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!


A spring snow in the 1864 Winter Encampment

If you live in Culpeper, Virginia then today’s forecast calls for snow.  Not a lot, but some snow on this sixth day of spring.  Maybe Mother Nature is following the sesquicentennial yet again.  Yesterday I cited Colonel Charles S. Wainwright’s reference to a snow near the end of March 1864.  Wainwright half-complained about “… four inches of snow…” which fell on March 22nd.  Another writer in the Winter Encampment enjoyed this early spring snowstorm.  On March 25, 1864, Colonel J. Howard Kitching of the 6th New York Heavy Artillery wrote:

… Tuesday we had a regular old-fashioned snow-storm.  The snow fell to the depth of about eight inches, and Wednesday morning cleared up as bright as could be, the sun making everything sparkle and glisten like gold. Some of my men made me a little rustic sleigh, to which I harnessed my two horses, and gave Mrs. Colonel [Henry S.] Burton a sleigh ride; the only sleigh, I guess, that has ever appeared in the Army of the Potomac.

Yesterday [Thursday, March 24] we had the grandest fun!  The men from the different companies began to snowball each other; so I divided the regiment into two wings, about two hundred men upon each side.  I took command of the right wing, and gave the Lieutenant-colonel and Major the left, and after inviting Colonel and Mrs. Burton out to see the sport, we had a scientific snowballing.  The battle lasted for about an hour, but although the left wing had the most men, yet my wing drove them off the ground, simply by tactical maneuvering.

No one was killed, but several wounded, including many officers. Three or four of them have black eyes to-day; but all enjoyed it very much, and the frolic did the men a great deal of good. It certainly did me a service, for I have been so blue lately, and have been so confined, and felt so discouraged, that the effect of a hearty laugh was beneficial….

Clearly the 25 year old Kitching had more fun in the snow that stuffy old thirty-something Wainwright.  However, Kitching closed that section of his letter remorsefully – “I am beginning to feel very old – older every day!”  Kitching had a little over nine months more to age.

(Citation from Theodore Irving, “More than Conqueror’ or Memorials of Col. J. Howard Kitching, Sixth New York Artillery, Army of the Potomac, New York: Hurd and Houghton, 1873, pages 116-7.)

“My proposition, approved by you…”: More from Henry Hunt

So far this week, we’ve seen, in detail, proposals offered by Brigadier-General Henry Hunt in regard to organization of the artillery in the Army of the Potomac in the winter of 1864.  Those proposals were not radical changes.  Rather changes that would improve the operational efficiency of the artillery, mostly achieved by adding regiments of heavy artillery, without their artillery, to support the field artillery.

All of these points bring light on how Hunt preferred to manage the artillery in the army.  A letter written to Brigadier-General Marsena Patrick, the army’s Provost-Marshal, on February 22, 1864 offers more insight into Hunt’s management of the artillery:

General: The artillery of this army consists of one brigade attached to each corps d’armée, two brigades (six batteries each) of horse artillery, which take turns for service with the cavalry, and the artillery reserve proper, consisting of twelve batteries (field batteries and siege guns). The general ammunition train of the army and the Sixth New York Artillery as its guards are also under the command of the commander of the reserve.

The brigade of horse artillery in reserve is placed under the orders of the commander of reserve artillery when not serving with troops. The whole command constitutes what in other armies would be called the grand park of the artillery, to which the reserve artillery is usually attached. The horse artillery is relieved by brigades, so that each brigade constitutes a unit. The brigades of horse artillery in reserve sometimes furnish temporary re-enforcements of batteries to the brigades in the field or when ordered for other purposes; but as a rule the horse artillery serves and is detailed by brigades.

The mounted batteries (reserve artillery proper) are, for convenience, divided from time to time into two or more brigades. These brigades are not like those attached to corps, independent; they vary in strength and composition, according to their numbers, employment, the number of disposable field officers, &c.

The important part of this set of paragraphs is Hunt’s description of the horse artillery.  It was part of the Artillery Reserve, detailed to the Cavalry Corps when and where needed.  But otherwise, it was used as other parts of the reserve, in the “grand park” of artillery.

Hunt went into some detail about the task organization of the mounted batteries from the Artillery Reserve.  While stopping short of describing how he would employ those guns, he did explain the practice of brigading the batteries.  But he leaves alone the discussion of artillery brigades attached to the corps and how those operated.

So why was Hunt explaining all this artillery “stuff” to Patrick?  Well, Hunt got to that in the next paragraph:

My proposition, approved by you, as I understood, was to give to each unit of force 1 sutler, and but 1, viz: To each brigade attached to a corps, 1 sutler; to each brigade of horse artillery, 1 sutler; to the Sixth New York Foot Artillery (a regiment of volunteers), 1 sutler; to the mounted batteries constituting the reserve proper and for the train attached to it, 1 sutler.

Look, if “The duties must be performed and men are required to perform them,” then the men deserve a little place to spend their hard earned money.  Right?  Beyond just giving a place to spend discretionary income, the sutlers offered a source for items not issued by the army but needed by the soldier.  Things such as tooth brushes, paper, pencils, combs, and such.  Oh, and if permitted, a bottle or two of strong drink.

Hunt went on to detail the assignment of sutlers, by name, to the commands under his charge:

The sutlers are as follows, as now recognized:
1. Mercer Brown, appointed sutler in December, 1861, of the Artillery Reserve by the council of administration. Appointment approved by me and, if I remember right, by General Barry, as chief of artillery, and General McClellan, commanding the army, under paragraph 214, General Regulations.
2. A. Foulke, First Brigade of Horse Artillery (Robertson’s).
3. John Nilan, Second Brigade of Horse Artillery (Graham’s).
4. Thomas McCauly, Sixth New York Foot Artillery (Colonel Kitching).

I’ll call attention to two of these.  There are a couple of photos of Foulke’s sutlery from the Winter Encampment:


Thanks to the Civil War photographers, once again, we know what these establishments looked like.

I’ll also call attention to the sutler, supporting the 6th New York Heavy Artillery.  A letter from Colonel John Howard Kitching, commanding that regiment, offers an interesting side bar about sutlers and soldiers, though not directly involving Mr. Thomas McCauly.  I’ll post that later today.

Hunt’s letter to Patrick was thus not some pontification about the use of artillery, but rather a letter of record to headquarters noting the assignment of sutlers to the artillery units.  In doing so, Hunt had to elaborate on the way he managed the arm.  That’s to our gain.  Closing his letter, Hunt returns to the management aspects:

Artillery from the reserve is detailed for temporary service by batteries, not by brigades. If to occupy a position its sutler must provide for it, if necessary. If permanently transferred to a corps it enters the brigade of that corps, and of course is supplied by the corps sutler. There is no artillery in this army outside of the organizations named.

Today we’d start a discussion of the military terms along the lines of attached, assigned, and OPCON.  The armchair general might organize the army by simply moving lines in the order of battle.  Out in the real world, task organization requires planning and adheres to procedures.  Such avoids confusion and ensure the unit is properly maintained to perform the assigned mission.  Infantry brigades are not apt to carry about extra 3-inch Hotchkiss shells.  So when a battery went to their support, a slice of the Reserve Artillery ammunition train had to go with it.  And if that arrangement were for more than a few days… eventually a sutler would follow.

(Citations from OR, Series I, Volume 33, Serial 60, pages 583-4.)