Summary Statement, 3rd Quarter, 1863 – New York Independent Batteries, Part 1

From that long page of New York entries for the third quarter, 1863 summaries, we have thirty-three lines covering the independent batteries from the state:

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Some of these are simply placeholder lines for batteries either mustered out or being mustered in.  Still a notable measure of New York’s support of the war… in terms of men.  All told, New York designated a total of thirty-six of these “independent” batteries.  Convenient for blog posting as I can split this discussion into three parts of a dozen each.  For the third quarter, the first part, covering 1st through 12th New York Independent Batteries, includes eight received returns.  Only five of which were received by the end of the year:

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A lot of Culpeper County addresses for those batteries:

  • 1st Independent Battery: In Culpeper, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.   Captain Andrew Cowan remained in command of the battery, assigned to Sixth Corps, Army of the Potomac.
  • 2nd Independent Battery:  No return.  The battery mustered out, in New York, on June 13, 1863.  The men with time left on their enlistments transferred to Battery I, 1st New York.  Captain Wolfgang Bock had authority to recruit a reorganized 2nd Independent Battery.  On October 14, that authority was revoked and men recruited into the new 2nd were instead was made part of the 15th New York Heavy Artillery.
  • 3rd Independent Battery: Also in Culpeper, Virginia but with six 10-pdr Parrotts. The battery was part of Sixth Corps, under Lieutenant William A. Harn.
  • 4th Independent Battery: No return.  Recall Captain James E. Smith’s battery lost three 10-pdr Parrotts on July 2 at Gettysburg (and one of those was on a disabled carriage).   During that battle, the 4th was assigned to Third Corps.  But on July 31st, the battery shows up on the returns for the Department of Washington, assigned to the Artillery Camp of Instruction, Camp Barry.  Smith’s battery returned to the Army of the Potomac in August, assigned to First Volunteer Brigade, Artillery Reserve. And on a monthly report dated August 31, the battery had six 12-pdr Napoleons.  Smith took leave around that time. Lieutenant Thomas Goodman, and later Lieutenant William T. McLean, held command of the battery in Smith’s absence.  And, of course, with the assignment to the Reserve Artillery the battery was in Culpeper at the end of September.
  • 5th Independent Battery: And another battery reporting from Culpeper.  with six 20-pdr Parrotts.  Captain Elijah D. Taft remained in command of this battery, in the Second Volunteer Brigade, Artillery Reserve.
  • 6th Independent Battery: For a slight change, reporting at Brandy Station, Virginia, and with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Captain Joseph W. Martin held command of this battery, assigned to the First Brigade, Horse Artillery, Army of the Potomac.  And Martin, having fought hard at Fleetwood Hill earlier in June, certainly knew Brandy Station quite well!
  • 7th Independent Battery: At Norfolk, Virginia with two 12-pdr Napoleons (down from three) and six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Captain Peter C. Regan’s battery supported the Seventh Corps.
  • 8th Independent Battery: At Gloucester Point, Virginia with  six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Captain Butler Fitch commanded this battery.  In the previous quarter, the battery reported specific assignment to Fort Keyes in the defenses of Gloucester Point.
  • 9th Independent Battery: Fort Reno, District of Columbia, with only infantry stores. Captain Emil Schubert remained in command.  Battery assigned to the Twenty-Second Corps, defending Washington.  Originally Company F, 41st New York Infantry, it was equipped as artillery and formally redesignated as an independent battery in December 1861.  As indicated, the battery was not equipped as light artillery.
  • 10th Independent Battery: Marked “not in service.”  In the previous quarter, we discussed how this battery was broken up in June, with men mustering out or transferred to other batteries: 1st New Hampshire Battery; Battery E, 1st Massachusetts; and Batteries C and G, 1st Rhode Island.  A detachment remained, udner Lieutenant Charles T. Bruen, and served in the Washington Defenses through June of 1864.
  • 11th Independent Battery: No return.  On, or about June 16, what remained of the battery was attached to Battery K, 1st New York Light.  Captain John E. Burton was busy bringing this battery back up to strength (which he would not complete until the end of the year).
  • 12th Independent Battery: At Brandy Station, Virginia reporting six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. This battery transferred to Third Corps, being among the troops Major General William French brought over.  Captain George F. McKnight remained in command.

Very clean, from an administrative standpoint.

We turn to the smoothbore ammunition reported:

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Two batteries:

  • 5th Battery: 91 canister for 6-pdr.
  • 7th Battery: 41 shot, 46 shell, 89 case, and 65 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.

The bore diameter for 20-pdr Parrotts was 3.67-inches.  The bore diameter for 6-pdr field guns was also 3.67-inches.  Apparently we are seeing, in a pinch, that Taft’s battery received smoothbore ammunition when supplies of proper Parrott canister ran low.  At least that’s the inference the data leads us to.

Turning to the Hotchkiss page:

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Five lines to consider:

  • 1st Battery: 120 canister, 7 percussion shell, 3 fuse shell, and 435 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 6th Battery: 93 canister, 10 fuse shell, and 128 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 7th Battery: 147 canister, 60 percussion shell, 228 fuse shell, and 619 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 8th Battery: 175 canister and 70 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 12th Battery: 60 canister, 65 percussion shell, 126 fuse shell, and 116 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

We’ll break the next page down into sections for clarity, starting with Dyer’s Patent projectiles:

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And just one of those:

  • 8th Battery: 321 shell and 650(?) shrapnel for 3-inch rifles.

To the right of those are the Parrott columns:

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Two lines:

  • 3rd Battery: 502 shell, 502 case, and 177 canister for 10-pdr Parrott.
  • 5th Battery: 3 shell and 42 case for 20-pdr Parrott.

Yes, no Parrott canister for the 5th Battery.

More rounds on the Schenkl page:

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Like a canister blast across the page:

  • 1st Battery: 217 shell and 420 case for 3-inch rifles.
  • 3rd Battery: 67 shell for 10-pdr Parrott.
  • 5th Battery: 216 shell and 248 case for 20-pdr Parrott.
  • 6th Battery: 654 shell and 4 case for 3-inch rifles.
  • 8th Battery: 353 shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 12th Battery:  250 case for 3-inch rifles.

The projectiles in the chests accounted for, we turn to the small arms:

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By battery:

  • 1st Battery: Twenty Navy revolvers and twelve horse artillery sabers.
  • 3rd Battery: Four Navy revolvers and ten cavalry sabers.
  • 5th Battery: Twenty-five Army revolvers and twenty-one horse artillery sabers.
  • 6th Battery: 119 Navy revolvers and ten cavalry sabers.
  • 7th Battery: Eighteen Navy revolvers and twenty horse artillery sabers.
  • 8th Battery: Thirteen Navy revolvers and twenty horse artillery sabers.
  • 12th Battery: Twenty-eight Army revolvers and twenty-nine cavalry sabers.

That’s the first dozen of these New York Independent Batteries.  Next up is the middle set.

 

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Summary Statement, 3rd Quarter, 1863 – 1st New York Light Artillery

We turn now to the New York listings in the third quarter summary.  Appropriately, the clerks allocated a complete page to document all of the batteries and sections from the state:

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That’s enough New York Yankees to fill the major league team and the farm system!  The First, Second (one battery), and Third regiments of artillery are there.  Along with lines for thirty-three independent batteries, though not all in service at the time.  Rounding out the page are five entries for sections from cavalry and infantry regiments (unfortunately split up within the page).  A lot to discuss.  We’ll break these down by section and start with Colonel Charles S. Wainwright’s 1st New York Light Artillery Regiment:

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Compared to our Missouri postings, the 1st New York offers a relatively clean set of returns without need of much speculation.  Be that due to Wainwright’s attention to administration… or the proximity to Washington.  Let’s cover the locations, cannon reported, commanders, and command assignments:

  • Battery A: At Pottsville, Pennsylvania, on an April 1864 receipt date, with four 12-pdr Napoleons.  Battery A, under Captain Thomas H. Bates, transferred to the Department of the Sesquehanna in early June 1863, specifically the District of Philadelphia.  They pulled the “arduous” duty of guarding Pottsville and the vital Yuengling Brewery… right….
  • Battery B: At Culpeper, Virginia with four 10-pdr Parrotts. Recall Lieutenant Robert E. Rogers brought this battery off the field at Gettysburg, after more senior officers fell.  At that time the battery supported Second Corps.  After Gettysburg, the battery moved to the 2nd Volunteer Brigade, Reserve Artillery, Army of the Potomac.  Lieutenant Albert S. Sheldon, recovering from his Gettysburg wound, was promoted to command the battery. Later in December, Rogers would replace Sheldon permanently.
  • Battery C: Listed at Three Mile Station, Virginia (three miles from Warrenton Junction, at a village named Casanova today) with four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Captain Almont Barnes remained in command and the battery remained with Fifth Corps.
  • Battery D: Reporting from Brandy Station, Virginia with six 12-pdr Napoleons.  Supporting Third Corps, Captain George B. Winslow remained in command.
  • Battery E: “Not in the service.”   Reduced by sickness and other causes during the Peninsula Campaign, members of this battery were then serving with Battery L, below.  Lieutenant William Rumsey is the ranking officer I know of, from this period, in the battery.
  • Battery F: At Camp Barry, Washington, D.C. with four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Captain William R. Wilson remained in command.  The battery, assigned to the Artillery Camp of Instruction, was in the Twenty-second Corps.
  • Battery G: Now at Mitchell’s Station, Virginia, in Culpeper County, with six 12-pdr Napoleons. Captain Nelson Ames’s battery transferred out of the 4th Volunteer Brigade, Artillery Reserve in August, returning to the 2nd Corps.
  • Battery H: Also at Camp Barry with four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Captain Charles E. Mink remained in command.  At the end of September, the battery transferred to First Corps, Army of the Potomac.
  • Battery I: No report. Captain Michael Wiedrich commanded this battery, assigned to Eleventh Corps.  The battery had six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles at this time of the war.  The battery was sent west, with the rest of Eleventh Corps, to reinforce Chattanooga, with movement starting in late September.
  • Battery K: Reporting at Brandy Station, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. The battery remained with the battery assigned to Third Volunteer Brigade, Artillery Reserve.  The 11th New York Independent Battery was attached to Battery K at this time, and manned two of the guns.  In August, Captain Robert H. Fitzhugh was promoted to Major.  In his place Lieutenant Edward L. Bailey led the battery.
  • Battery L: Simply “in the field” with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Listed on the order of battle as a combined Batteries E & L, Captain Gilbert H. Reynolds commanded.  The battery supported First Corps and was in Culpeper County at the end of the reporting period.
  • Battery M: Reporting from Bridgeport, Alabama, in January 1864, with four 10-pdr Parrott rifles.  Lieutenant Charles Winegar commanded this battery, supporting Twelfth Corps.  The battery started movement in late September with its parent formation on the long journey to reinforce Chattanooga.  So while the location as of the end of September was Virginia, within a few weeks they were transiting through Bridgeport as they played a part in the relief of the Army of the Cumberland.

For perhaps the brief moment of a single quarter within the war, all of the 1st New York Light Artillery was operating in the same theater.  When Battery H transferred to the First Corps, only Battery A (in Pennsylvania) and Battery F (in D.C.) were outside the Army of the Potomac.  However, with the departure of the Eleventh and Twelfth Corps for Chattanooga in the last days of September, that arrangement changed.

Moving to the ammunition pages, we start with the smoothbore rounds reported on hand:

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Three batteries reporting, all with Napoleons:

  • Battery A: 192 shot, 64 shell, 320 case, and 136 canister.
  • Battery D: 288 shot, 96 shell, 288 case, and 96 canister.
  • Battery G: 262 shot, 100 shell, 262 case, and 144 canister.

And as for the Hotchkiss projectiles:

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All for those Ordnance rifle batteries:

  • Battery C: 92 canister, 140 percussion shell, 146 fuse shell, and 456 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery F: 123 canister, 56 percussion shell, 160 fuse shell, and 480(?) bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery H: 180 canister, 130 percussion shell, and 160 fuse shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery K: 120 canister and 362 fuse shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery L: 120 canister and 39 percussion shell for 3-inch rifles.

We can trim the next page down to look just at Parrott rounds:

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Two of those Parrott batteries:

  • Battery B: 354 shell, 297 case, and 95 canister for 10-pdr Parrotts.
  • Battery M: 298 shell, 412 case, and 94 canister for 10-pdr Parrotts.

The rifled-gun batteries also reported Schenkl rounds on hand:

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Four reporting:

  • Battery B: 57 shell for 10-pdr Parrott.
  • Battery H: 293 case for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery K: 353 shell and 555 case for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery L: 441 shell and 600 case for 3-inch rifles.

Lastly the small arms:

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A little fuzzy, but we can work with these:

  • Battery A: Seventeen Navy revolvers.
  • Battery B: Nine Army revolvers and thirteen cavalry sabers.
  • Battery C: One Army revolver, eight Navy revolvers, and twenty-eight horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery D: Eight Army revolvers and eight horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery F: Eighteen Army revolvers, six horse artillery sabers, and sixteen foot artillery swords.
  • Battery G: Nineteen Army revolvers and twenty-seven horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery H: Twenty Navy revolvers, fifteen cavalry sabers, and five horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery K: Nine Army revolvers and thirty cavalry sabers.
  • Battery L: Sixteen Navy revolvers and nine horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery M: Eight Army revolvers and two horse artillery sabers.

Once again, we see a very good set of returns for the 1st New York Light Artillery.  Where there are empty entry lines, other (official) records fill in many of the open questions.

 

Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – 1st New York Light Artillery Regiment

Moving in order through the second quarter summaries, New York is the next state to consider.  And Colonel Charles S. Wainwright’s 1st New York Light Artillery Regiment is the first of those entries.

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We find returns registered for nine of the twelve batteries of the regiment.  And of those nine, three were not received until 1864.  That’s what happens to paperwork due in the middle of the campaign season!

  • Battery A: At Pottsville, Pennsylvania, on the March 1864 receipt date, with four 12-pdr Napoleons.  Battery A, under Captain Thomas H. Bates, reformed at Camp Barry, in Washington, D.C., after losing all its guns during the Peninsula Campaign of 1862.  On June 4, 1863, the battery transferred to the Department of the Susquehanna and was assigned duty around Philadelphia.
  • Battery B: At Warrenton Junction, Virginia, reflecting the October 1863 receipt date, with four 10-pdr Parrotts. The battery was assigned to Second Corps, Army of the Potomac.  Captain Rufus D. Pettit, in command of the battery at the start of the quarter resigned at the end of May.  Captain James M. Rorty then took command.  Rorty was mortally wounded on the afternoon of July 3 at Gettysburg.  The next in command, Lieutenant Albert S. Sheldon, was wounded a little later.  Lieutenant Robert E. Rogers then became the third officer to command the battery that day.
  • Battery C: Listed at Rappahannock, Virginia, also reflecting the fall reporting date, four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  This battery was assigned to support Fifth Corps, and thus on the march toward Gettysburg at the end of the reporting period.  Captain Almont Barnes remained in command.
  • Battery D: Bealton, Virgina!  Again, under the fall reporting date.  This battery had  six 12-pdr Napoleons.  This battery supported Third Corps as part of the Gettysburg Campaign.  Lieutenant George B. Winslow remained in command.
  • Battery E: No return. Reduced by sickness and other causes during the Peninsula Campaign.  At the start of the quarter, the men of Battery E was assigned to 1st New York Independent Light Artillery, in Sixth Corps.  In mid-June, the men transferred to support Battery L, 1st New York (below).
  • Battery F: Yorktown, Virginia with four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Captain William R. Wilson’s battery remained part of Fourth Corps, Department of Virginia.  Later in July, the battery moved to Camp Barry in Washington.
  • Battery G: Accurately reported at Taneytown, Maryland, with six 12-pdr Napoleons. The battery moved from Second Corps to the 4th Volunteer Brigade, Artillery Reserve in June.  Captain Nelson Ames remained in command.
  • Battery H: Reporting at Camp Barry with four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles, in October 1863.  However, as the end of June, the battery, under Captain Charles E. Mink, was assigned to Fourth Corps and stationed at Yorktown.  The battery was involved with Dix’s Peninsula Campaign.
  • Battery I: No report. Captain Michael Wiedrich commanded this battery, assigned to Eleventh Corps.  The battery had six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles at Gettysburg.  And its employment on the field on July 1 might explain the lack of report.
  • Battery K: Reporting at Brandy Station, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  For the third straight quarter, this battery’s location reflects a  January, 1864, report. In June 1863, Battery K was assigned to the 4th Volunteer Brigade, Artillery Reserve, under Captain Robert H. Fitzhugh.  The 11th New York Independent Battery was attached to Battery K at this time, adding two guns (up from four the previous quarter).
  • Battery L: Another “late” return, posted in February 1864, has this battery at Rappahannock Station, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  This battery was on the field at Gettysburg supporting First Corps, on the first day of July.  Captain Gilbert H. Reynolds took command in March.
  • Battery M: No return. Battery M, under Lieutenant Charles Winegar, served in Twelfth Corps.  The battery had four 10-pdr Parrott rifles at Gettysburg, with one section on Power’s Hill and another on McAllister’s Farm.

Thus nine of the twelve batteries were directly involved with the Gettysburg Campaign.  We might say the other three were indirectly involved to some degree.  Many stories I could relate and wealth of quotes related to those hot summer days of 1863.  But for brevity, let us focus on the data of the summary.

Moving on to the ammunition, we have three batteries with 12-pdr Napoleons:

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And three lines to consider:

  • Battery A: 192 shot, 64 shell, 192 case, and 72 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery D: 288 shot, 96 shell, 288 case, and 96 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery G: 308 shot for 6-pdr field guns; 120 shell, 116 case, and 144 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.

I would guess the tally of 6-pdr shot for Battery G was a transcription error, and rightly should be 12-pdr.

We have 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  So that means we should have Hotchkiss projectiles:

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Five lines to consider:

  • Battery C: 92 canister, 40 percussion shell, 136 fuse shell, and 424 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery F: 80 canister, 80 percussion shell, 160 fuse shell, and 480 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery H: 21 canister and 34 fuse shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery K: 120 canister, 363 fuse shell, and 350 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery L: 120 canister, 39 percussion shell, and 600 (?) bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

A couple more lines to consider on the next page:

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Dyer’s Patent:

  • Battery H: 128 shell, 530 shrapnel, and 160 canister for 3-inch rifles.

Parrott’s Patent:

  • Battery B: 320 shell, 520 case, and 96 canister for 10-pdr Parrott.

The last page indicates some Schenkl projectiles on hand:

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Four batteries with Schenkl:

  • Battery B: 80 shells for 10-pdr Parrott.
  • Battery H: 3 shells for 3-inch rifles..
  • Battery K: 356 shells for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery L: 441 shells for 3-inch rifles.

Again, we see a mix and match of projectiles, by patent, in the ammunition chests.

Lastly we turn to the small arms:

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By battery:

  • Battery A: Seventeen Navy revolvers.
  • Battery B: Twelve Navy revolvers and three cavalry sabers.
  • Battery C: One Army revolver, eight Navy revolvers, and fourteen horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery D: Eight Army revolvers and eight horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery F: Thirteen Army revolvers and sixteen foot artillery swords.
  • Battery G: Nineteen Army revolver and thirty-five horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery H: Sixteen Navy revolvers and fifteen cavalry sabers.
  • Battery K: Nine Navy revolvers and thirty cavalry sabers.
  • Battery L: Seventeen Navy revolvers and ten horse artillery sabers.

A very fair assortment, with reasonable numbers, of small arms for the 1st New York.  These were field artillerymen, first and foremost.

Summary Statement, 1st Quarter, 1863 – 1st New York Light Artillery Regiment

For the next several installments covering the summaries, we will look at New York batteries.  The first of these is the 1st New York Light Artillery Regiment, which was administratively commanded by Colonel Charles S. Wainwright.  Though, as Wainwright lamented at different times, administrative command really amounted to being responsible for more paperwork.

And that is just what we are dealing with here today:

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Of the twelve batteries of the regiment, there are ten returns:

  • Battery A: At Pottsville, Pennsylvania with four 12-pdr Napoleons.  The location may be correct for February 1864 (as indicated for the receipt of return).  But in the winter of 1863, Battery A, under Captain Thomas H. Bates, was at Camp Barry. The battery, recently reformed after losing all guns during the Peninsula Campaign, was training new crews.
  • Battery B: At Falmouth, Virginia with six 10-pdr Parrotts. Captain Rufus D. Pettit’s battery was assigned to Second Corps, Army of the Potomac.
  • Battery C: Also at Falmouth, Virginia, but with four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  This battery was assigned to support Fifth Corps.  Captain Almont Barnes resumed command in the winter months.
  • Battery D: And another battery at Falmouth, this with six 12-pdr Napoleons. After a short assignment to the Ninth Corps, Captain Thomas W. Osborn’s battery came back to Second Division, Third Corps.  Lieutenant George B. Winslow assumed command with Osborn holding artillery brigade duties.
  • Battery E: No return. Reduced by sickness and other causes during the Peninsula Campaign, Battery E was assigned to 1st New York Independent Light Artillery at this reporting interval.
  • Battery F: Yorktown, Virginia with four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Captain William R. Wilson’s battery remained part of Fourth Corps, Department of Virginia.
  • Battery G: Another New York battery at Falmouth.  They reported six 12-pdr Napoleons. Captain John D. Frank held command at the start of the winter.  But illness forced him to turn command over to Lieutenant Nelson Ames at the start of the spring.  The battery was assigned to Third Division, Second Corps.
  • Battery H: Fort Keys, Gloucester Point, Virginia with four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Also assigned to Fourth Corps.  Captain Charles E. Mink commanded this battery.
  • Battery I: Stafford Court House, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Captain Michael Wiedrich commanded this battery, assigned to Second Division, Eleventh Corps.
  • Battery K: Reporting at Brandy Station, Virginia with four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  For the second straight quarter, this battery’s location reflects a  January, 1864, report. During the winter of 1863, Battery K was with the First Division, Twelfth Corps and under Edward L. Bailey.
  • Battery L: At Pratt’s Landing, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Captain John A. Reynolds’ battery supported First Division, First Corps.
  • Battery M: No return. This battery was also part of First Division, Twelfth Corps in December 1862.  Lieutenant Charles Winegar commanded the battery.  I believe it was equipped with 10-pdr Parrotts.

So we see barely any assignment changes for the 1st New York Light.

Moving to the ammunition pages, there were three batteries reporting Napoleons on hand:

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And three lines of smoothbore ammunition to discuss:

  • Battery A: 192 shot, 64 shell, 192 case, and 72 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.
  • Battery D: 288 shot, 96 shell, 288 case, and 96 canister (see note to follow) for 12-pdr Napoleon.
  • Battery G: 308 shot, 120 shell, 116 case, and 144 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.

If you refer back to the previous quarter, Battery D’s numbers for shot, shell, and case appear to be the same.  And they reported 96 canister in December.  My call is a transcription error put the “96” in the column for 6-pdr canister.  That’s a lot more plausible than some supply foul-up.

More batteries reported rifles on hand, and thus we see more rifled projectiles were counted for the summary:

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Hotchkiss projectiles reported:

  • Battery C: 102 canister,  40 percussion shell, 226 fuse shell, and 544 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery F: 80 canister,  80 percussion shell, 160 fuse shell, and 480 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery H: 20 canister and 70 percussion shell for 3-inch rifle.
  • Battery I: 120 canister, 390 fuse shell, and 651 bullet shell for 3-inch rifle.
  • Battery K: 97 canister, 257 percussion shell, 118 fuse shell, 274 bullet shell for 3-inch rifle.
  • Battery L: 36 canister and 982 fuse shell for 3-inch rifle.

Seems the 3-inch batteries with the Army of the Potomac had a lot of case shot for their Ordnance rifles.

For the next page of rifle projectiles, I’ll do extra cuts to aid those reading (the full page is posted):

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Three different makes of projectiles.  Three batteries reporting.  Each with a different make:

  • Battery B: 623 shell, 520 case shot, and 123 canister of Parrott patent for 10-pdr Parrotts.
  • Battery H:  58 shell, 560 shrapnel, and 140 canister of Dyer’s patent for 3-inch rifle.
  • Battery L: 180 Schenkl solid shot for 3-inch rifles.

More Schenkl entries on the last page of projectiles:

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Two lines for discussion:

  • Battery H: 285 Schenkl shells for 3-inch rifle.
  • Battery I: 116 Schenkl shells for 3-inch rifle.

And as always, closing out with the small arms reported:

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Note, Battery A reported no small arms.  The others:

  • Battery B: Fifteen Navy revolvers and six cavalry sabers.
  • Battery C: One Army revolver, eight Navy revolvers and fourteen horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery D: Eight Army revolvers and eight horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery F: Thirteen Army revolvers and sixteen foot artillery swords.
  • Battery G: Sixteen Army revolvers and eighteen cavalry sabers.
  • Battery H: Sixteen Navy revolvers and fifteen cavalry sabers.
  • Battery I: Seventeen Army revolvers and thirty horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery K: One Navy revolver and twenty-two cavalry sabers.
  • Battery L: Seventeen navy revolvers and ten horse artillery sabers.

As we might expect for well organized batteries operating in the east, where non-artillery duty assignments were few.

Summary Statement: December 31, 1862 – 1st New York Light Artillery Regiment

New York’s contribution to the Federal war machine was not just a “cog” in a wheel.  Rather we might say the Empire State provided a whole wheel.  And part of that was of course a number of artillery batteries.  I could well spend several posts discussing the various formations – heavy artillery, light artillery regiments, independent batteries, independent battalions, National Guard batteries, etc…. oh, and don’t forget some rocket batteries.  But for the Fourth Quarter 1862 summaries we need focus on four groups – 1st New York Light Artillery Regiment, 3rd New York Light Artillery Regiment, 1st New York Light Artillery Battalion (sometimes cited as the “German” battalion), and numbered independent light artillery batteries.  There’s one additional line for reporting artillery assigned to a volunteer cavalry formation.  And we should also mind the German battalion’s batteries were later assigned independent battery numbers.  But that was the future.  For December 1862 we have two regiments, one battalion, thirty-two (minus four that were at the time in the battalion) independent batteries,  and one “other” line to consider.

So let us start with the 1st Regiment, New York Light Artillery… Colonel Charles S. Wainwright’s boys:

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The clerks posted information from seven of the twelve batteries, most being received in 1863.  At this time of the war, most of the 1st New York batteries supported the Army of the Potomac in the east.  The breakdown by battery:

  • Battery A: No return.  This battery’s guns were captured earlier in the year at Seven Pines.  Most of the surviving men were transferred to other batteries while Captain Thomas Bates went about recruiting and reorganizing.  So in December 1862, there was no equipment to report.
  • Battery B: No return. Captain Rufus D. Pettit’s battery was part of Second Corps, having just participated in the Fredericksburg Campaign with six (or four?) 10-pdr Parrotts.
  • Battery C: At Falmouth, Virginia with four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  This was Lieutenant William H. Phillips’ battery assigned to support Fifth Corps.
  • Battery D: Fredericksburg, Virginia with six 12-pdr Napoleons.  Battery assigned to Ninth Corps and under Captain Thomas W. Osborn.
  • Battery E: No return. Reduced by sickness and other causes during the Peninsula Campaign, Battery E was assigned to 1st New York Independent Light Artillery at this reporting interval.
  • Battery F: Yorktown, Virginia with four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Captain William R. Wilson’s battery was part of Fourth Corps, Department of Virginia.
  • Battery G: No return. This was Captain John D. Frank’s battery supporting Second Corps with four 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery H: Fort Keys, Gloucester Point, Virginia with four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Also assigned to Fourth Corps.  Captain Charles E. Mink commanded this battery.
  • Battery I: Falmouth, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Captain Michael Weidrich’s battery supported Eleventh Corps.
  • Battery K: Brandy Station, Virginia with four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  This location is obviously in error for December 1862.  It was correct for January, 1864, when the return was received in Washington.  Backing up a year and a month, Battery K was with the Twelfth Corps for the 4th Quarter, 1862.
  • Battery L: No location given but with four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Captain John A. Reynolds’ battery supported First Corps, which was near Fredericksburg at the time.
  • Battery M: No return. This battery was also part of Twelfth Corps in December 1862.  Lieutenant Charles Winegar commanded the battery at the time, with Captain George W. Cothran on leave.  I believe it was equipped with 10-pdr Parrotts.

 

Of note here is the listing for Battery K with the discrepancy indicated with regard to reported location.  Often in correspondence (present day correspondence, that is), folks will eagerly inquire about these summary statements.  The perception, which I held when first looking them over, is we have a gold mine of “facts” to work with.  Not entirely true.  What we have are a lot of numbers that must be shaken down for some useful information.  The example seen here, with Battery K, one of the many issues that demonstrate the data is not “clean”.    The summaries are far short of the sound foundation of facts that might lead easily to solid information.  Though those summaries are a bit firmer than clay, I would quickly point out.

At the December 1862 reporting time, I believe Battery K was commanded by Lieutenant E. L. Bailey.  It was part of a battalion commanded by Captain Robert H. Fitzhugh, the battery’s former commander.  Batteries K and M constituted 2/3rds of the battalion. And it was part of Wainwright’s regiment.  Wainwright who, as we know from his diary, was very particular about keeping up with his paperwork.  Yet, this battery didn’t give a fourth quarter, 1862 report until over a year later.  And when that report was registered by the Ordnance Department, an erroneous location was recorded.

One would think such tardiness wouldn’t be allowed.  And one would rightly supposed Battery K’s officers would report on time and accurately.  Our impression is the chain of command above Battery K would insist on timely reporting.  Furthermore that the clerks in Washington were efficient and never lost such important paperwork.  Yet, the record indicates otherwise.

So we have reason to dispute one column for Battery K, why not the rest?  Was the clerk entering the 1862 data with just one cell (location) incorrect? Or is all the other data now suspect?  Enter that discussion with ample salt…. With that salt applied, let us walk through the reported ammunition quantities, starting with smoothbore:

0061_Snip_Dec62_1NY_1

The only smothbores among the reporting batteries were the Napoleons of Battery D.  That battery reported 288 shot, 96 shells, 238 288 case, and 96 canister.

We have more rifled guns to feed. Those projectiles start with the Hotchkiss Patent listings:

0061_Snip_Dec62_1NY_2

Four batteries reporting Hotchkiss projectiles on hand:

  • Battery C: 102 canister, 40 percussion shell, 235 fuse shell, and 576 bullet shell all in 3-inch caliber.
  • Battery F: 80 canister, 80 percussion shell, 160 fuse shell, and 430 bullet shell of 3-inch.
  • Battery I: 120 canister, 290 fuse shell, and 651 bullet shell in 3-inch.
  • Battery K: 97 canister, 117 percussion shell, 118 fuse shell, and 54 bullet shell also 3-inch.

We might attach some significance to the proportionally larger numbers for “bullet shell” or what I prefer to call case shot.

One battery reported Dyer’s patent projectiles:

0062_Snip_Dec62_1NY_1

Battery H had 140 shells, 576 shrapnel (case), and 164 canister, all in 3-inch caliber.

There are a couple of entries for the Shenkl patent projectiles:

0062_Snip_Dec62_1NY_2

Battery H had 285 3-inch shells and Battery I had 116 of the same.

None of the batteries known to have Parrott rifles had a return complied.  So we are certainly missing more than a handful of pieces to the puzzle.  And I would point out that while Battery K’s data did not include any projectiles, the other pages indicate the battery had other supplies accounted for in the belated report.

Finally, the small arms:

0062_Snip_Dec62_1NY_3

By battery:

  • Battery C: One Army revolver, eight Navy revolvers, and fourteen cavalry sabers.
  • Battery D: Eight Army revolvers and eight horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery F: Nineteen Army revolvers and sixteen foot artillery swords.
  • Battery H: Sixteen Navy revolvers and fifteen cavalry sabers.
  • Battery I: Seventeen Navy revolvers and thirty horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery K: One Navy revolver and eight cavalry sabers.
  • Battery L: Seventeen Army revolvers and ten horse artillery sabers.

In summary, and to reinforce the point made above in the battery details, we cannot take this summary as a clear, clean “snapshot” of what equipment was on hand at the specified time.  Even here for a set of Eastern Theater units, very close to Washington, we see easily recognized errors in the data.  So we are obligated to ask questions and search for answers that validate… or invalidate.

“By fours, right about wheel” and a landscape lost: Loss of Hansbrough Ridge – 1863 and 2015

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been working up to what Alonzo Gray called the “shock action” of cavalry when using the saber, and occasionally the revolver.  Before breaking down this shock action, as described by Gray, in more detail, allow me to pull up one of his examples… as it is timely to events occurring this very day in regard to preservation.

Readers know well the events of June 9, 1863.  Often our focus is, for good reason, on the fighting that took place from Beverly’s Ford to Fleetwood Hill.  That is the heart of the battlefield.  But the fighting around Stevensburg was no less violent or deadly.   On the morning of the battle, Colonel Alfred Duffié led the Second Cavalry Division, about 2,000 strong, from Kelly’s Ford towards Stevensburg. His orders were to cover the flank of Brigadier-General David M. Gregg’s main force.

Contesting Duffié’s advance was Colonel Mathew C. Butler, with the 2nd South Carolina Cavalry.  To protect the road to Culpeper (and hold the screen in front of Confederate infantry), Butler initially placed one squadron on Hansbrough Ridge.  When Duffié’s force arrived at the ridge, Butler rushed forward Lieutenant-Colonel Frank Hampton, brother of Brigadier-General Wade Hampton, and a detachment of troopers.  When arriving at Stevensburg, Frank Hampton pushed out and posted dismounted troopers across the ridge in front of Salubria, a colonial era plantation house which still stands today.

The presence of this dismounted line, reinforced later by the 4th Virginia Cavalry, under Colonel Williams Wickham, caused some delay of Duffié’s already painfully slow advance. In spite of the cautious stance, the troopers in Duffié’s First Brigade gained a lodgement on the ridge.  (This occuring about the same time that Gregg’s column was closing on Fleetwood Hill.)  To blunt this push, the Confederates were about to reset their lines.   However, just as a column was wheeling to form, the Federals charged down the road and over the ridge with devastating affect.  Major Henry B. McClellan later wrote, in The Life and Campaigns of Major General J.E.B. Stuart:

Lieutenant Broughton informed Adjutant Moore that he delivered a message from Colonel Hampton to Colonel Wickham to the effect that he (Hampton) would close back upon the 4th [Virginia] regiment so as to make a charge in solid column.  At this moment the rear of the 4th regiment was emerging upon the road from the woods, and the order “By fours, right about wheel,” was heard.  Whether this command was given by Colonel Hampton to execute the movement contemplated in the message delivered by Lieutenant Broughton, or whether it was given by some officer of the 4th regiment so as to bring the faces of his men toward the enemy, is entirely uncertain.  The result was most unfortunate.  Captain Chestnut and Lieutenant Rhett, at the head of Hamtpon’s men, remained facing the enemy, to conceal, if possible, a movement which they felt must bring an attack upon them at once. But the enemy saw the wheel, and instantly ordered the charge.  Colonel Hampton again ordered the right about wheel, and placed himself at the head of his men; but it was of no avail.  In a moment they were swept to the side of the road, and the full force of the charge fell upon the 4th Virginia.  Colonel Hampton, while engaging one of the enemy with his sabre, was shot through the body by another, and was mortally wounded.  He succeeded in reaching the house of John S. Barbour, west of Stevensburg, where he died that night.

I would submit this as the “vetted” Confederate version of events, carefully reconstructed by McClellan after the war.  Though I would point out that others, particularly Wade Hampton, had more pointed views of the actions that took place along the road over Hansbrough Ridge.

However, let us set aside for another day the blame for Frank Hampton’s death.  Instead, for our purposes of discussing cavalry tactics, let us take this as an example submitted by Alonzo Gray of “shock action” by cavalry.  In this case, a charge by the 1st Massachusetts Cavalry landed squarely upon the Confederates and opened the road to Stevensburg.  Such offered a great opportunity for Duffié, which he never picked up.  Duffié might have uncovered the presence of Confederate infantry.  Or he might have rushed to support the attacks on Fleetwood Hill.  Or both!  The battle… if not an entire military operation, which we would later know as “The Gettysburg Campaign”…  might have turned on actions taken at that moment at that ground where the road to Culpeper passed over Hansbrough Ridge.

But it didn’t.

And for us to really take into consideration the particulars – the opportunities and beyond to why those opportunities were left on the ground – we need to head to that ground.  Unfortunately, this is what we have to consider today:

VA3 widening1

This view looks down Virginia Highway 3, to the west towards Stevensburg, as it passes over Hansbrough Ridge.  The area where Frank Hampton was mortally wounded is just past the telephone pole.  The exposed earth is the result of widening efforts by Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).  I’ve mentioned (and complained) about this in earlier posts.  The widening was, unfortunately, pushed through.

And there is a serious problem with this operation.  Under a Memorandum of Agreement, of which I retain an unsigned copy, VDOT operates this project with several stipulations in place.  One of which is:

In the event that a previously unidentified archaeological resource is discovered during ground-disturbing activities associated with the construction of the Project, the VDOT, in accordance with Section 107.16(d) of the VDOT’s Road and Bridge Specifications, shall require the construction contractor to halt immediately all construction work involving subsurface disturbance in the area of the resource and in the surrounding areas where additional subsurface remains can be reasonably expected to occur.  Work in all other areas of the Project may continue.

I’ve visited this site a couple times in the last few weeks.  Others I know have visited the site.  And each of us have made the same comment – there are artifacts being exposed, dug-up, and disrupted by the work.  I also hear that now “relic hunters” are now scavenging the work area when the contractor is not on site.  For that reason, I’m not going to pass along details of what I’ve seen.

You might counter that neither myself or the “relic hunters” are authorities in regard to archaeological findings.  Well that’s my point.  Implied with the MOA there is supposed to be an authority to determine what, if anything, is being uncovered.  This road has seen human activity since colonial times (and likely even before then).  Significant activity, in addition to what I’ve mentioned for June 9, 1863, occurred at this spot during the Civil War.  Indeed, it would be impossible for no artifacts lay by this road.  It’s even possible that human remains lay beside this road.

So why isn’t there an observer on site during work hours to determine what exactly the spades and shovels are uncovering?

Cold steel or hot lead? Saber and revolver for the cavalry in close combat

NOTEThis post was badly edited upon first publication.  The error was due to cutting and pasting of portions for serialized postings.  I’ve revised the post to provide the desired sequencing of Gray’s conclusions instead of Whittaker’s, which were intended for the follow up post.  Sorry for the confusion caused by the clean up.

Going into combat, the infantryman had his musket and bayonet.  One weapon with two different modes of use.

The artilleryman had his cannon.  One weapon with several types of projectiles for different purposes.

But the cavalryman might, if he was properly equipped, go into battle with a carbine, a revolver, and a saber.  (Let’s not go crazy and mention the lances, however).

This array of weapons was due to the varying roles the cavalry was called upon to perform.  A carbine was preferred for picket duty or skirmishing.  But for up close fighting, the revolver and saber were preferred.  Though I would point out the commander’s preference tended to play into the selection of saber and revolver.

Each of these weapons (fine throw in the lance too) had a different set of drills. And by extension, each had a particular set of tactics that a commander might employ those drills against.  From the non-cavalryman’s view, I would argue this made the cavalry seem disorderly at some level.  Again, the infantry, with their one basic weapon, had a common set of drills.  How many ways can you load a cannon?  But the cavalry trooper had all those “schools” to learn about sabers, pistols, and carbines.  So some perceptions, well-founded or not, took hold:

Cavalry-whatIDo

Even today, you mention cavalry and images of gleaming sabers come to the mind’s eye.   After all, doesn’t everyone want to be on the horse at full gallop swinging that big edged weapon around?

But we read, in most discussions centered on tactics, that the saber was used less during the Civil War compared with earlier wars.  However, examining the source material we find the saber was still often employed in the melee.  In his study of Cavalry Tactics, Captain Alonzo Gray opened Chapter I with a discussion of the revolver and saber when used for close combat.  He took up the question as to when should each be used.  Quite number of the actions Gray called upon occurred on June 9, 1863 around Brandy Station, Virginia.

Gray starts with mention of Colonel Williams Wickham and actions near Stevensburg:

Colonel Wickham and a few of his men threw themselves into a field on the roadside, and by the fire of their pistols checked further pursuit.

I’m less inclined to call this a successful use of pistols in the close melee, as we know this occurred at a time after the 4th Virginia Cavalry broke, and which General Wade Hampton blamed the loss of his brother Lieutenant-Colonel Frank Hampton.  The Federals didn’t press this to advantage, so it’s hard to say the selection of the revolver made much difference.  And I’d argue that Wickham’s “stand” really was not much of a stand to begin with, being more of a fleeting rally.

Further into the discussion, Gray offered examples of individual combat between those armed with sabers and others armed with revolvers.  Staying at the Stevensburg sector:

Colonel [Frank] Hampton, while engaging one of the enemy with his saber, was shot through the body by another, and mortally wounded.

And one, from another sector of the battlefield that had immediate and important implications on the fight (and I’d argue also on the campaign which followed):

Perceiving his danger, Colonel [B.F.] Davis turned upon Allen with a cut of his saber, which [Lieutenant R.O.] Allen avoided by throwing himself on the side of his horse; at the same moment he fired and Colonel Davis fell.

In that instance, along Beverly’s Ford Road, the initiative slipped out of the hands of the Federals. All by way of a single pistol shot.

But back from the historical implications here, what does this say about the tactics, drill, and weapons employed?  Wryly, do we say “don’t bring a knife to a gun fight?”  Well it is not that clean a cut… if I may turn a pun.

Further along in the discussion, after turning to other actions on other battlefields, Gray cited instances where the saber’s shock effect was of great value in the melee.  Among those cited vignettes, Gray circles back to Brandy Station.  This time, we go to Fleetwood Hill with the attack of General H. Judson Kilpatrick’s brigade, singling out the 1st Maine Cavalry:

They outnumbered us three to one, but could not withstand the heavy saber blows of the sturdy men of Maine, who rode through them and over them, gained the hill, captured a battle-flag and many prisoners, among them the rebel General Stuart’s adjutant-general. From this moment the fight was one series of charges, every regiment of the brigade charging, rallying, and again charging until ordered to retire.

Granted, we must take Kilpatrick’s report with salt.  But in defense of Gray’s selection, the other quotes used for Brandy Station came from Major H.B. McClellan’s Life and Campaigns of Major General J.E.B. Stuart, written after the war.  I get the impression Gray was reaching for some account from what one can argue was the largest cavalry melee of the war, and came up with but Kilpatrick’s account to use for his point.  What we can agree upon, having access to a wider range of source materials than Gray had in 1910, is that the saber was used to good effect by both sides on Fleetwood Hill that day.  Indeed, both sides mounted saber charges and counter charges… with ultimately the victory going to the side that charged last.

At the end of his discussion of sabers and pistols, Gray concluded:

It will be seen from the next chapter that during the War of the Rebellion, the same as for centuries past, the saber was essentially a weapon for shock action. During the thick of the melee it was still to be preferred; but when the melee began to dissolve into individual combats the saber was or should have been exchanged for the revolver…. In the individual combat the revolver will be the winner in almost every case.  If the trooper is expert in its use, he has nothing to fear from an individual enemy armed with a saber.

In the end, Gray did not claim the saber was obsolete.  Rather that each weapon had a role and place… and should be retained.

Put this in context.  Those words were published in 1910, just years before the trenches of the Western Front with their barbed wire and machine guns.  Now we might wave that aside as backwards thinking at a time when technology had eclipsed the tactics of old.  Maybe cast a few jokes at Gray’s expense….

But, the cavalry and their sabers remained on the battlefield… and in some cases were employed with effect.

March 30, 1918.  Cited as the last saber charge of World War I, Lieutenant Gordon Flowerdew’s C Squadron of Lord Strathcona’s Horse “moved” the Germans at Moreuil Wood with their sabers.  They payed a steep price to blunt a German offensive.  Nobody, including Gray, ever said cavalry charges were cheap, bloodless affairs.

(Citations from Alonzo Gray, Cavalry Tactics, as Illustrated by the War of the Rebellion, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas: U.S. Cavalry Association, 1910, pages 16-22, 25.)