Connecticut provided three light batteries to the Union cause during the Civil War. Of those, only two were in service at the end of September 1863. And that is what we see on the summary lines for the state in the third quarter, 1863:
This is half the story, but let us start with these lines:
- 1st Connecticut Light Artillery Battery: Reporting at Folly Island, South Carolina with six 3.80-inch James Rifles. Captain Alfred P. Rockwell remained in command, with the battery still assigned to Tenth Corps, Department of the South. The battery supported Colonel Thomas W. Higginson’s Edisto Expedition, aimed to divert Confederate attention from Morris Island. The 1st Connecticut lost two guns, on board tug Governor Milton when that vessel ran aground and was burned. The guns were recovered by Confederates. With the four remaining guns, Rockwell’s Battery went to Folly Island, where they replaced a set of Quaker Guns covering Lighthouse Inlet. The battery received replacements for the lost cannon. The battery history insists, “They were of the latest pattern and much praised by the comrades.” But the battery went on reporting six James rifles into the spring of 1864. In November, Rockwell took a brief leave and Lieutenant George Metcalf, to the dismay of the men, held temporary charge of the battery.
- 2nd Connecticut Light Artillery Battery: Reporting from New York City with two 12-pdr field howitzers and four 3.80-inch James Rifles. Still under Captain John W. Sterling and part of the 2nd Volunteer Brigade, Artillery Reserve, the battery was among the forces dispatched north in response to the New York Draft Riots. Sterling’s battery supported Brigadier-General Thomas Ruger’s brigade in August. In October, the battery returned to duty at Washington, D.C.
However, there were two other batteries we should mention here. Batteries B and M, 1st Connecticut Heavy Artillery served the 2nd Volunteer Brigade, Artillery Reserve, Army of the Potomac. Under Captains Albert F. Booker and Franklin A. Pratt, respectively, each was armed with four 4.5-inch siege rifles. And they would haul those guns up and down central Virginia during the Bristoe Campaign. Pratt would put his guns to good use on November 7, 1863 at Kelly’s Ford. We can understand the omission from the summaries, as these were “heavy” batteries with “siege guns.”
Moving down to the ammunition, the two howitzers of Sterling’s battery had rounds on hand:
- 2nd Battery: 120 shell, 160 case, and 32 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
It’s over on the columns for rifled projectiles we find all the activity. First the Hotchkiss types:
- 1st Battery: 190 shot, 50 percussion shell, 80 fuse shell, and 360 bullet shell for 3.80-inch rifles.
- 2nd Battery: 136 percussion shell and 240 bullet shell for 3.80-inch rifles.
There is one more Hotchkiss entry on the next page:
- 2nd Battery: 24 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.
To the right are columns for James’ patent projectiles:
- 1st Battery: 132 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.
- 2nd Battery: 28 shell and 56 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.
Lastly, both batteries reported Schenkl shells:
- 1st Battery: 458(?) shell for 3.80-inch rifles.
- 2nd Battery: 156 shell for 3.80-inch rifles.
Overall, a good quantity of rifled projectiles on hand. Even if for the less desired James rifles.
Lastly, we have the small arms reported:
- 1st Battery: Seventy-nine Navy revolvers, thirteen cavalry sabers, and forty-six horse artillery sabers.
- 2nd Battery: Eighteen Navy revolvers and fifteen horse artillery sabers.
Summaries posted later in the war were less particular about the distinction of “light” or “heavy” duties. So all four Connecticut batteries would appear together. But for the third quarter of 1863, we have to pretend there are two more lines on the form. The odd twist here was the two “heavy” batteries were serving with a field army. All the while, the two “light” batteries, for all practical purposes, were serving garrison roles!