Summary Statement, 3rd Quarter, 1863 – 1st Tennessee Light Artillery

For the previous quarter, we saw the clerks at the Ordnance Department had single line allocated for batteries formed from Tennessee volunteers.  At that time, there were two light artillery batteries, formed from Tennessee unionists.  Though others were forming up.  And two regiments of heavy artillery were getting organized, being recruited from the contraband camps in west Tennessee. 

Moving into the third quarter, the clerks still offered no clarity for the Tennessee artillerymen:

0289_1_Snip_TN

The entry as “1st Battery Artillery” from Tennessee is not specific.  There were two batteries at this time which could lay claim as the 1st Tennessee Battery – The 1st East Tennessee Battery and 1st Middle Tennessee Battery.  But that cumbersome designation system was soon reconciled with both batteries entered into the 1st Tennessee Light Artillery Regiment.  Some sources indicate the regiment was authorized in June 1862.  And there is no doubt the formation was mentioned by authorities from that point forward. But not until November 1, 1863 was the regiment properly organized with commander appointed.  And that commander was Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Clay Crawford.  The regiment, which arguably was but a battalion, comprised of five batteries:

  • Battery A: This was the former 1st Middle Tennessee battery, commanded by Captain Ephraim P. Abbott.  The battery was assigned to Third Division, Reserve Corps, Army of the Cumberland. The battery moved down from Murfreesboro to Chattanooga in September, arriving just after the battle of Chickamauga.  Earlier in the summer, the battery reported two 6-pdr field guns and four 3.80-inch James rifles.
  • Battery B: This was the 1st East Tennessee Battery, and had been commanded by Captain Robert C. Crawford.  By the summer of 1863 it was assigned to the Fourth Division, District of Kentucky.  This battery played a small part in Burnside’s East Tennessee Campaign.  Captain James A. Childress commanded.  The battery was on duty around the Cumberland Gap at the end of September.
  • Battery C: Still being organized, this battery would not muster until early 1864.  Captain Vincent Myers would command. 
  • Battery D:  Likewise still organizing and not mustering until 1864.  Captain David R. Young would command.
  • Battery E: Assigned to the District of North Central Kentucky.  Captain Henry C. Lloyd commanded this battery.  This battery served at various posts – Bonneville, Camp Nelson, Flemmingsburg, Mt. Sterling, and Paris – through the spring of 1864.

In addition to those listed, Batteries F, G, and K appear later in later organization tables.  But at the close of the third quarter of 1863, those were not even planned.  With no returns submitted, we have no cannon, ammunition, or even small arms to discuss in regard to these Tennessee artillerists.  But the record is clear in that three batteries from the 1st Tennessee Light Artillery were mustered as of the end of September and were doing duty. 

But there are other batteries we should tally here. There actually was a fourth light battery, and possibly a fifth, that existed in the fall of 1863 and should mentioned here.  In the “definitely” category is the Memphis Light Artillery.  This battery is sometimes mentioned as the 1st Tennessee Battery, African Descent (or A.D.).  Forming, starting the late summer of 1863, in Memphis and commanded by Captain Carl A. Lamberg (formerly of the 3rd Michigan Battery, which was then at Memphis), the battery’s official muster date was November 23. Later, in the following year, the battery would be re-designated as U.S.C.T. and assigned to the 2nd U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery as Battery F.

In the “maybe” category is an independent battery called “Hurlbut’s Battery.”  During the Vicksburg Campaign, the garrison in Memphis formed a “River Guard” to maintain security along the Mississippi River near the city.  In command of this guard was Major George Cubberly, from the 89th Indiana.  For those duties, Cubberly required some light artillery.  From the garrison’s armory came two 3.80-inch James Rifles and two 6-pdr field guns. This temporary battery actually saw limited action against Confederates along the river.  From one roll:

Hurlbut’s Battery consists of 2 James Rifled pieces and 2 smooth bore 6 pounders. Was in engagement at Bradley’s Landing, Ark., June 17, [1863] about 18 miles from Memphis, Tenn., up the river.  Fired about 60 shell with James Rifled pieces.


Later in the summer, the battery appears on returns in the First Brigade, District of Memphis (along with the Memphis Light Artillery, for what it is worth).   Lieutenant Albert Cudney commanded, from, apparently, Battery I, 1st Illinois Artillery.  And the battery appears on Sixteenth Corps orders at the first of September.  All of which still gives us little to go on.  The battery, temporary as it was, certainly existed during the third quarter of 1863.  And it saw action… at least sixty rounds worth of action.  Though it was likely broken up shortly afterwards.  As for its attribution to Tennessee, that is less certain.  With only an index card heading to work from, evidence is thin.  Rather, this temporary, improvised battery was likely made up of more Illinois or Indiana troops than Tennessee boys.

In summary, though the clerks did not have returns to work from, Tennessee had three batteries in Federal service at the end of September, one USCT battery forming, plus a couple more “unionist” batteries forming.   And that’s why we have a heading for Tennessee in the third quarter, 1863 summaries.

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Summary Statement, 1st Quarter, 1863 – Missing Batteries and Other Notes

After posting the summaries for Wisconsin’s batteries last week, I updated all the links for the first quarter, 1863 summaries.  Before charging in to the next quarter, I wanted to circle back and identify any additional blanks – specifically batteries or other formations that should have been listed in the summaries but were not.  For this, allow me to use Frederick Dyer’s Compendium as the base reference.  Although there were formations that escaped mention in that work, particularly those serving only under state authority, Dyer’s is a good list to work from.

With that baseline established, some batteries missed by the clerks at the Ordnance Department for the first quarter of 1863:

  • 1st Arkansas (Union) Artillery Battery – Captain Denton D. Stark received authorization to raise this battery in January 1863.  The battery was not completely formed until later in the spring.  The battery mustered at Fayetteville, Arkansas, but would move to Springfield, Missouri (perhaps as early as March of the year).
  • 1st Colorado Battery:  Once again escaping note from the clerks.  Commanded by Captain William D. McLain and often cited as McLain’s Independent Battery.  The battery was posted to Fort Lyon, Colorado.
  • Armstrong’s (Kansas) Battery: Potentially an interesting story here, but at present I only can offer scant particulars.  This was a battery formed within the 1st Kansas Colored Troops.  I suspect, from looking at the regimental roster, the name derived from Captain Andrew A. Armstrong.  Formed in the fall of 1862, the regiment saw active service in Kansas and Missouri through the winter of 1863 and into spring.  The first reference I have to the battery is from a July 1863 action report.
  • 13th Massachusetts Light Artillery: Battery left Massachusetts in January 1863 and was assigned to the Department of the Gulf.  Captain Charles H. J. Hamlen commanded. The battery performed various duties around New Orleans until around June, when assigned to the defenses of the city.
  • 14th Massachusetts Light Artillery:  Not mustered until 1864, but I include mention here so you don’t think I skipped a number.
  • 15th Massachusetts Light Artillery:  Captain Timothy Pearson in charge.  Moved to New Orleans in March and was assigned to the defenses of New Orleans.
  • Battery L (11th Battery), 1st Michigan Light Artillery: This battery didn’t officially muster until April 1863.  But the unit was “on the books” at the state level.
  • Battery M (12th Battery), 1st Michigan Light Artillery: Likewise, Battery M would not muster into Federal service until June 1863.
  • Walling’s Battery, Mississippi Marine Brigade: I made mention of this battery as one often cited under Missouri, as it was missing from the first quarter listings.  And for good reason, the battery really owes more to Pennsylvania than Missouri! We will see this battery appear under a separate heading in the next quarter.
  • 1st Marine Brigade Artillery (New York):  Colonel William A. Howard commanded this formation, which served in North Carolina.  The full “regiment” included ten companies.  My first inclination is to rate the brigade as “naval” artillery, as they were intended to be assigned to boats and ships.  However the batteries of this brigade were used in the field, and eventually assigned to garrison posts.  In January 1863, the regiment was reassigned to the Department of the South.  But before that move was completed, the formation disbanded (date given for that administrative action was March 31, 1863).
  • Battery A, 1st Tennessee (Union) Artillery Battalion: Also listed at times as the 1st Tennessee Battery, Middle Tennessee Battery, or other derivations. Captain  Ephraim P. Abbott commanded this battery, listed in the garrison at Nashville.  The battery would go on to serve with the Army of the Cumberland in the field.

And I’m not going to say this “completes” the list or fills in all the holes from the summaries.  For instance, one noticeable change reflected between the fourth quarter of 1862 and first of 1863 was the reduction of non-artillery troops reporting cannons and artillery equipment on hand.  One example was the 3rd California Infantry, which had reported a pair of 6-pdr field guns and two 12-pdr mountain howitzers at the end of the previous year.  We saw a few cases, in the winter of 1863, where infantry or cavalry units reported having their own artillery.  But those were becoming rare.

Still, if we are looking to account for every cannon and every cannoneer – admittedly a long shot at best – one must keep in mind those non-artillerymen serving guns.  And also account for those field guns impressed for use in the garrisons and fortifications.  And… well you get the point.

My closing note for the first quarter would be a circle back to the point made at the beginning of this thread.  During the winter of 1863, the Federal armies underwent substantial reorganizations.  These actions “task organized” the force towards strategic objectives.  In the east, this change was mostly seen with the movement of the Ninth Corps.  But in the Western Theater, two large and cumbersome corps were broken up to form a couple of armies – one aimed at Atlanta (with the near-term objective being Chattanooga) and another directed towards Vicksburg.  With that reorganization, batteries moved about on the organization charts.  All the while, new cannons and fresh stocks of ammunition flowed in (in addition to replacement horses, fresh recruits, and new equipment).  The batteries were but loops in several coiled springs about to discharge in the spring of 1863.

Summary Statement: December 31, 1862 – Vermont… and others unmentioned

Moving through the remaining state batteries, we come to Vermont…. and this offering:

0084_Snip_Dec62_VT_1

Nothing to see here… move along…

Well, let us not move along!  There’s something missing here.  Vermont provided several batteries to the Federal cause.  These deserve mention here.  If nothing else let us identify omissions.  At the time of reporting (December 1862) the 11th Vermont Infantry had just transformed into the 1st Vermont Heavy Artillery, posted to the Washington defenses.  But being heavy, they fall outside the scope of the survey here.  However, two light batteries from Vermont do fit within the scope (a third was not mustered until 1864).  Both of these were assigned to the Department of the Gulf at the end of 1862.  And we know the types of weapons on hand based on correspondence from January 1863:

  • 1st Vermont Light Battery: Commanded by Captain George W. Duncan, with two 6-pdr rifled guns, two 6-pdr guns, and two howitzers, at Camp Parapet, defenses of New Orleans.
  • 2nd Vermont Light Battery: In Third Division, Nineteenth Corps under Captain Pythagoras E. Holcomb, with two 6-pdr Sawyer guns, two 12-pdr howitzers, and two 3-inch rifles.

While these men were serving in a “backwater” of the war, that is not to say they were inactive.  The 2nd Vermont played a role in the ill-fated attempt at Galveston, Texas at the start of 1863.   These batteries would make the summary for the first quarter of 1863, by which time they reported “regular” armaments of six 3-inch rifles and six James rifles, respectively.

So if we are mentioning the omission of batteries from the fourth quarter, 1862 summaries, are there others overlooked?  I’ve tried to fill in voids where existing within the state entries, and refer readers back to the respective posts for states listed in the summaries.  But there are three batteries listed in Dyer’s that that fall outside the states listed in the summaries which I feel warrant mention here:

  • 1st Arkansas (US) Battery:  Some of the Arkansas unionists from the northwestern part of the state. Captain Denton D. Stark received authorization to form this battery at the start of 1863.  The battery was posted to Springfield, Missouri while forming.
  • 1st Colorado Battery:  Commanded by Captain William D. McLain and often cited as McLain’s Independent Battery.  The battery was posted to Fort Lyon, Colorado and had just formed in December 1862.
  •  Battery A, 1st Tennessee (US) Artillery Battalion: Also listed at times as the 1st Tennessee Battery, Middle Tennessee Battery, or other derivations. Captain  Ephraim P. Abbott commanded this battery, listed in the garrison at Nashville.  The battery would go on to serve with the Army of the Cumberland in the field.

Several more Tennessee batteries would later round out that battalion of unionist gunners.  And there was an independent battery under Captain R. Clay Crawford from East Tennessee to consider.  But none of those units were officially listed by the end of 1862 and thus “don’t make the cut” here.

I’m sure there are other batteries, sections, detachments, and details that should be mentioned for sake of a complete assessment.  No slight intended to infantrymen and cavalrymen serving as gunners at that time (or their descendants), but those records often eluded the formal data-gathering processes of the time.  For now, I’ll limit these listings to designated batteries that arguably could have been listed in the summaries for fourth quarter, 1862.  And that arbitrary ruling leads me to include the five batteries named above as “omissions” from the summary for that period.

Next, I’ll work up the last installment for fourth quarter, 1862 – the Wisconsin batteries.