Summary Statement, 3rd Quarter, 1863 – 1st Tennessee Light Artillery

For the previous quarter, we saw the clerks at the Ordnance Department had single line allocated for batteries formed from Tennessee volunteers.  At that time, there were two light artillery batteries, formed from Tennessee unionists.  Though others were forming up.  And two regiments of heavy artillery were getting organized, being recruited from the contraband camps in west Tennessee. 

Moving into the third quarter, the clerks still offered no clarity for the Tennessee artillerymen:

0289_1_Snip_TN

The entry as “1st Battery Artillery” from Tennessee is not specific.  There were two batteries at this time which could lay claim as the 1st Tennessee Battery – The 1st East Tennessee Battery and 1st Middle Tennessee Battery.  But that cumbersome designation system was soon reconciled with both batteries entered into the 1st Tennessee Light Artillery Regiment.  Some sources indicate the regiment was authorized in June 1862.  And there is no doubt the formation was mentioned by authorities from that point forward. But not until November 1, 1863 was the regiment properly organized with commander appointed.  And that commander was Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Clay Crawford.  The regiment, which arguably was but a battalion, comprised of five batteries:

  • Battery A: This was the former 1st Middle Tennessee battery, commanded by Captain Ephraim P. Abbott.  The battery was assigned to Third Division, Reserve Corps, Army of the Cumberland. The battery moved down from Murfreesboro to Chattanooga in September, arriving just after the battle of Chickamauga.  Earlier in the summer, the battery reported two 6-pdr field guns and four 3.80-inch James rifles.
  • Battery B: This was the 1st East Tennessee Battery, and had been commanded by Captain Robert C. Crawford.  By the summer of 1863 it was assigned to the Fourth Division, District of Kentucky.  This battery played a small part in Burnside’s East Tennessee Campaign.  Captain James A. Childress commanded.  The battery was on duty around the Cumberland Gap at the end of September.
  • Battery C: Still being organized, this battery would not muster until early 1864.  Captain Vincent Myers would command. 
  • Battery D:  Likewise still organizing and not mustering until 1864.  Captain David R. Young would command.
  • Battery E: Assigned to the District of North Central Kentucky.  Captain Henry C. Lloyd commanded this battery.  This battery served at various posts – Bonneville, Camp Nelson, Flemmingsburg, Mt. Sterling, and Paris – through the spring of 1864.

In addition to those listed, Batteries F, G, and K appear later in later organization tables.  But at the close of the third quarter of 1863, those were not even planned.  With no returns submitted, we have no cannon, ammunition, or even small arms to discuss in regard to these Tennessee artillerists.  But the record is clear in that three batteries from the 1st Tennessee Light Artillery were mustered as of the end of September and were doing duty. 

But there are other batteries we should tally here. There actually was a fourth light battery, and possibly a fifth, that existed in the fall of 1863 and should mentioned here.  In the “definitely” category is the Memphis Light Artillery.  This battery is sometimes mentioned as the 1st Tennessee Battery, African Descent (or A.D.).  Forming, starting the late summer of 1863, in Memphis and commanded by Captain Carl A. Lamberg (formerly of the 3rd Michigan Battery, which was then at Memphis), the battery’s official muster date was November 23. Later, in the following year, the battery would be re-designated as U.S.C.T. and assigned to the 2nd U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery as Battery F.

In the “maybe” category is an independent battery called “Hurlbut’s Battery.”  During the Vicksburg Campaign, the garrison in Memphis formed a “River Guard” to maintain security along the Mississippi River near the city.  In command of this guard was Major George Cubberly, from the 89th Indiana.  For those duties, Cubberly required some light artillery.  From the garrison’s armory came two 3.80-inch James Rifles and two 6-pdr field guns. This temporary battery actually saw limited action against Confederates along the river.  From one roll:

Hurlbut’s Battery consists of 2 James Rifled pieces and 2 smooth bore 6 pounders. Was in engagement at Bradley’s Landing, Ark., June 17, [1863] about 18 miles from Memphis, Tenn., up the river.  Fired about 60 shell with James Rifled pieces.


Later in the summer, the battery appears on returns in the First Brigade, District of Memphis (along with the Memphis Light Artillery, for what it is worth).   Lieutenant Albert Cudney commanded, from, apparently, Battery I, 1st Illinois Artillery.  And the battery appears on Sixteenth Corps orders at the first of September.  All of which still gives us little to go on.  The battery, temporary as it was, certainly existed during the third quarter of 1863.  And it saw action… at least sixty rounds worth of action.  Though it was likely broken up shortly afterwards.  As for its attribution to Tennessee, that is less certain.  With only an index card heading to work from, evidence is thin.  Rather, this temporary, improvised battery was likely made up of more Illinois or Indiana troops than Tennessee boys.

In summary, though the clerks did not have returns to work from, Tennessee had three batteries in Federal service at the end of September, one USCT battery forming, plus a couple more “unionist” batteries forming.   And that’s why we have a heading for Tennessee in the third quarter, 1863 summaries.

Advertisements

November 1, 1864: “Murder of Three Union Officers” at Greenton, Missouri… hard feelings about hard war

I mentioned yesterday the orders from Washington to move the portions of Major-General A.J. Smith’s Sixteenth Corps involved with the pursuit of Price’s army out of Missouri and then on to Tennessee, where another crisis was emerging.  One of the regiments in Smith’s force was the 89th Indiana.  150 years ago today the regiment was on the march passing the small town of Greenton, Missouri (southwest of Lexington, just north of Odessa).  While at a break, one of the countless tragedies of the war occurred.  Captain William N. Norville provided the official report on November 3, 1864:

I have the honor to report that Maj. Samuel Henry, Asst. Surg. John P. Porter, and Lieut. Harles Ashley, regimental quartermaster, all of the Eighty-ninth Indiana Regiment Infantry, were taken prisoners on the 1st at Greenton, La Fayette County, Mo., by three guerrillas, rapidly taken to the bushes, where their bodies were found yesterday. They were all shot through the head. Their bodies were brought to this post by a citizen who relates as follows: While the Eighty-ninth Regiment was marching through Greenton these three officers rode up to a house and called for dinner. The lady told them that she had nothing cooked, but that if they could wait she would soon have something cooked. They consented to wait; their command marched on. They had gotten their dinner, left the house for their horses hitched at the gate, where, upon going into the house, they had also left their arms. Before they had reached their horses, three men in Federal uniform came dashing up and ordered them to surrender. The officers at first regarded it as a joke, but upon cocked revolvers being presented they surrendered almost within sight of the regiment and were taken to the woods. I have buried them to-day. When brought here they had neither overcoats nor vests on; Major Henry’s saber hung in a tree near his body.

The guerillas were still active in Missouri, though not in the numbers they’d been the previous month.  I don’t want to down play the death of the three officers.  But incidents like this were commonplace – inflicted by partisans from both sides – in Missouri.  Thirty years ago when I was studying Price’s campaign for the focus of a research paper, I simply passed this incident off as “just another.”  And Missouri was filled with “just another” stories.

But a few weeks ago while collecting material in regard to Major-General William T. Sherman’s March (and, I do intend, unless something gets in the way, follow that campaign in the same spirit as some of the other “150 years ago” threads), I ran across a repeat of the story from Greenton.  This appears in the November 23, 1864 edition of the Warcester, Massachusetts Massachusetts Spy, third column, fourth page:

Murder89thIndianaOfficers

As you can see, most of the details, passed along second hand from a St. Louis newspaper, were pulled from Norville’s report.  The story had legs.  It resonated well beyond Missouri and well into the month of November.  I have found similar accounts in more than a dozen newspapers throughout the North in November 1864.  And I’d wager that result was not complete.  Maybe it was “just another.” But it was “just another” seen and repeated across newspapers far and wide… not just Missouri.

When I saw that article, what connected for me was the search string that had brought me to the newspaper to begin with:

Sherman

That is the headline of the story which ran just above the report from Greenton, Missouri.

We often read of “war weariness” as a factor in play for the elections of 1864.  The premise goes that many northerners were simply ready to throw in the towel.  I’m sure some of that existed.  But on the other hand, just reading the papers, you see plenty of examples where “war weariness” translated to just the opposite – a desire to bring the war to a swift, if violent, conclusion.  We have to ask, having seen so many of the “just another” episodes as reported from Greenton, did northerners become tolerant of the measures employed to bring the war to a close.  The hard war had hardened sensitivities.

When Sherman said he’d make Georgia howl, there were many sympathetic ears in the north… a product of so many “just anothers” such as the incident 150 years ago at Greenton, Missouri.

(Citation from OR, Series I, Volume 41, Part I, Serial 83, page 896.)