Summary Statement, 3rd Quarter, 1863 – California Artillery Sections

The next set of lines in the summary for the third quarter, 1863 are for California.  And that’s what we look at in this week’s installment. Rather serendipitous, the Civil War Trust is featuring California’s Civil War history in a series of Facebook Live events later this week.  So let’s call it California Civil War week!

It’s the handful of cannons reported by California which interest us here.  In the previous quarter’s entries, California had a line hidden under Connecticut’s entries and another pair of lines under a “Miscellaneous” heading.   None of these were for an artillery battery, but rather for detachments or sections detailed from infantry or cavalry regiments.  And we like this, as it demonstrates that the state did indeed have some sort of artillery – limited in number – in use.  Furthermore, these entries in the summary help shed light on what is otherwise an overlooked and obscure element of artillery history.

Consolidate, those three lines were:

  • A section from what was probably the 2nd California Cavalry with one 12-pdr mountain howitzer.
  • Company H, 3rd California Infantry had a section armed with a 12-pdr mountain howitzer.
  • A section with a 6-pdr field gun reported as assigned to the 3rd California Infantry.

For the third quarter, California got its due heading:

0241_1_Snip_CA

And all three lines are in one place this time.  But these are not clean matches to the records from three months earlier.  Some artillery has moved around, organizationally and geographically:

  • 1st California Cavalry:  At Camp Union, near Sacramento, California with artillery stores and a 6-pdr field gun.
  • 2nd California Cavalry (?): At Fort Lyon, California with a 12-pdr mountain howitzer.  I put a question here, as the entry uses dittos, which I read as “cavalry”, but there are issues with the identification of the 2nd Cavalry for this location.
  • Company F, 2nd California Infantry: At Fort Wright with a 12-pdr mountain howitzer.

These three cannon were supplied with ammunition, of course:

0243_1_Snip_CA

  • 1st Cavalry: 91 shot, 61 case, and 66 canister for 6-pdr field gun.
  • 2nd Cavalry(?): 24 shell, 24 case, and 24 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzer.
  • Company F, 2nd Infantry: 33 shell, 36 case, and 12 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzer.

Of course, with no rifles on hand there are no other projectiles to report.  I have posted those pages (here, here, and here) along with the empty page for small arms.  We must assume the small arms were reported on the appropriate cavalry or infantry stores report.

Those are the numbers.  But I’d be remiss to simply throw those out there without at least an attempt to reconcile the differences between this and the previous quarter.

Three companies of the 1st California Cavalry, under Lieutenant-Colonel Oscar M. Brown, appear at Camp Union on the organization report for the Department of the Pacific, for the fall of 1863.  On face, perhaps the 3rd California Infantry left behind a 6-pdr field gun, reported there in the previous quarter, when the regiment marched out to Camp Douglas in Utah Territory.   But I write that without clear documentation – only suggestions.

The second line is more problematic. Fort, or Camp, Lyon was one in a series of posts established as part of ongoing operations against native tribes of northern California.  These operations, from 1858 through 1864, were collectively called the Bald Hills War.  Camp Lyon (as it appears on most records I’ve seen) was on a branch of the Mad River, southeast of Arcata.  However, I am at a loss to link service at that post, at that time in the war(s) to the 2nd California Cavalry.  What I most think is the case is the dittos in the summary are in error.   On the other hand, the 2nd California Infantry had two companies (A and K) at Camp Lyon as late as June 1863.  And it appears that when those companies left, the post was abandoned.  Thus we sort of get onto loose ground with this entry.

The third line is a bit easier to confirm.  Indeed, Company F, 2nd California Infantry was stationed at Fort Wright.  This was another northern California post, near modern day Covelo.  The post was sometimes cited as Camp Wright or even Fort Right.   Captain Charles D. Douglas commanded.

While matching in number to the previous three lines, the changes of organization and location leave a lot of open questions.  In the previous quarter, the 3rd California reported one 12-pdr mountain howitzer at Camp Connor, Idaho Territory and a 6-pdr field gun at Camp Union (mentioned above).  As the Camp Connor howitzer will re-appear on the summaries in December 1863, we can assume it’s omission here was due to a missing report.

But the 3rd California was also associated with at least a couple of 6-pdr field guns and a pair of 12-pdr mountain howitzers reported in the Utah Territories in the first quarter of 1863.  Based on passing mention in some correspondence, it is likely at least one 6-pdr, if not both, remained at Camp Douglas at this time.  But those guns are not mentioned in summaries.  Likewise, while likely one of the mountain howitzers was moved to Camp Connor, the other remains unaccounted for.  All this said, clearly California had more cannon than are represented here in the summaries.

Lastly, for complete coverage of California, allow me to again mention some militia batteries.  The Washington Light Artillery of Napa, Napa County was organized on July 31, 1863, with Captain Nathan McCoombs in command. However, not until February of the next year would Napa’s Washington Light Artillery receive arms and equipment (financed by bond).  Another militia battery, the National Light Artillery, also formed in July 1863, in Santa Clara County.  But the National battery apparently never received equipment.

While none of these California artillery detachments would see action in the great battles of the war, the cannon and their crews served an important role holding down frontier posts and maintaining order in the far west.

 

 

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Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – Miscellaneous (3rd California Infantry)

The last entry lines for the second quarter, 1863 came under the heading of “Miscellaneous”:

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Both lines are attributed to the 3rd California Infantry.  And this raises several questions.  For the last quarter of 1862, the 3rd California held an entry line with two 6-pdr field guns and two 12-pdr mountain howitzers at Camp Douglas, Utah Territory.  That section was not mentioned for the first quarter of 1863.  But in the second quarter, we saw a lone entry line for a mountain howitzer with California Cavalry, shoved under the Connecticut entry lines.  Though I would speculate, given the location reported, this was actually the 2nd California Cavalry, which had detachments working with the 3rd California Infantry… if not the 3rd California Infantry itself.   And at the end of the second quarter, we find two lines for separate detachments of the 3rd California Infantry, reporting a 6-pdr field gun and a 12-pdr mountain howitzer. So we have to ask if the entries from December 1862 and June 1863 are related.

Let’s consider the data first, then put the numbers in context:

  • Company H, 3rd California Infantry:  Reporting at Camp Connor, Idaho Territory with one 12-pdr mountain howitzer. Captain David Black commanded this company. More details below.
  • Lt. Col., 3rd California Infantry: At Camp Union, California with one 6-pdr field gun.  We can probably identify Lieutenant-Colonel Jeremiah B. Moore as the officer linked to this return.  He was, at that time, the second in command.

Just one ammunition page to consider:

0227_1_Snip_CA

Smoothbores on hand:

  • Company H: 36 shell, 36 case, and 24 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.
  • Camp Union: 14 shot, 14 case, and 14 canister for 6-pdr field gun; 12 shell and 12 case for 12-pdr field howitzers.

The Camp Union howitzer ammunition was probably an excess, and not linked to some unreported weapon.

And that’s all our data.  If you wish to look at empty columns, feel free to browse the Hotchkiss, Schenkl, other rifled projectiles, and small arms pages.

But now for some context.  Before the war, Patrick Edward Connor led the Stockton Blues, a militia company from Stockton, San Joaquin County.  Just after the outbreak of war, Connor recruited a regiment around the Blues, then offered it for service.  Mustered on September 4, 1861, Connor became colonel of the regiment.  The men of the 3rd preferred to come “east” and represent the state in Virginia.  But that was not to happen, despite Connor’s connections with Major-General Henry Halleck. So the 3rd California pulled duty between Benicia Barracks, Stockton, and Camp Union (near Sacramento).

genpeconnor

Not until the summer of 1862 did the 3rd California get marching orders for the field.  With emerging threats to the Overland Mail route (and telegraph lines), Connor was ordered to move part of his regiment (about a battalion strength) into Utah Territory – through the desert in the middle of summer, mind you!   By September, the column reached the Ruby Valley were Connor established Camp (later Fort) Ruby.  (One must sympathize for those suffering soldiers.)

Fort Ruby was not an ideal location, logistically and politically.  Disregarding the suggestion to occupy the old post of Camp Floyd, some 40 miles south of Salt Lake, Connor went directly to a point overlooking the Mormon settlements (whom Connor suspected of secessionist leanings and of inciting Indian activity… among other things).  The new post was named Camp Douglas.  And as mentioned above, the regiment reported two 6-pdr field guns and two 12-pdr mountain howitzers at that post in December 1862.

Having established a base, Connor set out to secure the vital trails and communication links connecting California with the rest of the country.  And this required patrols into the Bear River Valley, which encountered the Shoshone and lead to the Bear River Massacre on January 29, 1863.

With the need to permanently secure the trails through that valley, the Army saw the need to expand operations.  And Connor was the man on the spot.  On March 29, he was promoted to Brigadier-General and given command of operations in the Salt Lake area.  In May. Connor pushed out a detachment to establish a post on the Bear River near Soda Springs in the Idaho Territory.  Dutifully, Captain David Black led Company H out to establish Camp Connor.  On May 23, he provided the location of this post in his report:

Pursuant to orders from district headquarters, a military post is hereby established at this point, to be known as Camp Connor. The reservation pertaining to this post is as follows: Commencing on the right bank of Bear River, on the east line of the town of Soda Springs, and thence running north 24 ½ degrees east one mile; thence east 24 ½ degrees south one mile; thence south 24 ½ degrees west one mile, more or less, to the right bank of Bear River; thence following the meanderings of said river to the place of beginning.

While all this was taking place, Connor called for reinforcements.  Among those sent was the remainder of his regiment.  Connor’s replacement, Colonel Robert Pollock, had a handful of companies and commanded Camp Union, back near Sacramento.  In May, Pollock began moving troops out to Utah, himself reporting to Camp Douglas on June 6.  The most of the remaining companies, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Jeremiah Moore, moved out of Camp Douglas around the middle of June.  From the returns of the Department of the Pacific, on June 30, the regiment’s dispositions were:

  • Camp Douglas: Six companies.
  • Fort Bridger, Utah: Company I.
  • Fort Ruby, Nevada: Companies B and E.
  • Camp Connor, Idaho: Company H.

This leaves two companies, more or less, unaccounted, but presumably with Moore on the trail to Utah.  Furthermore, we might speculate here as to the disposition of the four cannon reported the previous December.  Clearly one of the two howitzers was at Camp Connor with Company H.  From there, it is reasonable to say the howitzer reported with the non-existent 3rd California Cavalry, was the second howitzer, but either with the 2nd California Cavalry or the 3rd California Infantry.

As for the two 6-pdrs? I would be surprised if one gun had been moved from Camp Douglas back to Camp Union during the winter.  More likely both were still in Utah.  But were those simply not reported?  Was the location of Camp Union misreported (as Lt. Col. Moore was there when the paperwork was submitted)?  Or is the Camp Union gun a third weapon in that caliber secured by the 3rd California?

Well…. safe to say the Federal war effort didn’t hinge upon the location of those 6-pdrs.  It’s more a fine point of minutia, of course.  But then again, the troops manning those cannon, though not confronting Johnny Reb at Gettysburg or Vicksburg, were involved with some rather important operations… when we look at the big picture.

Consider… In the fall of 1863, Connor submitted a report to his superiors discussing the state of affairs in Utah.  He didn’t hide his opinion of the Mormons or concerns about Indian activities.  And he went further to press the value of the territory he protected:

Having reason to believe that the Territory is full of mineral wealth, I have instructed commanders of posts and detachments to permit the men of their commands to prospect the country in the vicinity of their respective posts, whenever such course would not interfere with their military duties, and to furnish every proper facility for the discovery and opening of mines of gold, silver, and other minerals, The results so far have exceeded my most sanguine expectations. Already reliable reports reach me of the discovery of rich gold, silver, and copper mines in almost every direction, and that by spring one of the largest and most hopeful fields of mining operations will be opened to the hardy and adventurous of our people. … I may also mention that near Camp Connor [emphasis mine], 150 miles north of this place, large deposits of salt, sulphur, and extensive beds of coal have been found, while the springs adjoining the camp yield immense deposits of the carbonate of soda, which will one day, I have no doubt, be of very considerable commercial value.

You’ve heard this line a time or two in those old western movies, right?

Which leads us to this….

If I be not mistaken in these anticipations, I have no reason to doubt that the Mormon question will at an early day be finally settled by peaceable means, without the increased expenditure of a dollar by Government, or, still more important, without the loss of a single soldier in conflict. I have every confidence, therefore, in being able to accomplish this desirable result without the aid of another soldier in addition to those already under my command, notwithstanding the obstacles sought to be thrown in my way by the Mormon leaders, who see in the present policy the sure downfall of their most odious church system of tyranny. I have no fear for the future and believe the dawn is breaking upon this deluded people, even though their elders, and bishops, and chief priests may escape the personal punishment their sins against law and crimes against humanity and the Government so richly merit.

Those little marks on columns in the summary?  We might consider them the stick, matched to a carrot.  All of which factored into the opening of the West… once that fighting was done back east.

Before leaving California, one more artillery formation to mention pertaining to the second quarter of 1863.  While the state did not formally muster any artillery batteries into Federal service during the war, California did have a number of militia batteries.  So in the interest of shining light into all corners of the matter, let me mention the Washington Light Artillery of Napa, Napa County.  The battery was organized on July 31, 1863, with Captain Nathan McCoombs in command. However, not until February of the next year would Napa’s Washington Light Artillery receive arms and equipment (financed by bond).

Sounds like an idea for a new wine label if you ask me….

(Citations from OR, Series I, Volume 50, Part III, Serial 106, pages 453 and 656-7.)

Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, and Delaware!

Well, well.  Finally!  In the second quarter of 1863, the bureaucrats of the Ordnance Department finally caught up with those fellows serving the Union out in the vast Trans-Mississippi theater.  Sloppy entries, but at least there are entries:

0177_1_Snip_AR_CA_CT_DE

Yes, right up top, we see “Arkansas” with two lines – one for an artillery battery and the other for a detachment serving with cavalry.  Below that we see formal headings for Connecticut and Delaware.  However, shoved under the Connecticut header are entry lines for a California cavalry detachment (with a howitzer on hand) and the 1st Colorado Battery.  This pulls several entries off the “Batteries that were overlooked” from the previous quarter.  Huzzah for good record keeping!

Kidding aside, let’s focus first on the batteries from Connecticut and Delaware, which carry over from the previous quarter:

  • 1st Connecticut Light Artillery Battery: Reporting at Folly Island, South Carolina with six 3.80-inch James Rifles.  Captain Alfred P. Rockwell remained in command, with the battery still assigned to Tenth Corps, Department of the South.  However, a more accurate location would be Beaufort, as the battery remained there until later in the summer, when it did move (with other reinforcements) to Folly and Morris Islands in support of the campaign against Battery Wagner.
  • 2nd Connecticut Light Artillery Battery: At Taneytown, Maryland with two 12-pdr field howitzers and four 3.80-inch James Rifles.  The Gettysburg nutcases fanatics students will remind us this was the only Federal battery at Gettysburg with James rifles and 12-pdr field howitzers.  As part of the transfer of garrison troops from Washington to reinforce the Army of the Potomac, Captain John W. Sterling’s battery became part of the 2nd Volunteer Brigade, Artillery Reserve.
  • 1st Delaware Light Artillery Battery: At Camp Barry, Washington, D.C. with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Captain Benjamin Nields’ battery traveled a lot during the spring and early summer of 1863… but never left the Eastern Theater.  In April, the battery proceeded to Norfolk, where it reinforced the Seventh Corps as Confederates threatened that point and Suffolk.  The battery was still with the Seventh Corps for Dix’s campaign, or demonstration if you prefer, on the Peninsula in June-July.  Then on July 8, the battery was ordered back to Camp Barry in Washington.

Please note we do not see a listing here for Battery M, 1st Connecticut Heavy Artillery, which had on hand 4.5-inch rifles, and were in the field supporting the Army of the Potomac (if not actually at Gettysburg).

With those three batteries out of the way, let’s look to the “new comers” to the form:

  • 1st Arkansas Artillery Battery: At Springfield, Missouri with six 3-inch Ordnance rifles. The battery formed with troops at both Springfield and Fayetteville, Arkansas during the early months of the year.  Fully manned, the battery was posted to Springfield through the summer.  Captain  Denton D. Stark commanded this battery assigned to the District of Southwest Missouri.
  • Detachment of 1st Arkansas Cavalry: At Fayetteville, Arkansas with two 12-pdr mountain howitzers.  This regiment was among those defending Fayetteville against a Confederate attack in April.  I am not sure if the two howitzers were formally assigned to one of the companies.  The regiment, under Colonel Marcus LaRue Harrison, would see duties across Southwest Missouri and Northwest Arkansas through the summer and early fall.  I will save the rest of that story for someone to write on a “To the sound of Clashing Sabers” blog.
  • Detachment of 3rd California Cavalry?: The notation clearly says “Cavalry”… but there was no 3rd California Cavalry.  There was, however, a 3rd California Infantry and it had reported artillery on hand back in December 1862.  However, the location is given as Camp Independence, California.  And it is the 2nd California Cavalry which is most associated with that outpost in the Owen’s Valley.  Let us just say that “A California Detachment” had one 12-pdr mountain howitzer for our purposes.
  • 1st Colorado Artillery Battery: at Camp Weld, Colorado Territory with no cannon reported.  There is an annotation after the state name which is illegible.  Records show this battery posted to Fort Lyon, and under the command of Lieutenant Horace W. Baldwin, at the end of June 1863.  In July the battery moved to Camp Weld.  Not sure what cannon were assigned at this time.  However in December 1863 the battery reported four 12-pdr mountain howitzers.  So that’s the likely answer.

How’s that for “rounding out” the list?  We will see more of these missing batteries and detachments accounted for as we continue through the second quarter, 1863.

That introduction out of the way, let us look to these seven lines from five different states (or territories, as you wish).  Starting with the smoothbore ammunition:

0179_1_Snip_AR_CA_CT_DE

Three to consider for this page:

  • 1st Arkansas Cavalry: 36 shell, 132 case, and 36 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.
  • 2nd Connecticut Battery: 160 shell, 120 case, and 13 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • California Detachment: 24 shell, 24 case, and 24 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.

Those entries seem in line with expectations.

Looking to the next page, we look at the Hotchkiss rifled projectiles:

0179_2_Snip_AR_CA_CT_DE

Hotchkiss is normally associated with 3-inch rifles.  That holds true here, but there’s also some for the James rifles:

  • 1st Arkansas Battery: 84 canister, 84 percussion shell, 156 fuse shell, and 480 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 1st Connecticut Battery: 90 percussion shell, 120 fuse shell, and 468 bullet shell for 3.80-inch James rifles (and we’ll see another column of Hotchkiss on the next page).
  • 2nd Connecticut Battery: 49 fuse shell and 191 bullet shell for 3.80-inch James rifles.
  • 1st Delaware Battery: 172 shot, 238 canister, 545 percussion shell, and 121(?) fuse shell for 3-inch rifles.

Very interesting the Delaware battery had so many shot, or “bolts”, on hand.  Particularly given their service in southeastern Virginia. Though it is likely the result of them having on hand what was issued, as opposed to any specific tactical requirement.

Turning to the next page, we can narrow our view down to the extended Hotchkiss, Dyer’s, and James’ columns:

0180_1A_Snip_AR_CA_CT_DE

First off, that left over Hotchkiss entry:

  • 1st Connecticut Battery: 190 canister for 3.80-inch James.

We don’t see many Dyer’s projectiles reported, so this entry is noteworthy:

  • 1st Delaware Battery: 764 shrapnel and 37 canister for 3-inch rifles.

And the James-patent projectiles:

  • 1st Connecticut Battery: 185 canister for 3.80-inch James rifles.
  • 2nd Connecticut Battery: 28 shell and 80 canister for 3.80-inch James rifles.

The variety of projectiles continues as we look on the next page:

0180_2_Snip_AR_CA_CT_DE

Again, the Connecticut batteries.  And again, projectiles for the James rifles.  This time of Schenkl-patent type:

  • 1st Connecticut Battery: 978 shells for 3.80-inch James.
  • 2nd Connecticut Battery: 320 shells for 3.80-inch James.

So the 1st Connecticut had plenty of everything from everyone!

Something in regard to the small arms section, that readers might have picked up on this with some of the earlier posts, is the frequent use of written annotation on the column headers.  Almost every page set will have its own “custom” columns.  We see that here for the top of this page set:

0180_3_Snip_AR_CA_CT_DE

And one might think with all these Trans-Mississippi units reporting, we’d see a lot of long arms.  Not the case here.  Either those far western artillerists had no small arms, or (more likely) the officers reporting didn’t provide details.  So we’ll look to the three eastern batteries:

  • 1st Connecticut Battery: 135 Navy revolvers, thirteen cavalry sabers, and forty-six horse artillery sabers.
  • 2nd Connecticut Battery: Nineteen Army revolvers and sixteen horse artillery sabers.
  • 1st Delaware Battery: Twenty-four Army revolvers and thirty-one horse artillery sabers.

Yes, I would like to have seen a good accounting for the 1st Arkansas and 1st Colorado batteries here.  Would certainly add to some discussions about reeactor impressions, to say the least!  But from the data we do have presented here, I am most drawn to the 1st Connecticut Battery.  Not only did that battery, posted to South Carolina, have a wide variety of projectiles (by pattern, that is), but also a large number of pistols.