Summary Statement, 4th Quarter, 1863 – Maryland

Looking at the summary lines for the fourth quarter, 1863, we find three lines for batteries from Maryland:

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Sixteen Ordnance Rifles and that is the story, right? Not quite. There are a couple more footnotes to add here. But let us review those three lines first:

  • 1st Battery (Battery A): At Culpeper, Virginia with four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Captain James H. Rigby remained in command. In October, the battery transferred from the Artillery Reserve to the Artillery Brigade, First Corps. The battery participated with First Corps in the Bristoe and Mine Run Campaigns. Then went into winter quarters near Colonel Charles Wainwright’s headquarters outside Culpeper.
  • 2nd Battery (Battery B): Reported at Harpers Ferry, Maryland, with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  With Captain Alonzo Snow in command, the battery remained part of the defenses of the Harpers Ferry sector. The Maryland Heights Division became First Division, Department of West Virginia.
  • Baltimore Independent Battery: Showing at Baltimore, Maryland, with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  As mentioned in earlier summaries, this battery lost its guns at Winchester in June.  Captain Frederic W. Alexander remained in command with the battery as it recovered, reequipped, and trained at Baltimore.  At the end of the year, the battery was part of the Artillery Reserve, Eighth Corps. Captain Alexander commanded the reserve.

But recall there were two emergency batteries mustered from Maryland in July 1863, which we saw in the previous quarter. The “Junior Batteries.” Well these were still on the rolls, for a few more weeks, at the end of December. So let us consider them as “missing batteries” for this quarter’s summary:

  • Battery A (Junior): At Baltimore, Maryland with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Captain John M. Bruce commanded.  By the end of December, the battery was assigned to the Artillery Reserve, Eighth Corps. It would muster out on January 19, 1864.
  • Battery B (Junior): Also at Baltimore, Maryland, but with six 12-pdr Napoleons.  Also seen on returns as the Eagle Battery.  Captain Joseph H. Audoun commanded.  As with the other Junior Battery, the Eagle Battery was assigned to the Artillery Reserve, Eighth Corps at the end of December. This battery mustered out on January 16, 1864.

Those “missing” pieces put in place, we turn to the ammunition reported. No smoothbores in the reporting batteries, so we skip to the Hochkiss columns:

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  • Baltimore Battery: 4 time fuse shells for 3-inch rifles.

More Hotchkiss on the next page:

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  • 1st Battery: 50 canister for 3-inch rifles.
  • 2nd Battery: 158 percussion fuse shell, 607 bullet shell, and 182 canister for 3-inch rifles.
  • Baltimore Battery: 120 percussion fuse shell, 5 bullet shell, and 121 canister for 3-inch rifles.

We move next to the Schenkl columns for more tallies:

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  • 1st Battery: 317 shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 2nd Battery: 353(?) shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Baltimore Battery: 240 shell for 3-inch rifles.

One more column of Schenkl on the next page:

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  • 1st Battery: 396 case shot for 3-inch rifles.
  • Baltimore Battery: 710 case shot for 3-inch rifles.

Turning next to the small arms reported:

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  • 1st Battery: Eight Colt army revolvers, twenty cavalry sabers, and sixteen horse artillery sabers.
  • 2nd Battery: Ten Colt army revolvers and twenty-one cavalry sabers.
  • Baltimore Battery: Twenty-four Colt army revolvers and thirty-two horse artillery sabers.

Two of the batteries reported cartridge bags on hand:

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  • 1st Battery: 632 cartridge bags for 3-inch rifles.
  • 2nd Battery: 1,158 cartridge bags for 3-inch rifles.

The tallies for pistol cartridges and friction primers seems lopsided:

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  • 1st Battery: 1,218 friction primers; four yards of slow match; and 24 portfires.
  • 2nd Battery: 1,000 pistol cartridges for army-caliber revolvers; 1,305 paper fuses; one pound of musket powder; and 1,399 friction primers.
  • Baltimore Battery: 500 pistol cartridges for army-caliber revolvers and 300 pistol cartridges for navy-caliber revolvers (and we are left to wonder why)… but no friction primers, slow match, or portfires.

While the tally of cannon for the Maryland batteries is to say the least predictable, that of the ammunition is not. Such underscores what I said earlier about trying to assign patterns were the data is known to be incomplete.

Summary Statement, 3rd Quarter, 1863 – Maryland’s Federal Batteries

For the previous quarter, Maryland’s section of the summary contained three battery listings – Battery A, Battery B, and the Baltimore Battery.  However, I mentioned at the bottom of the administrative portion of two additional batteries, being mustered but not yet in existence at the end of June 1863.  Those were Battery A (Second) and Battery B (Second).  Often referred to as the “Junior” batteries.  We find those listed in the third quarter:

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The story of these “Junior” batteries deserves at least a short explanation.  With Abraham Lincoln’s Proclamation #102, issued on June 15, 1863, the call went forward Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio to provide volunteers for enlistments of six months to meet the emergency caused by the Confederate invasion.  We discussed the artillery side of Pennsylvania’s response in an earlier post.  Maryland’s quota in this was 10,000 men and included the two “Junior” batteries. Both batteries mustered into service on July 14.  And they would serve their six month hitches around Baltimore.

I cannot translate what was actually written in the “Regiment” column for lines 59 and 60.  But the company letters are clear.  These batteries were on active service during the quarter.  And as we see from the summary, were issued cannon.  Thus, at the end of September 1863 Maryland had five batteries reporting:

  • Battery A / 1st Battery: Indicated with the Army of the Potomac, with four (down from six)  3-inch Ordnance Rifles   Captain James H. Rigby remained in command. When the Fourth Volunteer Brigade of the Reserve Artillery was broken up on July 17, Rigby’s Battery transferred to the Third Volunteer Brigade.  As of the end of September that year the battery was in Culpeper County.
  • Battery B / 2nd Battery: Reported at Maryland Heights, Maryland, with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  In mid-July, the Captain Alonzo Snow’s battery was among the forces reoccupying Harpers Ferry.  The battery was assigned to the Second Brigade, Maryland Heights Division.
  • Baltimore Independent Battery: Showing at Baltimore, Maryland, with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  As mentioned in the previous quarter, this battery lost its guns at Winchester in June.  Captain Frederick W. Alexander remained in command with the battery reforming at Baltimore, being reequipped with rifles rather quickly in July.  The battery appears in Brigadier-General Erastus Tyler’s division, Northwestern Defenses of Baltimore.
  • Battery A (Junior): Reporting at Baltimore, Maryland with six 3-inch rifles (likely Ordnance Rifles).  As detailed above, the battery mustered in mid-July.  Captain John M. Bruce commanded.  The battery was also part of Tyler’s division.  The battery is often listed simply as “Junior Battery” on returns.
  • Battery B (Junior): At Camp Wharton (?), Maryland with six 12-pdr Napoleons.  The place name is not familiar to me, but I do know the battery was in the defenses of Baltimore.  Also seen on returns as the Eagle Battery.  Captain Joseph H. Audoun commanded.  As with the other Junior Battery, the Eagle Battery was assigned to the defenses of Baltimore, and part of Tyler’s division.

Turning to the ammunition reported, only one battery with smoothbore rounds on hand:

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  • Battery B (Junior): 296 shot, 104 shell, 304 case, and 96 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.

But a lot of 3-inch rifles, meaning a lot of Hotchkiss entries:

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  • Battery A: 80 canister for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery B: 182 canister, 188 percussion shell,  and 547 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Baltimore Battery: 121 canister, 120 percussion shell, 4 fuse shell, 10 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery A (Junior): 120 canister, 120 percussion shell, 240 fuse shell, and 720 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

These batteries had no rounds indicated on the next page:

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But the batteries did report quantities of Schenkl on hand:

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  • Battery A: 317 shell and 396 case for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery B: 253 shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Baltimore Battery: 240 shell and 710 case for 3-inch rifles.

Lastly, we turn to the small arms:

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By battery:

  • Battery A: Eight Army revolvers, twenty cavalry sabers, and sixteen horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery B: Ten Army revolvers and twenty-one cavalry sabers.
  • Baltimore Battery: Twenty-four Army revolvers and thirty-two horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery A (Junior): Twenty Army revolvers and twenty cavalry sabers.
  • Battery B (Junior): Twenty Army revolvers and twenty cavalry sabers.

Consider that in July 1863 of the five Maryland batteries, two were just brought into existence and another had lost nearly all its equipment.  Those three batteries were constituted, or reconstituted as the case may be, within a matter of weeks.  That tells us much about the depth of the Federal war machine…. not to mention how many spare cannon were around just waiting to be issued.

Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – Maryland’s Batteries

Sorry for the extended absence from the blog, as I’ve been on and off and back on vacation.  And let me pick up where we left off, on the second quarter, 1863 summary statements.  The next state in the queue is Maryland, with three batteries showing in the report:

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Three lines, looking uniform with Ordnance Rifles all around:

  • Battery A: Indicated with the Army of the Potomac, but is that “Pa” or “Va”?  The former would be most precise, but either would be understood.  And reported with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  In May, the battery moved from the Sixth Corps to the Fourth Volunteer Brigade, Artillery Reserve. Captain James H. Rigby remained in command. The battery occupied a position on Powers Hill during the battle of Gettysburg, doing good work supporting the Federal position on Culp’s Hill.
  • Battery B: Reported at Maryland Heights, Maryland, with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Captain Alonzo Snow’s battery was also transferred out of the Sixth Corps in May, 1863.  Listed “unassigned” in the Artillery Reserve, the battery reported to Camp Barry, Washington, D.C., and was likely still there at the end of June.  In mid-July, the battery was among the forces reoccupying Harpers Ferry.
  • Baltimore Independent Battery: Showing at Baltimore, Maryland, with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  This is the correct location for the receipt date of February 1864.  But turning back to the end of June, 1863, the Baltimore Battery had much more to say.  Captain F. W. Alexander was part of Milroy’s command at Winchester, Virginia at the beginning of that month.  When that place was evacuated, Alexander’s men spiked the guns, disabled the carriages, destroyed ammunition, and escaped with their horses.  So their “proper” return would be no guns or ammunition, and reforming at Camp Barry.

Deserving brief mention, two other Maryland batteries were organized in July 1863 – Batteries A and B, Junior Light Artillery.  Both would serve but a year, mostly around Baltimore.  Neither were in existence at the end of June, however.

Moving to the ammunition pages, we can skip the smoothbore page, as these batteries had only rifles.  But where there are Ordnance Rifles, we expect to find Hotchkiss projectiles:

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All three reported quantities:

  • Battery A: 98 canister, 110 fuse shell, and 196 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery B: 148 canister, 120 fuse shell, and 383 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Baltimore Battery: 121 canister, 120 percussion shell, 240 fuse shell, and 720 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

Of note, in the court of inquiry investigating the disaster at Winchester, Alexander indicated that at the start of the battle of Winchester, he had 1200 rounds on hand…. just one short of the actual tally given in the summary.   By the time of evacuation he was down to 28 rounds per gun, most of which was canister.  When ordered to evacuate, he testified,

I mounted the men on the horses, leaving those equipments that would rattle; saw the guns of my battery spiked, took off the cap-squares and linch-pins, and threw them into the water-tank. I then formed the men by twos, and marched them out of the fort.

So if we wish to split hairs, all the numbers given above for the Baltimore Battery, and their guns included, would be scratched out for the reporting date of June 30, 1863.

Moving to the next page, we find some Dyer’s projectiles on hand:

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Two reporting quantities:

  • Battery A: 375 shrapnel and 43 canister for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery B: 97 shells for 3-inch rifles.

And the next page, we find the same two batteries with Schenkl projectiles:

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  • Battery A: 372 shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery B: 444 shell for 3-inch rifles.

So once again, we find batteries with an assortment of projectile makes.

Moving on to the small arms:

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By battery:

  • Battery A: Eight Army revolvers, twenty cavalry sabers, and twenty horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery B: Ten Army revolvers and twenty-two cavalry sabers.
  • Baltimore Battery:  Twenty-five Army revolvers and thirty-two horse artillery sabers.

Worth noting, in his official report, Alexander laments that most of his men were “totally unarmed” and thus were sent rapidly on the road to Harpers Ferry with the word of a Confederate cavalry pursuit.  He had just over eighty men to report at the end of the retreat, so just who had those pistols and sabers might be inferred.

(Citation from OR, Series I, Volume 27, Part II, Serial 44, page 103.)