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.

Summary Statement, 1st Quarter, 1863 – Vermont Batteries

For the fourth quarter of 1862, the batteries of Vermont got no love from the clerks at the Ordnance Department.  For the first of 1863, at least the batteries received mention:

0148_1_Snip_VT

A small state, Vermont provided only two light batteries up to this point of the war (a third would be mustered in January 1864).  Both active batteries served in the Army of the Gulf.  Likewise, both would play parts in the campaign against Port Hudson, Louisiana later in the spring and into summer.  The receipt date for both batteries is within bureaucratic tolerance – August and May of the reporting year, respectively.

  • 1st Vermont Light Battery: Listed at New Orleans, Louisiana with six 3-inch rifles. In January, Captain George W. Duncan resigned. Captain George T. Hebard assumed command of this battery at the start of the spring.  The battery was assigned to Second Division, Nineteenth Corps.
  • 2nd Vermont Light Battery: Placed at Baton Rouge, Louisiana with six 3.67-inch rifles. Assigned to Third Division, Nineteenth Corps under Captain Pythagoras E. Holcomb.

When attempting to identify the specific type of cannon assigned to these batteries, I have to pause to offer simply the calibers reported.  I’m most certain the six 3.67-inch rifles of the 2nd Battery were Sawyer 6-pdr Steel Rifles.  But, we see here those are reported as bronze rifles.  With so many case where columns were “re-purposed” by the clerks, why not one more.

And for the 1st Battery, the weapons assigned were specifically identified as steel rifles. However, there is much inconsistency in the reports, correspondence, and records in regard to “steel rifles”.  Some times standard wrought iron Ordnance Rifles were so identified.  However, the identification leaves open the possibility that Sawyer rifles, or even Wiard rifles, in that caliber were used by the battery.  And that would be just a short list of possibilities.  I would like to think, given 2nd Battery’s association with the Sawyer rifles, that 1st Battery also had weapons of that origin.

Moving past the speculation about the guns, let us find out what they fired.  No smoothbore weapons on hand, so no smoothbore projectiles.  So we skip forward to the Hotchkiss rounds:

0150_2_Snip_VT

And allow me to add to that snip the continuation columns on the next page:

0151_1A_Snip_VT

The total tally for Hotchkiss projectiles looks as such:

  • 1st Battery: 120 canister, 444 percussion shell, and 625 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 2nd Battery: 939 fuse shell and 347 canister for 3.67-inch rifles.

The batteries did not report any Dyer’s, James’, or Parrott’s on hand.  Nor any Schenkl.  So we move directly to the small arms:

0151_3_Snip_VT

Of the two:

  • 1st Battery: Eighteen Army revolvers and thirty-three horse artillery sabers.
  • 2nd Battery: Eight Army revolvers and fifty-eight cavalry sabers.

Aside from the precise identification of the cannons, the two Vermont batteries offer a simple report to interpret.

Summary Statement, 1st Quarter, 1863 – West Virginia Batteries

The section heading reads “Virginia”.  But we know the complicated why that section could not, officially at least, be “West Virginia” for another quarter of record keeping.

0148_1_Snip_VA

From the previous quarter, we saw two lines accounting for infantry serving as artillery.  For the first quarter, 1863, just one.  And that one is easily reconciled.  Company C, Sixth (West) Virginia Infantry was later reorganized as Battery F, 1st West Virginia Artillery come April 1863.  For simplicity here, I’ll adjust that entry line to the later designation:

  • Battery A: At Washington, D.C. with no cannon reported. This battery was in the Artillery Camp of Instruction, Camp Barry.  Captain John Jenks was dismissed in early March, replaced by Lieutenant (later Captain) George Furst. The previous quarter this battery reported six 12-pdr Napoleons. Although a return was filed, and some equipment and small arms were recorded, the battery had temporarily turned in those guns.
  • Battery B: At Winchester, Virginia with six 10-pdr Parrotts.  Captain John V. Keeper in command of this battery supporting Second Division, Eighth Corps, or Middle Department if you prefer.
  • Battery C: At Stafford Court House, Virginia with six 10-pdr Parrotts. Captain Wallace Hill commanded this battery. Through the winter, the battery remained part of Third Division, Eleventh Corps.  Before the spring campaigns, the battery became part of the consolidated Eleventh Corps Artillery.
  • Battery D: At Winchester, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Captain  John Carlin commanded this battery which was also in Second Division, Eighth Corps.
  • Battery E: At Romney, (West) Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.Under Captain Alexander C. Moore this battery supported Campbell’s Fourth Brigade, First Division, Eighth Corps.
  • Battery F: Again, Company C, 6th (West) Virginia Infantry and carried on a line below.  Reporting at Martinsburg, Virginia, with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Captain Thomas A. Maulsby commanded the battery, supporting Third Brigade, First Divsion, Eighth Corps.
  • Battery G: At Beverly, West Virginia with two 6-pdr field guns and two 10-pdr Parrotts.  Captain Chatham T. Ewing commanded this battery, supporting Averell’s Separate Brigade, Eighth Corps.

Battery H is not mentioned on the report, as it would not be formed until January 1864.

Turning to the ammunition, starting with smoothbores:

0150_1_Snip_VA

As Battery A had apparently temporarily, at least, turned in its cannon, only one battery had smoothbore guns on hand:

  • Battery G: 182 shot, 140 case, and 56 canister for 6-pdr field guns.

Turning to the ammunition for rifled guns, we often associate Hotchkiss with the 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Such is the case here:

0150_2_Snip_VA

Three batteries reporting:

  • Battery D: 304 canister, 486 percussion shell, 240 fuse shell,  and 250 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery E: 142 canister, 357 percussion shell,  and 836 fuse shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery F: 414 canister, 549 percussion shell, 450 fuse shell, and 1857 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

And on the next page, we can focus just on the Parrott columns:

0151_1A_Snip_VA

And those batteries:

  • Battery B: 873 shell, 614 case, and 334 canister for 10-pdr Parrott.
  • Battery C: 810 shell, 270 case, and 114 canister for 10-pdr Parrott.
  • Battery G: 105 shell for 10-pdr Parrott.

No quantities of Schenkl or Tatham’s reported on hand for the quarter.

So we can move on to the small arms:

0151_3_Snip_VA

By battery:

  • Battery A: Fifteen Army revolvers and eighty-five cavalry sabers.
  • Battery B: Seventeen Navy revolvers and fourty-eight horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery C: Ten Navy revolvers and nine cavalry sabers.
  • Battery D: Thirty Army revolvers and thirty horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery E: Twenty-nine Army revolvers and thirty horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery F: Twenty-five Gallagher carbines, twenty-five .58-caliber pistol carbines, seven Navy revolvers, and seventy-five cavalry sabers.
  • Battery G: Seventeen Army revolvers.

Other than Battery F’s odd assortment of small arms, not many surprises here.

We have two more sections before closing the first quarter of 1863 and will be looking to Vermont and Wisconsin in turn.

Summary Statement, 1st Quarter, 1863 – Rhode Island’s Light Batteries

When transcribing the summary statements, I like to see clean entries where clerks have recorded returns for all listed batteries.  Such reduces questions to some manageable level.  And that is what we see with the Rhode Island volunteers for the first quarter, 1863:

0140_1_Snip_RI

Not exactly crisp, however.  We see one entry was delayed until 1864.  And we have two station entries that are blank.  Still, better than many we’ve encountered.  As with the previous quarter, we have two parts to consider for the Rhode Island artillerymen.  We start with the 1st Rhode Island Artillery Regiment:

  • Battery A: At Falmouth, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Captain William A. Arnold remained in commanded this battery,  supporting Second Division, Second Corps.
  • Battery B: No station given, but with six 12-pdr Napoleons. Battery was also assigned to Second Division, Second Corps and was thus also at Falmouth.  When Captain  John G. Hazard became the division’s artillery chief, Lieutenant T. Frederick Brown assumed command (the move occurred at the end of the winter months).
  • Battery C: No station given, but with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Captain Richard Waterman commanded this battery, assigned to First Division, Fifth Corps. The battery was also in the Falmouth area.
  • Battery D: At Lexington, Kentucky  with six 12-pdr Napoleons. Captain  William W. Buckley commanded this battery assigned to Second Division, Ninth Corps.  Recall this division was among the troops dispatched wet to Kentucky, with Burnside, during the winter months.
  • Battery E: At Falmouth with six 12-pdr Napoleons.  Captain Pardon S. Jastram’s battery remained with First Division, Third Corps.
  • Battery F: At New Berne, North Carolina with six 10-pdr Parrotts (shed of two howitzers reported in the last quarter). Captain James Belger commanded this battery, part of the Artillery Brigade, Eighteenth Corps.
  • Battery G: Falmouth, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Assigned to Third Division, Second Corps, then at Falmouth.  Captain George W. Adams assumed command prior to the Chancellorsville Campaign.
  • Battery H: At Union Mills, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Assigned to Casey’s Division, Twenty-second Corps from the Defenses of Washington.  Captain Jeffrey Hazard commanded this battery.

Moving down a lot of blank lines, we have one battery from the 3rd Rhode Island Heavy Artillery that was serving in the light artillery capacity:

  • Company C: At Beaufort, South Carolina with four 12-pdr field howitzers, having turned in it’s mix of Parrotts and 24-pdr field howitzers.  Captain Charles R. Brayton was in command, assigned to the Tenth Corps.

The Rhode Island batteries were somewhat uniform, with the few mixed batteries refitting from the previous quarter.  Such makes the ammunition listings predictable:

0142_1_Snip_RI

Four batteries of smoothbores… but only three listings:

  • Battery B: 288 shot, 96 shell, 388(?) case, and 96 canister for Napoleons.
  • Battery E: 288 shot, 96 shell, 288 case, and 96 canister for Napoleons.
  • Battery C, 3rd Artillery: 426 shell, 549 case, and 164 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.

So no ammunition reported for Battery D.  And two very suspiciously uniform lines for Battery B and E.  Battery C, by the way, had plenty of ammunition on hand.

Moving to the rifled columns, we saw four batteries with 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Correspondingly, four batteries reported Hotchkiss projectiles in that caliber:

0142_2_Snip_RI

Quantities reported were all for 3-inch rifles:

  • Battery A:  195 canister, 57 percussion shell, 467 fuse shell, and 509 bullet shell.
  • Battery C: 120 canister, 251 percussion shell, 193 fuse shell, and 603 bullet shell.
  • Battery G: 239 canister, 104 percussion shell, 211 fuse shell, and 461 bullet shell.
  • Battery H: 120 canister, 250 percussion shell, 280 fuse shell, and 582 bullet shell.

We saw one battery with Parrott rifles.  And there is one entry line to consider:

0143_1A_Snip_RI

  • Battery F: 1,293 shell, 171 case, and 134 canister for 10-pdr Parrotts.

Yes, 1,293 shells…. 215 shells per gun in that battery.

The only “strays” in this set are on the Schenkl columns:

0143_2_Snip_RI

Two batteries reporting quantities:

  • Battery A: 157 Schenkl shells for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery G: 181 Schenkl shells for 3-inch rifles.

Other than a few open questions (particularly with Battery D, moving to the Ohio Valley, not reporting ammunition on hand) these are “clean”.  So on to the small arms.

0143_3_Snip_RI

By Battery:

  • Battery A: Four Army revolvers, twenty Navy revolvers, and thirty-nine horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery B: Twenty-five horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery C: Eight Navy revolvers and twelve horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery D: Eight Army revolvers, twelve Navy revolvers, and eighteen horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery E: Seventeen Navy revolvers.
  • Battery F: Sixteen Army revolvers, eighty-eight Navy revolvers, twenty cavalry sabers, and nine horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery G: Fourteen Army revolvers and eighteen horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery H: Twenty Army revolvers and thirty-two horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery C, 3rd Artillery: Forty-nine Navy revolvers and 120 cavalry sabers.

There were two batteries included within these summaries which lacked any direct affiliation with the Army of the Potomac (Battery D was leaving that army, being transferred west).  Those two batteries, Battery F and lone heavy battery serving as light, were posted to backwater assignments.  Those two batteries reported a larger quantity of small arms on hand, as they assumed some non-artillery roles in the line of duty.