Summary Statement, 3rd Quarter, 1863 – Louisiana Heavy Artillery

Moving down the pages in the summary statements for the third quarter of 1863, we have a placeholder entry for Louisiana:

0257_1_Snip_LA

Just that one line:

  • 1st Heavy Artillery:  No location given.  Just the notation for infantry stores.

Good to see the clerks at the Ordnance Department were holding to procedures and at least accounting for the artillery units then in service.  It would not be out of the normal practice for a heavy artillery unit to have a blank summary.  Much of the time, the heavy artillery pieces were assigned to the installation (be that a fort or other).  And the regiment was then only left to account for small arms… in this case covered under “infantry stores”.  I don’t have copies of the infantry summary statements, but presumably we’d find an entry for this regiment detailing muskets, other weapons, and accouterments.

But “this regiment” deserves a full explanation here.  If we consult Dyer’s Compendium, we find a listing for the regiment as:

1st REGIMENT HEAVY ARTILLERY (AFRICAN DESCENT).
Organized at New Orleans, La., November 29, 1862. Attached to Defences of New Orleans and duty as Garrison Artillery till November, 1863. Designation of Regiment changed to 1st Corps de Afrique Heavy Artillery November 19, 1863, which see.

As the name implies, this was a colored unit, formed from African-Americans then in New Orleans and other locations under Federal control.

Cross referencing those names against the returns from the Official Records (notably, the order of battle for the Department of the Gulf) we find subordinates of this regiment begin appearing in May 1863.  At that time, Company B was part of the Defenses of New Orleans, under Captain Soren Rygaard (the printed Official Records say “Loren” but his enlistment papers and other documents read “Soren”).  By August, the returns added Company C, with Rygaard now commanding a battalion of the regiment’s soldiers.

Rygaard had immigrated from Jutland, Denmark.  He was working as a merchant in New York when the war broke out.  In early 1863 he signed on as a private in Battery E, 3rd US Artillery.  But I don’t see that he ever joined that battery in the field.  Instead, he shows up next in New Orleans, accepting a discharge for commission in the 1st Louisiana Regiment of Heavy Artillery.  He was promoted to captain in early summer.  At that time there were but two companies of the regiment formed.   In September, the regiment consisted of three companies, numbering over 300 men.  Rygaard even put in a request for appointment to Colonel of the regiment.

So at the cut-off time for quarterly returns, Rygaard commanded what parts of the regiment were on duty, essentially a battalion.  And that battalion served as part of the defenses of New Orleans, with no field artillery or associated equipment worthy of mention in the summary.

However, as indicated in Dyer’s, changes were coming for this regiment… and not only a designation change.  On November 7, 1863, Special Orders No. 278 from Headquarters, Department of the Gulf came out, and read in part:

Company C, First Louisiana Heavy Artillery, under command of Capt. Loren Rygaard, commanding battalion stationed at Camp Parapet, New Orleans, having been reported by the commander of the Defenses of New Orleans in such a state of insubordination as to indicate unmistakably the incapacity or criminal action of the officers of the company, and that the conduct and character of the company is such as to make the men composing it unworthy to bear arms, Capt. Loren Rygaard, commanding battalion, and the following-named officers composing Company C, First Louisiana Heavy Artillery, viz, Capt. N. L. Rich, Senior First Lieut. H. C. Rawson, Junior First Lieut. M. J. Kenyon, Junior Second Lieut. F. Walton, are hereby dismissed the service of the United States, and the company will be immediately disarmed and sent under guard to Port Hudson, where the men will be placed at hard labor on the public works, under the direction of the commanding officer of the post, until further orders.

The quartermaster’s department will furnish the necessary transportation.
Senior Second Lieut. James M. Lawton, Company C, First Louisiana Heavy Artillery, not having served with the company during its insubordination, is honorably discharged the military service of the United States.

So no colonelcy for Rygaard.  He was discharged shortly after these orders were issued.

But the regiment remained.  In April, the 1st Corps de Afrique Heavy Artillery was brought in line with the naming convention for the US Colored Troops, thus becoming the 7th Heavy Artillery (USCT) in early April.  However, that designation was already in use by a USCT regiment then forming from contrabands from Alabama.  So in May, the Louisiana regiment was given another new designation – the 10th Heavy Artillery (USCT).  They would remain at New Orleans right up to the end of the war.  In April 1865 the regiment participated in several expeditions to speed the closure to the war.

While not a storied regiment with many battle honors, the 10th Heavy Artillery (USCT) reflects yet another aspect to the service of colored troops in the Civil War.  I do hope that some day a diligent researcher will come along to better illuminate the history of this regiment.

(Citations from Dyer’s Compendium, Part 3, Page 1213; and OR, Series I, Volume 24, Part I, Serial 41, page 791.)

 

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Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – Heavy Artillery

Let me give the heavy artillery batteries, battalions, and regiments their due for this quarter of the summary.  While looking at each of the state sections, we’ve mentioned a few of these batteries.  But not the whole.  The omission, by those at the Ordnance Department, was mostly due to bureaucratic definitions than any overt action.

Briefly, the summary statements we are reviewing here are focused only on ordnance rated as “field artillery.” A further qualification is that only units assigned roles to use field artillery (as in for use as “mobile” artillery) are included.  So, IF a field howitzer was assigned to a fort’s garrison, AND that howitzer was considered part of the fort’s armament, and not part of the garrisoning unit’s property, THEN it was accounted for in a different set of sheets for accounting.  Such means a great number of field artillery pieces, not to mention the siege, garrison, and seacoast artillery, escapes mention in these summaries.  And we don’t have, to my knowledge, a full record for those anywhere in the surviving documents.  However, I would point out that in 1864 the Ordnance Department began using a common form to account for field, siege, garrison, and seacoast artillery.

But for the second quarter of 1863, that accounting is lacking in the known records.  We do have a handful of “heavies” that were assigned roles which required mobile artillery.  And those were mentioned as we proceeded through the summary.  For sake of completeness, let me list all the heavy units in service as of June 1863 and match those to summary lines where mentioned.  Keep in mind the varied service of these formations.  Traditionally, these were assigned to garrison fortifications.  But wartime contingencies would see the “heavies” employed as infantry or even cavalry were needed.  And those needs would evolve as the war continued.

By unit, ordered by state (these are regiments unless otherwise noted):

  • 1st Connecticut Heavy Artillery:  As mentioned earlier, Batteries B and M served with the Army of the Potomac, in 2nd Volunteer Brigade, Artillery Reserve.  They, and their 4.5-inch rifles, were left behind and missed Gettysburg (though were active in the pursuit which followed).  The remainder of Colonel Henry L. Abbot’s regiment served in Third Brigade of the Defenses South of the Potomac (DeRussy’s Division, Twenty-Second Corps), defending Washington, D.C.  Regimental headquarters were at Fort Richardson.
  • 2nd Connecticut Heavy Artillery: Serving at this time as the 19th Connecticut Infantry (designation would change in November 1863) under Lieutenant Colonel Elisha S. Kellogg, and assigned to Second Brigade, DeRussy’s Division, Twenty-Second Corps.  Companies B, F, and G manned Fort Ellsworth; Company A assigned to Redoubt A (in that sector); Company D to Redoubt B; Companies C and K to Redoubt C; and Companies E, H, and I were in Redoubt D.
  • 1st Indiana Heavy Artillery: Assigned to the Department of the Gulf, the regiment was in First Division, Nineteenth Corps (having converted from the 21st Indiana Infantry earlier in the year).  We discussed Batteries A and E and their work at Port Hudson.  Colonel John A. Keith commanded, with detachments at Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
  • 1st Maine Heavy Artillery: Second Brigade, Defenses North of the Potomac, Twenty-Second Corps under Colonel Daniel Chaplin.  Batteries assigned mostly to the defenses on the west side of Washington, and along the Potomac.
  • 1st Massachusetts Heavy Artillery: Assigned to First Brigade of the Defenses South of the Potomac – DeRussy’s Division, Twenty-Second Corps.  Colonel Thomas R. Tannatt commanded the regiment, and also commanded the brigade.
  • 2nd Massachusetts Heavy Artillery:  Authorized in May 1863, this regiment, under Colonel Jones Frankle, would not complete formation until later in the fall.
  • 1st Massachusetts Heavy Artillery Battalion: This battalion was formed with four previously independent batteries and served primarily at Fort Warren, Boston harbor.  The four companies were originally the 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th unassigned heavy companies (becoming Companies A, B, C, and D respectively).  Major Stephen Cabot commanded this consolidated battalion.  In addition the 3rd and 6th unassigned companies also appear in the list of garrison troops around Boston.
  • 1st New Hampshire Heavy Artillery: This regiment, commanded by Colonel George A. Wainwright, would not officially form until later in July.
  • 2nd New York Heavy Artillery:  We discussed Colonel Joseph N. G. Whistler’s regiment while covering a lone entry for Battery L (which later became the 34th New York Independent Battery).  The 2nd New York Heavy was assigned to First Brigade, DeRussy’s Division, South of the Potomac.
  • 4th New York Heavy Artillery:  Under Colonel Henry H. Hall, this regiment formed the Fourth Brigade, DeRussy’s Division, Defenses South of the Potomac.  Detachments manned Fort Marcy and Fort Ethan Allen.
  • 5th New York Heavy Artillery:  Assigned to the defenses of Baltimore, Maryland, as part of the Middle Department.  Commanded by Colonel Samuel Graham, but with Lieutenant-Colonel Edward Murray in charge of two battalions then at Baltimore.  Another battalion, under Major Gustavus F. Merriam, appears on the returns for First Brigade, DeRussy’s Division, South of the Potomac.
  • 6th New York Heavy Artillery:  Assigned to the First Division, Eighth Corps.  Colonel J. Howard Kitching commanded.  The regiment was part of the Harpers Ferry garrison before the Gettysburg Campaign, and soon brought into the Army of the Potomac.
  • 7th New York Heavy Artillery: Second Brigade, Defenses North of the Potomac, Twenty-Second Corps under Colonel Lewis O. Morris (who also commanded the brigade).
  • 8th New York Heavy Artillery: Under Colonel Peter A. Porter, this regiment had garrison duty at Forts Federal Hill, Marshall, and McHenry around Baltimore, as part of Eighth Corps, Middle Department.  On July 10, the regiment moved forward to Harpers Ferry, staying there until August 3.
  • 9th New York Heavy Artillery: Second Brigade, Defenses North of the Potomac, Twenty-Second Corps under Colonel Joseph Welling.
  • 10th New York Heavy Artillery: This regiment was all of the Third Brigade, Defenses North of the Potomac, Twenty-Second Corps.  Commanded by Colonel Alexander Piper.  One battalion (four companies) moved from the defenses of New York to Washington in June, joining the rest of the regiment. Their service was mostly on the southeast side of the perimeter around the Anacostia.
  • 11th New York Heavy Artillery:  We discussed their saga in an earlier post.  Colonel William B. Barnes’ regiment was still forming when thrust into the Gettysburg Campaign.
  • 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th New York Heavy Artillery:  These regiments were all authorized by the spring of 1863, but in various states of organization at the end of June.
  • 3rd New York Heavy Artillery Battalion: Also known as the German Heavy Artillery.  Under Lieutenant-Colonel Adam Senges, and assigned to Second Brigade, DeRussy’s Division, Twenty-Second Corps, on the south side of the Potomac.  This battalion was, later in the year, consolidated into the 15th New York Heavy Artillery, and came under Colonel Louis Schirmer.  For some reason, Schirmer’s name is associated with the command as early as June 1863.
  • 1st Ohio Heavy Artillery: Lieutenant-Colonel Chauncey G. Hawley’s command garrisoned Covington, Kentucky as part of Twenty-third Corps, Department of Ohio.
  • 2nd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery:  (the 112th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers.) Under Colonel Augustus A. Gibson and assigned to First Brigade, Defenses North of the Potomac.  Regimental headquarters at Fort Lincoln.
  • 3rd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery: We discussed Battery H and their “impressed” service at Gettysburg. While that battery was on detached service (Baltimore, then pushed out to guard the railroad), the remainder of the regiment served out of Fort Monroe providing detachments for garrisons in the Department of Virginia. Colonel Joseph Roberts commanded.
  • 3rd Rhode Island Heavy Artillery: We looked at this regiment, assigned to the Department of the South, in detail earlier.  Colonel Edwin Metcalf commanded the regiment
  • 5th Rhode Island Heavy Artillery:  Colonel George W. Tew commanded this regiment, serving in North Carolina, and being reorganized from an infantry formation.
  • 1st Vermont Heavy Artillery:  Colonel James M. Warner commanded this regiment, assigned to First Brigade, Defenses North of the Potomac, Twenty-second Corps.  Batteries garrisoned Forts Totten, Massachusetts, Stevens, Slocum, and others.
  • 1st Wisconsin Heavy Artillery:  Only Battery A of this regiment was mustered as of the end of June 1863. Captain Andrew J. Langworthy’s battery was assigned to the defenses of Alexandria, within DeRussy’s Division, Twenty-second Corps.
  • 1st Tennessee Heavy Artillery (African Descent): I mentioned this regiment briefly at the bottom of the Tennessee section. Colonel Ignatz G. Kappner commanded this regiment, at the time more of battalion strength, garrisoning Fort Pickering in Memphis. The regiment later became the 3rd US Colored Troops Heavy Artillery.
  • 2nd Tennessee Heavy Artillery (African Descent): Also mentioned in the Tennessee section, this regiment, under Colonel Charles H. Adams, was forming up in June 1863.  The regiment would later be designated the 4th US Colored Troops Heavy Artillery.
  • 1st Alabama Siege Artillery (African Descent): Organized from the contraband camps around LaGrange, LaFayette, and Memphis, Tennessee starting on June 20, 1863. Captain Lionel F. Booth appears to be the ranking officer in the regiment in those early months.  The regiment would later be designated the 6th US Colored Troops Heavy Artillery, and then later the 11th USCT Infantry.
  • 1st Louisiana Heavy Artillery (African Descent):  Later in the year designated the 1st Corps de Afrique Heavy Artillery.  And still later in the war becoming the 10th US Colored Heavy Artillery.  And at times, the regiment appears on the rolls as the 1st Louisiana Native Guards Artillery (a name also associated with another USCT formation).  This regiment served throughout the war in the defenses of New Orleans, in the Department of the Gulf.

Yes, a lengthy post.  But this summarizes the status of over thirty regiments.  As you might deduce from reading the entries, the service of the “heavies” was weighted to the defenses of Washington, D.C.  However, the “heavies” also garrisoned places such as Baltimore, Boston, New Orleans, and other remote points.

Some other trends one might note – a good number of these regiments formed in the spring and summer of 1863.  We can, in some cases, link that to the draft and those seeking light service.  But at the same time, let us not “Shelby Foote” our way through these units.  At the time of mustering, the Army wanted troops for garrison defense.  And that was a valid requirement, given the posture at the time.

Lastly, it is important to also frame the context of the four USCT regiments listed above.  These were largely formed out of contraband camps.  And their duties were, for the most part, to provide garrison troops that would free up the white volunteers for service in the field.  But, as the course of events played out, one of those regiments would defend Fort Pillow in April 1864.

So much for easy duty in those heavy regiments!