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.

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

Assignments for individual batteries in the 1st Illinois Light Artillery Regiment for the first quarter, 1863 reflected the reorganizations completed during that winter for the western armies.  When the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Corps reorganized into manageable formations, the batteries shifted with their supported infantry brigades to serve under new corps banners.  To grasp these changes, one must dig past the basic details offered in the summary pages.  A third of the regiment reported at Young’s Point, Louisiana, just up the river from Vicksburg:


Here they joined an assembly of forces under Major-General Ulysses S. Grant arrayed to capture Vicksburg. Historian Marion Bragg, charged with recording the historic place names along the Mississippi River, described Young’s Point in 1977:

Youngs Point, on the Louisiana side of the river just above Vicksburg, is today one of the most tranquil places imaginable.  Nothing disturbs the quiet of the rural countryside but the occasional throb of a diesel towboat gliding past the point, or the chug of a farmer’s tractor in one of the nearby bean or cotton fields.

In 1863, Youngs Point was literally covered with thousands upon thousands of Federal soldiers, and a whole fleet of Union Navy vessels were tied up in the willows along the shore….

A contrast in times. Those four Illinois batteries were but loops in a spring being coiled that winter.

OK, so I got to foist one of my unused sesquicentennial post illustrations upon you to preface this post.  Let’s get back to the battery summaries:


Again, we must look below the surface of the administrative details to see the changes from the previous quarter:

  • Battery A: At Young’s Point with four 6-pdr field guns and two 12-pdr field howitzers. Captain Peter P. Wood commanded this battery.  As part of the transformation of Thirteenth Corps, it remained under Sherman’s portion of the army, assigned to Second Division, Fifteenth Corps.
  • Battery B: Also reporting at Young’s Point, but with five 6-pdr field guns and one 12-pdr field howitzer. And this battery was also assigned to Second Division, Fifteenth Corps with the reorganization.  Captain Samuel E. Barrett commanded.
  • Battery C:  At Murfreesboro, Tennessee with two 12-pdr field howitzers and four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Assigned to Sheridan’s division under the old Fourteenth Corps, the battery followed that division to become part of the Third Division, Twentieth Corps (NOTE: An earlier designation separate from the merged corps from the Army of the Potomac in 1864.)  Lieutenant Edward M. Wright commanded.
  • Battery D: Reporting at Berry’s Landing, Louisiana.  I place this landing just upriver of Helena in Arkansas, rather than Louisiana.  But, of course, there could be several landings by that name.  The battery reported four 24-pdr field howitzers. With the reorganization of Thirteenth Corps, Captain Henry A. Rogers’ command went to Third Division, Seventeenth Corps.
  • Battery E: Another reporting at Young’s Point, this battery with four 3.80-inch James Rifles.  A reduction from six rifles reported the previous quarter.  Captain Allen C. Waterhouse commanded.  With the reorganization, this battery went to Third Division, Fifteenth Corps.
  • Battery F: No report. The battery was stationed at Memphis through the winter of 1863, presumably still with James rifles.  However, it was under First Division, Sixteenth Corps.  Captain John T. Cheney commanded.
  • Battery G:   Serving as siege artillery at Corinth, Mississippi. Lieutenant Gustave Dechsel commanded the battery.
  • Battery H: At Young’s Point with two 20-pdr Parrott Rifles. Lieutenant Francis De Gress’ battery was assigned to Second Division, Fifteenth Corps.  The battery retained two 20-pdr Parrotts.  And those big Parrotts would see much service during the war.
  • Battery I: No report.  Captain Edward Bouton commanded this battery which was assigned to First Division, Sixteenth Corps.
  • Battery K: Memphis, Tennessee with with ten Union Repeating Guns.  But as noted earlier, that column was likely being utilized by the clerks to track Woodruff guns.  Lieutenant  Isaac W. Curtis’ battery was assigned to the Sixteenth Corps and would later see action in the cavalry operations of the Vicksburg Campaign.
  • Battery L: New Creek, (West) Virginia, with two 12-pdr Napoleons and four 3.80-inch James Rifles.  Captain John Rourke commanded this battery, assigned to First Division, Eighth Corps.
  • Battery M:  Reporting at Chattanooga, Tennessee (reflecting location when the return was received in February 1864) with two 12-pdr Napoleons and four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. The battery was posted to Franklin, Tennessee during the winter of 1863.  Captain George W. Spencer commanded.

The guns of the 1st Illinois Artillery would make an impact later in the spring and summer months during the Vicksburg Campaign.  So what ammunition did they report on hand?  Starting with the smoothbores:


Yes, we have some of the extra columns here, reflecting ammunition for the big howitzers:

  • Battery A: 375 shot, 314 case, and 117 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 122 shell, 153 case, and 36 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • Battery B: 450 shot, 430 case, and 133 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 30 shell, 110 case, and 17 canister for their lone 12-pdr field howitzer.
  • Battery C: 132 shell, 180 case, and 50 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • Battery D: 336 shell, 225 case, and 83 canister for 24-pdr field howitzers.
  • Battery L: 70 shot for 6-pdr field guns; 136 shot, 192 shell, 554 case, and 132 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons. Why 6-pdr shot? Well, my guess is those were used with the James Rifles.
  • Battery M: 50 shot, 150 shell, and 200 case for 12-pdr Napoleons.

Moving next to the rifled projectiles, we start with the Hotchkiss-patterns:


Three lines to report:

  • Battery C: 234 canister, 95 percussion shell, 210 fuse shell, and 242 bullet shell in 3-inch rifle caliber.
  • Battery L: 156 shot, 40 percussion shell, 156 fuse shell, and 28 bullet shell in 3.80-inch (James) caliber; Also reporting 150 fuse shell in 3-inch.  And I still cannot offer an explanation for the later type in this battery.
  • Battery M: 450 shot, 168 canister, and 250 fuse shell for 3-inch rifles.

On the next page of the summary, we can focus on just the James and Parrott columns:


Again, three batteries to consider:

  • Battery E: 480 shell and 160 canister of James-patent in 3.80-inch rifle caliber.
  • Battery H: 114 shell, 48 case, and 73 canister for 20-pdr Parrott.
  • Battery L: 320 shot, 36 shell, and 19 canister of James-patent for 3.80-inch rifles.

And the last page of rifled projectiles:


One line:

  • Battery L: 316 Schenkl shells for 3.80-inch James rifles; 172 Tatham canister for 3.80-inch rifle.

Now on to the small arms:


Considering by battery:

  • Battery A: Three Army revolvers, forty-four Navy revolvers, and four horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery B: Twenty-seven Navy revolvers and six cavalry sabers.
  • Battery C: Eight Navy revolvers and thirteen cavalry sabers.
  • Battery D: Fifteen cavalry sabers.
  • Battery E: Ten cavalry sabers.
  • Battery H: Thirteen Navy revolvers and nine cavalry sabers.
  • Battery K: Twenty-two Burnside’s Carbines and 101 cavalry sabers.
  • Battery L: Seventeen Smith’s Carbines, Twenty-eight Army revolvers, and 148 cavalry sabers.

Those last two lines deserve some discussion.  Battery K served alongside cavalry.  Battery L, on the other hand, was guarding the railroad in West Virginia.  Interesting to see those batteries reporting quantities of carbines.

Keeping in sequence, we’ll turn to the 2nd Illinois Light Artillery next week.

Tatham’s Canister… and some connections

You may have noticed on occasion we find listings for Tatham’s canister in the ordnance summary statements:


The columns are exclusively canister.  And even more selective, only for calibers associated with James Rifles or the modified, rifled 6-pdr field guns – 3.80-inch and 3.67-inch respectively.  Though I would point out the later shared a bore measure with Parrott 20-pdrs and Waird 12-pdr rifles…. but let’s not wonder down that path… yet! When I started reviewing the summaries, Tatham’s name looked familiar but I didn’t draw many connections.  I knew it from association with ordnance contracts.  But the column header elevated the name on par with those of Hotchkiss, Dyer, James, Parrott, and Schenkl.  So what did Tatham invent? The Tatham in question here is actually a family.  Brothers in fact. From a “Domestic Engineering” Quarterly Index, dated 1910:

 The Tatham Brothers began to make lead-pipe in 1840. The original members of the firm were: Benjamin, Henry B., George N., Charles B. and William P. Tatham.  Chas. B. and Benjamin Tatham were the managers of the New York branch. They made the best lead-pipe ever known, guaranteeing to make it any length, whereas the plumber making his own lead-pipe on shapes or forms, and soldering down two seams, could only go fifteen feet.  Tatham & Bros. bought up the plumbers’ forms, and they had no difficulty in getting pipe short or long as desired….

Yes, plumbing with lead pipes… back in the old days. The article went on to point out the Tathams also had substantial works in Philadelphia, specifically, “On Windmill Island, in the Delaware river, the Tathams had a smelter where they refined various kinds of ores as well as lead.”  Furthermore, at the New York City location the brothers built a shot tower, in the 1850s, to produce lead shot.

The Tathams, being industrious folk who were sensitive to their revenue stream, also secured several patents.  In 1859, Charles B. Tatham received Patent No. 23,202 for an improvement to shot making:


Basically an improved melting pot making the process more efficient and easier to control.  The “point of order” here I’d offer is the Tathams were serious about lead shot.  They were ready to meet substantial orders.

And the Tathams kept up with advances in military technology.  Round musket balls were out… minié balls, were in demand… so Charles patented a better system for casting conical lead bullets:


In short, we see a mold into which molten lead was poured into the trough marked “B”.  Inside the mold were cores, marked “C”, mounted on “D”, a bar.  After cooling, workers opened the mold by pulling the bar up with the cores.  Then the finished bullets fell out, complete with the required cavity.

The exhibits thus far go to show Tatham & Brothers were part of that grand Federal War Machine.  But what about artillery projectiles?  We start with a contract dated November 6, 1861, forwarded by Lieutenant Colonel William Maynadier (whom we’ve met before):

Sir: Be pleased to send to Colonel J. Symington, United States arsenal, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, twenty-five hundred (2,500) canister shot for James’s rifle gun, (3.80 bore.) As soon as 500 are completed turn them over to United States quartermaster, New York, (No.6 State street,) for transportation.

This contract was let to “Mr. C.B. Tatham, 82 Beekman Street, New York.”

Consider the responsible officer here, John Symington, who was at that time working to supply ordnance to western armies.  So that takes us to some of the western battlefields. Jack Melton’s website on artillery and projectiles has a short entry on canister projectiles for James rifles, in which he describes:

A James Canister Pattern I sabot was used for the base. The placement of the tin sheeting over the lead sabot was an attempt to keep the lead from fouling the grooves of the rifled cannon during firing. The majority of James canisters have been recovered from Shiloh and Fort Pillow, Tennessee.

The tin sheeting used is notable here.  Other canister for rifled guns used other arrangements.  It is not enough for me to directly link the canister rounds found at Shiloh to Tatham.  But it is a reasonable speculation.  Perhaps the Ordnance Department gave Tatham’s a set of columns on the summary because of the unique construction, as well as the source.  Though I don’t see that any of the Tatham brothers secured a patent for such.  If there are readers who might shed light on this, would appreciate a comment below!

There were more orders for Tatham’s canister early in the war.  Other Ordnance Department documents indicate quantities of 3.67-inch (which we see in the column header), 2.9-inch/10-pdr Parrott, and 2.6-inch / 6-pdr Wiard.  Most references to the Tatham canister are associated with western arsenals or units.  Again, this may indicate the Tatham projectiles employed a unique system or construction.  Or this simply may be an acknowledgement of the vendor.

Beyond just supplying munitions, the Tathams were privately very active in support of Federal efforts.  In 1861, Charles was on a committee aiding the organization of the 58th New York.  Later in the war, both Charles and Benjamin supported relief efforts for the contraband camps.

Just at the end of the war, in June 1865, the Tathams wrote to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton in regard to a curious business negotiation.  The firm of Arthur Shepherd & Co. approached the Tathams with an order of materials for work in Richmond, Virginia.  The Tathams wrote,

The parties whose card is enclosed desire permission to receive from us lead pipe and shot lead.  These articles being contraband under an order from your department, the Secy. of the [Treasury] declined granting a permit until .. your order upon the subject.  If you can give the permission we think it perfectly safe.

The matter was referred to Major-General Henry Halleck and the request was apparently granted. What makes this interesting, to me at least, the physical reconstruction of the South at the early date.  Further goes to indicate the Tathams were well acquainted with high officials at the War Department.

So we know the Tathams were active in the war effort.  The next question would be if any of their factory, particularly in New York which is linked to munitions, exists today.  The address given was  82 Beekman Street.  A bill of sale from 1852 has artwork showing the dockside portion of the New York facilities:


The shot tower came later in the 1850s.  A December 18, 1856 article in the new York Tribune described it so:

It will be 2147 feet to the peak from the foundation, which is laid on a level with Ferry street.  It is octagon in form, and composed of sections of iron columns, fluted on the outside – the space between filled in with brick, laid in cement.  Each of these columns rests upon a massive brick foundation, being anchored to a weight of thirty tons, each weight connected by inverted arches with its fellows.  The columns of each section are joined by iron girders, bolted with 1 ¾ inch bolts. The total weight of iron employed in the construction of this tower is 237,000 pounds. During the strong winds recently there was no vibration perceptible more than a hundred feet above the foundation.

Looking to an 1867 “Bird’s Eye” street map of New York City, we see what must be an artist rendition of the tower and the Tatham facilities:


The point of reference to follow here is the wharf numbered “69” in the lower center.  That’s Fulton Ferry.  From there walk inland and up to Beekman Street where the Tathams’ address is.  We see a prominent tower… or is that a smoke stack?

Don’t know about you, but I won’t be satisfied unless I see a photograph.  A real photograph that will show the tower … OK…. how about this one?


That should be the Tatham shot tower on the right.  Oh… and there in the distant left is the Brooklyn Bridge.  The photo must be dated to before the end of the 19th century.  The shot tower suffered a couple of fires in the early 20th century and was removed in 1907.

This post has wondered far afield now!  So let me close by showing what the Tathams’ New York street address looks like today:


Queue the “Gangs of New York” music… things have sure changed in 150 years.


Summary Statement, 1st Quarter, 1863 – 5th Regiment, US Regulars

Moving in order now to close out the summary statement pages for the US Regular Artillery batteries, we come to the 5th Artillery:


When we looked at the Fifth Regiment as part of the fourth quarter, 1862 summaries, the batteries were split between two pages.  Huzzah!  A clerical victory!  And speaking of clerks, the dates on the far left might lend more credence to the data here… we might presume.  Of the twelve batteries, only one does not have a report date registered (reason for that will be seen shortly).  Furthermore, we have nine batteries reporting quantities of what makes a battery something more than a collection of soldiers – cannons!  And at the bottom line, we see an entry for the regimental headquarters.  And we see a relatively straight forward listing of key battery information:

  • Battery A: At Suffolk, Virginia with six 12-pdr Napoleons.  Battery A began the winter under Third Division, Ninth Corps, commanded by Lieutenant George Crabb, outside Fredericksburg. By March, the battery was under Lieutenant James Gilliss, supporting the same division at Suffolk.
  • Battery B: No report. This new battery continued to form-up at Fort Hamilton through the winter and spring of 1863.
  • Battery C: Reporting at Belle Plain, Virginia with six 12-pdr Napoleons. Captain Dunbar R. Ransom commanded this battery supporting Second Division, First Corps.  The battery added two Napoleons over the previous quarter.
  • Battery D: Falmouth, Virginia with six 10-pdr Parrotts. We find Lieutenant Charles Hazlett’s battery supporting First Division, Fifth Corps with the six Parrotts that would go on to some renown on some small hill later in the summer.
  • Battery E: At Fort Hamilton, New Jersey but without cannons.  As with Battery B above, Battery E was still organizing, under regimental headquarters’ charge, at this point in the war.
  • Battery F: White Oak Church, Virginia, with two 12-pdr Napoleons and four 10-pdr Parrotts. Lieutenant Leonard Martin commanded this battery (though Captain Romeyn B. Ayres held command on early winter returns, split between battery and brigade postings).  The battery supported Second Division, Sixth Corps.
  • Battery G: Way out in Baton Rouge, Louisiana with six 12-pdr Napoleons. Lieutenant  Jacob B. Rawles commanded this battery from Second Division, Nineteenth Corps.
  • Battery H: Wintering at Murfreesboro, Tennessee and armed with four 12-pdr Napoleons and two 10-pdr Parrotts. With the reorganization of the Army of the Cumberland, Lieutenant Francis Guenther took his battery to First Division, Fourteenth Corps.
  • Battery I: At Falmouth, Virginia but reporting no cannon.  Lieutenant Malbone F. Watson commanded this battery in support of Second Division, Fifth Corps.  Other records indicate this battery had four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.
  • Battery K: Also at Falmouth and with four 12-pdr Napoleons.  Lieutenant David H. Kinzie led this battery of the Artillery Reserve, Army of the Potomac.
  • Battery L: Reporting at Winchester, Virginia with six 3-inch rifles. Lieutenant Edmund D. Spooner’s battery joined Milroy’s command at Winchester at the start of spring that year.
  • Battery M: At Yorktown, Virginia with six 12-pdr Napoleons. Captain James McKnight’s battery was unassigned, but part of the Seventh Corps at this phase of the war.
  • Regimental HQ: “Sr. Maj.” maybe?  At any rate, reporting from Fort Hamilton.   For those curious, the equipment on hand included a battery forge, a battery wagon, and a fair quantity of implements, accouterments, and supplies.

So from an organizational perspective, we don’t see a lot of changes with the batteries of the regiment.  Nor any significant changes in cannon reported.

What of the ammunition reported?  Starting with the smoothbore section, as expected we have only 12-pdr Napoleon


More lines reporting here compared to the previous quarter:

  • Battery A: 192 shot, 96 shells, 288 spherical case, and 192 canister for Napoleons.
  • Battery C: 535 shot, 167 shell, 651 case, and 301 canister in 12-pdr Napoleon.
  • Battery F: 96 shot, 32 shell, 96 case, and 40 canister all for 12-pdr Napoleon.
  • Battery G: 190 shot, 106 shell, 360 case, and 128 canister in 12-pdr Napoleon.
  • Battery H: 173 shot, 64 shell, 175 case, and 100 canister for the Napoleons.
  • Battery K: No quantities reported..
  • Battery M: 283 shot, 87 shell, 274 case, and 96 canister for their Napoleons.

Note that Batteries A, F, and M reported the same quantities from the previous month.  (I probably transcribed the numbers of shot for Battery M incorrectly in that previous quarter.)

Looking to the rifled projectiles, we start with the Hotchkiss variety:


One battery reporting:

  • Battery L: 120 canister, 120 percussion shell, 240 (or 340) fuse shell, and 720 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

Battery I is noticeably absent quantities again.

On the next page, no quantities of Dyer’s or James’ appear, but there are Parrott projectiles for those Parrott rifles:


Three batteries reporting:

  • Battery D:  72 shell, 500 case, and 24 canister for 10-pdr Parrott.
  • Battery F: 160 shell, 320 case, and 96 canister for 10-pdr Parrott.
  • Battery H: 250 shell, 56 case, and 94 canister for 10-pdr Parrott.

Comparing to the previous quarter, Battery D’s and Battery F’s quantities remained the same; and Battery H reported a smaller quantity of 10-pdr shell.

Moving to Schenkl projectiles:


Two batteries reporting:

  • Battery D: 251 Schenkl shell for 10-pdr Parrott.
  • Battery F:  320 Schenkl shell for 10-pdr Parrott.

Battery D’s quantities did not differ from the previous quarter. Battery F appears to have lost 320 Schenkel 10-pdr shot listed in the last quarter, then gained the same quantity of shell.  Go figure.

Finally we reach the small arms:


By battery:

  • Battery A: Twenty-nine Army revolvers, one cavalry saber, and sixty-five horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery C: Twenty-seven Army revolvers, twenty-six Navy revolvers, and nineteen horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery D: Twelve Navy revolvers and eight horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery E: One-hundred-and-ten horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery F: Twenty-seven Army revolvers and twenty-four horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery G: Twenty-two horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery H: Sixteen Army revolvers, five Navy revolvers, and thirty-nine cavalry sabers.
  • Battery K: Fifty-eight Army revolvers and sixteen horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery L:  One-hundred-and-fifty horse artillery sabers!
  • Battery M: Twenty-four Navy revolvers and twenty horse artillery sabers.

I can see a use for Battery E, which was still forming, to have a large number of sabers on hand.  We might presume there was a lot of saber drill going on at Fort Hamilton.

But Battery L?  I guess they would put those 150 sabers to good use later in the summer.

Summary Statement, 1st Quarter, 1863 – 4th Regiment, US Regulars

When reviewing the 4th US Artillery Regiment’s summary from the fourth quarter, 1862, we saw an extra line designated for the “Colonel” of the regiment.  That line covered tools and stores on hand at Fort Washington, Maryland. The equipment, which did not include any cannons but did include some small arms, were items not issued to batteries.  Presumably, Colonel Charles S. Merchant, commander of the regiment (more a “paper” command, of course) had direct responsibility for those stores.

But for the first quarter, 1863, that line for Merchant’s stores is absent:


Not a significant change, but one worth pause for discussion.  When an officer received equipment, he was  responsible for the care, maintenance, and, very importantly, accountability of the equipment.  An officer might be held liable if the equipment is damaged or lost while assigned to him.  When the equipment was transferred, the officer needed documentation to support relief from responsibility.   This is one reason we often find correspondence between officers discussing relatively trivial matters of equipment. That said, there was probably some document in Merchant’s personal papers concerning the transfer of three revolvers or various implements to another party.  The good colonel would not want some trouble over such trivial issues to detain him later.  Just something to consider when looking through correspondence.

But we are not concerned with property accountability 150 years after the fact, but rather the status of those batteries.  And here’s what was reported:

  • Battery A – At Falmouth, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. The battery was assigned to the artillery reserve of Second Corps, Army of the Potomac.  During the winter, Lieutenant Alonzo Cushing replaced Lieutenant Samuel Canby in command of the battery.
  • Battery B – Reporting in from Belle Plain, Virginia with six 12-pdr Napoleons. Lieutenant James Stewart commanded this battery assigned to First Division of the First Corps.
  • Battery C – Around Falmouth, Virginia with six 12-pdr Napoleons.  Supporting First Division, Second Corps and commanded by Lieutenant Evan Thomas.
  • Battery D – From Suffolk, Virginia and reporting six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Assigned to Seventh Corps and commanded by Captain Frederick M. Follett.
  • Battery E – No report.  Transferred from the Ninth Corps in February, Lieutenant  Samuel S. Elder’s battery became part of the Horse Artillery assigned to the Cavalry of the Army of the Potomac.
  • Battery F – At Stafford Court House, Virginia with six 12-pdr Napoleons.  Lieutenant Franklin B. Crosby, who would not survive the Chancellorsville Campaign, commanded this battery supporting First Division, Twelfth Corps.
  • Battery G – Outside Fredericksburg, Virginia with six 12-pdr Napoleons. Assigned to the Army of the Potomac’s Artillery Reserve and commanded by Lieutenant Marcus P. Miller.
  • Battery H – Out in Murfreesboro, Tennessee and in possession of four 12-pdr field howitzers.  In January, Batteries H and M (below) split.  Lieutenant Charles C. Parsons retained command of the battery at that time, but later in the springpassed command of the battery to Lieutenant Harry C. Cushing.  Battery H supported Second Division, Twenty-First Corps.
  • Battery I – Winchester… Tennessee, not Virginia with four 12-pdr Napoleons. Lieutenant Frank G. Smith commanded this battery, supporting Third Division, Fourteenth Corps.
  • Battery K – Another battery at Falmouth, Virginia with six 12-pdr Napoleons. Lieutenant Francis W. Seeley remained in command of this battery, which was assigned to Second Division, Third Corps.
  • Battery L – At Suffolk, Virginia with two 12-pdr field howitzers and four 10-pdr Parrotts.  Lieutenant Henry C. Hasbrouck commanded this battery of Seventh Corps.
  • Battery M – At Murfreesboro, Tennessee reporting four 12-pdr Napoleons and two 24-pdr field howitzers.  After the split with Battery H, Lieutenant Francis L. D. Russell assumed command.  The battery supported Second Division, Twenty-First Corps.

Note that only one battery’s return was received in Washington for the quarter.  All received between April and August of 1863.  The 4th Artillery kept on top of their paperwork.

The regiment had thirty-eight Napoleons.  As such, we see a lot of 12-pdr rounds on hand:


Most of the entries are as we might expect, but one entry raises questions:

  • Battery B – 216 shot, 92 shell, 216 case, and 92 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.
  • Battery C – 96 shot, 96 shell, 384 case, and 192 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.
  • Battery F – 252 shot, 76 shell, 252 case, and 76 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.
  • Battery G – 86 shot, 35 shell, 103 case, and 40 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.
  • Battery H – 240 shell and 240 case for 12-pdr field howitzer.  Then 128 in the column for 12-pdr mountain howitzer canister. Though as mentioned last week, I think this was the clerk’s expediency and was actually canister for field howitzer of the same caliber.
  • Battery I – 200 shot, 64 shell, 188 case, and 64 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.
  • Battery K – 288 shot, 96 shell, 288 case, and 96 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.
  • Battery L – 140 shell and 154 case for 12-pdr field howitzer.  32 canister for 12-pdr mountain or field howitzer, as the case may be.
  • Battery M –  Here’s a question of what should have been.  The battery reported no ammunition for its 24-pdr field howitzers.  I’ve shown the empty columns here (split to the right as they appear on the next page of the form).  So were the ammunition chests empty?

One other question comes to mind when comparing the numbers to the previous quarter.  There are no changes, for the most part, in reported quantities within the batteries supporting the Army of the Potomac.  Is that to say the batteries were “topped off” in December 1862 and needed no more?  Or might this be a “copy what we reported last quarter” approach to filling the form?  Either way we have a reason to question the quantities.

Moving next to see what feed the gunners had for rifled guns, first the Hotchkiss projectiles:


Two batteries with 3-inch rifles and two batteries with Hotchkiss:

  • Battery A – 120 canister, 50 percussion shell, 305 fuse shell, and 725 bullet shell for 3-inch rifle. And note, these are the same quantities reported by the battery for the previous quarter…. go figure.
  • Battery D –  53 canister, 49 percussion shell, 342 fuse shell, and 576 bullet shell for 3-inch rifle.  Now these quantities do differ from the previous quarter.

The next page of the summary covers Dyers, James, and Parrott projectiles, along with a few columns for additional Hotchkiss and Schenkl projectiles.  But there is a lot of empty space in that section.  The whole snip is posted for your review.  I’ll focus on the Parrott columns:


Just one battery reporting, as expected:

  • Battery L – 480 shell, 240 case, and 96 canister for 10-pdr Parrott.

And yes, that is exactly what Battery L reported the previous quarter… the trend continues.

The Schenkl/ Tatham columns are bare:


So we turn to the small arms:


All except Battery E reporting something here:

  • Battery A – Seventeen Army revolvers and twenty-five horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery B – Thirty-seven Navy revolvers and twenty-four cavalry sabers.
  • Battery C – Thirteen navy revolvers and thirty-two cavalry sabers.
  • Battery D – Nine Army revolvers and 139 horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery F – Sixteen Army revolvers and thirteen horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery G – Seven Navy revolvers and Ninety-three horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery H – Seventeen Army revolvers and six cavalry sabers.
  • Battery I – Four Army revolvers and forty-three cavalry sabers.
  • Battery K – Twelve Army revolvers, two Navy revolvers and fifteen horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery L – Fourteen Army revolvers and 118 horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery M – Seven Army revolvers and seventeen cavalry sabers.

I would point out these quantities differ from those reported the previous quarter.  And such leaves a conundrum.  Are we to conclude the ammunition quantities reported were accurate, with little to no resupply over the winter?  Perhaps there was some omission, across the board, of ammunition numbers?  Or maybe some clerical magic was in play?  And I’m sure you can come up with other possibilities.  Again, the point here is that the summaries should not be considered very accurate of data sets.  We have to keep the anomalies and questions in mind. But… they are the most complete sets of data available for the subject!