Fortification Friday: “a redan or a lunette, is thrown up on the exterior to cover the outlet”

Before we close the discussion of openings for forts (see what I did there?), let me circle back to compare Mahan and Wheeler in regard to one of the fine points considered.  That being the use of a detached redan or lunette in advance of the outlet.  Recall that in pre-war writing, Mahan suggested:

In very frequented passages, a redan or a lunette, is thrown up on the exterior to cover the outlet, and thus ensure its safety in case of surprise.

And Wheeler, in the post-war, mentioned a similar arrangement, but perhaps narrowed the application to those larger outlets, for sorties, where simple interior traverses would not be practical.

Mahan offered two figures that illustrated the redan to the front of an outlet:

PlateVIIFig48_49

Figure 48 offers a wide redan in front of an outlet, which is further covered and flanked by by the “horns” of the larger work.  A very well protected outlet, we might say.  Mahan considered this a Redan Line.

On Figure 49, we see much more complexity.  Particularly with the defensive lines of fire.  The outlet is nested within a redan of a larger line.  On both sides are faces within redans of differing angles. This is considered a Tenaille Line – a proper definition we will discuss later.  But the point being the covering redan, to the front of the outlet, was absolutely necessary here in order to protect that weak spot.  The covering redan is somewhat off center of the outlet, perhaps to limit exposure at the expense of accessibility.

Wheeler, as you may recall, gave us only a simple rendition of the covering redan:

WheelerFig51

The question I have in regard to these advanced, detached “parts” covering openings is… just how often were these employed during the Civil War?

When examining surviving earthworks, we often find the area around the outlets obliterated.  Sometimes, due to necessity, that is done to facilitate visitor access.  But more often, just a case where the structures around the outlets were the most susceptible to erosion.

And when examining wartime plans, we see some use of these redans… but more often not.  Consider Fortress Rosecrans outside Murfreesboro:

FortressRosecrans

This was, some have said, the largest fort built during the war.  And in this plan we see examples of many features suggested by Mahan.  Specific to the outlets, we see up near the top that Battery Cruft was a detached lunette (maybe a “half lunette”) covering an outlet.  Elsewhere, such as next to Lunette McCook at the bottom right, we see an outlet (an existing road) without a covering redan or traverse.  Though we do see obstacles erected to the right of Lunette McCook.  And certainly that named work was positioned to dominate the approaches to the outlet.  Furthermore, what you don’t see in my “snip” are works in advance of the fortress that covered the railroad and road.  Though those were oriented south and not regarded as covering the outlet in question.

Another plan to consider is from Virginia, at Deep Bottom:

DeepBottomSnip

Here we see five road crossings at the main line of the works.  One of those is blocked entirely by a redan.  The other four (including one that appears to be a path cut just to clear a redan) have no traverses or covering works.  Just obstacles placed in front.

If we are assessing the protection of outlets, with Mahan’s suggestions in mind, we find a mixed application of those covering redans.  Seems to me the use of that sort of feature was based on the engineering assessment of need.

Now considering such use under Wheeler’s suggested implementation, let’s look to the location of a few large scale sorties.  First, how about the works were the Crater assault was mounted:

CraterSector

And further around the lines, and further forward in the historical timeline, to the sector around Fort Mahone:

FortMahoneSector

And to the left of that sector near where the Federal Sixth Corps mounted their sortie:

FortWelchSector

Now the scale of these maps mean these are not so much “plans” as operational maps.  So we know there are structures that escaped the pen here.  But what stands out, with double underlines, is the use of something far more elaborate than Mahan and Wheeler discussed.  We see entire sections of works advanced in a manner to provide staging grounds for those formations preparing for the assaults. Major assaults, mind you, involving whole divisions.  These were, you see, works built for the offensive.  Grand offensives!  In that light, might we say the entire Federal line was one large “covering work” in front of an array of staging areas and supply depots?

Winter reorganizations: Army of the Cumberland

Last week, I gave a lengthy justification for readers to consider winter encampment activities as related to the Civil War.  Overlooked, as we are drawn to the battles or campaigns, these encampments did much to setup those more “attractive” events. One of the examples I offered was the Army of the Cumberland’s stay, which lasted well into the spring, at Murfreesboro in 1863.  The length and breadth of that activity deserves full book length treatment, in my opinion. But for the moment, allow me to focus on one category of that encampment’s activities – reorganization.

The formation that won the Tullahoma Campaign, captured Chattanooga, and then was defeated at Chickamauga, was a different formation than the one which had won at Stones River in January.  Yet, the differences in that organization are somewhat subtle.  Consider the formation that Major-General William S. Rosecrans moved out of Nashville with in December 1862:

Fourteenth Corps Dec 18 1862

Um… this is an eye-test chart, I know.  Click the illustration and you’ll hit Flickr where you can zoom in and out.  This is roughly what Rosecrans had, on or about December 18, 1862.  Some things to note here (as I know you have trouble reading it!):

  • Rosecrans had three hats.  At this period of the war the “commands” of Department of the Cumberland, Army of the Cumberland, and Fourteenth Corps were almost interchangeable.
  • The formation of the Department/Army/Corps was a hand over from the previous Army of the Ohio as it was under Major General Don C. Buell.
  • In the old Army of the Ohio, there had been an organization for the field, for campaigning, and an organization on paper, for administration.  The former was built around wings and was temporary to meet situations.  The later included numbered divisions (up to Twelve) with separately numbered brigades (into the thirties).
  • When Rosecrans assumed command, he gradually changed that arrangement, first with three somewhat permanent wings.  But even as late as the middle of December 1862, the army still operated with the division and brigade designations from before.
  • For example, Major-General Alexander McCook commanded the Right Wing constituted of the 9th Division (13th, 21st, and 22nd Brigades), 2nd Division (4th, 5th, and 6th brigades), and 11th Division (37th and 35th brigades, plus a brigade brought over from 13th Division, formerly 1st Division of the Army of the Mississippi… a sidebar for later discussion).
  • Just days before battle at Stones River, Rosecrans reverted the division/brigade numbering to a more conventional format – that we are more familiar with, having each wing’s division numbered internally, and likewise each division’s brigades likewise numbered in sequence.

To that last set of points, consider the 41st Ohio, which was in the 19th Brigade, under Colonel William B. Hazen, and in the 4th Division under Brigadier-General John M. Palmer (who’d transferred over from that Army of the Mississippi division, by the way). Just before the big battle, the 41st Ohio’s parent organization changed to Second Brigade, Second Division, Left Wing, Fourteenth Corps.  Just a paper change, you say.  But think about it from the perspective of the officer trying to sort out who is aligned on his left or right flank.  That might be the “old” 22nd Brigade of Brigadier-General Charles Cruft showing up.  Or it might be the “new” Third Brigade, First Division, Left Wing, which used to be Colonel Charles Harker’s 20th Brigade.  You see, there were three possible names for each brigade that might possibly be in play at Stones River.

Now I am placing more emphasis on that factor than probably ought to be.  I know of no cases where confusions derived on the field due to the designation changes.  Usually, as we know from official reports, the reference was to a commander’s brigade by name.  If there was any confusion, it was usually confined to the staff when managing the administrative details.

However, there’s a subtlety here we should be keen to.  Prior to December 1862, a soldier in Hazen’s Brigade carried the name of his unit as the 19th Brigade.  That carried with it a somewhat implied detachment from divisions and corps.  The brigade might be reassigned to another formation on a temporary basis.  That’s why it was numbered in such manner.  But once the designation was changed to reflect an ordinal under a parent division, that changed.  Now Hazen’s Brigade was bound to Second Division… though that division might move between wings or assignments as needed.

Turning forward to the winter encampment, that assignment was further solidified by orders which came down on January 9, 1863.  Specifically, General Orders No. 9 from the War Department… not the Army or Department… but the War Department, mind you:

By direction of the President, the Army of the Cumberland, under the command of Major-General Rosecrans, is divided into three army corps, to be known as the Fourteenth, Twentieth, and Twenty-first.

Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas is assigned to the command of the Fourteenth Army Corps; Maj. Gen. A. McD. McCook to the command of the Twentieth; and Maj. Gen. T.L. Crittenden to the command of the Twenty-first Corps.

The result was this organization, adding a Reserve Corps, by June 30, 1863:

Fourteenth Corps June 30 1863

Now the soldier in the 41st Ohio was part of the Second Brigade, Second Division, Twenty-first Corps.  There is certainly a formality to that.  And more importantly an attachment to a formation.  At some point down the road, people would start talking about corps badges and such.

And yes, the organization was more balanced than that used at Stones River.  You’ll note that as Fourteenth Corps became a subordinate formation, Rosecrans lost one of his many hats, being “only” the army and department head.  Still Thomas had a “big” command with the Fourteenth Corps’ four divisions.  But the overall result was to give Rosecrans a more responsive organization.  We could well drill into particulars, namely with cavalry and other “lightning” formations if you get my drift.  But even at the high level, this looks like a flexible, responsive, and fighting formation.

There’s another subtle part to this which also need be addressed.  Rosecrans issued his own general order effecting the arrangement of the corps.  But that referenced the War Department’s order. And as you read it, yes that was the President’s orders.  From the top.

You see, prior to January 9, if Rosecrans had an issue, hypothetically speaking, with a wing commander, he might figure a way to administratively move him out.  But after January 9, any changes with the corps commanders had to be made with the blessings of those in Washington… top people in Washington.  This reorganization served to bind the subordinate formations, right down to the individual soldier, to a unit.  Likewise we see the “big army” was somewhat bound to the soldier.

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

The state of Ohio put about 320,000 men in uniform.  While the majority served as infantry, Ohio provided a substantial number of artillerists for the Federal war effort.  These were organized in four regiments and over thirty independent batteries.  Two of those regiments were heavy artillery, and thus fall out of the scope of survey here.  The three-month 1st Ohio Light Artillery Militia saw active service early in the war. But those batteries were mustered out by July 1861 (though we might trace the origins of the later 1st Ohio Light Artillery to those militia batteries).  Four un-numbered independent batteries were raised, but had mustered out by the fall of 1862.  Such leaves us with just the 1st Ohio Light Artillery Regiment and about twenty independent batteries to consider for the fourth quarter, 1862 summary.

The state’s section begins with the 1st Ohio Light Artillery Regiment.  Many of this regiment was in action at Stones River, supporting the Army of the Cumberland, on December 31, 1862.  Other batteries were with the Army of the Potomac on the Rappahannock.  Each installment, I have to resist the urge to provide more details about the battery and service. And these storied Ohio batteries are tempting.  Some day I’ll have to take up posting battery histories and “forgotten artillerists.”  Until then, let us all urge Phil Spaugy to discuss his Buckeye Artillerists when he gets to blogging:

0067_Snip_Dec62_1_Ohio_1

We see six reports from twelve batteries.  And only two of those reporting were received by the end of 1863… so we must keep that in mind when discussing the particulars.

  • Battery A: At Murfreesboro, Tennessee with two 6-pdr field guns.  Assigned to First Brigade, Second Division, Right Wing, Fourteenth Corps, Army of the Cumberland.  With Captain Wilbur Goodspeed under arrest at the time, Lieutenant Edmond Belding led this battery in action at Stones River.  In the battle, Battery A lost 73 horses, one man killed, and twenty-three captured.  Three of the battery’s guns were captured and one disabled.  The battery’s post-war history mentions receiving 12-pdr howitzers after the battle
  • Battery B: No report.  Was assigned to Second Division, Left Wing, Fourteenth Army Corps, Army of the Cumberland, under Captain William E. Standart.  His battery fired 1,610 rounds during the battle of Stones River.  At one point in the battle, the battery was down to just 86 rounds.  He reported three men killed, 13 wounded, and three captured, and the loss of 21 horses.The battery had a battery wagon disabled, but no guns lost or disabled.
  • Battery C: No location given.  Two 6-pdr field guns and four 3.80-inch James Rifles. This battery supported Third Division, Center Wing, Fourteenth Corps, which was not engaged at Stones River.  Captain Daniel K. Southwick commanded this battery.
  • Battery D: No report.  Most of this battery was captured at Munfordsville, Kentucky on September 17, 1862.  One section, under Lieutenant Nathaniel M. Newell, was assigned to the Cavalry Division, Fourteenth Corps.  Newell’s men were actively employed during the Stones River Campaign.
  • Battery E: No report. Another battery in action at Stones River that December.  Captain Warren P. Edgarton’s Battery E served with the Second Brigade, Second Division, Right Wing, Fourteenth Corps (beside Battery A, mentioned above).   December 31st was not a good day for the battery, with casualties numbering ten killed, seven wounded, and twenty-two captured.  Along with 75 horses, the battery lost six guns and other equipment.  So a blank entry for this battery may not be far off.
  • Battery F: At Decatur, Alabama with two 12-pdr field howitzers and four 3.80-inch James Rifles. This battery supported Second Division, Left Wing, Fourteenth Corps. So they were at Stones River in December 1862, not Decatur (another discrepancy which may be due to the late return receipt  – August 1864). When Captain Daniel T. Cockerill fell wounded, Lieutenant Norval Osburn assumed command in the afternoon of December 30.  The battery fired 1,080 rounds in the battle.
  • Battery G: No report.  Lieutenant Alexander Marshall’s battery assigned to Second Division, Center Wing, Fourteenth Corps, at Stones River.  The battery fired 553 rounds but lost four guns in the battle. In the evening of December 31, 1862, Marshall reported one 12-pdr howitzer and a 6-pdr Wiard, with fifty and eighty rounds, respectively.
  • Battery H: At Falmouth, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Lieutenant George Norton commanded this battery in the absence of Captain James F. Huntington.  The battery supported Third Division, Third Corps, Army of the Potomac at Fredericksburg.  In his official report, Norton indicated the battery “expended 650 rounds of ammunition, chiefly percussion shell… and now has 1,300 rounds of ammunition on hand.”  We shall see….
  • Battery I: No report for Captain Hubert Dilger’s battery.  Their six 12-pdr Napoleons were part of Third Division, Eleventh Corps.
  • Battery K: No report.  Commanded by Captain William L. De Beck, this battery supported First Division, Eleventh Corps.  I believe they were armed with 12-pdr Napoleons at this time.
  • Battery L:  At Henry House, Virginia (?).  Six 12-pdr Napoleons. Under Lieutenant Frederick Dorries, this battery supported Second Division, Fifth Corps.
  • Battery M: No location given.  One 12-pdr field howitzer and two 3.67-inch Rifles. At Stones River supporting Second Brigade, Second Division, Center Wing, Fourteenth Corps.  Captain Frederick Schultz commanded this battery. The battery fired 750 rounds and lost one gun in the battle.

Contrast the equipment issued to the batteries with respect to the theater of operation.  Eastern Theater receiving the “top cut” as it were.

For smoothbore ammunition, the batteries reported:

0069_Snip_Dec62_1_Ohio_1

Three “Stones River” batteries and one “Fredericksburg” battery for us to consider:

  • Battery A: 95 shot, 155 case, and 160 canister for their 6-pdr field guns.
  • Battery C: 121 shot, 195 case, and 172 canister for their 6-pdr field guns.
  • Battery L: 312 shot, 12 shell, 39(?) case, and 136 canister for 12-pdr guns.
  • Battery M:  8 shell, 31 case, and 17 canister for their 12-pdr howitzers.

Keep in mind the number of guns reported by each battery.  The sum quantities above fed a total of nine guns between the four batteries.

Hotchkiss patent projectiles for the rifled guns up next:

0069_Snip_Dec62_1_Ohio_2

Just three lines to consider, but the columns tallied deserve some thought.  And keep in mind the full column declaration here – these are Hotchkiss patent projectiles made for a particular, sometimes proprietary, caliber as indicated:

  • Battery C: 102 shot and 379 shell for  6-pdr / 3.80-inch James.
  • Battery H: 754 3-inch bullet shell.
  • Battery M: 45 shot and 100 fuse shell for 12-pdr  / 3.67-inch Wiard.

Battery C’s quantities match the reported weapons, in this case two sections of James rifles.  Battery H, of course, had Ordnance Rifles.  But Battery M?  If the first page of the summary is correct, the battery fired projectiles for Wiard rifles from their bronze, rifled 6-pdrs.  The caliber fits, on paper.  On the other hand, I tend to think this another problem where the “form” did not fit reality.  We see no columns for just plain 3.67-inch Hotchkiss projectiles.  All Hotchkiss in that caliber have the Wiard label.  Yet we know that caliber was not exclusive to Wiard.  In short, I think that column title to be less precise than we might presume.

But wait… more Hotchkiss on the seldom used carry over columns on the next page, along with a lone entry for James Patent projectiles:

0070_Snip_Dec62_1_Ohio_1

Battery C had 61 James-type shells for their James rifles.  Battery M reported 30 canister in 12-pdr / 3.76-inch.

The last entries for rifle projectile covered Schenkl patents:

0070_Snip_Dec62_1_Ohio_2

Battery C again, with 115 Schenkl shells for 6-pdr / 3.80-inch James. Notice how that battery seemed to get the products of several inventors.

Battery H reported 450 shell and 96 canister for their 3-inch rifles.  And since Norton provided a total quantity on hand in his official report, let’s check his numbers:

754 Hotchkiss case + 450 Schenkl shell + 96 Schenkl canister = 1,300 rounds

Just what Norton reported.  I like balanced ledger! A belated, 153 year-old thumbs-up for  Lieutenant Norton’s report.

Now to close out this post, let us turn to the funnies… I mean the small arms:

0070_Snip_Dec62_1_Ohio_3

  • Battery A: Three Navy revolvers and two cavalry sabers.
  • Battery F: Seven Army revolvers and 29 cavalry sabers.
  • Battery H: Twenty Army revolvers and 48 horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery M: Ten Army revolvers and eight horse artillery sabers.

Thus concludes the 1st Ohio Light Artillery, working at the time on the banks of two heavily contested rivers in separate theaters of war.  Next we will look at the independent batteries from Ohio.