Fortification Friday: Wheeler vs. Mahan, comparing barbettes

Last week, I compared Junius B. Wheeler’s post-war field fortification instructions to the pre-war writings of Dennis H. Mahan, specific to the classes of interior arrangements.  The take away there was Wheeler giving the classification more thought and refinement, which no doubt was based on wartime experience.  More of that experience worked into Wheeler’s instructions as the lesson went into specifics about each class.

The first of those classes was on the parapet.  Mahan, of course, narrowed the definition to just that of the batteries.  Wheeler, on the other hand, asked the cadets to consider all type of firepower used in defense of the works:

Defense. – The work may be defended by musketry alone, or it may be defended by artillery combined with musketry.

The arrangements of the parapet for musketry are completed when the banquette and the revetment of the interior slope are finished.

The work, in this condition, does not admit of the use of artillery.  Some additional arrangements must be provided, if artillery is to be employed. The fire of artillery is either over the parapet or through it…..

And with that, Wheeler’s path merged back with that of Mahan leading into the discussion of barbette and embrasure batteries.  Last August when discussion the construction of barbettes, I briefly compared Wheeler’s instructions with Mahan’s.  Wheeler opted for a “least common denominator” planning factors.  Otherwise, the process was generally the same.  I would say that Wheeler’s instructions are easier for me (schooled in the 20th century) to follow. But that’s always a subjective measure.  Still, to be direct with the comparison, here are Mahan’s planning factors, for field guns:

  • Mound of earth 2 feet 9 inches high.
  • Spacing along parapet – 16 ½ to 18 feet of length.
  • Depth of 24 feet (atop the tread of the banquette).
  • Ramp behind the mound at least 10 feet wide, sloped at 1:6 ratio.

And here are Wheeler’s (again for field guns):

  • Mound of earth 2 feet 9 inches high (which Wheeler said was optional)
  • Spacing along parapet – 16 ½ to 18 feet of length.
  • Mound depth of 20 feet (this could include a platform built just for the cannon).
  • Mound width of 10 to 15 feet (again, this could be the platform built for the cannon)
  • Ramp behind the mound at least 9 feet wide, sloped at 1:6 ratio.

Wheeler offered this illustration to support the instructions:

WheelerFig36

I’m not too concerned with the variation in the dimensions.  If we really need a “culprit” to point towards, I would mention that Mahan was writing at a time when Alfred Mordecai had just introduced revised carriages for field artillery.  But we would be quibbling over the difference in inches within the “instructed” dimensions for something being built out in the field where general measurements would be the rule.  I think Wheeler was just giving us a least common denominator response.

However, since Wheeler gives us a detailed diagram, let us give his instructions a close look.  He set the major line A-B as the interior crest of the parapet.  Eleven inches back of that is line a-b (lower case), where the mound (platform for me) touched the parapet.  The width of the mound’s surface was then set across the line a-b, which is specified as 15 feet in the diagram.  From there perpendiculars extend back twenty feet (a-c and b-d).  That gives us a fifteen by twenty foot surface of the mound (again, I prefer to call this the platform) on which the gun can be worked, allowing for recoil.  From there, Wheeler specified the earth set on the natural slope to support what I call the platform.

As for the ramp, the setup remained the same, though one foot narrower, as that prescribed by Mahan.  Note that Wheeler left the rest of the banquette as configured for musketry, meaning shallow depth.

What we don’t see described here is a battery configured with several guns in barbette along the parapet.  While that could be done, if the need arose, Wheeler agreed with Mahan that barbettes were more likely to be used on the salients.  However, while Mahan gave us very detailed instructions for the construction of such barbettes, Wheeler made short work of this.  After describing the need (and particulars of) the pan-coupé, he waved his hand through the rest:

The construction of the plan differs from the one described only in the form of the supper surface.  In this case, the upper surface is pentagonal in form, care being taken to make it large enough to allow the gun to be fired over the faces of the salient, as well as along the capital.

He even recycled Mahan’s diagram:

WheelerFig37

From there, Wheeler simply added that more guns could be added along the sides of the salient… avoiding the lengthy instructions given by Mahan in that regard.   Sort of leaves me thinking Wheeler didn’t like barbettes.

Well the alternative, as we have seen, for guns in barbette are those firing through embasures.  We’ll discuss Wheeler’s notions about those next week.

(Citations from Junius B. Wheeler, The Elements of Field Fortifications, New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1882, pages 115-20.)

 

Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – Independent and other Illinois Batteries

Some batteries seemed to have more names than guns assigned.  For Illinois batteries falling outside the regimental affiliations, that was the case.  For the second quarter, 1863, below the entries for the two regiments, we find several lines which require formal introductions:

0177_1_Snip_ILL_misc

With the first line, we see “Third Artillery.”  But from there things fall into disorder.  We find the 14th Illinois Cavalry reporting some mountain howitzers on hand.  Then five batteries identified by commander or sponsor.  Lastly, the 51st Illinois Infantry reported a couple 6-pdrs.  So pardon the lengthy explanations (or wild guesses!) to follow.

  • Battery A, Third Artillery:  We the same identification for the fourth quarter, 1862, but noted this battery was most often cited as the Springfield Light Artillery, or Vaughn’s Battery (after Captain Thomas F. Vaughn).  The latter was used for the first quarter, 1862.   As mentioned in those earlier posts, the designation of a third regiment is a mystery to me.  But we can match the other details to this battery’s service.  Reporting six 3.80-inch James Rifles, the battery, part of the garrison of Memphis, Tennessee, was split into sections at this time, one at Germantown and another at Collierville.
  • I read this as “Col. 14th Cav?. Stores in charge“:  Presuming I transcribe that correctly, this indicates Colonel Horace Capron’s 14th Illinois Cavalry had four 12-pdr mountain howitzers on hand.  At the time of reporting, the regiment was in the First Brigade, Third Division, Twenty-third Corps, Army of the Ohio, reporting at Tompkinsville, Kentucky.  The regimental history provides some insight into this “howitzer battery,” along with accounts of use.  The section was under command of Lieutenant Henry Clay Connelly.  The battery, and regiment, would be involved with pursuit of Morgan in July.

HCConnelly

  • Stokes’s Battery:  This is the Chicago Board of Trade Independent Battery Light Artillery, commanded by Captain James H. Stokes.  If I am reading the faded ink correctly, the battery reported from Manchester, Tennessee, with four 6-pdr field guns, one 6-pdr (3.67-inch) rifle, and two 3.80-inch James rifles.  The battery was part of the Second Cavalry Division, Cavalry Corps of the Army of the Cumberland.
  • Mercantile Battery:  At Vicksburg, Mississippi with three 6-pdr field guns and two 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Under Captain Patrick H. White, this battery was assigned to Tenth Division, Thirteenth Corps.
  • Cogswell’s Battery: Reporting at Nashville, Tennessee with four 3.80-inch James Rifles.  The location probably reflects the July 1864 receipt date.  In June 1863 the battery was at Vicksburg as part of the First Division, Sixteenth Corps. Lieutenant Henry G. Eddy remained in command.
  • Henshaw’s Battery: Indicated at Loudon, Tennessee with four 6-pdr field guns and three 3.80-inch James Rifles.  The location is valid for a later reporting date.  In June 1863 Captain Edward C. Henshaw’s battery was part of the Third Division, Twenty-third Corps, Army of the Ohio, operating in Kentucky.
  • Bridges’ Battery:  At Manchester, Tennessee with two 6-pdr field guns, two 12-pdr field howitzers, and two 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Captain Lyman Bridges commanded the battery, which supported the Pioneer Brigade, Army of the Cumberland.
  • Lieut 51st Infy“:  Reporting two 6-pdr field guns.  I leave a large, bold question mark over this one.  If I am correct with the identification, the regiment was assigned to Third Brigade, Third Division, Twentieth Corps at the time of report. This puts them in the middle of the Tullahoma Campaign.

Missing from this list is the Elgin Battery and Colvin’s Independent Battery, which were also operating in Kentucky at this time.  With those omissions, coupled with the question mark on the last line entry, leads me to call this the messiest summary section presented thus far.

But let us press on to the ammunition.  Starting with the smoothbore:

0179_1_Snip_ILL_misc

Lots of smoothbores:

  • Springfield Battery: 72 shell, 28 case, and 56 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.  Recall the battery reported similar quantities on hand even back in December, with no weapons in that caliber on hand.
  • 14th Cavalry: 108 shell, 576 case, and 108 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.
  • Stokes’ Battery: 334 shot, 302 case, and 259 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
  • Mercantile Battery: 305 shot, 340 case, and 61 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 102 case for 12-pdr field howitzers.  With that last entry, we have another mismatch of ammunition.
  • Henshaw’s Battery: 369 shot, 375 case, and 84 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
  • Bridges’ Battery: 195 shot, 266 case, and 122 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 100 shot, 250 case, and 50 canister for 12-pdr field guns; 50 shell and 350 case for 12-pdr field howitzers.  Yet another line with mismatched ammunition reported.
  • 51st Infantry: 70 shot, 84 case, and 42 canister for 6-pdr field guns.

While we can wave off the Springfield Battery’s howitzer ammunition pointing to previous reports, the issues with the Mercantile and Bridge’s battery leave questions.

To the rifled ammunition starting with Hotchkiss:

0179_2_Snip_ILL_misc

And another question:

  • Springfield Battery: 48 shot, 73 percussion shell,  and 30 canister for 6-pdr, 2.6-inch bore; 63 bullet shell for 3.80-inch rifles.  Only the latter would work for the battery’s reported rifles.
  • Stokes’ Battery: 17 shot and 80 percussion shell for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • Mercantile Battery: 42 canister, 105 percussion shell, 93 fuse shell, and 160 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Henshaw’s Battery: 63 percussion shell for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • Bridges’ Battery: 84 canister, 65 percussion shell, 250 fuse shell, and 105(?) bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

Perhaps the entries for the Springfield Battery were transcription errors.  Perhaps.

Moving to the next page, let’s trim the view have a good look at the numbers:

0180_1A_Snip_ILL_misc

Let’s break this down by type for clarity, starting with the left over Hotchkiss columns:

  • Springfield Battery: 77 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • Stokes’ Battery: 40 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.

Those are “clean”.  So on to the James-patent projectiles:

  • Springfield Battery: 350 shot, 480 shell, and 30 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • Stokes’ Battery: 33 shot and 72 shell for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • Cogswell’s Battery: 31 shot, 407 shell, and 47 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.

That allows us to move to the last page of rifled projectiles.  We find three entries:

0180_2_Snip_ILL_misc

One of those for Schenkl:

  • Stokes’ Battery: 292 shell for 3.80-inch rifles.

And then over to the Tatham’s columns:

  • Springfield Battery: 36 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • Cogswell’s Battery: 149 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.

So, if you served in the Springfield Battery and canister was ordered, one might find three different varieties in the limber chest.

We might presume, given all the questions and remarks above, the small arms section would be a real mess.  Not so.  Relatively tame:

0180_3_Snip_ILL_misc

Not to disappoint, we have some entries at least deserving a remark or two:

  • Springfield Battery:  Ten horse artillery sabers.
  • Stokes’ Battery: 135 Army revolvers, eight cavalry sabers, and 26(?) horse artillery sabers.
  • Mercantile Battery: Four horse artillery sabers.
  • Cogswell’s Battery: Two Army revolvers and two cavalry sabers.
  • Henshaw’s Battery: Thirty (?) Army revolvers and twenty horse artillery sabers.
  • Bridges’ Battery: Ten Army revolvers, fifteen cavalry sabers, and ten horse artillery sabers.
  • 51st Infantry:  Two Army revolves and two horse artillery sabers.

Somewhat understandable the Board of Trade Battery (Stokes’) assigned to the cavalry would have a lot of small arms. We find the Mercantile Battery, serving at Vicksburg, with just four sabers.  Cogswell’s was little better with a pair of pistols and a pair of sabers.  But, speaking against my presumptive identity, we have small arms reported for the last line.  Normally we wouldn’t see that carried (ref. the 14th Cavalry line on the same sheet).  But whoever had those 6-pdrs also had matching revolvers and sabers.

The Folwell letters, June 22, 1863: “Still at Edwards Ferry”

For Monday, June 22, 1863, Captain William W. Folwell offered a short entry:

Monday [June 22], 8 A.M.

Still at Edwards Ferry.  Beautiful morning.  All quiet.  We shall probably move or rather make our camp this morning across the canal on to a pleasant hill-side. [Lieutenant James L.] Robbins goes to Washington to-day, I presume. He will attend to sending up our baggage and Co. books.  He will send up an express box with “goodies” from home. We could live very well up here if we could get bread. The natives around here scarcely use it, but make all kinds of short cakes and biscuit, which to me are an abomination.  We hope to have a mail within two or three days. Oh, I am so stupid.

Unclear to me if the last sentence was in reference to some missed opportunity with the mail, or a general self-deprecating remark.  Something lost to time.

Very little here of the war situation.  Just an uneventful day in an eventful campaign.  When that occurs, the focus is, as we see in the entry, upon things such as mail and food.  As a Loudoun County resident, I can take some pride that the “abominable” short cakes and biscuits which Folwell referenced were on the Maryland-side.  You know, over in Montgomery County.

Adding some that broader context here, June 22 saw an attempted ambush of Major John S. Mosby’s command.  Then later in the day came orders for the engineers to place a bridge over Goose Creek near the mouth.  The engineers were also to look into blazing a path from the Eleventh Corps camps (near where modern Dulles Toll Road crosses Goose Creek) down to Edwards Ferry.  And in addition, elements from the First Corps constructed a bridge over Goose Creek at the Alexandria-Leesburg Turnpike.  We’d call these tasks part of the “mobility” function of combat engineers.  In other words, making it easier to move friendly troops.  Specific to the situation on June 22, the bridges and blazed path would allow movement of the First and Eleventh Corps to reinforce the Twelfth Corps then in Leesburg.  Furthermore, as events would later dictate, would allow the movement of the army to Edwards Ferry and thence across the Potomac.  Those mobility corridors, built by the engineers and other detailed troops, would save the army hours of marching time in the days which followed.

Something that gets overlooked when we focus on valuable minutes on the battlefield of Gettysburg is that hours were saved, spent, and, at times, wasted on the roads from the Rappahannock to Adams County… by both sides.

(Citations from William Watts Fowell, Civil War Diary, unpublished, transcription retrieved from University of Minnesota Library, pages 415 (pages 421 of scanned copy))

Fortification Friday: Wheeler and the evolution of interior arrangements during and post-war

I’ve mentioned on several occasions how the lessons on fortifications, used to teach cadets, demonstrate the evolution of doctrine from pre-war thinking into the post-war era.  We see some of this evolution when comparing pre-war and post-war versions of Mahan’s treatise.  But where the changes really come into play is when comparing Wheeler’s  1880 textbook.

An example of these changes is how Wheeler chose to relate details of interior arrangements.  Even when classifying these arrangements, Wheeler offered a shift, sometimes subtle, change of focus.  Recall Mahan’s pre-war text described the classes of interior arrangements as such:

The class of constructions required for the above purposes, are batteries; powder magazines; traverses; shelters; enclosures for gorges and outlets; interior safety-redoubt, or keep; and bridges of communication.

Somewhat brief, and from there Mahan proceeded to detail how batteries were placed on the parapet… with emphasis on the employment of artillery.

Wheeler offered a similar set of classifications, but abstracted those a bit with a mind to functional requirements:

Classes. – The earth work for the parapet being completed, and the revetments of the interior slope constructed, attention is then paid to the interior of the work.  Certain arrangements have to be made in the interior, to add to the efficiency of the defense, and to provide for the comfort of the troops who have to occupy the work.  These interior arrangements are divided into classes, according to the object to be attained by them.

The divisions may be classified as follows:

  1. The arrangements of, and along a parapet, intended to add to the efficiency of the defense;

  2. The arrangements within the area enclosed by the parapet, to shelter the men and matèriel from the fire of the enemy;

  3. The arrangements made to allow egress and ingress of the troops; including those made to guard the outlets against surprise; and

  4. The arrangements which may be made to provide for the comfort and welfare of the garrison when occupying the interior of the work for some time.

While Mahan named specific structures that would be constructed within the interior, Wheeler’s classifications come across is more so proper doctrine.  In other words, Wheeler put the reason before the task.  Such is a more formal approach to doctrine, as opposed to simply providing a list of structures, and  their specifications, to be used.

And with that approach, abstracted from naming particular types of structures, Wheeler was able to identify some of the needs, beyond the basics, of a garrison occupying a fortification.  You know… like those “comfort and welfare” things he mentions.  But not to be overlooked, shelter from enemy fire and ease of entry or exit.  These were all things Mahan addressed, but gave limited treatment. Did Mahan simply not care about the troops?  No.  But Mahan’s text was rooted in some pre-war concepts which, though we have discussed before, should be repeated for clarity.

Mahan’s instruction about fortification borrowed heavily from the European experience.  It was a textbook on field fortifications which would complement other instruction relying heavily, as is often the case with military science, on the “last war.”  Many scholars have debated the influence of Antoine-Henri Jomini on Civil War generalship.  But I don’t think we can dispute a “what would Napoleon do?” approach prevailed.

That in mind, the military minds came to make several operational assumptions.  With respect to fortifications, the assumption was two types would be employed.  Fixed, permanent fortifications were constructed to defend vital areas.  For the Americans, these were most often seacoast fortifications, as most potential adversaries would need to gain lodgement at some port (the exception, prior to the 1840s, being the northern border, but even there the great lakes presented a seacoast-like need).

The other form of defense assumed was temporary or field fortifications for use by an army on campaign.  And those were intended to work within the tactical framework handed down by the European experience on the Napoleonic battlefield.  These fortifications were employed to protect important areas related to the army’s campaign objectives.  And those objectives were subject to change.  The design of the works was more so to deter direct attack.  In that way the temporary works would deter direct attack, requiring a deliberate effort (i.e. a siege or other significant commitment of resources).  The temporary fortification was not designed for prolonged occupation or lengthy defense.  Above all, the temporary fortification was always a function of the campaign being undertaken at that moment in time.

The American experience, even before the war, offered a slight twist to the paradigm.  With a significant commitment to the frontier, structures such as blockhouses became important.  Yet the US Army did not give much instruction to that part.  In my opinion there were two significant reasons for this.  First, perhaps foremost, the methods for establishing frontier garrisons were judged as intuitive.  Mahan’s “Outpost” manual covered some of this.  Secondly, much of the responsibility for these frontier garrisons was given to territorial, state, or local authorities.  In short, it was not a major mission in the broader sense.  Rather, the US Army was supposed to give Congress detailed plans for defending the coast.  Those commitments out west were not the “big show”.

Civil War experience demonstrated the “two types of forts” assumption to be incorrect, to say the least.  Operational requirements demonstrated there was a third type which fell directly between the chairs.  That being a semi-permanent fortifications which were not directly tied to ongoing campaigns.  The best example of that would be the Washington defenses.  Lesser so the Richmond defenses, but of course those became the focus of a campaign later in the war.  Other examples, which we’ve mentioned in relation to blockhouses, were those works constructed to protect communications and supply lines. All of which supported the army in the field, but were not a direct function of that army’s operation… i.e. the campaign.   And as a function of those requirements, the engineers had to address other needs within the fortifications, to include “comfort and welfare.”

What I like about the passage from Wheeler enumerating the classes of interior arrangements is that he removed a lot of the Napoleonic baggage from the discussion.  Sure, forts were still built in the manner employed in the first quarter of the 19th century.  Men used shovels to dig, then pile the earth.  Fortifications still required parapets and ditches to be effective means of resistance.  The “physics” of the matter did not change, other perhaps than the need for additional thickness to resist rifled projectiles.  But it was the requirement those fortifications were filling that shifted over time.   That’s what I see reflected in the approach Wheeler gave to these particulars.

(Citations from Dennis Hart Mahan, A Treatise on Field Fortifications, New York: John Wiley, 1852, pages 51-2; Junius B. Wheeler, The Elements of Field Fortifications, New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1882, page 114. )

Fort Sumter photos after the fire – Intro to a series

Back during the sesquicentennial period, the “home stretch” from January to April 2015 offered a formidable challenge as I blogged through anniversary events (and attended quite a few).  There were simply too many things that I felt deserved attention.  In that rush of postings, several events did not get full, detailed, and deserving treatment.

One of those was the flag raising at Fort Sumter on April 14, 1865.  Reflecting those busy sesqui days, I posted twice that 150th anniversary … while preparing to head into D.C. to attend events at Ford’s Theater that evening.  So while I did get off a sesquicentennial post about Fort Sumter that day, it was somewhat short… and not to my satisfaction.  I had stacked up material for several posts with the intent of “walking around” Fort Sumter using wartime photographs, much as was done earlier for Morris Island and later for Fort Johnston.  But sesquicentennial buzz turned to post-sesquicentennial cool-down…. well … I shouldn’t make excuses… I just got a bit lazy!

So let’s go back and have another look at April 14, 1865:

02465a

This is one of a set of photos taken inside Fort Sumter of the flag raising ceremonies. Let me label this one “FSC1” for “Fort Sumter Ceremony #1.”  Being more of a “fort and cannon” type, I’m not overly excited about naming names and identifying celebrities there.  Other bloggers did some of that during the sesquicentennial, so I’ll just refer you over their way.

To me, these photos of the ceremony are the “gateway” into a look back in time.  From these we can see what Fort Sumter looked like in that moment.  And using that view, we can start pinpointing structures and features which do not exist today  – that is the temporary structures erected just for the ceremony and remains left behind by the Confederates.

There are two important sets of paper documentation which should be used to unlock the information in these photos.  The first is a survey of the fort made by Federal engineers shortly after its recapture.  We have, on file with the Library of Congress, high resolution copies of the draft survey:

FortSumterFeb18_65_draft

And the final product, included with Brigadier-General Quincy Gilmore’s report:

FortSumter65_2

While I like using the latter, as it renders well, there is unfortunately a binding seam right down the middle.  Please don’t let that distract.   The former, the draft survey, is also useful as it calls out details not carried over to the final.  And there are several other diagrams and scrap views that are included with the set.  Overall, these provide us a very detailed examination of Fort Sumter, as it existed in February 1865.  There were some alterations made by the Federals between that survey and April.  But those were minimal.  Those changes were generally of two types.  Some of these were functional repairs, such as restoring the lighthouse (which was really just a light mark…) and placing the flagpole.  Other changes were temporary, as part of the ceremony preparation.  And those changes are readily apparent when comparing the survey with the photos.

As you probably noticed, we have two plans and several elevations to work with here.  Mahan would be happy.  It is the plan in the center that is most applicable to photo analysis, as it is the “as seen from above” view, as opposed to a cut-away layer:

Feb18_65_SnipB

Again, that pesky seam right down the side!  Note the “star and line” running out from the center.  That’s a north seeking arrow.

The second major set of documentation we need to consult is from the 20th century.  In 1933 the National Park Service established the Historic American Building Survey (HABS) with the mission to “…document achievements in architecture, engineering, and landscape design in the United States and its territories through a comprehensive range of building types, engineering technologies, and landscapes….”  And that collection of documents, photos, and other materials is also in the Library of Congress’ online resources.  Among the buildings surveyed was Fort Sumter (and, to be proper, this was not just one survey… but an ongoing project which continues to gather information about the structure).

As anyone who has visited Fort Sumter is quick to point out, the fort changed significantly between 1865 and 1933.  The most visible change occurred in the 1890s when the Army decided Fort Sumter was still an important post for the defense of Charleston. So Battery Huger went up in the middle of that historic fort.  The HABS captured those changes in detail, allowing us easy comparison back to the 1865 survey.  Furthermore, the HABS survey then allows us to pinpoint where something was at in relation to what the fort looks like today.

One of the HABS survey diagrams which is most useful, as it lines up with the 1865 survey well, is the “roof” plan:

HABS SC,10-CHAR.V,3

Here we have a stylistic compass rose on the upper right, allowing orientation.

All well and good, you say, but with all those people in the way in the ceremony photos, we don’t get a nice, clean view of the fort’s structures.  Well, here’s the key to unlock the door:

02320a

We mostly see this photo mentioned because of the presence of another photographer (yea… paparazzi of 1865!) on the other side of Fort Sumter.  But this gives us a look across the parade ground of Fort Sumter without all the ceremony clutter.   Let me call this one “Fort Sumter 1” or in short hand “FS1″The “keys” here are the berm or crest to the left of frame; a set of gabions on the parapet; the stairs to the right of that entrance; and the chimney-like structure in the foreground.  Let’s circle those in red on FS1:

02320aLocator1

Using those, we can start matching to the 1865 survey:

02320aLocator3

Let’s zoom in on one of those red circles as it will give us a very precise idea as to the camera’s location. This is the chimney area on the survey:

02320aLocator3a

What we see in the photo is a column of bricks.  What we see on the survey is a small square.  However, if we look to the middle of that snip, we see an elevation runs through that portion of the fort, along the line E-F.  Here’s that elevation:

Feb18_65_SnipElevationEF

So… yes… those are chimneys.  And we have a photo of that section of the fort taken in the spring of 1865:

03070a

A great photo with all sorts of things to talk about.  But for now let’s just call it a supporting exhibit.  We’ll walk through this photo later. If we can pinpoint which chimney is in the foreground of FS1, then we have a pretty good idea of where the camera was located.  Given the spacing of the chimneys, and more importantly the “curve” of the gabion line to the side of the chimney in FS1, I think we are looking for the left-most in the photo above.  If we go with that, here’s how the photo lines up with the 1865 survey:

FS1Locator

In other words, the photographer was on the south-east wall, atop the bombproofs.  The camera was oriented to the west.  We can then account for the passageway to the Confederate docks, the crest on the west corner, and other features.  And… if we take that over to the HABS diagram we can start talking about where to stand today:

FS1LocatorHABS So the camera was somewhere around about the top of the stairways on the east corner of the fort. Near abouts there: Ft Sumter 3 May 2010 267

Suffice to say, the view from that point today is obscured by Battery Huger. But the flagpoles are in view:

Ft Sumter 3 May 2010 268

Now that we know where the camera was pointed, we can start picking out key features that will appear in other photos.  So… follow this down to that big hunk of iron in the middle of the parade ground, circled in yellow:

02320aLocator2

On closer examination….

FS1Snip1

A Confederate Columbiad. The long trunnions, paired with the mushroom cascabel, gives this away. I count eight ratchets, leading to a tentative identification as a 10-inch Columbiad. There were certainly plenty of those around Charleston in 1865. And there are a few still there today. Might we be seeing a cataloged survivor? And we see that Columbiad in several other photos of the fort’s interior.

03066a

And…

03064a

Sort of hard to move a 13,500 pound cannon, even for a ceremonial flag raising.
That cannon didn’t just have a “front row seat”… it WAS a front row seat.  In some of the ceremony photos, we can see a break in the crowd where that columbiad sat.  Certainly an appropriate trophy to display at a ceremony marking the victory at Fort Sumter.

Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – Second Illinois Artillery Regiment

As we continue with the summaries through the second quarter of 1863, a pattern emerges with respect to the equipment issued to batteries serving in the east.  We might even narrow that down to just the batteries serving with the Army of the Potomac and Washington Defenses.  Those tend to be armed with just one caliber and type of weapon.  And that type tends to be one of the important three – 12-pdr Napoleon, 3-inch Ordnance Rifles, or 10-pdr Parrott.  Likewise, the ammunition reported tends to be predictable, with Hotchkiss and Parrott the preferred rifled projectiles.

But when we look at those batteries outside that set, particularly out to the western theater, uniformity is thrown away for sake of availability.  More so for the projectiles issued for use.  We’ve seen some of this with the First Illinois Artillery Regiment.  Now another dose as we look to the Second Illinois:

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Of twelve batteries listed, the clerks recorded nine returns.  And of those nine, six reported James rifles and one reported the “odd cousins” – rifled 6-pdrs.

  • Battery A:  No report. The battery marched with Fourteenth (or First, after reconciliation) Division, Thirteenth Corps.  Captain Peter Davidson was in command, but during the Vicksburg Campaign Lieutenant Frank B. Fenton lead the battery.
  • Battery B: No report, but with an annotation of “siege”. No cannon reported. Captain Fletcher H. Chapman commanded.  The battery was part of the Sixteenth Corps, and assigned to the District of Corinth.
  • Battery C: Reported at At Fort Donelson, Tennessee with four 3.80-inch James Rifles.  Captain James P. Flood’s battery was actually in middle Tennessee at the reporting date, assigned to the Third Division, Reserve Corps, Army of the Cumberland.
  • Battery D: Indicated at Memphis, Tennessee with four 3.80-inch James Rifles. Captain Charles S. Cooper remained in command of this battery, assigned to First Division, Sixteenth Corps, covering Memphis at the time.
  • Battery E: Reported at Carrollton, Louisiana with three 6-pdr field guns and one 12-pdr field howitzer.  The location is “as of date of receipt” for September 1863.  In June 1863, Lieutenant George L. Nipsel’s battery was with Fourth Division, Sixteenth Corps, which was detached for duty in the Vicksburg siege lines.
  • Battery F: Indicated at Natchez, Mississippi with two 6-pdr field guns and two 12-pdr field howitzers.  Another “as of receipt” location.  In this case, the battery was assigned to Sixth Division, Seventeenth Corps, with Captain John W. Powell in command, and at Vicksburg.
  • Battery G: Outside Vicksburg, Mississippi with four rifled 6-pdr guns. Captain Frederick Sparrestrom commanded this battery, assigned to Third Division, Seventeenth Corps.  There is an interesting, if trivial, sidebar that I hope to present in a follow up post.  The short story – While being ferried across the Mississippi River at Bruinsburg on May 1, 1863, a collision resulted in the loss of most battery equipment and horses.  As related earlier, Sparrestrom temporarily commanded Battery D, 1st Illinois Artillery for a time.  The battery was re-equipped in Memphis and forwarded to Vicksburg, reporting on June 30 (or there-abouts).
  • Battery H: Showing as posted to Fort Donelson.  Reporting two 6-pdr field guns and four 3.80-inch James Rifles. Lieutenant  Jonas Eckdall’s battery was transferred to the Third Division, Reserve Corps, Army of the Cumberland earlier in the spring.  But the battery was among the forces posted to guard the army’s supply lines.
  • Battery I:  At Nashville, Tennessee with two 12-pdr Napoleons, two 10-pdr Parrotts, and two 3.80-inch James Rifles.  Captain Charles M. Barnett commanded this battery.  It was assigned to Second Division, Reserve Corps, Army of the Cumberland.
  • Battery K: No report.  This battery, under Captain Benjamin F. Rodgers, was part of the Fourth Division, Sixteenth Corps, which was forwarded to Vicksburg during the siege.
  • Battery L: Listed at Vicksburg with four 3.80-inch James Rifles. Part of Third Division, Seventeenth Corps, Captain William H. Bolton commanded.
  • Battery M: Cited as still in Chicago, Illinois, but gaining four 3.80-inch James Rifles.  The battery was reforming after its surrender at Harpers Ferry the previous fall.  In May, the battery, still under the command of Captain John C. Phillips, moved to Kentucky.  There the battery became part of Fourth Division, Twenty-third Corps, Army of the Ohio.  At the end of June, the battery was at Louisville, Kentucky.

As you can see, a lot of story-lines with the 2nd Illinois Artillery.

Moving to the ammunition, we start with the smoothbore rounds on hand:

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Four batteries reporting smoothbore cannon.  And four reporting ammunition on hand:

  • Battery E: 207 shot, 164 case, and 203 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 34 shell, 60 case, and 34 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • Battery F: 184 shot, 135 case, and 28 canister for 6-pd field guns; 120 shell, 133 case, and 31 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.  Interpreting the last figure as a transcription error by the clerks.
  • Battery H:  186 shot, 160 case, and 42 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
  • Battery I:  25 shot, 38 shell, 130 case, and 63 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.

Moving to the rifled projectiles, here’s where we get busy.  We start with the first page of the Hotchkiss columns:

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Heavy use of the Hotchkiss rounds, but for James and 6-pdr calibers:

  • Battery C: 100 shot, 430 percussion shell, and 68 fuse shell for 3.80-inch James.
  • Battery G: 110 percussion shell and 935(?) fuse shell for 3.67-inch rifles.
  • Battery H:  10 shot for 3.80-inch James.
  • Battery I: 103 bullet shell for 3.80-inch James.
  • Battery L: 300 percussion shell, 200 fuse shell, and 200 bullet shell for 3.80-inch James.
  • Battery M:  70 shot, 340 fuse shell, and 270 bullet shell for 3.80-inch James.

But… we are not done with the Hotchkiss.  Moving to the next page, which I’ll break down by section for ease of presentation, we find more Hotchkiss projectiles:

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Canister for everyone! Well at least for four batteries:

  • Battery C:  250 canister for 3.80-inch James.
  • Battery G: 100 canister for 3.67-inch rifles.
  • Battery L: 60 canister for 3.80-inch James.
  • Battery M: 70 canister for 3.80-inch James.

And note, with underlines, the ordnance department and the battery in the field carried the 3.67-inch rifles and their ammunition separately from the James rifles.  These weapons looked the same on the outside.  The bore diameter was just over a tenth of an inch different.  But for accounting and handling, these were different weapons.  The Ordnance Department associated the 3.67-inch caliber with Wiard.  But I don’t think we should read too much into that.

Moving to the right, we skip Dyer’s columns for the James-type projectiles:

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Everything in 3.80-inch caliber:

  • Battery C: 7 shot, 24 shell, and 2 canister in 3.80-inch James.
  • Battery D: 45 shot, 203 shell, 64 case, and 60 canister for 3.80-inch James.
  • Battery H: 125 shot, 267 shell, and 214 canister for 3.80-inch James.
  • Battery I: 121 canister for 3.80-inch James.
  • Battery L: 300 shell and 128 canister for 3.80-inch James.

Next we have the Parrott columns. Battery I had a pair of those, and here’s what they could fire:

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  • Battery I:  119 shell, 233 case, and 46 canister for 10-pdr Parrott.

And to be sure we are tracking, those were Parrott-patent projectiles.  More in the same caliber, but Schenkl, are on the far right:

  • Battery I: 30 shot for 10-pdr Parrott.

Then off to the next page where there are more Schenkl columns to consider:

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But these are for James rifles:

  • Battery D: 64 shot and 128 shell for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • Battery I: 102 shell for 3.80-inch rifles.

And looking to the right of those, we find some Tatham canister reported:

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More James caliber stuff:

  • Battery H: 33 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.

So to summarize the rifled projectiles reported on hand for the 2nd Illinois Artillery…. a wide variety of types.

Lastly we move to the small arms:

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By battery reporting:

  • Battery C: Fourteen Army revolvers, fifty-one cavalry sabers, and six horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery E: Eight Army revolvers, thirty-two cavalry sabers, and forty-four horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery F: Twenty-five Army revolvers and twelve cavalry sabers.
  • Battery H: Fifty-four Army revolvers, twenty-one cavalry sabers, and twelve foot artillery swords.
  • Battery I: Seven(?) Army revolvers, twenty-three Navy revolvers, and thirty horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery M: Twenty Army revolvers and twenty horse artillery sabers.

With that, we close the Second Illinois.  But we are not done with this state’s contributions for the second quarter of 1863.  Next up is the somewhat official Third Regiment and miscellaneous batteries.

Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – First Illinois Artillery Regiment

When we looked at the returns for the 1st Illinois Artillery for first quarter, 1863, we found many of the batteries along the Mississippi River or in central Tennessee preparing for spring campaigns.  Reviewing the administrative details for the second quarter of the year, we find some of those batteries had indeed played important roles in the campaigns…. while others had their turn in the weeks to follow.  Here’s the regiment’s rows for the reporting period ending June 30, 1863:

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Recorded entries for all but two of the batteries, meaning we have a fairly complete set to work with.  However, six of these returns were not received until 1864:

  • Battery A: Larkinsville, Alabama, with five 12-pdr Napoleons and one 10-pdr Parrott.  That is where the battery wintered in 1864, when the report was received at the Department.  In June 1863 the battery was with Second Division, Fifteenth Army Corps, under Captain Peter P. Wood, outside Vicksburg, Mississippi. Of note, the battery had completely re-equipped from the earlier quarter.
  • Battery B: At Vicksburg, Mississippi with five 6-pdr field guns and one 12-pdr field howitzer.  Like Battery A, this battery was also assigned to Second Division, Fifteenth Corps.  Captain Samuel E. Barrett commanded.
  • Battery C:  Reporting at Bridgeport, Alabama with three 12-pdr field howitzers and four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. The location reflected the 1864 reporting location.  In June of 1863 the battery was involved with the Tullahoma Campaign in middle Tennessee. Lieutenant Edward M. Wright’s battery remained with Third Division, Twentieth Corps.
  • Battery D: No report. The battery was assigned to Third Division, Seventeenth Corps, and was at Vicksburg that June.  This was Edward McAllister’s old battery, retaining four 24-pdr field howitzers. Captain Henry A. Rogers was killed in action on May 29.  Lieutenant George J. Wood temporarily commanded the battery, but resigned a few weeks later.  To fill the void, Captain Frederick Sparrestrom of Battery G, 2nd Illinois Artillery was placed in temporary command (There’s an interesting story line here to follow when we pick up the 2nd Illinois Artillery).  When Sparrestrom returned to his battery, Lieutenant George P. Cunningham, who had rose through the ranks.
  • Battery E: At “Bear Creek,” behind the Vicksburg siege lines, with five 12-pdr Napoleons and one 3.80-inch James Rifle.  This was an addition of four Napoleons, at the expense of three James, from the previous quarter.   Captain Allen C. Waterhouse remained in command, and the battery remained under Third Division, Fifteenth Corps.
  • Battery F: No report. Captain John T. Cheney commanded this battery assigned to First Division, Sixteenth Corps.  The battery began the spring at Memphis.  In mid-June, the division was sent to Vicksburg.  The battery was part of the force sent towards Jackson, Mississippi late in June.
  • Battery G:   Serving as siege artillery at Corinth, Mississippi.  Captain Raphael G. Rombauer assumed command of the battery earlier in the spring.
  • Battery H: At Vicksburg with four 20-pdr Parrotts.  This famous battery was assigned to Second Division, Fifteenth Corps.  Captain Levi W. Hart resumed command during the spring (though Lieutenant Francis DeGress would replace him permanently later in the year).
  • Battery I: Camp Sherman, Mississippi with four 3.80-inch James Rifles. Camp Sherman was near Bear Creek, and also in the rear of the siege lines at Vicksburg. The battery was assigned to First Division, Sixteenth Corps.  When Captain Edward Bouton accepted a colonelcy in a USCT regiment, Lieutenant William N. Lansing assumed command.
  • Battery K: Memphis, Tennessee with with ten Union Repeating Guns.  But as noted earlier, that column was likely being utilized by the clerks to track Woodruff guns. Captain Jason B. Smith resumed command (which had temporarily, at least on the order of battle, been that of Lieutenant Issac W. Curtis).  The battery was assigned to the Cavalry Division, Sixteenth Corps at that time.  As many will recall, the battery accompanied Colonel Benjamin Grierson’s raid in April-May.  As with the rest of Grierson’s command, the battery would operate under the Nineteenth Corps after the raid.
  • Battery L: New Creek, (West) Virginia, with two 12-pdr Napoleons and four 3.80-inch James Rifles. Captain John Rourke commanded this battery, assigned to First Division, Eighth Corps.  They guarded an important point on the B&O Railroad and Upper Potomac.
  • Battery M:  Reporting at Chattanooga, Tennessee (reflecting location when the return was received in February 1864) with four 12-pdr Napoleons and two 3-inch Ordnance Rifles (a reversal of numbers reported the previous quarter). Lieutenant George W. Spencer commanded this battery, assigned to the Second Division, Reserve Corps, Army of the Cumberland.  This puts the battery on the march, on along Manchester Pike, at the end of June.

A lengthy administrative section.  But all due for a set of batteries heavily engaged at that time of the war.   And as we move next to discuss the ammunition on hand, there remains a need for lengthy discussions!  Lots of entries. Some that need explanation.

We start with the smoothbore ammunition reported on hand:

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Lots of round ammunition on hand:

  • Battery A: 220 shot, 84 shell, 262 case, and 123 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons; 120 canister for 6-pdr field guns; and 134 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • Battery B: 348 shot, 180 case, and 121 canister for 6-pdr field guns;    20 shell, 30 case, and 20 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • Battery C: 42 case for 6-pdr field guns; 203 shell, 258 case, and 96 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • Battery E: 113 shot, 123 shell, 260 case, and 160 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery L: 70 shot, 504 case, and 823 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 519 shot, 189 shell, 639 case, and 134 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons; and 48 case and 231 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • Battery M: 82 shot, 224 shell, 268 case, and 59 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.

Battery A had upgraded from a mix of 6-pdr guns and 12-pdr howitzers earlier in the spring.  They apparently still had ammunition for those weapons on hand awaiting disposition.  One would expect sometime during the siege of Vicksburg those were cross-leveled to needy batteries, and Battery A didn’t carry all those useless rounds all the way to Alabama!

On the other hand, hard to account for why Battery C would have 6-pdr case shot on hand at this time of the war.

Battery L reported a large quantity of 6-pdr smoothbore ammunition on hand in the previous quarter.  As I speculated before, we have primary sources that indicate 6-pdr smoothbore ammunition was at times used from James rifles.  But the 12-pdr howitzer canister?  Well it would fit in the Napoleons, though would have a reduced charge.  Still, I’d like to see something documenting these substitutions, if indeed used for this specific battery.

Moving past the questions about the smoothbore ammunition, we proceed to the Hotchkiss projectiles:

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We normally see the Hotchkiss closely associated with 3-inch rifles.  That is true here, but with the added twist of the James 3.80-inch rifles:

  • Battery C: 197 canister, 270 percussion shell, 214 fuse shell, and 358 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery E:  17 percussion shell and 93 bullet shell for 3.80-inch James Rifles.
  • Battery L: 504 canister, 115 percussion shell, and 1,005 fuse shell for 3-inch rifles; 186 shot, 144 fuse shell, and 232 bullet shell for 3.80-inch James rifles.
  • Battery M: 83 canister, 32 fuse shell, and 273 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

Again we see Battery L with ammunition on hand that does not match the guns assigned.  In this case, 3-inch rifle projectiles would be useless for James rifles. But recall, the battery also reported a quantity of 3-inch projectiles … a smaller quantity… the previous quarter.  So I don’t think this is a transcription error.  Perhaps Battery L was tasked with maintaining a divisional-level supply, out there in West Virginia.

The next page of rifled projectiles uses every section in the header. So I’m going to break this down for ease:

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Rarely we see Dyer’s reported. But here is one entry:

  • Battery L: 580(?) 3-inch shrapnel.

So more of these projectiles that don’t match to the battery’s guns.

Moving to the James columns, we would expect to see a lot of entries:

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And we are not disappointed:

  • Battery E: 60 case shot and 50 canister for 3.80-inch James Rifles.
  • Battery I: 64 shot, 320 shell, and 256 canister for 3.80-inch James Rifles.
  • Battery L: 387 shot, 106 shell, and 19 canister for 3.80-inch James Rifles.

Then moving right, we have the Parrott columns:

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Two batteries reporting Parrott rifles. And two reporting that inventor’s projectiles:

  • Battery A: 145 shell, 47 case, and 65 canister for 10-pdr Parrotts.
  • Battery H:  30 canister for 20-pdr Parrotts.

Well, we hope Battery H had more than a handful of canister rounds per gun.

Let us also break down the next page by section, starting with Schenkl:

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One line, but noteworthy:

  • Battery L: 356 shell for 3-inch rifles; 382 shell for 3.80-inch James.

Again, Battery L reporting a rather substantial number of 3-inch projectiles.

We often associate Tatham canister with James rifles:

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Two batteries reporting:

  • Battery H: 40 canister for 3.67-inch rifle.
  • Battery L: 268 canister for 3.80-inch James Rifle.

Yes, 20-pdr Parrotts were 3.67-inch bore.  So are we to believe that Battery H, there at Vicksburg, only had seventy rounds of canister… and nothing else?

Moving to the small arms columns, the 1st Illinois remains defiant to this transcriber:

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Like a canister blast, there’s a lot of scatter here:

  • Battery A: Three Army revolvers, forty-three Navy revolvers, and four horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery B: Seventeen Navy revolvers and five cavalry sabers.
  • Battery C: Ten Army revolvers, nine Navy revolvers, and thirteen cavalry sabers.
  • Battery E: Ten cavalry sabers.
  • Battery I: Eleven Navy revolvers and three cavalry sabers.
  • Battery K: Twenty breechloading carbines and ninety-seven cavalry sabers.
  • Battery L:  Seventeen muzzle-loading carbines, twenty-eight Army revolvers and 148 cavalry sabers.

Noteworthy for their absence is Battery H.  But I guess if you are pushing around a 20-pdr Parrott, small arms are an encumbrance.  Notice also the entries,  generic though it be, for breechloading and muzzle-loading carbines.  As discussed at length in earlier posts, many times the small arms allocations for the batteries reflected additional duties, such as providing security and details for patrols, at remote posts.

Lengthy… but interesting… that’s the summary for the 1st Illinois Artillery, giving a “sort of” picture for June 1863.