Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – 2nd Regiment, US Regulars

The batteries of the 2nd US Artillery saw varied service during the Civil War – across several theaters of war and with several different assignments.  We saw examples of that service from the previous quarterly summaries.  Moving from winter into spring, the nature of the 2nd’s service remained… in a word… varied.

0168_1_Snip_2ndUS

We might also say the 2nd was orderly.  All returns filed were posted between July and October of 1863 (excepting, as you see above, that of Battery F).  However there are some blanks to fill in and some clarifications to make:

  • Battery A – Reporting from Warrenton Junction, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. The location is certainly reflecting the August 10, 1863 receipt date, as we know for a fact this battery was just outside Gettysburg on June 30. As most readers likely know, after Chancellorsville and reorganization with the Horse Artillery, Captain John C. Tidball took over the freshly constituted 2nd Brigade of the Horse Artillery.  That brigade would include his old battery.  Lieutenant John H. Calef would famously command this battery when it went into action, July 1, 1863, on McPherson’s Ridge. And of course, one of those six Ordnance rifles is still out there today.
  • Battery B – Reporting at Taneytown, Maryland with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.   This was actually combined Batteries B and L (see below).  The battery was assigned to Second Brigade of the Horse Artillery, which was commanded it’s old commander, Captain James M. Robertson. Lieutenant Albert Vincent commanded the battery during the spring.  However, for the Gettysburg Campaign, Lieutenant Edward Heaton held the command.
  • Battery C – Port Hudson, Louisiana with six 12-pdr Napoleons.  The battery was part of Fourth Division, Nineteenth Corps. Lieutenant Theodore Bradley commanded.
  • Battery D – “In the field, VA” with six 12-pdr Napoleons.  Where else should a battery of Napoleons be?  Maybe a better description would be “on the way to Gettysburg.”  Battery D was assigned to Sixth Corps and commanded by Lieutenant Edward D. Williston.
  • Battery E –  [Illegible], Mississippi with six 20-pdr Parrott Rifles. While I cannot identify the placename, this battery was part of the Second Division, Ninth Corps, which had been sent from Kentucky to Vicksburg.  Lieutenant Samuel N. Benjamin remained in command.
  • Battery F – No report. Lieutenant Charles Green remained in command.  The battery moved to the District of Memphis, of the Sixteenth Corps.
  • Battery G – Reporting at Warrenton Junction, Virginia with six 12-pdr Napoleons.   The battery remained with Sixth Corps, and was among the mass of men moving towards Gettysburg at the end of June.  Lieutenant John H. Bulter was in command.
  • Battery H – Assigned to Fort Barrancas, Florida as garrison artillery.  We see “Infty. stores” indicated with no artillery equipment reported.  Captain Frank H. Larned was in command.
  • Battery I – Fort McHenry, Maryland.  No field artillery reported.  Lieutenant James E. Wilson commanded.
  • Battery K – Fort Pickens, Florida on garrison artillery assignment.  Captain Harvey A. Allen had command of this battery.
  • Battery L – We see a description “with Battery B” but with a location of [Illegible] City,  Maryland.  The Battery reported no cannon.
  • Battery M – No location given, but with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Assigned to 1st Brigade, Horse Artillery.  And like others, the location might be summarized as “on the way to Gettysburg.”  Lieutenant A.C.M. Pennington resumed command, replacing Lieutenant Robert Clarke, after the Chancellorsville Campaign.

With at least some of the blanks filled in and questions answered, let us move on to the ammunition reported on hand.  Here we find a rather clean set of entries:

0170_1_Snip_2ndUS

Three batteries with Napoleons, so we have three lines to consider:

  • Battery C: 96 shot, 128 shell, 160 case, and 128 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons
  • Battery D: 273 shot, 110 shell, 321 case, and 64 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery G: 144 shot, 144 shell, 288 case, and 192 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.

Moving to the next page, we see the Ordnance Rifle batteries had Hotchkiss proejctiles:

0170_2_Snip_2ndUS

  • Battery A: 167 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery B: 136 canister, 574 percussion shell, 307 fuse shell, and 213 bullet shells for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery M: 72 canister and 185 bullet shells for 3-inch rifles.

Here we have some room for interpretation and conjecture about the numbers, and the reporting process. Batteries A and M would report quantities of Schenkl shells on the later pages, which we will get to.  But we see here those two batteries did not report a substantial quantity of ammunition on hand.  Hard to believe those two batteries, particularly Calef’s, had only a few dozen rounds per gun as of the end of June.  More likely is the reports were filed giving quantities on hand after the battle or at some point during the pursuit phase of the campaign.  But we simply don’t know that for sure.  We must make of the numbers what we can.

One other point I’d raise here is in regard to Battery B.  Reports indicate the battery suffered from a batch of bad shells during the Gettysburg Campaign.  We might speculate there is something beyond just the numbers here also.

Moving over to the next page, we can focus on the Parrott projectiles used by Battery E:

0171_1A_Snip_2ndUS

  • Battery E: 522 shell, 204 case, and 72 canister for 20-pdr Parrott rifles.

Moving to the last page of projectiles, we have a couple of entries for Schenkl:

0171_2_Snip_2ndUS

These make up, somewhat, for the shortages observed for Batteries A and M above:

  • Battery A: 145 shells for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery M: 389 shells for 3-inch rifles.

Still the aggregate quantities come up short for what one would assume the batteries carried into action at Gettysburg.  Particularly noteworthy is the absence of canister for Battery A.

Lastly we turn to the small arms reported:

0171_3_Snip_2ndUS

By battery:

  • Battery A:  Fourteen Army revolvers, sixty-six Navy revolvers, eight cavalry sabers, and seventy-three horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery B: Six Army revolvers, thirteen cavalry sabers, and one horse artillery saber.
  • Battery C: Nineteen horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery D: Eighteen Arm revolvers and forty-three horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery E: Fifty-two Army revolvers, eight cavalry sabers, and thirty-one horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery G: Twelve Army revolvers and fifteen horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery M: 119 Army revolvers and twenty-six (or is it eighty-six?) horse artillery sabers.

The standout line on this end of the summary, if not the entire summary, is that of Battery A’s small arms.  If this is accurate for June 30, or at least representing what was on hand during the battle of Gettysburg, it is significant. The numbers are similar to that reported the previous quarter…. only indicating a net loss of four cavalry sabers.  I don’t have at my fingertips the personnel returns for Calef’s battery, but clearly most of the men would have had a revolver and a saber.  Such would contradict some assumptions often stated about artillerymen and small arms.

Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – 1st Regiment, US Regulars

So to start the review of the summary statements from the second quarter, 1863, the First Regiment of the US Artillery is appropriately at the front of the queue:

0168_1_Snip_1stUS

The batteries of the First were detailed to assignments across various theaters of war, though not to the Trans-Mississippi.  Looking at the administrative details by battery:

  • Battery A – Reporting at Port Hudson, Louisiana with four 12-pdr Napoleons and two 3-inch rifles.  A location change from the previous quarter, but their charges remained the same. Captain Edmund C. Bainbridge remained in command of this battery, assigned to First Division, Nineteenth Corps. Of note, Bainbridge also served as the division’s artillery chief.
  • Battery B – At Hilton Head, South Carolina with four 12-pdr field howitzers, and adding two 3-inch rifles (over the previous quarter’s report).  Lieutenant Guy V. Henry commanded this battery, assigned to Tenth Corps.  Henry temporarily served as the Chief of Artillery, Department of the South, from around June 19 through the first week of July.  But no “fill in” battery commander is indicated on the records.
  • Battery C – At Fort Macon, North Carolina with a dim annotation I interpret as “inf’y service”.  However, the line does not tell the whole story. A detachment from Battery C, under Lieutenant James E. Wilson, served in the Tenth Corps, and would be active in South Carolina.
  • Battery D – No change from the previous quarter.  At Beaufort, South Carolina with four 3-inch rifles. Lieutenant John S. Gibbs assumed command of the battery.  Though co-located with Battery M, the two were officially listed separately in organizational returns.
  • Battery E – Reporting at, if I am reading this right, Manchester, Pennsylvania with four 3-inch rifles.  If my read of the location column is correct, this is an excellent “snapshot in time” of a battery on campaign… at least for the location column, keeping in mind the return was not received until August 11, 1863. Of course, Captain Alanson Randol was in command of this battery, which was merged with Battery G (below), as part of the 2nd Brigade of Horse Artillery, Cavalry Corps, Army of the Potomac.
  • Battery F – Port Hudson, Louisiana with six 12-pdr Napoleons. Under Captain Richard C. Duryea, this battery served Third Division, Nineteenth Corps.  Duryea is also listed as commanding the division’s artillery at this time.
  • Battery G – No report.  Dyer’s has Battery G’s personnel serving with Battery E at this time.
  • Battery H – At Warrenton, Virginia with six 12-pdr Napoleons. The location is an obvious error.  The battery had moved from Third Corps to the Artillery Reserve after Chancellorsville. So the location might more accurately be Frederick, Maryland.  Captain Chandler P. Eakin commanded the battery.  Though just two days into the next quarter he was severely wounded, with Lieutenant Philip D. Mason assuming the role.
  • Battery I – No return.  But we are familiar with Lieutenant George Woodruff’s battery, which brought six 12-pdr Napoleons into action at Gettysburg.  They were assigned to Second Corps.
  • Battery K – Another difficult to read location entry.  I cannot make out the town, but the state is “MD”.  So we might also presume this to be a report reflecting an “on campaign” position, as of June 30.  The battery reported six 3-inch Ordnance rifles.  -Also with 2nd Brigade of the Horse Artillery, supporting the Cavalry Corps, Captain William Graham was the commander.
  • Battery L – Reporting at Port Hudson, Louisiana with four 12-pdr Napoleons and two 10-pdr Parrotts. Captain Henry W. Closson’s battery was in Forth Division, Nineteenth Corps.
  • Battery M – At Beaufort, South Carolina with four 12-pdr Napoleons (losing two 3-inch Ordnance rifles from the previous quarter).  Captain Loomis L. Langdon lead this battery,  assigned to the Tenth Corps.

As mentioned in the preface, as the transition between the second and third quarter of 1863 came at a critical stage of the war, we need to consider the “receipt at ordnance office” date with these details.  For the 1st US batteries providing returns, six were not received until August of that year.  Two more arrived in September.  Another in December.  And not until April 1864 did Battery F’s return arrive at the Washington offices.  (As indicated above, there were two missing battery returns.)

All of which is good background to keep in mind.  The particulars that were not tracked on the form speak to how the data arrived for entry into the form.  With that in mind, let us look at the tallies for projectiles.  Starting with the smoothbore ammunition:

0170_1_Snip_1stUS

The preponderance of entries were for 12-pdr Napoleon rounds.

  • Battery A: 40 shot, 56 shell, 110 case, and 33 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.
  • Battery B: 400 shell, 500 case, and 100 canister for 12-pdr field howitzer.
  • Battery F: 448 shot, 300 shell, 382 case, and 200 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.
  • Battery H: 288 shot, 96 shell, 288 case, and 96 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.
  • Battery K: One (1) shot for 12-pdr Napoleon.  As this battery had only 3-inch rifles, we have to ask if this is just a stray mark… or the battery lugged around a single Napoleon shot for… perhaps… bowling?
  • Battery L: 236 shot, 8 shell, 182 case, and 40 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.
  • Battery M:  475 shot, 138 shell, 494 case, and 96 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.

Aside from the question about Battery K, there is also a question about some reported quantities.  As related in the preface to this quarter, we have to ask for the batteries in action at Gettysburg if these are quantities on hand June 30?  Or for some other point after the battle?  And I would submit that question need be assess on a battery-by-battery basis.

Moving to the rifled projectiles, we note the number of Ordnance rifles results in a healthy sheet for Hotchkiss patent types:

0170_2_Snip_1stUS

Looking down by battery:

  • Battery A: 12 canister and 202 percussion shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery B: 280 canister, 422 percussion shell, 227 fuse shell, and 275 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery D: 86 canister, 50 percussion shell, 176 fuse shell, and 150(?) bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery E: 60 canister, 180 percussion shell, and 360 bullet shells for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery K: 60-canister and 56 bullet shells for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery M:  12 canister, 12 percussion shell, 24 fuse shell, and 20 bullet shells for 3-inch rifles.

First off, Battery M must have retained a small quantity of rounds on hand after transferring it’s 3-inch rifles to another battery.

The other question that springs to mind is regarding the low numbers reported for some batteries, such as Battery K.  We might speculate if that reflects the quantity on hand after a battle or major campaign.  But that’s speculation.

For the next page, we can cut down to the colums on the far right:

0171_1A_Snip_1stUS

Let us focus first on the Parrott columns:

  • Battery L: 150 shell and 220 canister for 10-pdr Parrott.
  • Battery M:  130 case for 10-pdr Parrott.

Once again, we find Battery M with ammunition that will not fit its guns.

Moving over to the right, there is one entry here for Schenkl projectiles:

  • Battery L: 20 shot for 10-pdr Parrott.

Then on the next page of Schenkl projectiles, two numbers to consider:

0171_2_Snip_1stUS

  • Battery B: 100 shells for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery K: 127 shells for 3-inch rifles.

This explains some of the shortages noted on the Hotchkiss page.  But we see batteries mixing the two types of projectiles, against the better wishes of General Hunt.

Lastly we move to the small arms:

0171_3_Snip_1stUS

Yes, we see a bunch of write-in column headers here!  Only one of which applies to this set of batteries:

  • Battery A: Nine Army revolvers and 119 horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery B: One-hundred Army revolvers, seven cavalry sabers, and 153(?) horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery D: 123 Army revolvers, eight cavalry sabers, and 107 horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery E: Nine Navy revolvers and nine horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery F: Ten Army revolvers, forty-seven cavalry sabers, and twenty horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery H: Twenty-one Navy revolvers and sixteen horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery K: Sixteen Army revolvers, thirty-six cavalry sabers, and seventy-eight horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery L: Four Springfield .58 caliber muskets, sixty-two Army revolvers, eight cavalry sabers, and 107 horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery M: Seventy-seven Springfield .58 caliber muskets, 104 Navy revolvers, nine cavalry sabers, and ninety-five horse artillery sabers.

We’ve discussed in earlier posts the peculiarities of small arms issue to field artillery batteries. Service in the Department of the South, were batteries were detailed to perform many non-artillery tasks, was one factor here.  Still, the batteries of the 1st US Regiment would seem to be armed to the teeth!

Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – Preface and Notes

The official title of the ledger sheet is “Summary Statement of Ordnance and Ordnance Stores on hand in the Artillery Regiments in the service of the United States during the Second Quarter ending June 30th, 1863.”

Page 1

The layout of this form differs little from that of the previous two quarters.  So readers will be familiar with the format and presentation.  Yes, some of this will be repetitive – the same batteries reporting mostly the same equipment.  Though I hope readers understand the intent – that of presenting the data in a linear format so as to allow for “point in time” references. Yes, this is handy for the “what guns did they have?” or “what ammunition was on hand?” questions.  Though the latter, I’d say, was more a day to day proposition.  Furthermore, I think these numbers provide a glimpse back at operational and administrative procedures used during the war.  Things that escaped discussion, for the most part, as we surged to understand battles, campaigns, and politics.  But still a factor to consider when discussing the success or failures within the parameters of those battles, campaigns, or political actions, as the case may be.

In essence, the second quarter of 1863 should be a “copy and paste” for the most part from the first quarter.  There were not a lot of major reorganizations and refits conducted between March and June of that year (well… one exception, which will be mentioned below).  But what will make the second quarter of interest is what was going on operationally.  And there were four major moving parts, operationally speaking, in my opinion.

During the months of April, May, and June, General U.S. Grant executed the Vicksburg Campaign.  Concurrently, if not completely complementary, General Nathaniel Banks worked against Port Hudson.  Those operations seemed to sponge up resources from all around the Mississippi Valley, supplanting most everything going on from the Appalachians to the Rockies.

Well save one thing… the slow starting Tullahoma Campaign out of central Tennessee.  The new organization of the Army of the Cumberland would stand to the test of a major movement, though not a major battle until the following quarter.

In the east, the Chancellorsville Campaign proved a misfire for Federal efforts.  That prompted some shuffling of artillery batteries within the Army of the Potomac, mostly to streamline and improve command and control of the “long arm.”  Although the summary statements did not track such assignments, I will keep note of those as we discuss each battery in turn. And of course we must keep in mind those batteries were soon back on the march, going north instead of south, as the Gettysburg campaign began.

Lastly, because you know my favorite study, we must also recall the Department of the South was not exactly a dormant sector.  In April, the Federals would salvage a lodgement along the coast after the defeat of the ironclads at Fort Sumter. The position on Folly Island would turn into a base to launch a major offensive on Morris Island.

So those are all things “rattling around in the box” that we call the second quarter of 1863.  Notice how so much of those operations placed batteries in the field on June 30.  Indeed some on the cusp of major battles.  And I think this is reflected in the “date received” column of the summaries.  Consider the first lines from the first page, covering the 1st US Artillery:

0168_1_Snip_1stUS

None of these returns were received in Washington before August.  One was not posted until 1864.  Mind you, these were the “regulars” and on top of that the FIRST regulars.  Some of whom were operating with the modern DC commuter’s range of downtown Washington.  Yet, their reports were delayed for a couple of months.  So we can immediately tell the operational tempo of war affected the turning wheels of bureaucracy.

And of course that immediately calls up questions about the accuracy of those returns.   If your “report as of date” is June 30 and on July 1 your battery is involved in a most vicious combat, how do you file?

A recently mentioned example to mind, consider Battery B, 4th US.  The summary has the battery with 164 canister. Now was that the quantity going into action on July 1, some of which would be expended in front of the Thompson House?  Or was that 164 canister after post-battle resupply?  Or was that 164 canister as of November 6 when the report was received in Washington?  And that for a battery operating, for a significant portion of the period, within a day’s railroad ride for any envelope addressed to Washington.

Yes, the numbers lead to questions. But at the same time, they provide a better foundation for discussion.  You see, those cannon and their projectiles were not simply laying about in nice piles for the use of the army.  That equipment and materials had to be supplied.  SUPPLIED.  A verb that is so easy to write, representing a vital supporting activity to any operation… but one often painfully difficult to enact.

Later this week, I’ll start posting the transcriptions for the second quarter.  You’ll find those linked, as I post them, on the Second Quarter, 1863 page.

Battle of the Bands, part 2: Comparison between Tredegar, Macon, and authentic Parrotts

When discussing Parrott rifles, we really have to focus on the bands.  The bands over the breech end of the cannon are what make the Parrott a Parrott, by type.  Without the band, the Parrott would simply be a gun of cast-iron that generally followed the Ordnance Shape in exterior arrangements.  One that would be prone to bursting.  And thus something not likely to have seen much service.  On the other hand, with the band in place, at least the field gun calibers were actually reputable weapons… relatively speaking.

And it is important to understand the variations of these bands. Some time back I highlighted the difference between the authentic, original Robert P. Parrott-designed, and West Point Foundry produced, guns and those “knock offs” from Tredegar. The Tredegar weapons had longer and thicker bands.  This was due to construction techniques.  In brief, the original, patented, Parrott design called for a single bar to be heated, formed into a spiral, then placed onto the breech (and turned as it cooled).

On the other hand, Tredegar lacked the lavish facilities of West Point Foundry (and one might also say was aloof to some of the advancement in metalworking… but that’s a complex story). So when “copying” the Parrott for Confederate orders, Tredegar modified the technique to construct the band.  In short, Tredegar constructed a set of wrought iron rings or hoops.  When heated, those slipped onto the breech and were butt welded together.  As the rings cooled, they shrunk down onto the breech. Please note the basic technique was similar for Tredegar’s Parrott copies and larger weapons to include Brooke Rifles.  These butt welded bands were not as strong as the spiral welds from West Point Foundry.  So Tredegar allocated more metal to compensate.

As indicated above, Tredegar’s work was aimed at replicating the features of the northern weapon.  Those copies were based on examples purchased just prior to the war (notably by Virginia) and others captured early in the war.  One would suspect the features employed for this replication would be passed directly to other vendors producing Parrott-type rifles for the Confederacy, such as Macon Arsenal.

But such presumption should be given a “field test” with study of surviving pieces.  And the place to do that is along Confederate Avenue at Gettysburg.  There we find a pair of 20-pdr Parrotts from West Point, although a “Navy” weapon with breeching shackle attached:

Gettysburg 13 May 2012 147

A pair of 20-pdr Tredegar Parrotts:

Confederate Ave 30 Jan 10 179

And, recently returned to the field, a pair of 20-pdr Parrotts from Macon Arsenal:

Gettysburg 020

(Yes, I should have stood to the right side of that Macon gun there… but Jim, I’m a blog writer, not a photographer!)

Measuring the length of the bands on these three, starting with the original, Yankee Parrott:

Gettysburg Sept 10 001

Just over 16 inches.  I call it 16 ¼ inches overall.

Now the Tredegar Parrott:

Gettysburg Sept 10 030

Substantially longer. I would call it 21 ¼ inches overall.

And finally, back (on the road) to the Macon gun:

Gettysburg Sept 10 020

Hold the phone there!  Look close at that tape:

Gettysburg Sept 10 022

Despite the “wiggle” in my tape, we have something shorter than the other two.  I call it 15 ¾ inches, round about.  So with three quick measures, we can throw out the presumption about Macon’s products just being straight copies of the Tredegar guns.  Of course, you could probably deduce that by noting the clearance of the band on the standard NPS reproduction carriage.

But is the Macon band thicker, by chance, for compensation?  Let’s start, for a baseline, back at the Federal Parrott:

Gettysburg Sept 10 003

Since the band edge is rounded off, we have to eye-ball this a bit.  I call it at just over 1 ½ inches.  I’ve seen secondary sources state this should be, precisely, 1.625 inches.  But we are “in the field” and the 1 ½ inch measure will be OK for now.

Moving to Tredegar’s product:

Gettysburg Sept 10 028

I’d say this is just about the same thickness.  Just over 1 ½ inches.  Though there are secondary sources that credit the Tredegar band on 20-pdrs as being 2 inches thick.  Let me take an assignment here to survey all surviving Tredegar 20-pdrs at Gettysburg for comparison.  But for now, we have the 1 ½ inch measure to work with for our purposes.

Now back to Macon:

Gettysburg Sept 10 025

So you don’t have to strain the eyes too much, I had a second measure where I fiddled with the ferule a bit measuring the second of the pair:

Gettysburg Sept 10 014

Clearly in both cases the measure is LESS than 1 ½ inches.  Substantially so.  I’d call it 1 9/32 inches.

But you may have noticed that my ruler was “set up” off the actual barrel a bit.  That’s because on both Macon Parrotts there is a “lip” or ring between the band and the barrel.  Let’s look close:

Gettysburg Sept 10 015

The clearance on the first Macon Parrott is tighter, but on the second there is a clear separation between this lip and the other components of the gun.  This is also clearly not a supplemental or inner band.  My first thought was this lip was the remainder of some fitting that limited the advancement of the band during construction.  But the more I looked at the lip, it appeared to be threaded.

And that, perhaps, would explain the different dimensions of the band. Speculation here, only, as no source I know of corroborates this. Perhaps Macon Arsenal threaded the bands onto the breech.  Such also might explain the “scuffs” that appear on the guns today.  If the bands were threaded, perhaps Macon felt the construction imparted additional strength over the butt welded bands and thus reduced dimensions.  But again, I’m only speculating here based on appearances.

By all means, don’t just accept my speculation here.  Go visit the guns and make your own observations. Then circle back to discuss!

Overall, let me offer this table for field measures of these three sets of Parrott rifles:

20pdrParrottComparisons

I would point out the measure taken in the field for both Confederate guns differs from printed secondary references.  So more “field trips” are warranted for conformation.

One other measure to share…. looking at the bore of the Macon rifle:

Gettysburg Sept 10 024

The bore size corresponds to the 20-pdr caliber, properly, at around 3 ¾ inch, in the books supposed to be 3.67 inches.  Notice the well defined rifling.  This piece likely did not see much service.  In all likelihood, the weapon was delivered in the spring of 1864, going to a location in Georgia.  Given the outcome of that summer’s campaign, quite possible this 20-pdr was captured, and spent the rest of the war in some Federal depot.

Wonder what story this gun would tell if allowed to speak?

A rare pair from Georgia: Confederate 20-pdr Parrotts, Macon Arsenal

Back in the summer, the folks at Gettysburg put a pair of 20-pdr Parrotts back out on the field.  I’m a bit behind in my writing assignments… and it is cold outside… so let me post some summertime photos to warm you up a bit:

Gettysburg Sept 10 027

The location is Captain Robert Stribling’s Battery (the Fauquier Artillery) along West Confederate Avenue. The battery manned two 20-pdr Parrotts and four 12-pdr Napoleons at the time of the battle.  And what we see here are a pair of 20-pdr Parrotts representing the battery at this position. This pair is somewhat unique among surviving weapons, being the only such (that I know of) produced by Macon Arsenal.

Recall Macon Arsenal included one of the government-run foundries setup by the Confederacy. The arsenal is most known for the production of 12-pdr Napoleons.  But the arsenal also produced a small number of iron guns, following the layout of the Parrott rifle system.  In the past, I’ve mentioned a 10-pdr Parrott which is suspected to be from Macon. Arsenal records indicate a handful of 20-pdr and 30-pdr Parrotts were also produced.  Of, probably, five 20-pdr Parrotts produced by Macon, we have these two survivors.  So you can say these had a good survival rate… or be thankful to have two survivors out of such a small production run.

Unlike the 10-pdr at Chancellorsville, there is no doubt as to the origin of the 20-pdrs:

Gettysburg 024

Right there on top – “Macon Arsenal”.  The other stampings read “1864” for the year of production (perhaps matching to April or May in arsenal records); “1660” is the recorded weight, in pounds; “No.1” is the foundry number; and “E.T.” for either the inspector or other official making acceptance.

The gun’s mate has similar markings, but a fair bit clearer:

Gettysburg Sept 10 023

Note the differences here with the weight being 1664 pounds and the foundry number of 3. We also see the rifling – five right handed spiral grooves.

Gettysburg 025

Do watch for the wasps there.

Working our way back from the muzzle, we see a clamp of sorts around the end of the chase, just short of the muzzle swell:

Gettysburg 023

That on No.1 appears to be aligned, while that on No.3 is askew after 150 years of handling. The band itself is a fraction over 1 inch in width:

Gettysburg Sept 10 010

As seen on the right, what appears to be a square pin goes through the strap.  Presumably this is what remains of the front sight. The open end of the strap is fixed by a bolt (seen above).  The other side is hinged:

Gettysburg 035

That is on No.3, where the strap is askew, where the hinge is easier to view.  Notice, to the right, you don’t see the pin that might be the front sight.  This strap is apparently both out of alignment and upside down.

Looking at the barrel itself, thanks to a fresh coat of paint we can see a lot of surface details.

Gettysburg 037

The casting seam may be traced right back through the shoulders to the band.  And very little turning was done to smooth the surface.  This would not pass the Federal inspections but was determined as sufficient for Confederate needs.  Turning just added to the processing time and gave picky inspectors something to fret over… in J.R. Anderson’s opinion, at least.

And we get back to what makes this a Parrott, the band:

Gettysburg 032

I’ve taken the time to collect some rough field measurements.  But I wish to save those for a post comparing the bands of Federal, Tredegar, and Macon Parrotts of this caliber.  That in mind, we’ll save full discussion of the band arrangement for later.  But do note the slight radial line visible about a quarter the way up from the breech.  That may be a trace left over from butt-welding the rings constituting the band.  Also notice a scuff mark just in front of the band. Perhaps a vestige of the work to force the bands onto the barrel?  Or yet another result of bad handling?

Looking at the breech, we see arrangements for the rear sight at the top position:

Gettysburg 021

Just seems like a lot of inherent inaccuracies built in with that front sight on a strap.  But then again, this isn’t a sniping rifle.

Notice the casting seem down the face of the breech.  And we also see a dent in the knob.  Battle damage or mishandling? Probably the latter.

Here is a better view of the rear sight area:

Gettysburg 033

And again we see “scuffs” near where the band is attached over the barrel.

It is good to see these old guns back on the field after many years absence.

Gettysburg 019

Many thanks to those who work restoring these guns and the organizations that aid the park service in this regard.  Very good work with these two rare guns.  And it is good to see them on the field instead of stuffed in a museum. Better to have them on the field, in spite of the risk due to weathering and wear. Cannons were made to point out over a battlefield.  And though these two could not possibly be Gettysburg veterans (due to the date of manufacture), they stand in well in place of those that were.

Summary Statement, 1st Quarter, 1863 – Missing Batteries and Other Notes

After posting the summaries for Wisconsin’s batteries last week, I updated all the links for the first quarter, 1863 summaries.  Before charging in to the next quarter, I wanted to circle back and identify any additional blanks – specifically batteries or other formations that should have been listed in the summaries but were not.  For this, allow me to use Frederick Dyer’s Compendium as the base reference.  Although there were formations that escaped mention in that work, particularly those serving only under state authority, Dyer’s is a good list to work from.

With that baseline established, some batteries missed by the clerks at the Ordnance Department for the first quarter of 1863:

  • 1st Arkansas (Union) Artillery Battery – Captain Denton D. Stark received authorization to raise this battery in January 1863.  The battery was not completely formed until later in the spring.  The battery mustered at Fayetteville, Arkansas, but would move to Springfield, Missouri (perhaps as early as March of the year).
  • 1st Colorado Battery:  Once again escaping note from the clerks.  Commanded by Captain William D. McLain and often cited as McLain’s Independent Battery.  The battery was posted to Fort Lyon, Colorado.
  • Armstrong’s (Kansas) Battery: Potentially an interesting story here, but at present I only can offer scant particulars.  This was a battery formed within the 1st Kansas Colored Troops.  I suspect, from looking at the regimental roster, the name derived from Captain Andrew A. Armstrong.  Formed in the fall of 1862, the regiment saw active service in Kansas and Missouri through the winter of 1863 and into spring.  The first reference I have to the battery is from a July 1863 action report.
  • 13th Massachusetts Light Artillery: Battery left Massachusetts in January 1863 and was assigned to the Department of the Gulf.  Captain Charles H. J. Hamlen commanded. The battery performed various duties around New Orleans until around June, when assigned to the defenses of the city.
  • 14th Massachusetts Light Artillery:  Not mustered until 1864, but I include mention here so you don’t think I skipped a number.
  • 15th Massachusetts Light Artillery:  Captain Timothy Pearson in charge.  Moved to New Orleans in March and was assigned to the defenses of New Orleans.
  • Battery L (11th Battery), 1st Michigan Light Artillery: This battery didn’t officially muster until April 1863.  But the unit was “on the books” at the state level.
  • Battery M (12th Battery), 1st Michigan Light Artillery: Likewise, Battery M would not muster into Federal service until June 1863.
  • Walling’s Battery, Mississippi Marine Brigade: I made mention of this battery as one often cited under Missouri, as it was missing from the first quarter listings.  And for good reason, the battery really owes more to Pennsylvania than Missouri! We will see this battery appear under a separate heading in the next quarter.
  • 1st Marine Brigade Artillery (New York):  Colonel William A. Howard commanded this formation, which served in North Carolina.  The full “regiment” included ten companies.  My first inclination is to rate the brigade as “naval” artillery, as they were intended to be assigned to boats and ships.  However the batteries of this brigade were used in the field, and eventually assigned to garrison posts.  In January 1863, the regiment was reassigned to the Department of the South.  But before that move was completed, the formation disbanded (date given for that administrative action was March 31, 1863).
  • Battery A, 1st Tennessee (Union) Artillery Battalion: Also listed at times as the 1st Tennessee Battery, Middle Tennessee Battery, or other derivations. Captain  Ephraim P. Abbott commanded this battery, listed in the garrison at Nashville.  The battery would go on to serve with the Army of the Cumberland in the field.

And I’m not going to say this “completes” the list or fills in all the holes from the summaries.  For instance, one noticeable change reflected between the fourth quarter of 1862 and first of 1863 was the reduction of non-artillery troops reporting cannons and artillery equipment on hand.  One example was the 3rd California Infantry, which had reported a pair of 6-pdr field guns and two 12-pdr mountain howitzers at the end of the previous year.  We saw a few cases, in the winter of 1863, where infantry or cavalry units reported having their own artillery.  But those were becoming rare.

Still, if we are looking to account for every cannon and every cannoneer – admittedly a long shot at best – one must keep in mind those non-artillerymen serving guns.  And also account for those field guns impressed for use in the garrisons and fortifications.  And… well you get the point.

My closing note for the first quarter would be a circle back to the point made at the beginning of this thread.  During the winter of 1863, the Federal armies underwent substantial reorganizations.  These actions “task organized” the force towards strategic objectives.  In the east, this change was mostly seen with the movement of the Ninth Corps.  But in the Western Theater, two large and cumbersome corps were broken up to form a couple of armies – one aimed at Atlanta (with the near-term objective being Chattanooga) and another directed towards Vicksburg.  With that reorganization, batteries moved about on the organization charts.  All the while, new cannons and fresh stocks of ammunition flowed in (in addition to replacement horses, fresh recruits, and new equipment).  The batteries were but loops in several coiled springs about to discharge in the spring of 1863.

Summary Statement, 1st Quarter, 1863 – Wisconsin Batteries

We come to the last section of the first quarter, 1863 summaries.  Those lines are for the batteries from the state of Wisconsin:

0148_1_Snip_WI

We should see twelve batteries in the summary (a thirteenth would not be formed until December 1863).  And we see twelve lines.  Though, those are somewhat incomplete.  So let’s walk through to fill in the administrative blanks:

  • 1st Battery:  Reporting at New Orleans with six 20-pdr Parrotts.  The location was valid for August 1864, when the return was received in Washington.  As for the battery’s location in the winter of 1863, they were around Milliken’s Bend with the rest of Ninth Division, Thirteenth Corps.  When Captain Jacob T. Foster became the division artillery chief, Lieutenant Charles B. Kimball assumed command of the battery.
  • 2nd Battery:  No location given, but with four 12-pdr field howitzers and two 10-pdr Parrotts.   Captain Charles Beger commanded this battery, supporting Seventh Corps.  During the winter months, the battery moved from Camp Hamilton to Suffolk, Virginia.
  • 3rd Battery: No return.  The Badger Battery, under Lieutenant Cortland Livingston, became part of Third Division, Twenty-first Corps during the winter reorganization of the Army of the Cumberland.  The battery was stationed at Murfreesboro.
  • 4th Battery: At Suffolk, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  As with the 2nd Battery, the 4th Battery moved to Suffolk during the winter.  Both batteries were part of an artillery battalion assigned to the Seventh Corps.  Captain  John F. Vallee commanded this battery.
  • 5th Battery: No return.  The battery was assigned to First Division, Twentieth Corps, and thus wintered at Murfreesboro.  Captain George Q. Gardner assumed command of a battery recovering from battle at Stones River. A consolidated Army of the Cumberland report indicated the battery had two 12-pdr Napoleons, two 12-pdr mountain howitzers, and two 10-pdr Parrotts in June 1863.
  • 6th Battery: At Cartersville, Georgia with two 6-pdr field guns, two 12-pdr field howitzers, and two 3.80-inch James Rifles. Another case of a location derived from a later reporting date, with Cartersville being valid for October 1864.  In December 1862, the “Buena Vista Battery” spent most of the winter at Memphis, part of Seventh Division, Seventeenth Corps.  The battery later moved down the Mississippi with its parent organization to play an active part in the Vicksburg Campaign. Captain Henry Dillon commanded.
  • 7th Battery: At Jackson, Tennessee with two 6-pdr field guns and one 12-pdr field howitzer.  Lieutenant Galen E. Green remained in command of this battery, assigned to Third Division, Sixteenth Corps.
  • 8th Battery: At Murfreesboro with four 12-pdr Napoleons and two 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Assigned to First Division, Twentieth Corps as part of the winter reorganizations. Captain Henry E. Stiles (with promotion) remained in command.
  • 9th Battery: Fort Lyon, Colorado with four 6-pdr field guns and two 12-pdr field howitzers. Captain Cyrus H. Johnson commanded this battery posted in the District of Colorado.
  • 10th Battery: At Nashville, Tennessee with six 6-pdr field guns. Captain Yates V. Beebe’s battery was assigned to the Second Division, Reserve Corps, Army of the Cumberland.
  • 11th Battery: No return.  This battery became Battery L, 1st Illinois Light Artillery in February 1862, and was never replaced in the Wisconsin lineup.
  • 12th Battery: No location offered, but with four 10-pdr Parrotts.  Captain William Zickerick commanded the 12th, assigned to Seventh Division, Seventeenth Corps. During the winter, the battery moved (with parent organization) from Memphis to Milliken’s Bend.

Administrative details out of the way, we turn to the ammunition.  First up is the smoothbore types:

0150_1_Snip_WI

A lot of numbers with a curve or two:

  • 2nd Battery: 104 shell and 118 case for 12-pdr Napoleon; 32 canister for 12-pdr field howitzer.  With the battery reporting howitzers on hand, something was amiss here – be that the reporting, the clerks transcribing, or the ammunition issued. I’ll lean towards transcription error.
  • 6th Battery: 131 shot, 238 case, and 146 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 81 shell, 68 case, and 144 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • 7th Battery:  60 shot, 80 case, and 45 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 15 case for 12-pdr field howitzers; 15 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.  Yet another line with a probable error.
  • 8th Battery: 32 shot, 96 shell, 64 case, and 64 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 9th Battery: 400 shot, 320 case, and 80 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 150 shell and 190 case for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • 10th Battery: 585 shot, 480 case, and 120 canister for 6-pdr field guns.

Moving down to the rifled ammunition, the tallies become more predictable.  Two batteries reported 3-inch rifles on hand, and those also reported Hotchkiss projectiles:

0150_2_Snip_WI

Those two:

  • 4th Battery: 109 canister, 632 percussion shell, 200 fuse shell, and 130 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 8th Battery: 151 canister, 486 fuse shell, and 94 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

A lot of blank columns on the next page.  So let us focus on parts.  First entry on the left is for Dyer’s projectiles:

0151_1A_Snip_WI

  • 4th Battery:  66 shrapnel for 3-inch rifles.

Moving over, we have Parrott rifles and so Parrott projectiles:

0151_1B_Snip_WI

  • 1st Battery: 600 shell, 143 case, and 122 canister for 20-pdr Parrotts.
  • 2nd Battery: 111 shell, 4 case, and 96 canister for 10-pdr Parrotts.
  • 12th Battery: 502 shell, 149 case, and 119 canister for 10-pdr Parrotts.

Notice one column there to the right, for Schenkl projectiles.  We want to consider that along with the next page:

0151_2_Snip_WI

Again, these are Schenkl patent projectiles for the respective rifles:

  • 1st Battery: 274 shell for 20-pdr Parrotts.
  • 4th Battery: 170 shell for 3-inch rifles
  • 12th Battery: 28 shot for 10-pdr Parrotts (from the preceding page).

That brings us to the small arms:

0151_3_Snip_WI

By battery:

  • 1st Battery: Thirteen Army revolvers, seventy-one cavalry sabers, and four horse artillery sabers.
  • 2nd Battery: Twenty Army revolvers and 133 horse artillery sabers.
  • 4th Battery: Seventeenth Army revolvers and 121 horse artillery sabers.
  • 6th Battery: Thirty-five cavalry sabers.
  • 8th Battery: Fifty Navy revolvers and four cavalry sabers.
  • 9th Battery: 121 Navy revolvers and nineteen cavalry sabers.
  • 10th Battery: Eighteen horse artillery sabers.
  • 12th Battery: Eight cavalry sabers.

That concludes the Wisconsin batteries, and overall the summaries for the first quarter of 1863.  Before moving on to the next quarter’s summaries, I may… not sure if there is enough for a post… but may work up a listing of batteries missed by the clerks compiling the summaries for that quarter.