Summary Statement, 3rd Quarter, 1863 – Rhode Island’s batteries

As we have discussed for the previous quarters, the small state of Rhode Island mustered a total of four artillery regiments for the Federal cause.  FOUR!

However, three of those regiments were heavy artillery.  And that means only the 1st Rhode Island Light Artillery earns significant space in the summaries.  For the third quarter, we find every battery in that regiment (A through H) offered a return.  In addition Battery C, 3rd Rhode Island Heavy Artillery was serving as light artillery.  Thus nine batteries on the summary list:

0289_1_Snip_RI

Colonel Charles H. Tompkins (not to be confused with the US Regulars cavalry officer), commanded the 1st Rhode Island Light Artillery and doubled as the Chief of Artillery, Sixth Corps.  And all eight of his batteries gave reports for the quarter:

  • Battery A: “In the field” with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Captain William A. Arnold remained in command of this battery,  supporting Second Corps.  Their “in the field” location at the end of September was Culpeper County, Virginia.
  • Battery B: Also “In the field,” but with six 12-pdr Napoleons. Battery B also served in Second Corps’ artillery brigade, and thus was also in Culpeper at this time.  Captain  John G. Hazard of this battery was the corps artillery chief.  In his place, Lieutenant William S. Perrin commanded.
  • Battery C: Reporting at Warrenton, Virgnia, with six 10-pdr Parrotts.  Captain Richard Waterman commanded this battery supporting the Sixth Corps.
  • Battery D: At Loudon, Tennessee with six 12-pdr Napoleons. Captain William W. Buckley commanded this battery.  Assigned to First Division, Twenty-third Corps through this quarter (but would return to the Ninth Corps, specifically First Division, in October)
  • Battery E: Reporting at Culpeper, Virginia with six 12-pdr Napoleons.  The battery remained with Third Corps. Captain George E. Randolph, of this battery, was in command of the corps’ artillery brigade.  Lieutenant John K. Bucklyn commanded the battery in his place.
  • Battery F: At Newport News, Virginia with six 12-pdr Napoleons (vice 10-pdr Parrotts reported in the last quarter). Captain James Belger commanded this battery, though he was at the time on extended leave recovering from a wound and on recruiting duty.  In his place Lieutenant Thomas Simpson commanded. The battery spent the summer assigned to the Defenses of New Berne, North Carolina.  And they supported several reconnaissance operations during those months.  In October the battery was ordered to NewPort News.
  • Battery G: Reporting at Warrenton with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Captain George W. Adams remained in command.  And the battery remained assigned to the Sixth Corps.
  • Battery H: At Fort Scott, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Assigned to the Twenty-second Corps from the Defenses of Washington.  Captain Jeffrey Hazard resigned in August.  Lieutenant Charles F. Mason stood in as commander in his absence.  Lieutenant Crawford Allen, Jr. would transfer from Battery G in December, and receive the captaincy.

Rhode Island would not form any other batteries within the 1st Artillery Regiment.

The last line in this section is for a battery in the 3rd Rhode Island Heavy Artillery.  This regiment, as readers will recall, served in the Department of the South at this time, providing garrison troops for Fort Pulaski, Hilton Head, Beaufort, and Folly Island.  But more importantly, the regiment provided troops for the siege of Battery Wagner.  One battery of this regiment was designated a light battery and appears on the summary:

  • Battery C: Reporting on Morris Island, South Carolina with two 12-pdr field howitzers and four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Captain Charles R. Brayton remained in command.

We’ll cover the remainder of this regiment in a latter post focused on heavy artillery.

Guns need ammunition.  And the Rhode Island batteries reported plenty.  We start with the smoothbore:

0291_1_Snip_RI

  • Battery B, 1st RI: 192 shot, 64 shell, 192 case, and 64 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery E, 1st RI: 288 shot, 96 shell, 284 case, and 96 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery F, 1st RI: 400 shot, 160 shell, 360 case, and 144 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery C, 3rd RI: 120 shell, 214 case, and 92 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.

For the rifled guns, we start with the Hotchkiss rounds:

0291_2_Snip_RI

  • Battery A, 1st RI: 175 canister, 57 percussion shell, 533 fuse shell, and 509 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery G, 1st RI: 199 canister, 124 percussion shell, 149 fuse shell, and 334 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery H, 1st RI: 120 canister and 231 percussion shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery C: 3rd RI: 180 canister, 84 percussion shell, 468 fuse shell, and 539 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

I’ll break down the next page into sections for clarity.  Starting with an entry for Dyer’s patent projectiles:

0292_1D_Snip_RI

  • Battery G, 1st RI: 34 shell for 3-inch rifles.

And the Parrott columns:

0292_1P_Snip_RI

  • Battery C, 1st RI: 491 shell, 367 case, and 122 canister for 10-pdr Parrott.

And there were plenty of Schenkl projectiles reported:

0292_2_Snip_RI

  • Battery A, 1st RI: 64 shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery G, 1st RI: 146 shell and 33 case for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery H, 1st RI: 260 shell and 589 case for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery C, 3rd RI: 104 shell and 173 case for 3-inch rifles.

The last set of columns we review are the small arms:

0292_3_Snip_RI

  • Battery A, 1st RI: Four army revolvers, nineteen navy revolvers and thirty horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery B, 1st RI: Twenty horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery C, 1st RI: Seven navy revolvers and twelve horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery D, 1st RI: Eight army revolvers, twelve navy revolvers, forty-five cavalry sabers, and five horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery E, 1st RI: Twelve navy revolvers and one horse artillery saber.
  • Battery F, 1st RI: 102 army revolvers and twenty horse cavalry sabers.
  • Battery G, 1st RI: Eight navy revolvers, ten cavalry sabers, and seventeen horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery H, 1st RI: Twenty army revolvers and thirty-six horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery C, 3rd RI: Forty-eight army revolvers, fifty-three cavalry sabers, and seventy-nine horse artillery sabers.

The Rhode Island batteries leave us with few questions.  The only question I pose what ammunition Battery D had on hand for its Napoleons?  Perhaps this nearly complete accounting from the Rhode Island batteries reflects the number of its officers then serving as artillery chiefs.

Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – 3rd Rhode Island Heavy Artillery

Readers will be familiar with the 3rd Rhode Island Heavy Artillery due to their service along the South Carolina coast.  Hardly a month passes without mention of that unit here on this blog.  Though the main story-line in the 3rd’s service was operations against Charleston, batteries from the regiment served at times in Florida and Virginia.  And their service often defied the label of “heavy” artillery, as often the gunners served in the field as field artillery proper.

A bit of background on this regiment is in order.  The 3rd Rhode Island Volunteers first mustered as an infantry formation in August 1861.  As they prepared for their first major operation, as part of Brigadier-General Thomas W. Sherman’s expedition to Port Royal, they camped at Fort Hamilton, New York.  While there, under orders from Sherman, the regiment drilled on both heavy and light artillery.  By the time the regiment arrived at Hilton Head, it was for all practical purposes an artillery regiment.  Though the formal change did not occur until December of that year.

Over the months that followed, the 3rd Rhode Island served by batteries and detachments as garrison artillery, field artillery, infantry, and even ship’s complement as needs of the particular moment called.  In the winter of 1863, Battery C was designated a light battery in light of its habitual service.  We’ve seen that reflected in returns from the fourth quarter, 1862 and first quarter, 1863. However, the battery seemed to change armament with each quarter.  I believe this reflects more the “ad hoc” nature of tasking in the theater at that time.  For the second quarter, 1863, we find the guns reported on hand again changed:

0217_1_Snip_RI_3rd

At the end of June, Battery C had just returned from the raid on Darien, Georgia.  They were at Hilton Head on June 30, preparing for transit to Folly Island.  So this tally of two 12-pdr field howitzers may reflect a status as of January 1864, when the return was received in Washington.

This brief line, along with “clerical” lines for Batteries A and B, brings up a couple of facets to the summaries as they relate to the “real” operational situations.  First off, we know, based on official records and other accounts, not to mention photographs, the 3rd Rhode Island had more than just a couple of howitzers.  We must also consider the property management within the military and how that was reflected in the reports. The military in general tends to be very anal about tracking property.  For any given item, someone, somewhere is on the hook as the “owner” of said item.  Doesn’t matter if that item is a belt buckle or a cannon.  The “owner” might be a specific unit or could be a facility.  So, in the Civil War and specific to the context of this discussion, that “owner” could be a battery in the 3rd Rhode Island… or it could be the garrison commander at Hilton Head.  However, we rarely, if ever, see those garrison commands reflected in the summaries.  A significant blank that we cannot resolve with satisfaction.

What we can do, in the case of the 3rd Rhode Island, is use primary and secondary sources to provide a glimpse into that blank.  Let’s consider the 3rd Rhode Island by battery at this point in time of the war.  Recall, the 3rd and other units were, at the end of June, preparing for an assault from Folly Island onto Morris Island. Colonel Edwin Metcalf was in command of the regiment, with his headquarters on Hilton Head:

  • Battery A:  On Port Royal Island, under command of Lieutenant Edward F. Curtis (in absence of Captain William H. Hammer), serving as garrison artillery.
  • Battery B:  On Folly Island under Captain Albert E. Greene, having moved from Hilton Head at the end of June.  The battery manned six 10-inch siege mortars.
  • Battery C: Transferring from St. Helena Island to Hilton Head, and thence to Folly Island in the first week of July.  Commanded by Captain Charles R. Brayton.  The battery would man two 3-inch Ordnance Rifles and four 30-pdr Parrotts (along with a detachment from Battery C, 1st US Artillery).  Likely the reported howitzers were in reserve.
  • Battery D: Part of the original garrison sent to Folly Island in April.  Under the command of Captain Robert G. Shaw and manning eight 30-pdr Parrotts.
  • Battery E: On Hilton Head, serving as garrison artillery under Captain Peter J. Turner (who was serving as a staff officer, thus one of his lieutenants was in temporary command).
  • Battery F: On Hilton Head, serving as garrison artillery under Captain David B. Churchill.
  • Battery G: Stationed at Fort Pulaski and under Captain John H. Gould.
  • Battery H: On Hilton Head, serving as garrison artillery under Captain Augustus W. Colwell.  Would deploy to Morris Island in July.
  • Battery I:  On Folly Island under Captain Charles G. Strahan.  The battery manned four 20-pdr Parrotts.
  • Battery K: On Hilton Head, serving as garrison artillery under Lieutenant Horatio N. Perry.
  • Battery L: On Hilton Head, serving as garrison artillery under Captain Jeremiah Lanhan.
  • Battery M:  Part of the force on Folly island, under Captain Joseph J. Comstock.  They manned four 10-inch siege mortars and five 8-inch siege mortars.

Thus we see the 3rd Rhode Island was spread between garrison duties and advanced batteries preparing for a major offensive from Folly Island.  Those on the north end of Folly Island, overlooking Light House Creek, were armed with a variety of field guns, heavy Parrotts, and mortars.  Only the former category would have been covered by the summaries, as they existed in June 1863.  And what we have to work with is, based on official reports at the time, inaccurate.

But that’s what we must work with!  Turning to the smoothbore ammunition:

0219_1_Snip_RI_3rd

  • Battery C: 156 shell, 214 case, and 132 canister for 12-pdr field howitzer.

One might think no rifled projectiles would be on hand… but perhaps related to the two 3-inch rifles reported on Folly Island and manned by Battery C, we find some Hotchkiss projectiles on hand:

 

0219_2_Snip_RI_3rd

  • Battery C: 48 canister and 108 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

No ammunition reported on the next page, of Dyer’s, James, or Parrott patents:

0220_1_Snip_RI_3rd

But some Schenkl on hand:

0220_2_Snip_RI_3rd

  • Battery C: 100 shell for 3-inch rifles.

As for small arms:

0220_3_Snip_RI_3rd

  • Battery C: Forty-eight Army revolvers and 102 cavalry sabers.

I suspect, given the varied nature of the 3rd Rhode Island’s duties, the other batteries had a large number of small arms on hand also.  But because of the selective record, we don’t have the details.

Just to say we discussed ALL the Rhode Island artillery, let me mention two other heavy artillery regiments.  The 5th Rhode Island Infantry was reorganized as the 5th Rhode Island Heavy Artillery on May 27, 1863.  Stationed at New Berne, North Carolina, Colonel George W. Tew commanded the reorganized regiment.

Though not organized, we can trace the story of another heavy artillery regiment back to June 1863.  In response to the emergency developing in Pennsylvania, the governor of Rhode Island authorized Colonel Nelson Viall (formerly of the 1st Rhode Island Infantry) to form a six-month regiment.  Designated the 13th Rhode Island, recruitment was slow due to the war situation, small bounties, and the draft.  By July, the War Department decided no more six-month regiments would be accepted and insisted on a three-year enlistment standard.  With that, the 13th was disbanded and in its place the 14th Rhode Island was authorized.  That formation, which began organization in August, was a US Colored Troops Regiment of heavy artillery.

 

Summary Statement, 1st Quarter, 1863 – Rhode Island’s Light Batteries

When transcribing the summary statements, I like to see clean entries where clerks have recorded returns for all listed batteries.  Such reduces questions to some manageable level.  And that is what we see with the Rhode Island volunteers for the first quarter, 1863:

0140_1_Snip_RI

Not exactly crisp, however.  We see one entry was delayed until 1864.  And we have two station entries that are blank.  Still, better than many we’ve encountered.  As with the previous quarter, we have two parts to consider for the Rhode Island artillerymen.  We start with the 1st Rhode Island Artillery Regiment:

  • Battery A: At Falmouth, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Captain William A. Arnold remained in commanded this battery,  supporting Second Division, Second Corps.
  • Battery B: No station given, but with six 12-pdr Napoleons. Battery was also assigned to Second Division, Second Corps and was thus also at Falmouth.  When Captain  John G. Hazard became the division’s artillery chief, Lieutenant T. Frederick Brown assumed command (the move occurred at the end of the winter months).
  • Battery C: No station given, but with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Captain Richard Waterman commanded this battery, assigned to First Division, Fifth Corps. The battery was also in the Falmouth area.
  • Battery D: At Lexington, Kentucky  with six 12-pdr Napoleons. Captain  William W. Buckley commanded this battery assigned to Second Division, Ninth Corps.  Recall this division was among the troops dispatched wet to Kentucky, with Burnside, during the winter months.
  • Battery E: At Falmouth with six 12-pdr Napoleons.  Captain Pardon S. Jastram’s battery remained with First Division, Third Corps.
  • Battery F: At New Berne, North Carolina with six 10-pdr Parrotts (shed of two howitzers reported in the last quarter). Captain James Belger commanded this battery, part of the Artillery Brigade, Eighteenth Corps.
  • Battery G: Falmouth, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Assigned to Third Division, Second Corps, then at Falmouth.  Captain George W. Adams assumed command prior to the Chancellorsville Campaign.
  • Battery H: At Union Mills, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Assigned to Casey’s Division, Twenty-second Corps from the Defenses of Washington.  Captain Jeffrey Hazard commanded this battery.

Moving down a lot of blank lines, we have one battery from the 3rd Rhode Island Heavy Artillery that was serving in the light artillery capacity:

  • Company C: At Beaufort, South Carolina with four 12-pdr field howitzers, having turned in it’s mix of Parrotts and 24-pdr field howitzers.  Captain Charles R. Brayton was in command, assigned to the Tenth Corps.

The Rhode Island batteries were somewhat uniform, with the few mixed batteries refitting from the previous quarter.  Such makes the ammunition listings predictable:

0142_1_Snip_RI

Four batteries of smoothbores… but only three listings:

  • Battery B: 288 shot, 96 shell, 388(?) case, and 96 canister for Napoleons.
  • Battery E: 288 shot, 96 shell, 288 case, and 96 canister for Napoleons.
  • Battery C, 3rd Artillery: 426 shell, 549 case, and 164 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.

So no ammunition reported for Battery D.  And two very suspiciously uniform lines for Battery B and E.  Battery C, by the way, had plenty of ammunition on hand.

Moving to the rifled columns, we saw four batteries with 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Correspondingly, four batteries reported Hotchkiss projectiles in that caliber:

0142_2_Snip_RI

Quantities reported were all for 3-inch rifles:

  • Battery A:  195 canister, 57 percussion shell, 467 fuse shell, and 509 bullet shell.
  • Battery C: 120 canister, 251 percussion shell, 193 fuse shell, and 603 bullet shell.
  • Battery G: 239 canister, 104 percussion shell, 211 fuse shell, and 461 bullet shell.
  • Battery H: 120 canister, 250 percussion shell, 280 fuse shell, and 582 bullet shell.

We saw one battery with Parrott rifles.  And there is one entry line to consider:

0143_1A_Snip_RI

  • Battery F: 1,293 shell, 171 case, and 134 canister for 10-pdr Parrotts.

Yes, 1,293 shells…. 215 shells per gun in that battery.

The only “strays” in this set are on the Schenkl columns:

0143_2_Snip_RI

Two batteries reporting quantities:

  • Battery A: 157 Schenkl shells for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery G: 181 Schenkl shells for 3-inch rifles.

Other than a few open questions (particularly with Battery D, moving to the Ohio Valley, not reporting ammunition on hand) these are “clean”.  So on to the small arms.

0143_3_Snip_RI

By Battery:

  • Battery A: Four Army revolvers, twenty Navy revolvers, and thirty-nine horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery B: Twenty-five horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery C: Eight Navy revolvers and twelve horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery D: Eight Army revolvers, twelve Navy revolvers, and eighteen horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery E: Seventeen Navy revolvers.
  • Battery F: Sixteen Army revolvers, eighty-eight Navy revolvers, twenty cavalry sabers, and nine horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery G: Fourteen Army revolvers and eighteen horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery H: Twenty Army revolvers and thirty-two horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery C, 3rd Artillery: Forty-nine Navy revolvers and 120 cavalry sabers.

There were two batteries included within these summaries which lacked any direct affiliation with the Army of the Potomac (Battery D was leaving that army, being transferred west).  Those two batteries, Battery F and lone heavy battery serving as light, were posted to backwater assignments.  Those two batteries reported a larger quantity of small arms on hand, as they assumed some non-artillery roles in the line of duty.