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.)

Summary Statement: December 31, 1862 – Minnesota’s and Maryland’s batteries

For this installment on the Summary Statements, we’ll double up.  Minnesota and Maryland fit together, right?  Well they were stacked up in the summary this way.

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Minnesota provided three light batteries to the war effort.These were numbered batteries, and not considered part of a state regiment of artillery (there was a heavy artillery regiment, but does not factor in this reporting period).  But only two of those were in service at the reporting time in December 1862.  Of those two batteries, we have some question marks regarding their returns:

  • 1st Battery:  Shown at Vicksburg, Mississippi. Lieutenant William Z. Clayton’s battery boasted two 12-pdr field howitzers and two 6-pdr (3.67-inch) bronze rifles.  However, the battery was not at Vicksburg (nor would be for some months into the future).  Clayton’s battery was part of the Left Wing, Thirteenth Corps.  The battery was on the Northern Mississippi Campaign that season and moved from Corinth to Memphis before catching a boat ride down river to Lake Providence, Louisiana.  Given the received date of February 27 (1863), I suppose “opposite Vicksburg” might be the location given for the report.
  • 2nd Battery: Listed at Chattanooga, Tennessee with four 6-pdr field guns and two 12-pdr field howitzers.  Again we see a problem with location!  The Army of the Cumberland, which Captain William Hotchkiss’s 2nd Minnesota Battery was part of, might have wanted to be in Chattanooga.  But we know instead they were rather busy at Stones River at the end of December 1862.  So we look at the date of receipt – April 15, 1864, a time when the battery was indeed around Chattanooga.  This battery supported First Division, Right Wing, Fourteenth Corps at Stones River.  The battery fired 500 rounds in the battle, lost 13 horses, and reported 11 casualties in the battle.

Now let us turn to the Maryland batteries.  There were three in service at the reporting time, two of which provided returns:

  • Battery A:  No report.  This battery was in First Division, Sixth Corps, Army of the Potomac and camped opposite Fredericksburg at the close of 1862.  The battery was armed with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.
  • Battery B: At White Oak Church, Virginia with four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. The battery was with 2nd Division, Sixth Corps.
  • Baltimore Independent Battery: At Baltimore with one 6-pdr field gun and six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. This battery was on duty in western Maryland (Maryland Heights, in particular) at the time.

Hopefully all question marks are settled for those five batteries (from two states) in consideration here.

For smoothbore ammuniton:

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  • 1st Minnesota: 12-pdr field howitzer – 92 shell, 104 case, and 130 canister.
  • 2nd Minnesota: 6-pdr field gun – 266 shot, 288 case, and 71 canister.  12-pdr field howitzer – 160 case and 25 canister.
  • Baltimore Battery: 6-pdr field gun – 150 case and 150 canister.

I like it.  A “clean” data set with little to remark about!

Moving to the rifled projectiles, first the Hotchkiss types:

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Of those reporting (and remember one of the Maryland batteries was lacking here):

  • 1st Minnesota:  Watch the calibers here…. for the 12-pdr Wiard (3.67-inch bore) – 74 Hotchkiss shot, 96 shell, and 12 bullet shell (case).  Recall this caliber matched to the converted 6-pdr rifles, which differed in bore size from true James rifles.  Just an interesting note for artillery students here – Hotchkiss projectiles, designed for Wiard rifles, used in 6-pdr bronze rifles.  Got it?
  • Battery B, Maryland:  150 shell and 370 bullet shell (case) Hotckiss for 3-inch rifles.
  • Baltimore Battery: 150 canister and 736 bullet shell (case) for 3-inch rifles.

None of the reporting batteries indicated quantities of Dyer, Parrott, or James on hand.  Moving over to the Schenkl columns:

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Only the Maryland batteries:

  • Battery B, Maryland:  179 Schenkl 3-inch shells.
  • Baltimore Battery:  584 Schenkl 3-inch shells.

And on the far right we see 1st Minnesota had 126 of Tatham’s 3.67-inch canister for those rifled 6-pdrs.

As for small arms:

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  • 1st Minnesota: 11 Navy revolvers and 13 cavalry sabers.
  • 2nd Minnesota: 8 Navy revolvers and 25 cavalry sabers.
  • Battery B, Maryland: 14 Army revolvers and 113 cavalry sabers.
  • Baltimore Battery: 20 Army revolvers and 30 horse artillery sabers.

Lots of edged weapons there with Battery B.

Other than the issues with the Minnesota batteries reported location, and the interesting use of projectiles for those rifled 6-pdrs, no surprises and few question marks with these batteries.