Summary Statement: December 31, 1862 – 3rd New York Light Artillery Regiment

So what is next with New York?  2nd Regiment of Artillery?  Well, for the fourth quarter, 1862 summary statement, the focus was on field artillery equipment.  And the 2nd New York Artillery Regiment was a “Heavy” assigned to the Washington Defenses. The 2nd was brought out to the field in the spring of 1864, with a lot of other heavies, to be used as infantry.  So another story for another day.

That brings us to the 3rd Regiment of Artillery from New York, the next “light” formation.  Unlike the 1st Regiment, which was all in Virginia, the 3rd Regiment’s service was in North Carolina at this stage of the war. Briefly, the 3rd New York Artillery was originally the 19th New York Infantry.  Reorganized in December 1861, the regiment contained Batteries A through K and M.  In March 1862, those eleven batteries, commanded by Colonel James H. Ledlie (who would go on to infamy for actions later in the war), went to North Carolina to be part of Burnside’s operations.  The batteries did not see a lot of action through the summer and into the fall, and were mostly deployed around New Berne.   As part of a general reorganization of the Department of North Carolina, the 3rd New York and the other artillery batteries were organized into a brigade under Ledlie, as part of the Eighteenth Corps.  Major Henry M. Stone assumed command of the regiment at that time.  Some of the batteries were involved with Major-General John Foster’s Goldsborough campaign in December 1862.  But the main duty of these batteries was garrisoning the post of New Berne.

That brings us to the regiment’s section of the summary:

0059_Snip_Dec62_3NY_1

Note the clerks only noted five received returns.  For brevity, with the exception of Battery L (which I’ll explain) were in the Artillery Brigade, Eighteenth Corps, Department of North Carolina.  And all, save Battery L, were reported at New Berne except where noted:

  • Battery A: No return.
  • Battery B: No location listed, but reporting six 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery C: No return.
  • Battery D: No return.
  • Battery E: New Berne, armed with two 24-pdr and two 32-pdr field howitzers.  Yes, the big ones!
  • Battery F: No return.
  • Battery G: No return.  Reported on duty at New Berne and Washington, North Carolina.
  • Battery H: New Berne with six 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery I: New Berne reporting four 20-pdr Parrotts.
  • Battery K: New Berne with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.
  • Battery L: No return.  This battery was a “special case” detailed in the next paragraph.
  • Battery M: No return.

 

The linage of Battery L deserves special mention.  Captain Terrence J. Kennedy was authorized to recruit a battery sometime in 1861.  This was designated the 1st Independent New York Light Artillery.  However, somewhere along the way Kennedy’s battery was linked to the 3rd Regiment, on some books at least, as Battery L.  Kennedy’s 1st New York served through the war with the independent battery designation, never serving as a 3rd regiment formation.  However, in March 1865, the 24th New York Independent Battery, formerly Battery B, New York Rocket Battalion, was re-designated Battery L, 3rd New York.  Thus we have a confusing story of three different batteries, one of which was only a paper designation.  Bottom line, there was no Battery L, 3rd Artillery in December 1862.

Moving on to the ammunition sections, first we have the smoothbores:

0061_Snip_Dec62_3NY_1

Notice here the 24-pdr and 32-pdr columns that I usually omit for clarity:

  • Battery B: 288 shot, 96 shell, 288 case, and 96 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery E: 144 shell, 96 case, and 24 canister for 24-pdr field howitzers; 74 shell, 140 case, and 48 canister for 32-pdr field howitzers.
  • Battery H: 288 shot, 96 shell, 288 case, and 96 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery K: 15 case for 24-pdr field howitzer.

Why Battery K would have 24-pdr howitzer ammunition?  I only have speculative leads for now.  Those obviously would not fit in the Ordnance Rifles. Battery K had what I’d consider meager quantities of the right size ammunition on hand:

0061_Snip_Dec62_3NY_2

Battery K reported 184 canister, 107 fuse shell, and 132 bullet shell of the Hotchkiss patent for 3-inch rifles.

For it’s 20-pdr Parrotts Battery I reported 289 shell and 48 canister, all of Parrott’s patent type:

0062_Snip_Dec62_3NY_1a

The 3rd New York did not report any quantities of Dyer’s, James’, or Schenkl’s patent projectiles on hand for the reporting period.

As for small arms on hand:

0062_Snip_Dec62_3NY_3

By battery:

  • Battery B: 23 Army revolvers and 23 horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery E: 19 Army revolvers, one cavalry saber, and 31 horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery H: 17 Navy revolvers and 50(?) horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery I: Nine Army revolvers and six horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery K: 26 Army revolvers, two cavalry sabers, and 52 horse artillery sabers.

Circling back to to my “complaint” that the returns and summaries as inconsistent, I offer the 3rd New York Artillery as yet another example.  All of these batteries (save the non-existent Battery L) were in one place and under one command structure.  Yet the reporting was more miss than hit.  I could understand lax attitude across the board. But in this case within a field organization, some were recorded while others were not.  It implies to me that the returns were complied by battery and submitted by battery, as opposed to being consolidated by field or administrative (regimental) staff.

Maybe the omissions were due to the fault of the clerks?  Again, one would presume the entire 3rd Regiment, as they were co-located, would submit one package of returns.  So where omission occur, logically wouldn’t we see whole regiments missing?  Maybe one or two batteries?  But certainly not six out of eleven as we see here.  In short, it sort of defies the logic in most intra-office protocols.

All we can say for sure is there are a lot of empty cells in the book.

Summary Statement: December 31, 1862 – 1st New York Light Artillery Regiment

New York’s contribution to the Federal war machine was not just a “cog” in a wheel.  Rather we might say the Empire State provided a whole wheel.  And part of that was of course a number of artillery batteries.  I could well spend several posts discussing the various formations – heavy artillery, light artillery regiments, independent batteries, independent battalions, National Guard batteries, etc…. oh, and don’t forget some rocket batteries.  But for the Fourth Quarter 1862 summaries we need focus on four groups – 1st New York Light Artillery Regiment, 3rd New York Light Artillery Regiment, 1st New York Light Artillery Battalion (sometimes cited as the “German” battalion), and numbered independent light artillery batteries.  There’s one additional line for reporting artillery assigned to a volunteer cavalry formation.  And we should also mind the German battalion’s batteries were later assigned independent battery numbers.  But that was the future.  For December 1862 we have two regiments, one battalion, thirty-two (minus four that were at the time in the battalion) independent batteries,  and one “other” line to consider.

So let us start with the 1st Regiment, New York Light Artillery… Colonel Charles S. Wainwright’s boys:

0059_Snip_Dec62_1NY_1

The clerks posted information from seven of the twelve batteries, most being received in 1863.  At this time of the war, most of the 1st New York batteries supported the Army of the Potomac in the east.  The breakdown by battery:

  • Battery A: No return.  This battery’s guns were captured earlier in the year at Seven Pines.  Most of the surviving men were transferred to other batteries while Captain Thomas Bates went about recruiting and reorganizing.  So in December 1862, there was no equipment to report.
  • Battery B: No return. Captain Rufus D. Pettit’s battery was part of Second Corps, having just participated in the Fredericksburg Campaign with six (or four?) 10-pdr Parrotts.
  • Battery C: At Falmouth, Virginia with four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  This was Lieutenant William H. Phillips’ battery assigned to support Fifth Corps.
  • Battery D: Fredericksburg, Virginia with six 12-pdr Napoleons.  Battery assigned to Ninth Corps and under Captain Thomas W. Osborn.
  • Battery E: No return. Reduced by sickness and other causes during the Peninsula Campaign, Battery E was assigned to 1st New York Independent Light Artillery at this reporting interval.
  • Battery F: Yorktown, Virginia with four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Captain William R. Wilson’s battery was part of Fourth Corps, Department of Virginia.
  • Battery G: No return. This was Captain John D. Frank’s battery supporting Second Corps with four 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery H: Fort Keys, Gloucester Point, Virginia with four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Also assigned to Fourth Army.  Captain Charles E. Mink commanded this battery.
  • Battery I: Falmouth, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Captain Michael Weidrich’s battery supported Eleventh Corps.
  • Battery K: Brandy Station, Virginia with four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  This location is obviously in error for December 1862.  It was correct for January, 1864, when the return was received in Washington.  Backing up a year and a month, Battery K was with the Twelfth Corps for the 4th Quarter, 1862.
  • Battery L: No location given but with four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Captain John A. Reynolds’ battery supported First Corps, which was near Fredericksburg at the time.
  • Battery M: No return. This battery was also part of Twelfth Corps in December 1862.  Lieutenant Charles Winegar commanded the battery at the time, with Captain George W. Cothran on leave.  I believe it was equipped with 10-pdr Parrotts.

 

Of note here is the listing for Battery K with the discrepancy indicated with regard to reported location.  Often in correspondence (present day correspondence, that is), folks will eagerly inquire about these summary statements.  The perception, which I held when first looking them over, is we have a gold mine of “facts” to work with.  Not entirely true.  What we have are a lot of numbers that must be shaken down for some useful information.  The example seen here, with Battery K, one of the many issues that demonstrate the data is not “clean”.    The summaries are far short of the sound foundation of facts that might lead easily to solid information.  Though those summaries are a bit firmer than clay, I would quickly point out.

At the December 1862 reporting time, I believe Battery K was commanded by Lieutenant E. L. Bailey.  It was part of a battalion commanded by Captain Robert H. Fitzhugh, the battery’s former commander.  Batteries K and M constituted 2/3rds of the battalion. And it was part of Wainwright’s regiment.  Wainwright who, as we know from his diary, was very particular about keeping up with his paperwork.  Yet, this battery didn’t give a fourth quarter, 1862 report until over a year later.  And when that report was registered by the Ordnance Department, an erroneous location was recorded.

One would think such tardiness wouldn’t be allowed.  And one would rightly supposed Battery K’s officers would report on time and accurately.  Our impression is the chain of command above Battery K would insist on timely reporting.  Furthermore that the clerks in Washington were efficient and never lost such important paperwork.  Yet, the record indicates otherwise.

So we have reason to dispute one column for Battery K, why not the rest?  Was the clerk entering the 1862 data with just one cell (location) incorrect? Or is all the other data now suspect?  Enter that discussion with ample salt…. With that salt applied, let us walk through the reported ammunition quantities, starting with smoothbore:

0061_Snip_Dec62_1NY_1

The only smothbores among the reporting batteries were the Napoleons of Battery D.  That battery reported 288 shot, 96 shells, 238 case, and 96 canister.

We have more rifled guns to feed. Those projectiles start with the Hotchkiss Patent listings:

0061_Snip_Dec62_1NY_2

Four batteries reporting Hotchkiss projectiles on hand:

  • Battery C: 102 canister, 40 percussion shell, 235 fuse shell, and 576 bullet shell all in 3-inch caliber.
  • Battery F: 80 canister, 80 percussion shell, 160 fuse shell, and 430 bullet shell of 3-inch.
  • Battery I: 120 canister, 290 fuse shell, and 651 bullet shell in 3-inch.
  • Battery K: 97 canister, 117 percussion shell, 118 fuse shell, and 54 bullet shell also 3-inch.

We might attach some significance to the proportionally larger numbers for “bullet shell” or what I prefer to call case shot.

One battery reported Dyer’s patent projectiles:

0062_Snip_Dec62_1NY_1

Battery H had 140 shells, 576 shrapnel (case), and 164 canister, all in 3-inch caliber.

There are a couple of entries for the Shenkl patent projectiles:

0062_Snip_Dec62_1NY_2

Battery H had 285 3-inch shells and Battery I had 116 of the same.

None of the batteries known to have Parrott rifles had a return complied.  So we are certainly missing more than a handful of pieces to the puzzle.  And I would point out that while Battery K’s data did not include any projectiles, the other pages indicate the battery had other supplies accounted for in the belated report.

Finally, the small arms:

0062_Snip_Dec62_1NY_3

By battery:

  • Battery C: One Army revolver, eight Navy revolvers, and fourteen cavalry sabers.
  • Battery D: Eight Army revolvers and eight horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery F: Nineteen Army revolvers and sixteen foot artillery swords.
  • Battery H: Sixteen Navy revolvers and fifteen cavalry sabers.
  • Battery I: Seventeen Navy revolvers and thirty horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery K: One Navy revolver and eight cavalry sabers.
  • Battery L: Seventeen Army revolvers and ten horse artillery sabers.

In summary, and to reinforce the point made above in the battery details, we cannot take this summary as a clear, clean “snapshot” of what equipment was on hand at the specified time.  Even here for a set of Eastern Theater units, very close to Washington, we see easily recognized errors in the data.  So we are obligated to ask questions and search for answers that validate… or invalidate.

Summary Statement: December 31, 1862 – Missouri’s First Regiment of Artillery

The Missouri section of the fourth quarter, 1862 summary statement lists sixteen batteries.  That covers all of the 1st Regiment, Missouri Light Artillery as a whole.  It also includes bits and pieces of what would become the 2nd Regiment and some militia batteries brought onto Federal service at the time.  For this installment, we will look at the easy to interpret 1st Missouri Artillery.  And “easy” is a relative term.

The First Missouri Artillery had batteries assigned to the Department of Missouri, Army of the Frontier, the Army of Tennessee, and the Army of Cumberland.  Four of the batteries – D, H, I, and K – served together as a battalion under the command of Major George H. Stone during the Battle of Corinth, earlier in October, 1862.  However, the remainder were, as was common among the volunteer batteries, scattered around as needs required.

Looking to the first page of the summary, note the date which the returns were received.  This factors into my interpretation of some entries:

0051_Snip_Dec62_1MO_1

To help identify the batteries further, I’ll mention the battery commander for each, though it is not indicated in the summary.  That may aid the “untangling” of some of the organizational nuances of these batteries and answer some underlying questions:

  • Battery A: Helena, Arkansas.  Four 6-pdr field guns and two 12-pdr field howitzers. This battery was part of the District of Southeast Missouri, but would shortly become part of the “new” Thirteenth Corps as reorganized under Major-General John McClernand.  It’s battery commander was Captain George W. Schofield, namesake of the post-war Schofield revolver and brother of Major-General John Schofield.
  • Battery B:  Brownsville, Texas.  Two 12-pdr “heavy” field guns and four 12-pdr field howitzers.  Captain Martin Welfley commanded this battery.  The location is certainly incorrect for December 1862.  Likely that is tied to the date of the report’s receipt in Washington – April 1864.  At the close of 1862, the battery was in Missouri.  Welfley took the two heavy 12-pdr guns to Vicksburg when sent to the siege lines in June 1863.  By September of that year, he reported four heavy 12-pdrs and only two howitzers.
  • Battery C:  No report. Part of the Left Wing, Thirteenth Corps in December 1862. Later reorganized into the Sixteenth Corps.  Commanded by Lieutenant Edward Brotzmann.
  • Battery D: Reporting from Corinth, Mississippi, with five 20-pdr Parrott rifles.  Captain Henry Richardson commanded this battery.  It was among those in Stone’s battalion earlier in the fall.  The battery would spend time in Sixteenth and Seventeenth Corps during the winter of 1863.
  • Battery E: At Fayetteville, Arkansas, with four 10-pdr Parrotts and two 3.5-inch “English Rifles.”  Several notes here.  First this battery was organized by Captain Nelson Cole, but by the Prairie Grove campaign, in the Army of the Frontier,  it was commanded by Lieutenant Joseph Foust.  Those English rifles were products of Fawcett & Preston in Liverpool, purchased by General John C. Fremont early in the war.  Like other Civil War ordnance “enthusiasts,” I class these weapons as Blakelys based on caliber, projectiles, and loose affiliation of origin.  By September, Foust increased the number of English guns by one.
  • Battery F:  No report.  This battery had also seen service at Prairie Grove. Captain David Murphy’s battery moved with a column to Van Buren, Arkansas after the battle.  From notes about Prairie Grove, this battery should have reported a mix of James rifles and those Blakelys (or Fawcett & Preston, as you may prefer).
  • Battery G: No report.  This is Captain Henry Hescock’s battery supporting Third Division (Sheridan), Right Wing, Army of the Cumberland at the Battle of Stones River.  Hescock was also the division’s chief of artillery at the time, and I’ve wondered if he performed both roles (division chief and battery commander) or delegated the battery to a senior lieutenant.  His official report reads as if he retained command of the battery.  The battery fired 1,112 rounds at Stones River, lost one officer and 21 enlisted men, and reported short 37 horses.
  • Battery H:  At Corinth, with two 6-pdr field guns, one 24-pdr field howitzer, and two 10-pdr Parrotts.  Was part of Stone’s battalion earlier in the fall.  Commanded by Captain Frederick Welker.  Also part of the Thirteenth Corps in December, 1862.  By the end of the winter, the battery was part of Sixteenth Corps.
  • Battery I:  At Corinth, reporting four 6-pdr field guns and two 12-pdr field howitzers. I don’t know exactly when, but command of this battery passed from Captain William Pile, who went on to command the 33rd Missouri Infantry, to Captain Benjamin Tannrath.  Like the other Corinth-based batteries, Battery I was part of the Thirteenth Corps at the end of 1862, but being part of the reorganization into the Sixteenth Corps.
  • Battery K: Reporting four 10-pdr Parrotts at Vicksburg.  They might have wished they were *in* Vicksburg that winter!  Maybe the Confederates would have appreciated the loan of those Parrotts that winter!   Certainly this is a transcription error.  This was George Stone’s old battery and part of his battalion at Corinth.  Captain Stillman O. Fish had command of the battery, with Stone managing a “battalion” and later unbrigaded artillery at Corinth.
  • Battery L:  No report. This was Captain Frank Backof’s battery which fought at Prairie Grove.  They had four James rifles and two 12-pdr field howitzers.  By the end of the month, the battery was at Van Buren, Arkansas.
  • Battery M:  No location indicated, but with four 10-pdr Parrott rifles.  The battery was part of the Left Wing, Thirteenth Corps (soon to be the Sixteenth Corps) and stationed around Jackson, Tennessee.  Battery commanded by Captain Junius W. MacMurray.

MacMurray went on to serve in the regular army after the war:

Junius-Wilson-MacMurray

And many of MacMurray’s papers are in the Princeton University Library,which according to the description “include quartermaster’s lists, invoices, and returns.”  Should anyone have access to those, I’d be interested if copies of MacMurray’s Ordnance Returns and other “cannon” related documents are in that set.

Yes, from the perspective of organization (and to some degree the armament), the Missouri batteries were one bag of confusing entries.  I’m making it somewhat worse by going beyond what is written in the summary. Thankfully, the rest of the summary, focusing on ammunition, is less confusing.  Starting with smoothbore ammunition:

0053_Snip_Dec62_1MO_1

These lines are interesting, if for nothing else with the inclusion of the 24-pdr unfixed ammunition.

  • Battery A:  6-pdr field gun – 400 shot, 308 case, and 188(?) canister; 12-pdr field howitzer – 11 shells, 156 case, and 27 canister.
  • Battery B: 12-pdr field gun – 128 shot, 84 case, and 32 canister; 12-pdr field howitzer – 340 shells, 358 case, and 64 canister.
  • Battery H: Reporting nothing for the 6-pdr guns, but for the 24-pdr field howitzers – 109 shell, 62 case, and 66 canister.
  • Battery I:  6-pdr field gun – 169 shot, 437 case, and 222 canister; 12-pdr field howitzer – 120 shell, 109 case, and 145 canister.
  • Battery K: 6-pdr field gun – 98 case and 28 canister.

Moving to the rifled ammunition, first we consider the Hotchkiss patent projectiles:

0053_Snip_Dec62_1MO_2

Yes, just one entry – Battery D had 38 Wiard-type 3.67-inch shot.  Yes, 20-pdr Parrotts had a 3.67-inch bore, nominally.

Lots of entries for Parrott and Schenkl columns:

0054_Snip_Dec62_1MO_1

By battery:

  • Battery B: 20-pdr Parrott – 291 shell, 75 case, and 111 canister.  With the battery armed only with smoothbore, this might be quantity under the charge of the battery at a garrison in Missouri.  Or perhaps another transcription error, putting the entries for Battery D on the wrong line?
  • Battery E: Parrott projectiles for 10-pdr Parrott – 420 shell and 131 canister.  Schenkl for 10-pdr Parrott – 133 shot.
  • Battery H:  Parrott for 10-pdr Parrott – 13 shell and 69 canister.
  • Battery K:  Parrott for 10-pdr – 175 shell, 350 case, and 120 canister.  Schenkl for 10-pdr Parrot – 100 shot.
  • Battery M:  Parrott for 10-pdr – 152 shell, 250 case, and 94 canister.  Schenkl for 10-pdr Parrot – 80 shot.

Continuing with the Schenkl entries, we have Battery M with 98 Parrott canister by that patent:

0054_Snip_Dec62_1MO_2

Now for the small arms!

0054_Snip_Dec62_1MO_3

Let’s see how those gunners were armed:

  • Battery A: 9 Navy revolvers and 35 cavalry sabers.
  • Battery B: 19 Navy revolvers, 52 cavalry sabers, 10 horse artillery sabers, and 8 foot artillery sabers.
  • Battery D: 30 cavalry sabers.
  • Battery E: 85 Army revolvers and 53 cavalry sabers.
  • Battery H: 5 Army revolvers and 45 horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery I: 15 Army revolvers, 106 cavalry sabers, and one horse artillery saber.
  • Battery K: 4 Navy revolvers and 40 cavalry sabers.
  • Battery M: 13 Army revolvers and 7 horse artillery sabers.

The 1st Missouri Artillery entries were a lot of “finger work” and research on my end.  And I am still not happy with all the validations for the batteries and their armaments.  I would stress again this is the “summary” reflecting what was reported from paperwork received at intervals in Washington.  We don’t know if one clerk did all the work… or if a team of clerks were involved.  In short, we don’t have a clear picture of how the paperwork was processed.  Thus we have to add questions about data integrity.

On to the 2nd Missouri and the State Militia batteries….

Sabers and Swords: More on the small arms columns from the summary statements

Sabers… or sabres for you Anglophiles… are all over the place this season:

Star-Wars-Episode-VII-The-Force-Awakens-Featured

I will confess that edged weapons, be those weapons with actual edges or “energy powered” edges, fall outside my area of direct interest and study.  Still, I know enough to recognize that even in the civil war in some galaxy far, far away, there were various types of sabers and swords to contemplate….

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Each with a form fit to function or user’s preference.  The same applied to those weapons employed in the American Civil War:

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A “rough” copy of the plate from the Ordnance Manual, but you see the basic variation.  Swords have straight blades.  Sabers have curved blades.  Generally speaking that is.  The Ordnance Manual provided a description of the types, along with a limited explanation of respective usage.

  • Cavalry Saber – Curved blade, two groves (one small, one large) through the length of the blade.
  • Light Cavalry Saber – “This saber differs from that above in being shorter and lighter.”
  • Light Artillery Saber – Blade has one groove.
  • Foot Artillery Sword – Straight blade with two edges.
  • Non-Commissioned Officer’s Sword – “This sword is for the non-commissioned officers of foot troops.”
  • Musician’s Sword – “The same as the non-commissioned officer’s sword, without guard plate, and with a blade six inches shorter.”
  • Saber for Staff and Field Officers – Shorter and lighter than the cavalry sabers.
  • Sword for Officers of the Staff and Staff Corps.
  • Sword for Foot Officers.
  • Saber for Cavalry Officers – “… as the cavalry saber, or light cavalry saber, with gilt mountings.”

The manual provided this table with the particulars of selected US Army saber and sword types:

SwordsSabers1863

The 1862 version of the summary statements had but three printed columns for edged weapons – Cavalry Saber, Horse Artillery Saber, and Foot Artillery Saber.  I would interpret the Horse Artillery Saber as the Light Artillery Saber.

Later summary statements allowed for more diverse entries:

0493HeaderSA

Yes, separate groupings for sabers and swords.  The printed headers allowed for American and foreign manufacture.  But notice that many of those were struck through by the pen, with alternate annotation offered.  The listings were:

  • Saber, Horse Artillery (struck through and replaced with Cavalry), American manufacture (also struck through).
  • Saber, Horse Artillery, foreign manufacture (struck through).  Assume this references the Light Artillery Saber.
  • Sword, Foot Artillery, American manufacture.
  • Sword, Foot Artillery, Foreign manufacture.
  • Sword, Foot Officers’, American manufacture.
  • Sword, Foot Officers’, Foreign manufacture.
  • Sword, Musicians’, Leather scabbard, American manufacture.

That last column begs the question: what self-respecting artillerist would brandish a flimsy musician’s sword?  With matching leather scabbard?

Another, serious question that comes from this defined array of edged weapons is how the ordnance officer inspected and “proofed” the arms.  The Ordnance Manual required the inspector to verify the saber or sword by comparing to the listed dimensions, weights, and pattern form.  Gauges and patterns were provided for measurement and comparison.  And the inspector reviewed overall workmanship of the product.  In addition, the inspector was encouraged to “break a certain number” of the brass mountings from rejected pieces in order to determine general quality of the lot.

That’s fine for the basics, but what of the weapon’s durability? The manual specified this test:

The blade is then proved, as follows: – 1st. The point is confined by a staple, and the blade is bent on each of the flat sides over a cylindrical block, the curvature of which is that of a circle 35 inches diameter, the curvature of the part next the tang being reduced by inserting a wedge 0.7 inch thick at the head, and 14 inches long.  2d. It is struck twice, on each of the flat sides, on a block of oak wood, the curvature of which is the same as the above.  3d. It is struck twice on the edge and twice on the back across an oak block 1 foot in diameter.  4th. The point is placed on the floor and the blade bent until it describes an arc having the versed sine indicated in the above table. After these trials, the blade is examined to see that it is free from flaws, cracks, or other imperfections, and that it is not set, – that is to say, does not remain bent.

The blade of the artillery sword is proved by striking each of the sides and edges twice on a flat block of hard oak wood.

When this was accomplished, the inspector placed a stamp (approval or condemnation) on the side of the blade, below the tang.

Notice that at no point in the inspection did the officer verify the saber or sword could cut anything.  It was assumed, by the Ordnance Department, that the trooper, soldier, artillerist, … or musician to whom the weapon was issued would put an edge on the blade.  This was a particular complaint of many in the cavalry.  Recall Whittaker wrote, “Sabres are issued blunt enough to ride on to San Francisco.  The steel is hard.  Grindstones are not to be found. The soldiers lose confidence in the weapon, and prefer the revolver.”

Scabbards also required testing:

Steel scabbards are proved by letting fall on them, from a height of 18 inches, an iron weight of two pounds, 1 inch square at the base: 1st, on one side, just above the upper band; 2d, on the same side, 6 inches from the tip; 3d, on the opposite side, just above the lower band. In this proof the scabbard should not remain indented. The nature of the material (whether iron or steel) may be tested, if there be any doubt, by using nitric acid, which will leave a black spot on the steel but not on the iron.

Next time you see a reenactor with a saber on his hip, offer to “proof” his scabbard.  Let me know how that turns out.

As for cleaning and maintenance, the manual was short… and to the point:

The iron and brass parts of swords and sabres are cleaned in the same manner as those of muskets.  When the oil on the blade of a sword is dried up, it will leave a spot which may be removed by covering it with oil and rubbing it smartly, after a short time, with a linen rag.

Again, the Ordnance Department cared little about the sharpness of the blade. They just didn’t want the weapon to rust.

As with the discussion of pistols, carbines, and muskets issued to the artillery batteries, I think we see some reporting a large allotment of edged weapons for operational reasons.  That applies, in particular, to batteries assigned non-artillery duties in the remote theaters and garrisons.  At the same time, some batteries simply had quantities on hand because that is what they were issued and maintained – despite the insistence by some that the artillery didn’t need small arms.

Summary Statement: December 31, 1862 – Minnesota’s and Maryland’s batteries

For this installment on the Summary Statements, we’ll double up.  Minnesota and Maryland fit together, right?  Well they were stacked up in the summary this way.

0051_Snip_Dec62_MN_MD_1

Minnesota provided three light batteries to the war effort.These were numbered batteries, and not considered part of a state regiment of artillery (there was a heavy artillery regiment, but does not factor in this reporting period).  But only two of those were in service at the reporting time in December 1862.  Of those two batteries, we have some question marks regarding their returns:

  • 1st Battery:  Shown at Vicksburg, Mississippi. Lieutenant William Z. Clayton’s battery boasted two 12-pdr field howitzers and two 6-pdr (3.67-inch) bronze rifles.  However, the battery was not at Vicksburg (nor would be for some months into the future).  Clayton’s battery was part of the Left Wing, Thirteenth Corps.  The battery was on the Northern Mississippi Campaign that season and moved from Corinth to Memphis before catching a boat ride down river to Lake Providence, Louisiana.  Given the received date of February 27 (1863), I suppose “opposite Vicksburg” might be the location given for the report.
  • 2nd Battery: Listed at Chattanooga, Tennessee with four 6-pdr field guns and two 12-pdr field howitzers.  Again we see a problem with location!  The Army of the Cumberland, which Captain William Hotchkiss’s 2nd Minnesota Battery was part of, might have wanted to be in Chattanooga.  But we know instead they were rather busy at Stones River at the end of December 1862.  So we look at the date of receipt – April 15, 1864, a time when the battery was indeed around Chattanooga.  This battery supported First Division, Right Wing, Fourteenth Corps at Stones River.  The battery fired 500 rounds in the battle, lost 13 horses, and reported 11 casualties in the battle.

Now let us turn to the Maryland batteries.  There were three in service at the reporting time, two of which provided returns:

  • Battery A:  No report.  This battery was in First Division, Sixth Corps, Army of the Potomac and camped opposite Fredericksburg at the close of 1862.  The battery was armed with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.
  • Battery B: At White Oak Church, Virginia with four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. The battery was with 2nd Division, Sixth Corps.
  • Baltimore Independent Battery: At Baltimore with one 6-pdr field gun and six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. This battery was on duty in western Maryland (Maryland Heights, in particular) at the time.

Hopefully all question marks are settled for those five batteries (from two states) in consideration here.

For smoothbore ammuniton:

0053_Snip_Dec62_MN_MD_1

  • 1st Minnesota: 12-pdr field howitzer – 92 shell, 104 case, and 130 canister.
  • 2nd Minnesota: 6-pdr field gun – 266 shot, 288 case, and 71 canister.  12-pdr field howitzer – 160 case and 25 canister.
  • Baltimore Battery: 6-pdr field gun – 150 case and 150 canister.

I like it.  A “clean” data set with little to remark about!

Moving to the rifled projectiles, first the Hotchkiss types:

0053_Snip_Dec62_MN_MD_2

Of those reporting (and remember one of the Maryland batteries was lacking here):

  • 1st Minnesota:  Watch the calibers here…. for the 12-pdr Wiard (3.67-inch bore) – 74 Hotchkiss shot, 96 shell, and 12 bullet shell (case).  Recall this caliber matched to the converted 6-pdr rifles, which differed in bore size from true James rifles.  Just an interesting note for artillery students here – Hotchkiss projectiles, designed for Wiard rifles, used in 6-pdr bronze rifles.  Got it?
  • Battery B, Maryland:  150 shell and 370 bullet shell (case) Hotckiss for 3-inch rifles.
  • Baltimore Battery: 150 canister and 736 bullet shell (case) for 3-inch rifles.

None of the reporting batteries indicated quantities of Dyer, Parrott, or James on hand.  Moving over to the Schenkl columns:

0054_Snip_Dec62_MN_MD_1

Only the Maryland batteries:

  • Battery B, Maryland:  179 Schenkl 3-inch shells.
  • Baltimore Battery:  584 Schenkl 3-inch shells.

And on the far right we see 1st Minnesota had 126 of Tatham’s 3.67-inch canister for those rifled 6-pdrs.

As for small arms:

0054_Snip_Dec62_MN_MD_2

  • 1st Minnesota: 11 Navy revolvers and 13 cavalry sabers.
  • 2nd Minnesota: 8 Navy revolvers and 25 cavalry sabers.
  • Battery B, Maryland: 14 Army revolvers and 113 cavalry sabers.
  • Baltimore Battery: 20 Army revolvers and 30 horse artillery sabers.

Lots of edged weapons there with Battery B.

Other than the issues with the Minnesota batteries reported location, and the interesting use of projectiles for those rifled 6-pdrs, no surprises and few question marks with these batteries.

Long Arms and Revolvers: Interpreting the Small Arms Columns on Summary Statements

As I step through these summary statements, I tend to spend the most time thinking about the small arms columns.  Normally, as you can tell by this blog’s focus, I’m not a small arms researcher.  Not that I’m not interested.  Just that cannons take up more of my precious research resources.  However, as mentioned last week, the figures in those columns sometimes give indicators as to the battery’s utilization in the combat zone.

Perhaps it should be enough to simply consider the number of small arms by loose categories – long arms, pistols, and edged weapons.  But that’s contrary to my nature.  When I see those printed column headers, it tells me the clerks in Washington were particular about their bean counting for some reason.  Furthermore, the written headers on the blank columns are equally interesting.  Thus I look for their definition of those column headers.  So consider one of the snips with those small arms columns:

0038_Snip_Dec62_2ILL_3

This snip covers the 2nd Regiment Light Artillery of Illinois.  I select this as it provides a good example of the variety of column headers.

In the center of the column headers (to the right of the Regiment column and the red cut line) is a heading for “Muskets and Rifles.”  For the December 1862 summaries, we see those as informally defined and written in as needed.  Unfortunately we don’t know what type, among the multitude of types used by the Federals, of carbine that Battery I, 2nd Illinois had on hand.  But they had four of them.  (And a shout out here – Phil Spaugy, the National Commander of North-South Skirmish Association and a blogger about many things related to the Civil War and Ohio, has been very helpful interpreting the “chicken scratch” that is written in many of those columns.)

Summaries from later in the war have formally printed column headers, seen here with the 1st quarter 1864 (March):

0493HeaderSA

Still, there are some scratch outs and inked in changes to interpret.  But we see Ballards, Burnsides, Maynards, Sharps, and Spencers along with musketoons, Springfields, and Enfields.  However, I would point out that like the cannon columns, we must take any data entries in these small arms columns with a grain of salt.  With more formality came less flexibility, and one might say less precision.  If a unit were armed with some other type of weapon – say a Henry rifle or Smith’s carbine – then where is there room?    Not on the formatted summary sheets.  So the door was open to all sorts of “clerical magic.”

Looking to the right of the long arms, we see the familiar pistol columns.  In the 1862 form, there were three columns – percussion and two revolver types.  The former occasionally had a written addition such as “dragoon.”  The later had various written declarations referring to the caliber.  Early in the 1862 set, we’ve seen “.44” and “.37”.  That latter number most likely referred to the ball diameter of the smaller of the two standard calibers.  Later in the 1862 set, those are simplified to “Army” and “Navy” calibers.

And this is where we can start talking about specific pistol models.  I’ll avoid a lengthy dissertation on the already well known history of Mr. Colt’s patent revolver (and prepare for the lengthy comments from Colt enthusiasts!). The story began with the Colt-Paterson revolvers in .36-caliber acquired by the military in the 1840s.  For the larger caliber, most pistol aficionados will identify the Walker-Colts of 1847, the Colt Dragoons of 1848 and 1849 as .44-caliber weapons.  These fired a 136 grain lead ball or 212 grain ogive (pointed bullet) projectile that was slightly larger than barrel diameter (some will round that up to .45-caliber, while the 1862 Ordnance Manual indicated .46-inch diameter).  The powder charge behind those projectiles was 58 grains (ball) or 50 grains (ogive).

Those six (or five if you are safe) cylinders filled with powder and ball added to the rather hefty weight of over four pounds for a “hand” gun.  The Colt went through numerous refinements and improvements in the decade leading up to the Civil War.  One of the chief refinements was weight reduction.  One means of reducing the pistol’s weight, which first applied to the civilian market, was to adopt a smaller caliber projectile.  For the military customer, this surfaced as the Model 1851 Navy Revolver:

This .36-caliber pistol fired a 78 grain ball with 25 grains of powder, or a 145 grain bullet with 17 grains of powder.  So with just ammunition weight alone, a savings of almost 50% right off the top.  At 14 inches long, around two inches shorter overall compared to the Dragoons, and incorporating more refinements, the Navy weighed but 2.6 pounds.

However, Colt didn’t stop the improvements.  In 1860, the evolution produced two new revolvers for military customers.  First came the Model 1860 Army Revolver in the original .44-caliber.

Again, I’m giving the “short version” of the story here and will avoid discussion of the variations within a thirteen year production run of this particular model.  The Model 1860 fired a 136 grain ball, 155 grain bullet, or 216 grain bullet, with a reduced powder charge (39, 26, and 30 grains of powder, respectively).  However, the Model 1860 was about the same size and weight as the smaller caliber Model 1851.  The main point with respect to the summaries is that .44-caliber was by 1862 synonymous with “Army”.

The other “new” Colt was given the designation Model 1861 Navy and produced in .36-caliber.  The smaller Colt was but 13 inches long and weighed a few ounces less than the larger caliber Model 1860.   The main point here, respecting our discussion of summary reports, is the “Navy” was .36-caliber.

As with the Army, these Model 1861 revolvers had a very long production and service life.  And an interesting, entertaining role in American history to say the least.  As with the discussions soldiers and law enforcement have over handguns today, the choice between “Army” and “Navy” boiled down to handiness and firepower… both qualities somewhat perceived vs. actual.

But… lets not get locked on Colts.  There were a dizzy array of vendors and patents offering handguns for military purchase (or private purchase by military personnel) during the Civil War.  But for my purposes today, let us simplify that back to the calibers mentioned in the summaries – “Army” and “Navy.”  In that case, we run into the second-most widely recognized revolver of the war – the Remington:

The Remington came in several calibers, but specific to military contracts came the .36-caliber Navy and .44-caliber Army.  Likewise, other pistol makes were classified by the “Army” and “Navy” calibers.  So we see references to Savage Model 1861 Navy, the Whitney Navy revolver, or Starr Army and Navy models.  Not to mention the “Pocket” of .31-caliber, often picked up as private purchase.

The point here, in reference to those column headers, is that “Army” or “Navy” revolver did not necessarily mean Colt.  For the 1864 version of the table, there were separate columns for Colt and Remington, but nothing for those makes.  As with the long arms, I would not propose that every artillery battery was exclusively armed with Colt or Remington revolvers at that time. Rather those were the only columns the clerks were allowed to work with.

We might argue over relative merits of makes and models, single-action and double-action, and other particulars.  And I’m sure there is someone out there clinging to their LaMatt revolver fantasies.  But from a functional point of view, let us narrow this down to the two basic calibers – Army and Navy – for consideration of logistics.  And even then we are splitting hairs a bit.

I’ll follow this up in a few days with a discussion of the types of edged weapons mentioned on the summaries.  Not as glamorous as the cavalry’s application of the sabers, their inclusion on the list warrants at least a mention here.

Summary Statement: December 31, 1862 – Michigan Batteries

During the Civil War, the state of Michigan mustered fourteen light artillery batteries. Of that set, only ten were organized at the time of the December 1862 report.   According to many official reports and returns, the first twelve were lettered batteries within the 1st Regiment Light Michigan Artillery (i.e. Battery A, 1st Michigan; Battery B, 1st Michigan, etc).  But other references cite these as numbered batteries (i.e. 1st Michigan Battery, 2nd Michigan Battery, etc).  As Dyer’s recognizes the first twelve as lettered batteries within a regiment of light artillery, I’m normally inclined to use such designations.  However, the summary statement for December 1862 lists these batteries by number.  So for this post I’ll translate from the listed designation to the other designation.

I said ten batteries, right?  Well we have ten and a detachment to discuss:

0051_Snip_Dec62_MI_1

We see all but the first two were diligent and filed their returns as required… all received by the fall of 1863.  Let me fill in the few blanks regarding battery assignments:

  • Battery A (1st Battery): No return.  Was assigned to the Army of the Cumberland’s Center Wing (1st Division) and at Stones River in December 1862. Lieutenant George Van Pelt’s battery rendered good service that day, firing 697 rounds.
  • Battery B (2nd Battery): No return. This battery was still smarting from losses sustained on April 6, 1862 … you know, first day at Shiloh.  A surviving section was attached to Battery C, 1st Missouri Light Artillery (Mann’s Battery).  And the reorganized, freshly recruited sections were in transit to west Tennessee that December.
  • Battery C (3rd Battery): Corinth, Mississippi.  One 12-pdr field howitzer and three 10-pdr Parrotts.  Assigned to the cumbersome 13th Corps at the time.
  • Battery D (4th Battery): Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Two 12-pdr field howitzers, two 10-pdr Parrotts, and two James 3.80-inch rifles.  Assigned to the Third Division, Center Wing, Army of the Cumberland, Captain Josiah Church’s battery expended 170 rounds in the battle of Stones River.
  • Battery E (5th Battery): At Nashville, Tennessee with four 6-pdr field guns. This battery was on garrison duty.
  • Battery F (6th Battery): Munfordsville, Kentucky. Two 6-pdr field guns and two 10-pdr Parrotts.  Records show that one section (type of guns unknown) was at Munfordsville under Lieutenant L.F. Hale.  Another section was at Bowling Green under Lieutenant D.B. Paddock.
  • Battery G (7th Battery):  Carrollton, Louisiana.  Six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Carrollton was the battery’s location in September 1863, when the report was received in Washington.  In December 1862, this battery was with Sherman’s ill-fated Chickasaw Bayou expedition.
  • Battery H (8th Battery): No location indicated.  Two 12-pdr field howitzers, two 6-pdr (3.67-inch) rifles, and two James (3.80-inch) rifles.  This battery was in transit down the Mississippi River to Memphis, where it would join the 13th Corps.
  • Battery I (9th Battery): Washington, D.C.  Six 3-inch rifles.  This battery was assigned to the defenses of Washington. It would later become part of the Army of the Potomac’s Horse Artillery.
  • Battery K (10th Battery): Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Two 12-pdr field howitzers and four 3-inch steel rifles. Was preparing for a posting to the defenses of Washington. Captain John Schuetz commanded this battery through the war.
  • Finch’s Section: Lexington, Kentucky. Two 12-pdr field howitzers.  Lieutenant A. J. Finch (18th Michigan Infantry, if my research is correct) commanded this section in the “Army of Kentucky” or District of Central Kentucky.

A fair allocation of the Michigan artillerists, weighted as one might expect to the Western Theater.

Turning to the ammunition, first the smoothbore reported:

0053_Snip_Dec62_MI_1

By battery from those reporting:

  • Battery C: 30 shell, 80 case, and 25 canister for 12-pdr field howitzer.
  • Battery D: 100 shell, 50 case, and 40 canister in 12-pdr field howitzer.
  • Battery E: 316 shot, 257 case, and 277 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
  • Battery H: 240 shell and 63 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • Battery K: 156 shell, 204 case, and 43 canister for 12-pdr field howitzer.
  • Finch’s Section: 96 shell, 96 case, and 64 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.

Rifled projectile listings start with Hotchkiss:

0053_Snip_Dec62_MI_2

We see those for:

  • Battery G: 302 3-inch canister of the Hotchkiss type.
  • Battery H: 281 shot and 130 percussion shell of the Hotchkiss type for 3.80-inch James rifles.
  • Battery I: 108 canister, 75 percussion shell, and 200 fuse shells of Hotchkiss type for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery K: 96 canister, 165 percussion shell, 165 fuse shell, and 390 bolts of Hotickiss patent for 3-inch rifles.

Moving over to the James, Parrott, and Schenkle types:

0054_Snip_Dec62_MI_1

  • Battery C: 40 shell and 382 case Parrott-patent for 10-pdr Parrott.  And then 57 Schenkle shot for 10-pdr Parrott.
  • Battery D: 30 case Parrott-type for 10-pdr Parrotts.
  • Battery H: 97 James-type for 3.80-inch rifles.

Continuing with Schenkle projectiles on the second page:

0054_Snip_Dec62_MI_2

  • Battery C: 126 Schenkle canister for 10-pdr Parrott.
  • Battery D: 150 Schenkle shell for 10-pdr Parrott and 265 Schenkle shell for James 3.80-inch rifles.

Added to the end columns we see Battery H had 186 canister of 3.67-inch and 41 canister of 3.80-inch, both quantities of Tatham’s type.

And finally, the small arms reported by the Michigan batteries:

0054_Snip_Dec62_MI_3

  • Battery C:  Seven cavalry sabers.
  • Battery D: 20 cavalry sabers.
  • Battery E: 10 horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery G: 16 Army revolvers, 8 cavalry sabers, and 6 horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery H: 50 cavalry sabers.
  • Battery I: 161 Army revolvers and 33 horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery K: 20 Army revolvers and 167 horse artillery sabers.
  • Finch’s section: Four cavalry sabers.

Clearly those Michigan troops in Washington, or destined to be posted to Washington, got the lion’s share of the pistols and edged weapons.