Summary Statement, 3rd Quarter, 1863 – 1st Regiment, US Regulars

In our journey through the Summary Statements, we’ve arrived at the third quarter of 1863.  Readers well know the chronology of events for July, August, and September.  In some theaters, particularly the Eastern Theater and Trans-Mississippi, armies awaited the signal to resume campaigns.  In places such as Northern Georgia and the South Carolina coast, hard campaigning proceeded.  So we have the task of projecting the data into that time line, looking to correlate reports about cannon and shells to the actions.

For the quarter, there are a few changes to column headers.  Clearly the clerks in the Ordnance Department were adjusting to new “paradigms” with respect to ammunition usage.  But, ever watchful of the government’s expenditures, they opted to modify existing forms.

First in our queue is the 1st US Artillery and their twelve batteries:

0233_1_Snip_1stUS

Of those twelve, ten provided returns.  We see their service spanned from Louisiana, to the Carolina coastline, to Virginia:

  • Battery A – Reporting at New Orleans, Louisiana with two (down from four) 12-pdr Napoleons and two 3-inch rifles.  Captain Edmund C. Bainbridge remained in command of this battery, and also served as division artillery chief.  Battery was assigned to First Division, Nineteenth Corps. Bainbridge, who was actually a 5th Artillery officer, was reassigned to duty in Tennessee in October.
  • Battery B – Reported on Morris Island, South Carolina with four 12-pdr field howitzers, and adding two 3-inch rifles.  Battery B was assigned to Tenth Corps, Department of the South.  By late September, the battery had moved to Folly Island.  Lieutenant Guy V. Henry held command of this battery.  But after a short detail as the Department’s Chief of Artillery, Henry transferred to command the 40th Massachusetts Infantry.  Henry’s designated replacement was Captain Samuel Elder.  However, that officer would not arrive until later in the fall.  Lieutenant Theodore K. Gibbs was ranking officer in the battery through the transition.
  • Battery C – At Fort Macon, North Carolina and serving as infantry.  Lieutenant Cornelius Hook held command of the battery, assigned to the Department of North Carolina. However, a detachment from Battery C, under Lieutenant James E. Wilson moved to South Carolina and served in the Tenth Corps.  They would man Battery Stevens during the First Major Bombardment of Fort Sumter.   Sergeant Michael Leahy, in that detachment, later received a commission and served in Battery B.
  • Battery D – Located at Beaufort, South Carolina with four 3-inch rifles. Lieutenant John S. Gibbs commanded the battery, assigned to General Saxton’s Division on Port Royal Island.
  • Battery E – Reporting at Centreville, Virginia with four 3-inch rifles.  With Captain Alanson Randol moved to command the 1st Regular Brigade, Artillery Reserve, Army of the Potomac, Lieutenant Egbert W. Olcott had command.  The battery was assigned to 2nd Brigade of Horse Artillery,  Army of the Potomac.
  • Battery F – At Camp Bisland, Bayou Teche, Louisiana with four (down from six) 12-pdr Napoleons. Captain Richard C. Duryea commanded.  This battery served Third Division, Nineteenth Corps.  Duryea is also listed as commanding the division’s artillery at this time. Lieutenant Hurdman P. Norris was the next ranking officer in the battery.
  • Battery G – No report.  Dyer’s has Battery G’s personnel serving with Battery E at this time.
  • Battery H – Reporting at Culpeper, Virginia with four (down from six) 12-pdr Napoleons. The battery remained under Lieutenant Philip D. Mason, in First Brigade, Artillery Reserve.
  • Battery I – No return.  But we are familiar with Lieutenant Frank S. French replaced Lieutenant George Woodruff, mortally wounded at Gettysburg, in command of this battery.  I believe they were reduced to four 12-pdr Napoleons, as they supported Second Corps, Army of the Potomac.
  • Battery K – Reporting at Warrenton, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.   Battery assigned to Second Brigade, Horse Artillery.  With Captain William Graham in command of that brigade, Lieutenant John Egan was senior officer.
  • Battery L – Reporting at a plantation, which is illegible to me, in Louisiana with four 12-pdr Napoleons and two 10-pdr Parrotts. Captain Frank E. Taylor replaced the Henry W. Closson, who’d been brevetted to Major.  After Port Hudson, the battery transferred to the Nineteenth Corps’ artillery reserve.
  • Battery M – At Beaufort, South Carolina with four 12-pdr Napoleons.  Captain Loomis L. Langdon lead this battery,  assigned to the Tenth Corps.

With those particulars established, we turn to the ammunition reported.  Starting with the smoothbore projectiles:

0235_1_Snip_1stUS

The tallies match to the reported cannon on hand:

  • Battery A: 15 shot, 34 shell, 10 case, and 12 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery B: 240 shell, 280 case, and 112 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • Battery F: 144 shot, 48 shell, 144 case, and 54 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery H: 188 shot, 68 shell, 192 case, and 64 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery L: 106 shot, 38 shell, 182 case, and 40 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery M: 466 shot, 111 shell, 469 case, and 88 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.

I’ve learned, through long reviews of the summaries, not to reach too far with speculations about the quantities of ammunition reported.  But we see the number of rounds for Battery A’s two Napoleons is but one chest.  On the other hand, Battery M had plenty.

Turning to the Hotchkiss projectiles next:

0235_2_Snip_1stUS

Here we have some explaining to do:

  • Battery A:  12 canister and 202 percussion shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery B: 106 canister, 396 percussion shell, 160 fuse shell, and 155 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery D: 46 canister, 110 percussion shell, 85 fuse shell, and 158 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery E: 60 canister, 90 percussion shell, and 340 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery K: 72 canister, 311 percussion shell, and 300 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery M:  12 canister, 12 percussion shell, 24 fuse shell, and 20 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

We see again Battery A was in short supply.  But the 3-inch rounds with Battery M, which had only Napoleons, stand out.  Battery M had a pair of Ordnance Rifles earlier in the year.  Couldn’t Battery M simply did not transfer this meager quantity of Hotchkiss rounds to Battery D (located on the other side of Beaufort)?  Probably some paperwork issue….

Before moving to the next page in the summary, let me call attention to a column header change:

Page 4 Header 1 0236

We see here the clerks erased a dividing line between the James and Parrott columns. They then put a new divider, two columns to the left.  And wrote in new column names:

  • 10-pdr Parrott Shot, 2.9 inch bore.
  • 20-pdr Parrott Shot 3.64 inch bore.

These replaced columns for James canister in calibers 3.80-inch and 4.62-inch, respectively.  We see the two columns to the left of those have hand written “canister,” but with no strike through of case shot.  These changes reflected the disfavor and declining use of James projectiles by the mid-point of the war.

And those columns are put to use for the 1st US (full page here):

0236_1A_Snip_1stUS

Two lines:

  • Battery L:  50 shot, 160 shell, 20 case, and 170 canister for 10-pdr Parrott.
  • Battery M: 40 case for 10-pdr Parrott.

Again, we see Battery M with rifled projectiles on hand.

The next page, for the Schenkl projectiles, also has some hand-written changes to the column header:

Page 4 Header 2 0236

In this case, we have six strike-through amendments as the clerks ensured the form remained current:

  • 6-pounder “Wiard” case, 2.6-inch bore.
  • 10-pdr “Parrott” case, 2.9-inch bore.
  • 3-inch wrought-iron gun case, 3-inch bore
  • 12-pdr “Wiard” or 20-pdr “Parrott” Case, 3.67-inch bore.
  • 6-pdr bronze rifled case, 3.67-inch bore.
  • 6-pdr “James” case, 3.80-inch bore.

These all replaced canister columns for their respective calibers.  This, I would submit, reflected the greater utility and use of case, vice canister.  At least for the bean counters in Washington, that is!

But those “referbished” columns were of no mind to the 1st Artillery:

0236_2_Snip_1stUS

Three entry lines, again Schenkl patent projectiles here:

  • Battery A: 52 shell for 3-inch rifles,
  • Battery E: 92 shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery K: 144 shell for 3-inch rifles.

Turning to the last columns, we see that header is a mess of hand-written changes:

0236_3_Snip_1stUS

But that is typical for the small arms columns:

  • Battery A: Nine Army revolvers and forty-four horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery B: Ninty-six Army revolvers, nine cavalry sabers, and 130 horse artillery sabers!
  • Battery D: 121 Army revolvers, eight cavalry sabers, and 106 horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery E: Eight Navy revolvers and eight horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery F: Three Army revolvers, five Navy revolvers, forty cavalry sabers, and twenty horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery H: Twenty-one Army revolvers and sixteen foot artillery swords.
  • Battery K: Fifteen Army revolvers, twenty-nine cavalry sabers, and fifty-five horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery L: Four rifles (type not specified), forty-four Army revolvers, eight cavalry sabers, and 106 horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery M: 103 Army revolvers, nine cavalry sabers, and ninety-five horse artillery sabers.

In previous returns, the batteries in South Carolina and Louisiana reported a substantial quantity of small arms.  And this could be explained by the additional duties taken on by artillerymen in those locations – patrolling and garrison duties.  Though I would point out, Battery M turned in 77 Springfield rifles reported in June.

We’ll look at the 2nd US Artillery next.

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Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – 1st Regiment, US Regulars

So to start the review of the summary statements from the second quarter, 1863, the First Regiment of the US Artillery is appropriately at the front of the queue:

0168_1_Snip_1stUS

The batteries of the First were detailed to assignments across various theaters of war, though not to the Trans-Mississippi.  Looking at the administrative details by battery:

  • Battery A – Reporting at Port Hudson, Louisiana with four 12-pdr Napoleons and two 3-inch rifles.  A location change from the previous quarter, but their charges remained the same. Captain Edmund C. Bainbridge remained in command of this battery, assigned to First Division, Nineteenth Corps. Of note, Bainbridge also served as the division’s artillery chief.
  • Battery B – At Hilton Head, South Carolina with four 12-pdr field howitzers, and adding two 3-inch rifles (over the previous quarter’s report).  Lieutenant Guy V. Henry commanded this battery, assigned to Tenth Corps.  Henry temporarily served as the Chief of Artillery, Department of the South, from around June 19 through the first week of July.  But no “fill in” battery commander is indicated on the records.
  • Battery C – At Fort Macon, North Carolina with a dim annotation I interpret as “inf’y service”.  However, the line does not tell the whole story. A detachment from Battery C, under Lieutenant James E. Wilson, served in the Tenth Corps, and would be active in South Carolina.
  • Battery D – No change from the previous quarter.  At Beaufort, South Carolina with four 3-inch rifles. Lieutenant John S. Gibbs assumed command of the battery.  Though co-located with Battery M, the two were officially listed separately in organizational returns.
  • Battery E – Reporting at, if I am reading this right, Manchester, Pennsylvania with four 3-inch rifles.  If my read of the location column is correct, this is an excellent “snapshot in time” of a battery on campaign… at least for the location column, keeping in mind the return was not received until August 11, 1863. Of course, Captain Alanson Randol was in command of this battery, which was merged with Battery G (below), as part of the 2nd Brigade of Horse Artillery, Cavalry Corps, Army of the Potomac.
  • Battery F – Port Hudson, Louisiana with six 12-pdr Napoleons. Under Captain Richard C. Duryea, this battery served Third Division, Nineteenth Corps.  Duryea is also listed as commanding the division’s artillery at this time.
  • Battery G – No report.  Dyer’s has Battery G’s personnel serving with Battery E at this time.
  • Battery H – At Warrenton, Virginia with six 12-pdr Napoleons. The location is an obvious error.  The battery had moved from Third Corps to the Artillery Reserve after Chancellorsville. So the location might more accurately be Frederick, Maryland.  Captain Chandler P. Eakin commanded the battery.  Though just two days into the next quarter he was severely wounded, with Lieutenant Philip D. Mason assuming the role.
  • Battery I – No return.  But we are familiar with Lieutenant George Woodruff’s battery, which brought six 12-pdr Napoleons into action at Gettysburg.  They were assigned to Second Corps.
  • Battery K – Another difficult to read location entry.  I cannot make out the town, but the state is “MD”.  So we might also presume this to be a report reflecting an “on campaign” position, as of June 30.  The battery reported six 3-inch Ordnance rifles.  -Also with 2nd Brigade of the Horse Artillery, supporting the Cavalry Corps, Captain William Graham was the commander.
  • Battery L – Reporting at Port Hudson, Louisiana with four 12-pdr Napoleons and two 10-pdr Parrotts. Captain Henry W. Closson’s battery was in Forth Division, Nineteenth Corps.
  • Battery M – At Beaufort, South Carolina with four 12-pdr Napoleons (losing two 3-inch Ordnance rifles from the previous quarter).  Captain Loomis L. Langdon lead this battery,  assigned to the Tenth Corps.

As mentioned in the preface, as the transition between the second and third quarter of 1863 came at a critical stage of the war, we need to consider the “receipt at ordnance office” date with these details.  For the 1st US batteries providing returns, six were not received until August of that year.  Two more arrived in September.  Another in December.  And not until April 1864 did Battery F’s return arrive at the Washington offices.  (As indicated above, there were two missing battery returns.)

All of which is good background to keep in mind.  The particulars that were not tracked on the form speak to how the data arrived for entry into the form.  With that in mind, let us look at the tallies for projectiles.  Starting with the smoothbore ammunition:

0170_1_Snip_1stUS

The preponderance of entries were for 12-pdr Napoleon rounds.

  • Battery A: 40 shot, 56 shell, 110 case, and 33 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.
  • Battery B: 400 shell, 500 case, and 100 canister for 12-pdr field howitzer.
  • Battery F: 448 shot, 300 shell, 382 case, and 200 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.
  • Battery H: 288 shot, 96 shell, 288 case, and 96 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.
  • Battery K: One (1) shot for 12-pdr Napoleon.  As this battery had only 3-inch rifles, we have to ask if this is just a stray mark… or the battery lugged around a single Napoleon shot for… perhaps… bowling?
  • Battery L: 236 shot, 8 shell, 182 case, and 40 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.
  • Battery M:  475 shot, 138 shell, 494 case, and 96 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.

Aside from the question about Battery K, there is also a question about some reported quantities.  As related in the preface to this quarter, we have to ask for the batteries in action at Gettysburg if these are quantities on hand June 30?  Or for some other point after the battle?  And I would submit that question need be assess on a battery-by-battery basis.

Moving to the rifled projectiles, we note the number of Ordnance rifles results in a healthy sheet for Hotchkiss patent types:

0170_2_Snip_1stUS

Looking down by battery:

  • Battery A: 12 canister and 202 percussion shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery B: 280 canister, 422 percussion shell, 227 fuse shell, and 275 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery D: 86 canister, 50 percussion shell, 176 fuse shell, and 150(?) bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery E: 60 canister, 180 percussion shell, and 360 bullet shells for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery K: 60-canister and 56 bullet shells for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery M:  12 canister, 12 percussion shell, 24 fuse shell, and 20 bullet shells for 3-inch rifles.

First off, Battery M must have retained a small quantity of rounds on hand after transferring it’s 3-inch rifles to another battery.

The other question that springs to mind is regarding the low numbers reported for some batteries, such as Battery K.  We might speculate if that reflects the quantity on hand after a battle or major campaign.  But that’s speculation.

For the next page, we can cut down to the colums on the far right:

0171_1A_Snip_1stUS

Let us focus first on the Parrott columns:

  • Battery L: 150 shell and 220 canister for 10-pdr Parrott.
  • Battery M:  130 case for 10-pdr Parrott.

Once again, we find Battery M with ammunition that will not fit its guns.

Moving over to the right, there is one entry here for Schenkl projectiles:

  • Battery L: 20 shot for 10-pdr Parrott.

Then on the next page of Schenkl projectiles, two numbers to consider:

0171_2_Snip_1stUS

  • Battery B: 100 shells for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery K: 127 shells for 3-inch rifles.

This explains some of the shortages noted on the Hotchkiss page.  But we see batteries mixing the two types of projectiles, against the better wishes of General Hunt.

Lastly we move to the small arms:

0171_3_Snip_1stUS

Yes, we see a bunch of write-in column headers here!  Only one of which applies to this set of batteries:

  • Battery A: Nine Army revolvers and 119 horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery B: One-hundred Army revolvers, seven cavalry sabers, and 153(?) horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery D: 123 Army revolvers, eight cavalry sabers, and 107 horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery E: Nine Navy revolvers and nine horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery F: Ten Army revolvers, forty-seven cavalry sabers, and twenty horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery H: Twenty-one Navy revolvers and sixteen horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery K: Sixteen Army revolvers, thirty-six cavalry sabers, and seventy-eight horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery L: Four Springfield .58 caliber muskets, sixty-two Army revolvers, eight cavalry sabers, and 107 horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery M: Seventy-seven Springfield .58 caliber muskets, 104 Navy revolvers, nine cavalry sabers, and ninety-five horse artillery sabers.

We’ve discussed in earlier posts the peculiarities of small arms issue to field artillery batteries. Service in the Department of the South, were batteries were detailed to perform many non-artillery tasks, was one factor here.  Still, the batteries of the 1st US Regiment would seem to be armed to the teeth!

April 1862… a pivotal month of the war

Today marks the 155th anniversary of the Confederate bombardment of Fort Sumter, generally called the “start” of the American Civil War.  I don’t know what to call the 155th other than just “155th.”  Likewise, I have no smart name for the 151st anniversaries of the surrender at Appomattox (last Saturday) or Lincoln’s assassination (coming Thursday).  Having just experienced the sesquicentennial years, I trust we are all aware that April 1861 and April 1865 serve as convenient bookends of the Civil War.  And thus we see a number of good, scholarly works aimed to explain the events from those months. That is, in my opinion, a focus well spent.  Yet, there is a lot of “in between” laying between those two Aprils which is also due focus.

One “in between” that has always struck my fancy is April 1862.  Just a lot of moving parts in that spring month.  Consider –

  • April 4- Major-General George McClellan lead the Army of the Potomac up the Peninsula toward Confederate defenses at Yorktown.
  • April 6 – General Albert Sidney Johnston’s army struck Major-General U.S. Grant’s force camped around Pittsburg Landing.
  • April 7- Major-General John Pope landed a force at Watson’s Landing, on the Tennessee shore below New Madrid, Missouri, and behind Island No. 10.
  • April 10 – Federal batteries directed by (then) Captain Quincy Gillmore opened fire on Fort Pulaski.
  • April 12 – James Andrews hijacked the locomotive General at Big Shanty, Georgia.
  • April 17 – Major-General Nathaniel Banks occupied New Market, Virginia, with Major-General Thomas Jackson’s command falling back to the vicinity of Harrisonburg.
  • April 18 – Federal fleet under Commodore David Farragut began bombardment of Forts Jackson and St. Philip downstream from New Orleans. Days later the fleet would run past those forts.
  • April 26 – After a month long siege, Confederates surrendered Fort Macon on the North Carolina coast.

Those being, mostly, start or end points of longer campaigns or operations.  The conclusions seen were:

  • A prolonged siege at Yorktown.
  • Over 23,000 casualties and a major Confederate reverse at Shiloh.
  • Some 7,000 Confederates captured at Island No. 10 and the Mississippi laid open south nearly (Fort Pillow) to Memphis.
  • New Orleans lost to the Confederacy – both as a port and manufacturing center.
  • Savannah mostly closed as a port.
  • The coast of North Carolina, save Wilmington, under Federal control.  As were large portions of the Shenandoah Valley, Tennessee, and Arkansas.

I added the Great Locomotive Chase entry as it had some impact on the Confederate logistic system at the time.

Furthermore, in a era without the benefit (or handicap) of the 24-hour news cycle, the timing of that raid reminds us how these events were connected in time. Imagine the newspaper headlines each morning, as the events unfolded.  In learning about the war, we approached the initial study by chapters… nicely defined chapters covering specific campaigns.

But unfortunately a format that failed to give us that appreciation for how those events were experienced – real time.  Those of us who waded into the sesquicentennial gained much from “real time, 150 years after the fact” following.  And I do hope that added to the perspective of many.  However I think in general that historians have not done enough to demonstrate the connection between these events and how such factored into the course of the war.  Nor have us students done enough to bring out those connections in our studies.  Thus several logical, time-line groupings of events have not received due attention.  There were several pivotal weeks and months in which the course of the war turned.

April 1862 was one of them.  The war entered its first mature campaign season… from the plains of Kansas to the Atlantic Ocean (and beyond).  And given the victories cited above, April 1862 might have been a turning point sending the Confederacy to an early end.  As a “western theater guy” I am fond of saying the Confederates lost the war at Shiloh on the night of April 6, 1862 and the Federals won the war atop Missionary Ridge on November 24, 1863.  Easterners will disagree, but the fact is defeat at Shiloh broke the back of the Confederate army in the west.  Shiloh set-up Vicksburg.  Vicksburg set-up Chattanooga and that Missionary Ridge thing.  Missionary Ridge set-up Atlanta.  And from Atlanta, Savannah, Charleston, Columbia, and Fayetteville … and set-up Appomattox. The long way around, to be sure.  But that’s how my “western-centered” perspective views it… feel free to disagree.

Yet from the opposite side of the coin, April 1862 was also an important set-up for the Confederacy. Consider the closures… or results… from some of those Federal actions:

  • The Army of the Potomac invested Yorktown, not taking that place until the first days of May.
  • Major-General Henry Halleck took direct control of the advance toward Corinth, Mississippi, concentrating forces across the western theater for a slow pursuit.  The Crossroads of the Confederacy would not be in Federal hands until the end of May.
  • Major-General Samuel Curtiss, due to logistic constraints and in spite of a victory at Pea Ridge in March, fell back into Missouri.

This turn of events, again happening concurrently, gave openings and created angles which the Confederates could exploit. One of those, of course, being Jackson’s Valley Campaign.  That campaign, and actions on other fronts, setup six months in which the Confederacy would reach its zenith… and take the war onto northern soil.

Maybe April 1862 was not the turning point it could have been.  And maybe it was not the most important thirty days of the Civil War.  But I submit it was a pivotal month in the course of the war.

Summary Statement: December 31, 1862 – 1st Regiment, US Regulars

Kicking off what I hope will be a long, productive, and in some ways collaborative effort, let me offer some sections of the Summary Statement of Ordnance from December 31, 1862.  We’ll start with the US Regular Artillery… and as appropriate, the First Regiment (click for larger view in Flickr).

0026_Snip

Here’s my read of the First Regiment’s disposition and weapons on hand, broken down by battery:

  • Battery A:  No location listed.  But we know this battery was posted to Louisiana. Four 12-pdr Napoleons and two 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.
  • Battery B: Hilton Head, South Carolina.  Three 12-pdr Napoleons and two 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.
  • Battery C: One annotation states “Infantry” and a word I cannot make out.  The battery had no assigned weapons and served in the Fort Macon garrison in North Carolina.
  • Battery D: Beaufort, South Carolina. Two 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.
  • Battery E: Falmouth, Virgina.  Four 12-pdr Napoleons. Not noted on the summary, this battery served with the Fifth Corps, Army of the Potomac, at the time of the report.
  • Battery F:  No details offered.  The battery was stationed in the defenses of New Orleans.
  • Battery G:    No details offered.  The battery was assigned to Battery E (above) at this time of the war.
  • Battery H: Falmouth, Virgina.  Six 12-pdr Napoleons.  Battery H was assigned to the 1st Regular Artillery Reserve, Army of the Potomac.
  • Battery I: Location not listed, but known to be at Falmouth.  Six 12-pdr Napoleons.  Assigned to Second Corps, Army of the Potomac.
  • Battery K: “Camp near Falmouth, Va.”  Six 12-pdr Napoleons.  Assigned to Fifth Corps, Army of the Potomac.
  • Battery L: Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  Four 12-pdr Napoleons and two 10-pdr Parrott Rifles.
  • Battery M: Beaufort, South Carolina. Two 12-pdr Napoleons, two 24-pdr field howitzers, and two 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.

That introduces the battery, its assignments, and weapons. Also note the first column on the left – the date the returns arrived at the department.  Only four of the Ordnance Returns arrived by the first quarter of 1863 (shall we call that the “due” date?).  Of the others, three arrived later in the year.  And two returns didn’t arrive until mid-1864.  We should take this into account as a variable with respect to accuracy.

Lots of “back story” for the operational history of these batteries.  I’ll try to keep that short for now, as each probably deserves a separate history.  Today, I’d highlight Battery A.  We have a photo of that battery,  commanded by Captain Edmund C. Bainbridge, at Port Hudson later the following spring:

Closest to the camera is one of the battery’s Napoleons.

The other interesting data set to glean from the summaries is the ammunition reported.  I cannot easily reproduce a snip to present here, but relate my effort to transcribe:

  • Battery A – 384 12-pdr fixed spherical case, 128 12-pdr fixed canister, 200 3-inch shot, 72 3-inch canister, and 130 3-inch percussion shell.
  • Battery B – 48 12-pdr fixed shell, 80 12-pdr fixed spherical case, and 56 12-pdr fixed canister.
  • Battery C – No ammunition reported.
  • Battery D – 156 3-inch Dyer shell and 14 3-inch Dyer canister.
  • Battery E – 128 12-pdr fixed shot, 56 12-pdr fixed shell, 182 12-pdr fixed spherical case, and 101 12-pdr fixed canister.
  • Battery F – No ammunition reported.
  • Battery G – No ammunition reported.
  • Battery H – 254 12-pdr fixed shot, 96 12-pdr fixed shell, 281 12-pdr fixed spherical case, and 96 12-pdr fixed canister.
  • Battery I – 96 12-pdr fixed shell, 340 12-pdr fixed spherical case, and 296 12-pdr fixed canister.
  • Battery K – 288 12-pdr fixed shot, 96 12-pdr fixed shell, 288 12-pdr fixed case, and 96 12-pdr fixed canister.
  • Battery L – 192 12-pdr fixed shot, 48 12-pdr fixed shell, 240 12-pdr fixed canister, and 320 10-pdr Parrott shell.
  • Battery M -468 12-pdr fixed shot, 122 12-pdr fixed shell, 436 12-pdr fixed case, 68 12-pdr fixed canister; 36 24-pdr strapped shell, 66 24-pdr strapped case, 6 24-pdr canister; 12 3-inch shot, 12 3-inch canister, 12 3-inch percussion shell, 24 3-inch fuse shell, 80 3-inch “bullet” shell (case shot?); 141 10-pdr Parrott shell, 200 10-pdr Parrott case, and 90 10-pdr Parrott canister.

The big question mark over this transcription is the ammunition reported by Battery M.  That battery had the most variety of ordnance, but why the mix of 3-inch and Parrott projectiles in a battery with only 3-inch rifles?  Did the battery use Parrott projectiles in the Ordnance Rifles?  Was this just excess ammunition on hand? An error in identification? Transcription error?  MY transcription error (though I have double checked the lines four times)?

One more set I’ll throw out there for the N-SSA folks – the small arms and edged weapons reported from the batteries of the 1st Regiment:

  • Battery A – 33 cavalry sabers.
  • Battery B – 84 caliber .58 rifle muskets, 73 caliber .44 revolvers, 11 cavalry sabers, and 62 horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery C – None reported
  • Battery D – 76 caliber .58 rifle muskets, 108 caliber .44 revolvers, 8 cavalry sabers, 56 horse artillery sabers, and 6 foot artillery sabers.
  • Battery E – 14 caliber .44 revolvers and 14 cavalry sabers.
  • Battery F –  None reported.
  • Battery G – None reported.
  • Battery H – 22 caliber .44 revolvers and 16 cavalry sabers.
  • Battery I – 12 caliber .38 revolvers and 14 cavalry sabers.
  • Battery K -20 caliber .44 revolvers, 39 cavalry sabers, and 82 horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery L – 12 caliber .58 rifle muskets, 62 caliber .38 revolvers, and 8 cavalry sabers.
  • Battery M – 77 caliber .58 rifle muskets, 104 caliber .44 revolvers, 1 caliber .38 revolver, 9 cavalry sabers, 60 horse artillery sabers, and 9 foot artillery sabers.

I would be pressed to draw any conclusions from this sampling of data except that Battery M, stationed in South Carolina, was loaded up for a fight!

 

 

Iron Beds for those Iron Frogs: Model 1861 Mortar Beds

When the Army changed from the Model 1840 mortars to the Model 1861 patterns, the entire weapon system underwent a redesign. Since the mortars dispensed with the wooden quoin elevation wedge, centered the trunnions for zero preponderance, and used elevating sockets on the breech, the old mortar beds just would not work. So a new mortar bed design went with the new mortars. The examples at Fort McNair sit atop original mortar beds, allowing for examination.

McNair 10 Apr 10 043
10-inch Siege Mortar – Fort Pitt #31

When Major Theodore T. S. Laidley wrote the 1862 edition of the Ordnance Manual, these beds were still new. He described them rather ambiguously, “The mortar-beds for the new-model mortars are made of wrought iron. Their details are not determined with sufficient accuracy to be inserted at this time.”

Two decades later, Colonel John C. Tidball provided a bit more descriptive examination of the beds in his Manual of Heavy Artillery:

[Mortar carriages] are constructed and put together in a manner similar to the top-carriage for guns. At the ends of each cheek are projections, called front and rear notches, underneath which the cannoneers embar with their handspikes to move the carriage. On those for siege mortars there are also two front and rear maneuvering bolts for the same purpose. The bottom part of each cheek, resting on the platform, is called the shoe; the front and rear ends being designated the toe and heel, respectively.

Here’s Tidball’s drawing of the mortar on its “carriage” as he called it:

The bed pictured above matches that description. The cheeks are connected with two cross members and a transom. On that transom is the eye for the elevating bar. The mortars at Fort Macon, North Carolina are a bit better prepared for public viewing in that regard:

Fort Macon 2 May 10 194
Elevating socket and “eye” for the bar

From the side, the mortars feature a rough triangle shape.

McNair 10 Apr 10 019
10-inch Siege Mortar – Fort Pitt #30

As Tidball described, there are “toes” and “heels” with the “shoe” resting on the ground. The “toes” and “heels” provided clearance as the crew wedged the mortar up to adjust the azimuth. Notice the maneuvering bolt sticking out at the front. The surviving examples I’ve seen lack the rear bolts Tidball described.

Tidball put the weight of the 10-inch mortar’s wrought iron bed at 1313 pounds. That of the 8-inch mortar weighed 900 pounds. This put the weight of the mortar and bed at 3213 and 1910 pounds, respectively. Mortar wagons could carry three of the 8-inch mortars, but only one of the 10-inch. Eight horses pulled that load.

But that was not the complete system. This wartime photo of Fort C.F. Smith shows one of the 8-inch Mortars on a wooden platform. Even has the bars maneuvering hadspikes laying on the side.

The platform was a necessary component of the mortar system. The wooden platform prevented the shoe from digging into the earth upon firing. It also afforded a relatively smooth surface on which the crew could adjust the mortar’s placement. Tidball provided details of the platform’s materials:

The sleepers rested on ground cleared and leveled by the crew. The deck-planks lay on top of those, just above the ground to ensure drainage. As you can see from the chart, this added another 1400 pounds, give or take, to the weight of the entire system. Just more stuff to haul around the battlefield. But necessary stuff.

The mortars at Fort Macon have a reconstructed platforms offering visitors a chance to see the entire system as it would have looked when employed during the war.

Fort Macon 2 May 10 191
Mortars, beds, and platforms

The only other piece of equipment I’d like to see there would be a mortar wagon and limber. But I’m sure *someone* who handles things down that way has already put those on the wish list.