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.
- 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:
- 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.