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!


Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – 1st Tennessee Light Artillery

No surprise to Civil War students that Tennessee contributed troops to the Union cause.  While the infantry and cavalry receive their due, the artillery batteries are seldom mentioned.  And if we work from the summary statements for second quarter of 1863, that contribution was worthy only of a blank line:


1st Battery Tennessee Artillery…. but there were actually two such 1st Batteries in existence as of June 1863.  Which one are we looking at here?  My short answer is “either, or!”  First let’s break down the two batteries that should be listed here.  The 1st Tennessee Light Artillery would eventually include eight batteries – A, B, C, D, E, F, G, and K.  The regiment (or battalion as it is sometimes identified by) was not formally created until November 1863.  Prior to that time, Batteries A and B existed as separate “1st Batteries” with separate identifications by the region in which they were assigned.

So our two batteries to consider:

  • 1st Middle Tennessee Battery:  Would be come Battery A, 1st Tennessee. Battery formed in the fall of 1862 under command of Captain Ephraim P. Abbott.  In June 1863 the battery was at Clarksville, Tennessee with two 6-pdr field guns and four 3.80-inch James rifles.  By the end of July, the battery was on campaign with the Third Division, Reserve Corps, Army of the Cumberland.
  • 1st East Tennessee Battery: Started forming in the spring of 1863, being recruited from refugees from east Tennessee.  Mustered into service on April 16.  Stationed at Camp Nelson, Kentucky while being formed and trained.  No guns assigned… in fact very little equipment of any sort assigned.  Commanded by Captain Robert Clay Crawford.  Later became Battery B, 1st Tennessee.  And Crawford would become colonel of the regiment in the fall.

The clerks offered us no clues as to which of these batteries is represented by the line in the summary.  Quite possible they just threw a placeholder on the form, leaving it at that.  No other equipment appears on any of the columns that follow.  (I’ve uploaded all to Flickr, so you can gaze at empty columns…) Since we have little to discuss in regard to equipment, allow me to expand upon the early history of these batteries… with emphasis on the battery commanders.

Abbott was not a Tennessean by birth or by any other measure.  He was from Zanesville, Ohio.  I believe he is the same Ephraim P. Abbott with an appointment to West Point in 1851.  But he did not graduate from the academy.  The 1860 census listed him as a 27 year old living with his father (and, if I read the line correctly, working as a surveyor).  Abbott volunteered for the 3rd Ohio Infantry (three-year) in June 1861, and was commissioned as captain of Company E.  Then on August 24, 1862, Abbott transferred to the newly authorized 1st Middle Tennessee Battery.  Military Governor Andrew Johnson gave Abbott authority to recruit in the Nashville and middle Tennessee area.  and Abbott formally took command in September.

The biggest issue facing the 1st Middle Tennessee Battery, according to Abbott’s reports, was pay.  The State Comptroller, Joseph Fowler, insisted on paying the men in Tennessee script, from the Bank of Tennessee in Nashville.  This was valued at 20% less than US currency.  So when paid $10, the Tennessee artillerists could only get $8 of whiskey from the sutlers.  Not good…. and thus the battery protested and refused pay for several months until the matter could be resolved. Even statements from Fowler to honor an “indebtedness” of the state to the soldiers were not good enough.  The matter was finally resolved in the soldiers favor, though just as the soldiers were assigned to a field command and ordered south.  Willie and Joe of a later war would certainly sympathize.

Just a side note on Abbott – we will hear more of him in later summaries, but he was not destined to remain in command through the war.  In December 1864 he was dismissed due to an unauthorized leave of absence.  Writing to confirm that action, Brigadier-General John M. Brannan assessed, “I do not believe the battery will ever be worth anything under his command.”  So we might conclude Abbott was not a stellar artillerist.

Turing to the 1st East Tennessee Artillery, authorization to recruit the battery came in March 1863:

Crawford Fold3_Page_13

Captain Robert Clay Crawford is an interesting character… and that is an understatement.  He was from Rogersville, Tennessee.  Crawford had an appointment (secured by Andrew Johnson, who was then a US Representative) to West Point before the war, being admitted in 1850.  Like Abbott, Crawford did not graduate.  At some point in the 1850s he was convicted of a crime and spent time in prison.  Forging his pardon, he escaped back to Tennessee.  In February 1863, Crawford secured a commission as captain of Company B, 5th (East) Tennessee Infantry.  There is some indication his connection to Johnson played a role in obtaining that position.   And, as indicated above, shortly after he was charged with recruiting a light battery, by order of Johnson.

Crawford was apparently an efficient recruiter.  The battery was officially mustered on April 16.  By May the battery reported 121 men… but no equipment.  The troops had to purchase their own clothing and accouterments, pending government issue.  And they had no guns for drill.  They relocated to Camp Nelson in late May.  Then moved to Somerset, Kentucky in July.  Later in September, the battery received guns, to be drawn by mules.  All of which dampened spirits.

By November, authorities decided Tennessee needed a full regiment of light artillery.  And Crawford was deemed the right person to lead the regiment (again, likely due to his connections with Johnson).  We’ll see Crawford again in the summaries, of course.  But I’ll throw out a teaser here.  Crawford was brought up on charges, in November 1864, of counterfeiting notes from the Bank of Tennessee along about twenty other counts of theft and corruption.  You can’t make this stuff up!

Though outside the scope of “light” artillery, I should mention two of Tennessee’s heavy artillery regiments which had just organized in June 1863.

The 1st Tennessee Heavy Artillery (African Descent) formed in April 1863 to garrison Fort Pickering, Memphis, Tennessee.  Colonel Ignatz G. Kappner commanded the regiment.  But while the formation remained more battalion strength, Major Emil Smith was in command while Knapper commanded the fort’s overall garrison.  In March 1864, the regiment was re-designated the 2nd US Heavy Artillery (Colored).

The 2nd Tennessee Heavy Artillery (African Descent) was recruited from contrabands in and around Columbus, Kentucky.  Colonel Charles H. Adams (of Illinois) commanded.  The regiment had just formed in June 1863 and does not appear on returns until October.  In April 1864 the regiment became the 3rd US Heavy Artillery (Colored).

As you can see, Tennessee was providing many artillerists to the Federal cause in the summer of 1863.