Being a small state, Delaware did not muster a great number of formations during the war. Nine infantry regiments, a cavalry regiment, some independent companies, along with a couple batteries of artillery. Previously, we detailed what amounted to two and a half batteries of artillerymen from Delaware seeing service during the third quarter of 1863. By December 1863, that was down to an even two batteries… and even with that, only one of them was actually credited as an artillery battery doing artillery things:
- 1st Light Battery: Reporting at Camp Barry, District of Columbia, with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. After duty in New York dealing with the draft riot crisis, the battery returned to Washington, DC in mid-September. They were assigned to the Artillery Camp of Instruction. Captain Benjamin Nields commanded (for whom the battery is often identified). The battery remained there until February 1864, when it was dispatched to the Department of the Gulf.
Crossley’s Half-Battery of heavy artillery, a militia unit brought into service in response to the Confederate invasion of Pennsylvania, mustered out at the end of September. That leaves only Ahl’s Heavy Artillery Company, which was actually listed on the previous quarter summary, to discuss. Though listed as heavy artillery, Ahl’s company was in reality a guard force for prisoners held at Fort Delaware. Immigrants and galvanized Confederates dominated the ranks. Given the nature of Ahl’s service and assignments, I can understand the exclusion from the summaries.
Moving on to the ammunition reported, we skip past the smoothbore columns to the Hotchkiss:
- 1st Battery: 3 Hotchkiss time fuse shell for 3-inch rifles.
- 1st Battery: 299 Hotchkiss percussion fuse shell, 166 Hotchiss case (bullet) shell, and 142 Hotchkiss canister for 3-inch rifles.
Moving on to the Schenkl columns:
- 1st Battery: 487 Schenkl case shot for 3-inch rifles.
For small arms reported:
- 1st Battery: Seventeen army revolvers and twenty-eight horse artillery sabers.
Now to the cartridge bags, powder, fuses, and primers:
- 1st Battery: 90 cartridge bags for 3-inch rifles.
- 1st Battery: 242 cartridges for army revolvers, 401 friction primers, 50 yards of slow match, and 140 percussion caps for pistols.
The Delaware artillerists under Niels had ample time to get their drill correct. And they would put that to good use in the following year. Their luggage would very shortly have tags for New Orleans and various river ports on the Red River and Mississippi River.