Summary Statement, 4th Quarter, 1863 – 89th Indiana Infantry

Below the listing for Indiana’s independent batteries is one lone line for an artillery section assigned to the 89th Indiana Infantry:

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  • Company I, 89th Indiana Infantry: Reporting at Memphis, Tennessee with one 6-pdr field gun.

Recall back to the 3rd quarter summaries, when discussing Tennessee batteries, that I mentioned “Hurlbut’s Battery.” That unit was not named in the summaries, but is referenced in several other sources as being formed in the summer of 1863. In short, the battery formed as an expedient to support expeditions out of Memphis by the “River Guard” operating against Confederate irregulars and some lawless bands harassing river traffic. With two James rifles and two 6-pdr field guns drawn from the garrison’s stocks, men from the 89th Indiana, Battery I of the 1st Illinois Artillery, and other units stationed in Memphis formed this ersatz battery. So it makes sense this entry appears under the Indiana listings, at least in part.

Recall also back in the 3rd quarter we had a listing for the 87th Indiana with… you guessed it… a lonely 6-pdr field gun, but at Vicksburg, Mississippi sometime in June 1864. Specifically, “Lieutenant Colonel, 87th Indiana.” As I said at that time, the entry didn’t make sense when cross referenced against the service history of the 87th. That regiment was part of the Army of the Cumberland and never, as far as I can tell, operated in Mississippi. Much less had any stay in Vicksburg. In June 1864, that regiment was involved with the Atlanta Campaign.

But relooking that entry, and considering this 4th quarter entry, I suggest the clerks at the Ordnance Department made a transcription error in the 3rd quarter. That actually should have referenced the 89th. Such matches up with the 89th’s service history.

The 89th Indiana mustered in August 1862. Shortly after, the regiment proceeded to Louisville, Kentucky in response to the Confederate advance into that state. The 89th was part of the Munfordsville garrison when that place was invested by Confederates. They surrendered on September 17, and paroled. After the formalities of exchange, the regiment proceeded to Memphis becoming part of that city’s garrison. The regiment remained there until January 1864, having participated in several expeditions in west Tennessee and along the Mississippi River. In late January 1864, the regiment moved down the river as part of the force dispatched for the Red River Campaign. In May 1864, the regiment moved to Vicksburg and operated out of that place until July (strengthening the case that the 3rd quarter entry should have read “89th”). In July, the regiment participated in an expedition to Tupelo, Mississippi, as part of General A.J. Smith’s Right Wing of the Sixteenth Corps (sort of a “fire brigade” of the western theater at this time of the war). Later, in September, the regiment moved with its parent units to Missouri, where Confederate General Sterling Price was making a grand raid. Following the conclusion of that campaign, the 89th and the rest of Smith’s command rushed to Nashville in response to another Confederate offensive. In 1865, the regiment was among those forces sent to the Gulf Coast to operate against Mobile’s defenses. They were mustered out in July 1865. Suffice to say, the 89th was a well traveled regiment, which saw its share of action.

But what about those cannons? And who was in charge of those?

As mentioned in the 3rd quarter discussion, correspondence from Memphis indicate “Hurlbut’s Battery” included a pair of James rifles and a pair of 6-pdrs. We only have one 6-pdr accounted for on this summary statement. Perhaps, as the need diminished in the fall, the temporary battery decreased to one 6-pdr. Around this time the USCT regiments of heavy artillery then assigned to Memphis were nearing full organization. Those units started taking over some of the “River Guard” duties, and presumably some of the cannon.

Colonel Charles D. Murray commanded the 89th through the war. His staff included Lieutenant Colonel Hervey Craven, Major George Cubberly, Major Samuel Henry, and Major Joseph P. Winters. Recall it was Cubberly who commanded the “River Guard” out of Memphis when formed in 1863. Cubberly resigned in June of that year, and it is not clear who took over command. Major Henry was Cubberly’s replacement, presumably taking over the “River Guard” at least until the regiment moved south in January 1864. And Henry SHOULD be familiar to readers. He was killed by Confederate irregulars in November 1864, at Greenton, Missouri. Winters was the last major of the regiment.

But there should be someone in charge of that one reported cannon. As mentioned earlier, Lieutenant Albert Cudney of Battery I, 1st Illinois Artillery led “Hurlbut’s Battery” during the summer of 1863. With the guns presumably reassigned, Cudney likely returned to his normal duties. But at least one of those 6-pdrs remained with the 89th Indiana. Specifically, Company I, 89th Indiana. And in that company was Lieutenant John J. Chubb, who was acting ordnance officer for the regiment through the late summer of 1863 and into 1864. So he’s the “front-runner” for being the fellow who filled out the ordnance return which fed into this summary statement entry.

A wide-ranging story and a lot of speculation about that one entry line. But I’m rather certain we are tying up the lose ends by attributing this line to the “River Guard”… at least what remained of it in December 1863.

Turning to the summary itself, they did report ammunition on hand:

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  • Company I, 89th Infantry: 76 shot and 112 case for 6-pdr field guns.
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  • Company I, 89th Infantry: 52 canister for 6-pdr field guns.

Aside from implements and other equipage, the other items reported are cartridges:

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  • Company I, 89th Infantry: 42 cartridge bags for 6-pdr field guns and 1,000 cartridges for Burnside’s carbines.

Lastly, some pistol ammunition on hand:

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  • Company I, 89th Infantry: 1,000 army and 1,000 navy pistol cartridges.

I have to assume the regiment’s small arms were reported on the appropriate “infantry” forms for the same period. I do not have access to those. But the presence of the carbine and pistol cartridges suggests the 89th Infantry used those weapons in their “River Guard” duties.

Thus we can close the summary entries for Indiana with this look at the 89th Indiana Infantry. Sort of full circle from our start with the 1st Indiana Heavy Artillery, which mustered as infantry and were reorganized as artillery. The well-traveled 89th also did their time serving cannons during the war.

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