Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – West Virginia Batteries

At the close of the second quarter of 1863, West Virginia was but ten days a state.  Word of the state’s admission to the Union did not move quickly down Pennsylvania Avenue to the clerks at the Ordnance Department.  They continued to place the batteries under a heading of “Virginia.”

0225_1_Snip_VA

The clerks allocated lines for batteries A to H.  Though Battery H had not formed at this time.  An additional line, dated August 7, accounts for a mountain howitzer in the charge of the 13th West Virginia Infantry.  Looking at the administrative details:

  • Battery A: At Camp Barry, D.C. with no cannon reported. This battery was in the Artillery Camp of Instruction, Camp Barry.  Lieutenant (later Captain) George Furst remained in command.  The battery only reported some equipment and small arms in its return.
  • Battery B: At New Creek, (West) Virginia with six 10-pdr Parrotts.  Captain John V. Keeper command this battery,  supporting Averill’s Brigade, Department of West Virginia.
  • Battery C: At Taneytown, Maryland with four 10-pdr Parrotts. Captain Wallace Hill commanded this battery.  In May, the battery transferred from Eleventh Corps to 3rd Volunteer Brigade, Artillery Reserve, Army of the Potomac.  Their Parrotts held a position on Cemetery Hill on July 2 and 3, at Gettysburg.  In the battle, Hill reported two men killed, two wounded, and the loss of five horses.  The battery expended 1,120 rounds.  “I think,” Hill concluded in his report, “I have just cause to feel proud of the part my men sustained during the entire terrible engagement.”
  • Battery D: Reporting at Hancock, Maryland with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Captain John Carlin’s battery was assigned to First Brigade, Second (Milroy’s) Division, Eighth Corps (Middle Department).  The battery was with that command during the battle of 2nd Winchester.  According to Carlin’s report, the battery had six 3-inch Ordnance rifles and 300 rounds as of June 12.  During the battle, the battery fired 265 rounds.  In the morning of June 14, Carlin received orders to spike the guns, destroy ammunition, and ride out with the horses.  He added, “Had I been allowed to do so, I could have taken my guns and equipment… and, in my opinion, could have rendered good service in covering the retreat….”
  • Battery E: Reporting at New Creek, (West) Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Under Captain Alexander C. Moore this battery supported Campbell’s Independent Brigade, Department of West Virginia.
  • Battery F: No return.  Captain Thomas A. Maulsby commanded the battery, supporting Third Brigade, First Divsion, Eighth Corps (Middle Department).  The battery reported six 3-inch Ordnance rifles in the previous quarter.  They were stationed at Martinsburg with their brigade when Confederates attacked on June 14.  In the withdrawal, Maulsby was wounded in the leg.  Lieutenant George W. Graham took over the battery.
  • Battery G: Indicated at Martinsburg, (West) Virginia with two 6-pdr field guns and two 10-pdr Parrotts.  Captain Chatham T. Ewing commanded this battery, supporting Averell’s Separate Brigade, Department of West Virginia.
  • Battery H:  The state’s Adjutant’s report has Captain James H. Holmes commissioned as commander of this battery in late September.  This was a “six months” battery, and does not appear to have entered Federal service.  The battery was reformed in January 1864.
  • “Col. 13th Infantry”:  Colonel William R. Brown commanded the 13th West Virginia Infantry, part of Scammon’s Division of the Department of West Virginia.  The regiment spent the winter split between Point Pleasant and Hurricane Bridge, West Virginia.  They tangled with Confederates in late March.  Then in late June the regiment moved to Charleston, West Virginia, arriving on June 30.  Within a few days the regiment was dispatched to assist in the pursuit of Morgan’s Raiders.  The return indicates the 13th Infantry had use of one 12-pdr Mountain Howitzer.  But I have no further details.

One “administrative” note here for clarity.  Many of these West Virginia batteries were counted as part of the Middle Department.  With the Confederate drive down the Shenandoah and into Pennsylvania, changes to the Federal order of battle occurred on the fly.  Thus some elements were gathered into the Department of West Virginia.  I don’t have space here to detail, and the subject is a bit out of scope. Hopefully readers will appreciate the context.

Turning to the ammunition.  Just one battery and the infantry section reported smoothbore cannon:

0227_1_Snip_VA

Those were:

  • Battery G: 100 shot, 90 (or 70?) case, and 56 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
  • 13th Infantry: 92 case and 68 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.

Moving to the rifled projectiles, Hotchkiss first for the 3-inch Ordnance rifles:

0227_2_Snip_VA

  • Battery E: 142 canister, 344 percussion shell, and 1,208 fuse shell for 3-inch rifles.

Keep in mind that Battery D, with 3-inch rifles at Winchester, expended or destroyed all it’s ammunition.  And Battery F, also with 3-inch rifles, did not file a return. Both were caught up in the debacle of the Federal retreat out of the Shenandoah.

For the next page, we can focus narrowly on the Parrott columns:

0228_1A_Snip_VA

Three reporting:

  • Battery B: 483 shell and 334 canister for 10-pdr Parrott.
  • Battery C: 383 shell, 240 case, and 163 canister for 10-pdr Parrott.
  • Battery G:  80 shell for 10-pdr Parrott.

In regard to Battery C, was that the quantity left on hand after firing 1,120 rounds at Gettysburg?  Or was that the quantity on hand as of December 29, 1863 – as the report was dated?

Battery B also reported some Schenkl projectiles for its Parrotts:

0228_2_Snip_VA

  • Battery B: 308 shell and 610 canister for 10-pdr Parrotts.

Turning to the small arms:

0228_3_Snip_VA

By battery:

  • Battery A: Fifteen Army revolvers and seventy-five cavalry sabers.
  • Battery B: Seventeen Army revolvers and forty-eight horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery C: Ten Navy revolvers and nine cavalry sabers.
  • Battery D: Sixteen (?) Navy revolvers and thirty horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery E: Twenty-nine Army revolvers and thirty horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery G: Thirteen Army revolvers.

Circling back to the service of these batteries at this particular time of the war, the statements offered by Captains Hall and Carlin (in the administrative section above) resonate.  One battery commander lamented the lack of cannon to perform his duty.  Another lauded his men for performance holding a critical line.

Advertisements

Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – Ohio Independent Batteries, Part 1

Ohio, like New York, had both a regimental system for artillery and independent batteries.  With the summaries for the second quarter of 1863, for some reason the Ordnance Department clerks opted to list the independent batteries before those of the 1st Ohio Light Artillery Regiment.  Yet another accounting anomaly to pester historians with OCD.  Looking at the summary, we find twenty-five of the twenty-six independent batteries were allocated a line:

0209_1_Snip_Ohio_IND_All

The 26th Independent Battery?  It was indeed in service at this time of the war, but under a different name.  But we’ll see them listed a little later… and then discuss their interesting story.

For part one, let us focus on the first twelve independent batteries:

0209_1_Snip_Ohio_IND_Pt1

Nine of the first twelve filed returns.  Though several of those were not received by Washington until 1864.

 

  • 1st Battery: No report. Captain James R. McMullin commanded this battery, supporting the Third Division, Eighth Corps. The battery moved from Kanawha Falls, to Charleston, West Virginia near the end of June.  Sketches of the unit’s service indicate the battery had four guns at this time.  Not sure as to the type and caliber.
  • 2nd Battery: From an April 1864 return, this battery was at Ship’s Island, Mississippi with two 12-pdr field howitzers and four 3.80-inch James rifles.  Lieutenant Augustus Beach commanded this battery assigned to Twelfth Division (later Third Division), Thirteenth Corps.  The battery participated in the Vicksburg Campaign, and was in the lines at Vicksburg at the end of June 1863.
  • 3rd Battery: At Vicksburg, Mississippi with two 6-pdr field guns and four 3.80-inch James Rifles.   The battery was assigned to Third Division, Seventeenth Corps.  Captain William S. Williams remained in command.
  • 4th Battery:  Reported, as of October 1863, at Iuka, Mississippi, with two (or three) 12-pdr field howitzers and four 3.80-inch James Rifles.   However, Captain Louis Hoffman’s battery was assigned to First Divsision, Fifteenth Corps.  And they participated in the Vicksburg Campaign with that formation.
  • 5th Battery:  No location given.  Battery reported two 6-pdr field guns, two 12-pdr field howitzers, and two 3.80-inch James Rifles.  Commanded by Lieutenant Anthony B. Burton.  The battery served in Fourth Division, Sixteenth Corps through the Vicksburg Campaign.  During the siege, the battery operated a 42-pdr rifle and an 8-inch siege gun captured from the Confederates.
  • 6th  Battery:  Reporting from Hillsboro, Tennessee with two 12-pdr Napoleons and four 10-pdr Parrotts. Captain Cullen Bradley remained in command of the battery, which was assigned to First Division, Twenty-First Corps.  The battery participated in the Tullahoma Campaign.  Hillsboro is roughly half-way between Murfreesboro and Chattanooga.
  • 7th Battery: No return.  In the previous quarter, the battery reported four 3.80-inch James Rifles.  The battery was assigned to Fourth Division, Sixteenth Corps.   Captain Silas A. Burnap remained commander.  During the siege of Vicksburg, the battery guarded the rear of the Federal lines.
  • 8th Battery: Reporting in January 1864 as at Vicksburg, Mississippi.  But no guns listed.   Commanded by Captain James F. Putnam, this battery was assigned to Second Division, Fifteenth Corps.  During the siege of Vicksburg, the battery manned 30-pdr Parrotts (those not being considered “field guns” may explain the absence of guns on the summary).
  • 9th Battery: Guy’s Gap, Tennessee with four 12-pdr Napoleons and two 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. The battery was commanded by Captain Harrison B. York and assigned to the Reserve Corps, Army of the Cumberland.  The battery was among the forces arrayed to protect the Army of the Cumberland’s supply lines.
  • 10th Battery: At Vicksburg, Mississippi with four 3.80-inch James Rifles. Under Captain Hamilton B. White, the battery remained with Sixth Division, Seventeenth Corps.  For a time during the siege of Vicksburg, the battery occupied Fort Ransom. but the end of June found them protecting the Federal rear along the Big Black River.
  • 11th Battery: No report. Was part of the Seventh Division, Seventeenth Corps. On paper, Captain Frank C. Sands was commander.  But with Sands serving as division artillery chief, Lieutenant Fletcher E. Armstrong commanded. The battery through the Vicksburg Campaign though suffered heavily due to sickness.
  • 12th Battery: At Camp Barry, District of Columbia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Captain Aaron C. Johnson commanded this battery.  In June, the battery was among several swapped out of the Army of the Potomac for fresh batteries.  They reported to the Artillery Camp of Instruction.

 

So we see, among these twelve batteries, a focus on Vicksburg, Mississippi.  With of course a couple employed in Tennessee, one in West Virginia, and one just missing the Gettysburg Campaign.

Moving to the ammunition, first we look at the smoothbore rounds:

0211_1_Snip_Ohio_IND_Pt1

With 6-pdr field guns, 12-pdr field howitzers, and Napoleons on hand, this is a busy page:

  • 2nd Battery: 74 shell, 135 case, and 69 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • 3rd Battery: 70 shot, 40 case, and 56 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
  • 4th Battery: 49 shell, 13 case, and 46 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • 5th Battery: 4 shot, 235 case, and 155 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 155 shell, 64 case, and 69 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • 6th Battery: 48 shot, 52 shell, 76 case, and 80 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 9th Battery: 104 shot, 153 shell, 310 case, and 226 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.

Moving to the rifled projectiles, we find a wide array of makes and calibers.  Starting with the Hotchkiss patent types:

0211_2_Snip_Ohio_IND_Pt1

Hotchkiss for both the James and Ordnance rifles:

  • 2nd Battery: 100 fuse shell and 90 bullet shell for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • 3rd Battery: 112 percussion shell and 113 fuse shell for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • 4th Battery: 64 shot and 216 percussion shell for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • 5th Battery: 79 fuse shell for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • 9th Battery: 85 canister, 145 fuse shell, and 155 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 10th Battery: 30 shot and 160 fuse shell for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • 12th Battery:  492 fuse shell and 403 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

I’ll break down the next page in sections for easier handling.  Starting with the extended Hotchkiss columns and Dyer’s patent:

0212_1A_Snip_Ohio_IND_Pt1

Hotchkiss patent:

  • 3rd Battery: 49 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • 10th Battery: 309 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.

Dyer’s:

  • 12th Battery: 120 canister for 3-inch rifles.

Then moving to the James patent projectiles:

0212_1B_Snip_Ohio_IND_Pt1

Four batteries reporting:

  • 2nd Battery: 100 shot and 400 shell for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • 3rd Battery: 15 shot and 35 shell for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • 5th Battery: 4 shot, 112 shell and 95 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • 10th Battery: 103 shell for 3.80-inch rifles.

Only one battery reported Parrott rifles:

0212_1C_Snip_Ohio_IND_Pt1

So we find one battery reporting Parrott projectiles:

  • 6th Battery: 440 shell, 347 case, and 60 canister for 10-pdr Parrott.

But do remember 8th Battery used 30-pdr Parrotts at Vicksburg, though not listed in the summary.

Tuning to the last page, let us break the projectiles into two sections.  First the Schenkl patent:

0212_2A_Snip_Ohio_IND_Pt1

Three lines:

  • 4th Battery: 143 shell for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • 10th Battery: 64 shell for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • 12th Battery: 167 shell for 3-inch rifles.

Moving to the last columns, we have Tatham’s canister on hand with two batteries:

0212_2B_Snip_Ohio_IND_Pt1

  • 2nd Battery: 143 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • 4th Battery: 94 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.

One might expect a variety of projectiles used by the batteries at Vicksburg, given the extended supply lines.  But 12th Battery, at Camp Barry, had three different patent types of 3-inch projectiles.  And they were right in the Ordnance Department’s back yard!

Last we have the small arms:

0212_3_Snip_Ohio_IND_Pt1

By battery:

  • 2nd Battery: Eight cavalry sabers.
  • 3rd Battery: Twenty-three Navy revolvers and eight cavalry sabers.
  • 4th Battery: Twenty-five Army revolvers, fifty-two cavalry sabers, six horse artillery sabers, and sixteen foot artillery sabers.
  • 5th Battery: Seven Navy revolvers and sixteen cavalry sabers.
  • 6th Battery: Ten horse artillery sabers.
  • 9th Battery: Thirteen horse artillery sabers.
  • 10th Battery: Two Army revolvers and six cavalry sabers.
  • 12th Battery: Four cavalry sabers and twenty horse artillery sabers.

The 4th Battery demonstrated a fondness for edged weapons.

We’ll look at the second half of the Ohio independent batteries in the next installment.