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

Yes, Delaware’s batteries.  Plural.

In past quarters, we’ve looked at one lone entry line for Delaware.  That being Captain Benjamin Nields’ battery, often cited as the 1st Delaware Battery.  And that was it, so far as field batteries are concerned.  But the state also provided a company and a half … yes a half-company… of heavy artillery.  While that half-company’s service was so brief as to escape the need for an ordnance return, the other company was allocated a line for the third quarter of 1863:

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Two lines, but let us add that half-battery here for complete coverage:

  • 1st Battery: Reporting at Camp Barry, District of Columbia, with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  As mentioned above, Captain Benjamin Nields commanded.  The battery returned to Washington around the first week of July (after duty with the Seventh Corps on the Peninsula).  But no time to rest!  With the Draft Riots in New York, Nields’ battery was ordered to that city, where they fell under Brigadier-General Edward Canby’s command.  Among the last details of this detached service was a posting to Kingston, New York, on September 5, were a draft was being conducted.  By September 12, the battery was headed back to Washington and the training grounds of Camp Barry.
  • Ahl’s Independent Heavy Battery: Reporting only infantry stores.  In late July, 1st Lieutenant George W. Ahl left Pennsylvania Independent Battery G, then stationed at Fort Delaware, to become captain and commander of a new independent battery formed from former Confederates and Irish immigrants.  Designated Ahl’s Independent Heavy Battery, and allocated to Delaware, it began organization in mid-July.  Formally mustered on July 27, the battery’s assignment was Fort Delaware.  The men of Ahl’s spent little time with the fort’s armament of heavy Rodman guns. Rather, they served almost exclusively as prison guards.  Former Confederates, who’d “swallowed the dog” serving watch over Confederate prisoners…. what could go wrong?
  • Crossley’s Half-Company of Artillery: Not listed.  With Lee’s invasion of Pennsylvania in June 1863, Delaware mustered several emergency formations, just as other northern states did.  As far as artillery is concerned, they only had enough for half a battery.  And 1st Lieutenant Thomas Crossley commanded.  Crossley’s half-battery mustered on June 29, 1863 with three month terms.  Their duty was mostly along the railroad between Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore, replacing other units had moved to more vital and threatened points.  They mustered out on September 30.  In some organizational reports, Crossley’s is mentioned as the Delaware Emergency Troops, or Battery.  And in some correspondence, the battery is mentioned as the 2nd Delaware Battery.

There are no smoothbore cannon reported, so we can skip that page of the ammunition details.  Moving on to the Hotchkiss columns:

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Just Nield’s guns:

  • 1st Battery: 142 canister, 299 percussion shell, 3 fuse shell, and 172 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

No Dyer, James, or Parrott projectiles reported.  So we move to the Schenkl section:

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Again, Nields’ reporting:

  • 1st Battery: 494 case shot for 3-inch rifles (for that column header, canister is struck and case written in).

Lastly, the small arms:

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Presumably Ahl’s muskets were carried on an infantry ordnance return.  So again all we see are Nields’:

  • 1st Battery: Thirty Army revolvers and thirty-eight horse artillery sabers.

Before closing out this installment, let’s look a bit closer at Ahl’s Battery.  There is much of interest beyond those administrative details.  First off, George Washington Ahl was a proud descendant of a Revolutionary War veteran, from Massachusetts.  Before the war, he lived in Allegheny County, just outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he worked as a clerk. Married to Sarah Eleanor Hay Ahl, the couple had a young son on the 1860 census.  As mentioned above, Ahl received a commission in Pennsylvania Independent Battery G.  And in July received promotion to Captain in command of his own battery.

Through the rest of the war Ahl was in practice the prison commander at Fort Delaware.  Brigadier-General Albin Francisco Schoepf was in overall command, but gave his adjutant, Ahl, control over the operations.  With Confederate defeats in Mississippi and Pennsylvania, the prison population swelled.

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Over time, the prison population swelled to over 11,500.  All on little Pea Patch Island.  And those prisoners didn’t have nice things to say about Ahl.  According to Brian Temple, in “The Union Prison at Fort Delaware: A Perfect Hell on Earth,” prisoners referred to George as “Ahl-fired mean” and “Ape Ahl.”  Though not exactly a healthy and pleasant experience, Fort Delaware was at least not the worst. Still, it was not a comfortable place for a prisoner.

On the other hand, a photo on file with the Delaware Historical Society Collections tells us Ahl’s wartime service was rather comfortable:

Ahl_Fort_Delaware

Ahl is third from the left.  Among the thirteen men identified, several are battery commanders mentioned in earlier posts about Fort Delaware – particularly Captains Stanislaus Mlotkowski and John Jay Young (Pennsylvania Independent Batteries A and G, respectively).  But on the back we read “Mamma was with him.”  Presumably indicating Sarah accompanied her husband to his wartime post.

The complement of Ahl’s command was not your normal Civil War battery muster.  Practically every entry in the Compiled Service Records offer intriguing stories.  A few to mention:

  • Private Jasper M. Barker: From Randolph County, North Carolina.  He joined Company F, 2nd North Carolina Battalion when the war broke out.  He was captured on Roanoke Island in February 1862, but paroled shortly after.  Remained with the regiment until the Gettysburg Campaign.  Falling ill, he was left behind at Shippensburg, Pennsylvania and captured.  A few weeks later, on July 27, 1863, he enlisted in Ahl’s Battery.  The book has him at five-feet, 11 ¼ inches tall; light complexion; blue eyes; light hair; and nineteen when joining the US service.
  • Private Reuben Barnes: When joining Ahl’s Battery in July 1863, Barnes was nineteen.  He hailed from Tyrell County, North Carolina.  He spent some time hospitalized for various ailments.  Barnes came north in June with company G, 1st North Carolina Infantry.  He was captured at Gettysburg on July 5 (there is an odd note on one of his cards stating “we failed to locate him” by . Sent to Fort Delaware, he obviously determined to make the best of the situation.  Barnes received the remaining $25 for bounty when mustering out on July 25, 1865.
  • Private John Bates: A farmer from Clinton, Missouri, Bates was a member of the Missouri State Guard (Company D, 2nd Cavalry, 8th Division) when the war started.  In June 1862, at age 18, he joined Company E, 4th Missouri Infantry.  All told, he saw action at Pea Ridge, Farmington, Iuka, Corinth, Hatchie Bridge, Port Gibson, and Grand Gulf.  He was wounded and captured at Champion’s Hill on May 16, 1863.  His Federal enlistment, dated like the others as July 27, has him at five feet, nine inches, hazel eyes, and light hair.  In May, 1864, Bates was entrusted to a detail escorting prisoners to Dry Tortugas (indicating he was deemed more loyal than the other Confederates, perhaps).  On July 25, 1865, he mustered out receiving $16.36 in back pay and $25 toward his bounty.  While I cannot say for sure, there is evidence Bates returned to Missouri after the war.
  • Private John Grady:  Born in Tipperary, Ireland. Age 38 when enlisting on July 27, 1863.  Grady escorted some prisoners to Fort Monroe in the summer of 1864.  Returning through Baltimore on August 9, he deserted.  He is among several who deserted while on similar escort duties.
  • Private Cornelius Layhan: A 24-year old, blue-eyed farmer from Cork, Ireland. Enlisted when the battery first formed.  Served as a cook and orderly when not on guard duty.   Escorted prisoners to Dry Tortugas in the spring of 1864.  Mustered out in July 1865, receiving $25 left on his bounty.
  • Private J.M. McDouaugh: Aged forty when enlisting in Ahl’s Battery, McDouaugh was from Sligo County, Ireland. McDouaugh also served on a detail taking prisoners to Dry Tortugas in the spring of 1864.  When mustered out, he received $28.06 in pay along with his bounty.
  • Private John Vaughn:  A short, 21-year old, blue-eyed and blond haired farmer from Jackson County, Alabama.  Vaughn was captured at Champion’s Hill on May 17, 1863.  Not entirely clear which regiment he was from.  He enlisted on July 27 for three years “or the war” with rank of corporal.  But he was reduced to private the following month.  Lost a bayonet the following year, for which he paid the government.  But he mustered out in July 1865 and collected his bounty.
  • James Waddington: At age 31 and hailing from Lancanshire, England, Waddington’s enlistment was a bit different than the others mentioned here.  He joined for a one year hitch starting in January 1865.  He was a cotton spinner by trade.  And his enlistment was credited to a ward in Philadelphia, leading me to wonder if this was some means to escape the draft.  He was discharged, with the rest, on July 25, 1865, and received $33.33 due on his bounty.

Certainly not the familiar stories for artillery service during the war.  But Ahl’s men received credit for service just the same.  One has to wonder how their post-war lives worked out.

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Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – Wisconsin’s Batteries

By the summer months of 1863, Wisconsin’s allocation to the Union cause included eleven numbered batteries.  The 1st Battery through the 10th Battery, along with the 12th, were in service at that time.  The 13th Battery would form later in the year. Wait… why skip the 11th and include the “unlucky” 13th?  Glad you asked….

The 11th Wisconsin Light Artillery organized in 1861 as the “Oconto Irish Guards” as part of the 17th Wisconsin Infantry.  When the men indicated a desire for artillery service (who wouldn’t?) the unit was designated as the 11th Battery.  Still, organization took too long.  So Captain John Rourke took his men to Chicago where it was mustered as Battery L, 1st Illinois Light Artillery, in Colonel James Mulligan’s Irish Brigade.  And Wisconsin never re-used the battery designation.

Looking at the summaries, we find the clerks dutifully excluded the 11th from the list.  Though they added the 13th and two lines for infantry reporting artillery:

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Of those fourteen lines, only three lacked statements.  Though we have some adjustments to make, due to late filings:

  • 1st Battery:  Reporting at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, as of March 1865.  But with no cannon on hand.  If we turn back the clock to June 1863, this battery was at Vicksburg, Mississippi under Ninth Division, Thirteenth Corps. The battery retained six 20-pdr Parrotts, putting them to good use earlier in May at Champion’s Hill.  Captain Jacob T. Foster, who was still division artillery chief, remained captain of the battery.  Lieutenant Charles B. Kimball, commanding in Foster’s place, became the division’s ordnance officer in late May.  In that absence, Lieutenant Oscar F. Nutting commanded the battery.
  • 2nd Battery:  No location given, but with two 12-pdr field howitzers and four 10-pdr Parrotts (reverse from the previous quarter).   Captain Charles Beger commanded this battery, which at the time was under First Division, Fourth Corps (which had been reorganized in May).  Supporting Second Brigade, the battery reported at Williamsburg, Virginia as of June 30.  The battery participated in Dix’s Peninsula Campaign.
  • 3rd Battery: No return.  This battery, under Lieutenant Cortland Livingston, became was in Third Division, Twenty-first Corps, Army of the Cumberland and participated in the Tullahoma Campaign.  Though, the battery didn’t leave Murfreesboro until early July.  Captain Lucius H. Drury, of the battery, was division artillery chief.
  • 4th Battery: No return.  The battery was assigned to the Second Division, Fourth Corps under the reorganizations of the Department of Virginia in May.  The battery was at Yorktown, Virginia, presumably retaining six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  The participated in the operations on the Peninsula through June and July. Captain  John F. Vallee commanded this battery.
  • 5th Battery: Reporting from Winchester, Tennessee with two 12-pdr Napoleons, two 12-pdr mountain howitzers, and two 10-pdr Parrotts.  The battery was assigned to First Division, Twentieth Corps, and commanded by Captain George Q. Gardner. Participating in the Tullahoma Campaign, the battery moved out of Murfreesboro on June 24.
  • 6th Battery: With a report from Cartersville, Georgia, dated October 1864, this battery claimed two 6-pdr field guns, two 12-pdr field howitzers, and two 3.80-inch James Rifles.  As of June 30, 1863, this battery was with Seventh Division, Seventeenth Corps and part of the siege of Vicksburg.  Captain Henry Dillon commanded at the beginning of spring.  When Dillon became division artillery chief, Lieutenant Samuel F. Clark stood in as commander.
  • 7th Battery: At Memphis, Tennessee with two 6-pdr field guns and four 3.80-inch James rifles.  Lieutenant Galen E. Green remained in command of this battery, assigned to Third Division, Sixteenth Corps.  At the end of May, the battery was stationed in Jackson, Tennessee. They moved to Corinth, Mississippi on June 1.  But only remained their until July 1, when they moved to Memphis.
  • 8th Battery: At Winchester, Tennessee with two 12-pdr Napoleons and four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Assigned to First Division, Twentieth Corps. Captain Henry E. Stiles remained in command.  The battery accompanied the division on the Tullahoma Campaign.
  • 9th Battery: Fort Lyon, Colorado with four 6-pdr field guns and two 12-pdr field howitzers. Captain Cyrus H. Johnson commanded this battery posted in the District of Colorado.
  • 10th Battery: Reporting at Stevenson, Alabama with six 6-pdr field guns, as of October 1863. Captain Yates V. Beebe’s battery was assigned to the Second Division, Reserve Corps, Army of the Cumberland.  From the beginning of the year up to September, the battery performed escort duties based out of Nashville and Murfreesboro.
  • 12th Battery: Another dated return has this battery at Dixon’s Station, Alabama on November 25, 1863.  However, for June 30, Captain William Zickerick and his battery’s four 10-pdr Parrotts were assigned to Seventh Division, Seventeenth Corps. Thus they fell in next to the 6th Wisconsin Battery at Vicksburg.
  • 13th Battery: No return.  As alluded to above, the 13th Battery did not muster until December 1863.  But the battery started forming in the summer.  A glance through the battery rolls indicate a handful of enlistments in July and August.
  • Company A, 8th Wisconsin: At Young’s Point, Louisiana with four 6-pdr field guns, two 12-pdr field howitzers, and one 3.80-inch James rifle.  This is the regiment with “Old Abe” the bald eagle as a mascot.  To be honest, until reading this line I had no knowledge of any artillery manned by the regiment.  Perhaps captured weapons impressed for the siege of Vicksburg?  Captain Josiah B. Redfield commanded Company A.
  • Detachment, 30th Wisconsin:  On the Missouri River with six 6-pdr field guns.  The 30th Wisconsin served by detachments at posts in Wisconsin and the Dakota Territories at this time of the war.  Colonel Daniel J. Dill commanded the regiment.  In May, a detachment under Lieutenant-Colonel Edward M. Bartlett supported Brigadier-General Alfred Sully’s expedition up the Missouri River.  Bartlett’s command guarded boats and supplies. Given the placename provided and the nature of the mission, a good possibility that detachment had the guns identified here.

With that lengthy discussion to identify just who these fourteen lines represented, let’s put some weight to the matter.  Starting with some smoothbore shot, shell, case, and canister:

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Look at all those numbers!

  • 2nd Battery: 120 shell and 52 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers; 160 case for 12-pdr field guns (likely a transcription error, and should be on the howitzer column).
  • 5th Battery: 96 shot, 32 shell, 96 case, and 40 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons; 65 shell, 159 case, and 49 canister for 12-pdr howitzer (field or mountain?).
  • 6th Battery: 77 shot, 145 case, and 124 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 21 shell, 89 case, and 18 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • 7th Battery: 186 shot, 248 case, and 87 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
  • 8th Battery: 32 shot, 96 shell, 64 case, and 64 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 9th Battery: 400 shot, 320 case, and 80 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 150 shells, 190 case, and 62 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • 10th Battery: 569 shot, 480 case, and 120 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
  • Company A, 8th Infantry: 269 shot, 44 case, and 636 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 48 case and 156 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons (or are those transcription errors and should be on the howitzer columns?)
  • 30th Infantry: 476 shot, 266 case, and 238 canister for 6-pdr field guns.

Regardless if the 12-pdr ammunition reported by the 8th Infantry was for Napoleons of howitzers, we see a rather substantial quantity of canister.  Such might indicate these were weapons assigned for use in the siege lines on guard points.

Four batteries reported Hotchkiss projectiles for rifled guns:

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Yes I said four.  Three of those batteries appear on this page.  The other, we’ll see on the “orphan” columns on the next page:

  • 6th Battery: 80 shot and 26 bullet shell for 3.80-inch James rifles.
  • 7th Battery: 80 percussion shell, 160 fuse shell, and 450 bullet shell for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • 8th Battery: 150 canister, 486 fuse shell, and 94 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

I’ll break down the next page by section for clarity.  First the stray Hotchkiss columns:

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Two lines:

  • 7th Battery: 80 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • Company A, 8th Infantry: 39 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.

Turning next to the James projectiles:

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One battery:

  • 6th Battery: 116 shell and 66 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.

Next the Parrott columns:

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A heavy set of numbers here:

  • 1st Battery: 2,208 shell and 1,183 case for 20-pdr Parrotts.
  • 2nd Battery: 384 shell and 96 canister for 10-pdr Parrotts.
  • 5th Battery: 142 shell, 168 case, and 79 canister for 10-pdr Parrotts.
  • 12th Battery: 321 shell, 244 case, and 136 canister for 10-pdr Parrotts.

Note that 1st Battery had no guns on the report.  Yet, they’d need a steamboat or two for the shells and case.  Someone left something out of the reports…

But we are not done with the Parrott batteries.  They also used Schenkl projectiles in those calibers:

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  • 1st Battery: 466 shot for 20-pdr Parrott.
  • 2nd Battery: 314 shot for 10-pdr Parrott.
  • 5th Battery: 9 shot for 10-pdr Parrott.
  • 12th Battery: 116 shot for 10-pdr Parrott.

No more entries for the Schenkl columns:

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But a lone entry for Tatham’s canister:

  • 6th Battery: 62 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.

That brings us to the small arms:

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By battery:

  • 2nd Battery: Twenty Army revolvers and 153 horse artillery sabers.
  • 6th Battery: Twenty-three cavalry sabers.
  • 7th Battery: Thirty Army revolvers and twenty cavalry sabers.
  • 8th Battery: Sixteen Navy revolvers and four cavalry sabers.
  • 9th Battery: Forty-five navy revolvers and nineteen cavalry sabers.
  • 10th Battery: Fifteen horse artillery sabers.
  • 12th Battery: Eight cavalry sabers.

No real surprises here with the small arms, with quantities similar to that reported the previous quarter… where quantities are reported!

But that brings up an interesting contrast to consider.  We have seen many lines for batteries without proper documentation.  Wisconsin, with just two lacking (I don’t count the 13th Battery here, as it didn’t exist formally), is much better than most of the sections.  We have two batteries – one in Tennessee and one in Virginia – with no data to consider.  Of course, we can project reasons for this upon the situation.  After all, the war had priority… paperwork could wait.

Yet, the 30th Wisconsin Infantry, with no “real” artillerists and scattered all over the western plains far away from the Ordnance Department, managed to provide a return for compilation.  The inconsistencies of reporting in the 1860s.