Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – 1st Rhode Island Light Artillery

For the second quarter of 1863, we find a remarkably clean summary entry for the batteries from Rhode Island:

0217_1_Snip_RI

By way of refresher, Rhode Island provided four artillery regiments to the Federal ranks – one light regiment and three heavy regiments – along with two separate batteries (each of which only served three months early in the war).  Contradicting the normal progression, two of the Rhode Island heavy regiments evolved from infantry regiments.  The third was a USCT regiment.  We’ll consider the lone Battery C, 3rd Rhode Island Heavy, which served as a field battery and is seen on this listing, in a separate post.

That leaves us to concentrate on the 1st Rhode Island Light Artillery and its batteries:

0217_1_Snip_RI_1st

Colonel Charles H. Tompkins commanded the regiment, though his primary duty was that of Artillery Chief of the Sixth Corps.  The 1st Rhode Island only ever mustered batteries A through H.  The inclusion of the others (I, K, L, and M) for this quarter of 1863 was apparently clerical efficiency…. or deficiency, if you prefer.  We find all eight batteries provided returns between July and September of 1863.  Give those men a gold “B” for bureaucratic efficiency!

  • Battery A: Reporting at Cedar Mountain, Virginia, as of September 26, with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Captain William A. Arnold remained in commanded this battery,  supporting Second Corps.  Thus the location as of June 30 was outside Taneytown, Maryland.  The battery occupied a key position on Cemetery Ridge, July 2 and 3.
  • Battery B: “In the field” with six 12-pdr Napoleons. Battery B paired with Battery A (above) in Second Corps’ artillery brigade.  Thus their location at the end of June was also Taneytown.  Captain  John G. Hazard of this battery was the corps artillery chief.  In his place, Lieutenant Thomas Frederick Brown commanded. In the afternoon of July 2, the battery helped repulse the Confederate attack on the center of the Federal lines.  In that action the battery sustained heavy casualties, including Brown who was wounded.  Lieutenant William S. Perrin, of the second section, assumed command.  The battery briefly lost two guns in the fighting.  Those recovered, the battery still had to send two guns to the rear for lack of men and horses.  Lieutenant Joseph S. Milne, of this battery,  served with Battery A, 4th US (Cushing’s). He was mortally wounded on July 3.
  • Battery C: Reporting, as of August 26, at Warrenton, Virgnia, with six 10-pdr Parrotts (as opposed to six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles on the previous return).  Captain Richard Waterman commanded this battery, which had moved around a bit, organizationally speaking, in May and June.  The battery fought at Chancellorsville in the Fifth Corps.  An amendment to Special Orders No. 129 (May 12) sent the battery to the Third Volunteer Brigade, Artillery Reserve (which Waterman commanded, briefly).  But just prior to the Gettysburg Campaign, the battery transferred to Sixth Corps (a temporary move made permanent on June 15).  Thus we place them near Manchester, Maryland, as of June 30.  The battery saw very little action at Gettysburg, being held in reserve for the most part.  Sometime during the month that followed, the battery exchanged Ordnance rifles for Parrotts.
  • Battery D: At Camp Nelson, Kentucky  with six 12-pdr Napoleons. Captain William W. Buckley commanded this battery.  With reorganizations within the Department of the Ohio, the battery moved from Second Division, Ninth Corps to First Division, Twenty-third Corps.
  • Battery E: Reporting on September 9 at Sulphur Springs, Virginia with six 12-pdr Napoleons.  The battery remained with Third Corps. Captain George E. Randolph, of this battery, was in command of the corps’ artillery brigade.  Lieutenant Pardon S. Jastram, formerly commanding the battery, accepted a position as Randolph’s adjutant.  Thus Lieutenant John K. Bucklyn commanded the battery at the start of the Gettysburg Campaign.  Marching with the Third Corps, the battery was at Emmitsburg on the evening of June 30.   In the afternoon of July 2, Battery E occupied a position on the Emmitsburg Pike near the Sherfy Farm.  There the battery faced Barksdale’s attack and was driven back with Graham’s Brigade.  With Bucklyn wounded, command devolved to Lieutenant Benjamin Freeborn.  Despite the desperate position, the battery managed to secure all its guns, losing only a caisson (which was recaptured after the battle).  Losses were five killed, and 24 wounded.  The battery lost forty horses, however.
  • Battery F: At New Berne, North Carolina with six 12-pdr Napoleons (vice 10-pdr Parrotts reported in the last quarter). Captain James Belger commanded this battery, part of the Artillery Brigade, Eighteenth Corps.  The battery sent sections in support of several operations during the spring and early summer.
  • Battery G: Reporting on August 29 at Warrenton with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Captain George W. Adams’ battery was another that moved around during the spring.  After Chancellorsville, the battery moved from Second Corps to the Fourth Brigade, Artillery Reserve. Then in June the battery was transferred to Colonel Tompkins’ brigade to support Sixth Corps.  The battery camped at Manchester, Maryland on the night of June 30.  The battery remained in reserve through the battle of Gettysburg.
  • Battery H: At Fort Ward, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Assigned to the Twenty-second Corps from the Defenses of Washington.  Captain Jeffrey Hazard commanded this battery.

Thus five of eight batteries were on the field of Gettysburg by July 3.  Notice all batteries were uniform in armament.

Moving to the ammunition, first the smoothbore columns:

0219_1_Snip_RI_1st

Three batteries reporting:

  • Battery B: 252 shot, 84 shell, 252 case, and 84 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery E: 288 shot, 96 shell, 288 case, and 96 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery F: 400 shot, 160 shell, 360 case, and 144 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.

Battery D is noticeably absent from this page.

The Hotchkiss page is contains three lines worth of entries, for those 3-inch rifles:

0219_2_Snip_RI_1st

Three batteries reporting:

  • Battery A: 195 canister, 54 percussion shell, 464 fuse shell, and 504 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery G: 179 canister, 4 percussion shell, 133 fuse shell, 344 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery H: 231 percussion shell and 589 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

Let us break down the next page into two sections.  First the columns for Dyer’s patent projectiles:

0220_1A_Snip_RI_1st

Two lines of Dyer’s patent projectiles:

  • Battery G: 34 shell and 20 canister for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery H: 120 shrapnel for 3-inch rifles.

Moving to the left, there are Parrott and Schenkl projectiles:

0220_1B_Snip_RI_1st

First those of the Parrott patent:

  • Battery C: 324 shell, 204 case, and 122 canister for 10-pdr Parrotts.

Then Schenkl:

  • Battery C: 460 shot for 10-pdr Parrott.

As most sources have Battery C on the field at Gettysburg with 3-inch Ordnance rifles, yet the returns give us Parrotts, the ammunition quantities may indicate an initial issue of ammunition.  The turn-over of guns appears to have occurred as the Gettysburg Campaign was winding down.   Still, that is a lot of shot for field gun duty.  And I am pressed to explain why a battery would switch guns at that particular time.

Turning to the remainder of the Schenkl columns:

0220_2_Snip_RI_1st

  • Battery A: 64 shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery G: 146 shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery H: 260 shell for 3-inch rifles.

Lastly the small arms reported:

0220_3_Snip_RI_1st

By battery:

  • Battery A: Four Army revolvers, twenty Navy revolvers and thirty-nine horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery B: Twenty-six horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery C: Eight Navy revolvers and twelve horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery D: Eight Army revolvers, twelve Navy revolvers, forty-five cavalry sabers and eighteen horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery E: Fifteen Navy revolvers and four (?) horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery F: 104 Navy revolvers, twenty cavalry sabers and nine horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery G: Fourteen Navy revolvers, ten cavalry sabers, and eighteen horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery H: Twenty Army revolvers and thirty-six horse artillery sabers.

One note with the small arms.  Battery F’s history alludes to service of detachments either as cavalry or as artillery assigned to support cavalry, on patrols in North Carolina.  The small arms reported seems to back that up.

 

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