Below the numbered batteries from Wisconsin, in the third quarter of 1863 summaries, are four lines based on returns submitted from sections directly assigned to cavalry or infantry regiments:
- Battery attached to 3rd Cavalry: Reporting at Van Buren, Arkansas with no cannon. But inferred, based on the ammunition reported (below), is the presence of 12-pdr mountain howitzers. At this time of the war, the regiment was part of the District of the Frontier. Colonel William A. Barstow commanded. Minus some detachments, the regiment was at Fort Blunt (Fort Gibson), Cherokee Nation, in July 1863. After a busy summer and early fall, the regiment moved to Van Buren (accross the Arkansas River from Fort Smith) in early November. As far back as mid-1862 the regiment operated with a pair of mountain howitzers. The regiment brought that section to Prairie Grove in December 1862. But the lack of annotation here leaves questions. What we can confirm from this entry is at a minimum the regiment retained stores through the fall of 1863, if not the howitzers themselves, at Van Buren… which brings us to the next entry….
- Company C, 3rd Cavalry: No location given, but reporting one 12-pdr mountain howitzer. This is one of those entries where other sources not only provide validation but point to a prominent role of the artillery piece. Captain Edward R. Stevens commanded Company C, which was detached from the regiment and operating out of Fort Scott, Kansas. A detachment (of men from Companies C and D, plus some Kansas USCT) under Lieutenant James B. Pond occupied Fort Blair (also called Fort Baxter), at Baxter Springs, Kansas. Pond’s command included on mountain howitzer. On October 6, William Quantrill’s raiders attacked the fort. Pond organized a hasty, but effective defense, centered around that howitzer. While part of Quantrill’s force attacked the fort, the other wing encountered Major-General James Blunt and escort, who happened to be moving his headquarters from Fort Scott to Fort Smith at that time. Blunt’s column was routed with over 100 killed. Though the general escaped, the incident was deemed a “massacre” in Federal accounts. Despite demands and threats, Pond held out at Fort Blair. In 1898, Pond received the Medal of Honor in recognition for his stand that day.
- Section, Artillery, attached to 2nd Cavalry: Reporting at Fort Smith, Arkansas with two 12-pdr mountain howitzers. In September 1863, Colonel Thomas Stephens, of the regiment, was in command of a small brigade of cavalry assigned to Seventeenth Corps, then operating at Vicksburg. Only eight companies were with Stephens. The other four companies formed a battalion under Major William H. Miller, which operated in Missouri. This brings up a question about the reported location. The battalion remained part of the Rolla, Missouri garrison well into the fall of 1864, serving in the District of Rolla, Department of Missouri. There is no mention of movement to Fort Smith. So this may be a transcription error. One has to wonder if the clerks confused the 2nd and 3rd Wisconsin Cavalry.
- Detachment, 30th Infantry: I interpret their location as as “Indian expedition, Dakota Territory.” The regiment reported four 6-pdr field guns (down from six) on hand. The 30th Wisconsin served in Major-General John Pope’s Department of the Northwest, providing troops for garrisons in the Districts of Wisconsin and Iowa. Colonel Daniel J. Dill commanded the regiment. A detachment under Lieutenant-Colonel Edward M. Bartlett, comprised of Companies D and F, were on duty at Fort Sully, Dakota Territory, through the fall. If I had to guess, this would be the likely location of those guns.
So four stories from the Trans-Mississippi ranging from an infamous massacre to mundane garrison duties. And between these four lines, barely a battery between them. Let’s look to what ammunition was on hand:
- 3rd Cavalry: 85 shell and 26 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.
- Company C, 3rd Cavalry: 30 shell, 36 case, and 36 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.
- 2nd Cavalry: 76 case and 9 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.
- 30th Infantry: 364 shot, 182 case, and 159 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
- 2nd Cavalry: 75 breechloading carbines and 96 army revolvers.
That line from the 2nd Wisconsin Cavalry has me wondering if the regiment simply submitted one return, covering both artillery and cavalry stories, as opposed to separate returns (as per regulation).
These were the final lines in the third quarter 1863 summaries. Before we move on to the last quarter’s summaries, let us account for the omissions. We’ve discussed many of those “in line” with the state entries. But there were a few others that fell between two chairs, so to speak. Furthermore, I will also review the state of the heavy artillery at this stage of the war. If for nothing else to say we’ve not cast our nets with prejudice.