Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – Batteries from Minnesota

Minnesota provided three light batteries to the Federal cause.  All three of those were on active service at the end of the second quarter, 1863:

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All three offered returns for the quarter, though posted in Washington with some delays:

  • 1st Battery: Received in September 1863, with location of Vicksburg, Mississippi.  This is probably correct, as the battery supported Sixth Division, Seventeenth Corps at this juncture.  In fact, the battery would spend most of its time through the subsequent fall and winter around Vicksburg.  The battery reported two 12-pdr field howitzers and two 3.67-inch (6-pdr) rifles.  Captain William Z. Clayton commanded.
  • 2nd Battery:  For the second quarterly return in a row, we see Chattanooga, Tennessee as the location for this battery.  Certainly valid for a posting date of January 1864.  But as of June 30, 1863, the battery was assigned to First Division, Twentieth Corps, and active on the Tullahoma Campaign through middle Tennessee.  Chattanooga was the objective, but not quite yet reached.  Two 12-pdr Napoleons and four 10-pdr Parrotts were in the battery’s charge.  Lieutenant Albert Woodbury remained in command.  Woodbury would be mortally wounded at Chickamauga later in the summer.  Lieutenant Richard L. Dawley did get the battery off the field, however.
  • 3rd Battery:  Reporting from Fort Snelling, Minnesota with two 6-pdr field guns and six 12-pdr field howitzers (But… see note below).  Captain John Jones commanded this battery assigned to the District of Minnesota, Department of the Northwest.  Far away from the big battles in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania, the 3rd did not have a quiet summer by the lake.  At the end of June, the Battery was among the forces on an expedition against the Sioux.   Lieutenant J. C. Whipple, commanding a section (of howitzers, if my memory is correct), served with distinction at Stony Lake later in July.

Three batteries.  Three different campaigns. No light duty for the Minnesota batteries.

The 3rd Battery’s howitzers deserve some attention… or question marks, perhaps.  We see field howitzers on the cannon summary page.  But later in the summary, we find the ammunition reported was for mountain howitzers.  And Brigadier-General Henry H. Sibley, commanding the expedition against the Sioux, specifically mentioned a section of 6-pdrs and two sections of mountain howitzers in his official report.  I would make the case for four mountain howitzers, and the tally being placed in the wrong column.

Turning to their ammunition, we look at the smoothbore page first:

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All three had some quantities to report:

  • 1st Battery: 74 shell, 128 case, and 90 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • 2nd Battery: 96 shot, 32 shell, 96 case, and 32 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 3rd Battery:  130 shot, 230 case, and 42 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 60 shell, 224 case, and 84 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzer.  (That last entry, I’m suggesting is another column entry error and should have been entered one to the right.)

Moving to the rifled projectiles, we saw the 1st Battery reported rifled 6-pdrs.  These were, based on the column entry, REAL 6-pdrs that were rifled.  In other words 3.67-inch caliber.  And that’s the ammunition they reported:

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These on the first page of Hotchkiss projectiles:

  • 1st Battery: 122 shot, 36 percussion shell, and 26 bullet shell for 3.67-inch rifles.

Note the Ordnance Department called this “Wiard” caliber, related to the rifled guns from that inventor.  But we know that caliber pre-dated Wiard’s guns.

More Hotchkiss on the next page, which we will break down into sections:

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  • 1st Battery:  116 canister for 3.67-inch.  Again “Wiard” is the association, but we should properly disassociate from the eccentric inventor.

Moving over to the right, there are some Parrott projectiles to account for:

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  • 2nd Battery:  444 shell, 207 case, and 143 canister for 10-pdr Parrott.

There were no Schenkl or Tatham projectiles reported.  So we move quickly to the small arms:

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By battery:

  • 1st Battery: Two rifles (type, non-specific) and eleven Navy revolvers.
  • 2nd Battery: One Navy revolver and nine cavalry sabers.
  • 3rd Battery: Thirty Army revolvers and 126 cavalry sabers.

3rd Battery must have issued a saber to every man when stepping out on Sibley’s Sioux Expedition.

Looking ahead to the next installments, one might wonder “Where’s Michigan?”  Well the clerks at the Ordnance Department, never ones to be constrained by the alphabet, shifted that state’s batteries to the next page.  That gave room for all the batteries of Missouri to be considered in one contiguous group.