Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – 2nd New York Artillery Regiment

Sandwiched between the summaries for the 1st and 3rd New York Artillery Regiment is this lonely line:

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That line:

  • Battery L: At Haine’s (Hayne’s Bluff, Mississippi with four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Captain Jacob Roemer commanded this battery, assigned to the Ninth Corps detachment sent to reinforce Grant at Vicksburg.

I discussed Battery L, 2nd New York’s complicated history in a post for the first quarter summary.  As mentioned, this battery was detached from the main portion of the regiment, which was then serving in the Washington Defenses.  Later it would be redesignated the 34th New York Independent Battery.

Captain Roemer’s battery started the quarter in Kentucky.  In June, they were ordered to Mississippi as part of a detachment of the Ninth Corps under Major-General John G. Parke, specifically Second Division (Brigadier-General Robert Potter) of that detachment.  This detachment was part of the force guarding the “backside” of the Vicksburg siege lines to prevent any Confederate attempt to interfere.  While there was little action on their front, the battery had a brief skirmish during passage downriver.  As related in Roemer’s Reminiscences of the War of the Rebellion: 1861-1865 (page 115):

Nothing of importance occurred until the steamer reached Lake Providence.  Here they were fighting on the land, and we could hear the musketry.  Our flotilla consisted of eleven transports led by two gunboats.  The Mariner was the rear boat of the flotilla, and two of the Battery’s guns were in position in the bow of the boat ready for action….

Just as the boat neared the bank and swung away from it to the left, several companies of Confederates rushed out of the canebrake, and let us have the contents of their muskets.  When they had fired three volleys, I made up my mind that some of us might suffer.  My first thought was for my son.  I made him lie down and then covered him with mattresses. I then went to the guns in the bow, had them loaded with canister, and fired.  That the guns were so well aimed, was proved by the fact that we could see the “Johnnies” hop.  The latter started to run and we sent some shrapnel after them.  It was all over in a few minutes, but the “Johnnies” got the worst of it, for we suffered no casualties.

Roemer went on to say his fires played out just as a counterattack occurred on land.  While this seems to match into the narrative for the Battle of Lake Providence, fought on June 9, 1863, there are several discrepancies with Roemer’s dates.  At any rate, the battery off-loaded at Hayne’s Bluff on June 18.  From that point, the battery setup in positions looking east and anticipated Confederate approaches to relieve Vicksburg.

Meanwhile, the main portion of the 2nd New York (Heavy) Artillery was assigned to the Washington Defenses south of the Potomac.  Colonel Joseph N. G. Whistler took command of the regiment on May 6, 1863, and held that position for the remainder of the war.   A year later the 2nd New York Heavy was assigned to Second Corps, Army of the Potomac as “foot artillery.”  As the Overland Campaign progressed, they, along with other “Heavies” were pressed into service as infantry.

Turning back to Battery L, we have a healthy, but varied, quantity of ammunition on hand:

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Battery L reported 30 percussion shell, 336 fuse shell, and 224 bullet shell, of Hotchkiss patent, for 3-inch rifles.

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The battery also had 83 canister on hand, but of Dyer’s patent, for 3-inch rifles.

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Adding to the variety were 30 shells for 3-inch rifles of the Schenkl patent.

Turning to the small arms:

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In the previous quarter, the battery reported fifteen Navy revolvers and fifteen horse artillery sabers.  By the end of June, they had twelve Army revolvers and fourteen horse artillery sabers.  Sounds like the supply sergeant did some dealing.

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Summary Statement, 1st Quarter, 1863 – New York Independent Batteries (Part 3)

Time to “close out” the New York Independent Battery summaries for first quarter, 1863 by looking at the last set – the 25th and higher:

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Like a half empty ammunition chest!  The Ordnance Department recorded batteries numbered up to the 32nd.  And we see only the 25th, 27th, and 32nd gave returns.  So we should make short work of this set.  But since we are here… Dyer’s reminds us New York offered thirty-six of these independent batteries by war’s end.  Let’s give a full accounting of those just to round out the list:

  • 25th Battery: Reporting at New Orleans, Louisiana with four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Captain John A. Grow remained in command of this hard-luck battery.  Recovered from a shipwreck in transit to New Orleans, the battery went into the defenses of the city as part of the Nineteenth Corps.
  • 26th Battery: No return.  Also a shipwreck survivor!  Captain George W. Fox’s battery was also listed in the New Orleans defenses.  Very likely the battery had not been reequipped for field service by the spring of 1863.
  • 27th Battery: At Camp Barry, Washington, D.C. with four 12-pdr Napoleons.  Under Captain John B. Eaton, this relatively new battery was still training up to standards at the start of spring 1863.
  • 28th Battery: No return. This battery would spend the war at Fort Schuyler, New York.  Captain Cyprian H. Millard is listed as commander.
  • 29th Battery: No return. Formerly, Battery A, 1st New York Light Artillery Battalion. This battery was assigned to the Army of the Potomac’s Artillery Reserve, likely retaining its four 20-pdr Parrotts. Returns from the period list Lieutenant Gustav Von Blucher as commander, but Captain Otto Diedrich was listed on the battery rolls.
  • 30th Battery: No return.  Re-designation of Battery B, 1st New York Light Artillery Battalion. Also with the Artillery Reserve at this time, and also a battery with four 20-pdr Parrotts.  Captain Adolph Voegelee commanded.
  • 31st Battery: No return.  And this was old Battery C of that New York light battalion.  Also assigned four 20-pdr Parrotts.  This battery’s history is somewhat vague.  Captain Robert Langner remained battery commander. But the battery does not appear on Army of the Potomac rolls at the end of the winter.  However, the battery appears to have taken nine casualties during the Chancellorsville Campaign.
  • 32nd Battery: At Martinsburg, (West) Virginia, and reporting six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  The location is valid for the June 1864 reporting date.  Starting the spring of 1863, the battery was still with the Army of the Potomac’s Artillery Reserve. Captain Charles Kusserow gave way to Lieutenant George Gaston, temporary, at the start of spring.
  • 33rd Battery:  Not listed.  This battery would not muster until September 1863.
  • 34th Battery: Not listed. Recall, this is the re-designation for Battery L, 2nd New York Heavy.
  • 35th Battery: Not listed. Recruiting of this battery started in July 1863 but never progressed far.  Battery never formally organized and those recruited transferred to the 16th New York Heavy Artillery.
  • 36th Battery: Not listed. Another battery authorized in the summer of 1863.  And it also failed to organize.  Recruits sent to the 13th New York Heavy Artillery.

So much for administrative histories.  As you see, we should have eight returns and probably twenty-six gun tubes to discuss.  Instead, we have three returns and fourteen cannon.  Of those, only one smoothbore battery to report ammunition:

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  • 27th Battery: 229 shot, 62 shell, 254 case, and 72 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.

Moving to those 3-inch rifles, Hotchkiss was issued:

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  • 25th Battery: 80 canister, 60 percussion shell, 300 fuse shell, and 300 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 32nd Battery: 120 canister, 600 percussion shell, and 480 fuse shell for 3-inch rifles.

How about Dyer’s, James’, Parrott’s, and Schenkl’s?

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None….

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Nada!

But there were small arms to report:

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  • 25th Battery: Eighteen horse artillery sabers, perhaps saved from the shipwreck of January 9, 1863.
  • 27th Battery:  Nineteen Army revolvers, thirty cavalry sabers, and ten horse artillery sabers.
  • 32nd Battery: Nine Army revolvers, forty-four cavalry sabers, and eighteen foot artillery swords.

Thus we round out the New York Independent Batteries.  The unit’s service varied.  Some of these batteries stood at pivotal moments of the war.  Others, as we have seen from administrative accounting, were posted well out of the war.