Tag Archives: Army of the Cumberland

Sherman’s March, May 24, 1865: The Grand Review and the end of the Great March

At 9 a.m., 150 years ago this morning, a signal gun and triggered the procession of Major-General William T. Sherman’s command on their Grand Review in front of cheering crowds in Washington D.C.

Sherman and Major-General Oliver O. Howard lead the procession with their staffs.  Behind them came Major-General John Logan and the Fifteenth Corps.

Behind them, Major-General Frank Blair and the Seventeenth Corps.

After the Right Wing passed, Major-General Henry Slocum lead the Left Wing on review:

The Twentieth Corps, led by Major-General Joseph Mower, came next in the line.

As I like to mention, the Twentieth Corps had its roots in the east – formed of the Army of the Potomac’s Eleventh and Twelfth Corps.  As such it provided the link between the Armies of the Tennessee and the Potomac.

The next formation in the review also offered a link – however to an army not present on parade that day. Major-General (a brevet that was soon to be disallowed) Jefferson C. Davis led the Fourteenth Corps.   And, you should know that the Fourteenth Corps had its roots as the Army of the Cumberland.

I’ve always felt their presence was somewhat representative of that “other” great Federal army of the western theater.

You may want to click over to Seven Score and Ten, Civil War Daily Gazette, and General Sherman’s Blog for more on the Grand Review’s second day.

For the photos above, I’ve relied upon the Library of Congress captions to identify the units.  As we well know, those captions have their errors.  So please take the identification with a grain of salt.  If the captions are correct, the troops of the Twentieth Corps received a good bit of attention from the photographers:

Remarkable that all four of the corps which conducted the Great March were photographed on this day 150 years ago.  We have scant few photographs from the Great March (Altanta to Savannah to Columbia to Goldsboro to Raleigh to Washington).  Aside from a number of photos taken at Fort McAllister in December 1864, the majority of the photos of the Great March come on the last day of the movement.

And just as the Great March’s conclusion was captured in photos, the veterans cemented the memory of the Grand Review in their minds and … even 150 years later … in the public’s mind.  This shaped our impression of the event to the point it becomes the “victory parade” after which similar festivities are modeled to celebrate the end of more recent wars.  Keeping with that notion, allow me to close with the somewhat definitive “lore” of the Great March by George W. Nichols:

On the 24th of May, Sherman’s Army passed in review before the President of the United States in Washington.  It was the last act in the rapid and wonderful Drama of the four gallant corps. With banners proudly flying, ranks in close and magnificent array, under the eye of their beloved Chief, and amid the thundering plaudits of countless thousands of enthusiastic spectators, the noble army of seventy thousand veterans paid their marching salute to the President of the Nation they had helped to preserve in its integrity – and then broke ranks, and set their faces toward Home.  This was the farewell of Sherman’s Army! So, too, ends the Story of the Great March.

(Citation from George Ward Nichols, The Story of the Great March from the Diary of a Staff Officer, New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1865, page 322.)

“The veteran condition of your troops would justify a material reduction in the number of guns.”: Barry starting the Atlanta Campaign

Recall back in the winter of 1864 our diarist Colonel Charles S. Wainwright lamented the re-assignment of Brigadier-General William F. Barry to the west.  Barry figures importantly for anyone looking at the Federal artillery arm. Having organized the Army of the Potomac’s artillery early in the war, he then served in Washington as the inspector of artillery with responsibilities to include managing the artillery depot.  In the winter of 1864, Major-General William T. Sherman needed a senior, experienced artillery chief, and Barry was the best choice.

To some degree, Barry was once again building – or perhaps rebuilding would be an apt word – an artillery arm to support a field army.  As such, there’s ample room to compare Barry’s actions in 1861 to those in 1864.   Let’s start out with the state of affairs Barry inherited when arriving in Chattanooga:

On the 20th of March, 1864, the date of my appointment as chief of artillery of your army, the field artillery of the four separate armies, which at that time composed your command, consisted of 16,250 men (effective), 530 guns, 4,300 horses, and 987 mules. The proportion of artillery to the aggregate infantry and cavalry force was about three guns to 1,000 men. The guns were of varied patterns, twelve different calibers being at that time in actual use. The severity of the campaigns of the previous autumn and winter had also reduced the number of draft animals much below what was necessary.

So 530 guns, of twelve different calibers, averaging out to around three guns per thousand men.  Recall that in 1861, Barry suggested a ratio of three guns per thousand men.  And that by mid-war, the Army of the Potomac actually fielded a much higher ratio – around five per thousand.  Also in 1861, Barry was content with a mix of 6-pdr field guns, 12-pdr howitzers, 12-pdr Napoleons, and rifled guns to support the infantry corps (and he accepted several larger calibers for the reserve and siege trains).  But after the 1862 campaigns, Barry urged the replacement of the light smoothbores with the Napoleons.

One might expect Barry to be content with the number of guns, but press for uniformity of calibers.  Not so.  Barry did not simply apply the 1861 formula without considering the full situation – particularly the troops supported by the artillery:

Believing that the character of the country and of your proposed operations, as well as the veteran condition of your troops, would justify a material reduction in the number of guns, and convinced that efficiency and facility of service and supply demanded a reduction of the number of calibers, I submitted both questions to your consideration. You approved of my recommendation that the proportion of artillery to the other two arms should not exceed two guns per 1,000 men, and that the number of calibers should be reduced to four. Immediate measures were taken to carry out these views. Horses and mules in sufficient numbers were provided and distributed; the proportion of artillery was reduced to rather less than two guns per 1,000 men, and all the odd or unnecessary calibers were eliminated by being either turned into arsenals or placed in the depots or other fortified posts in our rear, where they were used as guns of position.

Here’s a fine case of an artillerist being true to his word. In the Instruction for Field Artillery, which Barry co-authored, the ratio was explained as such:

The proportion of field artillery to other arms varies generally between the limits of 1 and 4 pieces to 1,000 men, according to the force of the army, the character of the troops of which it is composed, the force and character of the enemy, the nature of the country which is to be the theater of the war, and the character and object of the war. Similar considerations must regulate the selection of the kinds of ordnance, and the proportions of the different kinds.

Considering terrain and in particular the veteran nature of the troops, Barry opted for a ratio less than that adopted in 1861.  And far less than that used in 1863.  A reduction of battery strength from six guns to four guns provided a means to keep organizational flexibility – assigning the same number of batteries to each corps or division, while reducing the overall number of guns.  But the important reduction came by casting off so many odd calibers.

Barry retained an artillery reserve for each army (recall Sherman’s force consisted of three named armies – Cumberland, Tennessee, and Ohio).  But that reserve remained in the rear at readiness for a call to the front when the need arose (and it did at points later in the campaign).

When Sherman’s force stepped off on the Atlanta Campaign, on May 5, 1864, Barry could report the overall strength in guns to be 254:


However, Barry never quite reduced the variety of the guns down to the desired levels.  In a table providing the amount of ammunition expended during the Atlanta Campaign, he recorded continued use of 12-pdr and 24-pdr howitzers.  The addition of 4.5-inch siege rifles came towards the end of the campaign during the siege of the city.


That total should bring a whistle or sigh – 145,323 rounds from May 5 to September 2, 1864.

The story of the artillery in the Atlanta Campaign, I feel, is somewhat under-appreciated.  The arm did sterling service and was a valuable asset throughout.  As time permits, I hope to bring that story out here on the blog at the appropriate sesquicentennial moments this summer!

(Citations from OR, Series I, Volume 38, Part I, pages 119-123; Instructions for Field Artillery: Prepared by a Board of Officers, Philadelphia: J.B. Lippingcott & Co., 1861, page 4.)

“With these changes this army will be a unit in all respects”: Sherman organizes for his march on Atlanta

On this day (April 2) in 1864, Major-General William T. Sherman wrote Lieutenant-General U.S. Grant seeking approval for organizational changes in his department, in front of preparations for the spring campaign season:

Hdqrs. Military Division of the Mississippi,
Nashville, Tenn., April 2, 1864. (Received 6 p.m.)
Lieut. Gen. U.S. Grant,
Washington, D.C.:
After a full consultation with all my army commanders, I have settled down to the following conclusions, to which I would like to have the President’s consent before I make the orders:

First. Army of the Ohio, three divisions of infantry, to be styled the Twenty-third Corps, Major-General Schofield in command, and one division of cavalry, Major-General Stoneman, to push Longstreet’s forces well out of the valley, then fall back, breaking railroad to Knoxville; to hold Knoxville and Loudon, and be ready by May 1, with 12,000 men, to act as the left of the grand army.

Second. General Thomas to organize his army into three corps, the Eleventh and Twelfth to be united under General Hooker, to be composed of four divisions. The corps to take a new title, viz, one of the series now vacant. General Slocum to be transferred east, or assigned to some local command on the Mississippi. The Fourth Corps, Major-General Granger, to remain unchanged, save to place Major-General Howard in command. The Fourteenth Corps to remain the same. Major-General Palmer is not equal to such a command, and all parties are willing that General Buell or any tried soldier should be assigned. Thomas to guard the lines of communication, and have, by May 1, a command of 45,000 men for active service, to constitute the center.

Third. Major-General McPherson to draw from the Mississippi the divisions of Crocker and Leggett, now en route, mostly of veterans on furlough, and of A. J. Smith, now up Red River, but due on the 10th instant out of that expedition, and to organize a force of 30,000 men to operate from Larkinsville or Guntersville as the right of the grand army; his corps to be commanded by Generals Logan, Blair, and Dodge. Hurlbut will not resign, and I know no better disposition of him than to leave him at Memphis.

I propose to put Major-General Newton, when he arrives, at Vicksburg.
With these changes this army will be a unit in all respects, and I can suggest no better.

Please ask the President’s consent, and ask what title we shall give the new corps of Hooker, in lieu of the Eleventh and Twelfth, consolidated. The lowest number of the army corps now vacant will be most appropriate.

I will have the cavalry of the Department of the Ohio reorganize under Stoneman at or near Camp Nelson, and the cavalry of Thomas, at least one good division, under Garrard, at Columbia.

W. T. Sherman,

Looking at this request 150 years after the fact, we know Longstreet’s corps in East Tennessee returned to Virginia before Major-General John Schofield’s Army of the Ohio had anything to say about the matter.  The Army of the Ohio was for all practical matters simply the Twenty-third Corps when counting maneuver elements.  But Sherman purposely kept that command separate for use as a “left guard.”

Major-General George Thomas’ Army of the Cumberland formed Sherman’s “center.” And Sherman mentioned two very significant changes within that army.  The first of which, consolidating the old Eleventh and Twelfth Corps into (though not known at the time of writing) the Twentieth Corps, involved old Army of the Potomac formations sent west in the fall of 1863.  Generals Alpheus Williams, John Geary, and Daniel Butterfield retained divisions in that consolidated corps.  And of course, Major-General Joseph Hooker remained employed as the head of that corps.  So the names involved were familiar to you “easterners.”

The Fourth Corps, Army of the Cumberland, received a new commander in the form of Major-General O.O. Howard.  Major-General John Newton, formerly of the Army of the Potomac’s First Corps, took command of the Second Division of Howard’s Corps.  So disregard that “exiled to Vicksburg” line from Sherman.  Major-General Henry Slocum drew that assignment instead.

The Fourteenth Corps, Thomas’ old corps, was, in my opinion, the cornerstone of the Army of the Cumberland.  But despite Sherman’s reservations, Major-General John Palmer remained at the head.  Don Carlos Buell left the service instead of serving under Sherman.  Buell’s explanation was he held date-of-rank over Sherman.  Read into that what you will, as Grant has long since weighed in on the matter.

The Army of the Tennessee was once Grant’s command and later Sherman’s. Now it served under the very capable Major-General James McPherson. Note however, the three corps in that army had non-West Pointers in charge – Major-General John A. Logan with the Fifteenth Corps; Major-General Grenville Dodge with the Sixteenth Corps; and Major-General Frank P. Blair with the Seventeenth Corps.

With mention of these commands and commanders, I would pose a question.  Were the personalities and internal friction in Sherman’s command any better or worse than that of armies in the east?

(Citation from OR, Series I, Volume 32, Part III, Serial 59, page 221.)

All those captured guns from Missionary Ridge

I have not blogged about Chattanooga through the sesquicentennial of that battle. Mostly because I was unable to make an expedition that way during the fall to refresh my photographic archives.  Lots of cannon stories and interesting subjects for “walk arounds.”  But I’ve not visited since the late 1990s, and don’t have good pictures to back up the posts.

That said, let me pull up one familiar wartime artillery photographs taken at Chattanooga which featured artillery:


I count eighteen tubes in this view.  All 12-pdr Napoleons.  Some with the straight muzzle of Confederate manufacture.  Others with a muzzle swell, which could be captured Federal (but not in this case) or those of early Confederate manufacture.

Captain Thomas G. Baylor, Chief of Ordnance for the Army of the Cumberland provided a by-type listing of guns that Army captured at Chattanooga.  Since the photo carries the caption linking to that particular field army, let us figure odds are good the weapons in the photo are among those listed in Baylor’s report.  Baylor tallied:

  • Eight 6-pdr guns
  • Thirteen 12-pdr light field guns, Confederate pattern
  • Six 12-pdr light field guns, Leeds & Company, New Orleans
  • Three 12-pdr field howitzers
  • One 3-inch rifle, Confederate pattern
  • Four 10-pdr Parrott rifles, 2.9-inch bore
  • Two rifled 6-pdrs with 3.67-inch bore
  • One James rifle with 3.8-inch bore
  • Two 24-pdr siege guns.

A grand total of forty guns. That does not count a handful of weapons captured by other formations (outside of the Army of the Cumberland) in the battle.  Aside from the siege guns, no real surprises here.  The Army of the Tennessee had benefited from  the battlefield captures from Chickamauga.  With the defeat on Missionary Ridge, the Army of Tennessee lost almost a third of its artillery.  And a substantial portion of the guns remaining were off near Knoxville in another ill-fated endeavor.

So eighteen of the nineteen Napoleons show up in that photo (maybe I miscounted or maybe one is tucked away at the end of the line).  That’s almost five (four gun) batteries of the preferred Napoleons.  And all of those Napoleons recorded by Baylor were Confederate manufacture.  That was like a solid punch in the gut to the southern war effort.  All the time and resources allocated to producing those fine guns ended up a naught.  Another photo of that line of Napoleons, taken from a different angle, best illustrates that point:


The markings are out of focus.  But looking close at the trunnion on the second gun in the row, there’s a three line manufacturer stamp.


Sort of reminds me of the stamp used by Augusta Arsenal:

Pitzer Woods 10 Aug 08 461

The fourth gun also teases with an out of focus stamp:


If I had to venture a guess, I’d say Leeds & Company.  But that would be a wild guess.

Others who have interpreted this photo pick out the stencil on the carriage trail for the first gun in the line:


“Macon Arsenal // 1863 // GA.”

So total up the cost to produce one bronze gun tube, a carriage, limber, implements, and such.  Multiply that by nineteen.  There’s the cost of that line of guns in dollars in cents to the Confederate war effort.

And by the way, those nineteen guns?  That would represent about 5% of the total Confederate bronze Napoleon production through the entire war.  All in a nice row, but under new ownership.  No doubt a few of them destined for a return to the battlefield… but as static displays long after the sounds of war disappeared.

(Baylor’s report appears in OR, Series I, Volume 31, Part II, Serial 53, pages 99-100.)

150 Years Ago: The Federal Artillery at Chickamauga

Back in December, I posted about the Federal artillery at Stones River. Let me continue working that thread by turning yet again to a report from Colonel James Barnett, Chief of Artillery for the Department of the Cumberland. The Army of the Cumberland reorganized from three wings into three corps – Fourteenth, Twentieth, and Twenty-first – with a reserve and cavalry corps. In his report of the battle, Barnett detailed each battery assignment complete with the number and type of guns:

Fourteenth Army Corps:

First Division.–Battery H, Fifth U.S. Artillery, Lieutenant Burnham commanding: Four 12-pounder Napoleons, two 10-pounder Parrotts. Fourth Indiana Battery, Lieutenant Flansburg commanding: Two 12-pounder Napoleons, two 6-pounder James rifles, two 12-pounder howitzers. Battery A, First Michigan, Lieut. G. W. Van Pelt commanding: Six 10-pounder Parrotts….

Second Division.–Company M, First Ohio Artillery, Capt. F. Schultz commanding: Four James rifles, two 3-inch rifled guns. Company G, First Ohio Artillery, Capt. A. Marshall commanding: Four 12-pounder Napoleons, two 3-inch rifled guns. Bridges’ (Illinois) Battery, Capt. L. Bridges commanding: Two 12-pounder Napoleons, four 3-inch rifled guns….

Third Division.–First Michigan Battery, Capt. J. W. Church commanding: Two 10-pounder Parrotts, two 6-pounder James rifles, two 12-pounder howitzers. Company I, Fourth U.S. Artillery, Lieut. F. G. Smith commanding: Four 12-pounder Napoleons. Company C, First Ohio Artillery, Lieut. M. B. Gary commanding: Four James rifles, two 12-pounder Napoleons….

Fourth Division.–Eighteenth Indiana Battery, Capt. Eli Lilly commanding: Six 3-inch rifled guns, four mountain howitzers. Nineteenth Indiana Battery, Capt. S. J. Harris commanding: Four 12-pounder Napoleons, two 3-inch guns. Twenty-first Indiana Battery, Lieutenant Chess commanding: Six 12-pounder Napoleons….

Twentieth Army Corps:

First Division.–Second Minnesota Battery, Lieut. A. Woodbury commanding: Two 10-pounder Parrotts, four 12-pounder Napoleons. Eighth Wisconsin, Lieut. J. D. McLean commanding: Two 12-pounder Napoleons, four 3-inch guns. The Fifth Wisconsin Battery, being on duty with Colonel Post’s brigade, was not engaged….

Second Division.–Fifth Indiana Battery, Capt. P. Simonson, commanding: Four 6-pounder James rifles, two light 12-pounder guns. Company A, First Ohio Artillery, Capt. W. F. Goodspeed commanding: Four 6-pounder James rifles, two light 12-pounder guns. Twentieth Ohio Battery, Capt. E. Grosskopff commanding: Four 3-inch rifled guns, two light 12-pounder guns….

Third Division.–Company G, First Missouri Artillery, Capt. H. Hescock commanding: Four light 12-pounder guns, two 10-pounder Parrotts. Company C, First Illinois Artillery, Captain Prescott commanding: Four 3-inch rifled guns, two 12-pounder howitzers. Eleventh Indiana Battery, Capt, A. Sutermeister commanding: Four 12-pounder light guns, two 3-inch rifled guns.

Twenty-first Army Corps:

First Division.–Sixth Ohio Battery, Capt. Cullen Bradley commanding: Four 10-pounder Parrotts, two light 12-pounder guns. Eighth Indiana Battery, Capt. George Estep commanding: four 6-pounder smooth-bore guns, two 12-pounder howitzers. The Tenth Indiana Battery, belonging to this division, was not engaged, being with General Wagner’s brigade at Chattanooga….

Second Division.–Company B, First Ohio Artillery, Lieut. N. A. Baldwin commanding: Four James rifles, two 6-pounder smoothbore guns. Company M, Fourth U.S. Artillery, Lieut. F. L. D. Russell commanding: Four 12-pounder Napoleons, two 24-pounder howitzers. Company H, Fourth U. S. Artillery, Lieut. H. C. Cushing commanding: Four 12-pounder howitzers. Company F, First Ohio Artillery, Lieut. G. J. Cockerill commanding: Four 6-pounder James rifles, two 12-pounder howitzers….

Third Division.–Third Wisconsin Battery, Lieut. C. Livingston: Four 10-pounder Parrotts, two 12-pounder howitzers. Seventh Indiana Battery, Capt. George R. Swallow: Four 10-pounder Parrotts, two 12-pounder Napoleons. Twenty-sixth Pennsylvania Battery, Capt. A. J. Stevens: Four 6-pounder smooth-bore guns, two 6-pounder James rifles….

Reserve Corps:

Eighteenth Ohio Battery, Capt. C. C. Aleshire commanding: Six 3-inch rifled guns. Company M, First Illinois Artillery, Capt. George W. Spencer commanding: Four 12-pounder Napoleons, two 3-inch rifled guns. Company I, Second Illinois Artillery, Capt. C. M. Barnett commanding: Two 12-pounder Napoleons, two 6-pounder James rifles, two 10-pounder Parrotts.

Not mentioned in Barnett’s report, The Chicago Board of Trade Battery and a section from Battery D, 1st Ohio Light Artillery accompanied the Cavalry Corps.

Just as in December 1862, the Army of the Cumberland retained the “one battery per brigade” assignment on paper. Of the thirty-two batteries who’s armament was detailed by Barnett, only five are “pure” with one type of weapon (though we might throw in the 18th Indiana as a sixth with it’s unique mountain howitzer section).

Over the winter, the Army of the Cumberland increased its artillery park by about a third. In those thirty-two batteries listed, Barnett had 192 guns, with a type breakdown as such:

  • Sixty-two 12-pdr Napoleons
  • Thirty-six 3-inch rifles
  • Thirty-two James Rifles or 6-pdr Rifled Guns
  • Thirty 10-pdr Parrotts
  • Sixteen 12-pdr field howitzers
  • Ten 6-pdr smoothbores
  • Four 12-pdr mountain howitzers
  • Two 24-pdr field howitzers

In comparison to the December 1862 armament, the increase came mostly with the 12-pdr Napoleons and 3-inch rifles. In fact, the number of Napoleons increased by six times, while the number of 3-inch rifles over four-fold. The Wiard guns disappeared from the field.

The guns of the Army of the Cumberland were well crewed during the September fighting. Yet a large number of those guns were in Confederate hands by the end of the battle. That’s the next length of thread on this storyline.

(Citations from OR, Series I, Volume 30, Part 1, pages 233-6.

150 Years Ago: Guns, ammunition, harnesses, and wagons to replace losses at Stones River

Some days ago, I offered the composition of the artillery in the Federal Army of the Cumberland going into the Battle of Stones River.  Always good to offer a “before” and “after” comparison.  And again I turn to the report of Colonel James Barnett, the army’s chief of artillery.  (Most of the figures that follow are from the table accompanying his report, reproduced here.)

Barnett accounted for the men engaged at the close of his report, “The whole number of men engaged in servicing the batteries was 86 commissioned officers and 2,760 non-commissioned officers and privates.”  Of this force the casualties from three days of battle were 63 killed, 204 wounded, and 106 captured or missing.  Roughly, the artillery arm suffered a 13% casualty rate across the board.  As might be surmised from a simple examination of the battle, the batteries supporting the Right Wing (Major General Alexander McCook) suffered the most casualties.

Of course batteries consisted of three major “components” – men, horses, and guns.  Yesterday I mentioned the quartermaster’s report detailing the loss of horses and mules.  Lieutenant Colonel John W. Taylor indicated the loss of 555 artillery horses.  There are several line item discrepancies between that report and that of Barnett, who indicated the artillery lost 569 killed, 60 wounded (and likely later destroyed), and 59 missing horses.  In other words, 133 more horse casualties than Taylor reported.  Because horses require harnesses, Barnett listed the loss of 119 harnesses of all types.  (And if you are counting, Taylor reported the army lost 1,540 overall.)

Next the guns… Barnett recorded the loss of 28 guns, with one disabled.  In particular, two batteries lost six guns apiece – Battery E, 1st Ohio and Battery C, 1st Illinois.  Losses, again as one would expect, were heaviest on the right side of the line where the Confederate attacks of December 31st fell.  Indeed, lost or disabled guns came from batteries supporting the three divisions of the Right Wing and Negly’s (Second) Division of the Center.  (The report of Lieutenant Alexander Marshall, Battery G, 1st Ohio, which supported Negly’s division, offers a notable study in the retreat of a battery caught in an impossible tactical situation.)  Overall, the Army of the Cumberland lost over 20% (yes, one-fifth) of its guns in battle.

Barnett did not delineate the number of lost limbers or caissons.  The army did lose three battery wagons and five forges, with one of each reported disabled.  These losses were slightly offset with the capture of six guns, three caissons, three forges, and two battery wagons.

The last statistic to mention from Barnett’s report is the number of rounds  expended – 20,307.  That translates to an average of 148 rounds per gun.

As the numbers indicate, the artillery arm was in bad need of resupply and refit after the battle. Correspondence between Major General William Rosecrans and Washington bears this out, with requests for artillery ammunition, harnesses, horses, and guns.  One request, made by Rosecrans to General-in-Chief Major General Henry Halleck on January 4, 1863, stands out in reference to the guns:

I require, to replace batteries lost in battle in the cedar thickets eighteen 12-pounder light field guns, twelve 3-inch rifled guns or Parrott, six 24-pounder howitzers, with harnesses, forge, and battery wagons complete.  We must have them wit hall possible dispatch.  Can you send us a couple of new batteries? There was one ready in Cleveland.

General Horatio Wright, commanding the Department of the Ohio, indicated the next day he’d ordered forward two replacement batteries.

The types of cannons requested by Rosecrans is at the same time expected and yet somewhat odd.  I doubt anyone, then or now, would wonder about the request for more Napoleons, 3-inch Ordnance Rifles, or Parrotts.  But 24-pdr howitzers?  Well the big howitzers filled a tactical niche the army required.  Battery M, 4th US Artillery received two of the 24-pdr howitzers during the refit period.

The new guns requested in January were but the first of many that the Army of the Cumberland received prior to the next major campaign.  By the type of its next major battle, at a creek named Chickamauga in September 1863, the army would have many more 3-inch rifles, 10-pdr Parrotts, and Napoleons.  But it would keep significant number of 6-pdr field guns, 12-pdr howitzers, and bronze James rifles.  But that is a subject best left for a post down the road a bit.

(Citations from OR, Series I, Volume 20, Part I, Serial 29, pages 241-2 and Part II, Serial 30, pages 297-8.)

150 Years Ago: Animals lost at Stones River

A few weeks back, my friend Eric Wittenberg posted an article discussing the use of horses during the Civil War.  Eric indicated that just short of 5.2 million horses lived in the U.S. prior to the outbreak of war.  The Federals used around 825,000 horses during the war.  He does not offer a figure for mules, but I’ve seen a like numbered figure from other sources.  And although Eric did not offer statistics for the Confederates, the estimates are around 2/3rds that used by the Federals.

The numbers alone are impressive, but indicative of a time when steam power was state of the art.  With the horse and mule so vital to military movement – at both the operational and tactical levels – it is of no surprise many of those animals became casualties of the war.  As Eric noted:

More than 1,000,000 horses and mules were killed during the Civil War. In the early days of the conflict, more horses than men were killed. Just at the July 1863 Battle of Gettysburg alone, the number of horses killed was about 1,500—881 horses and mules for the Union, and 619 for the Confederacy.

Shortly after the battle of Stones River, Lieutenant Colonel John W. Taylor, Chief Quartermaster for the Department of the Cumberland, produced a very detailed report of the losses experienced in the battle.  Taylor tallied, by headquarter and regiment, the number of wagons, ambulances, harnesses, horses, and mules lost during the period from December 26, 1862 to January 16, 1863. I’ve pulled the data from that table and posted it as a PDF if you care to review the details:

Statement of public animals and means of transportation captured by the enemy, killed in battle, and lost and destroyed from December 26, 1862, until January 16, 1863.

The bottom line totals were – 229 wagons, 28 ambulances, 1,540 harnesses, 774 horses, and 1,34 mules.  Yes, the total number of animals lost by the Federals during the Stones River Campaign was 2,108.    (The totals Eric cited for Gettysburg are just for the days of that battle, so don’t try an apples to oranges comparison here.)  The totals include animals killed in battle, destroyed as consequence of the campaign, or captured by the Confederates.

The losses at Stones River hit the artillery arm particularly hard.  For the campaign, the Army of the Cumberland had 27 batteries.  By regulation the number of horses per battery was between 110 and 150, depending on the type and number of guns used by the battery.  And recall the army’s batteries were horribly mixed in terms of weapon types.    That translated to a requirement for somewhere between 3,000 and 4,000 horses.  During the campaign, the army lost 555 artillery horses.   Thus the loss was somewhere between 13% and 18% of the artillery’s motive power.   Without the means to move, field artillery is of little good on the battlefield.

By contrast, the Federals lost only 80 cavalry horses at Stones River.  Then again, many will make the point that the cavalry was not fighting on the most contested portions of the field.

Offsetting the Federal losses somewhat were the capture of 196 horses and 223 mules from the Confederates after the battle and during the brief pursuit.   Still the Army of the Cumberland had to make up what amounted to a 1700 animal net loss.  Battle or no battle, animals die or otherwise become incapable of performing the required tasks.  So in addition to making up the shortfall due to campaign loss, the army had to factor in the attrition rates even standing still.  Long story short, the Army of the Cumberland needed many more horses and mules before proceeding on the next march towards Georgia.

Horses, as you are no doubt aware, don’t grow on trees.  They must be procured.  After the first of January 1863, there was a lot of “procuring” going on.