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:


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:


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:


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:


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

Moving over to the Parrott and Schenkl projectiles:


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:


  • 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:


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.

Unfilled and overdue requisitions: Artillery of the Department of the Gulf

When Major General Nathaniel P. Banks took over the Department of the Gulf at the end of 1862, his chief mission mirrored, if not directly competed with, that of General Ulysses S. Grant further upstream on the Mississippi River.   Like Grant’s operations to the north, any progress made by Banks required a significant maneuver element to close on Confederate river defenses.  And at that time in military history, maneuver elements required mounted field artillery.  In January 1863, Captain Richard Arnold, Banks’ Chief of Artillery provided an assessment of the artillery in the department.  (Arnold’s report being one of several submitted as Banks was getting to know General Benjamin Butler’s former command.)

Arnold tallied ten mounted batteries and two sections:

  • Company F, 1st US Artillery (with one section of Company A, 1st US Artillery), under Captain Richard C. Duryea, with six 12-pdr Napoleons and two 3-inch rifles.
  • Company G, 5th US Artillery, under Lieutenant Jacob B. Rawles, with six 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 2nd Vermont Battery, under Captain Pythagoras E. Holcomb, with two 6-pdr Sawyer guns, two 12-pdr howitzers, and two 3-inch rifles.
  • 18th New York Artillery, under Captain Albert Mack, with six 20-pdr Parrott rifles.
  • Company L, 1st US Artillery, under Captain Henry W. Closson, with four 12-pdr Napoleons and two 10-pdr Parrotts.
  • Company C, 2nd US Artillery, under Lieutenant John I. Rodgers, with four 12-pdr Napoleons and two 3-inch rifles.
  • 2nd Massachusetts Battery, under Captain Ormand F. Nims, with six 6-pdr guns.
  • Company A, 1st US Artillery, under Captain Edmund C. Bainbridge, with two 12-pdr Napoleons and two 3-inch rifles.
  • 1st Maine Battery under Captain E. W. Thompson, with four 6-pdr rifled guns and three 12-pdr howitzers.
  • 6th Massachusetts Battery, under Captain William W. Carruth, with four 6-pdr Sawyer guns and two 12-pdr howitzers.
  • A section comprising of men from the 21st Indiana Infantry Regiment using three 6-pdr guns captured in the Battle of Baton Rouge.
  • A section from the 4th Massachusetts battery with two 12-pdr rifled guns.

The mix of artillery stands in contrast with that used at the same time by the Army of the Potomac, but is similar to that of Army of the Cumberland in some regards.  Arnold’s report indicates these batteries were deployed in southern Louisiana, mostly around New Orleans and Baton Rouge. The use of Sawyer rifles is noteworthy.  Three of these cast steel rifles were delivered to the Army for experiments in December 1861.  After the start of hostilities, more were produced for state orders.  Likely the six mentioned in Arnold’s report were some of the later.

In addition, the department included four more batteries deployed for garrison duty:

  • Company K, 2nd US Artillery, under Captain Harvey A. Allen, at Fort Pickens.
  • Company H, 2nd US Artillery, under Captain Frank Larned, at Fort Barrancas.
  • 4th Massachusetts Battery, under Captain George G. Trull, at Fort Pike.
  • 1st Vermont Battery, under Captain George W. Duncan, with two 6-pdr rifled guns, two 6-pdr guns, and two howitzers, at Camp Parapet (defenses of New Orleans).

Of those four, only the 1st Vermont might be mounted for the upcoming campaign.  Arnold noted that three batteries were in route to Louisiana – the 21st, 25th, and 26th New York Batteries.  If properly supplied, the department might field fifteen mounted batteries, with a total of 90 guns.

Arnold suggested an arrangement of three batteries per division.  He felt the best mix for each divisional assignment was a battery of Napoleon guns, a battery of rifled guns, and a mixed battery of rifles and light smoothbores.  “This, in my opinion, will give the best proportion and most efficient combination for both combined and separate operations,” explained Arnold.  Unlike operations in other theaters where the Corps was the army commander’s unit of maneuver, in the swamps of Louisiana, operational focus fell to the divisional level.

But the main concern facing Arnold was the need for equipment to properly outfit the batteries.  “Many of the requisitions sent to the ordnance department have not been filled, owing to the non-arrival of the stores now overdue.”  Arnold had out a call for inventories.  His intent was to press the Chief of Ordnance to fill the shortfalls.

Another problem Arnold mentioned, which would become an issue later in the spring, was the lack of siege weapons.  “I would add in reference to siege operations that there are no guns whatever [in New Orleans] suitable for the purpose.  They can probably be obtained at some of the forts along the coast, but the procuring and transporting them to this place and the organization of a siege train will require some weeks at least.”

Organizational returns indicate at least some of Arnold’s request was fulfilled.  The 1st Vermont was indeed mounted.  Three of the department’s divisions, those of Brigadier Generals Thomas Sherman, William Emory, and Cuvier Grover, had three batteries of artillery (though not with the mix of guns preferred by Arnold).  Major General Christopher Augur’s division included five batteries – including the 12th Massachusetts Battery which arrived in February and the 1st Indiana Heavy Artillery. The three New York batteries mentioned in Arnold’s report were not mounted for the field.  The 25th New York Battery had lost all its horses when its transport wrecked off Key West.

The “Hoosier” heavy artillery was formerly the 21st Indiana Infantry, mentioned earlier with three field pieces.  The 1st Indiana Heavy would soon transition to garrison artillery, but some elements would serve in the siege lines at Port Hudson.

So in summary, Arnold asked for fifteen mounted batteries but only got thirteen.

(Captain Arnold’s reports appear in OR, Series I, Volume 15, Serial 21, page 649-651.)