Summary Statement, 3rd Quarter, 1863 – Wisconsin Batteries

The last heading for the state volunteers in the third quarter of 1863 summaries is Wisconsin.  Under this heading are a dozen independent (numbered) batteries along with four reports for sections from cavalry and infantry regiments.  We look at those artillery batteries first:

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I said “a dozen,” right?  But you count thirteen.  Yes, because one of those batteries didn’t exist.  Notice we have dated returns for all but the 11th Battery (the one that didn’t exist).  Some were late.  But returns to work from at least for the twelve:

  • 1st Battery:  Reporting at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, as of March 1865.  But with no cannon on hand.  Captain Jacob T. Foster remained in command of the battery.  After Vicksburg, and the transfer of the Thirteenth Corps to the Department of the Gulf, the battery relocated to New Orleans.  They remained there until the first week of September, when they moved to Brashear City.  At the end of September Foster’s battery was at Berwick City (across the Atchafalaya from modern day Morgan City).  But they returned to Brashear City in early October. A report dated September 2 indicated the battery had four 30-pdr Parrotts.  That would be an upgrade from the 20-pdr Parrotts worn out during the Vicksburg Campaign.   Staff duties often kept Foster away from the battery. In his place, Lieutenant Daniel Webster led the battery.
  • 2nd Battery:  No location given, from a return posted November 1864, but with two 12-pdr field howitzers and four 10-pdr Parrotts. With the end of Dix’s Peninsula Campaign, the battery moved to Yorktown.  The battery remained there through the rest of the summer and into fall, as part of the Department of Virginia and North Carolina.  Captain Charles Beger commanded this battery.  However, returns indicate he was absent at the end of the reporting period, with Lieutenant Charles Schultz standing in.
  • 3rd Battery: Reporting at Chattanooga, Tennessee with one 12-pdr field howitzer. Captain Lucius H. Drury, of the battery, was division artillery chief.  Under direct command of Lieutenant Cortland Livingston, as part of Third Division, Twenty-first Corps, Army of the Cumberland, the battery went into action at Chickamauga with four 10-pdr Parrotts and two 12-pdr field howitzers. On September 19, the battery fought near the Viniard cornfield, playing an important role checking the Confederates in that sector.  But on the afternoon of the 20, the battery was with others grouped by Mendenhall on the northwest of Dyer Field.  Loosing 30 horses in that desperate stand, the Livingston was only able to bring one howitzer off the field.
  • 4th Battery: At Gloucester Point, Virginia with six 3-inch rifles (likely Ordnance rifles).  Captain John F. Vallee commanded this battery at the start of the quarter.  When Vallee resigned on July 6, George B. Easterly was promoted to command. As part of Second Division, Fourth Corps the battery participated in the operations on the Peninsula through June and July.  Afterwards, the battery was part of the Yorktown Garrison, specifically assigned to Gloucester Point, across the York River.
  • 5th Battery: In Chattanooga, Tennessee with two 12-pdr Napoleons, two 12-pdr field howitzers, and two 10-pdr Parrotts.  In the previous quarters, this battery reported two mountain howitzers instead of field howitzers.  Other equipment, and ammunition on hand (see below), reported was for field howitzers.  Still, I would leave a question mark for caution on that column. The battery was assigned to First Division, Twentieth Corps, and commanded by Captain George Q. Gardner. The battery was detached with the division’s First Brigade at the start of September.  During the battle of Chickamauga, they were at Valley Head, Alabama.  They did see action on September 22 skirmishing with Confederates as the siege of Chattanooga set in.
  • 6th Battery: “In the field”  with two 6-pdr field guns, two 24-pdr field howitzers, and two 3.80-inch James Rifles.  However, I believe, based on the ammunition reported and previous quarter reporting, the 24-pdrs should instead be 12-pdr field howitzers. Assigned to Seventh (later Second) Division, Seventeenth Corps.  Captain Henry Dillon was in command.  However, with Dillon serving as division artillery chief, Lieutenant Samuel F. Clark stood in as commander.  The battery spent most of the summer at Vicksburg.  They were part of the force dispatched to Chattanooga, via Memphis and overland to Bridgeport, Alabama, starting the last week of September.
  • 7th Battery: At Memphis, Tennessee with two 6-pdr field guns and three 3.67-inch rifles, and one 3.80-inch James rifles (as opposed to four 3.80-inch James reported the previous quarter).  Captain Harry S. Lee returned to resume command of the battery for part of the summer.  But returns from October indicate Lieutenant William E. Hearsey was acting commander.   The battery was assigned to the District of Memphis, Sixteenth Corps. 
  • 8th Battery: At Chattanooga, Tennessee with two 12-pdr Napoleons and four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Assigned to First Division, Twentieth Corps. In Captain Henry E. Stiles’ absence,  Lieutenant John D. McLean lead the battery at Chickamauga.  The battery reported no loss in the battle.
  • 9th Battery: Fort Lyon, Colorado Territory with four 6-pdr field guns and two 12-pdr field howitzers. Captain Cyrus H. Johnson remained in command, but he would be dismissed on October 21.  So a story for the next quarter.  The battery served by sections.  The right section, under Lieutenant James H. Dodge, first moved to Fort Union, New Mexico, before returning to Fort Lyon.  The left section, under Lieutenant Watson D. Crocker, continued on to Fort Larned, Kansas.  And the center section, which remained with Captain Johnson, set up operations at Fort Lyon.
  • 10th Battery: Reporting at Bridgeport, Alabama with four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Captain Yates V. Beebe’s battery was assigned to the Second Division, Reserve Corps, Army of the Cumberland.  From the beginning of the year up to September, the battery performed escort duties based out of Nashville and Murfreesboro.  In late September the battery moved forward to Bridgeport and guarded key points in that area.
  • 11th Battery: No return. As mentioned above, before this battery could complete organization, it was assigned to Illinois for accounting, becoming Battery L, 1st Illinois Light Artillery.
  • 12th Battery: A February 1864 return has this battery at Chattanooga with four 10-pdr Parrotts.  Captain William Zickerick and his battery’s four 10-pdr Parrotts were assigned to Seventh Division (later Second), Seventeenth Corps. Alongside the 6th Battery, they spent most of the summer at Vicksburg.  In late September, they were among the forces dispatched to Chattanooga.
  • 13th Battery: From a March 1864 return, this battery was at Fort Williams, Louisiana with the annotation “no stores.”  The battery started forming in the summer of 1863.  In November, seventy-one men were mustered into service, with duty location of Camp Washburn, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Captain Richard R. Griffith would command the battery, with data of rank from December 23 of that year.

Moving down to the ammunition on hand, starting with the smoothbore:

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  • 2nd Battery: 120 shell, 160 case, and 32 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • 3rd Battery: 70 shell, 160 case, and 27 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • 5th Battery: 96 shot, 32 shell, 91 case, and 40 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons; 62 shell, 156 case, and 47 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • 6th Battery: 73 shot, 173 case, and 105 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 21 shell, and 113 case for 12-pdr field howitzers;  65 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons. That last entry may be a transcription error by the clerks.
  • 7th Battery: 186 shot, 243 case, and 87 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
  • 8th Battery: 32 shot, 94 shell, 64 case, and 64 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 9th Battery: 400 shot, 320 case, and 80 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 150 shell, 190 case, and 62 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.

Turning to the Hotchkiss rifled projectiles reported:

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  • 4th Battery: 117 canister, 603 (!!!) percussion shell, 266 fuse shell, and 116 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 6th Battery: 26 shot and 146 bullet shell for 3.80-inch James rifles.
  • 7th Battery: 81 shot, 80 percussion shell, 161 fuse shell, and 430 bullet shell for 3.80-inch James rifles.
  • 8th Battery: 94 shot, 151 canister, and 479 fuse shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 10th Battery: 120 canister, 245 percussion shell, and 235 fuse shell for 3-inch rifles.

We will break the next page down into sections for clarity.  Starting with the James projectiles reported:

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  • 6th Battery: 96 shell and 34 canister for 3.80-inch James rifles.

And then to the Parrott columns:

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  • 2nd Battery: 314 shot, 387 shell, and 96 canister for 10-pdr Parrott.
  • 3rd Battery: 195 shell, 188 case, and 75 canister for 10-pdr Parrott…. which, as of the time of the report, the battery didn’t have on hand.  So while losing the guns, the battery rescued their caissons.  Good work!
  • 5th Battery: 9 shot, 142 shell, 127 case, and 78 canister for 10-pdr Parrotts.
  • 12th Battery: 116 shot, 321 shell, 247 case, and 136 canister for 10-pdr Parrotts.

A handful of Schenkl and Tatham’s reported:

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First the Schenkl:

  • 4th Battery: 33 shell and 23 case for 3 inch rifles.

And one entry for Tatham’s canister:

  • 6th Battery: 30 canister for 3.80-inch James.

Lastly we examine the small arms reported:

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  • 2nd Battery: Twenty army revolvers and 133 horse artillery sabers.
  • 3rd Battery: Fourteen army revolvers and eight horse artillery sabers.
  • 4th Battery: Sixteen army revolvers and twelve horse artillery sabers.
  • 6th Battery: Six cavalry sabers.
  • 7th Battery: Thirty army revolvers and twenty-five cavalry sabers.
  • 8th Battery: Sixteen navy revolvers and four cavalry sabers.
  • 9th Battery: Ninety-five navy revolvers and nineteen cavalry sabers.
  • 10th Battery: Fifteen horse artillery sabers.
  • 12th Battery: Eight navy revolvers.

We can say there was an evolving theme across the Wisconsin batteries.  While that theme did not include all, at the close of the third quarter of 1863 many of these batteries were either at Chattanooga or moving to the city.  In the weeks that followed, the men of those batteries would support the efforts to lift the siege and eventually defeat the Confederates encircling the city.

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

Not a populous state, yet Vermont arguably fought above their weight class during the Civil War with nearly 10% of the state’s population responding to the call.  We hear much of the two infantry brigades which served with the Army of the Potomac.  And the storied 1st Vermont Cavalry gets it due from those who chronicle the horse soldiers.  But with respect to the artillerymen, the most often mentioned is the 1st Vermont Heavy Artillery, which served through much of the war, in effect, as infantry.  What of the light batteries?  Well… let’s look to their summaries:

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At the close of the third quarter, 1863, Vermont had only two light batteries in service (the third would not muster until 1864).  And those two batteries were dealing with the heat, humidity, and mosquitoes of Louisiana.  Thus, in our “main theaters of operation” centered studies of the war, these two batteries garner little attention.  Let’s give them some attention here:

  • 1st Battery: Reporting from Brashear City (modern Morgan City), Louisiana with four 3-inch rifles. Under Captain George T. Hebard, the battery moved to Third Division, Nineteenth Corps in the reorganizations after the fall of Port Hudson.  Initially assigned to Baton Rouge, the battery returned to Port Hudson in late July.  During the first week of September, the battery participated in the unsuccessful Sabine Pass expedition.  After that, they returned to Brashear City on garrison duties.
  • 2nd Battery: At Port Hudson, Louisiana, with four 6-pdr (3.37-inch) rifles. Although using a column for bronze pieces, these were most certainly Sawyer rifles of cast steel.  After the fall of Port Hudson, the battery remained at that place as part of the Fourth Division, Nineteenth Corps (again, a transfer as part of the corps’ reorganization).  Captain Pythagoras E. Holcomb commanded the battery at the start of the summer.  But on August 19, he was mustered out of the battery to accept a promotion to major in the 1st Texas (US) Cavalry.  An interesting “unionist” story to follow.  But as this is “To the Sound of the Guns” and not “The Tinking of Sabers,” I’ll leave that story to those who write about the cavalry.  Lieutenant John W. Chase was promoted in October to replace Holcomb. 
  • 3rd Battery: Not listed.  This battery began forming in November.  So we will discuss them in the next quarter in more detail.  Captain Romeo H. Start received commission in the battery on November 23.  And was busy recruiting from that point forward.

So just two batteries to account for in the ammunition tables.  With no smoothbores reported, we can skip that page.  So we move to the Hochkiss columns:

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  • 1st Battery: 86 canister, 329 percussion shell, and 261 fuse shell for 3-inch rifles.

No Dyer, James, or Parrott rounds reported.  So we turn to the Schenkl columns:

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  • 1st Battery: 130 shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 2nd Battery: 498 shell and 222 case for 3.67-inch rifles.

Note also, at the far end of the table, some of those rare Tatham’s canister were reported also:

  • 2nd Battery: 222 canister for 3.67-inch rifles.

This leads us to the small arms reported:

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  • 1st Battery: Fourteen army revolvers and thirty-four horse artillery sabers.
  • 2nd Battery: Seven army revolvers and fifty-one cavalry sabers.

These two batteries continued their service in Louisiana into the next year.  The 1st would muster out the following summer.  But the 3rd, which we mentioned only as a prelude here, would move up to the front around the same time to participate in some of the most violent fighting of the war. 

Summary Statement, 3rd Quarter, 1863 – West Virginia, Sections with Infantry

Below the listings for the 1st West Virginia Light Artillery in the third quarter, 1863 are two lines for artillery sections reporting from infantry regiments:

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One of these is a repeat from the previous quarter.  Both are reports from infantry regiments then operating in the Kanawha Valley of West Virginia. And both fell under First Brigade (Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes), First Division (Brigadier-General Parker Scammon), of the Department of West Virginia:

  • Section attached to 5th Infantry: Reporting from Gauley Bridge, West Virginia with one 6-pdr smoothbore field gun and one 6-pdr (3.67-inch) rifle.  Colonel Abia A. Tomlinson commanded the regiment.  Ten different companies of the regiment reported postings at Gauley Bridge during the fall (not all at the same time, however).  So the two guns could have been a static assignment rotated among the companies.  Or could have been manned by a semi-permanent detail. 
  • Section attached to 13th Infantry:  No location offered.  But reporting one 12-pdr mountain howitzer.  Colonel William R. Brown commanded the 13th West Virginia Infantry.  The regiment spent most of the fall in the Kanawha Valley.  As with the 5th, no specific details as to the assignment or use of the cannon.

Noteworthy, a return from December 1863 for the Department of West Virginia indicates the entire division had sixteen field pieces.  The division had two batteries assigned – Captain James R. McMullin’s 1st Ohio Battery and Simmonds’ Kentucky Battery.  We are working from incomplete returns from those batteries.  But subtract out the 10 or 12 guns those batteries must have had.  And also subtract the three guns mentioned here with the infantry.  That would still leave us one, and maybe three, field guns unreported.  By that time of the war the Federals always seemed to have a spare piece of artillery about.

Moving down to the ammunition, the smoothbore comes first:

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  • 5th Infantry: 84 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
  • 13th Infantry: 92 case and 68 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.

No Hotchkiss rounds reported. But we can cut down the next page to look at James projectiles:

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  • 5th Infantry: 60 shell for 3.80-inch James.  Which leaves us with a conundrum – was this an error with the report or with transcription?  This could be the incorrect rounds assigned to the piece; an error reporting the piece; or an error reporting the ammunition on hand.

The next page seems to re-affirm the caliber of the weapon in question:

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  • 5th Infantry: 30 Schenkl shells for 3.67-inch rifles.

The infantry regiments did not report small arms assigned to these artillery sections.  And that brings this entry to a close.