Summary Statement, 4th Quarter, 1863 – 1st Indiana Heavy Artillery

We have mentioned the 1st Indiana Heavy Artillery briefly in previous quarter summaries. The “Jackass” Regiment received short notice in those quarters, as only two of its batteries reported what was rated as field artillery. With the expansion of the tables to include siege and garrison artillery, the 1st Indiana received its own, proper, section:

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This regiment’s story, briefly, begins in July 1861 being mustered as the 21st Indiana Infantry. Sent to garrison Baltimore, the regiment was later among the forces forwarded to the Gulf as part of Butler’s expedition to New Orleans. In February 1863, the regiment converted to heavy artillery, retaining its colorful nickname. As artillerymen, the regiment was posted at several points in the Department of the Gulf. During the summer, the regiment sent eight companies to support the siege of Port Hudson. After the fall of that bastion, the batteries resumed duties at points in Louisiana. Colonel John Keith remained in command of the regiment. (And for more on this interesting regiment, you might consult Phillip E. Faller’s excellent regimental history.) For the end of 1863, we have the above summary noting the postings of all but two of the batteries:

  • Company A: At New Iberia with four 20-pdr Parrott rifles.  Captain Eden H. Fisher resigned on November 20th. Captain Harvey B. Hall replaced him. 
  • Company B: Perhaps an administrative error, this battery is listed on the third line down, below Battery C.  No return. The battery was posted to New Orleans at this time of the war. Captain James Grimsley was promoted to major on October 1. Lieutenant John W. Day accepted the captaincy.
  • Company C: Listed out of order, on the second line, reporting at Baton Rouge, with four 8-inch siege howitzers .  Captain Elihu E. Rose resigned on December 8, and was replaced by Lieutenant William Bough (promoted to captain, date of rank December 9).
  • Company D: At Baton Rouge with five 24-pdr siege guns.  Captain William S. Hinkle remained in command.
  • Company E:  Also at Baton Rouge, reporting four 20-pdr Parrotts. Captain James W. Hamrick in command.
  • Company F: Another battery at Baton Rouge, but no cannon reported.  Captain Francis W. Noblet commanded.
  • Company G: At Baton Rouge and also reporting no cannon.  Captain Edward McLaflin, of this battery, was the detachment commander at Baton Rouge and thus in charge of what amounted to a battalion-plus of artillery. However, Company G was split between the assignment at Baton Rouge and the New Orleans garrison.
  • Company H: Reporting at New Iberia, Louisiana with two 30-pdr Parrotts.  Captain James W. Connelly in command.
  • Company I: Garrison artillery at New Orleans, but reporting no cannon. Captain Richard Campbell’s command.
  • Company K: No return. Also garrison artillery in New Orleans. Under Captain Clayton Cox.
  • Company L: Reporting at Matagorda, Texas with three 12-pdr Napoleons and two 20-pdr Parrotts.  Captain Isaac C. Hendricks commanded this battery, which was part of Major-General Cadwallader Washburn expedition sent to the Texas coast that fall.
  • Company M: Only reporting stores on hand.  Garrison artillery at New Orleans.  This battery mustered in October.  Captain Samuel A. Strong was in command.

Before we leave the administrative section, let us consider a couple of photos from the Photographic History of the Civil War (that old classic). Both are captioned as showing a battery of the 1st Indiana Heavy Artillery (and specifically mentioned as formerly the 21st Indiana Infantry) at drill in Baton Rouge:

1stIndBatonRouge1
1stIndBatonRouge2

Remarkable photos depicting the company (heavy artillery being companies that is) in battery (top) and in march order (bottom). Parrott rifles, obviously. And while I had reservations about the size, these do appear to be 20-pdrs. So we might tentatively identify this as Company E. Though as we don’t have a specific date to work from this might also show Company A. Or perhaps one of the other companies borrowing equipment… or for full speculation perhaps one of the other companies with rifles assigned to the garrison (and thus escaped the summary lines). A wealth of details in the photographs, particularly for anyone studying drill and tactics.

But the caption in the Photographic History points to another significant attribute for these photos.

The clearest and most trustworthy evidence of an opponent’s strength is of course an actual photograph. Such evidence, in spite of the early stage of the art and the difficulty of “running in” chemical supplies on “orders to trade,” was supplied to the Confederate leaders in the Southwest by [Andrew D.] Lytle, the Baton Rouge photographer – really a member of the Confederate secret service. Here are photographs of the First Indiana Heavy Artillery (formerly the Twenty-first Indiana Infantry), showing its strength and position on the arsenal grounds at Baton Rouge. As the Twenty-first Indiana, the regiment had been at Baton Rouge during the first Federal occupation, and after the fall of Port Hudson it returned there for garrison duty. Little did its officers suspect that the quiet man photographing the batteries at drill was about to convey the “information” beyond their lines to their opponents.

So those cannon we tally in the summaries? Reportedly the Confederates were also counting them… in the photographs. Not quite the microfilm drop of Cold War espionage, but still the use of imagery to gather intelligence.

We turn now to the ammunition reported on hand, starting with the smoothbore columns:

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  • Company L: 71 shot, 62 shell, and 98 case for 12-pdr Napoleons.
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  • Company L: 48 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.

Nothing on the first page of rifled projectiles. So we move to the second and the Parrott projectiles.

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  • Company A: 9 shot, 357 shell, and 72 canister for 20-pdr Parrotts.
  • Company E: 210 shell for 20-pdr Parrotts.
  • Company L: 30 shot, 192 shell, and 34 canister for 20-pdr Parrotts.

No tallies on the “Miscellaneous” pattern projectiles page. So we move to the small arms:

0323_2_Snip_IND_1
  • Company A: Six Sharps’ rifles and sixteen horse artillery sabers.
  • Company D: Sixty Remington army revolvers.
  • Company E: Fifteen Remington army revolvers and twenty-four horse artillery sabers.
  • Company G: Thirty-nine Sharps’ rifles.
  • Company H: Fifty-six Sharps’ rifles, eleven foot officer’s sword, and one musician’s sword.
  • Company I: Seventy Sharps’ rifles and nine horse artillery sabers.

Moving on to the cartridge bags and small arms ammunition reported:

0324_2_Snip_IND_1
  • Company A: 340 bags for 20-pdr Parrott.
  • Company E: 339 bags for 20-pdr Parrott; and 3,000 Sharps’ cartridges.
  • Company I: 4,300 Sharps’ cartridges.
  • Company L: 226 bags for 20-pdr Parrott.

And on to the next page with fuses, primers, and other items:

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  • Company E: 71 paper fuses and 295 friction primers.
  • Company I: 5,750 percussion caps.
  • Company L: 146 paper fuses, 6 pounds of musket powder, and 590 friction primers.

That concludes the “Jackass” Regiment’s summary. I do believe this summary is lacking because certain equipment (particularly large cannon) were considered part of the garrison property, and not part of a regiment or company assignment. But the inclusion of the entire regiment in this quarter’s summary sheds light on how those heavy regiments served when indeed they served as artillery.

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One thought on “Summary Statement, 4th Quarter, 1863 – 1st Indiana Heavy Artillery

  1. The photographs are a great find, especially as graphic (and unusual) depictions of the two formations (those tubes sure do look like 20 lb.) Lytle is the guy who took the two famous photographs of Grierson’s cavalry at Baton Rouge following the 1863 raid but I have never seen these. Nice work.

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