The “Horrible Assassination” of Captain Otto Schwarz, June 1, 1863

Another teaser from Tuesday’s posting … or shall I say “sordid details”… of the 2nd Missouri Artillery involved Battery E and its commander, Captain Otto Schwarz.  On the June 1863 returns for the regiment, the remark “Killed by unknown persons” appears to the right of his name.  Such a declaration, particularly for a battery not engaged in active campaigning, is interesting to say the least.

Schwarz, like many others in the 2nd Missouri, was an immigrant, having come over from Prussia.  His name appears in records as Schwartz or Swartz.  Here, I will stay with the spelling from the official documents, and drop the “t.”  I don’t know when he arrived in the United States.  But in 1860, he lived in St. Charles, Missouri (the “old” state capital, just north of St. Louis), working as a merchant.

At age 31, he enlisted in the 2nd Missouri Artillery in October 1861 (though I cannot claim any specifics, there are indications he served in the militia before the war and of course in those formations when called up in 1861).  The regimental book described him as five feet, 6½ inches tall, dark complexion, grey eyes, and light hair.  Schwarz was commissioned a second lieutenant in Battery I.  Then in October 1862 he was promoted to Captain and transferred to command Battery E.

Of course, the regiment had not, nor would in its initial enlistment period, see any significant campaigning.  Battery E was stationed at St. Louis.  But detachments of the battery were involved with skirmishes at Blomfield, Missouri in September and October 1862.  So they might claim to have seen some small part of the elephant.  Still, one might think this easy duty, guarding St. Louis.  But most of these men were recruited from the St. Louis area.  The inactivity must have given room for mischief.  Not just Battery E, but the 2nd Missouri Artillery as a whole.

Spring 1863 found Battery E manning Forts No. 7 and 8, in the defenses of St. Louis.

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A couple IX-inch Dahlgrens and a pair of 32-pdrs all in barbette pivot mountings. (Forts No. 6 and 7 had the same plan.  Fort No. 8 had one Dahlgren, two 32-pdrs, and three 12-pdr guns.) A lot of iron to throw about.  Just one of a chain of forts guarding the gateway to the west.  For all appearances, Battery E had a quiet garrison posting.

All that change… well for Schwarz, came to an end… in the early morning hours of June 1.  The Daily Missouri Democrat of St. Louis reported on June 2:

Horrible Assassination – Capt. Otto Schwartz Murdered by Soldiers – The Perpetrators Unknown.

Captain Otto Schwartz, of Company E, 2d Missouri Artillery, stationed at Fort No. 7, was murdered at one o’clock yesterday morning, in the most deliberate and cold-blooded manner.

A few moments before that hour he was in front of the residence of Lieut. Aaron Schenck at the junction of Grand and Franklin avenues, conversing with that gentleman and with Lieut. Leistner.

It was bright moon-light and the party felt disposed to enjoy the coolness and beauty of the hour.  Finally Leistner bade the Captain good-by and retired with Schenck to his room, while Capt. Schwartz moved off to return to Fort No. 7. Soon after entering their room, Schenk and Leistner heard the reports of two pistol shots, but paid little attention to them. In a few moments a groan and cry were heard in front of the house, and on opening the door they found the Captain lying mortally wounded on the pavement.

He was borne into the house, and Dr. Pondrom, Surgeon of the Second Missouri Artillery, was summoned. The patient was suffering intensely and evidently in death agony.  The Doctor could do nothing to save him.  The victim was asked who shot him.  The reply was, “I do not know; they were three soldiers together.”  He was again asked, “Were they any of your company?” He answered “No, none of my boys,” and shortly afterwards expired.

One of the balls entered the left side below the spleen, passed through the abdomen, and out above and near the right hip.  The other only passed through the calf of his right leg.  The death resulted from rapid and copious internal hemorrhage consequent upon the first wound.

A woman in the vicinity was yesterday at the Coroner’s inquest in view of the body, and testified that on hearing the pistol firing she looked out and saw three men run.  They were dressed in soldiers’ clothes. Capt. Schwartz, when shot, was at the corner of Page and Grand avenues.  He ran thence some one hundred and sixty or more yards to the spot where he was found.

No clue has yet been found to the perpetrators of this diabolical deed. By some the cause is traced to “mutiny” prevailing among certain of the 2d Missouri Artillery, and in consequence of which 3(?) score of arrests have been made within about three weeks past.  The murder is involved in mystery.

Captain Schwartz was a resident of St. Charles, was some thirty-five years of age, and unmarried.

Newspapers as far away as Ohio picked up the Democrat‘s report and ran the article.  Some newspapers apparently mistook Schwarz for a different officer of a similar name, offering the name, date, and place but mistakenly indicating the officer was in a Wisconsin regiment:

OttoSchwartz8thWis

I’m sure Otto Schwartz of the 8th Wisconsin was OK…. though his wife might have had a bad day.

I’ve not located any other accounts of the incident.  And more importantly, there are no follow up stories to provide any sort of closure.  No leads.  No suspects.  Though I’ve not exhausted every source just yet.

But this claim of mutiny in the 2nd Missouri is worth further examination.  Looking at the regimental returns, specifically at the number of soldiers in custody, there is a trend:

  • April 2: Two officers, 15 enlisted.
  • April 30: Four officers, 32 enlisted.
  • May 10: Five officers, 38 enlisted.
  • May 31: One officer, 65 enlisted.
  • June 10: One officer, 114 enlisted.
  • June 30: One officer, 195 enlisted.
  • July 10: Two officers, 176 enlisted.
  • August 10: Two officers, 105 enlisted.
  • August 20:  Three officers, twelve enlisted.

Of course, we know who one of those officers held in confinement was, but as to the rest, particularly all those enlisted men?  We can wonder about trends here and speculate something stimulated a rise in confinements starting in April, increasing in May, then peaking in June.  Keep in mind, during the five months sampled the regiment’s strength varied from 550 to 630 men.  So at the end of June, a third of the regiment was confined. Mutiny might well be the word for it.

But let us look at that “spike” in more detail.  A return from June 30 breaks out the confinements by battery:

  • Battery A:  One officer (Captain Michael Laux, who we know).
  • Battery B: 10 enlisted.
  • Battery C: 12 enlisted.
  • Battery D: No report.  This battery was at Cape Girardeau, Missouri
  • Battery E: 5 enlisted.
  • Battery F: 26 enlisted.
  • Battery G: 5 enlisted.
  • Battery H: None.
  • Battery I: 6 enlisted.
  • Battery K:  43 enlisted.
  • Battery L: 15 enlisted.
  • Battery M: 73 enlisted.

Recall the summary listing from earlier this week.  Batteries K, L, and M were actually not at St. Louis, but rather serving as light artillery in Southeast Missouri.  Such may help explain the number of confinements.  And may not necessarily be confinements due to mutinous behavior – infractions or missing movements, for example.

But looking through the newspaper’s articles that spring, it is apparent 2nd Missouri soldiers were involved with numerous altercations.  There are reports of stabbings, shootings, and fights.  And several appear in the weekly list of prisoners, identified as from the regiment.  A particularly bad incident occurred on July 4, with numerous – numbering above two dozen – members of the regiment arrested for questioning.  We might attribute that sort of behavior to disciplinary problems… but again… maybe not mutiny.

But most interesting among the “troubles” appearing for the 2nd Missouri occurred at the front end of this bulge of confinements. On April 23, the Daily Missouri Democrat reported:

Fort No. 8, St. Louis, April 21, 1863

A word from the detachment of Company E, 2d Missouri, referring to the President’s proclamation:

An order was received at this post yesterday, from Col. Almstedt’s headquarters, to furnish a certain George Hays with a safe-guard, to proceed to a certain house to recover his property, the said property being a runaway female slave.  When upon the men refusing to be used for such a duty on the plea that they had not enlisted as negro catchers, they were all ordered under arrest.  We support the above needs no comments.

[List of eleven soldiers, by name, who refused the assignment]

Some of the soldiers refusing were non-commissioned officers, indicating this was not some privates revolt against doing work.  This was a considered stand to make.  The next day, the paper walked this back a bit, claiming they intended to print the notice with some commentary.  But those comments had been inadvertently left out.  Concluding on the matter, the editor wrote:

It most clearly is the duty of the soldier to obey his superior officers, leaving responsibility of his consequent action upon the authority commanding it. If, however, he feels that is conscience or manhood will be outraged by yielding obedience to any particular order, then it is equally his duty to accept arrest and punishment without complaint.  But, as to the order referred to in this instance, our information leads us to conclude that the circumstances under which it was issued perfectly justify it, and that the disobedience was itself as unpardonable as the subsequent complaint was unsoldierly and wrong.

First, recall that Missouri was listed among the exemptions in the Emancipation Proclamation.  So Mr. Hays may have been a legal slaveholder, at least at that moment in time.  The question here is really if the military commander had an obligation to assist Hays, under his authority.  And that, I would submit, opens a larger can of worms.

But this brings up yet another possible reason for mutinous behavior.  And specifically from the men of Battery E.  Implied in the situation is Schwarz was the officer issuing the order to these men, as they came under his direct control.  I have looked through the records of six of the eleven, and find no indication of punishment or arrest.  Though a short period of confinement, say a few days, would slip go unrecorded in the service records.  But I would point out that two of these men went on to promotions and to reenlist in the regiment later in the fall.  Not graces normally accorded to those punished for disobedience.

So, we are left with Captain Schwarz killed by three soldiers, from the death-bead testimony of the victim, supported by one witness.  And we have a cry of mutinous behavior in the regiment.  Maybe we need to look deeper at the “climate” of the 2nd Missouri at this time.  The men were serving at home, literally for many.  They were given rather mundane garrison duty. They were close to the end of enlistments.  The city offered many distractions and “entertainment.”  And they were given orders that at least some found distasteful.

Any one of those factors… or all of those factors… might lead to a motive for shooting Captain Otto Schwarz.

“Conduct unbecoming” in Tony’s Saloon: Captain Michael Laux of the 2nd Missouri Artillery

Yesterday I gave you a bit of a teaser in the administrative section discussing the 2nd Missouri Artillery.  At the end of June, 1863, Captain Michael Laux, commander of Battery A, was under arrest and awaiting a hearing.  On the muster rolls, Laux’s status is simply – “Absent” and “Under arrest since February 27, 1863.”

Military things being what they were, when an officer is placed under arrest we are conditioned to expect some epic episode worthy of note… documented, of course, with a court marshal or other formal proceeding.  While there were all sorts of reasons for arrests, generally these fit into two broad categories – disobedience (not obeying orders) and misconduct.  And displays of misconduct more often than not are influenced by consumption of alcoholic beverages.  The case of Michael Laux fit into that latter category.

Laux was an immigrant, listed on the 1860 census as a carpenter originally from Bavaria, specifically the Rheinpfalz region.  At age 37, he lived in St. Louis with his wife Sibilla, aged 34.  They had two daughters, Margaretha and Mary, both born in Missouri and aged eight and six, respectively.

According to service records, Laux first joined the 1st US Reserve Infantry, Missouri Troops – a short enlistment early war formation – as a private.  He was commissioned a captain in the 2nd Missouri Artillery on September 26, 1861 and assigned to Battery A. The regimental book had Laux at five feet, 10 inches tall, with dark complexion, brown eyes, and dark hair.

Battery A’s service was mostly around St. Louis.  And it’s the winter of 1862 that we want to focus upon.  On February 5th of that year, Laux had… well… an incident:

Fold3_Page_22_Michael_Laux Fold3_Page_23__Michael_Laux

Transcription:

Headquarters, 2nd Mo. Art’y

St. Louis, Feb’y 1862

Charges and specifications against Capt. Michael Laux, Camp A, 2nd Mo. Art’y.

Charge. Conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman.

Specification. In this that on Wednesday, the 5th day of February, he went into Tony’s Beer saloon, being drunk, and ordered the proprietor to shut up the saloon and also ordered the guests to leave, assuming the authority of the Provost Marshall and saying that he was acting under such authority – and that after he had ejected the guests from the place he himself remained to drink beer for over half an hour, thereby forcing the proprietor to act against the rules established by the Provost Marshall.  During all this time he having demeaned himself toward the proprietor as well as the guests in a very ungentlemanly manner. When he left the Beer saloon he went into the oyster saloon attached to Tony’s Beer saloon and there repeated the same treatment towards the proprietor and guests.

Henry Almstedt

Col., Commanding, 2nd Mo. Art’y.

Witnesses:

Captain F. Johnson, Comdg. Fort No. 4.

Theodore Kanfuian (?), Seinberger’s Hotel.

Dr. F. Tunghans (?), Seinberger’s Hotel.

Anton Niederwieser, Proprietor of Tony’s Tivoli.

Of the witnesses, those from Seinberger’s Hotel appear to be guests at the bar.  With the name, Niederwiser, we can trace the location of the incident to Tony Niederwiser’s Beer Garden and Billard Saloon, at 17 South 4th Street, between Market and Walnut Streets (according to the 1863 St. Louis City Directory).

No indication from the records what prompted Laux’s behavior.  He was taken into custody two days after the incident.  He was apparently released back to duty within a couple of weeks.  Then in May he was granted a furlough, then returned to duties.  Battery A was detached for service at Rolla, Missouri in July 1862, with Laux in command.  The battery returned to St. Louis in late January 1863.  Then on February 27, Laux was under arrest again.  It is not clear if this arrest was due to a new charge or related to the earlier incident.  But what is clear, Laux was in jail.

This time Laux remained in custody at least through September.  In July he was removed from the battery rolls.  In late September, his enlistment was up and, like others in the 2nd Missouri, was eligible for discharge.  In Laux’s case, it appears formal charges were never brought forward.  Instead, Laux was released, on September 28, 1863, to a board established to adjudicate those men from the 2nd Missouri then leaving service.  But Laux was not discharged, the department indicated there were accounts to settle.  This added insult to injury, as Laux was still formally IN the service but not being paid for being in service (since his term had run out).

In November, he wrote to the commander of the 2nd Missouri Artillery (which had essentially reformed), Colonel Nelson Cole:

It is now two months since I am waiting for the adjustment of my accounts by the Ordnance Department.  I am thereby in a bad situation.  Not discharged from the service yet, I am nevertheless restrained from accepting a citizen’s employment.  I would therefore most respectfully ask you to have me mustered out of the service at once, like my brother officers, who were under the same circumstances mustered out. …

Finally, on December 5, 1863, by orders of Major-General John Schofield, Laux was “honorably mustered out of service” with the proviso that his final pay would be held until all accounts were settled…. you know, the old “we’ll send you a check in the mail” routine.  Thus ended Laux’s military service.  He appears on the draft rolls for 1863, listed as a carpenter living on Carondelet Avenue (matching an 1864 city directory listing).

Post-war, Laux moved to 915 Shenandoah Street.  The 1870 census found him with his wife Sevilla, but now with two boys and a young girl – Jacob (9), Henry (6), and Phillipine (4).  Clearly Michael and Sevilla maintained a prosperous home.  What of Margaretha and Mary?  With both of age by 1870 (you know they married young back then), it is no big surprise to see them out of the house.  The oldest, Margaretha, died in Nevada in 1927.  But Mary is a mystery to me.

Laux applied, and received, a pension in 1887.  He was still at the Shenandoah Street address when he died of endocarditis on October 29, 1894.  Sevilla survived him and worked as a housekeeper until her death in April 1900.

Laux may have avoided major battles and thus lacks celebratory events in his service record.  There is little evidence for us to evaluate Laux’s ability or qualities.  Yet, there was honor attached to his service, even if clouded.  The weighty question is, what prompted the incident of February 5, 1863?

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

The Second Missouri Artillery was organized in the fall of 1861 as the 1st Missouri Artillery, Reserve Corps with fifteen – yes, fifteen – batteries.  Three were designated light batteries (A, B, and C) and the remainder as heavy batteries for garrison duty.  Designated the 2nd Missouri in November 1861, the number of batteries was trimmed to twelve with a lot of shifting of resources. And for the first year or so of the war, these batteries defended Missouri, mostly around St. Louis.  By the summer of 1863, enlistments were coming up and the regiment faced some pending changes (which would lead to consolidation in the fall).  But at least through the end of June of that year, the formation remained a regiment in the table of organization and under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph Weydemeyer.

That said, the regiment’s summary is rather slim:

0193_1_Snip_MO2

Six batteries have no returns.  Of the other six, only three have cannons (two of which were the designated light batteries).  So let us attempt to at least identify what is left out with an administrative summary.  I recently came across a source with more detailed information about the officers assigned to this regiment.  And I’ve applied some of that here:

  • Battery A: No return.  Assigned to District of St. Louis, stationed at Fort No. 5.  Captain Michael Laux, of the battery, was under arrest for “Conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman” for an incident involving a consumption of beer.  Lieutenant Charles Faist filled in as commander.
  • Battery B:  With a November 1863 return    , this battery was at Helena, Arkansas with one 6-pdr field gun and one 12-pdr field howitzer. However, a battery muster roll from June 1863 indicates the battery was at Forts 1 and 2, at St. Louis at this same time.  In fact, I can find no record of a posting of this battery to Helena. So we have a conundrum with the summary.  Captain John J. Sutter was in command.
  • Battery C:  Another November 1863 return, and also placing this battery at Helena, Arkansas.  According to the return, Battery C had two 6-pdr field guns on hand.  But yet again, this is at odds with the muster rolls, placing Battery C at Fort 9, St. Louis. Captain William Baltz was in command.
  • Battery D: Based on a return filed in august 1864, this battery was at Cape Girardeau, Missouri, with an annotation “Infy Stores.”  — Though with a return, no equipment tallied. Captain Charles P. Meisner commanded this battery, posted to the garrison of Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
  • Battery E: No return. According to muster rolls, stationed at Forts No. 7 and 8 at St. Louis.  Captain Otto Schwarz, commanding this battery, was “killed by unknown person” on June 1, 1863.  Lieutenant Emil Holzborn replaced Schwarz.
  • Battery F: No return. Stationed at Fort No. 3, St. Louis.  Captain Arnold Roetter commanded.
  • Battery G: A return filed in January 1864 placed this battery at St. Louis with infantry stores.  There is a fort listed by name, but somewhat illegible. Muster rolls place the battery at Fort No. 6, St. Louis.  Captain Emil Strodtman (or Strodtmann) was in command, but detached for courts martial duty.
  • Battery H: No return. Posted to Fort No. 10.  Captain Frederick Lohman was in command.
  • Battery I: A return posted in August 1864 also indicates this battery had infantry stores on hand and stationed at St. Joseph, Missouri. The location is likely a transcription error.  Like sister batteries, Battery I was at St. Louis. In this case, Fort No. 4.  Captain Friederich W. Fuchs commanded.
  • Battery K: No return.  Assigned to the District of Southeast Missouri, this battery was equipped for field duty.  Muster rolls indicate service at Arcadia, Missouri. Lieutenant Thaddeus S. Clarkson.  The previous quarter, the battery reported two 12-pdr field howitzers and four 3-inch Ordnance rifles. This battery was involved with the Marmaduke Raid earlier in the spring.
  • Battery L: No return.  After serving at Rolla, Missouri through the spring, this battery returned to the St. Louis area – Camp Gamble.  I am not certain who was in command.  Lieutenant William Weydemeyer is the only officer I can say for certain was with the battery in June 1863.
  • Battery M: Reported at Little Rock, Arkansas, in a January 1864 return, with six 12-pdr mountain howitzers. This location was valid for September of 1863.  In June 1863 the battery was part of the Department of Southeast Missouri and reported at Arcadia. There are also reports indicating service at Pilot Knob.   Captain Gustave Stange remained in command.

The 2nd Missouri, as depicted in the points above, would cease to exist in September of 1863.  With so many enlistments complete, the batteries were disbanded or consolidated.  Most of the officers resigned their commissions.  But then started the cycle of raising a replacement.  For all practical purposes an entirely new 2nd Missouri was recruited, with new officers.

But that is for the next quarter’s summaries.  For now we have a handful of smoothbore cannons that need ammunition:

0195_1_Snip_MO2

Just three lines to consider:

  • Battery B: 42 shot, 84 case, and 56 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 30 shell and 50 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • Battery C: 98 shot, 216 case, and 92 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
  • Battery M: 84 shell, 444 case, and 72 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.

With that, we have accounted for the cannon ammunition reported by the regiment for the quarter.  I have posted the blank pages for the rifled projectiles should one wish to review: Hotchkiss, James, Parrott, and Schenkl.

Moving directly on to the small arms section:

0196_3_Snip_MO2

Only one line of entries:

  • Battery M: Eighty-two Army revolvers, sixty-seven cavalry sabers, and thirty horse artillery sabers.

That concludes the 2nd Missouri.  But we still have eight more lines of the “miscellaneous” independent batteries and detachments from Missouri.  Another administrative knot to untangle!

Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – 1st Missouri Artillery

As a “westerner”… or dare I say “Trans-Mississippian”… from my youngest days, it was impressed upon me, through my own studies and the words of others, that nothing regarding Missouri and the Civil War is straight forward.  Such is certainly the case with respect to Missouri’s artillery batteries serving the Federal army during the war.  While the state provided two “on paper” organized regiments of light artillery, there were in addition several independent batteries, militia batteries, and other sections and detachments.  And within that loose structure, there were oddities and questions in terms of administrative arrangements and issued equipment (which we’ll focus on here).

Looking at the aggregate listing for the second quarter, 1863, you can see the clerks opted to consolidate all the Missouri batteries, violating alphabetical order, onto the bottom of the page for this section of the summaries:

0193_1A_Snip_MO

As our focus this round is just the 1st Missouri Light Artillery Regiment, we shall trim that list down:

0193_1_Snip_MO

While an improvement, in terms of completeness, over the previous quarter, we see that most of the returns were not received in Washington until late summer or fall of 1863.  And two returns were not posted until 1864.  The rundown:

  • Battery A: Reported at Iuka, Mississippi with two 6-pdr field guns and two 12-pdr field howitzers.  Captain George W. Schofield remained in command.  And the battery remained with Twelfth Division, Thirteenth Corps.  As such, the location given is at odds with the battery service record.  In June 1863, the battery was at Vicksburg, part of the besieging force.  In October 1864, when the report was received in Washington, the battery was at Carrollton, Louisiana, having transferred to the Department of the Gulf.  Iuka does not fit into the time line for this battery.
  • Battery B:  No return.  At the start of the spring, this battery was assigned to the Second (Brigadier-General Francis J. Herron’s) Division, Department of Missouri during the quarter.  Captain Martin Welfley returned, from his staff assignment, in late May.  Then in June the battery moved, with it’s parent organization, to Vicksburg and was assigned to the Thirteenth Corps.  Arriving at Vicksburg on June 14, the battery fell in on a 32-pdr gun during the siege in addition to their own 12-pdr Napoleons and field howitzers.
  • Battery C: Reporting from Vicksburg, Mississippi with two 6-pdr field guns and two 12-pdr field howitzers.  Captain Charles Mann remained in command, with the battery assigned to Sixth Division, Seventeenth Corps.
  • Battery D:  At Corinth, Mississippi, with two 6-pdr field guns (a reduction from four the previous quarter), two 12-pdr field howitzers, and two 3-inch rifles.  The battery, under Captain Henry Richardson was assigned to Corinth, part of the Sixteenth Corps.
  • Battery E: At Vicksburg, Mississippi with four 10-pdr Parrotts and two “Fawcett Rifled Iron Gun, Cal. 3.5.”  Note the designation change from a generic “English Guns” the previous quarter.  In late May, Captain Nelson Cole’s battery moved to St. Louis, and with their parent division (Herron’s) then moved to Vicksburg.
  • Battery F: Carrollton, Louisiana with two 3.80-inch James Rifles and four 3.5-inch Fawcett Guns. The location reflects a reporting date of September 1863.  Battery F, like Batteries B and E, was part of Herron’s Division sent to Vicksburg in June 1863. Captain Joseph Foust remained in command.
  • Battery G: No return.  Captain Henry Hescock’s battery was assigned to the Third Division, Twentieth Corps. Hescock was also listed as commander of the artillery brigade supporting the division.  As of the reporting date, they were on the Tullahoma Campaign.
  • Battery H: At Corinth, Mississippi with two 6-pdr field guns, one 24-pdr field howitzer, and two 10-pdr Parrotts. Captain Frederick Welker’s battery was part of the garrison at Corinth, under the Sixteenth Corps.
  • Battery I:  Reporting at Pocahontas, Tennessee (a railroad stop northwest of Corinth), with two 6-pdr field guns, one 12-pdr field howitzers (down by one from the previous quarter), two 10-pdr Parrotts, and one 4.62-inch rifle (cited as a 12-pdr James, see mention below).  Captain Benjamin Tannrath commanded the battery, assigned to the Sixteenth Corps, under the Corinth Garrison.
  • Battery K: At Helena, Arkansas with four 10-pdr Parrotts. Captain Stillman O. Fish was in command.  The battery was part of the District of Eastern Arkansas.
  • Battery L: At Rolla, Missouri with two 12-pdr field howitzers and four 3.67-inch rifles. Captain Frank Backof’s Battery, remaining with the Department of the Frontier, was with a portion of Herron’s Division not forwarded to Vicksburg.
  • Battery M: At Vicksburg, Mississippi with four 10-pdr Parrotts.  Captain Junius W. MacMurray’s battery remained assigned to Seventh Division, Seventeenth Corps.

So of the twelve batteries of this regiment, half at Vicksburg. Four other batteries were indirectly supporting that campaign.  Battery G was on the Tullahoma Campaign. Leaving only Backof’s Battery in their home state.

The variety of armament should excite readers.  Naturally the mention of Fawcett guns is noteworthy.  But we’ve seen those reported from previous quarters.  It’s the 12-pdr James rifle, with Battery I, which stands out for this summary.  The column header (part of the form) clearly calls this out as a bronze weapon.  And specifically 4.62-inch caliber.  We can’t dismiss this simply as transcription error because, as we will see below, the battery also reported ammunition in that caliber.  So either a lot of transcription errors…. or a bronze 12-pdr rifle was with the battery.  Certainly not the rifled 12-pdr Napoleons that are seen at Gettysburg.  Those were only used for tests.  Rather, the leading candidate is a 12-pdr field gun, heavy, that had been rifled to the James system.  Several of those survive today. And with Battery I posted to guarding a railroad, form seems to follow function.  Until I find more information, I’d still rate that tentative.

Turning to the smoothbore ammunition, we find the need to extend the table to include those 24-pdr howitzer rounds:

0195_1_Snip_MO

Listing by battery:

  • Battery A:  66 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 16 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers
  • Battery C: 65 shot for 6-pdr field guns; 124 shell, 96 case, and 64 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • Battery D: 182 shot, 50 case, and 87 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 119 shell and 38 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers; and 162 case for 12-pdr Napoleons (which may be a transcription error).
  • Battery H: 130 case and 28 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 69 shell, 53 case, and 60 canister for 24-pdr field howitzers.
  • Battery I: 15 shot, 195 case, and 109 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 49 shell, 36 case, and 71 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • Battery L: 184 case and 80 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.

The limited number of rounds for Battery A stand out in particular. Just canister… for the siege of Vicksburg.  Go figure.

Turning to the rifled projectiles, Hotchkiss is first:

0195_2_Snip_MO

We have a short list, but with notes:

  • Battery D: 40 canister, 98 percussion shell, 152 fuse shell, and 270 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery F: 12 shot and 86 percussion shells for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • Battery L: 280 shot and 270 percussion shell for 3.67-inch rifles.

Once again we see those in the field, and those in Washington, make distinction between the 3.80-inch “James” and the 3.67-inch “Wiard” calibers.  We should not read into the latter identification, as that was simply tied to a caliber of gun, though not specifically the inventor’s gun.  In this case, Backof’s battery had rifled 6-pdrs.

That distinction remains for carry-over columns of Hotchiss on the next page (which I’ll break down by section for clarity):

0196_1A_Snip_MO

Two reporting:

  • Battery F: 88 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • Battery L:  100 canister for 3.67-inch rifles.

Now we can move to the James-patent Projectiles:

0196_1B_Snip_MO

And as mentioned above, we have either a lot of transcription errors, or something to fire from a rifled bronze 12-pdr:

  • Battery I: 10 shot, 8 shell, 25 case, and 30 canister for 4.62-inch rifles.

The next section covers Parrott-patent projectiles:

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Five batteries reporting:

  • Battery E: 420 shell, 175 case, and 75 canister for 10-pdr Parrotts.
  • Battery H: 163 shell, 137 case, and 137 canister for 10-pdr Parrotts.
  • Battery I: 48 shell, 44 case, and 64 canister for 10-pdr Parrotts.
  • Battery K: 160 shell, 340 case, and 120 canister for 10-pdr Parrotts.
  • Battery M: 265 shell, 473 case, and 130 canister for 10-pdr Parrotts.

Lastly we turn to the Schenkl columns:

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A lot of shot of that type:

  • Battery E:  130 shot for 10-pdr Parrott.
  • Battery I: 54 shot for 10-pdr Parrott.
  • Battery K: 92 shot for 10-pdr Parrott.
  • Battery M: 126 shot for 10-pdr Parrott.

There are no further Schenkl entries on the next page.  So we can move to the small arms:

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By battery:

  • Battery A: Fourteen percussion pistols, twenty Navy revolvers, and ninety-three cavalry sabers.
  • Battery C: Three (?) Army revolvers and four cavalry sabers.
  • Battery D: Eight Army revolvers and thirty cavalry sabers.
  • Battery E: Seventy-seven Army revolvers and forty-four cavalry sabers.
  • Battery F: Ten Army revolvers and eighteen cavalry sabers.
  • Battery H: Eight Army revolvers and forty-eight (?) cavalry sabers.
  • Battery I: Seventeen Army revolvers, 113 cavalry sabers, and one horse artillery saber.
  • Battery K: Three Navy revolvers and twenty-five cavalry sabers.
  • Battery L: Eleven Navy revolvers and thirty-nine cavalry sabers.
  • Battery M: Four Army revolvers and seven cavalry sabers.

Other than the percussion pistols, no oddities among the small arms.  There are a lot of reenactor impressions “taking a hit” right now.

We will pick up with the 2nd Missouri Artillery next.

Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – Batteries from Minnesota

Minnesota provided three light batteries to the Federal cause.  All three of those were on active service at the end of the second quarter, 1863:

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All three offered returns for the quarter, though posted in Washington with some delays:

  • 1st Battery: Received in September 1863, with location of Vicksburg, Mississippi.  This is probably correct, as the battery supported Sixth Division, Seventeenth Corps at this juncture.  In fact, the battery would spend most of its time through the subsequent fall and winter around Vicksburg.  The battery reported two 12-pdr field howitzers and two 3.67-inch (6-pdr) rifles.  Captain William Z. Clayton commanded.
  • 2nd Battery:  For the second quarterly return in a row, we see Chattanooga, Tennessee as the location for this battery.  Certainly valid for a posting date of January 1864.  But as of June 30, 1863, the battery was assigned to First Division, Twentieth Corps, and active on the Tullahoma Campaign through middle Tennessee.  Chattanooga was the objective, but not quite yet reached.  Two 12-pdr Napoleons and four 10-pdr Parrotts were in the battery’s charge.  Lieutenant Albert Woodbury remained in command.  Woodbury would be mortally wounded at Chickamauga later in the summer.  Lieutenant Richard L. Dawley did get the battery off the field, however.
  • 3rd Battery:  Reporting from Fort Snelling, Minnesota with two 6-pdr field guns and six 12-pdr field howitzers (But… see note below).  Captain John Jones commanded this battery assigned to the District of Minnesota, Department of the Northwest.  Far away from the big battles in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania, the 3rd did not have a quiet summer by the lake.  At the end of June, the Battery was among the forces on an expedition against the Sioux.   Lieutenant J. C. Whipple, commanding a section (of howitzers, if my memory is correct), served with distinction at Stony Lake later in July.

Three batteries.  Three different campaigns. No light duty for the Minnesota batteries.

The 3rd Battery’s howitzers deserve some attention… or question marks, perhaps.  We see field howitzers on the cannon summary page.  But later in the summary, we find the ammunition reported was for mountain howitzers.  And Brigadier-General Henry H. Sibley, commanding the expedition against the Sioux, specifically mentioned a section of 6-pdrs and two sections of mountain howitzers in his official report.  I would make the case for four mountain howitzers, and the tally being placed in the wrong column.

Turning to their ammunition, we look at the smoothbore page first:

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All three had some quantities to report:

  • 1st Battery: 74 shell, 128 case, and 90 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • 2nd Battery: 96 shot, 32 shell, 96 case, and 32 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 3rd Battery:  130 shot, 230 case, and 42 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 60 shell, 224 case, and 84 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzer.  (That last entry, I’m suggesting is another column entry error and should have been entered one to the right.)

Moving to the rifled projectiles, we saw the 1st Battery reported rifled 6-pdrs.  These were, based on the column entry, REAL 6-pdrs that were rifled.  In other words 3.67-inch caliber.  And that’s the ammunition they reported:

0195_2_Snip_MN

These on the first page of Hotchkiss projectiles:

  • 1st Battery: 122 shot, 36 percussion shell, and 26 bullet shell for 3.67-inch rifles.

Note the Ordnance Department called this “Wiard” caliber, related to the rifled guns from that inventor.  But we know that caliber pre-dated Wiard’s guns.

More Hotchkiss on the next page, which we will break down into sections:

0196_1A_Snip_MN

  • 1st Battery:  116 canister for 3.67-inch.  Again “Wiard” is the association, but we should properly disassociate from the eccentric inventor.

Moving over to the right, there are some Parrott projectiles to account for:

0196_1B_Snip_MN

  • 2nd Battery:  444 shell, 207 case, and 143 canister for 10-pdr Parrott.

There were no Schenkl or Tatham projectiles reported.  So we move quickly to the small arms:

0196_3_Snip_MN

By battery:

  • 1st Battery: Two rifles (type, non-specific) and eleven Navy revolvers.
  • 2nd Battery: One Navy revolver and nine cavalry sabers.
  • 3rd Battery: Thirty Army revolvers and 126 cavalry sabers.

3rd Battery must have issued a saber to every man when stepping out on Sibley’s Sioux Expedition.

Looking ahead to the next installments, one might wonder “Where’s Michigan?”  Well the clerks at the Ordnance Department, never ones to be constrained by the alphabet, shifted that state’s batteries to the next page.  That gave room for all the batteries of Missouri to be considered in one contiguous group.

Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – Maryland’s Batteries

Sorry for the extended absence from the blog, as I’ve been on and off and back on vacation.  And let me pick up where we left off, on the second quarter, 1863 summary statements.  The next state in the queue is Maryland, with three batteries showing in the report:

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Three lines, looking uniform with Ordnance Rifles all around:

  • Battery A: Indicated with the Army of the Potomac, but is that “Pa” or “Va”?  The former would be most precise, but either would be understood.  And reported with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  In May, the battery moved from the Sixth Corps to the Fourth Volunteer Brigade, Artillery Reserve. Captain James H. Rigby remained in command. The battery occupied a position on Powers Hill during the battle of Gettysburg, doing good work supporting the Federal position on Culp’s Hill.
  • Battery B: Reported at Maryland Heights, Maryland, with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Captain Alonzo Snow’s battery was also transferred out of the Sixth Corps in May, 1863.  Listed “unassigned” in the Artillery Reserve, the battery reported to Camp Barry, Washington, D.C., and was likely still there at the end of June.  In mid-July, the battery was among the forces reoccupying Harpers Ferry.
  • Baltimore Independent Battery: Showing at Baltimore, Maryland, with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  This is the correct location for the receipt date of February 1864.  But turning back to the end of June, 1863, the Baltimore Battery had much more to say.  Captain F. W. Alexander was part of Milroy’s command at Winchester, Virginia at the beginning of that month.  When that place was evacuated, Alexander’s men spiked the guns, disabled the carriages, destroyed ammunition, and escaped with their horses.  So their “proper” return would be no guns or ammunition, and reforming at Camp Barry.

Deserving brief mention, two other Maryland batteries were organized in July 1863 – Batteries A and B, Junior Light Artillery.  Both would serve but a year, mostly around Baltimore.  Neither were in existence at the end of June, however.

Moving to the ammunition pages, we can skip the smoothbore page, as these batteries had only rifles.  But where there are Ordnance Rifles, we expect to find Hotchkiss projectiles:

0195_2_Snip_MD

All three reported quantities:

  • Battery A: 98 canister, 110 fuse shell, and 196 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery B: 148 canister, 120 fuse shell, and 383 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Baltimore Battery: 121 canister, 120 percussion shell, 240 fuse shell, and 720 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

Of note, in the court of inquiry investigating the disaster at Winchester, Alexander indicated that at the start of the battle of Winchester, he had 1200 rounds on hand…. just one short of the actual tally given in the summary.   By the time of evacuation he was down to 28 rounds per gun, most of which was canister.  When ordered to evacuate, he testified,

I mounted the men on the horses, leaving those equipments that would rattle; saw the guns of my battery spiked, took off the cap-squares and linch-pins, and threw them into the water-tank. I then formed the men by twos, and marched them out of the fort.

So if we wish to split hairs, all the numbers given above for the Baltimore Battery, and their guns included, would be scratched out for the reporting date of June 30, 1863.

Moving to the next page, we find some Dyer’s projectiles on hand:

0196_1_Snip_MD

Two reporting quantities:

  • Battery A: 375 shrapnel and 43 canister for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery B: 97 shells for 3-inch rifles.

And the next page, we find the same two batteries with Schenkl projectiles:

0196_2_Snip_MD

  • Battery A: 372 shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery B: 444 shell for 3-inch rifles.

So once again, we find batteries with an assortment of projectile makes.

Moving on to the small arms:

0196_3_Snip_MD

By battery:

  • Battery A: Eight Army revolvers, twenty cavalry sabers, and twenty horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery B: Ten Army revolvers and twenty-two cavalry sabers.
  • Baltimore Battery:  Twenty-five Army revolvers and thirty-two horse artillery sabers.

Worth noting, in his official report, Alexander laments that most of his men were “totally unarmed” and thus were sent rapidly on the road to Harpers Ferry with the word of a Confederate cavalry pursuit.  He had just over eighty men to report at the end of the retreat, so just who had those pistols and sabers might be inferred.

(Citation from OR, Series I, Volume 27, Part II, Serial 44, page 103.)

Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – Batteries from Massachusetts

We turn the page – page in the ledger, that is – with this installment on the summaries and find the next recorded state set is Massachusetts.

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There are a few administrative snags here which we must navigate around.  Three returns were not posted. And several of those posted offer incorrect locations.  And we have two “missing” batteries to mention. You will notice two themes here with the locations – Gettysburg and Port Hudson:

  • 1st Battery: Reported at Manchester, Maryland with six 12-pdr Napoleons. The battery was assigned to Artillery Brigade, Sixth Corps, Army of the Potomac. Captain William H. McCartney commanded.  According to McCartney’s brief reports, the battery was “moving in a northerly direction through Maryland each day until July 2.”  He reported firing only four solid shot at Gettysburg.
  • 2nd Battery: No return. Captain Ormand F. Nims commanded this battery, assigned to the Fourth Division, Nineteenth Corps, Department of the Gulf.  The battery may have retain six 6-pdr rifled field guns mentioned earlier in the year. The battery was part of the force laying siege to Port Hudson in June 1863.
  • 3rd Battery: Indicated at Warrenton, Virginia with six 12-pdr Napoleons from an August 24, 1863 posting date.  Assigned to the Artillery Brigade, Fifth Corps. When Captain Augustus Martin assumed command of the brigade, Lieutenant Aaron F. Walcott took command of the battery.  June 30 found the battery moving through Maryland with the parent formation.  Two days later, the battery was in action at Gettysburg.
  • 4th Battery: At Port Hudson, Louisiana with four 12-pdr Napoleons and two 3-inch ordnance rifles.  This battery was assigned to the Third Division, Nineteenth Corps.   Captain George G. Trull was in command of the battery.  But the nature of service had sections detached (and under the lieutenants of the battery).  The previous quarter this battery’s guns were identified as 3-inch steel rifles. The most likely scenario is improper identification from the previous quarter, as often was the case with wrought iron guns.
  • 5th Battery: In Washington, D.C. with six 3-inch rifles.  That location does not match with any specific assignment for the battery.  After Chancellorsville, 5th Battery was reassigned to the First Volunteer Artillery Brigade (Lieutenant-Colonel Freeman McGilvery), Artillery Reserve.  Captain Charles A. Phillips remained in command.  So we’d place this battery near Taneytown, Maryland as of June 30.  Thrown into the Peach Orchard sector to shore up the lines on July 2, the battery was heavily engaged.  Phillips wrote,  “During the two days I fired 690 rounds; lost 1 officer, wounded; 4 men killed and 16 wounded, and 40 horses killed and a number disabled.”
  • 6th Battery: At Port Hudson with four 12-pdr Napoleons and two 12-pdr field howitzers. The battery was assigned to First Division, Nineteenth Corps, under Captain William W. Carruth (however, Lieutenant John F. Phelps was listed as commander in the corps returns… and Carruth mustered out later in the fall).
  • 7th Battery: Indicated at White House, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance rifles.  Assigned to First Division, Seventh Army Corps,  the battery was commanded by Captain Phineas A. Davis.  At the start of July, the battery was among the forces employed for an expedition from White House to the South Anna River.
  • 8th Battery: No return.  Mustered out the previous November at the end of a six-month enlistment.
  • 9th Battery: Warrenton Junction, Virginia with six 12-pdr Napoleons, as of the August 23, 1863 report. The 9th Battery was assigned to the First Volunteer Artillery Brigade, Artillery Reserve in mid-June.  So their actual location for the end of the quarter was Taneytown.  Captain John Bigelow commanded.  Along with the brigade (and the 5th Battery), the 9th Battery was rushed towards the Peach Orchard on July 2.  When Bigelow was wounded, Lieutenant Richard S. Milton assumed command.
  • 10th Battery:  Report dated August 18, 1863 placed this battery at Sulphur Springs, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. The battery supported French’s Division, Eighth Corps, Middle Department (which would soon be folded into the Army of the Potomac).  Sent to Harpers Ferry in mid-June, the battery was among those forces withdrawn to Frederick, Maryland at the end of the month. Captain J. Henry Sleeper commanded.
  • 11th Battery: Indicted as “not in service.”  This battery mustered out of service on May 25, 1863.  After turning in equipment, the battery returned to Massachusetts where it remained in the state militia.  Captain Edward J. Jones remained as commander.  That said, the battery did see “action” that July… suppressing riots in Boston.  The Battery would return to Federal service the following winter.
  • 12th Battery:  At Port Hudson, Louisiana, with four 6-pdr field guns and two 3-inch Ordnance rifles. Listed as unattached in the Nineteenth Corps.  Actually, this battery was split into sections at this phase of the war.  Captain Jacob Miller commanded the battery, from Fort Banks near New Orleans.  Sections of the battery were forwarded to Port Hudson in support of the siege of that place, under Lieutenant Edwin M. Chamberlin.

Not mentioned in this list, the 13th Massachusetts Light Artillery was not only in service but also “in action” at the end of June 1863.  Captain Charles H. J. Hamlin commanded.  After troublesome and delayed passage from Massachusetts, the battery arrived at New Orleans on May 10.  There, the 13th was assigned garrison duties, with its horses turned over to the 12th Battery (see above).  On June 5, the men of the battery moved by steamboat to Port Hudson.  There, they served in two detachments – one under Captain Hamlin, the other under Lieutenant Timothy W. Terry – manning siege mortars.  Not acclimatized, the men of the battery suffered heavily during the siege.

The 14th and 16th Massachusetts would not muster until months later.  But the 15th Massachusetts Light Artillery may be included here.  The 15th left Boston in March 1863, for New Orleans, under Captain Timothy Pearson.  The battery arrived in May, but turned in equipment and horses (needed for the other batteries).  For the remainder of the year, the 15th Battery served garrison duties around New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain.

Moving past this lengthy administrative section, we turn to the ammunition.  These batteries reported a number of Napoleons.  No surprise we see a lot of 12-pdr rounds reported:

0195_1_Snip_MA

Five batteries reporting:

  • 1st Battery: 287 shot, 96 shell, 288 case, and 96 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 3rd Battery: 192 shot, 96 shell, 387 case, and 96 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 4th Battery: 269 shell, 147 case, and 55 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 6th Battery: 198 shot, 106 shell, 150 case, and 58 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons; 90 shell, 136 case, and 40 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • 9th Battery: 288 shot, 96 shell, 288 case, and 96 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.

Notice the 12th battery reported no ammunition for the 6-pdrs.

Turning to the rifled projectiles, since we saw 3-inch Ordnance rifles on hand we can expect Hotchkiss rounds in the chests:

0195_2_Snip_MA

Five batteries reporting quantities:

  • 4th Battery: 39 canister, 265 percussion shell, and 60 fuse shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 5th Battery: 121 canister and 322 fuse shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 7th Battery: 168 canister, 188 fuse shell, and 486 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 10th Battery: 115 canister, 110 percussion shell, 220 fuse shell, and 500 bullet shells for 3-inch rifles.
  • 12th Battery: 30 shot, 34 canister, 60 percussion shell, 70 fuse shell, and 112 bullet shells for 3-inch rifles.

We don’t often see solid shot reported from the field. But the 12th Battery had thirty.

Moving to the next page, we find entries for Dyer’s patent projectiles:

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Three batteries reporting:

  • 5th Battery: 550 shrapnel for 3-inch rifles.
  • 7th Battery: 221 shrapnel for 3-inch rifles.
  • 10th Battery: 240 shrapnel for 3-inch rifles.

What may, or may not, be a correlation here, the three batteries were all Eastern Theater.  Though their service was varied.

We find those same three batteries reporting Schenkl projectiles:

0196_2_Snip_MA

  • 5th Battery: 211 shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 7th Battery: 290 shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 10th Battery: 15 shell for 3-inch rifles.

To close out this lengthy examination, we turn to the small arms:

0196_3_Snip_MA

  • 1st Battery: Eleven Army revolvers, twelve cavalry sabers, and five horse artillery sabers.
  • 3rd Battery: One Army revolver, eight cavalry sabers, and twenty-four horse artillery sabers.
  • 4th Battery: One breechloading carbine, seven Army revolvers, and thirty-six horse artillery sabers.
  • 5th Battery: One Army revolver and thirty-three horse artillery sabers.
  • 6th Battery: Ten Army revolvers and eight cavalry sabers.
  • 7th Battery: Eighteen Army revolvers and 142 horse artillery sabers.
  • 9th Battery: Fourteen Army revolvers and thirty horse artillery sabers.
  • 10th Battery: Seventeen Navy revolvers and twenty horse artillery sabers.
  • 12th Battery: Eighteen Army revolvers and thirty horse artillery sabers.

It seems the Massachusetts batteries received a healthy issue of horse artillery sabers. Perhaps proud products of Ames Manufacturing, of Chicopee, Massachusetts.