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

All told, thirty-six formations from New York received the designation “Independent Battery, Light Artillery” during the war.  Some of these were simply re-designation of existing batteries, to better align record keeping with practice (such as Battery L, 2nd New York Heavy discussed last week, which became the 34th Independent Battery).  Others were completely new batteries formed outside the regimental system.  Of those, some were short lived or never completely formed.  Still, these independent batteries were a rather substantial number of lines to account for in the quarterly summaries.  For the first quarter, 1863, there were thirty-two enumerated:

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Let us look at these in batches, for better focus:

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Starting with the first dozen:

  • 1st Independent Battery: At Belle Plain, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Captain Andrew Cowan commanded the battery assigned to Second Division, Sixth Corps, Army of the Potomac.
  • 2nd Independent Battery:  No return. At the start of the winter, Captain Louis Schirmer commanded this battery, assigned First Division, Eleventh Corps.  When Schirmer was promoted to command the corps’ artillery reserve later in the spring, Captain Hermann Jahn took command of the battery.
  • 3rd Independent Battery: At Potomac Creek, Virginia with six 10-pdr Parrotts (an increase from the last quarter). The battery served in Second Division, Sixth Corps, under Lieutenant William A. Harn.
  • 4th Independent Battery: No return.  Assigned to Second Division, Third Corps. We are familiar with the 4th, thanks to their stand at the Devil’s Den at Gettysburg, and know they had six 10-pdr Parrotts.  Through the winter, the battery saw several officers depart for other commands and Lieutenant George F. Barstow, 3rd US Artillery, took command late in the winter.  “The men were despondent,” Captain James E. Smith later recounted, “and became lax in their duties, not without some excuse.”  For this, and other reasons, Smith returned to command his old battery in May.
  • 5th Independent Battery: At Falmouth, Virginia with four 20-pdr Parrotts.   This was Captain Elijah D. Taft’s battery in the Army of the Potomac’s Artillery Reserve.
  • 6th Independent Battery: No location listed, but with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. At the start of the winter, the 6th was under Captain W. M. Bramhall and part of the Artillery Reserve.  By spring, Lieutenant Joseph W. Martin assumed command with the battery transferred to the Horse Artillery (First Division, Cavalry Corps, Army of the Potomac).
  • 7th Independent Battery: At Norfolk, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Captain Peter C. Regan’s battery supported the Seventh Corps.
  • 8th Independent Battery: At Yorktown, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Part of the Fourth Corps, on the Peninsula, Captain Butler Fitch commanded this battery.
  • 9th Independent Battery: Fort Reno, District of Colulmbia, with only infantry stores.  Captain Emil Schubert, of the 4th US Artillery, was commander of this battery, assigned to the Twenty-Second Corps.  As indicated, the battery was not equipped as light artillery.
  • 10th Independent Battery: At Falmouth with six 12-pdr Napoleons.  Lieutenant Samuel Lewis replaced Captain John T. Bruen during the winter.  The battery remained with Third Division, Third Corps until later in the spring.
  • 11th Independent Battery: Also at Falmouth but with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Battery also assigned to Third Division, Third Corps. Lieutenant John E. Burton replaced Captain Albert Von Puttkammer in command.
  • 12th Independent Battery: At Camp Barry, Artillery Camp of Instruction, District of Columbia and reporting four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Captain George F. McKnight replaced Captain William H. Ellis.

A few changes in command and only one significant transfer through the winter.  And not many changes in the number and type of cannon.  Notice all these batteries served in the Eastern Theater.  More specifically, in Virginia and the defenses of Washington.

Only one battery reported smoothbores on hand:

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But we have two lines?

  • 5th Battery:  56 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
  • 10th Battery:  288 shot, 96 shell, 288 case, and 96 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.

Why would Taft’s Battery have canister for 6-pdr smoothbores?  Perhaps for use in their 20-pdr Parrotts.  The bore size was the same.  Notably, the battery didn’t report these in the previous quarter.

Meanwhile, 10th Battery seemed short of ammunition for it’s Napoleons. No change from the previous quarter’s report.  Such leads me to believe someone made “quick work” of their duties.

Hotchkiss projectiles were favored for the 3-inch Ordnance Rifles in the Army of the Potomac, and accordingly, we see a lot of those reported on hand:

0134_2_Snip_NYInd1

Six batteries with entries:

  • 1st Battery: 129 canister, 211 percussion shell, 370 fuse shell, and 570 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 6th Battery: 59 canister, 285 percussion shell, 44 fuse shell, and 323 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 7th Battery: 114 canister, 47 percussion shell, 259 fuse shell, and 715 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 8th Battery: 175 canister and 45 percussion shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 11th Battery: 151 canister, 258 fuse shell, and 775 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 12th Battery: 137 canister, 73 percussion shell, 40 fuse shell, and 120 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

Not to fret about the 8th Battery, as they were not short on ammunition.  Turning to the next page:

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We see the 8th had Dyer’s patent projectiles:

  • 8th Battery:  369 shell and 650 shrapnel for 3-inch rifles.

And there are two Parrott batteries (not counting Smith’s which didn’t submit a report):

  • 3rd Battery: 480 shell , 480 case, and 190 canister of Parrott for 10-pdr Parrotts.
  • 5th Battery: 45 Parrott Shell for 20-pdr Parrotts.

And the last page of rifled projectiles has a couple more entry lines for Schenkl:

0135_2_Snip_NYInd1

  • 1st Battery: 29 Schenkl shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 3rd Battery: 120 Schenkl shell for 10-pdr Parrotts.

Lastly, we turn to the small arms reported on hand:

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Seems like everyone had something:

  • 1st Battery: Twenty-eight Navy revolvers, eight cavalry sabers, and fifteen horse artillery sabers.
  • 3rd Battery: Four Army revolvers and twelve cavalry sabers.
  • 5th Battery: Twenty-three Army revolvers and twenty-one horse artillery sabers.
  • 6th Battery: 155 Navy revolvers, twenty cavalry sabers, and two horse artillery sabers.
  • 7th Battery: Eighteen Navy revolvers and twenty-six cavalry sabers.
  • 8th Battery: Fourteen Navy revolvers and fourteen horse artillery sabers.
  • 10th Battery: Fifty-eight Navy revolvers and eleven horse artillery sabers.
  • 11th Battery: Twenty Army revolvers and twenty-two cavalry sabers.
  • 12th Battery: Twenty-eight Army revolvers and twenty-nine horse artillery sabers.

For the next installment, we’ll look at the second batch of New York’s independent batteries – 13th through 24th.

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Summary Statement: December 31, 1862 – New York Independent Batteries, Part 1

After looking at those New York light batteries within the regimental system (First and Third) and those in the lone light battalion, along with the “other” equipment assigned to non-artillery units, it is time to look at the number of batteries from New York given “independent” designations.  And… that is not a short list:

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To make these shorter posts, let us break the list into parts.  Here’s the first part of that, looking at the 1st through 14th:

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Perhaps not a clean half in number, but I’ve already cut the snips.  Of the first fourteen listed, the clerks recorded eight returns.  Two of those were not received until 1864:

  • 1st Independent Battery: At Belle Plain, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. We’ve already mentioned Captain Terrence J. Kennedy’s linked to Battery L, 3rd New York Light Battery in “rumor and innuendo.” Captain Andrew Cowan commanded the battery by December 1862 and supported Second Division, Sixth Corps, Army of the Potomac.
  • 2nd Independent Battery:  No return. Captain Louis Schirmer’s battery was assigned to the Eleventh Corps.  It would be broken up in June of 1863.
  • 3rd Independent Battery: At Potomac Creek, Virginia with four 10-pdr Parrotts. Supported Sixth Corps and led by Lieutenant William A. Harn.
  • 4th Independent Battery: No return.  Captain James Smith’s battery supported Second Division, Third Corps.  Please note that Lieutenant Joseph E. Nairn was in “executive command” of the battery while Smith held the post of battalion commander.  The battery had six 10-pdr Parrotts in action at Fredericksburg.
  • 5th Independent Battery: At Falmouth, Virginia with four 20-pdr Parrotts.   This was Captain Elijah D. Taft’s battery in the Army of the Potomac’s Artillery Reserve.
  • 6th Independent Battery: No return. Captain W. M. Bramhall’s battery was also part of the Artillery Reserve and would later be part of the Horse Artillery (under a new commander).  They had six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.
  • 7th Independent Battery: At Norfolk, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Captain Peter C. Regan’s battery supported the Seventh Corps.
  • 8th Independent Battery: At Gloucester Point, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Part of the Fourth Corps left behind on the Peninsula, Captain Butler Fitch commanded this battery.
  • 9th Independent Battery: No return.  Captain Emil Schubert led this battery.  It was assigned to the defense of Washington and, at least for the reporting period, was listed at Fort Washington.
  • 10th Independent Battery: At Falmouth with six 12-pdr Napoleons.  Recruited as the 2nd Excelsior Battery, Captain John T. Bruen’s battery supported Third Division, Third Corps.
  • 11th Independent Battery: Also at Falmouth but with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Formed as a “flying battery” under Captain Albert Von Puttkammer, this battery also supported Third Division of Third Corps.
  • 12th Independent Battery: Posted to Washington, D.C. and reporting four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Under Captain William H. Ellis, this battery was assigned to the Artillery Camp of Instruction.
  • 13th Independent Battery: No return.  At the time commanded by Captain  Julius Dieckmann and part of Eleventh Corps.  I presume this battery was equipped with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.
  • 14th Independent Battery: No return.  Shall we call this a “phantom” battery?  The 2nd New York Light Artillery Battalion was never recruited to full manning.  So it was consolidated into two batteries (A and B) for the spring 1862 campaigns.  By the fall of 1862 both batteries were reconstituted as independent batteries.  Battery B became the 14th (and Battery A would be the 15th – remember for Part 2).  By the end of the year, all three sections of the 14th were assigned to other batteries (one to Battery B, 1st New York, another to Battery C, 4th US, and a third to Battery G, 4th US).

Of the fourteen batteries summarized here, nine were in the Army of the Potomac.  One, the 14th, was for all practical purposes in the same army, but detailed as parts.  Two were formerly of the Army of the Potomac, but serving in the Virginia tidewater.  And the last two batteries were part of Washington’s defenses.  Geographically concentrated.

Turning to the ammunition, we have one battery with smoothbores:

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The 10th Battery had 288 shot, 96 shell, 288 case, and 96 canister for its 12-pdr Napoleons.

But the New Yorkers were thick on rifled cannon.  For the Hotchkiss patent projectiles, they reported thus:

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Starting from the top:

  • 1st Battery:  129 canister, 211 percussion shell, 270 fuse shell, and 570 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 7th Battery: 114 canister, 47(?) percussion shell, 259 fuse shell, and 715 bullet shell for their 3-inch rifles.
  • 8th Battery: 175 canister for 3-inch rifles.
  • 11th Battery: 156 canister, 428 percussion shell, and 290 fuse shell for the 3-inch rifle.
  • 12th Battery: 193 canister, 135 percussion shell, and 594 bullet shell for 3-inch rifle.

Moving over to the Dyers, James, and Parrott patent types:

0070_Snip_Dec62_NY_Ind1_1

The 8th Battery reported having 369 Dyer shell and 650 Dyer shrapnel for 3-inch rifles (to go with their Hotchkiss canister).  The 3rd Battery reported 325 Parrott shell and 313 Parrott case for their 10-pdr Parrott rifles.  And the 5th Battery had 45 Parrott shell and 56 Parrott canister for their big 20-pdr rifles.

As for Schenkl projectiles:

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Mind the calibers here:

  • 1st Battery: 29 Schenkl 3-inch shell.
  • 3rd Battery: 81 Schenkl shell and 109 Schenkl canister for 10-pdr Parrott.
  • 8th Battery: 45 Schenkl 3-inch shell.
  • 11th Battery: 89 Schenkl 3-inch shell.

We see the 3rd Battery mixing up their ammunition lots a bit.

Lastly, we look at the small arms:

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By battery:

  • 1st Battery: 28 Navy revolvers, eight cavalry sabers, and fifteen horse artillery sabers.
  • 5th Battery: 22 Army revolvers and 21(?) horse artillery sabers.
  • 7th Battery: 18 Navy revolvers and 26 horse artillery sabers.
  • 8th Battery: 14 Navy revolvers and fourteen horse artillery sabers.
  • 10th Battery: 24 Army revolvers, 130 Navy revolvers, and twelve horse artillery sabers.
  • 11th Battery: 20 Army revolvers and 22 cavalry sabers.
  • 12th Battery:  29 Navy revolvers and 113 cavalry sabers.

So… if you wanted a revolver, they you preferred a position with the 10th New York Independent. If you were fond of edged weapons, you might consider enlisting in the 12th.

Next we’ll look at the other half of these New York independent batteries.