By the summer months of 1863, Wisconsin’s allocation to the Union cause included eleven numbered batteries. The 1st Battery through the 10th Battery, along with the 12th, were in service at that time. The 13th Battery would form later in the year. Wait… why skip the 11th and include the “unlucky” 13th? Glad you asked….
The 11th Wisconsin Light Artillery organized in 1861 as the “Oconto Irish Guards” as part of the 17th Wisconsin Infantry. When the men indicated a desire for artillery service (who wouldn’t?) the unit was designated as the 11th Battery. Still, organization took too long. So Captain John Rourke took his men to Chicago where it was mustered as Battery L, 1st Illinois Light Artillery, in Colonel James Mulligan’s Irish Brigade. And Wisconsin never re-used the battery designation.
Looking at the summaries, we find the clerks dutifully excluded the 11th from the list. Though they added the 13th and two lines for infantry reporting artillery:
Of those fourteen lines, only three lacked statements. Though we have some adjustments to make, due to late filings:
- 1st Battery: Reporting at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, as of March 1865. But with no cannon on hand. If we turn back the clock to June 1863, this battery was at Vicksburg, Mississippi under Ninth Division, Thirteenth Corps. The battery retained six 20-pdr Parrotts, putting them to good use earlier in May at Champion’s Hill. Captain Jacob T. Foster, who was still division artillery chief, remained captain of the battery. Lieutenant Charles B. Kimball, commanding in Foster’s place, became the division’s ordnance officer in late May. In that absence, Lieutenant Oscar F. Nutting commanded the battery.
- 2nd Battery: No location given, but with two 12-pdr field howitzers and four 10-pdr Parrotts (reverse from the previous quarter). Captain Charles Beger commanded this battery, which at the time was under First Division, Fourth Corps (which had been reorganized in May). Supporting Second Brigade, the battery reported at Williamsburg, Virginia as of June 30. The battery participated in Dix’s Peninsula Campaign.
- 3rd Battery: No return. This battery, under Lieutenant Cortland Livingston, became was in Third Division, Twenty-first Corps, Army of the Cumberland and participated in the Tullahoma Campaign. Though, the battery didn’t leave Murfreesboro until early July. Captain Lucius H. Drury, of the battery, was division artillery chief.
- 4th Battery: No return. The battery was assigned to the Second Division, Fourth Corps under the reorganizations of the Department of Virginia in May. The battery was at Yorktown, Virginia, presumably retaining six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. The participated in the operations on the Peninsula through June and July. Captain John F. Vallee commanded this battery.
- 5th Battery: Reporting from Winchester, Tennessee with two 12-pdr Napoleons, two 12-pdr mountain howitzers, and two 10-pdr Parrotts. The battery was assigned to First Division, Twentieth Corps, and commanded by Captain George Q. Gardner. Participating in the Tullahoma Campaign, the battery moved out of Murfreesboro on June 24.
- 6th Battery: With a report from Cartersville, Georgia, dated October 1864, this battery claimed two 6-pdr field guns, two 12-pdr field howitzers, and two 3.80-inch James Rifles. As of June 30, 1863, this battery was with Seventh Division, Seventeenth Corps and part of the siege of Vicksburg. Captain Henry Dillon commanded at the beginning of spring. When Dillon became division artillery chief, Lieutenant Samuel F. Clark stood in as commander.
- 7th Battery: At Memphis, Tennessee with two 6-pdr field guns and four 3.80-inch James rifles. Lieutenant Galen E. Green remained in command of this battery, assigned to Third Division, Sixteenth Corps. At the end of May, the battery was stationed in Jackson, Tennessee. They moved to Corinth, Mississippi on June 1. But only remained their until July 1, when they moved to Memphis.
- 8th Battery: At Winchester, Tennessee with two 12-pdr Napoleons and four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Assigned to First Division, Twentieth Corps. Captain Henry E. Stiles remained in command. The battery accompanied the division on the Tullahoma Campaign.
- 9th Battery: Fort Lyon, Colorado with four 6-pdr field guns and two 12-pdr field howitzers. Captain Cyrus H. Johnson commanded this battery posted in the District of Colorado.
- 10th Battery: Reporting at Stevenson, Alabama with six 6-pdr field guns, as of October 1863. Captain Yates V. Beebe’s battery was assigned to the Second Division, Reserve Corps, Army of the Cumberland. From the beginning of the year up to September, the battery performed escort duties based out of Nashville and Murfreesboro.
- 12th Battery: Another dated return has this battery at Dixon’s Station, Alabama on November 25, 1863. However, for June 30, Captain William Zickerick and his battery’s four 10-pdr Parrotts were assigned to Seventh Division, Seventeenth Corps. Thus they fell in next to the 6th Wisconsin Battery at Vicksburg.
- 13th Battery: No return. As alluded to above, the 13th Battery did not muster until December 1863. But the battery started forming in the summer. A glance through the battery rolls indicate a handful of enlistments in July and August.
- Company A, 8th Wisconsin: At Young’s Point, Louisiana with four 6-pdr field guns, two 12-pdr field howitzers, and one 3.80-inch James rifle. This is the regiment with “Old Abe” the bald eagle as a mascot. To be honest, until reading this line I had no knowledge of any artillery manned by the regiment. Perhaps captured weapons impressed for the siege of Vicksburg? Captain Josiah B. Redfield commanded Company A.
- Detachment, 30th Wisconsin: On the Missouri River with six 6-pdr field guns. The 30th Wisconsin served by detachments at posts in Wisconsin and the Dakota Territories at this time of the war. Colonel Daniel J. Dill commanded the regiment. In May, a detachment under Lieutenant-Colonel Edward M. Bartlett supported Brigadier-General Alfred Sully’s expedition up the Missouri River. Bartlett’s command guarded boats and supplies. Given the placename provided and the nature of the mission, a good possibility that detachment had the guns identified here.
With that lengthy discussion to identify just who these fourteen lines represented, let’s put some weight to the matter. Starting with some smoothbore shot, shell, case, and canister:
Look at all those numbers!
- 2nd Battery: 120 shell and 52 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers; 160 case for 12-pdr field guns (likely a transcription error, and should be on the howitzer column).
- 5th Battery: 96 shot, 32 shell, 96 case, and 40 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons; 65 shell, 159 case, and 49 canister for 12-pdr howitzer (field or mountain?).
- 6th Battery: 77 shot, 145 case, and 124 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 21 shell, 89 case, and 18 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
- 7th Battery: 186 shot, 248 case, and 87 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
- 8th Battery: 32 shot, 96 shell, 64 case, and 64 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
- 9th Battery: 400 shot, 320 case, and 80 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 150 shells, 190 case, and 62 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
- 10th Battery: 569 shot, 480 case, and 120 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
- Company A, 8th Infantry: 269 shot, 44 case, and 636 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 48 case and 156 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons (or are those transcription errors and should be on the howitzer columns?)
- 30th Infantry: 476 shot, 266 case, and 238 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
Regardless if the 12-pdr ammunition reported by the 8th Infantry was for Napoleons of howitzers, we see a rather substantial quantity of canister. Such might indicate these were weapons assigned for use in the siege lines on guard points.
Four batteries reported Hotchkiss projectiles for rifled guns:
Yes I said four. Three of those batteries appear on this page. The other, we’ll see on the “orphan” columns on the next page:
- 6th Battery: 80 shot and 26 bullet shell for 3.80-inch James rifles.
- 7th Battery: 80 percussion shell, 160 fuse shell, and 450 bullet shell for 3.80-inch rifles.
- 8th Battery: 150 canister, 486 fuse shell, and 94 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
I’ll break down the next page by section for clarity. First the stray Hotchkiss columns:
- 7th Battery: 80 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.
- Company A, 8th Infantry: 39 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.
Turning next to the James projectiles:
- 6th Battery: 116 shell and 66 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.
Next the Parrott columns:
A heavy set of numbers here:
- 1st Battery: 2,208 shell and 1,183 case for 20-pdr Parrotts.
- 2nd Battery: 384 shell and 96 canister for 10-pdr Parrotts.
- 5th Battery: 142 shell, 168 case, and 79 canister for 10-pdr Parrotts.
- 12th Battery: 321 shell, 244 case, and 136 canister for 10-pdr Parrotts.
Note that 1st Battery had no guns on the report. Yet, they’d need a steamboat or two for the shells and case. Someone left something out of the reports…
But we are not done with the Parrott batteries. They also used Schenkl projectiles in those calibers:
- 1st Battery: 466 shot for 20-pdr Parrott.
- 2nd Battery: 314 shot for 10-pdr Parrott.
- 5th Battery: 9 shot for 10-pdr Parrott.
- 12th Battery: 116 shot for 10-pdr Parrott.
No more entries for the Schenkl columns:
But a lone entry for Tatham’s canister:
- 6th Battery: 62 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.
That brings us to the small arms:
- 2nd Battery: Twenty Army revolvers and 153 horse artillery sabers.
- 6th Battery: Twenty-three cavalry sabers.
- 7th Battery: Thirty Army revolvers and twenty cavalry sabers.
- 8th Battery: Sixteen Navy revolvers and four cavalry sabers.
- 9th Battery: Forty-five navy revolvers and nineteen cavalry sabers.
- 10th Battery: Fifteen horse artillery sabers.
- 12th Battery: Eight cavalry sabers.
No real surprises here with the small arms, with quantities similar to that reported the previous quarter… where quantities are reported!
But that brings up an interesting contrast to consider. We have seen many lines for batteries without proper documentation. Wisconsin, with just two lacking (I don’t count the 13th Battery here, as it didn’t exist formally), is much better than most of the sections. We have two batteries – one in Tennessee and one in Virginia – with no data to consider. Of course, we can project reasons for this upon the situation. After all, the war had priority… paperwork could wait.
Yet, the 30th Wisconsin Infantry, with no “real” artillerists and scattered all over the western plains far away from the Ordnance Department, managed to provide a return for compilation. The inconsistencies of reporting in the 1860s.