Summary Statement, 1st Quarter, 1863 – Minnesota and Maryland Batteries

Continuing through the summaries in the order of presentation, the next sections are for batteries from Minnesota and Maryland.  What of Maine? And shouldn’t Massachusetts and Michigan be ahead of Minnesota? Clearly the clerks of the Ordnance Department placed line count and page layout above ease of data retrieval.  We’ll see those other states represented… after Missouri!

For now we have the business of five batteries from “The star of the North” and the “Old Line State.”

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Minnesota provided one heavy artillery regiment (very late in the war) and three light batteries to the cause.  The last of those light batteries was fully formed until late spring 1863.  So we see two listed here for the winter quarter of that year:

  • 1st Battery: Received on April 14, 1863, their report gave a location of Lake Providence, Louisiana, with two 12-pdr field howitzers and two 3.67-inch (6-pdr) rifles.  When Grant’s ponderous Thirteenth Corps was reorganized, the battery moved with its parent, the Sixth Division, into Seventeenth Corps.  During the winter the division moved from Memphis to Lake Providence, with other formations focused on Vicksburg.  Freshly promoted Captain William Z. Clayton commanded.
  • 2nd Battery:  On paper, we see this battery’s report arrived in Washington on April 15, claiming an advanced position at Chattanooga, Tennessee.  Something is certainly amiss with the entry.  Two 12-pdr Napoleons and four 10-pdr Parrotts is correct.  But the battery was actually at Murfreesboro with the rest of the Army of the Cumberland.  With the reorganization, the battery moved to First Division, Twentieth Corps.  Captain William A. Hotchkiss relinquished command of the battery to serve as the artillery chief.  Lieutenant Albert Woodbury assumed command.
  • 3rd Battery:  As mentioned above, this battery was still organizing at the reporting time and thus not on the summary.  Men from the 10th Minnesota Infantry transferred to form the battery.  Captain John Jones commanded.

Maryland had three batteries serving the Federal cause at this time in the war:

  • Battery A: The report received on June 23, 1863 indicated the battery wintered around White Oak Church, Virginia and possessed six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Captain James H. Rigby remained in command.  The battery was part of Sixth Corps at the time.
  • Battery B:  No date on the return, but the battery was also posted at White Oak Church. The battery reported four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Captain Alonzo Snow commanded.  At the start of the quarter the battery was also part of the Sixth Corps.  By mid-spring the battery was listed as “unassigned” within the Army of the Potomac, then later assigned to the Provost Guard Brigade.
  • Baltimore Battery: The return of April 19 had the battery at Harpers Ferry, with one 6-pdr field gun and six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  The battery, under Captain F. W. Alexander, was in Kenley’s Division of the Eighth Corps (Middle Department).  Later the battery would transfer to Milroy’s Division at Winchester.

Among those five (reporting) batteries, we have three with smoothbore cannons:

0110_1_Snip_MN_MD

And those had ammunition on hand to count:

  • 1st Minnesota: 92 shell, 104 case, and 130 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • 2nd Minnesota: 96 shot, 32 shell, 96 case, and 32 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Baltimore Battery:  100 case and 100 canister for 6-pdr field guns.

Moving to the rifled projectiles, first those of Hotchkiss:

0110_2_Snip_MN_MD

Four with quantities to report:

  • 1st Minnesota: 74 shot, 96 fuse shell, and 12 bullet shell for 3.67-inch rifle (labeled “Wiard” in the column header, but we know that caliber was also used by the rifled 6-pdr guns).
  • Battery A, Maryland: 40 canister and 181 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery B, Maryland: 120 fuse shell and 452 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Baltimore Battery:  150 canister, 616 percussion shell, and 712 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

We cannot “cut down” the next page due to the various projectiles reported.

0111_1_Snip_MN_MD

Let us consider these by type.  One battery had Dyer’s on hand:

  • Battery A, Maryland: 32 shell, 527 shrapnel, and 80 canister for 3-inch rifle.

Now to the Parrott columns:

  • 2nd Minnesota: 416 shell and 149 canister for 10-pdr (2.9-inch) Parrott.

Lastly, there are some Schenkl columns on this page:

  • 2nd Minnesota: 15 shot for 10-pdr Parrott – reminder, these are Schenkl projectiles but made to work in Parrott rifles.

We see more Schenkl projectiles on the next page:

0111_2_Snip_MN_MD

These are in the Maryland batteries:

  • Battery A, Maryland: 332 shell in 3-inch rifle caliber.
  • Battery B, Maryland: 179 shell in 3-inch rifle caliber.

Then all the way to the right, we find Tatham’s canister in use:

  • 1st Minnesota: 126 canister for 3.67-inch (6-pdr) rifle caliber.

I do like that we see the 3.67-inch rifle caliber projectiles specifically called out on the forms.  This underscores the difference – practical and administrative – between the James Rifles and the rifled 6-pdrs.

Moving to the small arms:

0111_3_Snip_MN_MD

By battery:

  • 1st Minnesota: Eleven Navy revolvers and thirteen cavalry sabers.
  • 2nd Minnesota: One Navy revolver and eight cavalry sabers.
  • Battery A, Maryland: Eight Army revolvers and twenty horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery B, Maryland: Fourteen Army revolvers and 102 cavalry sabers.
  • Baltimore Battery: Six Springfield .58-caliber muskets, twenty Army revolvers, and thirty horse artillery sabers.

We see, with one small exception, a desired small arms issue for artillery batteries.

Perhaps this is the best rounded, complete set of returns submitted thus far.  Just one question, about the location of the 2nd Minnesota battery.  And we see every cannon on the report had some projectile to fire!

Canister and our silly notions about canister

It is my perception is that the average student of the Civil War latches on to some misconceptions about canister as used from field artillery.  And from that misconception, the student (buff, enthusiast, or even credentialed historian as it may be) carries forward to some misunderstandings as to how artillery was used on the Civil War battlefield.  Consider Paddy Griffith’s assessment:

The main effect of artillery came at what may be described as ‘canister range’ – the last 300 yards to the gun, sometimes extending to 500 yards. It was here that the flash and crash of the heavy Napoleons, firing two and a half pounds of powder with each detonation, could numb and stagger the enemy, even when they did not physically hurt him.

The sources provided for this observation is L. Van Loan Naisawald and Jack Coggins.  Now, Naisawald’s Grape and Canister is a good read on the artillery of the Army of the Potomac.  But it is dated (to be kind… I’ll leave it at that).  Coggins’ Arms and Equipment is a good premier for study, but not by any means authoritative on the subject of artillery.

I would say Paddy Griffith is not alone in this “weighted” assessment of artillery – and allow me to use “weighted” in two ways here.  Certainly weighted in the sense that canister was the artillery’s most effective projectile on the battlefield… and that the physical weight of the canister had some value against the infantry…. From that we see some historians attempt to devolve the tactical situation down to raw numbers:

Certainly the two Union artillery batteries had an impact, but the majority of fire came from the infantry. Artillery, even rapid firing double canister, would only be throwing 54 projectiles per tube per minute, (about 650 per minute for all twelve guns) and could keep that up only for a couple of minutes before they ran out of the proper ammo. 1000 infantry would add between 2000 and 3000 rounds per minute, assuming a normal rate of fire, and with 100 rounds apiece, and another 1000 men in support ready to step up when the front line emptied their boxes, the infantry’s fire could be sustained for a much longer time.

That quote is from a blog entry by Dave Powell from 2009.  In context, Powell was discussing a specific circumstance in the battle of Chickamauga in which the artillery was, due to the tactical setting, not employed in a location to take advantage of it’s full capabilities.  We might haggle over bad decisions by leaders on the spot, or discuss the finer points of the situation.  But that discussion starts with an assessment of what the artillery was there to do in the first place. That said, assessing the artillery’s potential killing power simply as a measure of the canister spread is to ignore 90% of the combat potential that artillery brought to the field.  And that, I would submit, is not how leaders of the time would weight their decisions regarding artillery employment.

Specifically toward that assertion, consider the standard load out of the 12-pdr Napoleon ammunition chest (since Paddy Griffith liked it) as configured according to Ordnance Department standards:

  • 12 solid shot
  • 12 spherical case (case shot as I prefer, but sometimes called shrapnel)
  • 4 shells
  • 4 canister

Multiply that times four, as a gun brought that number of chests into action between the limber and caisson, for a total of 128 rounds.  We see that canister constituted only 12% of the ammunition on hand, if we go by regulation.  However, we also know that in service many artillerists adjusted those quantities.  Henry Hunt, for example, before the Overland Campaign (and thus incorporating years of wartime service experience) suggested increasing the number of solid shot at the expense of case shot.  But at the same time he did not want an increase in canister.   So… if Henry Hunt, who we would all agree knew his business, felt that his gunners needed more solid shot, by a factor of four, than canister, what does that tell us about the preferences for projectiles on the battlefield? And furthermore, what does it say about how leaders wanted artillery to be employed?

Better still, let us turn to another authority on artillery… straight from the muzzle if I may … John Gibbon:

The kind of projectile to be used, will depend on circumstances.  Shot and shell should be fired against troops taken in flank or obliquely, against deep columns, and against artillery.  The horizontal fire should be used against troops advancing in mass to force a bridge or defile, or marching over very smooth ground.  Shot had better be used against infantry, and shells and schrapnell [case shot] against cavalry, as this latter arm presents the highest mark, and enables the pieces of the bursting shells to do more execution…. A charge, when within short range, may be received by firing from each piece a solid shot on top of which is placed a round of canister. the firing then as rapid as possible, sponging may be dispensed with, within 150 yards, and as the enemy approaches nearer, canister alone is used, pointing very low at very short ranges, so that the projectiles may ricochet and scatter more.  Canister should not be fired at distances greater than 300 to 400 yards. Shrapnell [case shot] should be used against troops deployed, or in column, by division or squadron.  Schrapnell and shells produce a greater moral effect, generally, than grape or canister.

Here we have clear guidance from one very well respected authority at the time.  We see “weighting” of the type of projectiles in the ammunition chest was indeed derived from the use preferences.  Those preferences were determined based on the intended employment of artillery on the battlefield.

Think about this – what was the artillery battery there to accomplish?

I’d submit that a short answer to that question is simply – to keep the enemy off targeted terrain.  Yes, the “ying-yang” of infantry and artillery.  Infantry was supposed to seize and hold terrain. Artillery was to keep the enemy off terrain (not necessarily to “drive him off” but where that tactical need was drawn…perhaps).  There’s more to it all, of course.  And I don’t wish to over-simplify where such carries perils.  But if we go back to the words of men like Hunt, Gibbon, Barry, and other artillerists from the war, we see that premise on exhibit.  Artillery was best used… intended to be used … in a manner to deprive the enemy of advantageous terrain.

We are coming up to an anniversary of a fine example of just how things “worked” in action.  Turn to June 30, 1862 and Battery G, 2nd US Artillery.  On that day, Captain James Thompson (another officer who knew quite a bit about how one uses artillery…) had orders to deploy his battery in what would become the battle of Glendale, or Frazier’s Farm:

In compliance with instructions from the general commanding the division the battery was posted on the right of the New Market road, supported by Berry’s and Robinson’s brigades, in order to be in position to open fire on the enemy advancing either upon the New Market road or upon the Central road.

Mission statement – Thompson’s battery would deny the use of those roads to the enemy. We may parse it all sorts of ways, but that is what the guns were there to do.  Not to hold ground.  Rather to keep the enemy from using specific terrain (roads) that would allow closer approach.

But… as in so much on the battlefield, not everything works according to plan:

About 400 yards in front was a dense wood, which approached within 100 yards on our right behind a small house. About 4 o’clock the enemy came upon us in line from this wood. I opened fire upon them with spherical case-shot, but they advanced to the débris of two fences I had caused to be thrown down in the earlier part of the day and about 100 yards in front. Canister was now used, and our supports opened fire on them with musketry, and they were stopped. The wood on the right was densely crowded with them in large force, and three successive charges to capture the battery were repulsed by the prompt and gallant supports deployed between the guns and by the murderous double canister from our guns, loaded without sponging.

So.. the Confederates were not so kind as to simply advance up the roads, but rather through the woods in front. But notice the selection of projectiles described.  Starting at 400 yards with case shot, the gunners only changed to canister when their adversary came within 100 yards.  It was self-defense range.  The frightful “double canister… without sponging.”

And the battery held its position, but not without great effort:

The battery was enabled to hold this position until about 8 p.m., after the capture of the battery on our left [Lieutenant Allen Randol’s Battery E and G, 1st U.S. Light Artillery, if memory serves], and until our supply of canister was exhausted, some guns having fired double spherical case-shot, cut to explode on leaving the gun.

To the point here, we can say canister was used with effect on that day.  But we also see that it was used for self-defense of the battery.  It was not the intent of Thompson, or any other artillerist on the field that day, to accomplish the primary mission by means of canister fire.  Just worked out the plan fell apart and weight of canister, along with some case shot, is what saved all but one of Thompson’s guns.

Likewise, we could roll forward one year and a few days to July 2, 1863 and consider several other batteries in tight situations using canister… some also employing double canister without sponging to speed the delivery.  But in all those cases we see a common underlying factor.  Like Thompson’s battery the year before, Captain James E. Smith’s 4th New York was not deployed on the Devil’s Den for the purpose of spewing canister at close range.  Rather it was placed with the intent to keep the Confederates off ground approaching the position.  Circumstances played out differently, as we well know.

Accounts from July 2 are filled with artillerists reporting canister at close range.  But that was an exceptional use on an exceptional day.  We need only say the words “Peach Orchard” and “Dan Sickles” to rejuvenate a 150 year old discussion of plans gone awry. You see, it was more exception than the rule that batteries would be “hard pressed” into self-defense using canister. Rather more often batteries would be employed to do as the artillery chief envisioned over longer ranges.  As such, the artillerists would accomplish their mission with shot, shell, and case. And, by design, that is what made up nearly 90% of the ammunition on hand.

(Citations, other than those linked above, are from  – Paddy Griffith, Battle Tactics of the Civil War, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989, Page 170; John Gibbon, Artillerist’s Manual, new York: D. Van Nostrand, 1863, page 359; OR, Series I, Volume 11, Part II, Serial 13, page 172.)

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

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

0108_1A_Snip_IND1

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

0108_1_Snip_IND1

Plenty enough to discuss with those twelve:

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

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

A lot of smoothbore ammunition to account for:

0110_1_Snip_IND1

As nearly every battery reporting had a smoothbore or two:

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

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

0111_1_Snip_IND1

Looking at the James projectiles first:

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

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

And the Parrotts:

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

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

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

0111_2_Snip_IND1

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

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

Moving to the small arms:

0111_3_Snip_IND1

By battery:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

0102_1_Snip_Iowa

Smoothbore ammunition reported by battery:

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

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

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

So we turn to the small arms:

0103_3_Snip_Iowa

And find just nine sabers on hand:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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First, breaking out the orphaned Hotchkiss entries:

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

Moving to the James columns:

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

Onto the next page, we have some sparse entries:

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Of Schenkl-patent projectiles:

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

And Tatham’s Canister:

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

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

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By battery:

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

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

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

Hotchkiss Projectiles, Part 2 – Canister

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

Hotchkiss_Columns

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

Hotchkiss_Columns1to3

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

Hotchkiss_ColumnsLast3

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

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

Gibbon_Fig249

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

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

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

Hotchkiss_Patent_34058

Hotchkiss described the layout of this projectile:

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

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

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

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

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

And would that stiffening prevent the canister from expanding?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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:

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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:

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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:

0103_1A_Snip_2nd_ILL

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:

0103_1B_Snip_2nd_ILL

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?

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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:

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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:

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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.