At the end of 1863, Colonel Thomas S. Mather remained the commander of the 2nd Illinois Light Artillery. Mather had been Chief of Staff for Major-General John McClernand. But with that officer’s relief during the Vicksburg Campaign, Mather had hitched his wagon to a falling star. Mather would go on to serve in other staff positions while remaining the colonel of the regiment. As for the rest of the regiment, batteries served in the Mississippi River Valley in Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
- Battery A: No report. The battery remained with First Division, Thirteenth Corps (minus one detached section). Captain Herman Borris remained in command. Starting the fall at Carrollton, Louisiana, the battery supported some campaigning in October and November through west Louisiana. At the end of December the battery was assigned to the Defenses of New Orleans. At some point in the fall, the first section of the battery, which had served on detached service in Missouri, rejoined the command.
- Battery B: No report. Captain Fletcher H. Chapman commanded the battery, part of the Sixteenth Corps and assigned to the District of Corinth. The battery would move to Memphis when Corinth was abandoned in January.
- Battery C: At Fort Donelson, Tennessee with four 3.80-inch James Rifles. Captain James P. Flood’s was assigned to Third Division, Reserve Corps, Army of the Cumberland. But with that corps disbanded with the army’s reorganization, the garrison was part of the District of Nashville, Department of the Cumberland.
- Battery D: Indicated at Grand Junction, Tennessee with four 3.80-inch James Rifles. Captain Charles S. Cooper remained in command of this battery, then assigned to Fifth Division, Sixteenth Corps, out of the Memphis District.
- Battery E: No report. In the previous quarter, this battery was at Carrollton, Louisiana with three 6-pdr field guns and one 12-pdr field howitzer. Captain George L. Nipsel, promoted in the late summer, commanded the battery, which was assigned to Third Division, Thirteenth Corps, Department of the Gulf. After supporting campaigns in west Louisiana during the fall, the battery was assigned duty at Plaquemine, Louisiana, District of Baton Rouge. Lieutenant Emil Steger was acting commander at the close of the quarter.
- Battery F: Indicated at what appears to be Hebron, Mississippi with two 6-pdr field guns and two 12-pdr field howitzers. The battery was assigned to Fourth Division, Seventeenth Corps with Captain John W. Powell in command. But with him serving as division artillery chief, Lieutenant Walter H Powell led the battery. During the fall, the battery participated in an expedition into Louisiana (Harrisonburg). Then returned to Nachez, which is the actual battery location at the close of the year. Hebron, may be a contraction of New Hebron and a place associated with the Meridian Campaign. Thus may allude to the battery location in February 1864, when the report was filed.
- Battery G: At Columbus, Kentucky with four rifled 6-pdr (3.67-inch) guns. Captain Frederick Sparrestrom commanded this battery. After duty in Vicksburg and Memphis through the summer and early fall, the battery was assigned to District of Columbus, Sixteenth Corps (with duty at times in Union City, Tennessee).
- Battery H: Reporting at Clarksville, Tennessee two 6-pdr field guns and four 3.80-inch James Rifles. Captain Henry C. Whittemore remained in command. With the reorganization of the department’s Reserve Corps, the battery was listed in the garrison of Clarksville, District of Nashville, Department of the Cumberland.
- Battery I: At Chattanooga, Tennessee, turning in an assortment of weapons for six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Captain Charles M. Barnett commanded this battery, assigned to Second Division, Fourteenth Corps.
- Battery K: No report. This battery, under Captain Benjamin F. Rodgers, was at Natchez at this time of the war. A series of reorganizations brought the battery back to Fourth Division, Seventeenth Corps. In the new year, the battery would be assigned to the Defenses and Post of Natchez.
- Battery L: Listed at Vicksburg with four 3.80-inch James Rifles. Part of Third Division, Seventeenth Corps. Captain William H. Bolton commanded.
- Battery M: No report. In the previous quarter, the battery reported four 3.80-inch James Rifles and a location of Greenville, Tennessee. Captain John C. Phillips command this battery, which assigned to the Twenty-third Corps, Army of the Ohio. Confederate advances in east Tennessee, in October, forced the withdrawal of Federal forces east of Knoxville, and that included Battery M. And around that time, Phillips was recalled to Nashville on other duties, leaving Lieutenant W.C.G.L. Stevenson in command. The battery was sent out in support of two regiments of cavalry scouting for Confederate raiders. This force was camped four miles outside Rogersville, Tennessee on November 6 when attacked by Confederates under Brigadier-General William E. Jones. Ill-prepared, outnumbered, and outmaneuvered, the force was all but destroyed. The battery spiked their guns. Survivors who were not captured reassembled under Phillips and assigned duty at Camp Nelson, Kentucky. Such events explain the lack of reporting for this battery.
Moving on to the ammunition and stores reported, we begin with smoothbore rounds:
- Battery F: 184 shot and 135 case for 6-pdr field guns; 120 shell and 133 case for 12-pdr field howitzers.
- Battery H: 166 shot and 140 case for 6-pdr field guns.
- Battery F: 28 canister for 6-pdr field guns and 31 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
- Battery H: 42 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
On the right side of this page are the Hotchkiss columns for rifled projectiles:
- Battery C: 100 shot and 68 shell (time fuse) for 3.80-inch James rifles.
- Battery G: 566 shell (time fuse) for 3.67-inch rifles.
- Battery H: 10 shot for 3.80-inch James rifles.
- Battery I: 222 shell (time fuse) for 3-inch rifles.
- Battery L: 123 shell (time fuse) for 3.80-inch James rifles.
Additional Hotchkiss on the next page:
- Battery C: 385 shell (percussion fuse) and 346 canister for 3.80-inch James.
- Battery G: 80 canister for 3.67-inch rifles.
- Battery H: 32 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.
- Battery I: 125 shell (percussion fuse) and 286 canister for 3-inch rifles.
- Battery L: 161 shell (percussion fuse) and 60 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.
Moving to the right, we see James projectiles also on this page:
- Battery C: 7 shot, 24 shell, and 2 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.
- Battery D: 45 shot, 203 (?) shell, and 60 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.
- Battery H: 105 shot, 242 shell, and 214 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.
- Battery L: 128 shell and 129 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.
On the next page we focus on the Schenkl projectiles:
- Battery D: 64 shot and 128 shell for 3.80-inch rifles.
- Battery I: 252 shot for 3-inch rifles.
One last entry for Schenkl on the next page:
- Battery D: 64 case shot for 3.80-inch rifles.
Turning now to the small arms reported:
- Battery C: Seventy-four Colt army revolvers, four cavalry sabers, and six horse artillery sabers.
- Battery F: Twenty-three Colt army revolvers and twenty-three cavalry sabers.
- Battery H: Fifty-four Colt army revolvers and seven cavalry sabers.
- Battery I: Thirteen Colt navy revolvers and fifteen horse artillery sabers.
Notice, no long guns…. On the next page there are cartridge bags reported:
- Battery C: 728 6-pdr or 12-pdr bags.
- Battery D: 540 James rifle bags.
- Battery G: 746 6-pdr or 12-pdr bags.
The last page lists small arms cartridges, fuses, primers, and other materials:
- Battery C: 1,880 army revolver cartridges; 1,150 friction primers; and 503 percussion caps.
- Battery D: 222 navy revolver cartridges and 660 friction primers. (We might wonder if there are some un-reported revolvers with Battery D.)
- Battery F: 1,010 army revolver cartridges and 365 friction primers.
- Battery G: 566 paper fuses and 895 friction primers.
- Battery H: 1,000 army revolver cartridges; 1,200 friction primers; 50 yards of slow match; and 500 percussion caps.
- Battery I: 460 paper fuses and 1,694 friction primers.
- Battery L: 800 friction primers.
At the close of 1863 the 2nd Illinois was sort of at an organizational cross-roads. Batteries from this regiment had participated in several of the important western campaigns of the year, in some cases playing an important role. Some would continue at the fore of the 1864 campaigns. But many of these batteries were sent to garrison duties. Some, such as Battery M, would never serve as a battery again. By the end of the year, enlistments would come due. Instead of recruiting up to full strength, the state consolidated many of these batteries. So this “snapshot” by way of the ordnance summary is in some ways a last good look at the unit as a full organization.