Summary Statement, 4th Quarter, 1863 – Minnesota

In the previous quarter, we saw Minnesota represented by three light artillery batteries. For the fourth quarter, we see the same three batteries… but four lines:


Yes, the 3rd Minnesota Battery reported by section. So let’s break those lines down:

  • 1st Battery: Reporting at Gaylesville, Alabama, as of November 1864, with with two 12-pdr field howitzers and two 3.67-inch (6-pdr) rifles. The report location is “as of” the reporting date, after the Atlanta Campaign when the battery was involved with the pursuit of Hood’s forces in northern Alabama. Captain William Z. Clayton commanded. But while he was on recruiting duty, Lieutenant Henry Hunter led the battery.  The battery remained with the First Division, Seventeenth Corps at Vicksburg through the spring. At some point that winter, the battery received three new 3-inch rifles.
  • 2nd Battery:  At Chattanooga, Tennessee with six 10-pdr Parrott rifles.  In October, with reorganizations of the Army of the Cumberland, the battery shifted from First Division, Twentieth Corps to Second Division, Fourteenth Corps. Captain William A. Hotchkiss, the battery commander, served as Artillery Chief for the division.  And Lieutenant Richard L. Dawley led the battery. The battery supported the division in the battles around Chattanooga in November. They wintered at Rossville, Georgia, just outside of that city.
  • 3rd Battery:  Reporting from Fort Snelling, Minnesota with two 6-pdr field guns and six 12-pdr mountain howitzers.  Captain John Jones commanded this battery assigned to the District of Minnesota, Department of the Northwest.  Actually, this battery four sections were spread out across the department. The 1st Section was at Fort Snelling in December. 2nd Section was at Pembina, Dakota Territories (see below). The 3rd Section at Fort Ridgely, Minnesota. And the 4th Section served at Fort Ripley, Minnesota. I am not sure which officer drew particular sections, but Lieutenants John C. Whipple, Horace H. Western, Don A. Daniels, and Gad Merrill Dwelle were with the battery.
  • Section of 3rd Battery: Reporting from Pembina, Dakota Territories (so this must be the 2nd Section) but not listing their assigned cannon. I believe this section’s gun were rolled up with the battery’s, but for some reason their other stores were accounted separately. For what reason, we are left to guess.

And about those stores, we see some with the smoothbore ammunition tallies:

  • 1st Battery: 117 shells and 128 case for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • 3rd Battery: 102 shot and 130 case for 6-pdr field guns; 48 shell and 134 case for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.
  • 2nd Section, 3rd Battery: 24 case for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.

Continuing with smoothbore:

  • 1st Battery: 90 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • 3rd Battery: 42 canister for 6-pdr field guns and 84 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.

To the right is a lone tally for Hotchkiss shot:

  • 1st Battery: 122 shot for 3.67-inch rifles.

More Hotchkiss on the next page:

  • 1st Battery: 40 percussion fuse shell, 26 case shot/bullet shell, and 110 canister for 3.67-inch rifles.

On the far right of this, is a tally for the one column of Parrott projectiles on this page:

  • 2nd Battery: 22 shot for 10-pdr Parrott.

That brings us to the rest of the Parrott columns:

  • 2nd Battery: 780 shell, 383 case, and 188 canister for 10-pdr Parrotts.

We then skip forward to the small arms:

  • 1st Battery: Eleven Colt navy revolvers.
  • 2nd Battery: One Colt navy revolver and nine cavalry sabers.
  • 3rd Battery: Thirty Colt army revolvers and 126 cavalry sabers.

The next page has totals for cartridge bags, only two batteries reporting such:

  • 1st Battery: 254 cartridge bags for 6-pdr field guns or 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • 2nd Battery: 834 cartridge bags for 10-pdr Parrotts.

The last page covers small arms cartridges and other articles:

  • 1st Battery: 800 navy-caliber pistol cartridges and 450 friction primers.
  • 3rd Battery: 550 army-caliber pistol cartridges, 21 fireballs, and 259 friction primers.
  • 2nd Section, 3rd Battery: 12 fireballs.

Fireballs? Well, specifically it is a column for fireballs loaded for 8-inch or 10-inch mortars. Which, of course, the 3rd Battery didn’t have. Recall we discussed fireballs some time back in reference to use with the heavy mortars. These were a canvas bag loaded with a shell and explosive composition and covered with pitch. The idea was to throw such a projectile over the enemy position, timed to ignite in the air with the objective of illuminating the ground. A similar projectile, called the “light ball” was without the shell and intended to ignite closer to friendly lines, also providing illumination.

I doubt that the 3rd Battery, out there on the frontier, actually had regulation fireballs on hand. However, what would make for sound speculation is the battery reported locally fabricated fireballs (or light balls) for use from their howitzers. At a remote outpost they would find need of artificial light for many reasons.

Summary Statement, 4th Quarter, 1863 – Maryland

Looking at the summary lines for the fourth quarter, 1863, we find three lines for batteries from Maryland:


Sixteen Ordnance Rifles and that is the story, right? Not quite. There are a couple more footnotes to add here. But let us review those three lines first:

  • 1st Battery (Battery A): At Culpeper, Virginia with four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Captain James H. Rigby remained in command. In October, the battery transferred from the Artillery Reserve to the Artillery Brigade, First Corps. The battery participated with First Corps in the Bristoe and Mine Run Campaigns. Then went into winter quarters near Colonel Charles Wainwright’s headquarters outside Culpeper.
  • 2nd Battery (Battery B): Reported at Harpers Ferry, Maryland, with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  With Captain Alonzo Snow in command, the battery remained part of the defenses of the Harpers Ferry sector. The Maryland Heights Division became First Division, Department of West Virginia.
  • Baltimore Independent Battery: Showing at Baltimore, Maryland, with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  As mentioned in earlier summaries, this battery lost its guns at Winchester in June.  Captain Frederic W. Alexander remained in command with the battery as it recovered, reequipped, and trained at Baltimore.  At the end of the year, the battery was part of the Artillery Reserve, Eighth Corps. Captain Alexander commanded the reserve.

But recall there were two emergency batteries mustered from Maryland in July 1863, which we saw in the previous quarter. The “Junior Batteries.” Well these were still on the rolls, for a few more weeks, at the end of December. So let us consider them as “missing batteries” for this quarter’s summary:

  • Battery A (Junior): At Baltimore, Maryland with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Captain John M. Bruce commanded.  By the end of December, the battery was assigned to the Artillery Reserve, Eighth Corps. It would muster out on January 19, 1864.
  • Battery B (Junior): Also at Baltimore, Maryland, but with six 12-pdr Napoleons.  Also seen on returns as the Eagle Battery.  Captain Joseph H. Audoun commanded.  As with the other Junior Battery, the Eagle Battery was assigned to the Artillery Reserve, Eighth Corps at the end of December. This battery mustered out on January 16, 1864.

Those “missing” pieces put in place, we turn to the ammunition reported. No smoothbores in the reporting batteries, so we skip to the Hochkiss columns:

  • Baltimore Battery: 4 time fuse shells for 3-inch rifles.

More Hotchkiss on the next page:

  • 1st Battery: 50 canister for 3-inch rifles.
  • 2nd Battery: 158 percussion fuse shell, 607 bullet shell, and 182 canister for 3-inch rifles.
  • Baltimore Battery: 120 percussion fuse shell, 5 bullet shell, and 121 canister for 3-inch rifles.

We move next to the Schenkl columns for more tallies:

  • 1st Battery: 317 shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 2nd Battery: 353(?) shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Baltimore Battery: 240 shell for 3-inch rifles.

One more column of Schenkl on the next page:

  • 1st Battery: 396 case shot for 3-inch rifles.
  • Baltimore Battery: 710 case shot for 3-inch rifles.

Turning next to the small arms reported:

  • 1st Battery: Eight Colt army revolvers, twenty cavalry sabers, and sixteen horse artillery sabers.
  • 2nd Battery: Ten Colt army revolvers and twenty-one cavalry sabers.
  • Baltimore Battery: Twenty-four Colt army revolvers and thirty-two horse artillery sabers.

Two of the batteries reported cartridge bags on hand:

  • 1st Battery: 632 cartridge bags for 3-inch rifles.
  • 2nd Battery: 1,158 cartridge bags for 3-inch rifles.

The tallies for pistol cartridges and friction primers seems lopsided:

  • 1st Battery: 1,218 friction primers; four yards of slow match; and 24 portfires.
  • 2nd Battery: 1,000 pistol cartridges for army-caliber revolvers; 1,305 paper fuses; one pound of musket powder; and 1,399 friction primers.
  • Baltimore Battery: 500 pistol cartridges for army-caliber revolvers and 300 pistol cartridges for navy-caliber revolvers (and we are left to wonder why)… but no friction primers, slow match, or portfires.

While the tally of cannon for the Maryland batteries is to say the least predictable, that of the ammunition is not. Such underscores what I said earlier about trying to assign patterns were the data is known to be incomplete.

On Small Arms… and Artillery

When studying the equipment used by artillery batteries, perhaps the one point most apt to spark a disagreement… saving, of course, those select discussions about mountain howitzers… is that of small arms. There always seems to be a debate about what the battery had or did not have. Furthermore, if one is part of the living history or reenactment hobbies, grist to be ground about what is suitable for an “impression” for public display. And as I post articles about the summary statements I try to be aware of that when listing the small arms reported therein. The problem with reading, strictly, the summaries is… well that word … context. Such is why I spend most of the time for the posts detailing the administrative state of the battery – who was in charge, where was it assigned, and what duties did the battery have.

Recently I commented on a post in a social media forum about this subject. More precisely, someone had posted one of those “here’s a situation” with the remark in a “that’s how they did it, and so should we” vein. And yes, twenty lashes for me… one should never discuss the nuances of history on a social media platform. There’s just no way to correctly address a historical subject in one of those forums. But I did. And the discussion, as those are apt to, suddenly became a discussion about everything from pistols to the price of tea in China. And somewhat disturbing, the other correspondent did well to pull examples from my blog, here, in an attempt to illustrate points. Kudos and thanks for the hits… but unfortunately I feel he was fishing for a context (there’s that word) that was not applicable.

Given the use of some of those summary statements in that discussion, I want to make a clear cautionary statement to readers who might look upon the small arms sections. A few points to keep in mind….

First: Before using them, one must understand just what the summary statements were there for. Back this up to the late 1830s when Joel R. Poinsett was Secretary of War. Readers will recall discussing his tenure in relation to the twisted (tortured?) evolution of the 6-pdr field gun. I have often compared Poinsett to the 20th century’s Robert McNamara. Not too closely, but in certain regards. Chief of those is that Poinsett looked to reform the system in which the military operated. Specific to ordnance, Poinsett cited the incompatibility between the various weapons then in service – the most glaring of which was between the regular Army and the militia units. At that time, there were an odd assortment of weapons, some dating back to colonial times, others the result of private purchase, and a good number not conforming to the patterns established by the Army as standard field pieces (ehem… and even “established” is taken with a grain of salt here). Had the nation called out the militia for war, whoever commanded that force would have a logistical nightmare. So Poinsett pressed for a degree of comparability, if not complete standardization. To enforce that down, Poinsett did the only real thing he could do, legally, for the militia system – asked for reports of what was “on hand.” And thus was born a report, separate from property accountability, to track down just what was “on hand” within a unit. But don’t confuse “form” with “report” as these were most often statements made by the State Adjutant General or other official.

Second: As time went on, standardization improved to the point that militia batteries could acquire directly from the vendor an approved pattern cannon. Great. But there’s one hitch to that. Some of those patterns were faulty. Not so much the bronze guns. More so the iron. So the Ordnance Department began using that reporting mechanism to track things like the number of shots fired by the cannon, bore and vent erosion, and other peculiarities. So then we start seeing the report took on more of the form of a questionnaire. And interesting to us artillery wonks, they listed the cannon on hand by registry number. Still, this was not a property accountability mechanism. Rather an operational report – what is on hand and how good is it? Nobody, as far as I can tell, ever was charged the cost of a cannon because serial numbers didn’t match (that, of course, would be a moral sin in today’s Army).

Third: In the 1850s, at least, the Chief of Ordnance began submitting more detailed yearly reports to Congress on these matters. Perhaps this was there before, but I have not seen it in the Congressional Records (and if it one thing our US Congress does well, it’s keeping records!). But certainly this changed a bit in 1855. Congress amended the laws and regulations pertaining to the militia, giving the US Army more oversight… or I should say involvement… in the equipping of the formations. Passed on March 3, 1855, I’ve seen this cited as “The State Militia Act of 1855” or simply as Revised Statute Section 1667. Well outside my lane (this is “To the Sound of the Guns” and not “To the Call of the Militia” by the way), but in context of the times there was much public discussion about the wants and failures of the militia during the Mexican War. Terms like “active militia” were being thrown around. And as result, this new statute apportioned funds from the Ordnance Department to be spent towards weapons for the militia (and we see this act cited on every Ordnance Report to Congress up through the 1890s). Of course many readers will start to see this click with their Civil War studies… yes this is also the mechanism being used by Secretary of War Floyd in the months leading up to the war.

Now that third point would be “high level political stuff” but for the fact that the Ordnance Department had to account for these things every year in a report to Congress. Congress wanted to know what was going out and if the problems with the militia were being solved. So the measure by which the Ordnance Department could track these things were those reports. And thus we see a demand for information listing ALL weapons. Not just what the Federal government bought. Everything. And this reporting, collected by the Ordnance Department fed into an annual report to Congress, as part of the War Department’s statements. And that’s where we get back out of the political layer – clerks gathering information, compiling said information, and offering that to the chief.

Fourth: As is apt to happen, this highly bureaucratic system rolled into the war situation much like a train running off the rails. Not only were militia units mustered, but whole new volunteer units formed. Many equipped by private means. Many more not equipped at all. And the Ordnance Department now had to support those units in the field. This lead to more reliance on the reports, which I’ve taken to calling “Ordnance Returns” based on the common usage by officers of the period. And it is important to keep that those were separate and distinct from the returns accounting for “ordnance stores.” The former was for tracking operational details. The latter was for tracking government property. And here’s where I think most folks get confused – the Army was not using the reports detailing cannon and small arms statuses as property accountability documents. Rather it was data, going into the summaries, to support the report to Congress. On the other side of the office, of course, there was some clerk looking at property accountability. But I’ve yet to see a report from the Chief of Ordnance to Congress discussing how many cannon, much less things like muskets and swords, were lost during a period of the war. That sort of thing was usually reserved for questions in front of the Joint Committee, coming from a quartermaster officer. So again – a summary of “all things on hand” that we are using in the war, instead of an accounting of government property. And by “all things on hand” inevitably, as we can point out with some specific batteries, privately purchased, state purchased, and government purchased equipment ended up tallied within the process. So vast was the war effort, compared to what had been handled pre-war, the Ordnance Department was forced to create a full form to aid the compiling of the numbers… and we then had by name the summary statemetns, which seems to have started around the second half of 1862.

Fifth: Even as the war situation “normalized” somewhat, the bureaucratic system did not. As I like to point out within the summaries, there is an important column to consider – the date received at the Ordnance Department. So, that opens Pandora’s box of possibilities. Was that a “post-dated” report for the quarter? Was it “as of this quarter, but submitted to cover the last one”? Not to mention, if the report was arriving late did the person filing it really put a lot effort into making it accurate? (Something I learned in my personal experience, the fellow in the foxhole is usually unimpressed with the line about “failure to report accurately could result in a courts martial.” Usually there’s something along the lines of “oh, yeah? Come get me!”)

Sixth: And this is perhaps the biggest bucket of cold water on those pursuing concrete conclusions – the records we have, surviving, of the summary statements only run from the forth quarter of 1862 to first quarter of 1864. There are some returns consolidated for the second quarter of 1864, but representing only about a third of the batteries. And if you are down at NARA looking at the files, you’ll see the ledger skips ahead to the forth quarter, 1870… and there are only blanks for those entries. What happened? This guy happened:

Alexander Brydie Dyer. Became Chief of Ordnance on September 12, 1864. You know, there was a war on and all, right? And the clerks at the Ordnance Department were waiting patiently for the second quarter returns. But right around that time, the format of the report to Congress changed. Perhaps by Brigadier-General Dyer’s initiative. Or as part of changes driven by the War Department. Or perhaps in response to different inquiries by Congress. Either way, the first report given by Dyer, through the Secretary of War, to Congress differed substantively from the previous decade of reports. So the reason the summaries “died” after June 1864 was because Dyer didn’t need the information complied in the manner we see in the summaries. A crying shame for us 155 years after the fact. Would have been a nice bookend to know who had what in 1865. But as it stands, a nice bit of administrative closure – the summaries outlasted their value to the men reporting on the numbers.

So what does that mean?

In a nutshell, the summaries are at best a mixed bag. I’m certain that some batteries only reported what they felt was necessary in regard to small arms. So if we went back in time to see their camps, we might well see things not detailed in their returns and thus not on the summary lines. However, the converse is also probably true in some cases – that a very efficient officer provided the required documentation to the Ordnance Department, indicating everything, right down to a couple of Sharps carbines (we’ve seen that in the summaries a time or two) that happened to be laying about camp.

Because of the mixed nature of the summaries, we can’t draw hard conclusions. I “might” say that “generally” it “seems” … and more quibble words as can be worked in where possible… that batteries assigned to the Army of the Potomac would “typically” report between six and a half dozen pistols and edged weapons. The eastern theater exception is the Horse Artillery, which almost consistently reports enough pistols and edged weapons to arm most of the mounted men – officers, NCOs, and crews. That those in the western theater varied a bit more, without the “horse artillery” exception. Batteries assigned to outposts, where non-artillery missions were likely the order of the day, often reported more small arms, particularly long arms. And Trans-Mississippi batteries, contrary to what some might think, tended to have less than those in the east. But… those are observations only, with all the quibble words attached. Again we go back to the value of the context… and more importantly that context being only relative to a specific battery at a specific time and place.

Bottom line – conclusions are meant to be based on facts. Without facts, conclusions are but speculations… maybe we soften that to suggestions. But at the top of the discussion we have to agree that the absence of information is only confirming the absence of information! More is then needed. Of course, that’s when some turn to pictures and accounts indicating so-and-so had this pistol and that sword. Great. Here’s what you have:

That might be a person in a hairy gorilla suit. It might be an unidentified creature. Or it might be my battery commander with a horse artillery saber in one hand and a Colt Army in the other! It still doesn’t confirm or disprove the numbers on the summary.

All kidding aside. My point is it’s folly to try to square and reconcile a bureaucratic report that is full of known errors and inconsistencies as we look back for concrete conclusions. We need to accept the summary statements within the context of what they were intended for, not what we want them to be. We can, however, take the summary statements as a starting point for discussion. Context – that happening around the battery being represented by the numbers – is vital. What do those numbers mean and how do they reflect a certain point in time situation…. if at all?

Summary Statement, 4th Quarter, 1863 – Massachusetts

As was the case with summaries from the previous quarters, the clerks at the Ordnance Department “shorted” Massachusetts in the battery listings. There were, eventually, sixteen batteries from the Bay State. And for the fourth quarter, we see a couple of omissions:

  • 1st Battery: At Brandy Station, Virginia with six 12-pdr Napoleons. The battery remained with the Artillery Brigade, Sixth Corps, Army of the Potomac, and Captain William H. McCartney remained in command.  The battery saw action near the Saunders’ House during the battle of Mine Run, firing fifteen rounds.
  • 2nd Battery: No return. Captain Ormand F. Nims remained in command of this battery. Part of the Nineteenth Corps, Department of the Gulf, the battery transferred from the corps artillery reserve to the Cavalry Division. Around this time the battery exchanged six 6-pdr rifled field guns for a like number of 12-pdr Napoleons. The battery saw field service in the Teche Campaign in October and November. Moving from Brashear City, the cavalry column to which the battery was attached reached Opelousas on October 21, having skirmished frequently with Confederates along the way. A section under Lieutenant William Marland saw action at Carrion Crow Bayou and Grand Couteau (November 2 and 3, respectively). In the latter action, Marland found his battery surrounded and without support. He ordered the section limbered up and charged through to save the guns. The battery arrived at New Iberia on November 17 and remained there until January.
  • 3rd Battery: Reporting at Bealton, Virginia with six 12-pdr Napoleons.  Assigned to the Artillery Brigade, Fifth Corps, with Lieutenant Aaron F. Walcott in charge of the battery.  Captain Augustus P. Martin, of the battery, comanded the corps artillery brigade. Participating with the corps through the Bristoe Campaign and Mine Run, the battery went into winter quarters outside Brandy Station, off the north end of Fleetwood Hill.
  • 4th Battery: Reporting New Iberia, Louisiana with two 12-pdr Napoleons and two 3-inch ordnance rifles.  Captain George G. Trull commanded. However, in Trull’s absence Lieutenant George W. Taylor led the battery in December 1863. The battery participated in the Teche Expedition in October. They were in action at Vermillion Bayou on November 11, without loss. The battery transferred from Third Division to First Division, Nineteenth Corps later in November.  
  • 5th Battery: Reporting at Rappahannock [Station], Virginia with six 3-inch rifles.  Captain Charles A. Phillips remained in command, and the battery assigned to the Fifth Corps.  The battery participated in the Bristoe and Mine Run Campaigns. Following those, the battery, alongside the 3rd Battery, went into winter quarters at Brandy Station.
  • 6th Battery: At New Iberia, Louisiana with four 12-pdr Napoleons and two 12-pdr field howitzers. The battery was assigned to First Division, Nineteenth Corps.  When Captain William W. Carruth mustered out on October 3rd, Lieutenant Edward K. Russell (2nd Battery, above) transferred to command.  Then on December 9, Lieutenant John F. Phelps, of the battery, took command.  Phelps would be promoted to Captain with commission back dated to October 3. The battery participated in the Teche Campaign of that fall, arriving at New Iberia on November 16 and going into winter quarters.
  • 7th Battery: At Camp Barry, D.C., with six 3-inch Ordnance rifles.  Captain Phineas A. Davis resigned at the start of October to receive a promotion.  In his place Lieutenant Newman W. Storer received the captaincy. This much traveled battery was not resting long at Camp Barry. In January, they embarked on a steamer for New Orleans and a transfer to the Nineteenth Corps.
  • 8th Battery: No return.  Mustered out in November 1862 at the end of a six-month enlistment.
  • 9th Battery: At Brandy Station, Virginia with four 12-pdr Napoleons. Remaining with the First Volunteer Artillery Brigade, Artillery Reserve. Captain John Bigelow commanded, but was recovering from wounds.  Lieutenant Richard S. Milton filled in his place.
  • 10th Battery:  Also at Brandy Station, Virginia but with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Captain J. Henry Sleeper commanded this battery, assigned to Third Corps, Army of the Potomac. The battery was active in the field for both the Bristoe Station and Mine Run Campaigns.
  • 11th Battery: No return.  This battery mustered out of service in May 1863. However, it remained as a militia battery (and was called out to suppress riots in Boston in July).  On December 1, Captain Edward J. Jones, commanding the battery, received authorization to recruit up to full strength and prepare the battery for muster back into service. That re-muster occurred on January 2, 1864. Along the way, the battery received six new 3-inch rifles.
  • 12th Battery:  At Port Hudson, Louisiana, with five 6-pdr field guns and one 12-pdr field howitzer. Captain Jacob Miller remained in command. On October 15 the battery transferred from the New Orleans garrison to that of Port Hudson.
  • 13th Battery: Not listed. The 13th Battery was down to around fifty effective men by the fall of 1863.  Having transferred their guns and horses to fill out other batteries earlier in the year, the battery served as a detachment under the 2nd Battery (see above). At this time of the war, Captain Charles H. J. Hamlin was on recruiting duty.  In his place, Lieutenant Ellis L. Motte led the detachment.
  • 14th Battery: Not listed.  Philip H. Tyler, formerly a lieutenant in the 3rd Battery, received authorization to recruit this battery in December 1863. But his efforts failed and the authority was receded. In January, Joseph W.B. Wright, formerly of 1st Battery (original three month muster) and the 1st Massachusetts Heavy Artillery, received authorization to begin recruiting. Wright’s efforts bore fruit with a February 1864 muster.
  • 15th Battery: At Lakeport, Louisiana with two 6-pdr field guns.  Captain Timothy Pearson saw most of his battery equipment and horses transferred to other units in the spring of 1863.  The men served at the forts protecting the road and railroad to Lake Ponchatrain. During that duty, they received two guns, horses, and necessary equipment. On December 29, the battery moved to Lakeport. Then on January 2nd, the battery embarked on the steamer Kate Dale for six weeks’ duty on Lake Ponchatrain. Of note, official accounts of that expedition indicate the 15th Battery mounted FOUR guns on the steamer (Lieutenant Albert Rouse in command of the detachment). Furthermore, later in the year the battery reported two 6-pdrs and four 12-pdr Napoleons on hand. Such leads to speculations.
  • 16th Battery: Not listed.  Battery did not begin recruiting until January-February 1864.

Thus we see three main themes with the Massachusetts batteries – chasing Lee in Virginia, serving in steamy Louisiana, and recruiting up for muster. Three of those activities required ammunition. And ammunition was reported. We start with the smoothbore:

  • 1st Battery: 288 shot, 96 shell, and 288 case for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 3rd Battery: 192 shot, 96 shell, and 387 case for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 4th Battery: 24 shot, 150 shell, and 47 case for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 6th Battery: 57 shot, 179 shell, and 251 case for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 9th Battery: 180 shot, 64 shell, and 192 case for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 12th Battery: 107 shot and 147 case for 6-pdr field guns; 59 shell and 42 case for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • 1st Battery: 96 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 3rd Battery: 96 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 4th Battery: 35 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 6th Battery: 63 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 9th Battery: 54 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 12th Battery: 285 canister for 6-pdr field guns and 19 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.

To the right we start the rifled projectiles, with the Hotchkiss leading off:

  • 4th Battery: 84 time fuse shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 7th Battery: 120 time fuse shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 10th Battery: 189 time fuse shell for 3-inch rifles.

Continuing with more Hotchkiss:

  • 4th Battery: 281 percussion fuse shell and 39 canister for 3-inch rifles.
  • 5th Battery: 97 canister for 3-inch rifles.
  • 7th Battery: 236 percussion fuse shell and 120 canister for 3-inch rifles.
  • 10th Battery: 98 percussion fuse shell, 341 case shot, and 115 canister for 3-inch rifles.

On the next page is an interesting entry for Parrott projectiles:

  • 5th Battery: 41 Parrott canister for 3-inch bore rifles.

This deserves some consideration. Note the header has different columns for 10-pdr/2.9-inch and 10-pdr/3-inch Parrott. Clearly this is the latter. Could one fire a 3-inch Parrott projectile from a 3-inch Ordnance Rifle? Technically, I see no reason why not. If it fits down the bore, it will fire back out, right? But the poor 5th Battery had two types of canister on hand and no explosive projectiles! We see that was resolved in the Schenkl columns to the right:

  • 5th Battery: 140 shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 10th Battery: 41 shell for 3-inch rifles.

And more Schenkl on the page that followed:

  • 5th Battery: 904 case shot for 3-inch rifles.
  • 7th Battery: 720 case shot for 3-inch rifles.
  • 10th Battery: 256 case shot for 3-inch rifles.

Moving to the small arms reported:

  • 1st Battery: Eight Colt army revolvers, nine cavalry sabers, and five horse artillery sabers.
  • 3rd Battery: One Colt army revolver, eight cavalry sabers, and twenty horse artillery sabers.
  • 4th Battery: Seven Colt army revolvers and twenty-eight horse artillery sabers.
  • 5th Battery: One Colt army revolver and twenty-seven horse artillery sabers.
  • 6th Battery: Seventeen Colt army revolvers and twenty-six cavalry sabers.
  • 7th Battery: Twenty Colt army revolvers and forty-eight horse artillery sabers.
  • 9th Battery: Eight Colt army revolvers and ten horse artillery sabers.
  • 10th Battery: Sixteen Colt navy revolvers and nineteen horse artillery sabers.
  • 12th Battery: Eighteen Colt army revolvers and thirty horse artillery sabers.
  • 15th Battery: Fifty Springfield .58 caliber muskets, fourteen Colt navy revolvers, eight cavalry sabers, and fifty-nine horse artillery sabers.

Let’s talk cartridge bags:

  • 5th Battery: 1,185 cartridge bags for 3-inch rifles.
  • 10th Battery: 1,234 cartridge bags for 3-inch rifles.
  • 12th Battery: 162 cartridge bags for smoothbore field pieces.

And far to the right we see the 15th Battery records ammunition for it’s muskets:

  • 15th Battery: 100 cartridges for .58 caliber muskets. Two rounds per rifle? What’s up with that?

On the last page we review, there are many tallies to record. So keep up:

  • 1st Battery: 104 cartridges for army revolvers and 2,844 friction primers;
  • 3rd Battery: 2,100 friction primers.
  • 4th Battery: 235 paper fuses; 2,500 friction primers; 50 yards of slow match; and 65 portfires.
  • 5th Battery: 1,847 friction primers and 50 yards of slow match.
  • 6th Battery: 2,440 friction primers.
  • 7th Battery: 600 cartridges for navy revolvers; 1,400 paper fuses; and 850 friction primers.
  • 9th Battery: 500 cartridges for army revolvers; 186 friction primers; and 50 yards of slow match.
  • 10th Battery: 753 paper fuses and 1,796 friction primers.
  • 12th Battery: 1,400 cartridges for army revolvers.
  • 15th Battery: 788 cartridges for navy revolvers; 1,524 friction primers; 2 yards of slow match; 1,400 percussion caps for pistols; and 20 portfires.

I’m often wondering how to reconcile the reported number of guns to projectiles, and thence out to the primers and fuses on hand. More so with regard to cartridges and percussion caps for small arms. To some extent, we have to consider this was the quantity deemed “reportable, on hand” as opposed to what actually might have been laying about. Nuanced, there is a difference. Particularly with the small arms. And I’d also say that applied to things like fuses and friction primers. Then again, there is a reason batteries were issued things like portfires and slow match.

Summary Statement, 4th Quarter, 1863 – Maine

I apologize to readers for the scarcity of posts for the last few months. As a part-time hobby enterprise, blogging must take a back seat sometimes. Let us move forward, however, with our discussions of the fourth quarter, summary statements. The next state to consider is Maine. As of the end of December 1863, there was one heavy artillery regiment and seven light artillery batteries from Maine on active Federal service. The summary returns only indicate six:


We will put the heavy artillery regiment on hold for now, as I promise a review of the “heavies” at the end of the quarter. It is the light batteries which interest us here:

  • 1st Battery: No location indicated, but reporting four 12-pdr Napoleons (which they received in mid-August). Captain Albert W. Bradbury remained in command.  Battery remained assigned to First Division, Nineteenth Corps, Department of the Gulf.  And by the end of the year, the battery was at New Iberia, having participated in an expedition into the Teche in October-November. For his report to the state adjutant-general, Bradbury hoped to increase his battery to full strength and add a pair of ordnance rifles.
  • 2nd Battery: At Camp Barry, D.C., with four 3-inch Ordnance rifles.  With James A. Hall’s promotion to Major (on paper in June, but effective in July) and then to Lieutenant-Colonel (in September), Captain Albert F. Thomas took command of the battery. Reduced somewhat from attrition during the year, the battery left First Corps, Army of the Potomac in November and reported to Camp Barry. Their stay was just for the winter.
  • 3rd Battery:  No report.  At this stage of the war, 3rd Battery was re-designated Battery M, 1st Maine Heavy Artillery (it would later revert to light artillery). Captain Ezekiel R. Mayo commanded.  The battery was stationed in the Defenses of Washington, on the north side of the Potomac.  
  • 4th Battery: Reporting at Brandy Station, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance rifles.  Captain O’Neil W. Robinson, Jr. remained in command, then attached to Third Corps, Army of the Potomac. The battery was very active during the fall. In a sharp engagement at Union Mills (McLean’s Ford) on October 15, the battery dismounted two Confederate guns. The battery crossed the Rappahannock at Kelly’s Ford on November 7. After the Mine Run campaign, the battery returned with its parent unit to Culpeper, going into winter quarters at Brandy Station. Robinson became the corps artillery brigade commander in December. After which Lieutenant Melville C. Kimball led the battery.
  • 5th Battery: No location given, but with four 12-pdr Napoleons.  Captain Greenleaf T. Stevens remained in command of this battery, which remained with First Corps, Army of the Potomac, through the end of the reporting period.  Their location, as of the end of December was just outside Culpeper Court House, adjacent to the Alexander house.
  • 6th Battery: Also giving no location and reporting four 12-pdr Napoleons. The battery started the fall in the First Volunteer Brigade, Artillery Reserve, Army of the Potomac (commanded by its original commander – Lieutenant Colonel Freeman McGilvery). Lieutenant Edwin B. Dow commanded. With a reorganization of the Artillery Reserve in the first week of December, the battery shifted to the Third Volunteer Brigade. They went into winter camp, with the rest of the reserve, behind Fleetwood Hill at Brandy Station.
  • 7th Battery: Not listed. This battery officially mustered on December 31, 1863. As such we can justify the omission on this summary. Captain Adelbert B. Twitchell commanded. The battery would not leave Augusta, Maine, until February. They brought with them six 12-pdr Napoleons.

Napoleons and Ordnance Rifles. None of the 6-pdrs, James Rifles, or odd mountain howitzer we’ve seen from the western theater. These guys got the “new stuff.” So let us look to see about the ammunition issued to those “new stuff” cannon:

  • 1st Battery: 64 shot for 6-pdr field guns… which I think is a transcription error, and should be one column over under 12-pdr Napoleons; 64 shell and 318 case for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 5th Battery: 192 shot, 64 shell, and 188 case for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 6th Battery: 192 shot, 64 shell, and 192 case for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 1st Battery: 64 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 5th Battery: 68 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 6th Battery: 64 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.

To the right are listings for Hotchkiss projectiles:

  • 2nd Battery: 71 shot and 240 time fuse shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 4th Battery: 311 time fuse shell for 3-inch rifles.

More Hotchkiss on the next page:

  • 2nd Battery: 99 canister for 3-inch rifles.
  • 4th Battery: 349 case shot and 120 canister for 3-inch rifles.

Moving to the next page, we see tallies for Schenkl projectiles:

  • 2nd Battery: 375 shot and 115 shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 4th Battery: 74 shell for 3-inch rifles.

One more Schenkl column on the following page:

  • 4th Battery: 150 case shot for 3-inch rifles.

Small arms? Yes these Mainers had small arms:

  • 1st Battery: Eleven Colt army revolvers, seventeen cavalry sabers, and eight horse artillery sabers.
  • 2nd Battery: Sixteen Colt navy revolvers and twenty-four cavalry sabers.
  • 4th Battery: Eighteen Colt army revolvers and ten cavalry sabers.
  • 5th Battery: Ten Colt army revolvers and eleven cavalry sabers.
  • 6th Battery: Seven Colt army revolvers and 100 Remington army revolvers. Yes… a lot of pistols.

Reporting cartridge bags:

  • 2nd Battery: 800 cartridge bags for 3-inch rifles.
  • 4th Battery: 668 cartridge bags for 3-inch rifles.

On the last page we cover are listings for pistol cartridges, fuses, primers, and other items:

  • 1st Battery: 421(?) friction primers; 20 yards of slow match; and 39 portfires.
  • 2nd Battery: 435 paper fuses and 729 friction primers.
  • 4th Battery: 150 cartridges for army revolvers; 718 friction primers and six yards of slow match.
  • 5th Battery: 50 (?) yards of slow match.
  • 6th Battery: 1,200 cartridges for army revolvers; 550 friction primers; 20 yards of slow match; and 23 portfires.

With the exception of the, just formed, 7th Battery and the 3rd Battery, then serving as heavy artillery, we have a comparatively complete record for the Maine batteries. In campaign season of 1864 all seven of these batteries would see active field service, mostly in the eastern theater in support of the Overland and Petersburg Campaigns.