Summary Statement, 4th Quarter, 1863 – 1st Illinois Artillery

I contend the 1st Illinois Artillery Regiment punched well above its weight during the war. Not just in terms of where they served or battles fought. Though, from a western theater perspective, batteries from this regiment always seemed in the tick of the fight. But the regiment’s impact was beyond just the metal it threw around in battle. This regiment produced several officers who went on to serve in important positions outside the regiment. In last quarter’s post, I mentioned Colonel Joseph D. Webster, the regiment’s first commander, who served as a chief of staff for both Grant and Sherman. Colonel Ezra Taylor, who replaced Webster in May 1863, was dual-hatted as Sherman’s chief of artillery from Shiloh through Vicksburg (in the latter, formally the Chief of Artillery, Fifteenth Corps). Major Charles Houghtaling, who would later become the regimental Colonel, served a similar role for the Fourteenth Corps, in the Army of the Cumberland. Lieutenant-Colonel Charles H. Adams left the regiment for the top spot in the 2nd Tennessee Heavy Artillery, forming at Memphis. Major Allen C. Waterhouse lead the artillery brigade of the Seventeenth Corps, at times filling in as Artillery Chief. And those are just a few notables. As we look down to the battery officers, many very capable officers with fine records stand out. Let’s look at a few of those as we walk through this summary:

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  • Battery A: Larkinsville, Alabama, with five 12-pdr Napoleons and one 10-pdr Parrott.  The battery remained with Second Division, Fifteenth Army Corps, with Captain Peter P. Wood in command.  The battery was part of Sherman’s force sent to relieve Chattanooga, and later sent to relieve Knoxville. They would winter in north Alabama.
  • Battery B: Also at Larkinsville, Alabama, with four 6-pdr field guns and one 12-pdr field howitzer. Like Battery A, this battery was also assigned to Second Division, Fifteenth Corps.  Likewise, the battery supported the reliefs of Chattanooga and Knoxville. Captain Israel P. Rumsey remained in command.
  • Battery C:  Reporting at Chattanooga, Tennessee, now with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles, being refitted after the campaigns around that city. Captain Mark H. Prescott remained in command, but the battery transferred to the First Division, Fourteenth Corps as the Army of the Cumberland reorganized in October.
  • Battery D: At Vicksburg, Mississippi, now reverting back to reporting four 24-pdr field howitzers, vice four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles reported the previous quarter… which implies a transcription error. Regardless, battery remained with Third Division, Seventeenth Corps, and part of the occupation force at Vicksburg. The battery participated in a couple of expeditions out of Vicksburg in the fall. Then moved, with the division, to duty on the Big Black River, east of Vicksburg. Lieutenant George P. Cunningham was promoted to captain of the battery in December 1864.
  • Battery E: At Corinth, Mississippi, with five 12-pdr Napoleons and one 3.80-inch James Rifle.  Lieutenant John A. Fitch remained in command, and the battery remained under Third Division, Fifteenth Corps. The battery participated in a couple of expeditions across Mississippi during the fall. The division reached Corinth as part of the movement to Chattanooga, but was not forwarded. In November, the division, along with the battery, moved to Memphis (part of the rundown of the Corinth garrison at that time).
  • Battery F: No report. Captain John T. Cheney remained in command of this battery.  As part of Fourth Division, Fifteenth Corps, the battery was part of the reinforcement sent to Chattanooga. Like the other Fifteenth Corps batteries, Battery F played a supporting role at Chattanooga and later at Knoxville.
  • Battery G:  Serving as siege artillery at Corinth, Mississippi, with four 24-pdr siege guns. The battery was assigned to Second Division, Sixteenth Corps.  Captain Raphael G. Rombauer remained in command. When the Corinth garrison was disbanded, Battery G moved to Fort Pickering, in Memphis, in January.
  • Battery H: At Bellefonte, Alabama with three 20-pdr Parrotts.  Assigned to Second Division, Fifteenth Corps, Lieutenant Francis DeGress remained in command of this battery (he would receive promotion to captain in December, after Captain Levi W. Hart was discharged).  As with the other Fifteenth Corps Illinois batteries, DeGress’ were setup to support Sherman’s crossing of the Tennessee in the ill-fated assault on Tunnel Hill. After the march to Knoxville, the battery returned to north Alabama with the division.
  • Battery I: At Scottsboro, Alabama with four 3.80-inch James Rifles. The battery came to Chattanooga as part of Fourth Division, Fifteenth Corps. However, Captain Albert Cudney, who had taken over the battery in June, was not present. Lieutenant Josiah H. Burton, of Battery F, led the battery in support, alongside Battery H (above).  After the relief of Knoxville, the battery followed the division into winter quarters in northern Alabama.
  • Battery K: No return. This battery was stationed at Memphis, Tennessee as part of Grierson’s Cavalry Division, Sixteenth Corps. Recall this battery was, at least up through the spring, equipped with Woodruff guns. Without a return, the equipment at the end of 1863 cannot be confirmed. Captain Jason B. Smith remained in command. 
  • Battery L: In Washington, D.C., with two 12-pdr Napoleons and four 3.80-inch James Rifles. Captain John Rourke commanded this battery, assigned supporting Mulligan’s Brigade, Scammon’s Division, then in West Virginia. So the location given for the return is in question. 
  • Battery M:  Reporting at Loudon, Tennessee with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles (losing its Napoleons and converting to a uniform battery of rifles). Captain George W. Spencer, promoted in September, commanded this battery. With the reorganization of the Army of the Cumberland, the battery transferred to Second Division Fourth Corps.

Those particulars out of the way, we can look to the ammunition reported for this varied lot of cannon. Starting with the smoothbore:

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  • Battery A: 207 shot, 80 shell, and 270 case for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery D: 177 shell for 24-pdr field howitzers.
  • Battery E: 163 shot, 159 shell, and 246 case for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery G: 314 shot and 120 shell for 24-pdr siege guns.
  • Battery L: 70 shot and 504 shell for 6-pdr field guns; 385 shot (unprepared) for 12-pdr “heavy” guns; 134 shot and 639 case for 12-pdr Napoleons; and 189 shell and 48 case for 12-pdr field howitzers (a wide array of ammunition types perhaps reflecting garrison duty in West Virginia).

We’ll split this next page into groupings for the rest of the smoothbore and then the first columns of rifle ammunition:

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Smoothbore:

  • Battery A: 69 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery D: 140 case and 33 canister for 24-pdr field howitzers.
  • Battery E: 158 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery G: 72 case, 89 canister, and 113 stands of grape for 24-pdr siege guns.
  • Battery L: 255 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzers; 923 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.

And the other half of this section covers rifled projectiles:

  • Battery C: 448 Hotchkiss time fuse shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery E: 93 Hotchkiss time fuse shell for 3.80-inch James rifles.
  • Battery L: 580 Dyer’s case for 3-inch rifles; 1005 Hotchkiss time fuse shell for 3-inch rifles; 186 Hotchkiss shot and 144 Hotchkiss time fuse shell for 3.80-inch James rifles. (Apparently Battery L was managing an ammunition dump.)
  • Battery M: 343 Hotchkiss time fuse shell for 3-inch rifles.

Hotchkiss and James Projectiles on the next page:

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The remaining Hotchkiss first:

  • Battery C: 238 percussion fuse shell, 11 bullet shell, and 252 canister for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery E: 17 percussion fuse shell for 3.80-inch James rifles.
  • Battery H: 49 canister for 20-pdr Parrott.
  • Battery L: 232 bullet shell and 268 canister for 3.80-inch rifles; and 115 percussion fuse shell and 504 canister for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery M: 232 percussion fuse shell, 409 bullet shell, and 29 canister for 3-inch rifles.

And the James columns:

  • Battery E: 50 canister for 3.80-inch James rifles.
  • Battery I: 64 shot, 214 shell, and 256 canister for 3.80-inch James rifles.
  • Battery L: 387 shot, 106 shell, and 19 canister for 3.80-inch James rifles.

Parrott and Schenkl on the next page:

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First the Parrotts:

  • Battery A: 121 shell, 24 case, and 16 canister for 10-pdr Parrott.
  • Battery H: 163 shell, 77 case, and 17 canister for 20-pdr Parrott.

Then Schenkl:

  • Battery L: 300 shell for 3-inch rifles; and 282 shell for 3.80-inch James rifles.

On to the small arms:

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  • Battery A: Three Colt army revolvers, thirty Colt navy revolvers, and four horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery B: Six Colt navy revolvers and two cavalry sabers.
  • Battery C: Seven Colt army revolvers, ten Colt navy revolvers, and ten cavalry sabers.
  • Battery D: Five cavalry sabers.
  • Battery E: Two cavalry sabers.
  • Battery G: Sixty .58 caliber Springfield muskets and thirteen cavalry sabers.
  • Battery I: Eleven Colt navy revolvers and three cavalry sabers.
  • Battery L: Seventeen Sharps carbines, twenty-eight Colt army revolvers, and 148 cavalry sabers.
  • Battery M: One Colt army revolver and one cavalry saber.

Lots of cartridge bags, cartridges, and fuses over the last two pages:

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  • Battery C: 33 cartridge bags for case shot (field guns or howitzers).
  • Battery E: 161 cartridge bags for James rifles.
  • Battery G: 120 cartridge bags for 24-pdr siege guns and 2,400 musket cartridges.
  • Battery I: 515 cartridge bags for James rifles.
  • Battery L: 2,283 cartridge bags for James rifles and 765 cartridge bags for case (for 12-pdr Napoleons)
  • Battery M: 872 cartridge bags for 3-inch rifles.
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  • Battery A: 550 army caliber and 900 navy caliber pistol cartridges.
  • Battery B: 120 navy caliber pistol cartridges and 1,336 friction primers.
  • Battery C: 344 paper fuses and 275 friction primers.
  • Battery D: 500 friction primers.
  • Battery E: 1,750 friction primers and four portfires.
  • Battery G: 2,620 pounds of cannon powder and 569 friction primers.
  • Battery H: 1,410 paper fuses, 1,850 friction primers, 19 yards of slow match, and 48 portfires.
  • Battery I: 240 navy caliber pistol cartridges and 556 friction primers.
  • Battery L: 3,000 army pistol cartridges, 609 paper fuses, 4,540 friction primers, and 3,600 percussion caps (pistol).
  • Battery M: 1.096 paper fuses, 628 friction primers, 250 percussion caps (musket?), and 10 portfires.

That covers the 1st Illinois Artillery. We’ll pick up the 2nd Illinois in the next installment.

Sherman’s Lieutenants on the March to the Sea

As mentioned earlier, my intent is to do “something” here on the blog with a focus on Major-General William T. Sherman’s “March to the Sea” in relation to the 150th events.  For starters, it’s a 150th that, due to several factors, may not get much attention on the ground.  Dropping some of the baggage aside, the March is spread across half a state and several weeks, without any major battles (as with, say, the Overland Campaign).  But the Savannah Campaign… er… March… stands as one of the most important events of the Civil War.  It deserves some attention, to say the least.

To kick things off, let me offer a “resource post” today.  I’ve found over the years that most folks will know Sherman in relation to the march, but are not as familiar with the subordinates who executed his plans.  That said, let me walk through the organization that made the March.  We might call it “Sherman’s Army” but it was technically a detachment of the Military Division of the Mississippi.  The detachment consisted of two field armies – The Army of the Tennessee (the Right Wing) and The Army of Georgia (Left Wing).  Each of those Armies contained two army corps.  And Sherman’s force included a cavalry division.

Starting with the Army of the Tennessee, the commander of this storied formation was Major-General Oliver O. Howard.

Let us set aside, for the moment, the particulars for why Howard succeeded Major-General James McPherson in command of the army.  Sherman conducted a major reorganization during the early fall of 1864.  And several parts of the force used to capture Atlanta were sent north.  He retained Howard.  I think that was because of a simple understanding between Sherman and Howard – Howard always did as instructed.  Beyond that, Howard was a “tested” commander… a known quantity.

The Army of the Tennessee consisted of the Fifteenth and Seventeenth Corps.  The Fifteenth, “40 rounds!”, stands tall in the history as originally Sherman’s then Maj0r-General John Logan’s command through the Vicksburg, Chattanooga, and Atlanta Campaigns.  But in November 1864, Logan was north working the election.  In his place, Major-General Peter Osterhaus, one of the best foreign-born union officers of the war, lead the corps.

Osterhaus had four divisions:

  • First Division, Brigadier-General Charles Woods, with three brigades.
  • Second Division, Brigadier-General William B. Hazen, with three brigades.
  • Third Division, Brigadier-General John E. Smith, with two brigades.
  • Forth Division, Brigadier-General John M. Corse, with three brigades.
  • Artillery under Major Charles Stolbrand with four batteries.

Major-General Frank P. Blair, Jr. commanded the Seventeenth Corps.  And to match with Osterhaus, Blair was one of the more competent politician-generals of the war.

Blair had three (somewhat small) divisions:

  • First Division, Major-General Joseph Mower (just returned from an assignment in Missouri).   Three brigades.
  • Third Division, Brigadier-General Mortimer Leggett.  Two brigades.
  • Fourth Division, Brigadier-General Giles A. Smith. Two brigades.
  • Artillery under Major Allen C. Waterhouse with three batteries.

The Left Wing, as the Army of Georgia was know, fell under Major-General Henry Slocum.

As with Howard, Slocum did not have a great track record up to this point in the war, having been “exiled” from the Army of the Potomac the previous winter.  But Slocum was a regular line officer who would follow orders.  That’s what Sherman wanted for a movement in which no major combat actions were expected.  Slocum’s army consisted of the Fourteenth and Twentieth Army Corps.

Major-General Jefferson C. Davis (as opposed to the guy with an “F” as a middle initial!) had the Fourteenth Corps.

Davis’ commission was only a brevet, in part due to lingering effects of the killing of Major-General William Nelson in 1862. Davis was capable and dependable in the field.  His corps consisted of three divisions:

  • First Division, Brigadier-General William Carlin, with three brigades.
  • Second division, Brigadier-General James Morgan, with three brigades.
  • Third Division, Brigadier-General Absalom Baird, with three brigades.
  • Artillery under Major Charles Houghtaling, with four batteries.

The Twentieth Corps, what was left of the old Eleventh and Twelfth Corps from the Army of the Potomac, fell under Brigadier-General Alpheus S. Williams.

William had in his charge three divisions supported by artillery:

  • First Division under Brigadier-General Nathaniel J. Jackson, with three brigades.
  • Second Division under Brigadier-General John Geary, with three brigades.
  • Third Division under Brigadier-General William Ward, with three brigades.
  • Artillery under Major John A. Reynolds, with four batteries.

Rounding out the major elements of Sherman’s army was a division of cavalry, technically the Third Division of the Cavalry Corps, Military Division of the Mississippi, under Brigadier-General Judson Kilpatrick.

Considering Kilpatrick, and Sherman’s decision to put him in charge of an important part of the formation marching to Savannah, we have to keep in mind how much of the “cavalry talent” within the Federal army was in the Shenandoah, for good reason, at that time.  In other words, who else was around?  I have described the selection of Kilpatrick as that to a race-car team going with an aggressive driver – Kilpatrick might not be the idea choice, but on occasion he could make a situation within a void of opportunities.  Maybe I’m being kind there.  But there is from time to time a call for a reckless type to make something happen.  Perhaps Major-General George Stoneman was too much a “by the book” commander to match with a “throw out the book” military campaign.  And perhaps Sherman simply enjoyed hearing the wild tales Kilpatrick concocted for his after-action reports!

I’ve only named-names down to the division level for brevity here.  What is lost with that is a true understanding of the veteran make-up of this army that marched across Georgia.  From the top to the bottom, these were commanders and regiments that had seen hard campaigning and major battles.  And not just “western” battles.  Consider the commander of Second Brigade, First Division, Twentieth Corps – Colonel Ezra A. Carmen.  There was a man who’d seen Antietam, Gettysburg, Chattanooga, and the Atlanta Campaign.  In his brigade were the 2nd Massachusetts, 13th New Jersey, 107th and 150th New York, and 3rd Wisconsin. All units with scores of battle honors to brag about.  If we took all such battle honors from across Sherman’s army and listed them, I dare say only the battles of from the 1864 campaigns in the east would be missing.

Sherman’s army marching through Georgia was indeed a veteran legion.