Summary Statement, 1st Quarter, 1863 – Indiana’s Batteries, Part 1

After some “time away” let me resume work on the summary statements for first quarter, 1863.  In clerk’s sequence, the next state’s batteries to review are those of Indiana.  For fourth quarter, 1862, I listed twenty-one batteries in one post.  And for the first quarter of 1863 we have twenty five batteries to consider:


For brevity, I’ll break them down into parts this go around. In this installment, let us focus on the first twelve batteries:


Plenty enough to discuss with those twelve:

  • 1st Battery:  No report. Through the winter, the battery was in the Department of the Missouri, District of St. Louis, in the Second Division of that district.  However, along with its parent brigade, the battery was transferred starting April 1863 to Fourteenth Division, Thirteenth Corps to join the forces operating against Vicksburg.  Captain Martin Klauss commanded.
  • 2nd Battery: Reporting at Springfield, Missouri with two 6-pdr field guns and four 3.80-inch James Rifles. Lieutenant Hugh Espey commanded this battery, assigned to the District of Southwestern Missouri.
  • 3rd Battery: Also indicated as at Springfield, Missouri but with two 6-pdr field guns, two 12-pdr Napoleons, and two 3.67-inch rifles. Also part of the District of Southwestern Missouri, Captain James M. Cockefair commanded this battery.
  • 4th Battery:  At Murfreesboro, Tennessee with two 12-pdr Napoleons, two 12-pdr field howitzers, and two 3.80-inch James Rifles. Captain Asahel Bush retained command that spring, with assignment to Third Division, Twentieth Corps.  Later in the spring, Lieutenant David Fansburg assumed command with battery moved to First Division, Fourteenth Corps.
  • 5th Battery: At Shell Mound, Tennessee with two 12-pdr Napoleons, one 10-pdr Parrott, and one 3.80-inch James Rifle. Shell Mound was a landing on the Tennessee River downstream from Chattanooga.  And that location was probably valid for the reporting time of December 1863.  In March 1863, the battery was with Second Division, Twentieth Corps, at Murfreesboro.  Captain Peter Simonson moved up to command the division’s artillery brigade, leaving Lieutenant Alfred Morrison with the battery.
  • 6th Battery: Reporting from Lafayette, Tennessee with two 6-pdr field guns and two 3.80-inch James Rifles. Officially assigned to First Division, Sixteenth Corps, Captain Michael Mueller commanded. The battery had postings across west Tennessee until June, when dispatched with the rest of the division to Vicksburg.
  • 7th Battery: McMinnville, Tennessee with two 12-pdr Napoleons and four 10-pdr Parrotts. Captain George R. Swallow’s battery supported Third Division, Twenty-First Corps as the Army of the Cumberland reorganized at Murfreesboro through the winter.  Though McMinnville appears to be derived from the August report filing.
  • 8th Battery: No return. Captain George Estep retained command of this battery.  In the winter reorganizations, the battery was posted to First Division, Twenty-First Corps at Murfreesboro.
  • 9th Battery: No return. Lieutenant George R. Brown commanded this battery, assigned to Fourth Division, Sixteenth Corps.  It was left behind that spring to garrison the District of Columbus, in Kentucky.
  • 10th Battery: At Murfreesboro, Tennessee with two 12-pdr field howitzers and four 10-pdr Parrotts. Captain Jerome B. Cox held command when the battery was assigned to First Division, Twenty-First Corps that winter.  Later in the spring Lieutenant William A. Naylor assumed command.
  • 11th Battery: No return. Captain Arnold Sutermeister’s battery began the winter assigned to the Army of the Cumberland’s artillery reserve at Nashville.  Spring found them assigned to Third Division, Twentieth Corps, preparing for the Tullahoma Campaign at Murfreesboro.
  • 12th Battery: At Nashville, Tennessee as siege artillery.  The fort is named, but I cannot transcribe it directly.  Returns list the battery assigned to Fort Negley, with four 4.5-inch Ordnance siege rifles under Captain James E. White.

We see seven of these twelve batteries assigned to the Army of the Cumberland.  Three were posted to Grant’s command, though only two would be active in the field for the Vicksburg Campaign.  And two were posted to southwest Missouri.  As for armament, from the batteries reporting we see six 6-pdr field guns, eight Napoleons, four 12-pdr howitzers, nine Parrotts, nine James Rifles, and two of those rifled 6-pdr “look-alikes” to the James.  The latter is interesting to flag.  We see again the artillerists and ordnance authorities indicating a difference between the 3.80-inch and 3.67-inch rifles, in the forms.

A lot of smoothbore ammunition to account for:


As nearly every battery reporting had a smoothbore or two:

  • 2nd Battery: 241 shot, 400 case, and 191 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
  • 3rd Battery: 105 shot, 141 case, and 132 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 136 shot, 406 shell,  227 case, and 300 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 4th Battery: 96 shot, 32 shell, 96 case, and 32 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons; 79 shell, 96 case, and 66 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • 5th Battery: 96 shot, 32 shell, 94 case, and 33 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 6th Battery: 320 shot, 160 case, and 80 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
  • 7th Battery: 24 shot, 8 shell, 28 case, and 8 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 10th Battery: 115 shell, 100 case, and 116 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.

Moving to the rifled columns, we find no Hotchkiss projectiles reported on hand.  On the next page, we can focus on James and Parrott projectiles (full page posted for review):


Looking at the James projectiles first:

  • 2nd Battery: 120 shot and 176 shell in 3.80-inch.
  • 3rd Battery: 52 shot, 273 shell, and 24 canister in 3.80-inch.
  • 4th Battery: 16 shot and 12 canister for 3.80-inch.

The presented quantities beg questions.  First, 3rd Battery had 2.67-inch rifles, as tallied in the first page but apparently had 3.80-inch projectiles.  So we must assume one or the other figure is incorrect.  Second, what about 5th and 6th Batteries and their James?  Well half of that question will be answered later.

And the Parrotts:

  • 5th Battery: 145 shell and 24 canister in 2.9-inch (10-pdr).
  • 7th Battery:  210 shell and 380 case in 2.9-inch.
  • 10th Battery:  463 shell, 225 case, and 94 canister in 2.9-inch.

Here we see a nice match to the reported weapons and projectiles on hand.

Moving to columns for Schenkl’s and Tatham’s projectiles, we have half an answer to a question:


  • 4th Battery: 205 Schenkl shell for 3.80-inch rifle; 35 Tatham canister for 3.80-inch.
  • 5th Battery: 90 Schenkl shell for 3.80-inch; 32 Tatham canister for 3.80-inch rifle.

So we still don’t know what the 6th Battery had on hand for its James rifles, but the 5th had Schenkl shells and Tatham canister.

Moving to the small arms:


By battery:

  • 2nd Battery: Twenty-eight Army revolvers and twenty-eight cavalry sabers.
  • 3rd Battery:  Three Navy revolvers and ten horse artillery sabers.
  • 4th Battery: Twenty-six Army revolvers and ten cavalry sabers.
  • 5th Battery: Seven horse artillery sabers.
  • 6th Battery: Twenty-four Cavalry Sabers.
  • 7th Battery: Only two cavalry sabers.
  • 10th Battery: Twenty Army revolvers and nine cavalry sabers.

An allocation of small arms within reason for artillerists assigned to, presumably, strictly artillery duties.

We’ll look at the other half of the Indiana batteries in the next installment.

Summary Statement, 1st Quarter, 1863 – Iowa’s light artillery

The next state’s batteries listed in the first quarter, 1863 summaries was Iowa.  Yes, we have Iowa following Illinois and Indiana saved for the next set of pages.  The clerks at the Ordnance Department were not concerned with alphabetical order.  They wanted to maximize space utilization on the form.  After all there was a war on and must have been some paper shortage, right?

So that makes short work for us in this installment, just three batteries and a ‘stores on hand’ line to consider:

0100_1_Snip_Iowa All three batteries, and the referenced cavalry regiment, served in the lower Mississippi Valley that winter as Federals angled to capture Vicksburg:

  • 1st Iowa Battery: At Sherman’s Landing, Louisiana with four 6-pdr field guns and two 12-pdr field howitzers. Sherman’s Landing was near Young’s Point, where the battery supported First Division, Fifteenth Corps.  Captain Henry H. Griffiths commanded.
  • 2nd Iowa Battery: Reporting from Young’s Point, Louisiana with two 6-pdr field guns and two 12-pdr field howitzers. Lieutenant Joseph R. Reed commanded this battery, part of the Eighth Division, Sixteenth Corps.
  • 3rd Iowa Battery: At Helena, Arkansas with four 6-pdr field guns and two 12-pdr field howitzers. Captain Mortimer M. Hayden commanded this battery.  It was assigned on paper to the “new” Thirteenth Corps, but operated as part of the District of Eastern Arkansas out of Helena.
  • 4th Iowa Cavalry: Stores in charge, no guns tallied on the summary.  We’ll look at this entry in detail later.  The regiment served under Lieutenant-Colonel Simeon D. Swan during the winter, mostly operating around Helena.

So three batteries, all reporting a mix of 6-pdr field guns and 12-pdr howitzers.  We can make short work of this, right?


Smoothbore ammunition reported by battery:

  • 1st Iowa: 400 shot, 320 case, and 80 canister for 6-pdr field gun;  120 shell, 160 case, and 42 canister for 12-pdr field howitzer.
  • 2nd Iowa: 142 shot 160 case, and 111 canister for 6-pdr field gun; 120 shell, 120 case, and 74 canister for 12-pdr field howitzer.
  • 3rd Iowa: 375 shot, 299 case, and 85 canister for 6-pdr field gun;  95 shell, 66 case, and 32 canister for 12-pdr field howitzer.

I would point out the 1st Iowa’s quantities are the same as reported the previous quarter.  The other two reflect changes of ordnance on hand.

As expected, there were no quantities of rifled projectiles on hand.  I’ve posted the snips to prove it (here, here, and here).

So we turn to the small arms:


And find just nine sabers on hand:

  • 1st Iowa: Five cavalry sabers.
  • 2nd Iowa:  Four cavalry sabers.

A short discussion for those three batteries – ten 6-pdr guns and six 12-pdr howitzers along with well stocked ammunition chests and a handful of sabers.

But what of the 4th Cavalry line?  What “stores” did they have on hand?  Looking through the implements and equipment pages, there are three each – tar bucket, gunner’s haversack, gunner’s pincers, two wheel harnesses, lanyards, piercing wires, and tube punches.  So we might gather there were, or at least were at some time, three guns assigned.  And one more line item offers another clue – the regiment reported three 2.6-inch Wiard sponges.  As noted before, the ordnance clerks would sometime tally equipment associated with Woodruff guns under the 2.6-inch Wiard columns (or in some cases the “repeating gun” columns, to add to their inconsistencies).  And if we look to the regimental history, we get some conformation:

On the 8th of March [1863], a detachment of two hundred and fifty men of the Fourth Iowa, commanded by Major Spearman, forming part of a column under Major Walker, of the Fifth Kansas Cavalry… had a skirmish with the rebels at Big Creek, about ten miles west of Helena.  The creek was impassable, and the enemy were on the opposite side. Private Benoni F. Kellogg, of L, a popular soldier was killed, but no one else was struck.  Kellogg’s comrades, unwilling to leave his body, lashed it to one of the “Woodruff” guns, and so brought it into camp, where they buried it with honors.

A Woodruff gun used as an ambulance… some might argue that was the best possible utilization of the diminutive cannon.  But, let us be kind.  The regimental history continues to describe the guns and explain how the troopers used them:

The Woodruff guns were three small iron pieces, throwing a two-pound solid shot, which about this time in some way came into the hands of the regiment. They were placed in charge of Private “Cy” Washburn, of B, who had a few men detailed to assist him.  They were of no value, and were generally voted a nuisance.  They were never known to hit anything, and never served any useful purpose, except in promoting cheerfulness in the regiment. The men were never tired of making jokes and teasing Washburn about them; but he was proud of his artillery, and thirsted for an opportunity to justify its existence.  When the regiment left Helena he was not permitted to take it along with him; but he pined for a gun, and in the Vicksburg campaign he was given a small brass piece, captured at Jackson, upon which he organized another “battery” and considered himself handsomely promoted. An opportunity for glory came suddenly one fine day, but before it could be fully achieved the unfeeling rebels carried off Washburn, battery and all.

Poor Washburn.  I am certain readers can sympathize with this eager artillerist diligently working to enlighten the wooden-heads of the mounted arm as to the value of artillery.  Yet, when given a chance to demonstrate on the field of battle, his opportunity foiled.

But we do have some clean evidence to support speculations.  The regimental history mentions three Woodruffs.  We see indications of three “sets” of equipment with the regiment.  And we know the guns were employed in March 1863… though not in the manner designed for. Regardless, such fills in some blanks left on the summaries.

(Citations from William Forse Scott, The Story of a Cavalry Regiment: The Career of the Fourth Iowa Veteran Volunteers from Kansas to Georgia, 1861-1865, New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1893, page 62.)

Summary Statement, 1st Quarter, 1863 – Independent batteries from Illinois

Proceeding through the Summary Statements for first quarter, 1863, we arrive at the various non-regimented batteries from Illinois.  Like a blast of canister into the darkest night, these tables are hit and miss:


Ten lines, but with six registered entries.  And all of these referring to a battery commander’s (or former commander’s) name.  We had the same issue with the previous quarter’s summary, so this is nothing new:

  • Stoke’s [Stokes’] Battery: Also known as the Chicago Board of Trade Independent Battery Light Artillery, commanded by Captain James Stokes.  At Murfreesboro, Tennessee with four 6-pdr field guns, one 6-pdr (3.67-inch) rifle, and two 3.80-inch James rifles.  One of the 6-pdrs was a Confederate gun captured at Stones River, to replace a gun damaged in the battle.  This battery was authorized as a seven gun battery during the quarter, presumably adding the 6-pdr rifle at that time.  The battery was assigned to the Cavalry Corps, Army of the Cumberland.
  • Vaughn’s Battery: Also known as known as the Springfield Independent Battery. Outside Memphis, at Germantown, Tennessee with six 3.80-inch James rifles. However, returns show Captain Thomas F. Vaughn’s battery was assigned to the District of Jackson, as part of Sixteenth Corps as of April 30, 1863.  Same corps, just a duty location dependency.
  • Busteed’s Battery: No report.  This is an odd entry, if the name matches to other records.  This battery, which according to a Chicago Tribune report dated February 17, 1862, was raised at war’s onset by Captain Richard Busteed, Jr. as the Chicago Light Battery (not to be confused with Battery A, 1st Illinois Artillery).  They were soon assigned to Washington, D.C. However, when Busteed and other officers resigned in November 1861, leading to the battery being disbanded.  Most of the artillerymen were reassigned to what became the 4th New York Independent Artillery.  So why is there a line here?
  • Phillips’ Battery: No report.Another curious line entry.  This might match to Captain John C. Phillips’ Battery M, 2nd Illinois, which had suffered the indignity of capture at Harpers Ferry the previous fall.
  • Cooley’s Battery: This was the Chicago Mercantile Independent Battery.  Reporting at Milliken’s Bend, Louisiana with four 6-pdr field guns and two 3-inch Ordnance rifles.  Under Captain Patrick H. White, this battery was assigned to Tenth Division, Thirteenth Corps.
  • Bridges’ Battery: Also at Murfreesboro but with three(?) 6-pdr field guns, two 12-pdr Napoleon and two 3-inch Ordnance rifles. The battery formed from Company G, 19th Illinois Infantry, officially, in January 1863.  However, during the previous fall, the men had been detailed to service guns in the defenses of Nashville.   Captain Lyman Bridges commanded the battery, which supported the Pioneer Brigade, Army of the Cumberland.
  • Elgin’s Battery: Lieutenant Andrew M. Wood assumed command of this battery during the spring (replacing Captain George W. Renwick).  The battery was assigned to the District of Western Kentucky. Later in June 1863, the battery reported four 24-pdr field howitzers and six 3.80-inch James rifles. But for the first quarter, we have no report.
  • Colvin’s Battery: No report. This battery was being organized during the winter from parts of the 107th Illinois Infantry, 33rd Kentucky Infantry and 22nd Indiana Battery. Captain John H. Colvin’s command was part of the Department of the Ohio.
  • Coggswell’s [Cogswell’s] Battery: Reporting at Camp Sherman, Mississippi with four 3.80-inch James rifles.  Captain William Cogswell’s battery supported First Division, Sixteenth Corps at this time.  When Cogswell moved up to command the artillery brigade, Lieutenant Henry G. Eddy assumed command of the battery.
  • Henshaw’s Battery: At Loudon, Tennessee (which probably better reflects the November 7, 1863 reporting date) with four 6-pdr field guns and two 3.80-inch James rifles. This was Captain Edward C. Henshaw’s battery, which had just formed at the end of 1862.  The battery was also part of the District of Western Kentucky.

One side note, those batteries listed as part of the District of Western Kentucky at this time were soon pulled into the Twenty-Third Corps when General Burnside took command of the Department of the Ohio.  So there was another administrative change for these batteries just weeks into the next quarter.

Of those reporting, we see fifteen 6-pdr smoothbores, one rifled 6-pdr, and fourteen James rifles.  Quite possible that all three types used the same casting pattern – that of the Model 1841 field gun.  Keep such in mind as we review the ammunition reports.

And speaking of which, we start with the smoothbore rounds on hand:


I’m going to stick with the names provided on the summaries, but keep in mind the alternate designations mentioned above (which are just half the story, as some of those independent batteries were at times cited within the regimental system, with much confusion). By battery:

  • Stokes’ Battery: 334 shot, 302 case, and 259 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
  • Vaughn’s Battery: 72 shell, 42 case, and 50 canister for 12-pdr field howitzer.  Recall the battery reported similar quantities on hand the previous quarter, with no weapons in that caliber on hand.
  • Cooley’s Battery: 397 shot, 327 case, and 74 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
  • Bridges’ Battery: 98 shot, 366 case, and 122 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 100 shot, 50 shell, 250 case, and 50 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.
  • Henshaw’s Battery: 522 shot, 406 case, and 84 canister for 6-pdr field guns.

So just one question mark, and that one retained from the previous quarter.

Moving over to the rifled projectiles, we start with the products of Mr. Hotchkiss:


We see quantities on hand for those four 3-inch rifles, along with rounds for the James rifles:

  • Stokes’ Battery:  17 shot and 50 fuse shell, Hotchkiss, in 3.67-inch caliber.  Presumably feed for the lone rifled 6-pdr. (And more to add to that on the next page.)
  • Cooley’s Battery: 44 canister, 96 percussion shell, 82 fuse shell, and 167 bullet shell, Hotchkiss, for 3-inch rifles.
  • Bridges’ Battery:  84 canister, 65 percussion shell, 320 fuse shell, and 115 bullet shell, Hotchkiss, for 3-inch rifles.
  • Cogswell’s Battery: 148 shot, Hotchkiss, for 3.80-inch James rifles.
  • Henshaw’s Battery: 40 percussion shell, 80 fuse shell, and 280 bullet shell for 3.80-inch James Rifles.

Moving to the next page, we have quantities in the “spill over” Hotchkiss columns, in addition to some James-patent (full page here):


First, breaking out the orphaned Hotchkiss entries:

  • Stokes’ Battery: 40 canister, Hotchkiss, 3.67-inch rifle caliber.
  • Vaughn’s Battery:  180 canister, Hotchkiss, 3.80-inch rifle caliber.

Moving to the James columns:

  • Stokes’ Battery: 33 shot and 72 shell, James, 3.80-inch.
  • Vaughn’s Battery: 250 shot, 451 shell, and 30 canister, James, 3.80-inch.
  • Cogswell’s Battery: 31 shot, 327 shell, and 47 canister, James, 3.80-inch.
  • Henshaw’s Battery: 120 shell, James, 3.80-inch.

Onto the next page, we have some sparse entries:


Of Schenkl-patent projectiles:

  • Stokes’ Battery: 392 shell, Schenkl, for 3.80-inch rifle.

And Tatham’s Canister:

  • Vaughn’s Battery: 36 canister in 3.80-inch.
  • Cogswell’s Battery: 107 canister in 3.80-inch.

With all the projectiles out of the way, we turn to the small arms:


By battery:

  • Stokes’ Battery: Eight Army revolvers, eight cavalry sabers, and twenty horse artillery sabers.
  • Vaughn’s Battery: Ten horse artillery sabers.
  • Cooley’s Battery:  Four horse artillery sabers.
  • Bridges’ Battery: Ten Army revolvers and fifteen cavalry sabers.
  • Cogswell’s Battery: Two Army revolvers and six horse artillery sabers.
  • Henshaw’s Battery: Twenty army revolvers and twenty horse artillery sabers.

So not a lot of small arms issued to the batteries.  We might translate such to indicate these were artillerymen who were primarily performing the role of artillerymen.

Overall, we see one nice line item separation that I’d like to highlight.  The rifled 6-pdr guns and the James 3.80-inch rifles are very similar in many regards, notably metal used, external appearance and rifling standards.  However, they were slightly different calibers.  Exactly 0.13-inch different as we dry measure things.  But that difference meant ammunition lots had to be kept straight.  We see indications that was done in Stokes’ Chicago Board of Trade Battery.

Hotchkiss Projectiles, Part 2 – Canister

Last week I opened a thread about the Hotchkiss-patent projectiles. As my approach is to connect the rifle projectile classifications to the columns in the summaries, I’m going to work, in a sort-of and kind-of way, from left to right:


Again.. sort of left to right.  The first two columns are not used very often. These are for seldom reported shot (or, as I prefer, bolt) in 2.6-inch and 3-inch rifle.


But the third column over often has tallies.  Note the written adjustment to this column.  I think the printed text was “3-inch wrought-shot iron gun, 3-inch bore”.  There’s enough redundancy there to confuse any bean-counter.  I don’t even want to speculate as to what that column was supposed to have referenced.  Instead, since the written amendment of “canister” is clear and consistent, let us settle that the clerks used this column to tally canister, of the Hotchkiss-patent design, for 3-inch rifles.  Three more canister columns appear on the far right of the Hotchkiss header:


Note the caliber designations – 6-pdr “Wiard” (2.6-inch bore), 12-pdr “Wiard” (3.67-inch bore), and 6-pdr “James” (3.80-inch bore).  The attachment of Wiard and James to those calibers does reflect the cannons produced to those inventors’ designs.  But we must also consider the caliber in the generic sense.  For instance, 12-pdr “Wiard” was the same bore diameter of a 6-pdr rifled gun (not James, but close…).  It is also the same bore diameter used by the 20-pdr Parrott.   Also consider, we’ve seen the 2.6-inch caliber columns used to report tallies of small-bore rifle guns such as the Woodruff guns.  So apply a grain of salt.

So we have columns. And what made that necessary?  Well, Hotchkiss canister were different than other types.  Let’s start with a baseline:


From John Gibbon’s Artillerist’s Manual, we have a general diagram of smoothbore canister.  In brief, we see the canister with the iron sub-projectiles arranged in order.  These would be packed in sawdust or other packing material.  The can is attached by rivets to a base, which is augmented by a sabot. Behind that, the bag of powder is “fixed” to allow rapid handling in action.

This form worked well for smoothbore cannon.  But in rifled cannon there were problems related to the rifling.  First off, with the ignition of the powder, the base needed to expand in order to fill the windage in the rifle for accuracy.  But, that expansion should not be “too good” as that would allow the rifling to impart significant spin to the round and thus produce a wild shot pattern. Furthermore, the centrifugal force within the canister could deform the payload – particularly where lead shot was used instead of iron.  In a worst case scenario, the deformities might cause the canister to lodge in the bore… and lead to injuries to the gun or crew.

Those were the problems that Benjamin B. Hotchkiss sought to resolve with Patent No. 34,058:


Hotchkiss described the layout of this projectile:

The nature of my invention consists in the employment of an inner case of metal or other suitable material divided longitudinally in one or more places, for the purpose of contributing to the resistance of the case to outside pressure and to inside pressure, while the exterior is supported at certain points in sliding across the grooves of the gun, and thus diminishing the liability of the canister to become bruised or distorted in form, while the strength of the structure opposed to bursting strains is but little if any greater than that due to the outer case alone.  This is important because a canister, as ordinarily constructed, is liable to become damaged in transportation, or enlarged at certain points while it is moving across the grooves of the gun, while any increase of strength by simply thickening the case prevents it from bursting with the proper facility after leaving the muzzle of the gun.

The design started with the basic canister form, or tube (“A,” in the diagram), made of tin or other soft metal.  In this were arranged the balls (“D”).  Hotchkiss canister typically used lead balls.  The base (“B”) was attached by nailing or soldering.  Though Hotchkiss preferred “to place the tube within a mold and pour therein a quantity of melted soft metal, forming a firm base….” The back (where the powder would attach) was recessed to allow some expansion when fired.  This would seal off windage when fired.  Hotchkiss suggested the base be “tin-plate” to avoid expanding completely into the grooves.

Furthermore, the recess within the base allowed a powder bag to be fixed and folded.  This would avoid having separate powder bags.  A fine point we will return to shortly.

Turning back to the tube, Hotchkiss specified a shorter case within, cited as “C” in the diagram. This interior case was …

… divided longitudinally in one or more places, m, so as to allow it to be easily ruptured by a force acting from within outward, while it will resist effectually any exterior strains, or those acting from without inward. This inner case stiffens the canister very materially, so that any ordinary concussions in handling will not bruise the case or change its form, so as to prevent its entering the bore readily.  It also aids to prevent the concussion of the explosion from causing the contained balls to wedge the case into the grooves when the gun is rifled, a difficulty which prevents the ordinary canister from being used to advantage in rifled ordnance.

And would that stiffening prevent the canister from expanding?

On my canister leaving the muzzle of the gun, the interior case, C, being divided presents little or no obstacle to the bursting of the case and the liberating of the inclosed balls in the ordinary manner.

Adding to this arrangement, Hotchkiss allowed for a metal plate (“E”) between the tube and base to prevent the soft metal from being deformed by the payload.  Likewise a similar metal disk “F” was at the top, with the ends of the tube bent over in the normal manner for canister.

Turning back to the powder bag, Hotchkiss proposed to provide fixed ammunition without using the sabot seen for smoothbore canister.  The method employed another metal disk, “G”, fixed by screw “I” to the base.  Then the cartridge bag (“H”) could be folded within the base for shipment (Figure 2).  When issued for use, the bag was unfolded and filled with powder (Figure 1).  “By this means my improved canister has all the facility of transportation and safety of the detached canister.”

Now let us walk through how this canister would be handled by the artillerists.  When issued, the canister arrived boxed and without the powder bags filled.  The ordnance teams (or cannon crew as the case might be) would unfold the bag and fill with powder.  When the right measure is drawn, the end was tied.  At that point the round was ready for use, and would find a slot in the ammunition chest.

But, you ask, what about all these tales of “double canister”?  Well that would be hard with fixed canister, right?  But with Hotchkiss’ pattern canister, that was made easier with the issue of canister without filled bags.  Still, that raises a lot of implications, particularly someone thinking ahead for the possible need to fire double canister.  One flag I would throw out here – it was possible for the crew to fill the bag at the limber.  In other words, they might wait and prepare the round for use right there under fire.  But how would you, battery commander, prefer?  Certainly a lot of “place and time” particulars that might be applied.

At any rate, we can see from the patent information the Hotchkiss canisters deserved to be tracked on a separate set of columns from other canister designs.

Summary Statement, 1st Quarter, 1863 – Second Illinois Artillery Regiment

You won’t find mention of any battery of the 2nd Illinois Artillery in the Gettysburg Campaign studies.  On the other hand, the gunners of the 2nd Illinois were very familiar with places in Louisiana and Mississippi as they played a role in the Vicksburg Campaign.  Not all of them, but a significant portion of the regiment did as most were under Major-General Ulysses S. Grant’s wide-spread command.  Looking at the first quarter, 1863 summaries, we find eight of the twelve batteries had recorded returns.  But only six reported cannon on hand:


Two of these batteries were assigned duty as siege & garrison artillery, explaining their lack of field guns:

  • Battery A: Listed as “siege battery” at Helena, Arkansas.  No cannon reported. Captain Peter Davidson’s battery received orders to become a “field battery” later in the spring, assigned to First Division, Thirteenth Corps.
  • Battery B: Also listed as “siege battery” but posted to Corinth, Mississippi.  No cannon reported. Captain Fletcher H. Chapman commanded.
  • Battery C: At Fort Donelson, Tennessee with four 3.80-inch James Rifles.  Captain James P. Flood’s battery would shortly after this report receive a transfer to the Reserve Corps, Army of the Cumberland.
  • Battery D: At Grand Junction, Tennessee with four 3.80-inch James Rifles. Captain Charles S. Cooper replaced Lieutenant Harrison C. Barger in command of this battery during the winter. The battery was assigned to First Division, Sixteenth Corps, covering Memphis at the time.
  • Battery E: No report. In January this battery, at the time commanded by Sergeant Martin Mann, became part of Sixteenth Corps, guarding the railroad lines outside Memphis. Lieutenant George L. Nipsel resumed command later in the spring.
  • Battery F: Reporting at Lake Providence, Louisiana with two 6-pdr field guns and two 121-pdr field howitzers. Attached to Seventeenth Corps, Captain John W. Powell was the commander at the end of March 1863.
  • Battery G: No report. Captain Frederick Sparrestrom commanded this battery, assigned to Third Division, Seventeenth Corps, at the time either at Milliken’s Bend or Lake Providence.
  • Battery H: Another posted to Fort Donelson.  Reporting two 6-pdr field guns and four 3.80-inch James Rifles. Lieutenant  Jonas Eckdall’s battery was part of the “rear echelon” in Grant’s command guarding the communications and logistics lines.  But later in the spring the battery was transferred to the Reserve Corps, Army of the Cumberland.
  • Battery I:  Reporting 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 Fourth Division, Fourteenth Corps, Army of the Cumberland.  Changes later in the spring sent the battery to the Reserve Corps.
  • Battery K: No report. The battery was also part of the push on Vicksburg.  Specifically Fourth Division, Sixteenth Corps.  Cpatain  Benjamin F. Rodgers commanded.
  • Battery L: Listed at Barry’s Landing, Louisiana (which again, matches to a placename that I think was in Arkansas) with four 3.80-inch James Rifles. Part of Third Division, Seventeenth Corps, Captain William H. Bolton commanded.
  • Battery M: No report. This battery remained in Chicago through the reporting period.  It was reforming after its surrender at Harpers Ferry the previous fall.

Take note.  With eighteen on hand, the 2nd Illinois’ artillerymen were familiar with the James Rifles. Only two Napoleons and two Parrotts in the whole regiment.  Just how it was out in the western armies.  Of course, that simplifies some of the projectile tables, right?

Let’s look first at the smoothbore ammunition reported:


Just three reporting quantities on hand:

  • Battery F: 188 shot, 163 case, and 46 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 120 shell, 145 case, and 30 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • Battery H: 186 shot, 160 case, and 42 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
  • Battery I: 27 shot, 53 shell, 112 case, and 42 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.

Please note, I’m of the mind that the 12-pdr canister columns (last two on the right) are somewhat ambiguous based on use.  We see 12-pdr field howitzer canister listed at times on either column, despite the labeling.

Moving to the rifled projectiles, we start with Hotchkiss and find three batteries reporting:


No surprises here, these are feed for the James Rifles (Again, Hotchkiss-pattern for James Rifles):

  • Battery C: 100 shot, 450 percussion shell, and 68 fuse shell for 3.80-inch rifle.
  • Battery H: 10 shot and 150 percussion shell also for those 3.80-inch rifles.
  • Battery I: 45 shot in 3.80-inch.

But wait!  There’s more Hotchkiss to consider, along with a lot of other patterns on the next page.  Let’s break those down to reduce squinting:


Three batteries again, but notice we drop off I and add L:

  • Battery C: 250 canister for 3.80-inch James.
  • Battery H: 120 canister for 3.80-inch James.
  • Battery I: 76 canister for 3.80-inch James.

Moving to the James pattern columns we see, as one might expect, a lot of ammunition tallies:


Looks like everyone got something here!

  • Battery C: 7 shot, 24 shell, and 2 canister for 3.80-inch James.
  • Battery D: 45 shot, 220 shell, 64 case, and 56 canister for 3.80-inch.
  • Battery H: 125 shot, 262 shell, and 214 canister for 3.80-inch.
  • Battery I: 56 shot and 123 canister for 3.80-inch.
  • Battery L: 14 shot, 376 shell, and 144 canister for 3.80-inch.

Again, those are James projectiles for James rifles.  Remember the redundancy there.

Now we had one battery reporting a pair of Parrotts on hand.  What did they feed those Parrotts?


And that battery had:

  • Battery I: Parrott pattern – 122 shell, 240 case, and 46 canister for 10-pdr; and 17 Schenkl shot for 10-pdr.

To make this one of the most diverse listing of rifled projectiles we’ve considered, we move to the other Schenkl columns:


Two batteries reporting:

  • Battery D: 64 shot and 123 shell for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • Battery I: 97 Schenkl shell for 3.80-inch.

Also note:

  • Battery H: 32 Tatham canister for 3.80-inch rifle.

All of these quantities must have made for busy ammunition boxes during the spring.

Lastly we turn to the small arms:


By battery:

  • Battery C: Fourteen Army revolvers, fifty-one cavalry sabers, and six horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery F: Twenty-five Army revolvers.
  • Battery H: Eight Army revolvers, ten Navy revolvers, and six cavalry sabers.
  • Battery I: Twenty-five Navy revolvers and sixteen horse artillery sabers.

The most significant observation for the 2nd Illinois Artillery’s summaries for this period is the diverse ammunition, in just one caliber, issued to the batteries.  Later in the spring and summer of 1863, those James rifles would sent Hotchkiss, James, Schenkl, and Tatham rounds down range.

Ordnance Geniuses: The Hotchkiss Brothers and their projectiles, Part 1

As I relate the contents of the ordnance summaries, you readers regularly see mention of Hotchkiss-patent (or pattern, if you prefer) projectiles.  Indeed Hotchkiss projectiles received nearly a full half-page in the ledger-sized entry form:


Twenty columns covering different payload types (and in some cases, fuse types) among the standard Federal rifle artillery calibers.  So where did these come from and what made them different than other projectiles?

The answer to the first part is the fertile mind of Andrew Hotchkiss, with later refinements by his brother, Benjamin Berkeley Hotchkiss.  They were sons of Asahel Hotchkiss, who’d established a factory outside Sharon, Connecticut.  The Sharon Historical Society maintains a Flickr page with some undated images of the factory:

Valley factory from Colgate Mansion

Born in 1823, Andrew Hotchkiss did not allow a birth defect hinder his mind.

Andrew Hotchkiss
Andrew Hotchkiss
Lacking functioning legs, he moved about on a shop cart and applied his skills to improving machinery of many sorts.  But his focus on armaments bore fruit in designs for rifled weapons, metallic cartridges, fuses, and, to the point of our discussion, projectiles.  On October 16, 1855, he received Patent No. 13,679 for an Improved Projectile for Ordnance:


The specification from this patent application provides the answer to the second part of the question.  Andrew described the construction as such (with references to the figure above):

The body of the shot consists of a casting having one end formed into a blunted point, similar to the usual conical ball, as seen at A, Fig. 1.  The opposite end this body from a little beyond the middle tapers off into a tail-piece, (seen at B,) and is also squared at the end. Upon each corner of the square metal is cut away a little, so as to form a projection, (shown at the letter C,) the object of which will be explained farther on. About the middle of the body A two recesses are formed completely around, as at e and e’, thus leaving a projection, i, between. Upon these the lead ring is cast, and the recesses and projection serve to keep it on. …

The second casting will now be described.  This consists of a cap which is to enclose the tail-piece B, and is to effect the expansion of the projecting edge of the lead ring into the groves of the cannon.  It is shown at E, Fig I, with a view looking directly into the interior in Fig. II. The rim of this cap is chamfered or beveled off from the outside, as shown in the sectional part at i, and where it will be seen to fit in and press upon the like beveled ridge of the leaden ring….

In short, a Hotchkiss projectile had three parts – the main body, a lead ring, and a tail cup.  The lead ring is what we know as a sabot.  As to how this all worked in the gun:

The effects in the act of firing are as follows: The bore of the cannon must be spirally grooved on a principle similar to that of a rifle. The flat part of the ring C should fit the smooth part or “lands” of the bore. In sending it down the flexible ring may be slightly expanded by a blow of the rammer as soon as the shot is home. It is in the act of firing, however, that the ring C is expanded so as to take a full impression of the grooves, for by the force with which the cap E is driven toward the body of the shot, or A, and before the momentum is communicated to the latter, the lead ring will be expanded, that being the point of least resistance, and be thereby caused to take the impression of the grooves, as also to be packed tightly against the rest of the chamber.  This prevents windage, and of course insures the full effect of the powder, while at the same time rotary motion is imparted to the shot. The flexible ring also has this important advantage, that it does not wear or damage the grooves of the gun, even in the case of “stripping,” should such action occur, and hence there is no reason why the wear should not be as long as in the plain bore.

At other parts of the application, Andrew discussed the effects of the cup expanding the lead ring in a uniform manner.  Such prevented a case where the ring expansion was correct and did not allow for windage on one side which would “consequently destroy the accuracy of the fire.”  While I like quoting directly from the application, as it provides the reader with the precise technical description from the inventor’s point of view, the text is somewhat formal in tone.  The gist of this all is simply – when fired, the cup forced the expansion of the lead sabot and thus forced the projectile to use the rifling of the gun.

The other perspective gained from citing the lengthy technical narrative is we get the derived advantage of the new invention.  Such allows us to refine to more precision the oft-cited description of rifled artillery performance on the Civil War battlefield. You know…. spirals like a football?  That allows for accuracy.  But that spiraling does nothing for range (and in the larger equation, even adds resistance that might detract from range).  But, as the Hotchkiss patent application points out, by the delay in movement of the projectile more force of the powder is imparted as it burns closer to full consumption.  Not only that, but because the bore is sealed around the projectile, all of the force of the powder… well at least more than in a smoothbore… is imparted upon the projectile.

Keep in mind, this was the original patent let to Andrew Hotchkiss some six years before the war.  That patent illustration differs considerably from the surviving rounds we see today:


Not only is the back end of the cup flat, if we take off the sabot, and we see the body and the cup are more angular underneath:


Comparing that original patent to these projectiles actually used during the war is the next part of the story – refinement of the original patent. Sadly, it is a part of the story that Andrew would not play a central role.  He died in 1858.  His brother, Benjamin, would continue the work to produce one of the most important projectile types used in the Civil War… in addition to transforming a small family business into an international arms corporation.  In the next part of this series, I’ll discuss the refinements so we can look into interpreting the columns of the summary in more detail.

Naming names: Conventions when classifying rifled projectiles

When establishing a pattern to present the summary reports, I opted to include several pages from each quarter which detailed the projectiles reported on hand for each battery.  This added four more “snips” per section.  But I felt the return on that labor investment was of value.  In particular, since we read of preferences between the different types of projectiles, this may – stress, may – provide a data baseline to consider.   Did the Federal batteries use more of one pattern of projectile?  How much canister were in those ammunition chests?  And similar questions might be addressed, or at least approached. Then again, given some data irregularities, which I try to point out during the presentation of each set, we must “work” with the data.  The ‘grain of salt’ rule need apply.

A by-product of constructing and transcribing those projectile sections is the need to review the column headers.  Specifically, there is a need to understand the nomenclature (leading down some fun research paths to destinations such as the Tatham Brothers).  For the smoothbore projectiles, there is some variation that need be discussed.  But nothing like the veritable full spectrum presented across several pages detailing rifled projectiles.  Far from generic “rounds” for rifled artillery, each column speaks to a particular design, function, and caliber.

Keep in mind what we “know” about rifled projectiles.  We have source material which helps explain these variations.  But that is not complete, leaving unanswered questions.  We also have artifacts on hand that speak to variations not documented.  So for any discussion of artillery projectiles, we must adopt a hybrid between wartime designations and classifications adopted by later-day authorities.  And when I say “we”, I’m referring to authors of reference materials, along with those who discuss these matters, and, of lesser significance, those of us who blog about the subject.

The short version of this all, we have five basic attributes to consider when classifying rifled projectiles:

  • Caliber – For rifles, I prefer to use the diameter of the weapon’s bore as opposed to the projectile diameter.  This is a clear unit of measure as opposed to the “pounder” designation.  Different authorities used different standards when using the pound caliber designation. So those suffer precision. In contemporary writing, a “6-pdr”, “12-pdr”, or “14-pdr” James rifle may actually be the same caliber… maybe.  That said, I often refer to the 10-, 20-, and 30-pdr Parrott rifles, as that was actually stamped on the guns.  I find such nomenclature does well to delineate the very slight differences in calibers (i.e. 2.9-inch vs. 3-inch Parrotts, also 6-pdr smoothbore and rifles from the 20-pdr Parrotts).
  • Design – Referring to the inventor, patent, or in some cases the manufacture.  For example – Hotchkiss, Schenkl, Dyer, Parrott, James, and Tatham.  Beyond those “Federal” types, we need expand the list for Confederate, foreign sources, and many experimental or limited use designs.
  • Payload – Start with four basic categories – solid shot/bolt, shell, case shot, and canister/grape.  There are sub-categories within these, but those are the four familiar to any student of the Civil War.  An example of a sub-category is “cored shot” used by larger caliber Navy guns.  Another is “bullet shell” as a form of case shot.
  • Fuse – While issued to the battery separate from the projectile, there are reasons to use the fuse type as an attribute.  Namely, the Ordnance Department tracked projectiles by the fuse intended for use.  And different fuses were used for effect on the battlefields.  That said, the high-level fuse categories are time, percussion, combination, and concussion fuses.  Of course there are plenty of variations, sub-categories, and types within the category designations.  Bormann fuses are time fuses, for instance, and should be considered distinct from paper time fuses.
  • Pattern Variation – This attribute is mostly defined and applied by us after the fact.  The inventors improved their projectiles over time.  There were manufacturing variations.  And, sometimes, there were simply differences to note.  While some of these may be documented by way of patent applications or correspondence, others are just variations noted from close examinations of surviving projectiles. Most projectile reference books offer type-numbers for these.  Of course there are sub-pattern and other classifications which further complicate precision.  I would also put in this attribute’s measure variations such as “long” and “short”; or “pointed” and “flat.”

I present those five attributes for classification here, yet write in a direction to avoid a “down in the weeds” discussion of projectiles at this juncture.  Rather, my intent is to offer a simple bridge for those “just interested” over to those willing to engage in a deeper, more detailed, discussion. It is important, I think, that we at least get the names correct.

As I follow Indiana Jones’ view in regard to artifacts (“It belongs in a museum”) and keep no “stash” myself, my focus is how those projectiles were processed, issued, handled, and used.  So I use the classification and naming conventions to reconcile the documentation to what we “see” and “know” today.  This makes the last-listed attribute (Pattern variation) less necessary, though still useful.  Likewise, fuses are not often directly mentioned in wartime conversation about ammunition.  So my convention is to simply start with the caliber, design, and payload.  From there, I’ll expand the nomenclature where clarity is required. A few examples that will illustrate even that simplicity has pitfalls:

  • 3-inch Hotchkiss case shot – straight forward classification.
  • 4.2-inch Schenkl shell – We might want to add a reference to “James” or “Parrott” here.  The 12-pdr siege guns converted to James, or the 30-pdr Parrott were of the same bore size.  So consider 4.2-inch Schenkl “James” Shell as more precise, but cumbersome.
  • 10-pdr Parrott Shell – While the 10-pdr designation probably would suffice, let us keep in mind the slight bore change between the early and later Parrotts of that size.  Maybe add “2.9-inch” in parenthesis if there is any ambiguity?  But the risk of redundancy shows up here.. should this be a 10-pdr (2.9-inch) Parrott “Parrott” Shell?  Sometimes too much clarity lends to confusion.

But often even that is not sufficient.  Consider the Hotchkiss columns from the summaries:


The clerks in the Ordnance Department were told to track separate columns for shells with different fuses.  They list “percussion shell” and “fuse shell”.  And with some conjecture, those can be interpreted to percussion fuse and time fuse.  Though, “fuse shell” could also refer to combination fuses.  So we really can’t pin it down with certainty. Still, we know the powers-that-be wanted to track shells with different types of fuses. It mattered to them, so it must have been important at some level.

Other questions arise from review of the columns.  Wiard’s name is associated with 2.6-inch and 3.67-inch calibers.  But were all projectiles in those calibers for Wiard’s limited production run of guns? And how we have to reconcile the payload “bullet shell” against “case shot” which are indicated separately?

Again, we are at a point demonstrating that names of things matter.  Towards that end, I’m going to weave in a few posts to provide my “take” on the column headers for these rifled projectiles.