Summary Statement, 3rd Quarter, 1863 – Ohio Independent Batteries, Part 2

Twenty-six independent batteries from Ohio, recall?  But only twenty-four of those might properly be called “complete” as Ohio batteries.  We looked at what the first dozen of those were doing in the third quarter, 1863.  So we turn now to the remainder:

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Looking at each battery in detail:

  • 13th Battery: Not listed.  Most histories indicate this battery was never fully organized and ceased to exist, officially, in April 1862. But that’s not exactly accurate.  The battery did organize and saw action at Shiloh.  There it lost five of six guns (for a good, brief discussion, see this article).  As the battery fell into disfavor (and likely was the scapegoat for the poor performance of a division commander…) it was disbanded. The men and equipment remaining were distributed to other Ohio batteries (namely the 7th, 10th, and 14th Batteries).
  • 14th Battery: Reporting at Corinth, Mississippi with two 12-pdr Napoleons and four 3-inch Ordnance rifles. The battery was part of Second Division, Sixteenth Corps.   Captain Jerome B. Burrows remained in command.  In November, the battery was part of the “Left Wing” of the corps, advanced to Lynnville, in south-central Tennessee to guard the sensitive supply lines in that area.
  • 15th Battery: At Natchez, Mississippi with four 6-pdr field guns.  Captain Edward Spear, Jr. remained in command.  The battery was in Fourth Division, Sixteenth Corps at the end of the Vicksburg campaign. And it took part in the Jackson Campaign which followed.  Transferred in late July, with the division, to the Seventeenth Corps, it formed part of the garrison of Natchez. The battery took part in an expedition to Harrisonburg, Louisiana in September.
  • 16th Battery: Reporting at Carrollton, Louisiana with four 12-pdr Napoleons and two 3.80-inch James Rifles. Captain Russell P. Twist remained in command.  The battery was with Third Division, Thirteenth Corps, recently transferred to the Department of the Gulf.  In late September, the battery transferred to Berwick Bay (Morgan City), southwest of New Orleans, for garrison duty.
  • 17th Battery: At Vermilion Bridge, Louisiana with six 10-pdr Parrotts. The battery was assigned to Tenth Division (re-designated Fourth), Thirteenth Corps.  When transferred to the Department of the Gulf, the battery was assigned to the garrison at Brashear City (Morgan City), Louisiana.  Later the battery moved to the location given in the return. The battery was among the forces used in the Teche Expedition in October. Captain Charles S. Rice remained in command.
  • 18th Battery: No report.  Captain Charles Aleshire’s battery was in First Division, Reserve Corps, Army of the Cumberland, and had six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  The battery saw action on September 18, supporting the division along the Ringold Road. And was in action again on September 20 on Snodgrass Hill on the left end of the Federal line. With the general withdrawal that evening, the battery returned to Chattanooga.
  • 19th Battery: At Knoxville, Tennessee with six 12-pdr Napoleons.  Captain Joseph C. Shields commanded this battery, assigned to the Twenty-third Corps.  After contributing to the pursuit of Morgan in July, the battery was among the forces under General Burnside’s East Tennessee Campaign.
  • 20th Battery: Reporting, in May 1864, at Nashville, Tennessee with two 12-pdr field howitzers and four 3-inch Ordnance rifles. However, the battery actually had two 12-pdr Napoleons, not field howitzers. The entry is a clerical data-entry error. The battery remained under Captain [John T.] Edward Grosskopff  and assigned to assigned to Second Division, Twentieth Corps. And the battery was with that division at Chickamauga. Grosskopff reported firing 85 rounds of ammunition at Chickamagua.  In terms of material, he lost only one caisson.  The location for this battery, for the end of the quarter, is accurately Chattanooga.
  • 21st Battery: At Greenville, Tennessee with four 12-pdr Napoleons.  Captain James W. Patterson commanded.  Recall this battery was organized in April 1863.  After assisting with the pursuit of Morgan in July, the battery remained at Camp Dennison, Ohio, through much of the summer. Only in September did they move to Camp Nelson, Kentucky.  They arrived in Greenville, as the return indicates, around the first of October. The battery was part of the “Left Wing Forces” of the Ninth Corps.
  • 22nd Battery: No report.  The battery began the quarter stationed at Camp Chase, Ohio, where they’d just received their full complement of six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Commanded by Captain Henry M. Neil, the battery would not move out of Ohio until mid-August.  After spending time at Camp Nelson, the battery was dispatched with other forces to the Cumberland Gap, as part of the “Left Wing Forces” of the Ninth Corps.  According to the department returns at that time, Neil was serving as Artillery Chief for the Second Division, Ninth Corps.  And in his absence, Lieutenant Amos B. Alger led the battery.
  • 23rd Battery: Not listed. This battery was formed from the 2nd Kentucky Infantry and later became the 1st Kentucky Independent Light Battery. Only mentioned here due to “placeholder” status.
  • 24th Battery:  At Cincinnati, Ohio with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Officially mustered on August 4, this battery was posted to Camp Dennison until September 22, when they moved to Cincinnati.  Captain John L. Hill commanded.
  • 25th Battery: Reporting from Little Rock, Arkansas, in May 1864, with two 3-inch Ordnance rifles and four 3.67-inch rifles.  Captain Julius L. Hadley remained in command.  Assigned to First Cavalry Division, Department of Southeast Missouri, the battery served on expeditions into northeast Arkansas in July.  In August, the battery was among the forces sent toward Little Rock as part of Steele’s Expedition.
  • 26th Battery:  At Vicksburg, Mississippi, with no cannon reported. An interesting unit history, originally being a company in the 32nd Ohio Infantry, that I alluded to in the last quarter.  Briefly, detailed to artillery service earlier in the war, but still under the 32nd Infantry, the battery was captured at Harpers Ferry in September 1862.  Exchanged, the “battery” resumed infantry duties.  That is until during the siege at Vicksburg when captured Confederate cannon were assigned to the regiment.  “Yost’s Captured Battery”, named for Captain Theobold D. Yost, served in the siege lines, being highly regarded by senior officers.  And after the fall of Vicksburg the men of this temporary battery were detached to Battery D, 1st Illinois and the 3rd Ohio Independent Battery.  Yost would command the Illinois battery for a short time that summer. Not until December was the 26th formally authorized.  While not officially a battery at the end of September 1863, the men would would form the 26th were indeed stationed around Vicksburg.

Those details established, we turn to the smoothbore ammunition:

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Six lines to consider:

  • 14th Battery:  60 shot, 32 shell, 106 case, and 50 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 15th Battery: 220 shot, 132 case, and 220 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
  • 16th Battery: 44 shot, 123 shell, 169 case, and 48 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 19th Battery: 74 shot, 230 shell, 269 case, and 234 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 20th Battery: 47 shot and 39 shell for 12-pdr Napoleons; 32 case and 32 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.  As with the issue mentioned above for this battery, the howitzer ammunition tallies are likely a data-entry error and should be 12-pdr Napoleon rounds.
  • 21st Battery: 276 shot, 126 shell, 164 case, and 128 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.

Moving to the Hotchkiss page:

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A mix of calibers here:

  • 14th Battery: 147 canister, 355 percussion shell, and 276 fuse shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 16th Battery: 88 shot, 70 fuse shell, and 304 bullet shell for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • 20th Battery: 168 canister, 227 percussion shell, and 351 fuse shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 24th Battery: 48 shot, 168 canister, 120 percussion shell, and 290 fuse shell for 3-inch rifles.  Yes, the seldom reported Hotchkiss solid shot for 3-inch rifles!
  • 25th Battery: 116 canister, 85 percussion shell, 43 fuse shell, and 65 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles; 112 shot, 291 percussion shell, and 158 fuse shell for “12-pounder” 3.67-inch rifles.

Two entries in the Hotchkiss columns on the next page:

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  • 16th Battery: 104 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • 25th Battery: 216 canister for 3.67-inch rifles.

No James projectiles reported, for what it is worth.

But one battery with Parrott guns:

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  • 17th Battery: 48 shot, 677 shell, 155 case, and 363 canister for 10-pdr Parrott.

We turn then to the Schenkl page:

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  • 24th Battery: 720 case for 3-inch rifles.
  • 25th Battery: 37 shell and 46 case for 3-inch rifles.

Lastly, we have the small arms reported on hand:

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By battery:

  • 14th Battery: Thirty army revolvers and thirty horse artillery sabers.
  • 15th Battery: Eight cavalry sabers.
  • 16th Battery: Twenty-four navy revolvers and two cavalry sabers.
  • 17th Battery: Eight army revolvers.
  • 19th Battery: Thirty navy revolvers and twelve cavalry sabers.
  • 20th Battery: Eight army revolvers and ten horse artillery sabers.
  • 21st Battery: Twenty-eight navy revolvers and thirteen horse artillery sabers.
  • 24th Battery: Thirty army revolvers and thirty horse artillery sabers.
  • 25th Battery: Twenty-six navy revolvers and fourteen cavalry sabers.

That concludes the Ohio independent batteries.  Next we will look at a couple of lines below those listings, covering artillery reported from infantry regiments.  And I’ll mention a couple that escaped notice of the Ordnance officers.

 

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Miles Greenwood and the Eagle Iron Works… the Ohio War Machine!

As I tallied the particulars for the Ohio batteries last week, the number of James rifles reported on hand reminded me of an “Ohio story” if you will and how many of those batteries were equipped for war.  I’ve mentioned Miles Greenwood and the Eagle Foundry on occasion.  Time to formally introduce this important manufacturer of cannon… and other things!

Miles Greenwood is much the stereotypical 19th century American success story.   Ohio History Central (and the Farm Collector website) offer basic biographies of Greenwood.   Allow me to skip some of those details and focus on those pertaining to armaments manufacture.  Greenwood established the Eagle Iron Works (sometimes cited as a “foundry”) in 1832.  Cincinnati was a bustling riverport on the Ohio with connections (via canal) to Lake Erie at this time, and was a lucrative place for such manufacturing. Greenwood captured that market, producing, among other things, hardware, farm implements, river-boat equipment, and even fire-fighting apparatus.  Greenwood’s Eagle Iron Works stood along the Miami Canal, off what is today Central Parkway, in downtown Cincinnati. (Far as I know, the Ohio Mechanics Institute building is the only vestige of Greenwood’s once powerful industrial empire.  Please drop a note if you know of others!)

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But mass production of military grade weapons require specialty techniques.  Bronze cannon casting, for instance, necessitated careful monitoring and demanding inspections before simply “letting fly”.  So how much experienced did the Eagle Iron Works have at cannon production?

Well the vendor is connected to a couple of cannon cast for Texians in 1836.  These were purchased by sympathetic citizens of Cincinnati and sent to Texas under false shipping documents.  Named the “Twin Sisters” in lore, these cannon are not well described in first hand accounts.  Where these bronze or iron?  Where these 4-pdr or 6-pdr guns?  And were they actually produced by Greenwood, or simply sold by Greenwood?  (As readers know, I get particular about such… particulars…)  At any rate, the guns saw action at San Jacinto in April 1836.  That we can connect Greenwood to cannon is significant, as at least we know the firm was involved with armaments.  As it stands there is scant indication Greenwood’s corporation, before the Civil War, had the ability to produce large quantities of cannon or small arms.

But when the calendar turned to 1861, Greenwood’s factory suddenly became a major supplier of arms.  In April 1861, the state of Ohio needed rifled muskets to arm their volunteers.  The solution reached was for Greenwood to convert Model 1842 smoothbore muskets to rifles.  And that was done at a prodigious rate!  By December 1861, some 8,400 were converted.  Throughout the war, Greenwood continued to modify old weapons, to include conversions of flintlocks to percussion.  (See George D. Moller’s American Military Shoulder Firearms, Volume III for more background on the Greenwood rifles… or better still, join me in calling for Phil Spaugy to walk us through all those details… to include the special sights provided!)

Since this is “To the Sound of the Guns” and we talk artillery, my interest with Greenwood is on the cannon.  In the past I’ve mentioned the firm’s 6-pdr field gunsJames rifles, 12-pdr howitzers, and 12-pdr Napoleons.  Reviewing Ordnance Department records, Greenwood delivered forty-six 6-pdr field guns, fifty-one James Rifles, fourteen 12-pdr field howitzers, and fifty Napoleons.  So just 161 guns from the Eagle Iron Works?  Not hardly.

Keep in mind the procurement system of 1861 was not as today’s.  In addition to Federal orders from the Ordnance Department, state authorities placed orders for artillery pieces.  Ohio, of course, was among those placing orders.  Likely, some of the James rifles listed with the Ohio batteries in January 1863 were Greenwood products.

In addition to new castings, Ohio also attempted the same “trick” applied to those old muskets – conversion of 6-pdr smoothbores to rifles.  From from the Annual Report of the Ohio Quartermaster-General, for 1861 (page 587):

Of the thirty-three smooth bore six-pounders under the control of the [State] Quartermaster-General at the beginning of the rebellion, twenty-seven have been rebushed, rebored, and rifled, at a cost of thirteen hundred and fifty dollars.  These guns are all now in service, and in all respects are fully equal to the best rifled six-pounders in the field.

Of course, “equal to the best rifled six-pounders in the field” was a relative assessment. A good portion, if not all, of this work was completed by Greenwood.

And Ohio was not the only state calling on Greenwood.  On May 7, 1861, the Cincinnati Daily Enquirer reported:

Miles Greenwood & Co. yesterday received an order from Governor Morton, of Indiana, to manufacture twenty large pieces of brass cannon forthwith.

In addition, Greenwood attempted to make wrought iron guns… though with not so good results.  On July 9 the same paper seconded a report:

The Indianapolis Sentinel insists that Governor Morton has sent back to Miles Greenwood, Esq, of this city, Captain Wilder’s wrought iron guns, for the reason they were unfit for use.

 

This seems to reference to the 26th Indiana Artillery.  We know, at least by January 1863, that battery had 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.

Lower echelons of government were also wanting for artillery.  On August 29, 1861, the Cincinnati Commercial Tribune reported the city’s Military Committee approved the mayor to contact Greenwood “for two batteries of artillery, consisting of six pieces each, together with equipments….” The cost was not to exceed $7,930 per battery.  Later reports indicated disbursement of the approved funds.  So the city received at least some cannon from Greenwood, type and caliber not specified.

And even private citizens had interest in Greenwood’s guns. On April 19, 1861, when the war was still just a great storm fast approaching, the Commercial Tribune ran a news item:

We understand Miles Greenwood was waited upon yesterday afternoon, by a company of patriotic ladies from the Sixth Ward, to ascertain from him whether the Government had given him any encouragement for the manufacture of cannon for the defense of our country.  If not, they had concluded to take the responsibility, and would order a number of 42-pounder rifle cannon, to be ready at the earliest possible moment. They are intended for fortifying the hills about our city.  This is patriotism for you.

There is no indication Greenwood produced any 42-pdr rifled cannon in response.  But without doubt, the presence of the foundry set many civilian minds at ease.

With the ramp-up for war, Greenwood expanded.  By October 12 of the year, the Commercial Tribune indicated, “At the foundry of Miles Greenwood about four hundred men are now employed in the manufacture, rifling and improvement of field pieces, lances and muskets for the army.” And this was just the start.  As the war progressed, Greenwood expanded to include turrets for river ironclads and even Gatling guns!

There in Cincinnati at south the edge of Over-the-Rhine, Greenwood’s Eagle Iron Works became a converted arms industry providing weapons for Ohio and neighboring states. There are parallels to mobilization of industry for World War I and World War II in the 20th century.  The facilities for making plowshares were re-tasked for making swords.  And once the war was over, just as would occur in 1919 and 1945, the factory returned to plowshares.

“The distance transported is nearly 1,400 miles, about equally divided between land and water. ” Strategic Moves in the Winter of 1865

By January 1865, even a biased observer of the Civil War would have to agree the final acts were due to play out within months.  But before the curtain would open on the next rounds, several actors had to move about on the stage.  As some of the fall 1864 campaigns reached conclusions, the demands of January 1865 prompted movement of troops across theaters.  Both Federal and Confederate troops were in motion that month.  There are three movements which I’d highlight as rather important to the last phases of the Civil War.

I’ve mentioned one of those movements in brief already.  The Second Division, Nineteenth Army Corps, under Major-General Cuvier Grover, were veterans of the vicious fall campaigns of 1864 in the Shenandoah Valley.  But in January 1865, Grover’s men were designated to be the new garrison of Savannah, Georgia.  The division departed Camp Sheridan, outside Winchester, Virginia, on January 7, 1865.  From there, the troops moved by railroad to Camp Carroll, Baltimore, Maryland.  This first leg of the journey was about 100 miles.

The division’s second leg was by steamers from Baltimore to Savannah – some 625 miles, give or take.  The division arrived in Savannah on January 20.  This freed up the division of Major-General John Geary (Second Division, Twentieth Corps) for the movement into South Carolina.  And thus the force that Major-General William T. Sherman had marched through Georgia in the fall of 1864 remained intact for similar treatment of South Carolina.   Grover’s men spent the last winter of the war at the enviable posting of Savannah.

The second troop movement to consider is that of the Twenty-third Army Corps.  The lone formation in the Army of the Ohio, Major-General John Schofield’s troops were veterans of the Atlanta and Franklin-Nashville Campaigns.  And at the start of January 1865 they were south of Nashville.  From the big overview, Schofield’s troops were extra chess pieces on the far side of the board, better employed on the Atlantic Coast.  But Schofield could not simply march the direct route through to the Carolinas.  Instead their route was opposite that taken by the Eleventh and Twelfth Corps in the fall of 1863.

The key individual in the Twenty-third Corps movement was Colonel Lewis Parsons, Chief of Rail and River Transportation.  On January 11, 1865, Parson’s received an order from Assistant Secretary of War Charles A. Dana:

It having been decided that the Twenty-third Army Corps, Major-General Schofield commanding, shall be transferred from the Tennessee to the Chesapeake, you will immediately proceed westward, and take the general supervision and management of its transportation.

Dana advised Parsons to use boat transportation, if practical, to Parkersburg, West Virginia. But if needed, the rail system should be leveraged.  Parsons wasted no time, departing Washington on the same day.

A railroad man before the war, Parsons hedged his bets and contacted “several trustworthy gentlemen intimately connected with the management of Western railroads” to have sufficient rolling stock to move the troops if the situation arose.  Initial estimates called for boat (or rail) capacity to move 10,000 men.  But by January 18, Parsons realized the number was in reality 20,000! Adjusting, Parsons shuffled resources to meet the demands.

The first leg was movement by river boat from Clifton, Tennessee to Paducah, Kentucky. The second leg, along the Ohio River, used over fifty steamboats to move the troops to Cincinnati, Ohio.  At first Parsons planned to move the troops by rail from there because of river conditions.  But as the boats arrived, on January 21-23, ice in the river cleared up.  So the boats pressed on for over 300 more river miles to Wheeling, West Virginia (well past Parkersburg, by the way) where they transferred to the rail-cars.

Though moving from Wheeling to Washington by rail, a harsh winter stood in the way of the next leg of the journey.  To avoid unnecessary delays caused by stops to prepare rations, Parsons had local quartermasters, or the railroad operatives themselves, stage cooked meals ready to serve the troops.  Parsons personally supervised the loading of the last trains on the west side of the Appalachians on January 31.  “I took the train and reached [Washington] on the night of the 1st instant, where, on the following day, I found upon the banks of the Potomac the Twenty-third Army Corps safely encamped.”

Parson reflected on the achievement:

The distance transported is nearly 1,400 miles, about equally divided between land and water. The average time of transportation, from the embarkation on the Tennessee to the arrival on the banks of the Potomac, was not exceeding eleven days; and what is still more important, is the fact that during the whole movement not a single accident has happened causing loss of life, limbs, or property, except in the single instance of a soldier improperly jumping from the car under apprehension of danger….

And keep in mind, I’m offering only the “Cliff Notes” version here.  Parson’s report, including attachments, runs some sixty pages within the Official Records.  Parsons earned a promotion to Brigadier-General that winter.

But while Parson’s job was done, the Twenty-third Corps was still moving.  Within days some troops moved again to Annapolis, Maryland where they boarded ocean-going transports headed to North Carolina.  And here the movement met its first major snag.  Several of the transport vessels were not outfitted to handle troops.  Regardless, the troops went south… some cases on cargo vessels.  Schofield, now in command of the Department of North Carolina and having placed Major-General Darius Couch in command of the corps, directed the Twenty-third Corps to Cape Fear.  The Corps Third Division arrived at Fort Fisher on February 9.  But the remainder arrived in serials.  The last of the corps did not complete the journey until February 28 (with the last elements disembarking at Morehead City, North Carolina).  Though the movement by sea was slow in comparison to Parsons’ charge, elements of the corps arrived in time to take part in the final operations at Wilmington.

The last major movement I’ll mention here is on the other side of the lines.  The start of the new year found the Army of Tennessee somewhat beaten, but still in being.  And an army that “is” is still an army.  However, that army was most needed in South Carolina.  So orders came forth to move some parts of the army eastward. I’ll step past the organizational changes and such details in this post.  But for comparison to Federal activities, let me summarize the movements of Major-General Benjamin Cheatham’s Corps, as recorded by one of the corps’ staff officers, Major Henry Hampton.   On January 27, the corps left Meridian, Mississippi by rail.  Making stops at Demopolis, Selma, and Montgomery, the Corps moved through Alabama from January 29 to February 3.  Starting at Columbus, Georgia on February 3, the troops were able to ride by train to Milledgeville.  On February 7, Hampton recorded:

Left Milledgeville in a storm of rain and rode horseback twenty-five miles, bivouacking near Colonel Lane’s, two miles from Sparta.

Of course, staff officers ride while infantry march.  But using the much maligned  Confederate rail system, some of which Sherman had wrecked only a few weeks earlier, from Mississippi to central Georgia, many footsteps were saved.  Indeed, for Cheatham’s men to reach Augusta, Georgia, the only leg were no railroad existed was the forty-five or so miles from Milledgeville to rail stops on the Georgia Railroad.  By February 10, Hampton reported camping across the Savannah River in South Carolina.  Such was a feat that one could argue rivaled the movements facilitated by Parsons … when one considers what resources were available to the Confederates.

Three movements.  Three substantial troop formations placed at new locations on the map.  All accomplished within weeks.  Although the war was winding down, the troops were still in motion.

(Citations from OR, Series I, Volume 47, Part I, Serial 98, pages 1080-1; Part II, Serial 99, pages 215, 216-7, 219.)