Summary Statement, 3rd Quarter, 1863 – Miscellaneous New York artillery

As a convention, I prefer to work through each state entry starting with “regimented” batteries first (where regiments existed of course), then through independent batteries, and lastly through any miscellaneous lines.  However, to ease handling and processing of these snips for transcription, I’m going to turn next to the miscellaneous lines before going to the independent batteries.

You see, the lines between the 2nd New York and 3rd New York include a couple of sections from infantry regiments.  Those are lines 18 and 19:

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Then, at the bottom of the page, we find entries for two cavalry regiments and stores held by an infantry regiment.  Those last three returns were received in the forth quarter of 1863, roughly when they were expected.  But those on the upper lines were not received until 1864.  So imagine how this conversation went down…..

Clerk:  Sir, I just received these two returns from the 98th and 99th New York Infantry claiming they have cannons. And I don’t have room to fit them at the bottom of the New York page in the summary.  What ever shall I do?

Ordnance Officer: Stick them in where you have space after the 2nd New York Artillery. Nobody will ever notice.  Nobody cares about these summaries anyway!

But yet, here we are in 2018 with that annoying second red line as result of the split data!

So we have five “miscellaneous” to consider from the New York section of the summary:

  • 98th New York Infantry:  Companies E and H, if my reading is correct, assigned to Croatan Station, North Carolina with two 6-pdr field guns.
  • 99th New York Infantry: A detachment reporting on the Gunboat Smith Briggs, in Virginia, with one 12-pdr field howitzer and one 10-pdr Parrott.
  • 3rd New York Cavalry: A detachment at New Berne, North Carolina with two 12-mountain howitzers.
  • 5th New York Cavalry: A detachment also at New Berne, and also with two (or is it three?) 12-pdr mountain howitzers.
  • 51st New York Infantry:  “Stores in Charge” of a Lieutenant Colonel at Camp Nelson, Kentucky.

Let me explore these five in more detail.

The 98th New York Infantry was among the forces sent from North Carolina to the Department of the South earlier in 1863, as part of the build-up before the Ironclad Attack.  When that effort failed, the 98th was among the forces sent back to North Carolina, specifically Beaufort.   On April 25, Lieutenant-Colonel Frederick F. Wead, then in command of the regiment, received orders to garrison “Newport Barracks, Havelock, Croatan, [and] Bogue sound blockhouse” which guarded the railroad between Beaufort / Morehead City and New Berne.  After the war, William Kreutzer (then Captain, but later Colonel of the regiment) mentioned these dispositions in a history of the regiment:

This writer was assigned to the command of two posts, one at a point where the railroad crosses Newport river, called Havelock, and the other at Croatan, ten miles above, along the road to New Berne.  Each post had a small earthwork in which was mounted on Napoleon gun.

This passage establishes the ‘who’ portion of the return but on disagrees with the summary’s line.  Perhaps, writing post war and being an infantryman, Kreutzer was simply mistaken about the guns.  At any rate, we can at least verify some cannon were under the care of the 98th New York at Croatan around this time of the war, performing “boring” garrison duty.

The 99th New York Infantry, with names like “Bartlett’s Naval Brigade” and “Lincoln Divers” offers a bit more interesting story.  Colonel William A. Bartlett began recruiting what was intended to be a full brigade in the spring of 1861.  It included almost as many men from Massachusetts and New Jersey as it did New York.  The intent was to assign these companies to Army gunboats and have them patrol the coast.  But by the time Bartlett reported to Fort Monroe, he’d met with an accident and the brigade was understrength. The “brigade” was then reorganized as an infantry and assigned duty at various posts around Fort Monroe and on vessels operating in that area.  Colonel David W. Waldrop commanded.    By the spring of 1863, most of those detachments were recalled and the regiment served at Suffolk, Virginia.  Of those still on detached duty was Company I, manning the gunboats West End and Smith Briggs.  The latter, we have a sketch to work from:

SmithBriggsGunboat

The Smith Briggs was a chartered (not outright purchased) 280 ton steamer converted to an armed transport, with a rifled 32-pdr and a rifled 42-pdr (probably converted seacoast guns using the James system).  Based on the entry here in the summary, I would contend the 99th New York maintained a 12-pdr field howitzer and a 10-pdr Parrott to supplement those big guns, and perhaps use on patrols off the gunboat.  Captain John C. Lee, of the 99th New York, commanded the Smith Briggs in 1863.  And he was still in command when the vessel ran aground off Smithfield, Virginia on February 1, 1864, and was destroyed.

The detachment from the 3rd New York Cavalry should be familiar to readers from the previous quarter.  These was Lieutenant James A. Allis command.

And a similar detachment was formed in the 12th New York Cavalry which also operated out of New Berne.  During the summer, Lieutenant Joseph M. Fish, of Company F, was detached to command a section of howitzers.  And these show up in some returns as “Fish’s Howitzers” or “Fish’s Battery.”

And lastly the 51st New York Infantry.  This regiment, part of the Second Division, Ninth Corps in the summer of 1863.  It was transferred to the Twenty-Third Corps in September and performed garrison duties in the District of Kentucky.  We’ll see some of the stores accounted for in the ammunition tables that follow.  The regiment’s Lieutenant-Colonel was R. Charlton Mitchell at this time of the war.

With that summary of the five units represented by the lines, let us turn to the ammunition reported. Starting with the smoothbore:

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  • 98th New York Infantry: 57 shot, 41 case, and 42 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
  • 99th New York Infantry: 42 shell and 88 case for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • 12th New York Cavalry: 32 shell, 44 case, and 46 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.
  • 51st New York Infantry:  56 shot, 56 case, and 48 canister for 6-pdr field guns.

Note that no ammunition was reported (for the second quarter in a row) for Allis’ detachment from the 3rd New York Cavalry.

No Hotchkiss or Schenkl projectiles to report.  But there were some Parrott projectiles:

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Yes, on the ill-fated Smith Briggs:

  • 99th New York Infantry: 137 shell and 40 canister for 10-pdr Parrott.

No small arms were reported by these five detachments on the artillery summaries.  Usually infantry and cavalry commands filed their reports on different forms that were complied on a separate set of summaries.

Before leaving the “miscellaneous” of New York, there are two other batteries that deserve mention.  Recall Goodwin’s Battery, with its rather exotic breachloaders, and Varian’s State Militia Battery were mustered into Federal service to meet the emergency posed by Lee’s invasion of Pennsylvania.  Both were still in Federal service at the start of the quarter.  But only briefly in service.  Goodwin’s was mustered on July 27.  Varian’s was mustered out six days earlier.  As these batteries were off the Federal rolls by the end of September, they were not required to send in returns.  Lucky for them!


Citation: William Kreutzer, Notes and Observations Made During Four years of Service with the Ninety-Eighth N.Y. Volunteers in the War of 1861, Philadelphia: Grant, Faires & Ridgers, 1878, page 164.

Sherman’s March, March 7, 1865: “try and keep the foragers from insulting families by word or rudeness”

In more ways than one, 150 years ago this day the campaign became the Carolinas Campaign.  March 7, 1865 was, for many in Major-General William T. Sherman’s marching columns, the last day spent in South Carolina.  By the end of the day, only the Right Wing camped short of the North Carolina border.  Writing to the Left Wing commander, Major-General Henry Slocum, the day before, Sherman cautioned, with respect to behavior of the men, as they entered North Carolina:

Of course we will dispose of all public stores and property but will spare private houses. Use wheat, corn, meal, bacon, animals, wagons, &c., needed by your command, but try and keep the foragers from insulting families by word or rudeness. It might be well to instruct your brigade commanders that we are now out of South Carolina and that a little moderation may be of political consequence to us in North Carolina.

And while Sherman’s men gained the state line, 120 miles northeast a Federal column, lead by Major-General Jacob Cox, neared Kinston.  So not only was Sherman entering North Carolina, his forces were within range of supporting columns from the coast. Cox under orders to push towards Goldsboro and join with Sherman.  This was the leading element of what would become Sherman’s “Center Wing,” or Army of the Ohio, under Major-General John Schofield.  Now one might look at the map and determine that Wilmington was, at that day, some thirty miles closer than Kinston.  To understand why Cox would be at Kinston instead of Fayetteville or other point closer to Sherman, we need to consider the logistics supporting the campaign.

Thus far in the march across South Carolina, the logistics for Sherman’s columns amounted to what was carried in the wagons.  But after five weeks, the armies were running low on things which could not be foraged in any quantities – ammunition, hardtack, shoes, uniforms, and military equipment.  And Sherman had anticipated that need.  Sherman’s Quartermaster, Brigadier-General Langdon C. Easton, not accompanying the march, established depots at three ports in North Carolina – Wilmington, Morehead City, and New Bern.  Wilmington presented a problem, as, being just secured from the Confederates, the river channel had to be cleared of torpedoes and the railroad leading inland needed repair.  New Bern was far too inland for oceangoing ships, though it could serve as a base for operations.

MoreheadCity2

It was Morehead City, and nearby Beaufort, which offered a port for ocean-going vessels and railroads leading inland (to New Bern).  However, the force under Schofield at Wilmington lacked the wagons and other support to move the troops by land to Morehead City or New Bern.  Enough was on hand for two divisions under Major-General Alfred Terry would move out of Wilmington. But the other five divisions had to move by water to Morehead City. Schofield began shifting his troops, by water, from Wilmington to Morehead City for his next role in the campaign.  However, this movement put more pinch to the already strained shipping resources.

beaufort-north-carolina

And, as mentioned above, had the effect of moving the much needed link-up point with Sherman further out.  Such would provide the Confederates one more “gift” of time.  But for the time being, the Confederates had to find ways to delay these two advancing forces from reaching a juncture before their wide spread forces could concentrate.

OK… enough of the logistics stuff and grand operations!  What moved on March 7?

SCMarch_Mar7

The Right Wing made a slow-march that day.  A march that Major-General Oliver O. Howard recorded as “without special incident.” Perhaps Howard simply forgot, when later compiling his official report, the day did have its own “special” incidents.  I’ll get to that in a separate post, later today.   Point being, though, the march was not contested.  The Seventeenth Corps moved on a single road and went into camp at Beaverdam Creek, just short of the state line.

The Fifteenth Corps moved by three columns.  The First Division moved on a road to the left of Seventeenth Corps, but running east of Crooked Creek.  The Fourth Division marched on a road to the left of that.  Both lines of march converged at Brightsville.  To the left of them, the Third and Second Divisions (in that order) marched through Quick’s Church toward the state line.

However, that last mentioned element of the Fifteenth Corps got a late start.  The Twentieth Corps received the right of way on the same road to start their movement, and to create the “echelon” formation Sherman desired.  Major-General Apheus S. Williams reported marching fifteen miles and reaching the railroad at Mark’s Station.   Not bad for men on short rest.  Leading the Corps was Major-General John Geary’s Second Division.  Geary recorded:

… marched in advance of the corps, at 6 a.m., on good roads though a very poor, sandy country, the inhabitants of which devoted their chief attention to the manufacture of resin.  At noon we reached Station 103, on the Wilmington, Charlotte, and Rutherford Railroad…. The structure is excellent, laid with T-rail of the best English make.  Here we destroyed three-quarters of a mile of track, and a quantity of new iron rails which were piled up for shipment to other points.  Several large resin factories along our route were destroyed to-day.  One alone contained 2,000 barrels of resin lately manufactured.

Geary also reported some of his foragers, united with others from the Fourteenth Corps reached Rockingham. There they skirmished with the Confederate rear guard.  That rear guard was also pressed by the Cavalry Division, which moved up to Rockingham that day.  Major-General Matthew Butler’s men gave a fight, but only enough to keep the Federals off the columns retreating north.

Behind all this, the Fourteenth Corps completed crossing the PeeDee River.  The corps marched ten miles in the direction of Rockingham.  However, with another delay crossing a river, the Fourteenth Corps was out of formation. More hard marching was needed to create the echelon and Fayetteville.

For the Confederates, General Joseph E. Johnston issued some direction which had been sorely lacking in the weeks before.  Sizable elements of the Army of Tennessee, namely Major-Generals Benjamin Cheatham’s and A.P. Stewart’s commands, were just then arriving at Chester where rail cars could move them to Charlotte.  General Braxton Bragg, reluctantly accepting a subordinate position to Johnston the day before, positioned his force in front of Cox’s advance on Kinston.  Bragg’s force included the Wilmington garrison reinforced with parts of the Army of Tennessee under Major-General D.H. Hill.  And, mentioned above, Lieutenant-General William Hardee’s forces fell back from Rockingham.  Hardee turned east towards Fayetteville.

(And let us not forget that in Virginia at this same time, Major-General Philip Sheridan had launched a drive that started at Waynesboro, Virginia.  Though given the objective eventually joining with Sherman’s forces in North Carolina, Sheridan would not.  That route certainly looks inviting on the map.  But I would remind readers there is some rather difficult terrain to traverse between Waynesboro, taking Lynchburg to Danville.  Needless to say, Sheridan instead moved to Charlottesville and back to Richmond, thus putting him on a different stage for April’s campaigns.)

On March 7, 1865, large columns began movement into southeastern North Carolina.  These concentrations were like gathering storm clouds.

(Citations from OR, Series I, Volume 47, Part I, Serial 98, page 690; Part II, Serial 99, page 704.)