Summary Statement, 3rd Quarter, 1863 – Maryland’s Federal Batteries

For the previous quarter, Maryland’s section of the summary contained three battery listings – Battery A, Battery B, and the Baltimore Battery.  However, I mentioned at the bottom of the administrative portion of two additional batteries, being mustered but not yet in existence at the end of June 1863.  Those were Battery A (Second) and Battery B (Second).  Often referred to as the “Junior” batteries.  We find those listed in the third quarter:

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The story of these “Junior” batteries deserves at least a short explanation.  With Abraham Lincoln’s Proclamation #102, issued on June 15, 1863, the call went forward Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio to provide volunteers for enlistments of six months to meet the emergency caused by the Confederate invasion.  We discussed the artillery side of Pennsylvania’s response in an earlier post.  Maryland’s quota in this was 10,000 men and included the two “Junior” batteries. Both batteries mustered into service on July 14.  And they would serve their six month hitches around Baltimore.

I cannot translate what was actually written in the “Regiment” column for lines 59 and 60.  But the company letters are clear.  These batteries were on active service during the quarter.  And as we see from the summary, were issued cannon.  Thus, at the end of September 1863 Maryland had five batteries reporting:

  • Battery A / 1st Battery: Indicated with the Army of the Potomac, with four (down from six)  3-inch Ordnance Rifles   Captain James H. Rigby remained in command. When the Fourth Volunteer Brigade of the Reserve Artillery was broken up on July 17, Rigby’s Battery transferred to the Third Volunteer Brigade.  As of the end of September that year the battery was in Culpeper County.
  • Battery B / 2nd Battery: Reported at Maryland Heights, Maryland, with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  In mid-July, the Captain Alonzo Snow’s battery was among the forces reoccupying Harpers Ferry.  The battery was assigned to the Second Brigade, Maryland Heights Division.
  • Baltimore Independent Battery: Showing at Baltimore, Maryland, with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  As mentioned in the previous quarter, this battery lost its guns at Winchester in June.  Captain Frederick W. Alexander remained in command with the battery reforming at Baltimore, being reequipped with rifles rather quickly in July.  The battery appears in Brigadier-General Erastus Tyler’s division, Northwestern Defenses of Baltimore.
  • Battery A (Junior): Reporting at Baltimore, Maryland with six 3-inch rifles (likely Ordnance Rifles).  As detailed above, the battery mustered in mid-July.  Captain John M. Bruce commanded.  The battery was also part of Tyler’s division.  The battery is often listed simply as “Junior Battery” on returns.
  • Battery B (Junior): At Camp Wharton (?), Maryland with six 12-pdr Napoleons.  The place name is not familiar to me, but I do know the battery was in the defenses of Baltimore.  Also seen on returns as the Eagle Battery.  Captain Joseph H. Audoun commanded.  As with the other Junior Battery, the Eagle Battery was assigned to the defenses of Baltimore, and part of Tyler’s division.

Turning to the ammunition reported, only one battery with smoothbore rounds on hand:

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  • Battery B (Junior): 296 shot, 104 shell, 304 case, and 96 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.

But a lot of 3-inch rifles, meaning a lot of Hotchkiss entries:

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  • Battery A: 80 canister for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery B: 182 canister, 188 percussion shell,  and 547 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Baltimore Battery: 121 canister, 120 percussion shell, 4 fuse shell, 10 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery A (Junior): 120 canister, 120 percussion shell, 240 fuse shell, and 720 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

These batteries had no rounds indicated on the next page:

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But the batteries did report quantities of Schenkl on hand:

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  • Battery A: 317 shell and 396 case for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery B: 253 shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Baltimore Battery: 240 shell and 710 case for 3-inch rifles.

Lastly, we turn to the small arms:

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By battery:

  • Battery A: Eight Army revolvers, twenty cavalry sabers, and sixteen horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery B: Ten Army revolvers and twenty-one cavalry sabers.
  • Baltimore Battery: Twenty-four Army revolvers and thirty-two horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery A (Junior): Twenty Army revolvers and twenty cavalry sabers.
  • Battery B (Junior): Twenty Army revolvers and twenty cavalry sabers.

Consider that in July 1863 of the five Maryland batteries, two were just brought into existence and another had lost nearly all its equipment.  Those three batteries were constituted, or reconstituted as the case may be, within a matter of weeks.  That tells us much about the depth of the Federal war machine…. not to mention how many spare cannon were around just waiting to be issued.

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Summary Statement, 3rd Quarter, 1863 – Massachusetts batteries

Entering the fall of 1863, the volunteer light batteries from Massachusetts served either in the Eastern Theater or the Department of the Gulf.  All told, the Bay State provided sixteen light batteries to Federal service during the war (save one or two thirty-day batteries at the start of the war).  At the end of the third quarter, 1863, fourteen of those had mustered.  However, the clerks at the Ordnance Department “shorted” that count:

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With the addition of the 15th Battery, this is an improvement over the previous quarter.  While we can excuse the absence of the 14th and 16th Batteries, which would not form until the winter of 1864, the 13th Battery should be on this list.  I’ll list all sixteen here, with placeholders, for sake of complete coverage:

  • 1st Battery: At Culpepper [sic], Virginia with six 12-pdr Napoleons. The battery remained with the Artillery Brigade, Sixth Corps, Army of the Potomac. and Captain William H. McCartney remained in command.  More precisely, the battery was with the corps near Stone-House Mountain, on the right end of the Federal deployment in Culpeper County at that time.
  • 2nd Battery: No return. Captain Ormand F. Nims commanded this battery, assigned to Nineteenth Corps, Department of the Gulf.  The battery may have retain six 6-pdr rifled field guns mentioned earlier in the year. Following the surrender of Port Hudson, the battery transferred to the corps artillery reserve (having been assigned to Fourth Division during the siege), and returned to Baton Rouge.  At the end of September, the battery transferred again, this time to the Cavalry Division of the corps.  The battery saw field service in the Teche Campaign later in the fall.
  • 3rd Battery: Reporting at Warrenton Junction, Virginia with six 6-pdr field guns.   This is obviously an error, as the battery held 12-pdr Napoleons (no batteries then assigned to the Army of the Potomac had 6-pdrs this late in the war).  Assigned to the Artillery Brigade, Fifth Corps. With Captain Augustus Martin in command of the brigade, Lieutenant Aaron F. Walcott remained in charge of the battery.  We might quibble over the location and say the battery was in Culpeper at the end of September.
  • 4th Battery: Reporting from “Camin Grove Bayou” in Louisiana (a transcription I am struggling with).  The battery had four 12-pdr Napoleons and two 3-inch ordnance rifles.  Under Captain George G. Trull, the battery remained with Third Division, Nineteenth Corps.   The battery moved around much during the summer and early fall with stays at Port Hudson, Donaldsonville, Baton Rouge.  They were at Fort Brashear, outside Morgan City, Louisiana at the end of September.  The battery would participate in the Teche Expedition in October.
  • 5th Battery: Reporting at Centreville, Virginia with six 3-inch rifles.  Captain Charles A. Phillips remained in command, and the battery assigned to the Fifth Corps.  The location should be Culpeper, but reflects a later reporting date.
  • 6th Battery: At Algiers, Louisiana with four 12-pdr Napoleons and two 12-pdr field howitzers. The battery was assigned to First Division, Nineteenth Corps, commanded by Captain William W. Carruth.  When Carruth mustered out on October 3rd, Lieutenant Edward K. Russell (2nd Battery, above) transferred to command.  Then in December, Lieutenant John F. Phelps, of the battery, took command.  Phelps would be promoted to Captain with commission back dated to October 3.  During their stay at Algiers, the battery was reequipped and reduced to four guns.
  • 7th Battery: At Camp Barry, D.C., with six 3-inch Ordnance rifles.  This battery had an eventful summer, though not one for winning battle streamers.  Battery assigned to First Division, Seventh Army Corps,  and commanded by Captain Phineas A. Davis at the start of the summer.  At the start of July, the battery was among the forces employed for an expedition from White House to the South Anna River. On July 20, the battery was sent to Camp Marshall, in D.C.  And from there dispatched by steamer to New York City, camping on Madison Square, to suppress the draft riots.  On September 11, the battery returned to Washington, going to Camp Barry.  Davis accepted a promotion, and left the battery to Lieutenant Newman W. Storer (who was soon made captain).
  • 8th Battery: No return.  Mustered out the previous November at the end of a six-month enlistment.
  • 9th Battery: Culpeper, Virginia with four 12-pdr Napoleons. Remaining with the First Volunteer Artillery Brigade, Artillery Reserve, Captain John Bigelow commanded, but was recovering from wounds.  Lieutenant Richard S. Milton filled in his place.
  • 10th Battery:  At Warrenton Junction, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. When French’s Division came to the Army of the Potomac, the battery moved with its parent organization into Third Corps.  Captain J. Henry Sleeper commanded. The location is presumably associated with the November date of return.  At the end of September, the battery was with the corps, just west of Culpeper.
  • 11th Battery: No return.  This battery mustered out of service in May 1863. Though it did see some use suppressing draft riots in the mid-summer months.  Captain Edward J. Jones commanded. The battery would muster back into service, under Jones, in January 1864.
  • 12th Battery:  At Port Hudson, Louisiana, with four 6-pdr field guns (down two 3-inch rifles from the previous quarter). Listed in the artillery reserve of the Nineteenth Corps. After serving by detachments during the Port Hudson campaign, the battery consolidated back in New Orleans in late July.  It was stationed at Tivoli Circle (you know… were once a statue to a Confederate leader stood) at the end of September.  Captain Jacob Miller remained in command.
  • 13th Battery: Not listed. The 13th Battery suffered heavily in their first year of service.  They’d lost sixty horses in the transit to New Orleans (that included a six week stay at Fort Monroe). And what horses they had when arriving at New Orleans were re-assigned to other batteries. Put to work on the Port Hudson siege lines, sickness and disease brought the battery down to fifty men by the end of August.  At that time, Captain Charles H. J. Hamlin returned home to recruit more men.  In his place, Lieutenant Ellis L. Motte was in command of a detachment, assigned to the 2nd Battery (above).
  • 14th Battery: Not listed.  Battery did not begin recruiting until January-February 1864.
  • 15th Battery: At Bayou St. John, Louisiana with no reported artillery.  Captain Timothy Pearson’s battery arrived in Louisiana in April.  But their equipment and horses was re-allocated to other batteries at that time.  The men served at posts around New Orleans as garrison artillery until the end of December.
  • 16th Battery: Not listed.  Battery did not begin recruiting until January-February 1864.

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

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Lots of those to go around:

  • 1st Battery: 286 shot, 93 shell, 288 case, and 96 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 3rd Battery: 192 shot, 96 shell, 387 case, and 96 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon (at least the clerks got the ammunition in the right columns!)
  • 4th Battery: 269 shell, 147 case, and 55 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.
  • 6th Battery: 41 shot, 163 shell, 251 case, and 60 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons; 96 shell, 128 case, and 32 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • 9th Battery: 182 shot, 64 shell, 192 case, and 54 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 12th Battery: 4 shot and 175 canister for 6-pdr field guns.

Moving over to the Hotchkiss rifled projectiles:

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Four reporting:

  • 4th Battery: 39 canister, 265 percussion shell, and 60 fuse shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 5th Battery: 138 canister for 3-inch rifles.
  • 7th Battery: 120 canister, 236 percussion shell, and 120 fuse shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 10th Battery: 500 shot, 115 canister, 110 percussion shell, and 220 fuse shell for 3-inch rifles.

No reported quantities on the next page:

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But there were Schenkl projectiles to account for:

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Three batteries:

  • 5th Battery: 140 shell and 930 case for 3-inch rifles.
  • 7th Battery: 720 case for 3-inch rifles.
  • 10th Battery: 15 shell and  240 case for 3-inch rifles.

Lastly, the small arms columns:

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By battery:

  • 1st Battery: Eight Navy revolvers, nine cavalry sabers, and five horse artillery sabers.
  • 3rd Battery: One Army revolver, eight cavalry sabers, and twenty-four horse artillery sabers.
  • 4th Battery: One breechloading carbine, seven Army revolvers, and thirty horse artillery sabers.
  • 5th Battery: One Army revolver and twenty-seven horse artillery sabers.
  • 6th Battery: Fourteen Army revolvers, ten Navy revolvers, and thirty (?) cavalry sabers.
  • 7th Battery: Fifteen Navy revolvers and twenty-three horse artillery sabers.
  • 9th Battery: Eight Army revolvers and ten horse artillery sabers.
  • 10th Battery: Sixteen Navy revolvers and nineteen horse artillery sabers.
  • 12th Battery: Eighteen Army revolvers and thirty-six (?) horse artillery sabers.
  • 15th Battery: Fifty rifles (type unspecified), fourteen Navy revolvers, and twenty-two horse artillery sabers.

We will discuss the Heavy Artillery from Massachusetts in a later post.  But for now that’s the summary of the numbered batteries.

Summary Statement, 3rd Quarter, 1863 – Maine’s Batteries

Despite a summer of campaigning and major battles, the third quarter, 1863 summaries for Maine captured information from four of the six batteries:

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Two of those returns were posted in October. The clerks had to wait until the winter for the other two.  The same two batteries, 1st and 3rd, failed to file returns the previous quarter.  The Maine batteries are at times identified by numbered as well as lettered designations.  For simplicity here, I’ll retain the convention used by the Ordnance Department clerks… the numbers:

  • 1st Battery: No return. Captain Albert W. Bradbury resumed command of the battery after July.  Battery remained assigned to First Division, Nineteenth Corps, Department of the Gulf.  After the fall of Port Hudson, the battery moved with its parent formation back to Baton Rouge.  Reports earlier in the year gave the battery had four 6-pdr rifled guns and three 12-pdr howitzers.
  • 2nd Battery: “In the field” with four (down from six) 3-inch Ordnance rifles.  This is Captain James A. Hall’s battery, First Corps, Army of the Potomac.  Hall was up for promotion later in the year.  “In the field” was in Culpeper County, as of the end of September, 1863.  The battery would report to Camp Barry in November.  And around the same time, Hall would receive a much deserved promotion (and soon command the artillery school at Camp Barry).
  • 3rd Battery:  No report.  At this stage of the war, 3rd Battery was re-designated Battery M, 1st Maine Heavy Artillery (it would later revert to light artillery). Captain James G. Swett commanded.  The battery was stationed in the Defenses of Washington, on the north side of the Potomac.  They were, for at least a portion of this time, assigned to Battery Jameson, outside Fort Lincoln.
  • 4th Battery: Reporting at Culpeper, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance rifles.  Captain O’Neil W. Robinson, Jr. remained in command.  The battery returned to the Army of the Potomac, as part of French’s Division, under Third Corps.
  • 5th Battery: Reporting, appropriately “in the field” with four (down from six) 12-pdr Napoleons, from a report filed in March 1864.  Captain Greenleaf T. Stevens remained in command of this battery, which remained with First Corps, Army of the Potomac, through the end of the reporting period.  As such, its location was “in the field” in Culpeper County, Virginia.
  • 6th Battery: Another battery reporting from Culpeper, Virginia, in January 1864, this time with four 12-pdr Napoleons. The battery transferred from the 4th Volunteer Brigade, Artillery Reserve, Army of the Potomac to the 1st Volunteer Brigade (commanded by its original commander – Lieutenant Colonel Freeman McGilvery. Lieutenant William H. Rogers resumed command of the battery.

Of note, the 7th Maine Light Battery began formation in the fall of 1863. Though it would not formally muster until December.

And, mentioned above in regard to the 3rd Battery, the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery, under Colonel Daniel Chaplin, was part of the defenses of Washington, D.C., assigned to the north side of the Potomac.  The regiment had detachments in Maine on recruiting duties and at the seacoast fortifications (mostly recruits being trained up for duty).  This regiment was destined to see combat in the year that followed, but as one of the “heavies” given infantry duties in the Overland Campaign.

Let us move across the summary and discuss the ammunition on hand for the four reporting field batteries, starting with the smoothbore:

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Two Napoleon batteries:

  • 5th Battery: 192 shot, 64 shell, 188 case, and 68 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 6th Battery: 192 shot, 64 shell, 192 case, and 64 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.

The number of rounds on hand for the Napoleons seems low to me.  A standard Napoleon ammunition chest held 32 rounds.  Each gun in the battery should have at least four such chests (one on the limber, three with the caisson) if not a few more.  Do the math.  5th and 6th Batteries had roughly a chest per gun.  Both returns were filed at the start of 1864, while the batteries were enjoying the winter encampment.  And those batteries would have plenty of ammunition to fill the chests.  I suspect in this case the returns were “as of the reporting date” and not “on hand at this time.”  But without seeing the actual return, that cannot be determined for certainty.

Moving to the rifled projectiles.  The batteries with 3-inch Ordnance Rifles reported Hotchkiss rounds:

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Two batteries reporting:

  • 2nd Battery: 71 shot, 99 canister, and 240 fuse shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 4th Battery: 120 canister, 381 fuse shell, and 699 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

As with the Napoleon batteries, 2nd Battery seems short on ammunition, with a couple of chests worth on hand (though we’ll see enough for a couple more chests from the Schenkl columns below).  4th Battery had but six total.

We rarely have seen solid shot reported for field batteries in the 3-inch or 10-pdr Parrott calibers.  Solid shot, or bolt as the Parrotts were designated, were good for counter-battery work.  Though they could not match the performance of solid round shot against infantry.

As for 2nd Battery and their Schenkl rounds:

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  • 2nd Battery:  258 shot for 3-inch rifles.

Taken with the 71 Hotchkiss, that’s a lot of solid shot! Almost two full chests worth.

More Schenkl on the next page.

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  • 2nd Battery: 115 shell for 3-inch rifles.

With the remarks and questions about ammunition taken in consideration, we continue to the small arms:

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By battery:

  • 2nd Battery: Sixteen Army revolvers and nine cavalry sabers.
  • 4th Battery: Eighteen Navy revolvers and eleven cavalry sabers.
  • 5th Battery: Ten Army revolvers and fifteen cavalry sabers.
  • 6th Battery: Seven Army revolvers, a hundred Navy revolvers and twenty-two horse artillery sabers.

All considered, the numbers for the Maine batteries offer some insight into logistics at this time of the war for the Federal ranks.  Two of the batteries gave returns close to the end of the reporting period. And we have conjectural evidence the other two were giving “as of that date” returns.  From those returns, we conclude the battery had one chest on hand for many of its guns.

But before we go off worrying the Army of the Potomac had some shortage of shells, we have to keep in mind what we know outside of those batteries.  The artillery chief (Brigadier-General Henry Hunt) was not filling the telegraph lines with pleas for more ammunition.  Nor was the ordnance or quartermaster sections reporting any Army-wide shortage.  So perhaps the Maine batteries were reporting what they had on hand, at the end of a summer of hard campaigning with little time to resupply.  Meanwhile, the missing set of data here is what was retained on hand at the Army-level in Hunt’s famous artillery trains.  Those chests, resupplied after Gettysburg, represented a ready supply to be quickly applied where need was felt.  Perhaps the numbers indicate Hunt placed priority to resupply of the trains over filling chests in the batteries?

Thus, if we take these numbers at face, on the eve of the Bristoe Station Campaign at least four batteries had simply enough rounds for a brief engagement.  Though resupply was but a short ride away.

Another “number” to consider is the reduction of three batteries to four guns.  This trend would continue through the Overland Campaign and reflected policy changes.  Seasoned, veteran infantry required less gun tubes per frontage for support.  Fewer guns to support meant fewer ammunition chests.  And such cycles back into the discussion of logistics, among other things.