Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – 1st Pennsylvania Light Artillery

The 1st Pennsylvania Light Artillery (also known as the 43rd Pennsylvania Volunteers) was, perhaps, short-changed with its organization.  Instead of a full compliment of batteries, the 1st Pennsylvania only ever had Batteries A through I.  And even with that, Battery I was only organized in the war’s last months. Thus for the second quarter of 1863, we have only eight batteries to account for.

In June 1863, Colonel Robert M. West led the regiment, on the rolls.

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West, appearing in this photo with his lovely daughter, was at Yorktown, Virginia in a role that was more “garrison commander” than “field commander.”  His staff and one battery were at that location.  Overall, of the eight batteries in his small-ish regiment, only five had recorded returns for the quarter:

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Accounting for those in detail:

  • Battery A: No return.  Captain John G. Simpson’s battery was assigned to Second Division, Seventh Corps, then in the Norfolk area.  I believe the battery retained four 12-pdr Napoleons.  The battery participated in the Siege of Suffolk and Dix’s Peninsula Campaign.
  • Battery B: Showing as at Rappahannock Station, Virginia, as of August 16, 1863, with four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  But with an assignment to First Corps, we know well Captain James H. Cooper’s battery was, as of June 30, moving up toward Gettysburg.
  • Battery C: Claiming to be at Culpeper, Virginia… well in October, 1863… with  six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles (as opposed to 10-pdr Parrotts from the last quarter).  Captain Jeremiah McCarthy remained in command.  On June 25, the battery was sent out of the Army of the Potomac to Camp Barry, D.C.  However, by the end of the Gettysburg Campaign, the battery was back in the field at Harpers Ferry.
  • Battery D: No return.  Battery D was consolidated with Battery C through August.  Thus we list Battery D as at Camp Barry.  Lieutenant Andrew Rosney was the ranking officer of the battery.
  • Battery E: At Yorktown, Virginia with four 12-pdr Napoleons.  Captain Thomas G. Orwig commanded this battery, assigned to First Division, Fourth Corps.
  • Battery F: Indicated at Falmouth, Virginia, with a March 1864 reporting date, with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Captain R. Bruce Ricketts commanded a combined Batteries F and G, in 3rd Volunteer Brigade, Artillery Reserve.  Thus their proper location, for June 30, was somewhere on the march up from Frederick, Maryland.
  • Battery G: Dittos indicating Battery G was with Battery F for the reporting period.  Lieutenant Belden Spence was the ranking officer remaining with the battery.
  • Battery H: At Camp Barry, D.C. with four 12-pdr Napoleons. Captain Andrew Fagan commanded this battery, which in the Artillery Reserve, Fourth Corps.  Thus the battery was actually around Yorktown at reporting time.  The battery would transfer to Camp Barry in the fall.

And as mentioned above, Battery I would not muster until very late in the war.  Batteries K, L, and M never existed, save for a notional line allocated on the clerk’s form.

Only two lines of smoothbore ammunition to account for:

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  • Battery E: 176 shot, 64 shell, 192 case, and 80 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery H: 182 shot, 54 shell, 162 case, and 64 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.

No disputes there.

We move to the rifled projectile pages, starting with Mr. Hotchkiss’s types:

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Three batteries reporting:

  • Battery B: 20 canister, 180 fuse shell, and 338 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery C: 180 canister, 104 percussion shell, and 344(?) bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery F & G: 120 canister, 120 fuse shell, and 840 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

Yes, a lot of case… er… bullet… in those chests.

We skip past the Dyers, James, and Parrott projectiles, with none reported, and go to the Schenkl:

0220_2_Snip_PA_1st

Again, three batteries reporting:

  • Battery B: 277 shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery C: 158 shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery F & G: 120 shell for 3-inch rifles.

Lastly, we look at the small arms reported:

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By battery:

  • Battery B: Sixteen Navy revolvers and fourteen horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery C: Seventeen Navy revolvers and five (?) cavalry sabers.
  • Battery E: Eight Navy revolvers and fourteen horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery F & G: Sixteen Army revolvers, eight Navy revolvers, one cavalry saber, and nineteen horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery H: Fourteen Navy revolvers and eleven horse artillery sabers.

Thus rounds out the 1st Pennsylvania Light Artillery’s report for the second quarter, 1863.

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