Summary Statement, 1st Quarter, 1863 – Pennsylvania’s Independent Batteries

The method used by the Ordnance Department for designating and tracking returns from Pennsylvania’s independent batteries leaves a lot to be desired.  In their defense, the state did not aid their administrative endeavors with simple unit designations.  The way I organize these units, in my mind at least, involves recognizing there were “Independent Batteries” which were given lettered designations as such.  And there was a second set which, due to various reasons, were identified by battery commander – some not existing long enough to gain the lettered designation; some being reorganized and placed in heavy regiments; and some simply escaping any “regimented” designation.

That in mind, here’s a list of the former:

  • Battery A – Schaffer’s Battery
  • Battery B – Stevens’ or Muehler’s Battery
  • Battery C – Thompson’s Battery
  • Battery D – Durrell’s Battery
  • Battery E – Knap’s Battery
  • Battery F – Hampton’s Battery
  • Battery G – Young’s Battery – not listed above.
  • Battery H – John Nevin’s Battery
  • Battery I – Robert J. Nevin’s Battery (not formed until June 1863)

With those in mind as sort of a translation table, let’s sort out the first quarter, 1863 summary of returns:

0140_1_Snip_PA_Ind

And a lot of sorting we will need.  Notice that only seven of the fifteen batteries indicated posted returns.  And one of those seven had a posted date of April 10, 1864.  So there are a lot of gaps to start with.

  • Mlotkowski’s Battery – Battery A – Reported at Fort Delaware, Delaware, but with no cannons.  The duty location and commander’s name matches to a 1st Pennsylvania Battery (also cited as Battery A Independent Heavy Artillery), under Captain Stanislaus Mlotkowski. If so, this was previously listed under Captain Frank Schaffer.
  • Durrell’s Battery – Battery D, of the independent batteries mentioned above. – No return. Captain George W. Durell commanded.  Assigned to Second Division, Ninth Corps.  Following the “Mud March” the battery accompanied the division to the west, to a posting in Kentucky at the end of the winter.
  • Roberts’ Battery – No return. this may be a reference to a battalion of heavy artillery organized by (then) Major Joseph Roberts.  The four batteries in the formation later became Companies C, D, F, and (part of) K in the 3rd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery Regiment, with a date of February, 1863.  However, a formation called the 3rd Pennsylvania  Heavy Artillery Battalion was reported at Camp Hamilton (outside Fort Monroe) under Major John A. Darling (who was later a staff officer in the 3rd Regiment, so this is likely the same unit).
  • Illegible to me, but I think this is Nevin’s Battery– Battery H – Listed as at Fort Whipple (Fort Myer), in the Washington Defenses, but no assigned pieces.  Captain John I. Nevin would spend the war around Washington, DC.
  • Keystone Battery – Reported at Centreville, Virginia with six 10-pdr Parrotts.  I would match this to Captain Matthew Hastings’ battery, assigned to Casey’s Division and part of the Washington defenses.
  • Hampton’s Battery – Better known as Battery F – Posted to Aquia Creek, Virginia with six 10-pdr Parrotts.  Captain Robert B. Hampton’s battery was assigned to Second Division, Twelfth Corps.
  • Jones’s Battery – No return.  If I’ve transcribed the name correctly, this must be Captain Paul I. Jones’ Independent Heavy Artillery, which became Company L, 2nd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery (November 1861).
  • Knap’s Battery – Battery E – Paired with Hampton’s Battery F (above), also posted to Aquia Creek and with six 10-pdr Parrotts, in Second Division, Twelfth Corps.  Captain Joseph M. Knap served as the division’s Artillery Chief, with Lieutenant (later Captain) Charles A. Atwell assuming the battery position.
  • Schaffer’s Battery – Battery A – No return.  I think this is a duplicate with Mlotkowski’s Battery (above).
  • Schooley’s Battery – No return – This is most likely Captain David Schooley’s Independent Company Heavy Artillery which was later designated Company M, 2nd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery (also occurring in November 1861).
  • Thompson’s Battery – Battery C – At Falmouth, Virginia with four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Captain James Thompson’s battery supported Second Division, First Corps.
  • Ulman’s Battery – No return.  As mentioned for the last quarter, my best guess is this being Captain Joseph E. Ulman’s independent battery.  The battery ceased to exist in March 1862, but apparently lingered as a ghost on the paperwork.
  • Stevens’ Battery – Battery B – No location given but with four 6-pdr field guns and two 3.80-inch James Rifles.  Captain Alanson J. Stevens’ battery supported Third Division, Twenty-first Corps, then stationed at Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
  • Young’s Battery – Battery G – No return. Captain John J. Young’s battery was assigned to Fort Delaware at this time.  (Sometimes cited as the 2nd Independent Battery Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery.)
  • Muehler’s Battery – No return. Charles F. Muehler was the original commander of what became Stevens’ Battery B.  So this looks to be a duplicate entry line.

Good news here, most (six of seven) batteries with returns posted are easily matched to lettered independent batteries.  Of course, the bad news is that I’m offering you a lot of “best guesses” here to round out the rest.  Worth noting, also listed at Fort Delaware for this reporting period was the 1st Pennsylvania Marine and Fortification Artillery, Batteries A and B, under Captains John S. Stevenson and Franz von Schilling, respectively.  Those batteries would become part of the 3rd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery, and thus fall outside our scope.

While requiring a lengthy administrative explanation, because of the scarcity of reports, there is not much to discussion in regard to ammunition:

0142_1_Snip_PA_Ind

Just one battery reported smoothbore cannon, and that was Stevens’ out west:

  • Stevens’ Battery B – 448 shot and 200 case for 6-pdr field guns.

Starting on the rifled artillery, we have only one with 3-inch Ordnance rifles, and that is reflected with the Hotchkiss-patent on hand:

0142_2_Snip_PA_Ind

  • Thompson’s Battery C – 82 canister, 99 percussion shell, 144 fuse shell, and 505 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

On the next page, we can narrow the focus down to just the Parrott-patent columns:

0143_1A_Snip_PA_Ind

  • Keystone Battery – 684 shell, 607 case, and 219 canister for 10-pdr Parrott.
  • Hampton’s Battery F – 600 shell, 480 case, and 144 canister for 10-pdr.
  • Knap’s Battery E – 657 shell, 396 case, and 159 canister for 10-pdr.

And on the next page, we find but one entry to consider:

0143_2_Snip_PA_Ind

  • Thompson’s Battery C – 100 Schenkl shells for 3.80-inch James rifles.

That brings us to the small arms where six batteries reported items on hand:

0143_3_Snip_PA_Ind

By battery:

  • Nevin’s Battery H – 150 Springfield muskets, twenty-seven Army revolvers, and sixty horse artillery sabers.
  • Keystone Battery – Fourteen army revolvers and 150 horse artillery sabers.
  • Hampton’s Battery F – Twenty Navy revolvers, sixty cavalry sabers, and ten horse artillery sabers.
  • Knap’s Battery E – Thirty-seven Navy revolvers and eight horse artillery sabers.
  • Thompson’s Battery C – Thirty-two Navy revolvers and six cavalry sabers.
  • Stevens’ Battery B – Seventeen Navy revolvers and five cavalry sabers.

We see substantial small arms in the two batteries serving in the Washington Defenses, which is to be expected.

While I’m not absolutely certain about the identification of batteries listed in this portion of the summary, I am confident those which reported ordnance on hand are properly set in context.  Not to diminish the service of those at Fort Delaware, but those units likely only serviced the garrison artillery… if they serviced them much at all.

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Summary Statement: December 31, 1862 – Pennsylvania’s Independent Batteries and Miscellaneous Returns

Problems, problems, problems.  That’s what we have to sort out with the Pennsylvania independent batteries and the summary for fourth quarter, 1862.     Just look at these entries:

0075_Snip_Dec62_2_PA_1

These were “storied” batteries, some of which played important parts in great battles.  While tracking these batteries by the name of a commander or organizer will fit into those stories, there are some administrative inefficiencies to that manner of identification.  And as these summaries are more administrative in nature, there is some matching and sorting needed to ensure a complete and accurate assessment of the data.

We see thirteen entry lines on the summary page.  Of those seven returns are logged.  One of those seven returns, from the 2nd Pennsylvania Reserves, lists no guns.  Let us sort through the entries as they appear, then circle back to check that all the independent batteries are accounted:

  • Durrell’s Battery:  No return.  This was Captain George W. Durell’s battery, also known as Pennsylvania Independent Battery D.   This battery reported six 10-pdr Parrotts earlier in the fall.
  • Nevin’s Battery:  No return.  Here’s where the battery designation could have helped.  There were two Nevin’s Batteries.  Captain John I. Nevin’s battery, known as Pennsylvania Independent Battery H, was organized in late September 1862.  Captain Robert J. Nevin’s Pennsylvania Independent Battery I was not organized until June 1863 (with a six month enlistment).  So let us assume this to be John Nevin’s.  In that case, Nevin’s battery was at Camp Barry at the time.
  • Keystone Battery: At Union Mills, Virginia with six 10-pdr Parrotts. This was Captain Matthew Hastings’ battery, assigned to Casey’s Division and part of the Washington defenses.
  • Hampton’s Battery:  At Aquia Creek, Virginia with six 10-pdr Parrotts. This would be Captain Robert B. Hampton’s Pennsylvania Independent Battery F, assigned to Second Division, Twelfth Corps.
  • Illegible name in row 20: I cannot make out what the battery name is on this row.  At first I though “Isaac” but that does not match to any in my records.  At any rate, the line is blank with no return.
  • Knap’s Battery:  At Fairfax Court House with six 10-pdr Parrotts.  Captain Joseph M. Knap’s efficient battery was also known as Pennsylvania Independent Battery E.  The battery was also assigned to Second Division, Twelfth Corps.
  • Shaffer’s Battery:  No return.  This, I think, is Captain Frank Schaffer’s Pennsylvania Independent Battery A, assuming there is a missing “c” in the name. If correct, then this battery’s location was Fort Delaware, where it spent the entire war.
  • Schooley’s Battery:  No return. The only match I have for this name is Schooley’s Independent Company Heavy Artillery, Captain David Schooley in command.  If that is the case, then the battery’s location was at Fort Lincoln, Washington, D.C. for the reporting period.
  • Thompson’s Battery: At Fletcher’s Chapel, Virginia with four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. This would be Captain James Thompson’s Pennsylvania Independent Battery C.  Assigned to Second Division, First Corps at this time.
  • Ulman’s Battery:  No return.  The name matches to Captain Joseph E. Ulman’s independent battery organized in February 1862.  This battery was not accepted as artillery and disbanded when told to reorganize as infantry, in March of that year.  Why it was still on the rolls is a 150-year-old question for the clerks.
  • Stevens’ Battery: At Murfreesboro, Tennessee with four 6-pdr field guns and two 3.80-inch James Rifles.  There was but one Pennsylvania battery at Stones River, and that was Lieutenant Alanson J. Stevens’ Pennsylvania Independent Battery B.  I’ve seen it mentioned in correspondence as the 26th Pennsylvania Battery, and Muehler’s Battery (after Captain Charles F. Muehler who organized the unit).  The battery supported Third Division, Left Wing, Fourteenth Corps.  Stevens reported expending 1,650 rounds during the battle, losing seven horses, two men killed, and seven men wounded.
  • 11th Cavalry stores in charge:  At Camp Suffolk, Virginia.  Reporting three 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • Company F, 2nd Pennsylvania Reserves: Reporting from Belle Plain, Virginia with no cannon but stores on hand.  I am not familiar with any association of this formation to an artillery battery. And this will be a significant amount of ammunition on hand.

This listing, somewhat out of order, gives us all of the lettered independent batteries save one.  Allow me to translate here in a quick list:

  • Battery A – Schaffer’s Battery
  • Battery B – Stevens’ or Muehler’s Battery
  • Battery C – Thompson’s Battery
  • Battery D – Durrel’s Battery
  • Battery E – Knap’s Battery
  • Battery F – Hampton’s Battery
  • Battery G – Young’s Battery – not listed above.
  • Battery H – John Nevin’s Battery
  • Battery I – Robert J. Nevin’s Battery (not formed until June 1863)

Looking a few months into the future, as it would be from December 1862, we know that Batteries C and F would later consolidate.  So there is one battery we might plug into that row 20 question mark.  Captain John Jay Young’s battery, organized in August 1862, spent the war at Fort Delaware (good duty if you can get it), to the chagrin of the War Department.

Another pair of batteries that deserve mention with respect to Pennsylvania batteries at this time in the war was Segebarth’s Battalion Marine Artillery, Batteries A and B. Those were also posted to Fort Delaware in December 1862.  That unit would become part of the 3rd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery later in the war.

So, after an administrative interpretation that was long enough to be a blog post by itself, let us go through the ammunition reported.  For convienence, I am going to use the name designations seen on the summary.  For smoothbore ammunition:

0077_Snip_Dec62_2_PA_1

Just two entry lines for discussion:

  • 11th Cavalry: 24 shell, 24 case, and 12 canister for 12-pdr field howitzer.
  • 2nd Reserves:  292 shot, 111 shell, 421 case, and 181 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.

Stevens’ Battery might be excused, having fired all those rounds at Stones River, from offering a quantity for their 6-pdr guns.

Moving to rifled projectiles, we few Hotchkiss projectiles in use:

0077_Snip_Dec62_2_PA_2

  • Thompson’s Battery: 82 canister, 16 percussion shell, 144 fuse shell, and 259 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 2nd Reserves: 400 fuse shell and 132 bullet shell for 3-inch rifle.

Moving to the next page, we find Dyer’s, Parrott’s, and Schenkl’s patent projectiles:

0079_Snip_Dec62_2_PA_1

Starting from the left side columns and Dyer’s:

  • Thompson’s Battery: 216 3-inch Dyer’s shrapnel, 3-inch bore.

Now the Parrott pattern projectiles:

  • Keystone Battery: 684 shell, 339 case, and 319 canister in 10-pdr.
  • Hampton’s Battery: 120 shell, 480 case, and 144 canister of 10-pdr.
  • Knap’s Battery:  507 shell, 213 case, and 136 canister for 10-pdr.

For Schenkl:

  • Hampton’s Battery: 480 Schenkl shot for 10-pdr Parrott.

The second page of Schenkl projectiles has but one entry:

0079_Snip_Dec62_2_PA_2

That is Thompson’s Battery with 33 Schenkl shell for 3-inch rifle.

At last, the small arms:

0079_Snip_Dec62_2_PA_3

By battery:

  • Keystone Battery: Fourteen Army revolvers and 150 horse artillery sabers.
  • Hampton’s Battery: Twenty Navy revolvers, sixty cavalry sabers, and ten horse artillery sabers.
  • Knap’s Battery: Thirty-seven Navy revolvers and eight horse artillery sabers.
  • Thompson’s Battery: Thirty-two Navy revolvers and six cavalry sabers.
  • Stevens’ Battery: Eight Navy revolvers and eight cavalry sabers.
  • 2nd Pennsylvania Reserves: 2 horse artillery sabers.

Yes, a lengthy post for just a handful of batteries.  Consider, if you will, the problem confronting the clerk entering this information.  They have “friendly” names assigned that mention battery commanders.  But there was an official designation that the commanders in the field were using (at least in some correspondence and order of battle).  The clerk could not consult the “Alternate Designations” section in the back of the Official Records or search through Frederick H. Dyer’s Compendium.  Maybe we don’t have room to complain?