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!

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Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – Mississippi Marine Brigade

The Mississippi Marine Brigade:  They were not from Mississippi.  Nor were they Marines.  And they were not a full brigade!

An interesting formation, the Mississippi Marine Brigade. Some have called it a prototype for the “Brown Water” units used by the US Navy in Vietnam.  Others have compared it to special forces units in the modern military.  Yet, others might point to a speckled service and rate the unit as more a disruption to good order – both in the Federal ranks and on the southern river-cities.   Before we go too far, let’s get some things straight about the Mississippi Marine Brigade.

First off, it was not from Mississippi.  Rather the brigade operated ON the Mississippi River.  In March 1862, civil engineer Charles Ellet, Jr., with a colonel’s commission and authority from Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, built a squadron of riverboat rams (initially four in number) for use on the Mississippi River and other western waters.  Ramming tactics being what they are, Ellet needed an infantry force on board to board rammed vessels… or repel borders from other vessels.  To fill the need, Ellet recruited from those convalescing in hospitals, but also received companies from the 59th and 63rd Illinois.  The former was a company commanded by Captain Alfred W. Ellet, Charles’ brother.  Although playing a key role in the Battle of Memphis, June 6, 1862, the ram fleet suffered a setback when Charles Ellet was mortally wounded.

On his brother’s death, Alfred assumed command of the rams.  Promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel, and later Brigadier-General, Alfred pressed his command downriver toward Vicksburg.  In the late summer and early fall of 1862 the Navy had forces under Admirals David Farragut and David D. Porter operating against Vicksburg, but without any substantial land forces.  Not only did this prevent a direct move on Vicksburg, it left the navy without security from Confederate raiding parties and sharpshooters on shore.  To address the security problem on October 21, 1862, Porter wrote to Secretary of the Navy Gideon Wells that a naval brigade was necessary.  While calling for Ellet’s rams to come under his command, Porter also offered:

Colonel Ellet thinks he can promptly raise the men by enlistment, if authorized to do so, and this would be a far preferable way of procuring them…. This brigade will be invaluable, and will enable us to effectually operate against the numerous guerrilla bands and other scattered rebel forces along these rivers.

With authorization, Porter and Ellet set about organizing such a force.  Several side-wheel and stern-wheel steamers were outfitted as transports, with loopholes and other fixtures to allow the troops to fight from the boat if needed.  The force also included a logistical “tail” with vessels outfitted as hospital ships, receiving vessels, and outfitting shops.

As for the men recruited, that brings us to the next point – these were not Marines!  Ellet recruited heavily from the Missouri and the convolecent hospitals in the Western Theater through the winter of 1863.  However, his artillery came complete from Pennsylvania, which we’ll discuss in detail below. Recruiting flyers bragged that Mississippi Marines would not dig trenches, perform picket duty, camp in the mud, or suffer long marches.  Just cruise down the river on a boat!  These were Army enlistments, not Navy.  And to cut a fine point, the men were organized not as traditional Marines, in the 19th century notion, who would be assigned to and operate as part of a ship’s crew to provide security.   Rather these were companies organized to conduct riverine operations (again, splitting hairs, a 20th century Marine chore).  The command, with Army troops, would operate under the Navy.

And lastly, this was not a brigade!  Ellet recruited a battalion of infantry and a battalion of cavalry.  Neither of these formations were recruited to full strength.  Added to this, Ellet secured a battery of Pennsylvania artillery.  So the “Brigade” might be called a small legion.  Or perhaps just considered a large combined arms battalion, but far short of a brigade.

It is the artillery battery that interests us here.  Captain Daniel Walling’s battery was organized as a battery in Colonel Hermann Segebarth’s Pennsylvania Marine Artillery Battalion (I’ve mentioned them in passing).  Despite the title, Segebarth’s, which was organized starting in August 1862, was heavy artillery and first assigned to Fort Delaware.  The formation would later become the core of the 3rd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery Regiment.  For reasons I’ve never been able to establish, Company C of Segebarth’s, under Walling, was chosen for service with the Mississippi Marine Brigade. Maybe it was Segebarth’s applied label that prompted the selection.  The battery had six Ordnance Rifles.  In addition a pair of howitzers operated with the brigade.

The Mississippi Marine Brigade first went into action in April 1863 with a patrol up the Tennessee River looking for guerrillas.   The following month, the brigade and ram fleet moved down the Mississippi to support the effort against Vicksburg.  In late May, the brigade fought an action outside Austin, Mississippi ( a series of events that lead to the destruction of the town by the brigade…. but that is another story…).  In June, the brigade operated from Young’s Point and the Milliken’s Bend.  A detachment from the brigade manned a 20-pdr Parrott rifle opposite Vicksburg, served with great effect against a Confederate foundry in the city.

With this introduction as to what the Mississippi Marine Brigade was… and was not… let’s turn to the second quarter summaries for 1863.  The brigade was given a separate section, independent of Missouri or Pennsylvania:

0201_1_Snip_MMB

By itself, this is a significant administrative detail.  As mentioned before, the brigade was Army, but assigned to the Navy for duty.  So we have a set of returns.  But those are not filed inside the normal coalition of returns, rather under a separate heading as if a separate state or territory.  One can imagine the consternation this caused the clerks.  So what do we have on those four lines:

  • Light Battery Artillery:  Reported on board steamer ‘Baltic’ with six 3-inch Ordnance rifles.  This matches to other reports for Walling’s Battery.
  • Company A, 1st Battalion Cavalry:  At Vicksburg with two 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • “Capt” Stores in ChargeOn board steamer ‘Diana’ with two 12-pdr field guns.  The heavy guns, not Napoleons.
  • “Qmst” (?) Stores in ChargeOn board steamer ‘E. H. Fairchild’ with no guns reported.  The Steamer E.H. Fairchild was indeed the quartermaster and commissary boat for the brigade.

Of note, we have accounting for the Ordnance rifles, but no indication of howitzers.  Yet, we see full sized 12-pdr field guns – both the Model 1841 “heavy” and the “light” Napoleons.

The steamers mentioned here deserve more space for description and discussion.  Perhaps at a later date.  In lieu, here is an illustration from Warren D. Crandall’s History of the Ram Fleet and Mississippi Marine Brigade in the War for the Union on the Mississippi and its Tributaries:

DianaBalticAtGreenville

As the caption states, we see the Baltic and Diana in an action (in May 1864).

Moving to the ammunition, the smoothbore quantities seem far too uniform:

0203_1_Snip_MMB

  • A, 1st Battalion Cavalry:  58 shot, 88 shell, 157 case, and 88 canister for 12-pdr field guns.
  • On the Diana: 58 shot, 88 shell, 157 case, and 88 canister for 12-pdr field guns.

As for rifled projectiles, we find one line:

0203_2_Snip_MMB

And that is for Hotchkiss projectiles:

  • Light Battery (Walling): 374 canister, 125 percussion shell, 74 fuse shell, and 2,260 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

The brigade reported no Dyer’s re, James’, Parrott’s, or Schenkl’s projectiles. So we move to the small arms:

0204_3_Snip_MMB

Just one line:

  • Light Battery (Walling): Twenty Navy revolvers and twenty horse artillery sabers.

The infantry and cavalry likely filed separate, branch specific, reports for their respective small arms.

Outside the scope of what is normally discussed in these posts, the Quartermaster on the E.H. Fairchild reported various implements and tools associated with artillery pieces, along with 3,000 .38-caliber cartridges.

The Mississippi Marine Brigade offers a lot of threads to follow.  Certainly unique in service.  And offering many noteworthy stories.  But from the artillery side of things, I must point out this formation was not long in service.  In September 1864, Walling’s battery was broken up and re-constituted as Battery E, 1st Missouri Light Artillery (reorganized), and no longer assigned to the brigade.

(Citation from ORN, Series I, Volume 23, page 428.)