Summary Statement, 3rd Quarter, 1863 – Maine’s Batteries

Despite a summer of campaigning and major battles, the third quarter, 1863 summaries for Maine captured information from four of the six batteries:

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Two of those returns were posted in October. The clerks had to wait until the winter for the other two.  The same two batteries, 1st and 3rd, failed to file returns the previous quarter.  The Maine batteries are at times identified by numbered as well as lettered designations.  For simplicity here, I’ll retain the convention used by the Ordnance Department clerks… the numbers:

  • 1st Battery: No return. Captain Albert W. Bradbury resumed command of the battery after July.  Battery remained assigned to First Division, Nineteenth Corps, Department of the Gulf.  After the fall of Port Hudson, the battery moved with its parent formation back to Baton Rouge.  Reports earlier in the year gave the battery had four 6-pdr rifled guns and three 12-pdr howitzers.
  • 2nd Battery: “In the field” with four (down from six) 3-inch Ordnance rifles.  This is Captain James A. Hall’s battery, First Corps, Army of the Potomac.  Hall was up for promotion later in the year.  “In the field” was in Culpeper County, as of the end of September, 1863.  The battery would report to Camp Barry in November.  And around the same time, Hall would receive a much deserved promotion (and soon command the artillery school at Camp Barry).
  • 3rd Battery:  No report.  At this stage of the war, 3rd Battery was re-designated Battery M, 1st Maine Heavy Artillery (it would later revert to light artillery). Captain James G. Swett commanded.  The battery was stationed in the Defenses of Washington, on the north side of the Potomac.  They were, for at least a portion of this time, assigned to Battery Jameson, outside Fort Lincoln.
  • 4th Battery: Reporting at Culpeper, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance rifles.  Captain O’Neil W. Robinson, Jr. remained in command.  The battery returned to the Army of the Potomac, as part of French’s Division, under Third Corps.
  • 5th Battery: Reporting, appropriately “in the field” with four (down from six) 12-pdr Napoleons, from a report filed in March 1864.  Captain Greenleaf T. Stevens remained in command of this battery, which remained with First Corps, Army of the Potomac, through the end of the reporting period.  As such, its location was “in the field” in Culpeper County, Virginia.
  • 6th Battery: Another battery reporting from Culpeper, Virginia, in January 1864, this time with four 12-pdr Napoleons. The battery transferred from the 4th Volunteer Brigade, Artillery Reserve, Army of the Potomac to the 1st Volunteer Brigade (commanded by its original commander – Lieutenant Colonel Freeman McGilvery. Lieutenant William H. Rogers resumed command of the battery.

Of note, the 7th Maine Light Battery began formation in the fall of 1863. Though it would not formally muster until December.

And, mentioned above in regard to the 3rd Battery, the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery, under Colonel Daniel Chaplin, was part of the defenses of Washington, D.C., assigned to the north side of the Potomac.  The regiment had detachments in Maine on recruiting duties and at the seacoast fortifications (mostly recruits being trained up for duty).  This regiment was destined to see combat in the year that followed, but as one of the “heavies” given infantry duties in the Overland Campaign.

Let us move across the summary and discuss the ammunition on hand for the four reporting field batteries, starting with the smoothbore:

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Two Napoleon batteries:

  • 5th Battery: 192 shot, 64 shell, 188 case, and 68 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 6th Battery: 192 shot, 64 shell, 192 case, and 64 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.

The number of rounds on hand for the Napoleons seems low to me.  A standard Napoleon ammunition chest held 32 rounds.  Each gun in the battery should have at least four such chests (one on the limber, three with the caisson) if not a few more.  Do the math.  5th and 6th Batteries had roughly a chest per gun.  Both returns were filed at the start of 1864, while the batteries were enjoying the winter encampment.  And those batteries would have plenty of ammunition to fill the chests.  I suspect in this case the returns were “as of the reporting date” and not “on hand at this time.”  But without seeing the actual return, that cannot be determined for certainty.

Moving to the rifled projectiles.  The batteries with 3-inch Ordnance Rifles reported Hotchkiss rounds:

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Two batteries reporting:

  • 2nd Battery: 71 shot, 99 canister, and 240 fuse shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 4th Battery: 120 canister, 381 fuse shell, and 699 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

As with the Napoleon batteries, 2nd Battery seems short on ammunition, with a couple of chests worth on hand (though we’ll see enough for a couple more chests from the Schenkl columns below).  4th Battery had but six total.

We rarely have seen solid shot reported for field batteries in the 3-inch or 10-pdr Parrott calibers.  Solid shot, or bolt as the Parrotts were designated, were good for counter-battery work.  Though they could not match the performance of solid round shot against infantry.

As for 2nd Battery and their Schenkl rounds:

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  • 2nd Battery:  258 shot for 3-inch rifles.

Taken with the 71 Hotchkiss, that’s a lot of solid shot! Almost two full chests worth.

More Schenkl on the next page.

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  • 2nd Battery: 115 shell for 3-inch rifles.

With the remarks and questions about ammunition taken in consideration, we continue to the small arms:

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By battery:

  • 2nd Battery: Sixteen Army revolvers and nine cavalry sabers.
  • 4th Battery: Eighteen Navy revolvers and eleven cavalry sabers.
  • 5th Battery: Ten Army revolvers and fifteen cavalry sabers.
  • 6th Battery: Seven Army revolvers, a hundred Navy revolvers and twenty-two horse artillery sabers.

All considered, the numbers for the Maine batteries offer some insight into logistics at this time of the war for the Federal ranks.  Two of the batteries gave returns close to the end of the reporting period. And we have conjectural evidence the other two were giving “as of that date” returns.  From those returns, we conclude the battery had one chest on hand for many of its guns.

But before we go off worrying the Army of the Potomac had some shortage of shells, we have to keep in mind what we know outside of those batteries.  The artillery chief (Brigadier-General Henry Hunt) was not filling the telegraph lines with pleas for more ammunition.  Nor was the ordnance or quartermaster sections reporting any Army-wide shortage.  So perhaps the Maine batteries were reporting what they had on hand, at the end of a summer of hard campaigning with little time to resupply.  Meanwhile, the missing set of data here is what was retained on hand at the Army-level in Hunt’s famous artillery trains.  Those chests, resupplied after Gettysburg, represented a ready supply to be quickly applied where need was felt.  Perhaps the numbers indicate Hunt placed priority to resupply of the trains over filling chests in the batteries?

Thus, if we take these numbers at face, on the eve of the Bristoe Station Campaign at least four batteries had simply enough rounds for a brief engagement.  Though resupply was but a short ride away.

Another “number” to consider is the reduction of three batteries to four guns.  This trend would continue through the Overland Campaign and reflected policy changes.  Seasoned, veteran infantry required less gun tubes per frontage for support.  Fewer guns to support meant fewer ammunition chests.  And such cycles back into the discussion of logistics, among other things.

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Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – Heavy Artillery

Let me give the heavy artillery batteries, battalions, and regiments their due for this quarter of the summary.  While looking at each of the state sections, we’ve mentioned a few of these batteries.  But not the whole.  The omission, by those at the Ordnance Department, was mostly due to bureaucratic definitions than any overt action.

Briefly, the summary statements we are reviewing here are focused only on ordnance rated as “field artillery.” A further qualification is that only units assigned roles to use field artillery (as in for use as “mobile” artillery) are included.  So, IF a field howitzer was assigned to a fort’s garrison, AND that howitzer was considered part of the fort’s armament, and not part of the garrisoning unit’s property, THEN it was accounted for in a different set of sheets for accounting.  Such means a great number of field artillery pieces, not to mention the siege, garrison, and seacoast artillery, escapes mention in these summaries.  And we don’t have, to my knowledge, a full record for those anywhere in the surviving documents.  However, I would point out that in 1864 the Ordnance Department began using a common form to account for field, siege, garrison, and seacoast artillery.

But for the second quarter of 1863, that accounting is lacking in the known records.  We do have a handful of “heavies” that were assigned roles which required mobile artillery.  And those were mentioned as we proceeded through the summary.  For sake of completeness, let me list all the heavy units in service as of June 1863 and match those to summary lines where mentioned.  Keep in mind the varied service of these formations.  Traditionally, these were assigned to garrison fortifications.  But wartime contingencies would see the “heavies” employed as infantry or even cavalry were needed.  And those needs would evolve as the war continued.

By unit, ordered by state (these are regiments unless otherwise noted):

  • 1st Connecticut Heavy Artillery:  As mentioned earlier, Batteries B and M served with the Army of the Potomac, in 2nd Volunteer Brigade, Artillery Reserve.  They, and their 4.5-inch rifles, were left behind and missed Gettysburg (though were active in the pursuit which followed).  The remainder of Colonel Henry L. Abbot’s regiment served in Third Brigade of the Defenses South of the Potomac (DeRussy’s Division, Twenty-Second Corps), defending Washington, D.C.  Regimental headquarters were at Fort Richardson.
  • 2nd Connecticut Heavy Artillery: Serving at this time as the 19th Connecticut Infantry (designation would change in November 1863) under Lieutenant Colonel Elisha S. Kellogg, and assigned to Second Brigade, DeRussy’s Division, Twenty-Second Corps.  Companies B, F, and G manned Fort Ellsworth; Company A assigned to Redoubt A (in that sector); Company D to Redoubt B; Companies C and K to Redoubt C; and Companies E, H, and I were in Redoubt D.
  • 1st Indiana Heavy Artillery: Assigned to the Department of the Gulf, the regiment was in First Division, Nineteenth Corps (having converted from the 21st Indiana Infantry earlier in the year).  We discussed Batteries A and E and their work at Port Hudson.  Colonel John A. Keith commanded, with detachments at Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
  • 1st Maine Heavy Artillery: Second Brigade, Defenses North of the Potomac, Twenty-Second Corps under Colonel Daniel Chaplin.  Batteries assigned mostly to the defenses on the west side of Washington, and along the Potomac.
  • 1st Massachusetts Heavy Artillery: Assigned to First Brigade of the Defenses South of the Potomac – DeRussy’s Division, Twenty-Second Corps.  Colonel Thomas R. Tannatt commanded the regiment, and also commanded the brigade.
  • 2nd Massachusetts Heavy Artillery:  Authorized in May 1863, this regiment, under Colonel Jones Frankle, would not complete formation until later in the fall.
  • 1st Massachusetts Heavy Artillery Battalion: This battalion was formed with four previously independent batteries and served primarily at Fort Warren, Boston harbor.  The four companies were originally the 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th unassigned heavy companies (becoming Companies A, B, C, and D respectively).  Major Stephen Cabot commanded this consolidated battalion.  In addition the 3rd and 6th unassigned companies also appear in the list of garrison troops around Boston.
  • 1st New Hampshire Heavy Artillery: This regiment, commanded by Colonel George A. Wainwright, would not officially form until later in July.
  • 2nd New York Heavy Artillery:  We discussed Colonel Joseph N. G. Whistler’s regiment while covering a lone entry for Battery L (which later became the 34th New York Independent Battery).  The 2nd New York Heavy was assigned to First Brigade, DeRussy’s Division, South of the Potomac.
  • 4th New York Heavy Artillery:  Under Colonel Henry H. Hall, this regiment formed the Fourth Brigade, DeRussy’s Division, Defenses South of the Potomac.  Detachments manned Fort Marcy and Fort Ethan Allen.
  • 5th New York Heavy Artillery:  Assigned to the defenses of Baltimore, Maryland, as part of the Middle Department.  Commanded by Colonel Samuel Graham, but with Lieutenant-Colonel Edward Murray in charge of two battalions then at Baltimore.  Another battalion, under Major Gustavus F. Merriam, appears on the returns for First Brigade, DeRussy’s Division, South of the Potomac.
  • 6th New York Heavy Artillery:  Assigned to the First Division, Eighth Corps.  Colonel J. Howard Kitching commanded.  The regiment was part of the Harpers Ferry garrison before the Gettysburg Campaign, and soon brought into the Army of the Potomac.
  • 7th New York Heavy Artillery: Second Brigade, Defenses North of the Potomac, Twenty-Second Corps under Colonel Lewis O. Morris (who also commanded the brigade).
  • 8th New York Heavy Artillery: Under Colonel Peter A. Porter, this regiment had garrison duty at Forts Federal Hill, Marshall, and McHenry around Baltimore, as part of Eighth Corps, Middle Department.  On July 10, the regiment moved forward to Harpers Ferry, staying there until August 3.
  • 9th New York Heavy Artillery: Second Brigade, Defenses North of the Potomac, Twenty-Second Corps under Colonel Joseph Welling.
  • 10th New York Heavy Artillery: This regiment was all of the Third Brigade, Defenses North of the Potomac, Twenty-Second Corps.  Commanded by Colonel Alexander Piper.  One battalion (four companies) moved from the defenses of New York to Washington in June, joining the rest of the regiment. Their service was mostly on the southeast side of the perimeter around the Anacostia.
  • 11th New York Heavy Artillery:  We discussed their saga in an earlier post.  Colonel William B. Barnes’ regiment was still forming when thrust into the Gettysburg Campaign.
  • 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th New York Heavy Artillery:  These regiments were all authorized by the spring of 1863, but in various states of organization at the end of June.
  • 3rd New York Heavy Artillery Battalion: Also known as the German Heavy Artillery.  Under Lieutenant-Colonel Adam Senges, and assigned to Second Brigade, DeRussy’s Division, Twenty-Second Corps, on the south side of the Potomac.  This battalion was, later in the year, consolidated into the 15th New York Heavy Artillery, and came under Colonel Louis Schirmer.  For some reason, Schirmer’s name is associated with the command as early as June 1863.
  • 1st Ohio Heavy Artillery: Lieutenant-Colonel Chauncey G. Hawley’s command garrisoned Covington, Kentucky as part of Twenty-third Corps, Department of Ohio.
  • 2nd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery:  (the 112th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers.) Under Colonel Augustus A. Gibson and assigned to First Brigade, Defenses North of the Potomac.  Regimental headquarters at Fort Lincoln.
  • 3rd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery: We discussed Battery H and their “impressed” service at Gettysburg. While that battery was on detached service (Baltimore, then pushed out to guard the railroad), the remainder of the regiment served out of Fort Monroe providing detachments for garrisons in the Department of Virginia. Colonel Joseph Roberts commanded.
  • 3rd Rhode Island Heavy Artillery: We looked at this regiment, assigned to the Department of the South, in detail earlier.  Colonel Edwin Metcalf commanded the regiment
  • 5th Rhode Island Heavy Artillery:  Colonel George W. Tew commanded this regiment, serving in North Carolina, and being reorganized from an infantry formation.
  • 1st Vermont Heavy Artillery:  Colonel James M. Warner commanded this regiment, assigned to First Brigade, Defenses North of the Potomac, Twenty-second Corps.  Batteries garrisoned Forts Totten, Massachusetts, Stevens, Slocum, and others.
  • 1st Wisconsin Heavy Artillery:  Only Battery A of this regiment was mustered as of the end of June 1863. Captain Andrew J. Langworthy’s battery was assigned to the defenses of Alexandria, within DeRussy’s Division, Twenty-second Corps.
  • 1st Tennessee Heavy Artillery (African Descent): I mentioned this regiment briefly at the bottom of the Tennessee section. Colonel Ignatz G. Kappner commanded this regiment, at the time more of battalion strength, garrisoning Fort Pickering in Memphis. The regiment later became the 3rd US Colored Troops Heavy Artillery.
  • 2nd Tennessee Heavy Artillery (African Descent): Also mentioned in the Tennessee section, this regiment, under Colonel Charles H. Adams, was forming up in June 1863.  The regiment would later be designated the 4th US Colored Troops Heavy Artillery.
  • 1st Alabama Siege Artillery (African Descent): Organized from the contraband camps around LaGrange, LaFayette, and Memphis, Tennessee starting on June 20, 1863. Captain Lionel F. Booth appears to be the ranking officer in the regiment in those early months.  The regiment would later be designated the 6th US Colored Troops Heavy Artillery, and then later the 11th USCT Infantry.
  • 1st Louisiana Heavy Artillery (African Descent):  Later in the year designated the 1st Corps de Afrique Heavy Artillery.  And still later in the war becoming the 10th US Colored Heavy Artillery.  And at times, the regiment appears on the rolls as the 1st Louisiana Native Guards Artillery (a name also associated with another USCT formation).  This regiment served throughout the war in the defenses of New Orleans, in the Department of the Gulf.

Yes, a lengthy post.  But this summarizes the status of over thirty regiments.  As you might deduce from reading the entries, the service of the “heavies” was weighted to the defenses of Washington, D.C.  However, the “heavies” also garrisoned places such as Baltimore, Boston, New Orleans, and other remote points.

Some other trends one might note – a good number of these regiments formed in the spring and summer of 1863.  We can, in some cases, link that to the draft and those seeking light service.  But at the same time, let us not “Shelby Foote” our way through these units.  At the time of mustering, the Army wanted troops for garrison defense.  And that was a valid requirement, given the posture at the time.

Lastly, it is important to also frame the context of the four USCT regiments listed above.  These were largely formed out of contraband camps.  And their duties were, for the most part, to provide garrison troops that would free up the white volunteers for service in the field.  But, as the course of events played out, one of those regiments would defend Fort Pillow in April 1864.

So much for easy duty in those heavy regiments!