Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – Batteries from Minnesota

Minnesota provided three light batteries to the Federal cause.  All three of those were on active service at the end of the second quarter, 1863:

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All three offered returns for the quarter, though posted in Washington with some delays:

  • 1st Battery: Received in September 1863, with location of Vicksburg, Mississippi.  This is probably correct, as the battery supported Sixth Division, Seventeenth Corps at this juncture.  In fact, the battery would spend most of its time through the subsequent fall and winter around Vicksburg.  The battery reported two 12-pdr field howitzers and two 3.67-inch (6-pdr) rifles.  Captain William Z. Clayton commanded.
  • 2nd Battery:  For the second quarterly return in a row, we see Chattanooga, Tennessee as the location for this battery.  Certainly valid for a posting date of January 1864.  But as of June 30, 1863, the battery was assigned to First Division, Twentieth Corps, and active on the Tullahoma Campaign through middle Tennessee.  Chattanooga was the objective, but not quite yet reached.  Two 12-pdr Napoleons and four 10-pdr Parrotts were in the battery’s charge.  Lieutenant Albert Woodbury remained in command.  Woodbury would be mortally wounded at Chickamauga later in the summer.  Lieutenant Richard L. Dawley did get the battery off the field, however.
  • 3rd Battery:  Reporting from Fort Snelling, Minnesota with two 6-pdr field guns and six 12-pdr field howitzers (But… see note below).  Captain John Jones commanded this battery assigned to the District of Minnesota, Department of the Northwest.  Far away from the big battles in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania, the 3rd did not have a quiet summer by the lake.  At the end of June, the Battery was among the forces on an expedition against the Sioux.   Lieutenant J. C. Whipple, commanding a section (of howitzers, if my memory is correct), served with distinction at Stony Lake later in July.

Three batteries.  Three different campaigns. No light duty for the Minnesota batteries.

The 3rd Battery’s howitzers deserve some attention… or question marks, perhaps.  We see field howitzers on the cannon summary page.  But later in the summary, we find the ammunition reported was for mountain howitzers.  And Brigadier-General Henry H. Sibley, commanding the expedition against the Sioux, specifically mentioned a section of 6-pdrs and two sections of mountain howitzers in his official report.  I would make the case for four mountain howitzers, and the tally being placed in the wrong column.

Turning to their ammunition, we look at the smoothbore page first:

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All three had some quantities to report:

  • 1st Battery: 74 shell, 128 case, and 90 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • 2nd Battery: 96 shot, 32 shell, 96 case, and 32 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 3rd Battery:  130 shot, 230 case, and 42 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 60 shell, 224 case, and 84 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzer.  (That last entry, I’m suggesting is another column entry error and should have been entered one to the right.)

Moving to the rifled projectiles, we saw the 1st Battery reported rifled 6-pdrs.  These were, based on the column entry, REAL 6-pdrs that were rifled.  In other words 3.67-inch caliber.  And that’s the ammunition they reported:

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These on the first page of Hotchkiss projectiles:

  • 1st Battery: 122 shot, 36 percussion shell, and 26 bullet shell for 3.67-inch rifles.

Note the Ordnance Department called this “Wiard” caliber, related to the rifled guns from that inventor.  But we know that caliber pre-dated Wiard’s guns.

More Hotchkiss on the next page, which we will break down into sections:

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  • 1st Battery:  116 canister for 3.67-inch.  Again “Wiard” is the association, but we should properly disassociate from the eccentric inventor.

Moving over to the right, there are some Parrott projectiles to account for:

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  • 2nd Battery:  444 shell, 207 case, and 143 canister for 10-pdr Parrott.

There were no Schenkl or Tatham projectiles reported.  So we move quickly to the small arms:

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By battery:

  • 1st Battery: Two rifles (type, non-specific) and eleven Navy revolvers.
  • 2nd Battery: One Navy revolver and nine cavalry sabers.
  • 3rd Battery: Thirty Army revolvers and 126 cavalry sabers.

3rd Battery must have issued a saber to every man when stepping out on Sibley’s Sioux Expedition.

Looking ahead to the next installments, one might wonder “Where’s Michigan?”  Well the clerks at the Ordnance Department, never ones to be constrained by the alphabet, shifted that state’s batteries to the next page.  That gave room for all the batteries of Missouri to be considered in one contiguous group.

Summary Statement, 1st Quarter, 1863 – Minnesota and Maryland Batteries

Continuing through the summaries in the order of presentation, the next sections are for batteries from Minnesota and Maryland.  What of Maine? And shouldn’t Massachusetts and Michigan be ahead of Minnesota? Clearly the clerks of the Ordnance Department placed line count and page layout above ease of data retrieval.  We’ll see those other states represented… after Missouri!

For now we have the business of five batteries from “The star of the North” and the “Old Line State.”

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Minnesota provided one heavy artillery regiment (very late in the war) and three light batteries to the cause.  The last of those light batteries was fully formed until late spring 1863.  So we see two listed here for the winter quarter of that year:

  • 1st Battery: Received on April 14, 1863, their report gave a location of Lake Providence, Louisiana, with two 12-pdr field howitzers and two 3.67-inch (6-pdr) rifles.  When Grant’s ponderous Thirteenth Corps was reorganized, the battery moved with its parent, the Sixth Division, into Seventeenth Corps.  During the winter the division moved from Memphis to Lake Providence, with other formations focused on Vicksburg.  Freshly promoted Captain William Z. Clayton commanded.
  • 2nd Battery:  On paper, we see this battery’s report arrived in Washington on April 15, claiming an advanced position at Chattanooga, Tennessee.  Something is certainly amiss with the entry.  Two 12-pdr Napoleons and four 10-pdr Parrotts is correct.  But the battery was actually at Murfreesboro with the rest of the Army of the Cumberland.  With the reorganization, the battery moved to First Division, Twentieth Corps.  Captain William A. Hotchkiss relinquished command of the battery to serve as the artillery chief.  Lieutenant Albert Woodbury assumed command.
  • 3rd Battery:  As mentioned above, this battery was still organizing at the reporting time and thus not on the summary.  Men from the 10th Minnesota Infantry transferred to form the battery.  Captain John Jones commanded.

Maryland had three batteries serving the Federal cause at this time in the war:

  • Battery A: The report received on June 23, 1863 indicated the battery wintered around White Oak Church, Virginia and possessed six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Captain James H. Rigby remained in command.  The battery was part of Sixth Corps at the time.
  • Battery B:  No date on the return, but the battery was also posted at White Oak Church. The battery reported four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Captain Alonzo Snow commanded.  At the start of the quarter the battery was also part of the Sixth Corps.  By mid-spring the battery was listed as “unassigned” within the Army of the Potomac, then later assigned to the Provost Guard Brigade.
  • Baltimore Battery: The return of April 19 had the battery at Harpers Ferry, with one 6-pdr field gun and six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  The battery, under Captain F. W. Alexander, was in Kenley’s Division of the Eighth Corps (Middle Department).  Later the battery would transfer to Milroy’s Division at Winchester.

Among those five (reporting) batteries, we have three with smoothbore cannons:

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And those had ammunition on hand to count:

  • 1st Minnesota: 92 shell, 104 case, and 130 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • 2nd Minnesota: 96 shot, 32 shell, 96 case, and 32 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Baltimore Battery:  100 case and 100 canister for 6-pdr field guns.

Moving to the rifled projectiles, first those of Hotchkiss:

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Four with quantities to report:

  • 1st Minnesota: 74 shot, 96 fuse shell, and 12 bullet shell for 3.67-inch rifle (labeled “Wiard” in the column header, but we know that caliber was also used by the rifled 6-pdr guns).
  • Battery A, Maryland: 40 canister and 181 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery B, Maryland: 120 fuse shell and 452 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Baltimore Battery:  150 canister, 616 percussion shell, and 712 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

We cannot “cut down” the next page due to the various projectiles reported.

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Let us consider these by type.  One battery had Dyer’s on hand:

  • Battery A, Maryland: 32 shell, 527 shrapnel, and 80 canister for 3-inch rifle.

Now to the Parrott columns:

  • 2nd Minnesota: 416 shell and 149 canister for 10-pdr (2.9-inch) Parrott.

Lastly, there are some Schenkl columns on this page:

  • 2nd Minnesota: 15 shot for 10-pdr Parrott – reminder, these are Schenkl projectiles but made to work in Parrott rifles.

We see more Schenkl projectiles on the next page:

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These are in the Maryland batteries:

  • Battery A, Maryland: 332 shell in 3-inch rifle caliber.
  • Battery B, Maryland: 179 shell in 3-inch rifle caliber.

Then all the way to the right, we find Tatham’s canister in use:

  • 1st Minnesota: 126 canister for 3.67-inch (6-pdr) rifle caliber.

I do like that we see the 3.67-inch rifle caliber projectiles specifically called out on the forms.  This underscores the difference – practical and administrative – between the James Rifles and the rifled 6-pdrs.

Moving to the small arms:

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By battery:

  • 1st Minnesota: Eleven Navy revolvers and thirteen cavalry sabers.
  • 2nd Minnesota: One Navy revolver and eight cavalry sabers.
  • Battery A, Maryland: Eight Army revolvers and twenty horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery B, Maryland: Fourteen Army revolvers and 102 cavalry sabers.
  • Baltimore Battery: Six Springfield .58-caliber muskets, twenty Army revolvers, and thirty horse artillery sabers.

We see, with one small exception, a desired small arms issue for artillery batteries.

Perhaps this is the best rounded, complete set of returns submitted thus far.  Just one question, about the location of the 2nd Minnesota battery.  And we see every cannon on the report had some projectile to fire!