Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – New York Independent Batteries, Part 2

For the first dozen of the New York independent batteries, discussed last week, we found all active batteries within the eastern theater.  Many were involved with the Gettysburg Campaign, directly or indirectly.  But looking to the second batch – 13th to the 24th Batteries – we find the service of that batch was much more varied:

0209_1_Snip_NY_IND_Pt2

Of the twelve, only eight had returns for the quarter.  Only one of those was posted to Washington before the end of July.  Three arrived in August.  Another in September.  And the last two were not filed until 1864.  An administrative “stretch” of the data.

 

  • 13th Independent Battery: Reported, on August 7, 1863, at Warrenton Junction, Virginia with four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles (down from six the previous quarter).  With reorganization after Chancellorsville, moved up to the Artillery Brigade, Eleventh Corps.  Captain  Julius Dieckmann resigned on May 15.  He was replaced by Lieutenant William Wheeler.  As of June 30, the battery was at Emmitsburg, Maryland.  The battery lost one gun on the field at Gettysburg, when the axle split. Despite efforts to drag the tube off the field, lashed to a limber by a prolong, the gun was left on the field.  However, that gun was recovered on July 5 and brought back to service.  The battery expended 850 rounds during the battle, but were “anxious for another opportunity to try their 3-inch guns.”
  • 14th Independent Battery: No return.  Earlier in the spring of 1862, personnel of this battery were distributed to other batteries.  As of June 1863, the first section  was assigned to Battery B, 1st New York; second and third sections to Battery G, 1st New York.  At Gettysburg, Captain James McKay Rorty, of the battery, commanded Battery B, 1st New York Light Artillery. But he was mortally wounded on July 3.  The battery was formally disbanded in September 1863.
  • 15th Battery:  As of the August 15 report, was at Rappahannock Station, Virginia with four 12-pdr Napoleons.  The battery was assigned to First Volunteer Brigade, Artillery Reserve, under Captain Patrick Hart.  In May, the battery had turned in their 3-inch rifles for the Napoleons.  At the end of June, the battery was, with the rest of McGilvery’s Brigade, in Maryland, with an appointment two days later at the Peach Orchard of Gettysburg.
  • 16th Battery: No return. Captain Frederick L. Hiller’s battery transferred to the Seventh Corps in April, and stationed at Newport News, Virginia. In the previous quarter, the battery reported six 10-pdr Parrott Rifles.
  • 17th Battery: At Camp Barry, District of Columbia with six 12-pdr Napoleons. Captain George T. Anthony’s battery was assigned to the Artillery Camp of Instruction.
  • 18th Battery: At Port Hudson, Louisiana with six 20-pdr Parrotts.  The report was not received in Washington until August 1864.  The battery transferred from Second Division to First Division, Nineteenth Corps in May.  Captain Albert G. Mack retained command. The battery participated in the siege of Port Hudson.
  • 19th Battery: No return. The battery, under Captain William H. Stahl, transferred to First Division, Seventh Corps in April.  The battery saw action in the siege of Suffolk.  In the previous quarter, the battery reported six 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 20th Battery: At Fort Schuyler, New York with “infantry stores” only.  Captain  B. Franklin Ryer’s battery served as garrison artillery.  The battery would be involved with the suppression of the New York riots in July.
  • 21st Battery: At Port Hudson, Louisiana with four 3-inch steel guns (make and model unspecified). The report is from February 1864, but accurate.  This battery, under Captain James Barnes, was assigned to Second Division, Nineteenth Corps.
  • 22nd Battery: No return. Earlier in February the battery became Company M, 9th New York Heavy Artillery.  The designation remained on the clerk’s report as a placeholder.
  • 23rd Battery: Washington, North Carolina with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Originally, Battery A of the New York Rocket Battalion. Captain Alfred Ransom was in charge of this battery, assigned to the Eighteenth Corps, Department of North Carolina.
  • 24th Battery: At Plymouth, North Carolina with six 12-pdr Napoleons. Likewise, Battery B of the Rocket Battalion with this new designation taking effect in February.  This battery was also assigned to the Eighteenth Corps.  Captain Jay E. Lee resigned in mid-June.  Lieutenant A. Lester Cady was promoted and assigned command.

 

As I said, varied service – from New York harbor to Port Hudson on the Mississippi.

Turning to the ammunition, we have the smoothbore rounds accounted for:

0211_1_Snip_NY_IND_Pt2

Three batteries reporting:

  • 15th Battery: 128 shot, 64 shell, 192 case, and 128 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 17th Battery: 288 shot, 69 shell, 388 (?) case, and 96 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 24th Battery: 393 shot, 230 shell, 464 case, and 368 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.

A straightforward, expected tally.

For the rifled projectiles, the Hotchiss columns are also straightforward:

0211_2_Snip_NY_IND_Pt2

Three batteries with 3-inch rifles and one with 20-pdr Parrotts:

  • 13th Battery: 70 canister, 150 fuse shell, and 430 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 18th Battery: 95 fuse shell for 3.67-inch rifles (20-pdr Parrott).
  • 21st Battery: 310 canister and 473 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 23rd Battery: 191 canister, 68 percussion shell, 281 fuse shell, and 552 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

For the following page, we’ll break this down into two sections.  First a lone entry for Dyer’s patent:

0212_1A_Snip_NY_IND_Pt2

  • 23rd Battery: 30 (?) Dyer’s shell for 3-inch rifles.

Moving over to the Parrott and Schenkl projectiles:

0212_1B_Snip_NY_IND_Pt2

Just one battery with those big 20-pdr Parrotts:

  • 18th Battery: 786 shell, 168 case, and 137 canister, Parrott patent; 439 Schenkl shot, also for 20-pdrs.

More Schenkl on the next page:

0212_2_Snip_NY_IND_Pt2

  • 13th Battery: 80 shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 18th Battery: 40 shell for 20-pdr Parrotts.
  • 21st Battery: 47 shell for 3-inch rifles.

Lastly, we have the small arms to account for:

0212_3_Snip_NY_IND_Pt2

By battery:

  • 13th Battery: Seven Army revolvers, seven Navy revolvers, and fifteen horse artillery sabers.
  • 15th Battery: Seventeen Navy revolvers and twelve cavalry sabers.
  • 17th Battery: Twenty Army revolvers and twenty-two horse artillery sabers.
  • 18th Battery: Four Springfield muskets (.58 caliber), three army revolves, and seven horse artillery sabers.
  • 21st Battery: Eighteen Army revolvers and sixteen horse artillery sabers.
  • 23rd Battery: Sixty Army revolvers and seventy-five cavalry sabers.
  • 24th Battery: Fifty-three Army revolvers.

We will find this pattern of varied service repeated in the last portion of independent batteries. We will look at batteries 25 to 32 in the next installment.  Along with three “detachment” lines.

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Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – New York Independent Batteries, Part 1

In addition to batteries within the regimental formations, the state of New York provided thirty-six independent batteries during the course of the Civil War.  That number is somewhat misleading, as some of those independent batteries were simply re-designations of existing batteries; some were later re-designated within the regimental formation; others mustered out when their time came and were not replaced; or never completed organization. But, the clerks in Ordnance Department had to track those as lines for accounting purposes.  By June 1863, there were thirty-two of those independent batteries to account for:

0209_1_Snip_NY_IND_All

Plus three lines of “other” detachments.  I’ll break these down in groups of twelve, to allow proper examination.  So the first twelve look like this:

0209_1_Snip_NY_IND_Pt1

Four of those twelve did not have a return on file:

  • 1st Independent Battery: At Warrenton, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. The location probably reflected the August reporting date.  Captain Andrew Cowan remained in command of the battery, assigned to Sixth Corps, Army of the Potomac.  On June 30, the battery was at Manchester, Maryland, with a long march toward Gettysburg in their immediate future.  On July 3, Cowan’s battery helped repulse Pickett’s charge, firing their last canister – double canister, that was – at 20 yards.
  • 2nd Independent Battery:  No return.  The battery mustered out, in New York, on June 13, 1863.  Captain Hermann Jahn was last in command. The men with time left on their enlistments transferred to Battery I, 1st New York.  A reorganized 2nd Independent was authorized, but instead was made part of the 15th New York Heavy Artillery.
  • 3rd Independent Battery: At Manchester, Maryland  with six 10-pdr Parrotts. The battery was part of Sixth Corps, under Lieutenant William A. Harn.  The battery saw less action at Gettysburg than Cowan’s, being positioned along the Taneytown Road.
  • 4th Independent Battery: No return.  Captain James E. Smith’s battery had six 10-pdr Parrotts when placed in defense of the Devil’s Den on July 2.   They were, of course, assigned to Third Corps. We are familiar with the 4th, thanks to their stand at the Devil’s Den at Gettysburg, and know they had six 10-pdr Parrotts.  By the end of the day, the battery would have only three of those Parrotts (and one was on a disabled carriage).  Smith reported firing 240 rounds during the battle.
  • 5th Independent Battery: At Warrenton Junction, Virginia (reflecting the August report date) with six 20-pdr Parrotts (increased from four over last quarter’s report).  This was Captain Elijah D. Taft’s battery in the Army of the Potomac’s Artillery Reserve.  And as such was near Taneytown, Maryland on June 30.  Taft’s battery went into action defending the cemetery on Cemetery Hill.  In the action, the battery had one Parrott burst, while expending 80 Schenkl percussion shell, 63 Schenkl combination-fuse shrapnel, 32 Parrott shell, and 382 Parrott shrapnel.
  • 6th Independent Battery: “In the field” and with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Captain Joseph W. Martin held command of this battery, assigned to the First Brigade, Horse Artillery, Army of the Potomac.  Martin’s battery lost three guns on the field at Brandy Station.  After that battle, the battery was sent to Washington for refitting.  Rejoining the army on June 28, the battery had a full complement of guns.  A remarkable testament to the depth of Federal logistics at this time of the war.
  • 7th Independent Battery: At Norfolk, Virginia with three 12-pdr Napoleons (added during the quarter) and six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Captain Peter C. Regan’s battery supported the Seventh Corps.
  • 8th Independent Battery: At Fort Keyes, Virginia with  six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Captain Butler Fitch commanded this battery.  In the previous quarter, the battery reported at Yorktown.  The Fort Keyes assignment indicates it moved across the York River to Gloucester Point.
  • 9th Independent Battery: Fort Reno, District of Columbia, with only infantry stores. Captain Emil Schubert remained in command.  Battery assigned to the Twenty-Second Corps, defending Washington.  As indicated, the battery was not equipped as light artillery.
  • 10th Independent Battery: Marked “not in service.”  In May, the battery transferred from Third Corps to the Artillery Reserve, Army of the Potomac. And in June, the battery was sent to Washington.  Members of the battery were transferred to four different batteries, none of which were from New York.  Captain John T. Bruen remained commander, but was absent for much of May.  Lieutenant Samuel Lewis was listed in command through early June.  Then Lieutenant Charles T. Bruen picked up the assignment.  For all practical purposes, the 10th Battery was “cross leveled” to bring other batteries up to strength.
  • 11th Independent Battery: No return and dittos for “not in service.” This battery moved from the Third Corps to the Fourth Brigade, Artillery Reserve in May 1863.  On, or about June 16, what remained of the battery was attached to Battery K, 1st New York Light.  Not until the end of the year was the 11th Battery brought up to strength.  Captain John E. Burton was, on the rolls at least, in command.
  • 12th Independent Battery: At Bealton, Virginia reporting six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles (an increase from four reported the previous quarter). The location reflects a September reporting date, by which time the battery had not only moved, but also changed organizational assignments.  As of June 30, the battery was at Camp Barry, Washington, D.C. Later in the summer, the battery transferred to Third Corps.  Captain George F. McKnight remained in command.

So five of the twelve were directly involved with the Gettysburg Campaign.  Two other batteries had attachments at Gettysburg.

Moving to the ammunition, we start with the smoothbore:

0211_1_Snip_NY_IND_Pt1

Only one battery had Napoleons, and we see their chests accounted for here.  But what of the other line?

  • 5th Battery: 96 canister for 6-pdr.
  • 7th Battery: 57 shot, 46 shell, 89 case, and 65 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.

Taft’s Battery had 20-pdr Parrotts, with a bore diameter of 3.67-inch, which is the same as a 6-pdr smoothbore.  However, in an otherwise detailed report for Gettysburg, Taft does not mention the use of that ammunition type.  So, was this reflective of Taft receiving, after Gettysburg, some 6-pdr stocks?   Or did he take 6-pdr canister to Gettysburg?  We also cannot rule out clerical error (at the battery or in Washington)… or for that matter that someone in the battery mistakenly identified Parrott canister as smoothbore type (hard to imagine… but a possibility).

Turning to the rifled projectiles, the Hotchkiss rounds are well represented:

0211_2_Snip_NY_IND_Pt1

  • 1st Battery: 126 canister, 7 percussion shell, 3 fuse shell, and 456 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 6th Battery: 93 canister, 10 fuse shell, and 128 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 7th Battery: 152 canister, 64 percussion shell, 239 fuse shell, and 675 bullet shells for 3-inch rifles.
  • 8th Battery: 66 canister for 3-inch rifles.
  • 12th Battery: 60 canister, 65 percussion shell, 126 fuse shell, and 366(?) bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

And as with many of these reports for the second quarter, we have to ask if these are quantities reported strictly “as of June 30″…. or at a time when the officers got around to doing the paperwork.  Those numbers could tell us about the battery’s state prior to Gettysburg, or just after, as the case may be. There isn’t a way to say for sure.

Breaking the next page down by section for easier handling, we turn to Dyer’s projectiles:

0212_1A_Snip_NY_IND_Pt1

Three batteries with that type on hand:

  • 1st Battery: 571 Dyer’s Shrapnel in 3-inch rifle caliber.
  • 5th Battery: 4 Dyer’s Shrapnel in 3-inch rifle caliber.
  • 8th Battery: 369 shell, 650 shrapnel, and 109 canister, Dyer’s patent, for 3-inch rifles.

I cannot explain why 5th Battery would need 3-inch shrapnel.  Perhaps a transcription error.

Moving to the right, Parrott projectiles:

0212_1B_Snip_NY_IND_Pt1

Two batteries reporting:

  • 3rd Battery: 490 shell, 490 case, and 177 canister for 10-pdr Parrotts.
  • 5th Battery: 46 shell and 138 case for 20-pdr Parrotts.

Of course, missing, as their return was not recorded, is 4th Battery.  Would be interesting to account for what Smith’s Battery took into action on July 2, compared to what was on hand July 3… or later when replenished.

Last of the ammunition columns, the Schenkl projectiles:

0212_2_Snip_NY_IND_Pt1

A lot of lone entries:

  • 1st Battery: 37 shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 3rd Battery: 67 shell for 10-pdr Parrotts.
  • 5th Battery: 84 shell for 20pdr Parrotts.
  • 6th Battery: 654 shell for 20-pdr Parrotts.  Yes, 20-pdr.
  • 8th Battery: 45 shell for 3-inch rifles.

The entry for 6th Battery may be a transcription error, just one column over from where it should be.

And the final section covers the small arms:

0212_3_Snip_NY_IND_Pt1

By battery:

  • 1st Battery: Thirty-one Navy revolvers and twelve horse artillery sabers.
  • 3rd Battery: Four Navy revolvers and ten cavalry sabers.
  • 5th Battery: Twenty-five Army revolvers and twenty-one horse artillery sabers.
  • 6th Battery: 131 Navy revolvers and ten cavalry sabers.
  • 7th Battery: Eighteen Navy revolvers and twenty-six horse artillery sabers.
  • 8th Battery: Thirteen Navy revolvers and twelve horse artillery sabers.
  • 12th Battery: Twenty-eight Army revolvers and twenty-nine horse artillery sabers.

The first dozen independent batteries served in the Eastern Theater, with close association with the Army of the Potomac.  The next dozen, from the 13th to 24th Independent, saw much more diverse service.  We’ll look at those next.

 

Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – Batteries of New Hampshire and New Jersey

For this installment of the summary reports, we will look at the contributions of two states – New Hampshire and New Jersey.   Between the two, by June 1863 were only three batteries of light artillery:

0201_1_Snip_NH_NJ

Just one battery from the Granite State.  For the New Hampshire battery:

  • 1st Battery: Reporting at Taneytown, Maryland with four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. After the Chancellorsville Campaign, Captain Frederick M. Edgell’s battery transferred from First Corps to Third Volunteer Brigade, Artillery Reserve, Army of the Potomac.  If we go to Edgell’s official report of the Gettysburg Campaign, we find his battery expended 105 rounds on July 2nd (at ranges of 2,000 yards or more!) from a position off the Taneytown Road, in what is today the National Cemetery.  On July 3, they fired counter-battery and later helped repulse Longstreet’s assault, with 248 rounds.  The battery fired a total of 353 rounds, with Hotchkiss time shell and Schenkl percussion mentioned specifically.  Edgell complained about the Schenkl combination fused case.

And from the Garden State, two batteries (three more batteries would muster in September 1863, but are outside our scope here):

  • Battery A: In Maryland with six 10-pdr Parrotts. The battery was, after Chancellorsville, moved from the Sixth Corps to Fourth Volunteer Brigade, Artillery Reserve, Army of the Potomac.  Lieutenant Augustine N. Parsons remained in command, with the absence of Captain William Hexamer.  On June 30, the battery was, like most of the Artillery Reserve, near Taneytown.  On July 3, Battery A went into action near the present day Pennsylvania Memorial, and thus on the opposite flank of Longstreet’s assault from the New Hampshire battery mentioned above.  Parsons reported firing about 120 rounds of case against the infantry charge.  Afterward, he fired an additional 80 rounds of shell at Confederate batteries, for a total of around 200 on the day.
  • Battery B: Reported at Brandy Station, Virginia with six 10-pdr Parrotts, reflecting a March 1864 receipt date. Of course the battery was with the Third Corps, Army of the Potomac, on June 30, 1863, and between Emmitsburg and Taneytown.  Captain A.Judson Clark commanded the battery.  However, at least at the start of the Gettysburg Campaign, Clark was listed as a divisional artillery chief, a position that should have been redundant with battery consolidation at the corps level.  Captain George E. Randolph, Battery E, 1st Rhode Island Artillery, was the corps artillery chief (somewhat confusing, even on the tablets at Gettysburg list both Randolph and Clark).  While Clark was serving as chief, Lieutenant Robert Sims had charge of the battery.  But all reports have Clark in command of the battery on July 2nd, when the battery advanced to support infantry at the Peach Orchard salient.

Thus we can place all three batteries in action at Gettysburg.  Writing these summaries, I have an urge to discuss so much of the “rest of the story.”  But for the moment, let us focus on the summaries and not the deeds (which most would agree are more interesting).

No smoothbores on hand, so no smoothbore ammunition to report.  Turning to the Hotchkiss projectiles:

0203_2_Snip_NH_NJ

  • 1st New Hampshire: 80 canister, 158 fuse shell, and 238 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

Keep in mind Edgell fired 353 rounds at Gettysburg.  And we’ll revisit the totals below.

On the next page, we can trim down to focus on the Parrott projectiles:

0204_1A_Snip_NH_NJ

The two New Jersey batteries reporting:

  • Battery A, New Jersey: 130 canister for 10-pdr Parrotts.
  • Battery B, New Jersey: 568 shell, 360 case, and 120 canister for 10-pdr Parrotts.

Parsons’ battery seems to be missing a large quantity of ammunition.  And that cannot simply be accounted for by that expended in battle in July.

Moving to the next page and the Schenkl columns:

0204_2_Snip_NH_NJ

  • 1st New Hampshire:  322 shells for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery B, New Jersey: 152 shells for 10-pdr Parrotts.

We find here some of the Schenkl shells that Edgell complained about.  The total for that battery, on the summaries, is 798 rounds.  Again, the question here – was that “as of June 30, 1863”?  Or on hand as of the day the report was generated?  Or quantity on hand sometime after the great battle?

Moving to the small arms section:

0204_3_Snip_NH_NJ

By battery:

  • 1st New Hampshire: Thirteen Navy revolvers and nine cavalry sabers.
  • Battery A, New Jersey: Fifteen Army revolvers and twenty-seven horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery B, New Jersey: Sixteen Navy revolvers and fifteen horse artillery sabers.

Three batteries from two different states.  All three playing in action at Gettysburg.

The Folwell letters, June 29, 1863: “Co. I is rear guard of the grand army”

On June 28, 1863, Captain William W. Folwell lamented on the wait for the rear guard to cross the bridges at Edwards Ferry, as his command prepared to remove those pontoons.  June 29th found his company BEING the rear guard of the Army of the Potomac.  This was a two letter day for Folwell.  The first was posted in the morning:

Buckeys Town, Md.,

June 29th, 1863, 8 A.M.

Here I am.  Co. I is rear guard of the grand army.  We got to camp at 3 A.M. Got 3 hours good sleep and a good breakfast.  We march to Union Town.  We are well.

Just a short note. But some details that allow us to validate the movements of the engineers.  Aside from the pontoons sent back down the C&O Canal, the remainder of the detachment (parts of the Regulars and the 50th New York Engineers) was sent on a march toward Frederick, Maryland.  The march, which must have begun around mid-day on the 28th, took the detachment of engineers past Poolesville, over the Monocacy, and up to Buckeystown.

And this was the trail end of the Army of the Potomac.

Later in the day, Folwell had time to write another letter home:

Camp Engineer Brigade,

Frederick, Md.,

June 29th 1863.

I wrote you a hasty note in pencil this morning, which I mailed at Buckeystown, while marching hither.  Two miles this side of that place, we came up on the 5th Corps, which followed our trains.  I was then relieved of my duties as Provost Marshall.  I had some very active duty hurrying up some 11th Corps stragglers.  One fellow I had to handle roughly, and finally set two men with fixed bayonets to drive him on.  I was very glad to be relieved. Communication is cut off between us and Washington, the R.R. having been damaged at Mt. Airey Station some miles below here.  I presume, therefore, that said note will be slow in reaching you, as also this is likely to be.  Still, I wish to do all I can to keep you advised of my whereabouts and welfare.  We halted here at noon today, and pitched camp.  In the morning at two o’clock, we march, probably towards [Middleburg], the present H.Q. of the A.P. The news is scarce and uncertain.  Gen. Hooker is relieved and Gen. Meade is in his shoes.  It is said that both Reynolds and Sedgwick declined the appointment.  Co. I is rear guard again tomorrow, and no knapsacks will be carried.  Good Night.

Interesting, if the identification is correct, that Eleventh Corps soldiers would still be straggling on June 29.  That corps had crossed Edwards Ferry first, back on June 25.  There is, of course, a world of possibilities… to include mistaken identification.

I do find interesting that Folwell mentions a break in communications, but no problem with supply or delayed movements.  As I mentioned in the previous installment, Stuart’s cavalry moved through as a fast summer thunderstorm – there and gone.  Of course, Folwell was not getting all the news and knew nothing of the wagon train captured outside of Rockville the previous day.

At the end of the march, the engineers closed on Fifth Corps.  And the anticipated march for the following day was towards the Pipe Creek line. However, while the news of Meade’s assumption of command was correct, the rumors as to alternate commanders was not.

At this stage of the campaign, we leave the operations of the Potomac Crossing and the campaign transitions into the movements that would take the army to Gettysburg.  Folwell’s Company I was not to be in that fight.  Rather, they were placed back with their pontoons.  While not specific to my “lane” on Edwards Ferry, I’ll continue to post Folwell’s letters, so we may hear all of the engineer’s story.

(Citations from William Watts Folwell, Civil War Diary, unpublished, transcription retrieved from University of Minnesota Library, pages 423-24 (pages 429-30 of scanned copy))

Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – 4th Regiment, US Regulars

Looking at the summary for the 4th US Artillery for the 2nd quarter (ending in June) of 1863, we see ten of the twelve batteries posted returns (or more accurately, had their returns recorded by the Ordnance Department… assuming nothing here).  Of those ten returns, all but one was received by the end of 1863.  But only six offered a location for the battery as of the time of report.  Is this the impact of active campaigning on the administrative reports?  Let’s see….

0168_1_Snip_4thUS

Looking at these lines by battery:

  • Battery A – Reported at Sulphur Springs, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. The location is obviously reflecting the date when the report was actually filed, not where the battery was located on June 30 of the year.  The battery was, on that date, marching through Maryland.  Lieutenant Alonzo Cushing had but three more days in command of this battery, supporting Second Corps.
  • Battery B – No location given, but with  six 12-pdr Napoleons. Of course we know this battery, led by Lieutenant James Stewart, was supporting First Corps and was camped south of Gettysburg on June 30.  And of course, the following day the battery would perform admirably on the field.
  • Battery C – And no location given, but also reporting six 12-pdr Napoleons. In late May the battery transferred to the 1st Brigade (Regular), Artillery Reserve, Army of the Potomac.  Lieutenant Evan Thomas remained in command.  That brigade was moving up from Frederick, Maryland on June 30.
  • Battery D – Yet another without location given, though with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. This battery remained at Suffolk, Virginia, assigned to First Division, Seventh Corps and commanded by Captain Frederick M. Follett.
  • Battery E – No report.  Lieutenant  Samuel S. Elder’s was in the First Brigade, Horse Artillery assigned to the Cavalry of the Army of the Potomac, with four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles assigned.  Another battery with a location “on the march” and destined for the fields of Gettysburg.
  • Battery F – Reporting at Kelly’s Ford, Virginia with six 12-pdr Napoleons. Yes, another reflecting the “as of report” location.  Lieutenant Sylvanus T. Rugg commanded this battery in support of Twelfth Corps.  We can place them, also, among the columns moving through Maryland and southern Pennsylvania on June 30.
  • Battery G – No report given for this quarter.  Battery G was assigned to the Eleventh Corps artillery earlier in June.  The battery location as of June 30 was on the road between Emmitsburg and Gettysburg, with six 12-pdr Napoleons. Lieutenant Marcus Miller went on recruiting duty and was replaced, briefly, by Lieutenant Bayard Wilkeson.  But Wilkeson would be mortally wounded on July 1 while leading his battery at a poor position on what became known as Barlow’s Knoll.  Lieutenant Eugene A. Bancroft succeeded in command.
  • Battery H – At Murfreesboro, Tennessee with four 12-pdr field howitzers. Lieutenant Harry C. Cushing in command of this battery, assigned to Second Division, Twenty-First Corps.
  • Battery I – Belle Creek, Kentucky with four 12-pdr Napoleons. Lieutenant Frank G. Smith commanded this battery, supporting Third Division, Fourteenth Corps.  the location is a question mark.  The battery was, at this time, with its parent formation around Murfreesboro.
  • Battery K – Bridgeport, Maryland with six 12-pdr Napoleons. Another location which reflects the later reporting date.  This battery, under Lieutenant Francis W. Seeley, was supporting Third Corps and was around Emmitsburg on June 30. Seeley was wounded on July 2 (so badly that he later resigned his commission), and Lieutenant Robert James assumed command.
  • Battery L – No location offered, but with two 12-pdr Napoleons and four 10-pdr Parrotts.  Under command of Captain R. V. W. Howard, and assigned to First Division, Seventh Corps, in Southeast Virginia. .
  • Battery M – At Murfreesboro, Tennessee reporting four 12-pdr Napoleons and two 24-pdr field howitzers.  Lieutenant Francis L. D. Russell remained in command and the battery remained with Second Division, Twenty-First Corps.  Of note, the battery upgraded from field howitzers to Napoleons.

So comparing what we know about each particular battery’s service to what was recorded administratively, there does appear to have been some disruption of paperwork at the end of the second quarter.  Though I don’t think anyone would fault the officers for inattention to cyclic reports at this interval of the war.  They were more concerned with the real business of artillery.

Turning to the ammunition pages, we start with the smoothbore columns… noting the need to extend those to support the “big howitzers” of Battery M:

0170_1_Snip_4thUS

A lot of Napoleons and howitzers, so a lot to discuss:

  • Battery B: 360 shot, 236 shell, and 164 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons. However, a tally of 452 case for 6-pdr field guns is offered.  I think this is a transcription error and should correctly be interpreted as case for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery C: 163 shot, 186 shell, 388 case, and 196 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery F: 288 shot, 96 shell, 388 case, and 96 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery H: 219 shell, 342 case, and 146 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • Battery I: 192 shot, 62 shell, 192 case, and 64 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery K: 288 shot, 96 shell, 288 case, and 96 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery L: 96 shot, 32 shell, 96 case, and 33 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery M: 138 shot, 64 shell, 212 case, and 128 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons; 72 shell, 72 case, and 48 canister for 24-pdr field howitzers.

With so many of these batteries seeing action at Gettysburg, we might seek some insight as to what was on hand for the battle and what was used.  But yet again we must exercise some caution with making conjectures. There is an “as of date” along with a “reporting date” and other variables to consider here.  More than a grain of salt is required, in my opinion.

Moving to ammunition for the rifled guns, we start with Hotchkiss:

0170_2_Snip_4thUS

Two batteries reporting:

  • Battery A: 120 canister, 36 percussion shell,  319 fuse shell, and 673 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery D:  83 canister, 100 percussion shell, 542 fuse shell, and 475 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

As there was no record for Battery E, we are left to wonder what Elder’s gunners had on hand.

Moving to the next page, we can focus specifically on the Parrott columns:

0171_1A_Snip_4thUS

Just that one battery at Suffolk to consider here:

  • Battery L: 474 shell, 340(?) case, and 96 canister for 10-pdr Parrotts.

None of these batteries reported Schenkl projectiles on hand.  So we can move to the small arms:

0171_3_Snip_4thUS

By battery:

  • Battery A: Sixteen Army revolvers and twenty-five horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery B: Twenty-two Navy revolvers and seven cavalry sabers.
  • Battery C: Eighteen (?) Navy revolvers and thirty horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery D: Nine Army revolvers and 135 horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery F: Thirteen Army revolvers and twenty horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery H: Sixteen Army revolvers, six cavalry sabers, and fifteen horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery I: Three Army revolvers and forty-five cavalry sabers.
  • Battery K: Twelve Army revolves, one Navy revolver, and thirteen horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery L: Fourteen Army revolvers and 117 horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery M: Eight Army revolvers and thirty horse artillery sabers.

With so many of these batteries seeing action in the opening days of July, the figures are, again, tempting.  While trivial of sorts, the number of small arms reflect weapons of war used by the batteries.  In some cases, we might seek precision as to the use of those weapons.  For instance, when Lieutenant Alonzo Cushing drew his revolver to order his men back to their posts on July 3, was that an Army revolver, as was reported with his battery?  Colt or Remington? Or something the Lieutenant had come by outside of official channels?

“… forced to halt and lie down by the tornado of canister…”: Stewart’s Battery at Gettysburg

Last summer, Civil War Trust re-opened the Thompson House site at Gettysburg, better known as Lee’s Headquarters.  The Trust’s site details the work from acquisition through restoration with sliding navigation and videos.  If you are not familiar with this story, the Trust finalized the purchase of the grounds in January 2015.  The restoration involved the demolition of non-historic structures, removal of a parking lot, and renovation of the historic structure.  We might simply say this was a “rollback of the asphalt” type preservation effort.  But there’s a little more.  The effort effectively restored a portion of the viewshed.  And given the prominence of the house in relation to the battle, as well as featuring in photographs from the war and immediate post-war period, the restoration aids in interpretation.

However, from my perspective the most anticipated change was the return of cannons to a location adjacent to the Thompson House.  Speaking here of the position for Battery B, 4th US, commanded by Lieutenant James Stewart at the time of the battle. I’ve heard several stories as to why the position has long been without cannons.  But all boil down to the park not having the resources to spread around. The concrete pads were there.  But no cannon.

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The spot was within the NPS easement, and thus technically not part of the Trust’s restoration, but the re-installation of the cannon just made perfect sense at this juncture.

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For those who query about such details, the guns are 12-pdr Napoleons.  The one on the left (of the photo above) is registry number 14 from Cyrus Alger (cast in 1862):

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And on the right is registry number 318 from Revere Copper, cast in 1863:

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The battery had six Napoleons in action during the battle.  Around mid-day on July 1, 1863, Stewart deployed the battery on the north side of the Chambersburg Pike.  Stewart himself took a three gun section to the north side of the railroad cut.  The other three, under Lieutenant James Davison, stood between the Pike and the railroad.  Augustus Buell, in “The Cannoneer”, described the disposition:

We were formed… “straddle” of the Railroad Cut, the “Old Man” [Stewart] with the three guns forming the right half-battery on the north side, and Davison with the three guns of the left half-battery on the south side.  Stewart’s three guns were somewhat in advance of ours, forming a slight echelon in half-battery, while our three guns were in open order, bringing the left gun close to the Cashtown Road.  We were formed in a small field just west of Mrs. Thompson’s dooryard, and our guns ranked the road to the top of the low crest forming the east bank of Willoughby’s Creek.

And today we can look over those guns at for a view similar to that of Davison’s gunners on the day of battle.  We might debate as to exactly where the guns were placed that day.  But we see here ample room to deploy a three gun section commanding the slope up to McPherson’s Ridge.  And what did the battery do in this position?  Again, Buell recalled:

Directly in our front -that is to say, on both sides of the pike – the Rebel infantry, whose left lapped the north side of the pike quite up to the line of the railroad grading, had been forced to halt and lie down by the tornado of canister that we had given them from the moment they came in sight over the bank of the creek.

However effective the battery fires were, they were somewhat exposed with the Confederate advance.

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Buell continued:

But the regiments in the field to their right (south side) of the pike kept on, and kept swinging their right flanks forward as if to take us in reverse or cut us off from the rest of our troops near the Seminary.  At this moment Davison, bleeding from two desperate wounds, and so weak that one of the men had to hold him on his feet (one ankle being totally shattered by a bullet), ordered us to form the half-battery, action left, by wheeling on the left gun as a pivot, so as to bring the half-battery on a line with the Cashtown Pike, muzzles facing south, his object being to rake the front of the Rebel line closing in on us from that side. Of the four men left at our gun when this order was given two had bloody heads, but they were still “standing by,” and Ord. Serg’t Mitchell jumped on our off wheel to help us.  “This is tough work, boys,” he shouted, as we wheeled the gun around, “but we are good for it.” And Pat Wallace, tugging at the near wheel, shouted back: “If we ain’t, where’ll you find them that is!”

Well, this change of front gave us a clean rake along the Rebel line for a whole brigade length, but it exposed our right flank to the ranking volleys of their infantry near the pike, who at that moment began to get up again and come on.  Then for seven or eight minutes ensued probably the most desperate fight ever waged between artillery and infantry at close range without a particle of cover on either side.  They gave us volley after volley in front and flank, and we gave them double canister as fast as we could load.  The 6th Wisconsin and 11th Pennsylvania men crawled up over the bank of the cut or behind the rail fence in rear of Stewart’s caissons and joined their musketry to our canister, while from the north side of the cut flashed the chain-lightning of the Old Man’s half-battery in one solid streak!

At this time our left half-battery, taking their first line en echarpe, swept it so clean with double canister that the Rebels sagged away from the road to get cover from the fences and trees that lined it.  From our second round on a gray squirrel could not have crossed the road alive.

All that drama taking place within easy view of the area now preserved around the Thompson house:

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(Citation from Augustus Buell, “The Cannoneer”: Recollections of Service in the Army of the Potomac, Washington, D.C.: The National Tribune, 1890, pages 67-8.)

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:

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(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:

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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:

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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:

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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?