries plus a couple of detachments for that quarter’s summary:

0185_1_Snip_KY

It appears to me we have “1st Battery” and “3rd Battery” along with detachments under the 14th and 27th Infantry.  But right off the bat, there were indeed three batteries, either numbered or lettered, from Kentucky serving at this time of the war.  And furthermore there was an independent battery serving in West Virginia.  So there is some explaining in order.  First, let’s go with what the summary offers:

  • 1st Battery: At Murfreesboro, Tennessee, with three(?) 6-pdr field guns, three(?) 3-inch Ordnance Rifles, and two 3.80-inch James Rifles.
  • 3rd Battery: At Gualey Bridge, West Virginia, with six 10-pdr Parrotts.
  • Company K, 14th Regiment: At Louisa, Kentucky with four 6-pdr field guns.
  • Company H, 27th Regiment, Infantry:  At Munfordsville, Kentucky, with two 6-pdr field guns.

I have several issues with the identifications offered by the clerks at the Ordnance Department.  But they were there and I was not.  So we’ll work with those.  But before proceeding, here’s what I think those entries should have been:

  • Battery A, or 1st Battery:  At Murfreesboro under Captain Thomasson.  Placed in First Division, Fourteenth Corps when the Army of the Cumberland reorganized. But by June the battery was unassigned.  In May, Captain David C. Stone was relieved due to disability.  It appears around that time the battery was detached from the division and remained in Murfreesboro.  This should be the line marked “1st Battery” on the summary.
  • Battery B, or 2nd Battery: Assigned to Second Division, Fourteenth Corps, under Captain John M. Hewett.  The battery accompanied the division on the Tullahoma Campaign.  There’s no reason the battery should be missing from the summary.  But here we are.  However, I would point out a listing of artillery complied from returns for the Army of the Cumberland indicated Hewett’s battery did not provide a return for the quarter.
  • Battery C, or 3rd Battery:  Authorized in May 1863, according to returns, this battery did not complete organization until September 1863.  Captain John W. Neville would command.  However a curious story-line which I have not completely confirmed places the battery, while still organizing, at Lebanon, Kentucky in July 1863.  And Lebanon fell to Brigadier-General John Hunt Morgan on July 5, 1863, with most of the garrison surrendering, receiving parole. At any rate, this is not the 3rd Battery we see on the summary.
  • Simmonds’ Independent Battery, also 1st Kentucky Independent Battery: Captain Seth J. Simmonds commanded a battery formed out of Company E, 1st Kentucky Infantry.  The battery served at Gauley Bridge and Kanawha Falls, West Virginia in June 1863.  The battery became part of 3rd Division, Eighth Corps.  This battery is probably that identified by the clerks as “3rd Battery.”   This matches the armament and location given for the battery in the previous quarter.
  • 14th Kentucky Infantry: The regiment was formed at Louisa, Kentucky in December 1861.  And they returned home for a while during the winter and spring of 1863.  The regiment was part of the Army of the Ohio.  Colonel George W. Gallup commanded the regiment.  But while he served as commander of the Louisa garrison, Lieutenant-Colonel Orlando Brown, Jr. was in charge.  No further details that I know of regarding the four gun detachment.
  • 27th Kentucky Infantry: This regiment was also part of the Army of the Ohio.  And it was, as indicated on the summary, serving at Munfordsville, Kentucky in June.  Colonel Charles D. Pennebaker was commander. But while he served as garrison commander, Lieutenant-Colonel John H. Ward served in his place.

For clarity, allow me to identify the four lines using the clerks’ convention.  But I will put my identification in parenthesis.

For smoothbore ammunition on hand, we have this short report:

0187_1_Snip_KY

  • 1st Battery (Battery A): 197 shot, 180 case, 111 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
  • 14th Infantry: 596 shot, 411 case, and 306 canister for 6-pdr field guns.

No indication what, if any, the 27th Infantry had on hand.

There are no Hotchkiss projectiles reported on the first page.  That is notable, as the 1st Battery/Battery A had 3-inch rifles on hand.  So no rounds reported to “feed” those guns.

Moving to the next page, we can break those columns down into two sections.  First entries for James rifle projectiles:

0188_1A_Snip_KY

Note, we have a ‘stray’ column of Hotchkiss here:

  • 1st Battery (Battery A):  40 Hotchkiss canister for 3.80-inch James rifles.

Then to the “James” proper:

  • 1st Battery (Battery A): 12 shot and 66 shell for 3.80-inch James rifles.

To the right of that are the Parrott and Schenkl columns:

0188_1B_Snip_KY

These all go to the battery at Gauley Bridge:

  • 3rd Battery (Simmonds’):  1027 shell, 575 case, and 265 canister for 10-pdr Parrott; and 69 Schenkl shot for 10-pdr Parrott.

Simmonds’ Battery reported a substantial stockpile of ammunition the previous quarter, keeping with the trend.

For the next page, there are two entries:

0188_2_Snip_KY

  • 1st Battery (Battery A): 250 Schenkl shell for 3.80-inch rifles; 110 Tatham canister for 3.80-inch rifles.

So, in all a few gaps to question, particularly the 3-inch ammunition for 1st Battery/Battery A.  Otherwise nothing stands out to argue with.

Lastly we have the small arms:

0188_3_Snip_KY

Only the two artillery batteries reporting:

  • 1st Battery (Battery A): Fourteen Navy revolvers, ten cavalry sabers, and twenty-five horse artillery sabers.
  • 3rd Battery (Simmonds’): Thirty-eight Army revolvers and fourteen cavalry sabers.

That concludes a toiling translation of four lines of the summaries.  I don’t like all the guesswork, but that is unfortunately where the trail runs.

Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – Howitzers of the Indian Brigade

Below the lengthy listings for Indiana’s batteries are several short sections to consider:

0185_1E_Snip_IndianBde

We might “bash” through these in a run, covering seventeen batteries at once.  But that wouldn’t be as much fun, when we have time to examine each section in turn… and in detail.  Besides, the first section to consider introduces an entirely new formation – the Indian Brigade:

Briefly – as the story of the Indian Nations during the Civil War is both interesting and complex – the Indian Brigade consisted of four regiments formed from loyal members of the Civilized Tribes.  And that is a gross oversimplification.  The Cherokee, for instance, were deeply split between those who favored the Confederacy and those who remained loyal to the Union.  And that split was convoluted, with some individuals changing sides in the middle of the war.  Early in the war with the successful Confederate diplomatic efforts, the Nations were allied with the Confederates.  Military formations from the Nations fought in several noteworthy actions.  But by mid-1862 there was dissatisfaction within the Nations around the alliance, partly reflecting inter-tribal politics.  With that, refugees – some of whom were deserters from the Confederate-allied formations – moved north to Kansas and Missouri.

Federal authorities formed three Indian Home Guard Regiments, from those seeking refuge and from active recruiting in the Indian Territories, through the summer and fall of 1862. (Two more would be started, but never completely form by war’s end.) It is my understanding these regiments were formed somewhat like the US Colored Troops were later in the war – with white officers appointed, mostly from volunteer regiments.  Those regiments saw service through the war in the District of the Frontier (Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, and the Territories) constituting the Indian Brigade.  Their most important role was providing garrisons as the Federals tried to regain some semblance of control in the Indian Territories.

And again… I’m trying to shove into a few paragraphs what deserves (and has received) book-length treatment. What concerns us are those three regiments.  And most specifically the 3rd Regiment.

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The line we have is:

  • Third Regiment:  Fort Blunt, C.N. (Cherokee Nation).  Two 12-pdr mountain howitzers.

The Third Regiment formed through the summer of 1862 under Colonel William A. Phillips, a Scottish-born lawyer and correspondent who’d been an active free-state advocate in pre-war Kansas.   The regiment saw active service through the fall and winter, particularly during the Prairie Grove campaign.  During the winter months, the Indian Brigade moved into the Cherokee Nation.  One of the main garrisons established (or perhaps re-established is a way to put it) was at Fort Gibson, close to the confluence of the Neosho River (known as Grand River in that stretch) and the Arkansas River.  The brigade built Fort Blunt just above Fort Gibson.

So the location given matches to what we know of the regiment’s activities.  But who “commanded” those two mountain howitzers?  For that we turn to the Official Records.  Reports for operations in June and July 1863, including the First Battle of Cabin Creek, mention Captain Solomon Kaufman in charge of a detachment of howitzers.  And Kaufman’s name is associated with the howitzers in later reports, well into 1864.  So it appears those were “his” charge.

Kaufman was, as the name might suggest, another officer transferred from the volunteers to the Indian Home Guard.  Kaufman descended from a German family, which had settled in Pennsylvania, in the 18th century.  He was born in Mifflin County there on Janunary 6, 1832.  More  of Kaufman’s background is found in Portrait and Biographical Record of Southeastern Kansas, published in the 1890s:

He was the first member of the [Kaufman] family to choose a trade in preference to tilling the soil.  When nineteen years of age he began learning the carpenter’s trade and served three years’ apprenticeship.  In 1852 he moved to McLean County, Ill., and in 1854 to Iowa…. The fertile soil and political excitement in Kansas Territory were attracting settlers in that direction, and he decided to make a home within its borders…. From Hampden, in Coffee County, they went to the headwaters of the Pottawatomie creeks, in Anderson County, and there took up claims.

At that time there were only five families within a radius of ten miles of their cabin. The border warfare was going on, and Mr. Kaufman at once offered his services to the state organizations.  He enlisted in the Kansas State Volunteer service under Gen. J.H. Lane and afterward joined the Kansas State Militia under Capt. Samuel Walker….

The company was mustered out in November 1856, when United States troops took a larger role in keeping order in Kansas.  Kaufman returned to his claim, and convinced a number of his former state militia comrades to accompany him.

When the Civil War broke out, the settlers met at the house of Mr. Kaufman and organized a company, Mr. Kaufman being chosen Captain. They prepared for duty, but later Mr. Kaufman bid adieu to his company and enlisted as a private soldier.  he was mustered into the service in Company A, Third Kansas Volunteers, the same being subsequently consolidated with the Fourth Regiment, forming the Tenth Kansas Infantry, his company taking the position of Company C. On the 11th of September, 1862, he was commissioned First Lieutenant of Company L, Third Regiment, Indian Brigade, commanded by Col. William A. Philips, and in May 28, 1863, he was promoted to the rank of Captain.  The commands with which he was connected did service in Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas and Indian Territory, and he participated in numerous engagements with the enemy. He was mustered out of service May 31, 1865.

Returning home, Kaufman married to Melissa Patton just three months after leaving the army.  He went on to lead a prosperous life as a farmer, businessman, and local politician.  Kaufman died in 1909, and was buried in the Graceland Cemetery, Burlington Kansas.  I mention this as Kaufman’s story appeals to me somewhat – not a military professional, but quick to answer the call.  And apparently possessing the skills and leadership to get things done – in or out of uniform.

I’ve wandered a bit off track, so let us turn back to the record here.  With only mountain howitzers on hand, we have a short summary of ammunition:

0187_1_Snip_IndianBde

  • 3rd Regiment: 15 shell, 71 case, and 45 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.

Just enough to start a fuss… or finish one.  As the regiment saw a lot of action in June and July, I’d wonder if the quantities were down due to expenditure.

No rifled guns on hand, so we have no rifled ammunition to worry about.  We move directly to the small arms:

0188_3_Snip_IndianBde

  • 3rd Regiment: Two breechloading carbines and sixty-one rifles.

That would lead me to assume sixty-three men were assigned to Kaufman’s detachment.  For two mountain howitzers?  Perhaps that included the crews plus a detachment of men to guard those valuable howitzers.  Sounds like we have all of Company L, 3rd Indian Home Guard accounted for there.

(Citation from Portrait and Biographical Record of Southeastern Kansas, Chicago: Biographical Publishing Company, 1894,  page 254.)