Summary Statement, 3rd Quarter, 1863 – Kansas artillery

Despite its location, Kansas provided a surprising number artillerists to the Federal Army – three “formal” batteries, plus sections within infantry (to include USCT) and cavalry formations.  As a whole, the Kansas artillerists have not received much attention from historians.  And that is our loss, as each has an interesting service history along with a cast of characters worthy of attention.

When I started out to transcribe the summaries, one caution imposed was to limit discussion of each battery to a paragraph.  Basically, just indicating the battery commander, parent formation, any notable engagement during the quarter, and clarification to the information provided in the summary.  But often I find the need to refine and expand upon the basic information, if for nothing else to correct ambiguities… quite often enough from my own notes! Such is the case here with the Kansas summaries for the third quarter of 1863.

In the previous quarter, we found the clerks had allocated a healthy set of entries, evolved from some confusing lines in earlier quarters.  Earlier in 1863, just identifying the battery’s name must have been difficult as there was some reluctance to even accept batteries from Kansas (with some in the War Department feeling there was no need for artillery in the far west).  So the battery designations evolved from commander/organizer’s name to the formal allocated number.  We see that completely adopted for the third quarter and three batteries present:

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But only two cavalry sections reporting this quarter.  Let’s work down the list:

  • 1st Battery:  Reporting at St. Louis with four 10-pdr Parrott rifles.  Captain Norman Allen died in St. Louis on July 9, 1863.  Lieutenant Marcus D. Tenney (who had for most of the year led the battery in the field) succeeded Allen, and was promoted to captain on July 20.  Around this same time of the early summer the battery transferred from Missouri to the District of Columbus, Kentucky, and was part of the Sixteenth Corps.  They took on duties guarding the railroad lines between that point and Nashville.  So by September their mail was going to a Kentucky address.
  • 2nd Battery:  At Fort Smith, Arkansas, with with four 6-pdr field guns, two 12-pdr Napoleons and two 10-pdr Parrotts. Recall we had some questions about this battery’s reported cannon in the previous quarter.  I think the line for the third quarter is more accurate, but still has question marks. The bronze 6-pdrs may have been iron.  And we have to wonder were those Parrotts came from. Captain Edward A. Smith remained in command, with the battery part of the District of the Frontier.  However, the battery was split into sections in the field.  Lieutenant Aristarchus Wilson led two sections at Fort Blunt, Cherokee Nation (where Smith was also on duty).  Lieutenant Daniel C. Knowles led the right section at Fort Scott, Kansas.  Smith reported taking two sections into action in the battle of Honey Springs, along Elk Creek, Cherokee Nation, on July 17, with Wilson in command of a section of “two 6-pounder iron guns.”  The other section possessed two 12-pdr Napoleons.  In the action, Smith moved his Napoleons through the 2nd Colorado Infantry to a position 100 yards in front, where he directed canister fire on Confederates at 300 yards, to good effect.
  • 3rd Battery: Also reporting at Fort Smith, Arkansas, with three 6-pdr field guns and one 12-pdr field howitzer.  Let me circle back and properly discuss the origin of this battery.  Henry Hopkins and John F. Aduddell recruited this battery in 1861.  But, as Kansas needed cavalry more than artillery at that time, the unit became Company B, 2nd Kansas Cavalry (However, see NOTE at bottom).  In the battle of Maysville (or Old Fort Wayne, if you prefer), on October 22, 1862, the 2nd Kansas captured three 6-pdrs and one 12-pdr howitzer – the cannon we see on the summary.   Captain Henry Hopkins organized some of his original recruits to man this “Trophy Battery.”  Hopkins remained in command of this battery through September 1863, leading it in action at Cane Hill, Prairie Grove, and Honey Springs.  The battery was often listed as “Hopkins’ Kansas battery” on returns, though occasionally, starting in February 1863, as the “3rd Kansas Battery.”  However, not until October 1863 was the designation made official. Hopkins was not always in direct command of the battery on the field, and signed his reports as part of the 2nd Kansas Cavalry, giving some measure of the “ad-hoc” status of the unit.  The battery remained in the District of the Frontier, in Colonel William Philipps’ Brigade (also including the Indian Home Guards and the 6th Kansas Cavalry).  In late September, Hopkins accepted promotion to Major, in the 2nd Kansas Cavalry and took on other duties (he was shortly after defeated in the Second Battle of Cabin Creek, which falls outside the scope of our discussions).  Lieutenant Bradford S. Bassett held temporary command until Lieutenant Aduddell returned.
  • 6th Kansas Cavalry: Stationed at North Fork (Town), Creek Nation (?), with a lieutenant in charge of “art. stores.”  Those stores included two 12-pdr mountain howitzers.  Companies of the regiment operated in the Indian Territories throughout the summer and fall.  But I do not know any specifics about the section of mountain howitzers or the officer in charge.
  • 2nd Kansas Cavalry: At Fort Smith, Arkansas, with the quartermaster reporting artillery stores. But no cannon reported.  Major Julius O. Fisk commanded the detachment of the 2nd Kansas at Fort Smith.  The Regimental Quartermaster was Lieutenant Cyrus Gorton.  Stores reported included a traveling forge and a fair quantity of tools.

If we cast our inquiries to ask if there were artillery units which should have appeared on the summary for Kansas, then the first I’d mention is Armstrong’s Battery.  Captain Andrew J. Armstrong was from Company C, 1st Kansas Colored Infantry (later 79th USCT).  The regiment formed in mid-1862, but unclear is when a section of artillery came to be associated with the unit and with Armstrong.   File this as “under research.”

Furthermore, there were several militia batteries reported by the state’s adjutant.  And as Kansas was a place where militia units would often see action, despite not being mustered into Federal service, we might mention them here (just because).  Captain A.L. Dornbergh’s Artillery was “Company D” from Allen County.  Dornbergh was a probate judge in the county and his command was called up for state service during the fall.  There were probably others, but I don’t have specific details.  But we know there were several Kansas militia batteries, as a year later, during Price’s Raid, at least four batteries were called up.  And batteries just don’t form out of thin air… someone has to have a cannon or two!

We’ll move from those speculations and on to the numbers recorded for the ammunition reported.  Starting with the smoothbore:

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  • 2nd Battery: 178 shot, 229 case, and 170 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 100 shell, 36 case, and 82 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • 3rd Battery: 100 shot, 300 case, and 100 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 100 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons; 150 case for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • 6th Kansas Cavalry: 140 case and 32 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.

In my opinion, we have several transcription errors here.  The 2nd Battery should have 12-pdr Napoleon ammunition. The 3rd Battery and the 6th Cavalry should not.  Just where the numbers should lay is not easy to determine.  The data does not track well against the previous quarter’s quantities, which did seem to be in order.

No Hotchkiss projectiles reported, so we move to the next page and specifically to the Parrott columns:

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Two batteries in mind:

  • 1st Battery: 537 shell, 125 case, and 130 canister for 10-pdr Parrott.
  • 2nd Battery: 132 shot, 444 shell, 156 case, and 75 canister for 10-pdr Parrott.

With no Schenkl or Tatham’s on hand, we can proceed to the small arms reported:

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Only the three batteries reporting:

  • 1st Battery: Forty-seven Navy revolvers and twelve horse artillery sabers.
  • 2nd Battery: Thirty Army revolvers, 128 Navy revolvers, and twenty-three cavalry sabers.
  • 3rd Battery: Eighty-nine Army revolvers and one Navy revolver.

The Kansas artillerymen would present, I think, a good topic for a graduate student looking to plow a fresh field of research.

NOTE:  On May 22, 1862, the 2nd Kansas was ordered to provide a detail to man six 10-pdr Parrott rifles at Fort Leavenworth.  As Hopkins was in charge of the detail (if not at the start, at least later), the unit appeared on returns as “Hopkins’ Battery.”  From there, the battery proceeded east to Columbus, Kentucky and eventually joined the Army of the Mississippi at Corinth, Mississippi.  In September, the detachment was released from this duty and returned to Kansas.  As these men had experience with artillery, they were, of course, selected to man the new “Trophy Battery” a month later.  Some have interpreted this as a single battery lineage, as the commander and many of the men were the same.  However, the muster rolls don’t bear that out, meaning at the time, at least administratively, the two were separate units.  I won’t argue against it! Nor will I make the statement for it!

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Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – Kansas

Yes, we are in Kansas.  Well, in the Kansas section of the second quarter, 1863 summaries:

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Three batteries and three sections, assigned to cavalry.  Of which only one line lacks a receipt date.  Let us marvel the over zealous clerk who listed these batteries by designation and commander’s (or at least organizer’s) name:

  • 1st (Allen’s) Battery:  No report.  A June 30, 1863 return had Captain Norman Allen’s battery assigned to the District of Rolla, Missouri.  Presumably still with six 10-pdr Parrotts from the previous quarter.  Allen was absent from the battery through much of the first half of the year, and died in St. Louis in July.  Lieutenant (later Captain) Marcus Tenney replaced Allen.
  • 2nd (Blair’s) Battery:  Fort Blunt, Cherokee Nation (adjacent to Fort Gibson) with two 12-pdr Napoleons and four rifled 6-pdrs (3.67-inch rifle).  Captain Edward A. Smith remained in command.  According to returns, the battery was, in June, still at Fort Scott, Kansas, as part of the District of the Frontier.   By September, when the return was received in Washington, the battery had moved into the Cherokee Nation.  Of note, this battery was in action on July 17 at Honey Springs.  In his report, Smith listed his charge as, “two 12-pounder brass guns and two 6-pounder iron guns“.  I will speculate about this below.
  • 3rd (Hopkin’s) Battery: At Fort Gibson, Cherokee Nation, with three 6-pdr field guns and one 12-pdr field howitzer.  Captain Henry Hopkins remained in command of this battery, operating with the Indian Brigade and four companies of the 6th Kansas Cavalry, at Fort Gibson.  And we’ll see more from the 6th Cavalry below.

Moving down to the sections, these were all listed as mountain howitzer detachments assigned to cavalry.  In the previous quarter, two such detachments were recorded – with the 2nd and 9th Cavalry.  Here’s the list for the second quarter:

  • Section, Mt. Howitzers, 2nd Cavalry: At Springfield, Missouri with two 12-pdr mountain howitzers.  Eight companies of this regiment were at Springfield under Major Julius G. Fisk.  Lieutenant Elias S. Stover was probably still in charge of this section.  Stover was promoted to Captain later in the year.
  • Section, Mt. Howitzers, 6th Cavalry: At Camp Dole, Cherokee Nation with two 12-pdr mountain howitzers.  Captain John W. Orahood is listed as commanding a detachment of the regiment then at Fort Gibson at the end of June.  Later in July, Lieutenant-Colonel William T. Campbell was in command of that detachment (up to five companies).  I don’t have a name of the officer (commissioned or non-commissioned) assigned to the howitzers. Also I’m not certain as to the place-name of “Camp Dole.”  That surname is that of both an Indian Agent and an officer of the Indian Brigade.  So we might assume the place was near Fort Gibson, where the 6th Cavalry was operating at the time.
  • Section, Mt. Howitzers, 7th Cavalry: Listed at Fayetteville, Tennessee, but with no cannon reported.  Colonel Thomas P. Herrick’s regiment was assigned to the Sixteenth Corps, and operated in west Tennessee around the Memphis area.  I presume this placename refers to LaFayette there.  With no cannon mentioned on the report, we will look at stores.

That’s the basic administrative details for the Kansas units.

Moving to the ammunition, we have a busy smoothbore table:

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A lot of “feed” for the guns:

  • 2nd Battery:  444 shot, 564 case, and 478 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 17 shot, 100 shell, 57 case, and 43 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons; 152 canister for 12-pdr howitzer, either field or mountain (as that column was used interchangeably by the clerks).
  • 3rd Battery: 196 shot, 406 case, and 196 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 166 case and 150 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • Section, 2nd Cavalry:  144 case and 12 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.
  • Section, 6th Cavalry: 12 shell, 120 case, and 48 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.

Turning to the rifled projectiles, there is but one page to discuss:

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And an odd one at that:

  • Section, 7th Cavalry: 490 Hotchkiss fuse shell and 190 Hotchkiss bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

This would be part of the stores which the 7th Kansas Cavalry had to report.  Along with those Hotchkiss shells, the troopers had 900 friction primers, 875 paper fuses, and 837 packing boxes…. all of which the Ordnance Department wanted an accounting.

We have no entries for James, Parrott, or Shenkl projectiles.  And this is worth noting, as we consider 2nd Battery’s 6-pdr rifles.  But before we open speculation, let’s finish up the summaries on the small arms:

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We have:

  • 2nd Battery:  128 Navy revolvers and twenty-three cavalry sabers.
  • 3rd Battery: Eleven Army revolvers and thirty-five Navy revolvers.
  • Section, 2nd Cavalry: Twenty Army revolvers, one Navy revolver, and one cavalry saber.

Notice the very small number of edged weapons.  Make of it what you wish.

Now, let’s talk about Captain Smith’s guns.  As indicated above, the summary states these were two 12-pdr Napoleons and four BRONZE rifled 6-pdrs.  If we take that literally, those would be a quartet of the “don’t call them James” rifles.  But, we have the report from Smith, in which he specifically says he had two 6-pdr iron guns.  The discrepancy with the quantity aside (though not an expert on the battle, I seem to recall a section of guns detached), I’m inclined to go with Smith’s description of the guns.  If Smith could tell the Napoleons were bronze, then surely he could tell the 6-pdrs were iron!  So I would lean towards these being iron guns.

But we have the question of smoothbore or rifling.  Smith’s report fails to give clues in that regard.  The summary indicates his guns had smoothbore ammunition.  However, there are a few examples where smoothbore ammunition was employed by rifled guns in the 6-pdr/3.80-inch range.  So that is not necessarily definitive.

If these were smoothbores, plenty of candidates come to mind – batches of ancient (pre-1830s) guns were still around; private or state purchases, of course; and during the war there were a handful of rare iron types produced – all of which could be properly identified as “6-pdrs”.  And, of course, that assumes the caliber identification is a proper one.  Likewise, if these were rifled guns, a score of candidates come to mind.  I’d say Wiard and Delafield would be unlikely.  But Sawyer rifles seemed to get around.  And if the caliber (3.67-inch) is not definite, we might even discuss Blakelys.  Though I would be quick to point out the use of smoothbore ammunition would be unlikely in those “named” rifles.

An interesting detail to track.

Summary Statement, 1st Quarter, 1863 – Kentucky and Kansas Batteries

The entries offered in the summary statements for the Kentucky and Kansas batteries have less precise identities than those for other states.  We might call it sloppy clerical work.  Or perhaps the imprecise entries point to a larger issue – that of organizing a massive army, spread across a continent, in short order.  Just getting the designations to comply with standard conventions was a reach.  The snip of the first page illustrates the lack of those conventions:

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Looking first to Kentucky (because the clerks didn’t use alphabetical order!), we see two entries and those for the 1st and 2nd Kentucky.  Wartime correspondence of the time-period in question use lettered and numbered batteries, with some irritating interchangeability.  And, there was a third, independent, battery mentioned usually by the commander’s name.  That said, let me look at the conundrum from the reverse angle.  These are the batteries mentioned in Dyer’s Compendium, as a starting point:

  • Battery A:  Captain David C. Stone’s battery was assigned to First Division, Fourteenth Corps at the start of the new year. Later in the spring, the battery was detached, being unassigned and serving in the garrison of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.  In May, 1st Lieutenant Theodore S. Thomasson was promoted to Captain and appointed commander of the “1st Kentucky Battery”, still listed by some sources as Stone’s Battery.  So this is likely the battery indicated as “1st Battery” on the summary.  And for simplicity, I’ll refer to them as 1st Kentucky through the remainder of this post.  No ordnance listed for this battery in the reporting period.
  • Battery B: This was Captain John M. Hewett’s battery.  Hewett was captured in July 1862 and did not return to the battery until March 1863.  Lieutenant Alban A. Ellsworth commanded in his absence.  The battery was assigned to Second division, Fourteenth Corps.  And this battery is often cited as 2nd Battery Kentucky Light Artillery.  However, the listing in the summary is clearly referencing a different battery.  I submit Hewett’s Battery escaped the clerk’s tally.
  • Battery C: Not organized until May 1863.  So this battery should not concern us for first quarter, 1863.
  • Battery D: Never completed organization, so we need not worry about this battery.
  • Battery E: Not organized until October-December 1863.
  • Simmond’s Battery:  Captain Seth J. Simmonds commanded a battery formed out of Company E, 1st Kentucky Infantry.  The battery served at Gauley Bridge and Kanawha Falls, West Virginia through the winter and early spring of 1863.  Under reorganizations, the battery became part of 3rd Division, Eighth Corps.  Given the place location referenced, the clerks referenced Simmond’s as the 2nd Kentucky Battery.  I will use Simmond’s here for clarity.  The battery reported six 10-pdr Parrotts.

As you can see, the lax administrative details lead to lengthy explanations 150 years later.

As for Kansas, we see five batteries listed.  All are by commander’s name or reference non-artillery parent units:

  • Allen’s Battery: I think this references Captain Norman Allen and the 1st Kansas Independent Battery. At the first of the year, Allen’s was part of the garrison in Springfield, Missouri. Later in the spring the battery moved to Fort Scott.  So the reporting location of Lawrence, Kansas is problematic.  The battery reported six 10-pdr Parrotts.
  • Blair’s Battery: Fort Scott, Kansas. Four 6-pdr field guns and two 12-pdr field howitzers. This should be Lieutenant Edward A. Smith’s 2nd Battery Kansas Artillery.  The name references Captain Charles W. Blair, the battery’s first commander.
  • Hopkins’ Battery: Captain Henry Hopkins’ 3rd Kansas Battery. The battery had three 6-pdr field guns and one 12-pdr field howitzer. At the start of the year, the battery was in the Department of Northwest Arkansas, at Van Buren on the Arkansas River.  Later in the spring the battery moved to Fort Gibson, in the Cherokee Nation (and that post was briefly named Fort Blunt, as the ledger indicates).
  • 2nd Cavalry: A section in the regiment reported two 12-pdr mountain howitzers. The section was with the regiment at Springfield, Missouri.  Lieutenant Elias S. Stover is listed as the section commander.
  • 9th Cavalry:  A section under Lieutenant Henry H. Opedyke, reporting two 12-pdr mountain howitzers.  The section’s reported location was Trading Post, Kansas on the Marais des Cygnes River.

As you can see, it is possible to “square” the summary entries for Kansas with units listed from other sources. For clarity, for this post I’ll use the same designations indicated on the summary for the Kansas batteries instead of the (perhaps more proper) numerical designations.

Turning now to the ammunition on hand, as per the format we see the smoothbore projectiles on hand first:

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Kentucky:

  • 1st Battery: Though they reported no guns, they had 28 spherical case for 6-pdr field guns.  Go figure.

Kansas:

  • Blair’s Battery:  146 shot, 200 case, and 100 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 46 shell, and 74 case for 12-pdr howitzers; 120 case and 98 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzers. (As mentioned in earlier posts, the latter column was often used for both field and mountain howitzer canister tallies.)
  • 2nd Kansas Cavalry:  55 case and 8 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.
  • 9th Kansas Cavalry: 41 shell, 116 case, and 57 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.

None of the batteries reported Hotchkiss projectiles on hand.  And from the next page of rifled projectiles, only Parrotts were on hand:

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For those Parrott columns:

  • Simmond’s Battery: 1000 shell, 575 case, and 137 canister for 10-pdr Parrott.
  • Allen’s Battery: 804 shell, 228 case, and 152 canister for 10-pdr Parrott.

The next page, for Schenkl’s and Tatham’s projectiles, is blank. so we can move directly to the small arms:

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By battery:

  • Simmond’s Battery: Nine Army revolvers and thirty-three cavalry sabers.
  • Allen’s Battery: 100 Navy revolvers and ten cavalry sabers.
  • Blair’s Battery: 134 Navy revolvers and twenty-four cavalry sabers.
  • Hopkins’ Battery: Fifty-one Navy revolvers.
  • 2nd Kansas Cavalry section: Seven Navy revolvers and one cavalry saber.
  • 9th Kansas Cavalry section: One cavalry saber.

Yes, I’d expect to see more small arms reported from the sections in the cavalry.  But the large number of pistols in the other Kansas artillery formations makes up for that, somewhat.  The Kentucky gunners defending Gauley Bridge had ample Parrott shells around, and were without need of many small arms.