The 2nd New York Artillery Regiment mustered, by company, through the fall and winter of 1861 at Staten Island. Moving in batches of companies, the regiment moved to Washington, D.C. and became part of the capital’s defenses through the first half of the war. As related in the previous quarter, there was one “black sheep” in this regiment – Battery L.
In June 1862, Battery L took to the field as field artillery assigned to the Second Corps, Army of Virginia. The battery saw action at Cedar Mountain and the Northern Virginia Campaign which followed. With reorganizations that followed Second Manassas, Battery L went to Ninth Corps. They saw action at Antietam and later at Fredericksburg, remaining with their new formation through the winter that followed. And when Burnside took the Ninth Corps west, Battery L transferred to Kentucky. In June, 1863, the battery was among the reinforcements (two divisions of the corps) sent to Vicksburg. With the conclusion of that campaign, the Ninth Corps detachment returned to Kentucky and became part of Burnside’s East Tennessee Campaign. All told, Battery L logged a lot of travel miles in 1863, the majority of which were in transit between theaters of action.
But let’s not get ahead of the summary here. Just as in the previous quarter, the clerks at the Ordnance Department allocated one line for the 2nd New York Artillery, and that to Battery L:
- Battery L: At Knoxville, Tennessee with four 3-inch steel rifles. As these were on the Ordnance rifle column the previous quarter, we should question the consistency of the clerks. Captain Jacob Roemer commanded this battery, then assigned to Second Division, Ninth Corps. After September, the battery transferred to First Division. And in November, they were officially removed from the 2nd New York and re-designated the 34th New York Independent Battery.
This battery had no smoothbore ammunition on hand, of course. But they did report quantities of Hotchkiss:
- Battery L: 96 canister, 30 percussion shell, 219 fuse shell and 424 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
No James or Parrott rounds to report. But the battery had bit of Schenkl mixed in with the Hotchkiss:
- Battery L: 30 shells for 3-inch rifles.
And that brings us to the small arms:
- Battery L: Twelve Army revolvers and fourteen horse artillery sabers.
While we could put a period here and call our look at the 2nd New York Artillery done, that’s not the whole story. The rest of those companies (which was often preferred over “battery” for heavy artillery) were still stationed at Washington, D.C., with Colonel Joseph N.G. Whistler commanding. The regiment served in First Brigade of those forces deployed south of the Potomac (Virginia side). They are associated with Forts Haggerty, Corcoran, Strong, and C.F. Smith. Later, in the following spring, the regiment would leave those forts for an assignment with the Army of the Potomac. But that’s getting ahead of the story a bit.
Looking through the individual companies, here are the command assignments at the time:
- Company A: Captain William A. Berry.
- Company B: Captain Michael O’Brien.
- Company C: Captaincy vacant. Captain George Hogg was dismissed in May (he was reinstated later, but by that time Hogg was mustered as a Major. Lieutenant Robert K. Stewart the senior officer as of September 1863.
- Company D: Captain John Jones.
- Company E: Captain George Klinck.
- Company F: Captain George S. Dawson.
- Company G: Captain Thomas J. Clarke.
- Company H: Captain Charles L. Smith.
- Company I: Captain Abner C. Griffen.
- Company K: Captain Pliny L. Joslin.
- Company L: See above.
- Company M: Captain Oscar F. Hulser.
Keep in mind the heavy artillery usually worked by detachments of battalion size, assigned to work specific forts. As such, their structure more closely matched infantry units than their field artillery brethren. Thus made the field grade officers even more important to the unit. At that time, Colonel Whistler could call upon Lieutenant-Colonel Jeremiah Palmer, Major William A. McKay, Major Thomas McGuire, the adore-mentioned and Major George Hogg.
It is important to note here the manner for accounting for the artillery for these “heavies”. The guns were normally assigned to the post, or in this case the fort. And an officer from the detachment might be detailed as ordinance officer for that fort. When the unit was reassigned, the detailed officer would transfer control of those cannon to an officer from the unit arriving as replacements… or in the event the fort was dismantled, the detailed officer had the duty of returning the ordnance to a depot or arsenal. So, while there were certainly field-type artillery in the forts named above, the 2nd New York technically didn’t report those. Instead, a separate set of books carried returns from the installations, or in this case the forts. We will see in later quarters the divide between “field” and “garrison” reporting is removed to some degree. Yet, the Ordnance Department continued to insist that units would report only what they had in their direct charge, on their books. What was with the fort stayed with the fort and was reported by “the fort.”