Category Archives: American Civil War

Summary Statement: December 31, 1862 – 2nd Illinois Artillery Regiment

Like the First Regiment Illinois Artillery, the Second Regiment of the state’s artillery was serving almost exclusively in the Western Theater as of the end of December 1862.  However, the summary of equipment in use by the 2nd Regiment was far less complicated.  As usual, let us start by reviewing the postings of those batteries and their cannons (Standard declaration here – yellow lines are the “rules” across the data entry lines; red lines are the “cuts” needed to make these presentable for discussion):


First thing we notice is the lack of information filed for several batteries (thus, perhaps, greatly simplifying the summary).

  • Battery A:  No report.  This battery was on duty at Helena, Arkansas as part of the Department of Missouri.
  • Battery B: Corinth, Mississippi. No field artillery reported.  Notice the addition of the word “siege” in the regiment column.  The battery was part of the Thirteenth Corps, Army of the Tennessee.
  • Battery C: Fort Donelson, Tennesse. Four James 3.80-inch rifles.  Also part of the Thirteenth Corps, but posted to hold vital posts in the rear.  These artillerymen were destined to be garrison troops for most of the war.
  • Battery D: Decatur, Alabama.  Four James 3.80-inch rifles.  Also with the Thirteenth Corps.
  • Battery E: No report.  Battery E began the war as Schartz’s Missouri Battery.  In December 1862, they were part of the Thirteenth Corps and saw service in Grant’s Central Mississippi Campaign.
  • Battery F: Lake Providence, Louisiana.  Two 6-pdr field guns and two 12-pdr howitzers. This battery was part of the Thirteenth Corps, and was actually campaigning with Grant in Central Mississippi at the close of December 1862.  They would, however, be posted at Lake Providence in January.  So the location and tallies may be “as of” the moment the return was written (April 1863).
  • Battery G: No report.  Also in Thirteenth Corps and posted in Mississippi at the end of December.
  • Battery H: No report. If my sources are correct, this battery was at Clarksville, Tennessee.
  • Battery I: Nashville, Tennessee.  Two 12-pdr Napoleons and two 10-pdr Parrotts.  Part of the Fourteenth Corps, Army of the Cumberland.  Battery I missed the battle of Stones River, but later joined the army forward at Murfreesboro.
  • Battery K: No report.  Another Thirteenth Corps battery and was assigned to the District of Jackson, Tennessee.
  • Battery L:  “In the Field” in Louisiana.  Four James 3.80-inch rifles. This may be another “as of this report” status. Battery L was with the District of Jackson, Thirteenth Corps, and Logan’s Division, Right Wing, of the Corps for Grant’s Central Mississippi Campaign.  Shortly into the new year, Battery L was at Lake Providence, Louisiana.
  • Battery M: No report.  This battery surrendered at Harpers Ferry on September 15.  They were still un-exchanged, on parole, at the end of December.  Their guns, of course, were under new ownership.

There is a lot of “missing data” that I’d expect to see here.  Excepting Battery M, these batteries were in Grant’s command.  I’ve used the “easy out” of saying they were in Thirteenth Corps. Those knowledgeable of Western Theater operations recognize that as somewhat ambiguous.  Perhaps to clarify, I will post something on the lineage of the Thirteenth Corps and the formations it spawned through the winter of 1863.  If nothing else, would help to clarify the service assignments of these batteries!

The 2nd Regiment Illinois Artillery had but two batteries with smoothbore cannons:


  • Battery F: 6-pdr field gun – 188 shot, 163 case, and 46 canister.  12-pdr field howitzer – 120 shells, 145 case, and 31 canister.
  • Battery I: Had only 259 12-pdr shot for their Napoleons.

Moving on to rifled projectiles, find most of the entries are for James projectiles for those fine bronze James rifles:


Remember, these were listed by “Patent” pattern, then by weapon type and caliber.  Such as “Hotchkiss” for “James” of 3.80-inch”:

  • Battery C: James (Patent) 3.80-inch – 119 shot, 425 shell, and 125 canister.
  • Battery D: James 3.80-inch – 109 shot, 215 shell, 64 case, and 60 canister.
  • Battery I: James 3.80-inch – 368 shot.  Parrott 10-pdr – 440 shells.  This needs some explaining.
  • Battery L: Hotchkiss Patent for James  3.80-inch – 76 canister; James Pattern 3.80-inch – 14 shot, 376 shell, and 144 canister.

Remember that Battery I had 10-pdr Parrotts along with their two Napoleons.  Neither of which used 3.80-inch caliber projectiles. So what were the James shot being used for?  I recall some reference to Battery I having turned-in some James rifles earlier in the fall.  But I need to track that down to verify.

And one more rifled projectile entry for us on the next page:


Battery D with 128 Schenkl Patent James 3.80-inch shells.

Lastly, the small arms:


With all the missing reports, we have scant data here:

  • Battery C: 20 Army revolvers and 58 cavalry sabers.
  • Battery K: 4 carbines and 16 horse artillery sabers.

Earlier when I was constructing these snips and cross-referencing notes, I wanted to dig further to fill in the missing data.  In particular, cite the types of weapons on hand.  Many of these batteries were involved with the Vicksburg Campaign.  And the guns they pulled through Mississippi are known.  But I thought better of including that here for the moment.  This is a “snapshot in time” of the batteries, reflecting what was reported for December 1862 as opposed to what the batteries might have had months later.  That said, for now I prefer to leave the open spaces as they are.  There will be time later to fill in those blanks.

Summary Statement: December 31, 1862 – 1st Illinois Artillery Regiment

During the war, Illinois provided two regiments of artillery and a regiment’s worth of independent batteries.  Many of those batteries achieved fame on the battlefield, and are well known to those familiar with the Western Theater.  Looking at their equipment, we will discover a wide array of issued weapons among these regiments.  We see that with the summary statement of the 1st Illinois Light Artillery Regiment:


We see that even into December 1862 the Illinois batteries reflected the “rush to war” in the nature of the cannons reported.  Also worth noting is the number of batteries which were not only “in the field” but also actually engaged in combat as of December 31, 1862:

  • Battery A: At Vicksburg Mississippi with four 6-pdr field guns and two 12-pdr field howitzers.  Battery A was assigned to the Thirteenth Corps, Army of the Tennessee at reporting time.  They were part of the action at Chickasaw Bayou outside Vicksburg at the end of the year.
  • Battery B: Also at Vicksburg, but with five 6-pdrs and only one 12-pdr field howitzer.  Battery B was also at Chickasaw Bluffs.
  • Battery C: At Murfreesboro, Tennessee.  They were assigned to Third Division (Sheridan), Right Wing, Fourteenth Corps, Army of the Cumberland.    In action on December 31, they fired 1,154 rounds, lost 95 horses, and all their guns.  Thus the slim return for this summary.  I don’t know exactly what Battery C had going into battle, but know they had at least some rifled guns.
  • Battery D: No return received.  The battery was part of the Right Wing, Thirteenth Corps, Army of the Tennessee, operating out of Jackson, Tennessee at the time.
  • Battery E: At Vicksburg with six James 3.80-inch rifles.  I don’t find this battery on the order of battle for Chickasaw Bayou, but it was part of the District of Memphis, from which Sherman drew his forces for the campaign.
  • Battery F: Camp Sherman, Mississippi with four James 3.80-inch rifles.  The battery was in the Right Wing (McPherson), Thirteenth Corps at the reporting time.
  • Battery G: Had four 24-pdr field howitzers.  Battery G was part of the District of Corinth, Thirteenth (later Seventeenth) Corps.
  • Battery H: At Vicksburg with two 6-pdr field guns and two 20-pdr Parrott rifles.  Also at Chickasaw Bayou.
  • Battery I: No return received.  Battery I was also part of McPherson’s Right Wing, Thirteenth Corps.  They were guarding the railroads outside Memphis at the time.
  • Battery K: Paducah, Kentucky with ten Union Repeating Guns (or the Agar “coffee mill” gun).  This is intriguing, as we most identify the use of this weapon in the Eastern Theater.  (UPDATE: Battery K likely did not have these guns, but some other “light” weapon.  More on this in a follow up post.)
  • Battery L: At New Creek, Virginia, with two 12-pdr Napoleons and four James 3.80-inch rifles.  Battery L was part of the Eighth Corps, and posted in soon-to-be West Virginia.
  • Battery M: Munfordsville, Kentucky, reporting three 10-pdr Parrott rifles.

As you can see, there are a lot of threads to follow among those twelve batteries. Again, were this post not focused on the summary, I’d love to break down individual battery histories.

But that is not the line of march today.  So onward to the smoothbore projectiles reported.  We’ll look at this in two sections.  First the 6-pdrs and 12-pdrs:


These were reported in three batteries:

  • Battery A:  6-pdr field gun – 148 shot,  512 case, and 117 canister. 12-pdr field howitzer – 120 shell, 107 case, and 36 canister.
  • Battery B: 6-pdr field gun – 350 shot, 270 case, and 131 canister.   12-pdr field howitzer – 30 shell, 160 (?) case, and 19 canister.
  • Battery L: 6-pdr field gun – 70 shot.  12-pdr Napoleon – 136 shot, 122 shell, 180 case, and 88 canister.

Note the entry for Battery L with seventy 6-pdr solid shot.  It was often reported that batteries would use 6-pdr ammunition in James rifles.  The projectile fit, of course. Here we see documentation of that practice in the field.

A lesser note here – Battery H, with two 6-pdrs, reported no rounds for those pieces on hand.

Also in the smoothbore category, we have Battery G with those big 24-pdr field howitzers:


So for four howitzers only 36 shells, 30 case, and 24 canister on hand.

Moving to the rifled projectiles, first on the sheet are those of Hotchkiss Patent:


Follow this close:

  • Battery F: Wiard 3.67-inch – 107 shot on hand.
  • Battery L: James 3.80-inch – 210 shot and 28 “bullet shell” or case. 3-inch – 40 percussion shells and 160 fuse shells.

For two lines, we have a lot to talk about.  Remember these are Hotchkiss-type projectiles made to work with particular types of rifled artillery – in the case of these two batteries those are James rifles.  But, what about Wiard?  My first response is “if it fits, we fire it!”  The difference between the Wiard 12-pdr’s 3.76-inch bore and the James 3.80-inch bore allows that.  But let us relegate that for the moment to supposition and speculation.  This could also be due to a mistake in the supply system… or a mistake in reporting.  That explanation could also carry over to the entries for Battery L, which would have little to no use for 3-inch projectiles.

Moving to the next page, none of the 1st Illinois batteries reported Dyer’s Patent projectiles.  But they did, of course, have those of James’ Patent:


Three batteries reporting quantities of “6-pdr James” of 3.80-inch bore:

  • Battery E – 480 shell and 160 canister.
  • Battery F – 100 shot, 378 shell, and 100 canister.
  • Battery L – 320 shot, 36 shell, and 19 canister.

So as one might expect in terms of issue, but interesting that Battery L had small quantities of shell and canister on hand.  Instead that battery had a lot of solid shot (also count the 70 6-pdr smoothbore and 107 Wiard solid shot mentioned above).  We’ll see more tallies for Battery L below.

Batteries H and M had Parrott rifles on hand, and they reported projectiles for those guns:


  • Battery H:  20-pdr (3.67-inch) Parrott – 120 shell, 48 case, and 57 canister.
  • Battery M: 10-pdr (2.9-inch) Parrott – 285 shell and 105 canister.

The next set of columns listed Schenkl projectiles:


Here we find Battery L had 132 Schenkl shells for their James rifles.  Still only a fraction of the shells on hand for the two western batteries.

On the far right of that snip, we can add 172 Tatham’s pattern canister, in 3.80-inch caliber, for Battery L’s James rifles.  However, Battery F reported 183 Tatham’s pattern canister in 3.67-inch for their James rifles.  One wonders how the logisticians kept track of projectiles which differed by just over a tenth of an inch.

Finally, the small arms:


Entries in almost every column:

  • Battery A: 14 Army revolvers, 60(?) Navy revolvers, two cavalry sabers and a horse artillery saber.
  • Battery B: 50 Navy revolvers and 11 cavalry sabers.
  • Battery C: 8 Navy revolvers and 8 cavalry sabers.
  • Battery E: 10 cavalry sabers.
  • Battery F: 25 Army revolvers and six cavalry sabers.
  • Battery G: 45 of what ever the .58-caliber long arm reported in the third column (See update below).  45 cavalry sabers and 16 foot artillery sabers.
  • Battery H: 17 Navy revolvers and 9 cavalry sabers.
  • Battery K: 12 Springfield .58-caliber rifles and 114 horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery L: 17 carbines and 148 cavalry sabers.

UPDATE: Phil Spaugy suggested the third column’s written header could be “Whitney, cal .58.”  Those being modified Model 1841 rifles.  This matches information from Arming the Suckers by Ken Baumann, for Battery G.

Sorry for the length of this post.  But that’s what it takes to detail some of the anomalies in the 1st Illinois Light Artillery, as of December 1862.

Fortification Friday: Star Forts and not-so Star Forts

Our discussion of Mahan’s simple “intrenchments” brings us to the star fort today.  And I feel the star fort is the most troublesome form to discuss in public.  Not that folks get upset about the “star.”  Rather that folks have some preconceptions as to what it should look like.  If one is not particular about the term, the definition might be widely applied.  But when one is particular about the term, a lot of works that we often refer to as “star forts” are not actually star forts!  With that, allow me to get particular about this particular form of entrenchment for a bit.

First, what did Mahan say about the Star Fort, and why we should be so particular:

The star fort takes its name from the form of the polygonal figure of the plan.  [Figures below]  It is an enclosed work, with salient and reentering angles; the object of this arrangement being to remedy the defects observed in redoubts.

Note, he offered no requirement for the number of points on a star, or even that the trace somehow match up to our conceptual notion of a star.  So we have four different basic plans offered, starting with a four point star:


Then a five point:


And a six point:


Oh… and the favorite of those doing the digging… the eight point:


This latter diagram offers a good point to discuss the evolution of the star fort. The implication is that an eight point might derive from a redoubt which has salients added to the sides.  (Recall the discussion at the end of last week’s post about “remedies” for the redoubt.)  All of this sort of stretches our notion of the shape of a star when categorizing what could be called a star fort.  Again, going back to Mahan’s definition, it is the presence of reentering angles which defined the star fort, not the shape that is the result.

But there is more to this evolution thread than simply tacking salients upon a redoubt.    The form actually derived as a modification of the standard bastioned fort.  Recall during the discussion of re-entering angles, curtains, and such we highlighted the “dead space” that existed in front of a curtain wall.  One remedy applied to that was a work known as a tenaille (referring to the French word for tongs, as these works were to look like the jaws of a set of pincers).   Consider a drawing of a basic tenaille:


This is from a larger set, on Wikipedia, which demonstrates more evolved tenailles (and demonstrating a truism about fortifications – the longer you have the more elaborate they become).  For permanent fortifications, a tenaille was a work placed in front of the curtain which allowed the defenders a secure area from which to defend the ditch.  And you can see how from the viewpoint of the attacker, it smoothed out the face of the defense into a simple reentering angle between two salients.

The usefulness of these tenailles lead to a broader application as a stand-alone enclosed work.  These featured alternating salients and reentering angles, none less than 60º (note the eight pointed above with 90º angles complementing).  Faces were usually between 30 and 60 yards. In order for all of that to work with some balance between the salients, the resultant polygon had a certain shape… and that’s how the star was born!

But you see what I just walked you through here – the star fort’s name was derived from the resultant shape, which was the result of a particular arrangement of the angles.  We might just as properly call these tenaille fort.  But in that case we’d have a long discussion of how that polygon gave us the jaws of a pincer.  If you ask me, “star” is the easier term to use here.

But there were down sides (as always) to this arrangement. Referring to the ability of the star fort to remedy the defects of the redoubt, Mahan wrote:

This, however, is only partially effected in the star fort; for, if the polygon is a regular figure, it will be found, that, except in the case of a fort with eight salients, the fire of the faces does not protect the salients; and that in all cases there are dead angles at all the re-enterings.

And there was more….

The star fort has, moreover, the essential defect, that occupying the same space as the redoubt, its interior capacity will be much less, and the length of its interior crest much greater, than in the redoubt;  it will, therefore, require more men than the redoubt for its defense, whilst the interior space required for their accommodation is diminished.

For those reasons, by the time of the Civil War the star fort had fallen into disfavor… or as Mahan put it, “led engineers to proscribe it.”  Yet, we know from so many Civil War maps and accounts that star forts were used.  Simply put, there were places where a star fort worked for the particular defensive arrangement desired.  Places where engineers might prescribe, instead of proscribe, a star fort.

On the other hand, there are a lot of places which are described as star forts which do not meet the definition… for those of us being particular… of a star fort.  An example is Fort McHenry:


Fort McHenry was not an “according to definition” star fort.  Rather it was a pentagon with five bastions… or in other words, a bastioned fort.  Mention of such brings us to the next form mentioned by Mahan, as we look towards next week.

But to summarize the discussion of star forts – these came in four, five, six, eight- pointed varieties (and where practicality was set aside, some with even more points).  It was the integration of salients and reentering angles which defined the star fort, not the overall shape itself.

(Citations from Dennis Hart Mahan, A Treatise on Field Fortifications, New York: John Wiley, 1852, page 13.)

Veterans Day to reflect

In recent years, say the last ten or so, Veterans Day has a bit more meaning to me personally than when I was younger.  Some might say the nation’s appreciation… that’s the wrong word… perception… no that’s still off… maybe say, placement… of veterans has changed.  But as I struggled to find the right word or phrase to describe what has changed in society, I look at what has changed with me over those same years.

Frankly, I’m not a young guy.  Wasn’t ten years ago and certainly am not now.  And as the old guy says, with age one gains perspective.  So that’s what I have – perspective.  My perspective as a veteran is just that – “a” perspective.  Applied to the study of military history, it is not a “better” or “unique” perspective.  Just “a” perspective that is derived from experiences.  One might dismiss such from a purely analytical position.  But everyone has baggage.  What matters is what you can do and chose to do with it.

And with history mentioned, I’ll offer that as the reason for the changes with respect to Veterans Day in my personal view.  You see, I’m now able to look back at my service in the context of history – things that happened while I was in the service and specifically events… historical events… in which I participated.  Let me not bore you with my war stories (I’ll save that for when you are at the bar and paying for the drinks!).  Instead, what I marvel at is having “seen” history being made.  Ten, fifteen, and twenty years later, those events show up in the history books.  While I am not, and cannot be, a historian of those events (as a participant, I refuse to believe my view is impartial… yet hope for a later generation of impartial, professional historians to get it right), I can appreciate the events in which I played a part.  Some day a historian will call to ask about “Operation ….” or “your time in ….” and I shall present to them my well maintained personal files that detail my part in those larger events.  Small part, but a part.

As a historian, of sorts, consider the manner in which I approach such events that I had witness to.  Then let me use that framework in relation to veterans of past generations as a purchase to examine how they viewed the events which marked their service.  From such a stance, there is relief across what was open landscape.

“In our youth our hearts were touched by fire” said Oliver Wendell Holmes.  I think that is true of any veteran of any generation.  Some by large fires.  Others by small fires.  And war is not the only sort of fire that burns in such a way.

Please take some time today and reflect on this Veterans Day.  Thank a veteran.  And as a veteran, I will say, “Thank you for your support.”

Summary Statement: December 31, 1862 – Connecticut, California, and Delaware Volunteer Batteries

The majority of artillery batteries employed by Federal forces during the Civil War were volunteer formations from the states.  Indeed, with the initial call for troops, there were more volunteer artillery batteries than needed.  Because the states were responsible for organizing and in some cases equipping these batteries, there were many variations – organization, training, equipage, and others.  Most of the “workable” variations were flushed out by the end of 1862.  As I’ve discussed before, senior artillerists focused on organization and training as early as the summer of 1861.  But the Federals were stuck with some of these variations, for better or worse.

From the administrative perspective, the naming of units is perhaps the most annoying to the researcher.  Some states conformed to the same conventions as the regulars – regiments with lettered batteries.  Others simply went with an ordinal number for each battery (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.).  Some states, New York for instance, used both. There were separate regimental systems for “light” and “heavy” artillery.  And… and… some states just seemed to adopt a “whatever” approach.  Thus the volunteer batteries were often cited by different names in reports.  Add to the confusion the practice of calling the battery by the commander’s name (or mustering officer’s name) in the field.  Makes one glad the alternate designations section appears in each OR volume.

That aside, there were also interesting variations with the equipment used by these volunteer batteries.  We’ll see more hand-written column headers as we proceed.  And those lead to some interesting research trails to say the least.

That preface out of the way, let us look at summary statements, alphabetically by state.  The first being from the states of Connecticut, California, and Delaware… Um… did I say alphabetical?  I guess the ordnance clerks winged it:


Over to the far right, we see a written column – “Siege Gun 1861, 4.5 in bore, …..”  I don’t know what the last line in that nomenclature is, but know that the weapon cited was one of my favorite – the 4.5-inch rifle.

So let’s break down the list starting with Connecticut.  Note the first two are the “light” batteries for field duty (see above about the different regimental systems here… more confusion for the light readers!).  The third is a battery from the “heavies” assigned for field duty:

  • 1st Battery, Connecticut Field [Light] Artillery – Beaufort, South Carolina with two 12-pdr field howitzers and six 3.80-inch James rifles.  The 1st Battery was assigned to the Department of the South.
  • 2nd Battery, Connecticut Field [Light] Artillery – Occoquan, Virginia with two 12-pdr field howitzers and four 3.80-inch James rifles.  Officially part of the Military District of Washington, the 2nd Battery was assigned to duty at Wolf Run Shoals.
  • Battery B, 1st Connecticut Heavy Artillery – Falmouth, Virginia with four 4.5-inch siege rifles.  This battery was assigned to the Artillery Reserve, Army of the Potomac.

And of course that last battery’s duty is well known.  I will venture to guess you’ve seen those guns before:

No mention in the summary of Battery M, 1st Connecticut Heavy, which was also assigned to the reserves at this time.  The two batteries were for all intents combined during their service in the field.

Moving out to California, one line is offered.  But it is not for a battery, but rather for 3rd California Volunteer Infantry having “stores in charge” that included two 6-pdr field guns and two 12-pdr mountain howitzers.  These were at Camp Douglas, Utah.  Keep in mind that the 3rd US Artillery had men assigned out west without artillery.  Yet we have the 3rd California Infantry with artillery without artillerists.  Go figure.

The last in this set that I’ve carved out of the summary is designated 1st Battery Delaware Artillery, Field.  That battery was sometimes known as Nield’s Independent Artillery, for it’s commander Benjamin Nields.  At the reporting date, it was stationed at Camp Barry in the District of Columbia.  They reported two 12-pdr field howitzers and four 3-inch steel rifles.  Wait… 3-inch steel rifles?  Perhaps some of those Singer, Nimick, and Company rifles?  Or one of the even more “exotic” weapons of more experimental nature?  I doubt either to be the case.  Looking forward a bit, a June 1864 report from the Official Records, when the battery was assigned to the Department of the Gulf, indicated four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles and two 12-pdr Napoleons:


Yes, enough time transpired between the two data points that guns may have changed out.  But I would submit it is more likely the wrong column was used in the summary due to a mistake at some point in the data gathering.

We’ve seen a lot of interesting entries from the first page of the summary.  The ammunition pages offer a few more.  However the smoothbore entries are as one might expect:


  • 1st Connecticut Light: 12-pdr field howitzer projectiles – 142 shells, 254 case, and 72 canister.
  • 2nd Connecticut Light: 12-pdr field howitzer – 120 shells, 160 case, and 31 canister.
  • 3rd California Infantry: 6-pdr field gun projectiles – 112 shot, 106 case, and 112 canister; 12-pdr mountain howitzer – 144 shell, 120 case, and 144 canister.
  • 1st Delaware: 12-pdr field howitzer – 26 shell, 54 case, and 20 canister.

For the rifled projectiles, we start with Hotchkiss patent:


  • 1st Connecticut Light: 6-pdr 3.80-inch projectiles – 120 Hotchkiss percussion shell, 120 Hotchkiss fuse shell, and 518 Hotchkiss bullet shell (case).
  • 2nd Connecticut Light: 6-pdr 3.80-inch – 70 Hotchkiss fuse shell and Hotchkiss 168 bullet shell (case).
  • 1st Delaware:  3-inch projectiles – 77 Hotchkiss canister and 340 Hotchkiss bullet shell (case).

Note the quantities for the 1st Connecticut.

As with yesterday’s discussion with the Parrott projectiles, keep in mind that different inventors modified their projectiles to fit in their competitor’s cannons.  Here we see Hotchkiss projectiles that fit into the James rifles.  More Hotchkiss  patent and the James Patent on the next page:


  • 1st Connecticut Light: 6-pdr 3.80-inch – 200 Hotchkiss canister and 235 James canister.
  • 2nd Connecticut Light: 6-pdr 3.80-inch – 50 (or 80?) Hotchkiss canister.

And rounding out the rifled projectiles, those of the Schenkl patent:


  • 1st Connecticut Light: 6-pdr 3.80-inch – 1,078 Schenkl shells.
  • 2nd Connecticut Light: 6-pdr 3.80-inch – 316 Schenkl shells.
  • 1st Delaware: 3-inch – 94 Schenkl shells.

Notice the variety of patent-types within the two Connecticut batteries.  Recall that mixing such types caused problems in the field.

And of course the quantities.  All told the 1st Connecticut Light had 2271 projectiles.  Their friends in the 2nd had but 604 (or 634, if I misread the one line).  At some point I will pull the numbers and make observations about the “load-out” for a battery, circa December 1862.  I suspect the 1st Connecticut will break the bell curve.

Last note about the projectiles – there are no entries for 4.5-inch to cover the heavy Connecticut battery.  So we are left not quantifying how well stocked (or not) those guns on the Rappahannock really were.

And finally, the small arms:


The handwritten column headers deserve some clarification.  From left to right, I read these as “Carbine”, “Springfield, Cal .58”, and <something> “Cal .58”.  Your guess is as good as mine about the third column.  It will come into play with the next installment, as for now there were no entries there for Connecticut, California, or Delaware.  Also note, further to the right, that the revolver calibers are replaced with “Army” and “Navy” :

  • 1st Connecticut Light: 135 Navy revolvers, 13 cavalry sabers, 46 horse artillery sabers, and 86 foot artillery sabers.
  • 2nd Connecticut Light: 20 Navy revolvers, 122 horse artillery sabers.
  • 1st Delaware: 24 Army revolvers and 142 horse artillery sabers.

No entries for the California infantry, presuming those small arms were carried against a regimental return elsewhere.

Again, roll the numbers around.  Nearly every man in the 2nd Connecticut and 1st Delaware had their own swords, though pistols were in shorter supply.  However, the 1st Connecticut, stationed in South Carolina, must have issued a revolver and sword for every man!

Summary Statement: December 31, 1862 – 5th Regiment Artillery, US Regulars

If you are “Willing and Able” we will look at the 5th Artillery’s portion of the December 31, 1862 summary statement.  Unlike the other regular artillery regiments, the 5th did not have a history dating back to pre-war days.  It was formed on May 4, 1861.  Though a “young” formation, the batteries saw considerable action in the first two years of the war.  But again, this post will focus on the state of affairs at the end of December 1862.

As with previous installments, the yellow lines are the rules across the page, to help us verify the numbers.  The red lines are where I’ve “cut” a portion of the page to bring column headers and line declarations into view.  Please notice there are two horizontal red lines in these tables.  The 5th Artillery’s statement spans from the bottom of one set of pages and onto the next.  Yes, that complicates the effort.  But no bayonets or scissors are needed, thanks to some digital tools.


Not a lot of variation among the cannons assigned to the batteries of the regiment.  However, the locations of some batteries offer questions that need answers.  Here’s the breakdown of the assignments and charges:

  • Battery A: Newport News, Virginia with six 12-pdr Napoleons.  The location may reflect the assignment at the time of the ordnance report filing (March 1863).  Battery A was part of Ninth Corps, Army of the Potomac, at Fredericksburg and participated in the “Mud March” of January 1863.  Battery A remained with the corps when transferred to the Department of Virginia, arriving at Newport News in February.
  • Battery B: “Not organized until 1863.”  This battery was still forming at the reporting time.  Personnel were on duty at Fort Hamilton, New York.
  • Battery C: At Belle Plain, Virginia with four 12-pdr Napoleons.  Assigned to First Corps, Army of the Potomac.
  • Battery D: At Falmouth, Virginia with six 10-pdr Parrotts.  Assigned to Fifth Corps, Army of the Potomac.
  • Battery E: No return filed.  Like “B” above, Battery E was still getting organized and personnel were on duty at Fort Hamilton.
  • Battery F: At Berlin, Maryland with two 12-pdr Napoleons and four 10-pdr Parrotts.  As with Battery A, the location is another “conundrum.” As with its sister, Battery F’s location may reflect that at the time of report filing.  In December 1862, Battery F supported Sixth Corps, Army of the Potomac, on the banks of the Rappahannock.  However, in July 1863, when the report was filed, the battery was moving through Berlin, Maryland with the pursuit after Gettysburg.  Of note, by July 1863 the battery had six Parrotts.
  • Battery G: New Orleans, Louisiana.  No cannons reported.  The battery was in transit from Fort Hamilton to the Department of the Gulf.
  • Battery H: Murphreesboro, Tennessee with four 12-pdr Napoleons and two 10-pdr Parrotts.  Engaged at Stones River on December 31, thus explaining the delay with reporting, Battery H was part of an all “US Regulars” brigade in the Center Wing, Fourteenth Corps, Army of the Cumberland.
  • Battery I: No return filed.  Was assigned to Fifth Corps at Falmouth.  Presumably retained four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.
  • Battery K: At Falmouth, Virginia with four 12-pdr Napoleons.  Assigned to the Reserve Artillery, Army of the Potomac.
  • Battery L: Baltimore, Maryland with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Part of the Eighth Corps, Middle Department.
  • Battery M: Location not indicated, but with six 12-pdr Napoleons.  Battery M was part of the artillery reserve of Fourth Corps, then posted at Yorktown.

Two additional lines appear on the Fifth Artillery’s summary for the Adjutant and 1st Lieutenant.  Both of these were at Fort Hamilton.  No cannons or ammunition were reported under these lines.  Just small arms and other equipment.

The Fifth Artillery reported this for smoothbore ammunition on hand:


The breakdown by battery:

  • Battery A: For 12-pdr caliber – 192 shot, 96 shells, 288 spherical case, and 192 canister.
  • Battery C: 12-pdr caliber – 119 shot, 11 shell, 212 case, and 120 canister.
  • Battery F: 12-pdr again – 96 shot, 32 shell, 96 case, and 40 canister.
  • Battery K: 12-pdr – 96 shot, 61 shell, 117 case, and 32 canister.
  • Battery M: 12-pdr – 233 shot, 87 shell, 274 case, and 96 canister.

Turning to the rifled projectiles, first the Hotchkiss projectiles:


We see only Battery L with any quantity on hand – 720 3-inch shot and 241 fused shells.  Would be interesting to compare Battery L’s quantities with Battery I’s… but the latter battery’s report did not find its way to the summary.

For Parrott rifled projectiles, we see two patterns – Parrott and Schenkel:


By battery:

  • Battery D: 10-pdr Parrott – 72  shells, 500 case, and 24 canister.
  • Battery F: 10-pdr Parrott – 160 shells, 320 case, and 96 canister; 320 Schenkel 10-pdr shot (note, this is Schenkel pattern cast for Parrott guns).
  • Battery H: 10-pdr Parrott – 310 shells, 93 case, and 63 canister.

More Schenkel pattern as the table continues to the next page:


  • Battery D: 251 Schenkel-pattern 10-pdr Parrott shells.
  • Battery L: 120 3-inch Schenkel shells and 120 3-inch canister, Tatham’s pattern canister.

Lastly, the small arms:


  • Battery A: 23 revolvers, .44 caliber, and 65 horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery C: 27 .44-caliber and 27 .37-caliber revolvers.  17 horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery D: 12 .37-caliber revolvers and 62 horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery F: 27 .44-caliber revolvers and 22 horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery G: 7 horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery H: 17 .44-caliber revolvers, 5 .37 caliber revolvers, and 40 cavalry sabers.
  • Battery K: 58 .44-caliber revolvers and 16 horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery L: 98 .37-caliber revolvers and 145 horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery M: 24 .37-caliber revolvers and 20 horse artillery sabers.
  • Adjutant: 28 horse artillery sabers.

This concludes the statements for the US Regulars. I’ll turn to the volunteer batteries next, in alphabetical order by states.

Fortification Friday: Plans for simple “intrenchments” – Part 2, Enclosed Redoubts

In last Friday’s installment, we discussed some of Mahan’s “simple intrenchments,” specifically the open fortifications commonly used.  The other works mentioned by Mahan were “enclosed” fortifications – in the sense that these offered no open gorge lines.  And enclosed implied that the plan of the works formed a polygon of some sort.  Also keep in mind that, just as open works, enclosed works could be “detached” from the main works, or could be part of a connected series of works.

Mahan broke the the enclosed works into two categories – those without re-entering angles; those with re-entering angles.  And even within that division, those with re-entering angles were further sub-divided based on level of complexity.  Let me hold the discussion of the re-entering angle-based works – known as star forts and bastions – for next week.  This week we will look at the redoubt, which has no re-entering angles:

Any enclosed work of a polygonal form, without re-entering angles, is denominated a redoubt.  This work is used to fortify a position which can be attacked on all sides; the works which have already been described, being unsuitable for this purpose, as their gorges are open, and therefore require to be supported by troops, or works, in their rear; except when they are so situated that an attack cannot be made at the gorge.

We might consider a redoubt to be an open work with a wall added across the gorge.  Within the logical definition, there are some geometric rules that imposed forms upon the plan for a redoubt – triangles, quadrangles, pentagons, and such.  Of these multi-sided options, the quadrangle offered less dangerous angles.  Furthermore, the least risk was found with parallel sides… you know… rectangles or squares:

The square is the most common form for a redoubt, on account of the ease with which it is constructed, and the advantage it possesses, when combined with several others, of protecting the spaces between them by a cross fire.

And we have Figure 7, showing the plan for a common square redoubt.


Think about the layout here.  There are several ways to describe it.  Four salients.  Or four right lines.  Either way you want to turn it, the features lay directly opposite a similar feature.   Also note the entrance at the bottom, or gorge, of this redoubt.  A traverse covered the entrance in Mahan’s simple diagram.  The “saw teeth” on the upper left is part of the follow on discussion, and an attempt at remediation of the problems associated with salient angles.

Though the square redoubt served to limit dangerous angles, like all redoubts it still had flaws:

All redoubts have the same defects. The ditches are unprotected, and there is a sector without fire in front of each salient.  For the purpose of remedying the sector without fire, it has been proposed to convert a portion of each face at the salient angles, into an indented line, to procure a fire in the direction of the capitals.  This method is not of practical application; and if it could be applied would only serve the purpose of changing the position of the sectors without fire from the salients to other points.

So… there was no “fixing” the redoubt’s problems within the layout of the fortification.  Instead, redoubts needed supporting works, chiefly other redoubts, for mutual defense.

Three points I’d add to Mahan’s lesson on redoubts.  First, there was some variation between the term “redoubt” when applied to fixed fortifications. In that context, a redoubt was a work outside the main work’s scarp designed as the feature of defense in the outerworks.  For instance, a demi-lune’s main feature was usually a triangular redoubt.  Keep that in mind when reading contemporary accounts.  Redoubts, be they for fixed or field fortifications, are still enclosed works, but are employed for different purposes.

Secondly, an unmentioned flaw of the redoubt was its vulnerability to high angle fire.  With the simple interior, there was nothing to resist the bounding shell or shot which arrived on the parade ground.  To rectify this, most redoubts featured some sort of traverse across the interior.  A good example of this is seen at Fort Davis, at Petersburg.

Lastly, Mahan does not, in the passages cited above from Field Fortifications, mention some of the other methods employed to address the redoubt’s flaws.  (Though in Mahan’s defense, he went into detail of these in other lessons.)  A common method to address the unprotected ditches was to add galleries at the salients. Another option was a caponniere along the line.  For those less concerned with the exact nomenclature, these were small redans or lunettes placed at points around the redoubt.  Arguably, incorporation of such features transformed the redoubt into a bastioned fort… and thus one of those “other” enclosed works with re-entering angles.

That said… next week we’ll look at some of those enclosed works that used re-entering angles.

(Citations from Dennis Hart Mahan, A Treatise on Field Fortifications, New York: John Wiley, 1852, pages 12-13.)