Summary Statement, 3rd Quarter, 1863 – Maine’s Batteries

Despite a summer of campaigning and major battles, the third quarter, 1863 summaries for Maine captured information from four of the six batteries:

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Two of those returns were posted in October. The clerks had to wait until the winter for the other two.  The same two batteries, 1st and 3rd, failed to file returns the previous quarter.  The Maine batteries are at times identified by numbered as well as lettered designations.  For simplicity here, I’ll retain the convention used by the Ordnance Department clerks… the numbers:

  • 1st Battery: No return. Captain Albert W. Bradbury resumed command of the battery after July.  Battery remained assigned to First Division, Nineteenth Corps, Department of the Gulf.  After the fall of Port Hudson, the battery moved with its parent formation back to Baton Rouge.  Reports earlier in the year gave the battery had four 6-pdr rifled guns and three 12-pdr howitzers.
  • 2nd Battery: “In the field” with four (down from six) 3-inch Ordnance rifles.  This is Captain James A. Hall’s battery, First Corps, Army of the Potomac.  Hall was up for promotion later in the year.  “In the field” was in Culpeper County, as of the end of September, 1863.  The battery would report to Camp Barry in November.  And around the same time, Hall would receive a much deserved promotion (and soon command the artillery school at Camp Barry).
  • 3rd Battery:  No report.  At this stage of the war, 3rd Battery was re-designated Battery M, 1st Maine Heavy Artillery (it would later revert to light artillery). Captain James G. Swett commanded.  The battery was stationed in the Defenses of Washington, on the north side of the Potomac.  They were, for at least a portion of this time, assigned to Battery Jameson, outside Fort Lincoln.
  • 4th Battery: Reporting at Culpeper, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance rifles.  Captain O’Neil W. Robinson, Jr. remained in command.  The battery returned to the Army of the Potomac, as part of French’s Division, under Third Corps.
  • 5th Battery: Reporting, appropriately “in the field” with four (down from six) 12-pdr Napoleons, from a report filed in March 1864.  Captain Greenleaf T. Stevens remained in command of this battery, which remained with First Corps, Army of the Potomac, through the end of the reporting period.  As such, its location was “in the field” in Culpeper County, Virginia.
  • 6th Battery: Another battery reporting from Culpeper, Virginia, in January 1864, this time with four 12-pdr Napoleons. The battery transferred from the 4th Volunteer Brigade, Artillery Reserve, Army of the Potomac to the 1st Volunteer Brigade (commanded by its original commander – Lieutenant Colonel Freeman McGilvery. Lieutenant William H. Rogers resumed command of the battery.

Of note, the 7th Maine Light Battery began formation in the fall of 1863. Though it would not formally muster until December.

And, mentioned above in regard to the 3rd Battery, the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery, under Colonel Daniel Chaplin, was part of the defenses of Washington, D.C., assigned to the north side of the Potomac.  The regiment had detachments in Maine on recruiting duties and at the seacoast fortifications (mostly recruits being trained up for duty).  This regiment was destined to see combat in the year that followed, but as one of the “heavies” given infantry duties in the Overland Campaign.

Let us move across the summary and discuss the ammunition on hand for the four reporting field batteries, starting with the smoothbore:

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Two Napoleon batteries:

  • 5th Battery: 192 shot, 64 shell, 188 case, and 68 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 6th Battery: 192 shot, 64 shell, 192 case, and 64 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.

The number of rounds on hand for the Napoleons seems low to me.  A standard Napoleon ammunition chest held 32 rounds.  Each gun in the battery should have at least four such chests (one on the limber, three with the caisson) if not a few more.  Do the math.  5th and 6th Batteries had roughly a chest per gun.  Both returns were filed at the start of 1864, while the batteries were enjoying the winter encampment.  And those batteries would have plenty of ammunition to fill the chests.  I suspect in this case the returns were “as of the reporting date” and not “on hand at this time.”  But without seeing the actual return, that cannot be determined for certainty.

Moving to the rifled projectiles.  The batteries with 3-inch Ordnance Rifles reported Hotchkiss rounds:

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Two batteries reporting:

  • 2nd Battery: 71 shot, 99 canister, and 240 fuse shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 4th Battery: 120 canister, 381 fuse shell, and 699 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

As with the Napoleon batteries, 2nd Battery seems short on ammunition, with a couple of chests worth on hand (though we’ll see enough for a couple more chests from the Schenkl columns below).  4th Battery had but six total.

We rarely have seen solid shot reported for field batteries in the 3-inch or 10-pdr Parrott calibers.  Solid shot, or bolt as the Parrotts were designated, were good for counter-battery work.  Though they could not match the performance of solid round shot against infantry.

As for 2nd Battery and their Schenkl rounds:

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  • 2nd Battery:  258 shot for 3-inch rifles.

Taken with the 71 Hotchkiss, that’s a lot of solid shot! Almost two full chests worth.

More Schenkl on the next page.

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  • 2nd Battery: 115 shell for 3-inch rifles.

With the remarks and questions about ammunition taken in consideration, we continue to the small arms:

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By battery:

  • 2nd Battery: Sixteen Army revolvers and nine cavalry sabers.
  • 4th Battery: Eighteen Navy revolvers and eleven cavalry sabers.
  • 5th Battery: Ten Army revolvers and fifteen cavalry sabers.
  • 6th Battery: Seven Army revolvers, a hundred Navy revolvers and twenty-two horse artillery sabers.

All considered, the numbers for the Maine batteries offer some insight into logistics at this time of the war for the Federal ranks.  Two of the batteries gave returns close to the end of the reporting period. And we have conjectural evidence the other two were giving “as of that date” returns.  From those returns, we conclude the battery had one chest on hand for many of its guns.

But before we go off worrying the Army of the Potomac had some shortage of shells, we have to keep in mind what we know outside of those batteries.  The artillery chief (Brigadier-General Henry Hunt) was not filling the telegraph lines with pleas for more ammunition.  Nor was the ordnance or quartermaster sections reporting any Army-wide shortage.  So perhaps the Maine batteries were reporting what they had on hand, at the end of a summer of hard campaigning with little time to resupply.  Meanwhile, the missing set of data here is what was retained on hand at the Army-level in Hunt’s famous artillery trains.  Those chests, resupplied after Gettysburg, represented a ready supply to be quickly applied where need was felt.  Perhaps the numbers indicate Hunt placed priority to resupply of the trains over filling chests in the batteries?

Thus, if we take these numbers at face, on the eve of the Bristoe Station Campaign at least four batteries had simply enough rounds for a brief engagement.  Though resupply was but a short ride away.

Another “number” to consider is the reduction of three batteries to four guns.  This trend would continue through the Overland Campaign and reflected policy changes.  Seasoned, veteran infantry required less gun tubes per frontage for support.  Fewer guns to support meant fewer ammunition chests.  And such cycles back into the discussion of logistics, among other things.

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Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – Maine’s batteries

Through June of 1863, the state of Maine provided six batteries to the Federal cause (a seventh would follow later in the year).  Looking at the summary for the second quarter, 1863, we find the Ordnance Department recorded returns from four of the six:

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Somewhat a regression from the previous quarter, where five of the six had recorded returns.  But there’s little to speculate on the two missing returns.  (And a reminder, Maine’s batteries are sometimes designated by number, and at other times by letter.  Here we will stick to the format from the summary):

  • 1st Battery: No return. Lieutenant John E. Morton remained in command of this battery, assigned to First Division, Nineteenth Corps, Department of the Gulf.  And at the end of June, that formation was laying siege to Port Hudson. Reports earlier in the year gave the battery had four 6-pdr rifled guns and three 12-pdr howitzers.
  • 2nd Battery: Hamilton (?), Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance rifles.  This is Captain James A. Hall’s battery, First Corps, Army of the Potomac.  This assignment had them marching up from Emmitsburg, Maryland, camping at Marsh Creek, on June 30.  We might attribute the location to the date of the return’s receipt – October 1863.  But keep in mind the modern village of Hamilton, in Loudoun County, was named Harmony during the war.  In October 1863, the battery was in Culpeper county.
  • 3rd Battery:  No report.  At this stage of the war, 3rd Battery was re-designated Battery M, 1st Maine Heavy Artillery (it would later revert to light artillery). Captain James G. Swett commanded.  The battery was stationed in the Defenses of Washington, on the north side of the Potomac.  They were, for at least a portion of this time, assigned to Battery Jameson, outside Fort Lincoln.
  • 4th Battery: Reporting at Rappahannock, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance rifles.  The location is likely connected to the receipt date of August 1863.  Captain O’Neil W. Robinson, Jr. commanded this battery.  Assigned to French’s Division, Eighth Corps, Middle Department, the battery was among those at Harpers Ferry at the start of June.  On June 30, the forces there moved to Frederick, Maryland.  Later in the summer, the battery transferred, with it’s parent, into the Third Corps, Army of the Potomac.
  • 5th Battery: Reporting, appropriately “in the field” with six 12-pdr Napoleons.  Captain Greenleaf T. Stevens assumed command of this battery during the Chancellorsville Campaign.  And of course, the battery was part of Wainwright’s brigade, supporting First Corps.  Stevens has a knoll named for him at Gettysburg.
  • 6th Battery: At Taneytown, Maryland with four 12-pdr Napoleons. The battery was part of the 4th Volunteer Brigade, Artillery Reserve, then advancing across Maryland, so the location is very accurate. Lieutenant Edwin B. Dow remained in command.

So we find four of these batteries involved with the Gettysburg campaign (with three actually on the field).  One battery was at Port Hudson.  Only the 3rd was not actually in a fight at the return’s due date.

Moving to the ammunition, two batteries had Napoleons and two have ammunition on hand:

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  • 5th Battery: 288 shot, 96 shell, 288 case, and 96 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 6th Battery: 192 shot, 64 shell, 192 case, and 64 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.

Nothing out of the ordinary there.

Moving on to the rifled projectiles.  Ordnance rifles were on hand, so we find Hotchkiss reported:

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Again, two batteries reporting:

  • 2nd battery: 359 fuse shell and 140 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 4th Battery: 120 canister, 381 fuse shell, and 699 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

For the next page, we can focus on the Dyer columns:

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Just one reporting:

  • 2nd Battery: 402 shrapnel and 137 canister of Dyer’s patent for 3-inch rifles.

Some time back, I was asked what Federal batteries might have had Dyer’s projectiles at Gettysburg.  Well there is the the lead – Hall’s battery.

The next page has one entry:

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Again, Hall’s battery:

  • 2nd Battery: 156 Schenkl shells for 3-inch rifles.

Since we are seeing a lot of Hall’s Battery here, I’d point out his expenditure and losses at Gettysburg.  In his official report, the battery fired 635 rounds.  Eighteen men wounded and four captured.  Twenty-eight horses killed and six wounded.  One gun-carriage destroyed, and two others disabled (probably due to axles).  But no guns lost…. Hall and a sergeant personally brought one abandoned gun off the field.

Turning last to the small arms:

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Of the four batteries reporting:

  • 2nd Battery: Sixteen Army revolvers and eleven cavalry sabers.
  • 4th Battery: Eighteen Army revolvers and twenty-three(?) cavalry sabers.
  • 5th Battery: Eleven Army revolvers and sixteen cavalry sabers.
  • 6th Battery: Seven Army revolvers, 100(?) Navy revolvers and thirty-two(?) horse artillery sabers.

The odd bit here is with all those pistols in the 6th Battery.  The previous quarter, the battery had but seven.

Summary Statement, 1st Quarter, 1863 – Maine’s Batteries

Maine provided seven batteries of field artillery to the Federal war effort.  Of those six were in service during the winter of 1863 (the seventh did not muster until the following winter).  As mentioned for the previous quarter’s returns, we find both numbered and lettered designations for Maine’s batteries.  But I’ll conform to the convention given in the summary.  Of the six batteries to consider, the clerks recorded five returns:

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And of those five, we find only two types of cannon:

  • 1st Battery: No return. This battery was assigned to Nineteenth Corps, Department of the Gulf, and had a very active winter operating in Louisiana.  Reports from the department indicate the battery was under Captain E. W. Thompson, with four 6-pdr rifled guns and three 12-pdr howitzers. Lieutenant John E. Morton replaced Thompson early in the spring.
  • 2nd Battery: No location given, but reporting six 3-inch Ordnance rifles. Captain James A. Hall’s battery was assigned to First Corps, Army of the Potomac, in Colonel Charles S. Wainwright’s brigade.  They wintered around near White Oak Church (Fletcher’s Chapel is mentioned).
  • 3rd Battery:  Stationed at Fort [Battery] Jameson, Maryland, but no guns indicated. Captain James G. Swett’s battery was stationed in the Defenses of Washington, in a battery part of the larger Fort Lincoln. The 3rd had a varied history to this point in the war, most recently working with pontoons. Near the close of the quarter the battery became part of the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery (temporarily as Battery M of that regiment).
  • 4th Battery: At Harpers Ferry, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance rifles. Captain O’Neil W. Robinson, Jr. commanded this battery, assigned to Kelley’s Division, Eighth Corps, Middle Department.
  • 5th Battery: Reporting at Fletcher’s Chapel, Virginia with six 12-pdr Napoleons.  Captain George F. Leppien commanded this battery, which also fell under Wainwright’s brigade, supporting First Corps.
  • 6th Battery: At Warrenton Junction, Virginia with four 12-pdr Napoleons and two 3-inch Ordnance rifles.  The location is likely reflecting the August 12 reporting date. The battery supported the Twelfth Corps at this time and was posted to Dumfries, Virginia. Lieutenant Edwin B. Dow replaced Captain Freeman McGilvery in command.

So we can fill in some of the blanks and make some minor corrections.  Relatively speaking, the Maine batteries were in order.. from the clerk’s point of view.  Note the artillery assigned to the 9th Maine Infantry dropped from the list for first quarter.

Smoothbore ammunition reported on hand for the quarter:

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Two batteries with Napoleons.  And two batteries reporting ammunition for that:

  • 5th Battery: 288 shot, 95 shell, 289 case, and 96 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.
  • 6th Battery: 192 shot, 64 shell, 149 case, and 64 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.

Moving to rifled projectiles, the batteries reported healthy quantities of Hotchkiss-patent:

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From those reporting:

  • 2nd Battery: 137 canister, 156 percussion shell, 354 fuse shell, and 146 bullet shell Hotchkiss for 3-inch rifle.
  • 4th Battery: 120 canister, 320 fuse shell, and 699 bullet shell Hotchkiss for 3-inch rifle.
  • 6th Battery: 100 canister, 24 percussion shell, 150 fuse shell, and 126 bullet shell Hotchkiss for 3-inch rifle.

No quantities of Dyer’s, James’, or Parrott’s projectiles were on hand.  And just one entry for Schenkl to consider:

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2nd Battery reported 402 Schenkl shells for 3-inch rifle.

Moving to the small arms:

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By battery:

  • 2nd Battery: Sixteen Army revolvers and eleven cavalry sabers.
  • 3rd Battery: 105 Army revolvers and one cavalry saber.
  • 4th Battery: Eighteen Navy revolvers and twenty-three cavalry sabers.
  • 5th Battery: Sixteen Army revolvers and seventeen cavalry sabers.
  • 6th Battery: Seven Army revolvers and twenty-two horse artillery sabers.

It would have been nice if the 1st Battery’s report was here to compare.  But we see 3rd Battery, stationed in the Washington defenses,  likely had a pistol for every man.