Raccoon Ford Solar Farm update: Victory along the Rapidan, but follow through needed to complete win

Let me pass along an update on the threat to the Rapidan Fords, mentioned earlier this month.

Cricket Solar, the project aimed at placing a large-scale solar farm in southern Culpeper County, formally withdrew their conditional use permit on August 26. Spokesperson for the project indicated Cricket Solar was taking the action in order to “ensure that any project proposed represents Cricket’s best effort to address community concerns.” Which in essence means the project could not reconcile their plan with valid concerns and objections. A sizable number of those concerns were the impact on historical resources. The irony in the case of this solar farm project is the main “pro” argument in its favor was to create renewable energy alternatives in order to preserve natural resources… yet the cost of developing that renewable energy option was the destruction of natural and historical resources!

Yes, this is a win for preservation. However, I think we need to apply some lessons learned from our study of the Civil War in this situation. A battle is won, to be sure. But that victory is but a fleeting moment in the campaign to reach an objective. How many Civil War generals won significant victories on the field, only to see that victory ring hollow due to delayed pursuit and failure to follow through toward the strategic goals?

The goal here, for me as a preservationist (and I trust you too, reader) is to ensure places like Raccoon Ford are not perpetually under threat of development. We should not need to queue up, year after year, the same discussion about preserving these places – Brandy Station, Cedar Mountain, Morton’s Ford, Hansbrough Ridge, and Raccoon Ford. These places should instead be recognized for the intrinsic value possessed … and thus preserved and entrusted to future generations.

But how to do that?

I submit that preservation efforts are much like those wartime campaigns we study. Each effort must have stages and phases leading ultimately that goal of preservation. And in that light, our next step forward should renewed calls to establish a state park in Culpeper County that covers, at minimum, the Brandy Station and Cedar Mountain battlefields.

Consider – the discussion of the Cricket Solar project brought the area’s Civil War history back to the fore. Specifically, we’ve seen localized discussion about what did happen “in my back yard.” Call it “renewed” interest… or in many cases a “newfound” interest (which is rewarding, for those of us engaged in the discussion). With that rise in interest, there is now a ready made foundation for follow on public discussion. Poll after poll taken indicated the citizenry of the county preferred to preserve these sites, be that motivated by interest in history or concern for the environmental impact. Those sentiments logically lead to renewed efforts for a state park. Then, ultimately, a seed for further preservation of the county’s important historic sites.

No, I’m not advocating for the entire county to be placed “under glass” or some other starry-eyed notion. Rather that attention be paid to those sites deserving preservation. We should, in this age, be able to recognize good stewardship techniques that balance and moderate development while protecting what needs to be preserved. In the case of Culpeper County, the best stewardship technique, in my opinion, takes the form of a state park.

We should follow up our victory this week with decisive action. Now is the time for the American Battlefield Trust and allies to renew the push for a Brandy Station and Cedar Mountain Battlefields state park. It is time to move this campaign forward!

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Summary Statement, 4th Quarter, 1863 – 2nd Missouri Artillery

I hesitate to apply the designation “Light” artillery to the 2nd Missouri Artillery, at least not as it existed at the end of 1863. As chronicled in earlier posts, this regiment had an unconventional organizational history in many regards. Starting in the late summer of 1863, the regiment was reorganized, from the section up, with the aim of forming all into field artillery batteries. However, that process took time. And at the close of 1863, only four batteries were equipped and serving as field artillery. The remainder, if they were indeed reorganized, served as heavy artillery. We’ll look at their story in this “snapshot” view that the summaries provide.

Lieutenant-Colonel Nelson Cole remained in command of the regiment, and would receive promotion to full colonel in February 1864. In December, his second in command was Major Frank Backof. However, Backof was shortly dismissed from service in early 1864 (a story I hope to detail in a follow up post). As the regiment was still reforming, there was little to report in the way of “on hand” cannon and stores. Just the four “reorganized” field batteries mentioned above:

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But there’s more to the regimental’s December status than those four lines, as we fill in the gaps:

  • Battery A: No report. This battery was the consolidation of the old Batteries C and D and remained at Cape Girardeau, manning Fort B as heavy artillery. The battery was part of the District of St. Louis. Captain John E. Strodtman commanded. Men from Battery C (below) were also under his command. Not until June was the battery reorganized as light artillery.
  • Battery B:  No report. This battery moved from St. Louis in early December and was stationed at Fort No. 4 defending New Madrid, Missouri by the end of the month. Captain John J. Sutter remained in command.  The posting, as heavy artillery, was part of the extended District of St. Louis.
  • Battery C:  No report. The new Battery C was formed from the old batteries H and I.  Captain Frederick W. Fuchs, formerly Company I, commanded the new battery.  This new battery was stationed at Cape Girardeau, consolidated with Battery A at the time, as heavy artillery.  The battery waited until May to reorganize as light artillery.
  • Battery D: Reporting from DeValls Bluff, Arkansas with two 12-pdr field howitzers and two 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. The battery reorganized in September at St. Louis with the consolidation of old Batteries A, F, G, K, and M. Most of the first three batteries had mustered out in St. Louis. What remained was a large “section” reformed at that place. The “old” batteries K and M were at Little Rock and consolidated into the “new” Battery D.  The battery was assigned to 1st Cavalry Division, Army of Arkansas. Those sections from the old Batteries K and M served at DeValls Bluff, protecting the railroad line to Little Rock. Captain Charles Schareff commanded.  The St. Louis section, under Lieutenant Frederick W. von Bodengen served detached with the 1st Nebraska Cavalry. Bodengen’s section left St. Louis on December 3, moving through Rolla, West Plains, and finally to Bateville, Arkansas on the 25th.
  • Battery E: Reporting at Little Rock, Arkansas with six 3.67-inch bronze rifles.  Reorganized from parts of old Batteries E, L, and M, under Captain Gustave Stange (old Battery M) during the fall.  The battery served in 1st Cavalry Division, Department of Arkansas. 
  • Battery F: At Woodville, Alabama with four 12-pdr field howitzers.  Captain Clemens Landgraeber’s First Missouri Flying Artillery transferred into the regiment during the reorganization.  The battery supported First Division, Fifteenth Corps. In October, the battery supported their division during operations on the Memphis & Charleston Railroad (part of the relief of Chattanooga). In November, they participated in fighting around Lookout Mountain and the advance on the Federal right onto Missionary Ridge. After the relief of Knoxville, the battery moved with its parent formation into winter quarters.
  • Battery G: At St. Louis with one 3.67-inch bronze rifle.  The battery reformed on November 15 and stationed at Fort No. 3, in St. Louis, Captain William T. Arthur commanded.
  • Battery H: No return. A new Battery H formed out of men (new and old enlistments) at Springfield, Missouri on December 4, 1863, under command of Captain William C. Montgomery (formerly of the Missouri State Cavalry). The battery was initially part of a heavy artillery battalion formed at Springfield.
  • Battery I: No return. The new Battery I began reforming on December 28 at Springfield.  Captain Stephen H. Julian commanded.  Initially, the battery was designated heavy artillery.
  • Battery K: No return. A new Battery K was formed in January at Springfield, Missouri with Captain William P. Davis in command. The battery was also organized initially as heavy artillery.
  • Battery L: No return.  A new Battery L formed at Sedalia, Missouri in January 1864 and was formerly the 1st Battery, Missouri State Militia.  So we will see them accounted for under the “miscellaneous” portion of Missouri’s returns in this quarter. Captain Charles H. Thurber commanded.
  • Battery M: No return. The new Battery M organized at Fort No. 2, St. Louis, on February 15, 1864, and thus escapes our summary for this quarter.  Captain Napoleon Boardman would command this battery.

Of note, the battalion of heavy artillery, consisting of Batteries H, I, and K, came under the command of Major John W. Rabb, formerly of the 2nd Indiana Battery. This arrangement remained until the spring of 1864 when the batteries were reorganized (again) as light batteries.

Turning to back to the summary, we have ammunition to account for, starting with smoothbore rounds:

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  • Battery D: 113 shell and 77 case for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • Battery F: 288 shell and 197 case for 12-pdr field howitzers.

The smoothbore columns continue on the next page:

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  • Battery D: 43 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • Battery F: 84 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.

For the Hotchkiss columns to the right, two entries:

  • Battery D: 61 time fuse shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery E: 240 time fuse shell for 3.67-inch rifles.

More Hotchkiss on the next page:

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  • Battery D: 115 percussion fuse shell, 102 bullet shell, and 80 canister for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery E: 120 percussion fuse shell, 720 bullet shell, and 120 canister for 3.67-inch rifles.

No other projectiles reported by the 2nd Missouri batteries in this quarter, so we turn to the small arms:

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  • Battery D: Fourteen Colt army revolvers, eight Colt navy revolvers, twelve Remington army revolvers, and twelve horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery E: Twelve Colt navy revolvers, thirty-five Remington navy revolvers, thirteen cavalry sabers, and twenty-nine horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery F: Eighteen Colt navy revolvers and seventy-two cavalry sabers.
  • Battery G: Two Springfield .58-caliber muskets, thirteen Colt army revolvers, and thirteen horse artillery sabers.

From there, we turn to the columns for pistol ammunition, fuses, powder, and primers:

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  • Battery D: 1,000 army caliber and 1,000 navy caliber pistol cartridges; and 1,000 friction primers.
  • Battery E: 1,400 navy caliber pistol cartridges.
  • Battery F: 1,200 navy caliber pistol cartridges.
  • Battery G: 1,000 navy caliber pistol cartridges (perhaps a transcription error?).

While the 2nd Missouri was not engaged in many pitched battles or heavy combat, its stories from outside the battlefield continue to fascinate me. They certainly kept the clerks busy.

Next we’ll look at the Missouri State Militia batteries that were in service along with some of the artillery sections serving with the state’s cavalry.

Summary Statement, 4th Quarter, 1863 – 1st Missouri Light Artillery

The 1st Missouri Light Artillery Regiment began the war as the 1st Missouri Infantry, a three month unit. As infantry, the regiment organized in April 1861 and served in the early war campaigns in Missouri. After Wilson’s Creek, during the month of September, the regiment was reorganized as artillery, one of many creative administrative activities during the first year of the war by authorities in Missouri. The first commander of the regiment was Colonel Francis P. Blair, Jr. However, Representative Blair was not with the regiment for long, being absent for his duties in Washington. Blair, of course, accepted a volunteer commission as a general and went on to gain fame in many of the war’s important campaigns, ending the war as commander of the Seventeenth Corps. Not many artillery regiments can boast a major-general from their ranks.

When Blair accepted his general’s commission, Lieutenant-Colonel Warren S. Lothrop replaced him as the regimental colonel, with date of rank to October 1, 1862. At the end of 1863, Lothrop was the overall artillery chief for Sixteenth Corps. Looking to the rest of the staff, Lieutenant-Colonel Albert M. Powell was artillery chief for Seventeenth Corps; Major George Henry Stone was artillery chief for Left Wing of the Sixteenth Corps; and Major Thomas Maurice was artillery chief for First Division, Seventeenth Corps. Thus we see the 1st Missouri was well represented in staff positions, and fully employed.

For the line batteries, we have this section of the summary to consider:

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  • Battery A: At New Iberia, Louisiana with two 6-pdr field guns, one 12-pdr Napoleon and three 12-pdr field howitzers.  Captain George W. Schofield remained in command.  However, Schofield was at the time detached on his brother’s (Major-General John Schofield) staff. Furthermore, George was due to be promoted in the 2nd Missouri Artillery.  In his absence, Lieutenants Charles M. Callahan and Elisha Cole alternated at head of the the battery.  The battery remained with Third Division, Thirteenth Corps.
  • Battery B:  No return. Captain Martin Welfley’s battery remained with Second Division of the Thirteenth corps.  Welfley had reported two 12-pdr field guns and four 12-pdr field howitzers earlier in the previous winter.  Records are not clear if those were still on hand as of September 1863 or those had been exchanged. With the division, the battery was part of the Rio Grande Expedition that began in October. At the end of the year, the battery was in Brownsville, Texas.
  • Battery C: Reporting from Vicksburg, Mississippi with four 12-pdr field howitzers.  Captain Charles Mann was promoted to major at the start of November, and sent on recruiting duties. Lieutenant Wendolin Meyer led the battery until Captain John L. Matthaei was appointed (January 17, 1864, post-dated to October). The battery remained with First Division, Seventeenth Corps (under Major Maurice mentioned above).  The battery was part of an expedition to Canton, Mississippi in October. But otherwise remained at Vicksburg through the end of the year.
  • Battery D:  At Scottsboro, Alabama, with three 6-pdr field guns, two 12-pdr field howitzers, one 24-pdr field howitzer and two 3-inch rifles.  The battery, under Captain Henry Richardson was assigned to Corinth, transferred to Fourth Division, Fifteenth Corps at the start of October. Richardson was the division artillery chief, with Lieutenant Byron M. Callender leading the battery. The battery participated in the battles around Chattanooga in November and then the relief of Knoxville. But in December, the battery moved to the Huntsville area.
  • Battery E: Reporting at Brownsville, Texas with two 10-pdr Parrotts and two 12-pdr Whitworth 3.5-inch rifles. The latter were were “Fawcett Rifled Iron Gun, Cal. 3.5.” from earlier accounting.  Captain Joseph B. Atwater remained in command of the battery, assigned to Second Division, Thirteenth Corps. The battery was still with the division for the Rio Grande Expedition in October. They were stationed at Brownsville and DeCrow’s Point well into the next year.
  • Battery F: At DeCrow’s Point, Texas (opposite Fort Esparanza at Cavallo Pass, entering Matagorda Bay) with two 3.80-inch James Rifles and four 3.5-inch Whitworth Rifles (as above, these were earlier identified as Fawcett rifles). Captain Joseph Foust remained in command, and the battery assigned to Second Division, Thirteenth Corps.  As with Battery E, this battery participated in the Rio Grande Expedition and other operations on the Texas coast that fall.
  • Battery G: Reporting from Chattanooga, Tennessee with six 12-pdr Napoleons.  Captain Henry Hescock, commanding the battery, was in a Confederate prison. In his place, Lieutenant Gustavus Schueler lead the battery. With reorganizations to the Army of the Cumberland, the battery moved to Second Division, Fourth Corps. After the battles around Chattanooga, the battery became part of the garrison of that place.
  • Battery H: At Pulaski, Tennessee with six 12-pdr Napoleons. Captain Frederick Welker’s battery was part of Second Division, Sixteenth Corps, guarding the railroad lines from Nashville to Decatur. In addition to his battery duties, Welker was also the division artillery chief.
  • Battery I:  No report. In the previous quarter, the battery reported a varied assortment: two 6-pdr field guns, one 12-pdr field howitzers, two 10-pdr Parrotts, and one 4.62-inch rifle (likely a 12-pdr “heavy” field gun, rifled using the James system). I suspect this battery “slimmed down” for field duty in the fall of 1863. Captain Benjamin Tannrath commanded the battery, assigned to Second Division, Sixteenth Corps, alongside Battery H. And likewise, Battery I guarded the railroad lines near Decatur, Alabama.
  • Battery K: At Little Rock, Arkansas with four 10-pdr Parrotts. Captain Stillman O. Fish remained in command of this battery, assigned to Third Division of what soon became the Seventh Corps, Department of Arkansas. Of note, Lieutenant Charles Green of the battery was detached serving with Battery F, 2nd US Artillery.
  • Battery L: At Rolla, Missouri with two 12-pdr field howitzers and two 3.67-inch rifles. Captain Junius G. Wilson McMurray commanded the battery, but he was absent on leave. Lieutenant Charles Stierlin let the battery instead. During this time, the battery was accused of “depredations upon civilians,” for which Stierlin was charged for failing to keep discipline in the battery. Lieutenant John Steffins (appearing on some rolls as Stephens) stepped into this “cloudy” situation with Battery L. At the end of December, the battery moved from Rolla to Springfield.
  • Battery M: At Vicksburg, Mississippi with four 10-pdr Parrotts.  This battery remained assigned to the First Division, Seventeenth Corps. Captain James Marr was now the battery commander, but due to illness on detached service in St. Louis. Lieutenant John H. Tiemeyer led the battery in his place.

A busy ammunition section to consider as we start with the smoothbore rounds:

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  • Battery A: 294 shot and 262 case for 6-pdr field guns; 50 shot, 40 shell, and 102 case for 12-pdr Napoleons; 270 shell and 380 case for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • Battery C: 240 shell and 240 case for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • Battery D: 83 shot and 107 case for 6-pdr field guns; 48 shell for 24-pdr field howitzers.
  • Battery G: 102 shot, 170 shell, and 289 case for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery H: 288 shot, 96 shell, and 288 case for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery L: 58 shell and 64 case for 12-pdr field howitzers.
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  • Battery A: 71 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 84 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers; and 26 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery C: 128 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery D: 157 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 7 case and 24 canister for 24-pdr field howitzers.
  • Battery G: 183 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery H: 96 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery L: 79 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.

To the right are the first of the Hotchkiss projectile columns:

  • Battery D: 48 time fuse shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery F: 75 shot and 505 time fuse shell for 3.5-inch rifles; 10 shot and 34 time fuse shell for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • Battery L: 87 shot for 3.67-inch rifles.

More Hotchkiss on the next page:

0342_1_Snip_MO_1
  • Battery D: 45 percussion fuse shell, 54 bullet shell, and 40 canister for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery E: 44 percussion fuse shell and 80 canister for 3.5-inch rifles.
  • Battery F: 342 percussion fuse shell and 209 canister for 3.5-inch rifles; 181 percussion fuse shell and 48 canister for 3.8-inch rifles.
  • Battery L: 110 percussion fuse shell and 71 canister for 3.67-inch rifles.

To the right of those are columns for James projectiles:

  • Battery F: 16 shot, 15 shell, and 54 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.

The last column on the right are three entries for 10-pdr Parrott Shot:

  • Battery E: 60 shot for 10-pdr Parrott.
  • Battery K: 20 shot for 10-pdr Parrott.
  • Battery M: 126 shot for 10-pdr Parrott.

The Parrott rounds continue on the next page:

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  • Battery E: 190 shell, 115 case, and 35 canister for 10-pdr Parrott.
  • Battery K: 66 shell, 238 case, and 112 canister for 10-pdr Parrott.
  • Battery M: 265 shell, 373 case, and 130(?) canister for 10-pdr Parrott.

The next entries are on the small arms columns:

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  • Battery A: Nine Colt navy revolvers and twenty-five cavalry sabers.
  • Battery C: Two Colt navy revolvers and four horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery D: Eight Colt army revolvers and thirty cavalry sabers.
  • Battery E: Twenty-three Colt army revolvers and four cavalry sabers.
  • Battery F: One Colt army revolver, two Colt navy revolvers, and thirteen cavalry sabers.
  • Battery G: Seven Colt army revolvers and seven cavalry sabers.
  • Battery H: Twenty-three Colt army revolvers, three Colt navy revolvers, and sixty-three horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery K: Three Colt navy revolvers.
  • Battery L: Eighteen Colt army revolvers and thirty-one cavalry sabers.
  • Battery M: Four Colt army revolvers and seven cavalry sabers.

Two entries on the cartridge bag columns:

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  • Battery F: 114 cartridge bags for 6-pdr James.
  • Battery L: 140 cartridge bags for 6-pdr field guns/12-pdr field howitzers.

Lastly the page for pistol cartridges, fuses, powder, and miscellaneous items:

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  • Battery A: 950 navy pistol cartridges.
  • Battery C: 60 paper fuses and 400 friction primers.
  • Battery D: 1,660 army pistol cartridges.
  • Battery F: 350 friction primers.
  • Battery G: 1,250 friction primers.
  • Battery H: 10 yards of slow match.
  • Battery K: 200 paper fuses, six yards of slow match, and 520 percussion caps for pistols.
  • Battery L: 200 paper fuses.
  • Battery M: 130 army pistol cartridges, 50 paper fuses, and 90 friction primers.

From Chattanooga to the Rio Grande, the 1st Missouri Light Artillery finished off a busy year of 1863 with most of the batteries in good shape. However, the 2nd Missouri, their sister regiment, was going through a full reorganization. In the next installment we will track that process.

Summary Statement, 4th Quarter, 1863 – Michigan, more artillery

Turning back to the Michigan section of the fourth quarter summary, consider the last two entry lines:

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Isolating those down, we see entries for artillery assigned to an infantry regiment and another for the “6th Regt. Vol. Artillery”:

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But wait, you say, Michigan didn’t have six regiments of artillery! Well, it did have a 6th Regiment of Artillery. Let us look at the administrative details backing these lines:

  • Battery attached to 14th Mounted Infantry: The battery reports from Columbia, Tennessee with one 6-pdr (2.6-inch) Wiard rifle and one 3.80-inch James Rifle. Colonel Henry R. Mizner commanded the 14th Michigan Infantry, which on paper was assigned to the Fourth Division, Fourteenth Corps. However, the regiment was detached for service protecting the supply lines in Tennessee from guerillas and irregulars. In that capacity, on September 6, 1863, the regiment was mounted. Eight companies moved to Columbia and received Spencer rifles, revolvers, sabers, and mounts. In addition, the regiment outfitted and manned a section of light artillery. A report in January 1864 from Major John Mendenhall, Inspector of Artillery, Army of the Cumberland, indicates Lieutenant Gideon W. Gifford commanded this section. Gifford originally enlisted, as a private, in Battery C, 1st Michigan Artillery in October 1861. He was detailed as a hospital steward, but in May 1863 he accepted a commission to lieutenant in Company K, 14th Michigan Infantry. He made captain just before being mustered out in 1865. Early in the spring of 1864, the 14ths stint on garrison duty was at an end. Rejoining the Fourteenth Corps, the men reluctantly turned in their mounts and resumed duties as traditional infantry.
  • 6th Regiment Volunteer Artillery: At Port Hudson, Louisiana with one 12-pdr Napoleon. On July 10, 1863, Major-General Nathaniel Banks ordered this regiment converted to heavy artillery, assigned to the garrison of Port Hudson. Colonel Thomas S. Clark commanded this regiment. Certainly the regiment manned more than one Napoleon in their duties, but apparently all other cannon were considered part of the garrison itself and not of the regiment. However, there are hints to additional field artillery in the ammunition totals.

Before leaving the administrative section, there are two other artillery formations that deserve mention as they were in existence if not yet mustered. These were two independent batteries:

  • 13th Battery: Organized at Grand Rapids, the battery was under command of Callaghan H. O’Riordon. The battery was still forming at the end of December, but formally entered service on January 20, 1864. The battery left the state in February for its assignment – the Defenses of Washington.
  • 14th Battery: Also organized at Grand Rapids, this battery mustered on January 5, 1864. Captain Charles Heine commanded. Likewise, leaving the state in February, 14th Battery was sent to the Defenses of Washington.

For the two sections that are on the return, we must consider their ammunition and other stores, starting with smoothbore ammunition:

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  • 6th Michigan Heavy Artillery: 366 shot and 362 case for 6-pdr field guns; 36 shot, 14 shells, and 16 case for 12-pdr Napoleons; 93 shells and 200 case for 12-pdr field howitzers; 156 shells for 24-pdr field howitzers; and 3 shot and 11 shells for 24-pdr siege guns.

Much to consider there with the calibers reported. Perhaps just stores on hand. But likewise, perhaps indicating weapons on hand but not considered reportable by the unit.

Moving to the rest of the smoothbore ammunition:

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  • 6th Michigan Heavy Artillery: 106 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 96 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers; 48 canister for 12-pdr field guns; and 158 case and 99 canister for 24-pdr field howitzers.

To the right are reported quantities of Hotchkiss rounds:

  • 14th Michigan Infantry: 102 shot and 72 time fuse shell for 2.6-inch Wiard; 48 shot and 18 time fuse shell for 3.80-inch James rifles.
  • 6th Michigan Heavy Artillery: 3 shot for 3-inch rifles.

More Hotchkiss on the next page:

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  • 14th Michigan Infantry: 40 percussion fuse and 74 canister for 2.6-inch Wiard rifles; 18 percussion fuse, 72 bullet shell, and 168 canister for 3.80-inch James rifles.
  • 6th Michigan Heavy Artillery: 13 canister for 3-inch rifles.

To the right is a lone entry for James projectiles:

  • 14th Michigan Infantry: 50 shell for 3.80-inch rifles.

Further to the left is one column for Parrott rounds:

  • 6th Michigan Heavy Artillery: 127 shot for 10-pdr Parrott.

The next page continues the Parrott projectiles:

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  • 6th Michigan Heavy Artillery: 30 shell, 30 case, and 47 canister for 10-pdr Parrott; 10 shell for 24-pdr siege guns; 40 canister for 20-pdr Parrott.

To the right is one Schenkl tally:

  • 6th Michigan Heavy Artillery: 24 shell for 10-pdr Parrott.

No additional projectiles reported. So we turn to the small arms:

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  • 6th Michigan Heavy Artillery: Two Colt army revolvers. Yes, that’s all.

Reporting cartridge bags for the cannon:

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  • 14th Michigan Infantry: 90 bags for 6-pdr (2.9-inch) Wiard, 28 bags for 6-pdr (3.8-inch) James.
  • 6th Michigan Heavy Artillery: 189 10-pdr Parrott bags, 2 field gun (6-pdr field gun or 12-pdr field howitzer) bags; 90 bags for 20-pdr Parrott, and 113 bags for 24-pdr siege guns.

The last page contains tallies for fuses, primers, and miscellaneous items:

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  • 14th Michigan Infantry: 700 paper fuses and 220 friction primers.
  • 6th Michigan Heavy Artillery: 534 paper fuses, 34 pounds of cannon powder, 2,832 friction primers, 3 yards of slow match, and 11 portfires.

There is much to talk about in those two lines. These speak to units in transition from the intended role of infantry to, respectively, cavalry and heavy artillery. And along the way, a lot of equipment and stores moving about.

Summary Statement, 4th Quarter, 1863 – 1st Michigan Light Artillery

Michigan “regimented” its batteries in the fall of 1862, and from that time the batteries were officially “lettered” within that regimental system. However, old habits died hard. The clerks at the Ordnance Department continued to reference those units by their numbered designations through the end of 1863. And in their defense, the state’s Adjutant General, in his end of year report, gave the numbered designation in parenthesis after the lettered regimental battery designation (A convention I use here to avoid any ambiguity). We see those twelve batteries with a couple of non-regimental lines in the fourth quarter summaries for 1863:

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Focusing on the 1st Michigan Light Artillery for this post, Colonel Cyrus O. Loomis, originally the captain of Battery A, commanded. Loomis also served as the chief of artillery for First Division (Rousseau), Fourteenth Corps. When Major-General Lovell Rousseau transferred to command the District of Nashville, Loomis transferred as well. At the start of the fall, Loomis had no field-grade officers. That would change in September with a round of promotions which we will note within the administrative details. So looking at the twelve batteries, we find ten of twelve submitted returns:

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  • Battery A / 1st Battery: Reporting from Chattanooga, Tennessee with five 10-pdr Parrott rifles.  Also known as the Loomis Battery, for its first commander.  As related in last quarter’s entry, this battery suffered heavily at Chickamuaga. Among those dead on the field was Lieutenant George W. Van Pelt, the battery commander. Lieutenant Almerick W. Wilbur led the battery to Chattanooga, with what guns and equipment that had been extracted from Chickamauga.  One Parrott was recaptured on Missionary Ridge, presumably rounding out the battery’s set. Francis E. Hale (or Hall, on state records) accepted a promotion to Captain at the end of September to command the battery. The battery remained with First Division, Fourteenth Corps to the end of December. Then it transferred to the garrison of Chattanooga, where it remained for the rest of the war.
  • Battery B / 2nd Battery: Reporting from Pulaski, Tennessee with two 3-inch Ordnance rifles and two 10-pdr Parrotts. Lieutenant Albert F. R. Arndt, still in command, was promoted to Captain in early September.  The battery remained assigned to Second Division, Sixteenth Corps.
  • Battery C / 3rd Battery: At Prospect, Tennessee, four 10-pdr Parrotts.  Captain George Robinson remained in command of this battery. Still with the Sixteenth Corps, the battery was, at the end of December, part of Fuller’s Brigade, Second Division.
  • Battery D / 4th Battery: No return.  From the state Adjutant General’s report, the battery “has always been irregular and remiss in its returns to this office….” Good to see they were consistent in their administrative habits! Captain Josiah W. Church remained in command.  The battery transferred out of the Fourteenth Corps, going to Second Brigade, Second Division, Artillery Reserve for the Army of the Cumberland (Church commanded the brigade in addition to the battery). Having lost almost all its equipment at Chickamauga, the battery reorganized in Chattanooga and received four 20-pdr Parrotts and one 10-pdr Parrott. On November 23, the battery moved to Fort Negley (old Confederate Fort Cheatham) and engaged Confederates at the base of Lookout Mountain, continuing that effort the following day. On the 25th, the battery supported the movement against Missionary Ridge. Church reported firing 135 rounds in those actions. The battery remained at Chattanooga through the winter.
  • Battery E / 5th Battery: At Nashville, Tennessee with two 6-pdr field guns and four 10-pdr Parrotts. Captain John J. Ely commanded this battery. With the breakup of the Reserve Corps, Army of the Cumberland, the battery transferred commands, if not locations, to the Garrison of Nashville.
  • Battery F / 6th Battery: At Knoxville, Tennessee with two 6-pdr field guns and two 10-pdr Parrotts.  Captain Luther F. Hale commanding this battery, was promoted to Major in September. In his place, Lieutenant Byron D. Paddock was promoted to captain. In October, the battery was stationed at Glasgow, Kentucky, in the District of Central Kentucky, Department of the Ohio.  From there, in January 1864, the battery moved over the Cumberland Mountains to Knoxville. Thus we have an explanation for the reported location.
  • Battery G / 7th Battery:  Reporting from Indianola, Texas with four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Captain Charles H. Lanphere resigned his post on September 1, and was replaced by James H. Burdick (promoted to captain on the same day Lanphere resigned). However, Burdick served as an ordnance officer in Thirteenth Corps. In his place, Lieutenant George L. Stillman led the battery. The battery transferred out of the Thirteenth Corps to the Department of the Gulf in August, and was assigned to the garrison of New Orleans. On November 13, the battery boarded steamers for passage to the Texas coast to reinforce Thirteenth Corps operations. After arrival on Matagorda Island, the battery moved to Indianola during the first days of January 1864.
  • Battery H / 8th Battery: At Vicksburg, Mississippi with two 12-pdr field howitzers and two James (3.80-inch) rifles.  Promoted on August 8, Captain Jacob L. Richmond commanded the battery. However, Richmond did not spend much time in command, and resigned due to disability in February. Lieutenant Marcus D. Elliot led the battery, appearing on returns through the winter.  The battery was assigned to Third Division, Seventeenth Corps.
  • Battery I / 9th Battery: Now reporting at Nashville, Tennessee with four 3-inch rifles.  Captain Jabez J. Daniels commanded this battery, then part of the Eleventh Corps. The battery made the move with that formation to reinforce Chattanooga starting in October. Daniels resigned on December 15, and was replaced by Lieutenant (promoted to Captain in January 1864) Addison N. Kidder.
  • Battery K / 10th Battery : At Chattanooga, Tennessee, with four 3-inch rifles.  Captain John C. Schuetz commanded.  The battery was at Camp Barry, Washington, D.C. through the last week of October. On October 28, it was transferred to Eleventh Corps and moved with that formation to reinforce Chattanooga. At the close of the year, Schuetz was absent from the battery, and Lieutenant Adolph Schill is listed as temporary commander.
  • Battery L / 11th Battery:  No return.  Under Captain Charles J. Thompson.  As part of Third Division, Twenty-Third Corps, Department of the Ohio, the battery served in the advance to Knoxville in August. In September, the battery joined General Orlando Wilcox’s Division, Left Wing of the Department of the Ohio. With that command, the battery participated in movements around east Tennessee, eventually moving to the Cumberland Gap. For want of supplies, the battery would lose its horses and become, essentially, static artillery for many months into 1864. With Thompson taking ill in December, Lieutenant Thomas Gallagher led the battery.
  • Battery M / 12th Battery:  At Tazewell, Tennessee with six 3-inch rifles.. Captain Edward G. Hillier commanded. The battery joined Wilcox’s Division, advancing on the Cumberland Gap, in September. The battery was part of a brigade-sized force pushed out to Tazewell in January.

We move forward with those administrative details to the ammunition on hand, starting with smoothbore rounds:

0341_1_Snip_MI
  • Battery E (5th Battery): 198 shot and 115 case for 6-pdr field guns.
  • Battery F (6th Battery): 157 shot and 185 case for 6-pdr field guns.
  • Battery H (8th Battery): 89 shell for 12-pdr field howitzers.

More on the next page:

0341_2_Snip_MI
  • Battery E (5th Battery): 137 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
  • Battery F (6th Battery): 89 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
  • Battery H (8th Battery): 40 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.

Hotchkiss rounds to the right of the page:

  • Battery B (2nd Battery): 72 time fuse shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery E (5th Battery): 102 time fuse shell for 10-pdr Parrott rifles.
  • Battery G (7th Battery): 242 time fuse shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery I (9th Battery): 120 time fuse shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery K (10th Battery): 179 time fuse shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery M (12th Battery): 868 time fuse shell for 3-inch rifles!

More Hotchkiss on the next page:

0342_1_Snip_MI
  • Battery B (2nd Battery): 72 percussion fuse shell, 240 bullet shell, and 83 canister for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery E (5th Battery): 47 percussion fuse shell, 140 bullet shell, and 170 canister for 10-pdr Parrotts.
  • Battery G (7th Battery): 80 percussion fuse shell, 989 bullet shell, and 203 canister for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery I (9th Battery): 60 percussion fuse shell, 360 bullet shell, and 60 canister for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery K (10th Battery): 165 percussion fuse shell, 402 bullet shell, and 96 canister for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery M (12th Battery): 154 percussion fuse shell and 265 canister for 3-inch rifles.

To the right are columns for James projectiles:

  • Battery H (8th Battery): 1 shot, 127 shell, and 13 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.

But look closely, as the column header banner is interrupted across the pages, there are two entry lines for Parrott lines on the far right:

  • Battery B (2nd Battery): 57 shot for 10-pdr Parrotts.
  • Battery C (3rd Battery): 57 shot for 10-pdr Parrotts.

More Parrott rounds on the next page:

0342_2_Snip_MI
  • Battery A (1st Battery): 462 shell, 55 case, and 275 canister for 10-pdr Parrotts.
  • Battery B (2nd Battery): 183 shell and 77 canister for 10-pdr Parrotts.
  • Battery C (3rd Battery): 40 shell, 601 case, and 95 canister for 10-pdr Parrotts.
  • Battery F (6th Battery): 177 shell, 141 case, and 62 canister for 10-pdr Parrotts.

But one entry line for Schenkl projectiles on the right:

  • Battery E (5th Battery): 60 shell for 10-pdr Parrott.

This brings us to the small arms:

0343_2_Snip_MI
  • Battery A (1st Battery): Twelve cavalry sabers.
  • Battery B (2nd Battery): Twenty Colt army revolvers and forty-three cavalry sabers.
  • Battery C (3rd Battery): Seventeen cavalry sabers.
  • Battery E (5th Battery): Twenty-five cavalry sabers and ten horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery F (6th Battery): Twenty-five Colt army revolvers and twelve cavalry sabers.
  • Battery G (7th Battery): Nine Colt army revolvers and one cavalry saber.
  • Battery I (9th Battery): Ten Remington army revolvers and thirteen horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery K (10th Battery): Fifteen Colt army revolvers and sixty-nine horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery M (12th Battery): Fourteen Colt army revolvers and thirteen foot artillery swords.

Turning next to the cartridge bags reported on hand:

0344_2_Snip_MI
  • Battery F (6th Battery): Fifty 10-pdr Parrott cartridge bags.
  • Battery K (10th Battery): Fifty 3-inch rifle cartridge bags.

Much busier is the next page with pistol cartridges, fuses, powder, and other miscellaneous items:

0345_1_Snip_MI
  • Battery A (1st Battery): 1,500 friction primers and 12 portfires.
  • Battery B (2nd Battery): 1,278 army caliber pistol cartridges; 464 paper fuses; 773 friction primers; 20 yards of slow match; and 278 pistol percussion caps.
  • Battery C (3rd Battery): 850 friction primers.
  • Battery E (5th Battery): 1,661 friction primers; 16 yards of slow match; and 38 portfires.
  • Battery F (6th Battery): 262 friction primers.
  • Battery G (7th Battery): 1,321 paper fuses; 78 pounds of cannon powder; 537 friction primers; and 40 yards of slow match.
  • Battery H (8th Battery): 100 portfires.
  • Battery I (9th Battery): 385 paper fuses; 850 friction primers; 24 yards of slow match; and 36 portfires.
  • Battery K (10th Battery): 400 army caliber pistol cartridges; 300 paper fuses; 700 friction primers; and 50 yards of slow match.
  • Battery M (12th Battery): 1,000 friction primers and 3 yards of slow match.

I would say the only real gap with the 1st Michigan Light Artillery’s summary is with Battery L (11th Battery). We have a fair written report from Captain Church to indicate what weapons Battery D (4th Battery) had at the battles around Chattanooga. But for Battery L, stuck up on the Cumberland Gap, I do not know what cannon types they had on hand.

A threat to the Rapidan Fords

Over the last five years a new threat to the Culpeper County battlefields emerged. While there are similarities to earlier threats to preservation, it’s the place names that some readers may find new in the discussion. Preservationists have long heard the names Brandy Station, Cedar Mountain, and, mostly in the last decade, Hansbrough Ridge, in relation to efforts to preserve and protect the Civil War battlefields. Morton’s Ford is another we see mention on occasion. And with Morton’s we must also mention several other adjacent fords on the Rapidan River. The most important of those is Raccoon Ford. In addition to pressing across the Rapidan at Morton’s Ford, Federals also demonstrated at Raccoon Ford on February 6-7, 1864. And for that reason, Raccoon Ford is included within the “Core Battlefield Area” and the potential area for “National Registry Boundary” of the battlefield, as defined by the American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP):

That in yellow is the potential National Registry Boundary, matching to the battlefield study area, more or less. It’s the area enclosed within red that we need to focus upon here – that’s the defined Battlefield Core Area. As in, “this is where fighting took place”… a key distinction of note, as many will try to “tell” us where a battle was or was not fought. This is the “official” designation of the battlefield, the product of accurate and detailed study. Morton’s Ford is within the “bulge” to the right. Raccoon Ford is on the left, covering both banks of the Rapidan… because its a FORD. The designation as “core area” is sound. If one wishes to dispute that, then evidence is required…. lots and lots of evidence… and that cannot be prefaced with “I think….”

Now beyond just the established fact that Raccoon Ford is within a core battlefield, we can go on to mention how often that site was used during the Civil War by the belligerents as they maneuvered through central Virginia. Every major campaign from 1862 on to 1864 passed by or through Raccoon Ford. One runs out of fingers and toes counting the number of skirmishes or other actions that took place there. If one wishes to tally the generals who crossed there, it would look like a “Who’s Who” of the Civil War. And we might go on to mention the significance this ford played in other chapters of American history – Colonial, Revolutionary, and right up to the present.

Again, more “established” facts that point to the historical pedigree of this site. There’s no way one can dispute or deny Raccoon Ford has a place in the history books.

But… as happens all too often in the discussion of historical sites… there are those who discount those facts and thus devalue our history. Raccoon Ford is now at the center of a planned solar farm development project. The project has not yet been approved, but has been the subject of long running discussions. Consider this map drawn to indicate the areas considered for solar farm development:

Highlighted in blue hashes and outlined in light blue is the “Core Battlefield Area. The actual “Raccoon Ford Area of Historic Interest” is in purple hashed highlight. And the designated “Battlefield Study Area” is in light green. It is the areas outlined in red that we preservationists need to be concerned about. That is the area on where the solar facilities would go. Not only would the area be dominated by solar panels, facilities, buildings, and power lines, but the ACTUAL battlefield itself would be covered.

There are certainly dozens of other considerations to think about here – environmental being perhaps the one that should weigh even more than the historical aspects. However, this is “to the Sound of the Guns” blog, and not the “Engineering Disasters Where People Build in a Flood Plain” blog…. so we shall focus on the history here.

What happens to a battlefield when it is covered with solar panels? This:

Averasboro 1A 112

This is just outside Godwin, North Carolina, and within the study area for the Averasboro battlefield. Students of Sherman’s March know that battle well. It is upon these fields that Hardee’s command delayed the Federal Left Wing to set up the battle of Bentonville. Was “that” battle fought right there? I can make the case that skirmishing occurred there. Depending on the “jury,” I believe a good lawyer could make that case. At a minimum, the ABPP indicated there were tactical troop movements here worthy of study.

And study? Yes. You will hear me often contend that the land – the actual physical ground itself – is a primary source for historians studying a battlefield. Quite often it is our only tangible link between the present and the past, from which we can properly understand the accounts and recollections of those who fought.

Up until the last decade, here’s what that field looked like:

BeforeSolar

To the uninitiated, this is but your standard North Carolina farm field. But to a trained eye, there are nuances in the ground that need be considered and examined. (A lesson that struck home for me many years ago when studying the Belmont battlefield, where a slight rise of less than a foot – inches, mind you – indicated the location of a “ridge” which commanders mentioned and veterans later recalled. Inches high, it was just slightly above the wet, muddy bottom lands, and worth fighting over that day in November 1861.) Sadly, historians will no longer be able to study those nuances. Today history is blockaded by a locked gate:

Averasboro 1A 111

Raccoon Ford should not suffer this fate.

Later this month, the Culpeper County Board of Supervisors will renew discussion on this solar farm proposal. Local citizens have already brought up their concerns and expressed opposition. And YOU can help by signing their petition to stop this development. I ask you to consider signing that petition, helping those who are at the front line of this preservation battle.