Summary Statement, 4th Quarter, 1863 – 2nd Illinois Artillery

At the end of 1863, Colonel Thomas S. Mather remained the commander of the 2nd Illinois Light Artillery. Mather had been Chief of Staff for Major-General John McClernand. But with that officer’s relief during the Vicksburg Campaign, Mather had hitched his wagon to a falling star. Mather would go on to serve in other staff positions while remaining the colonel of the regiment. As for the rest of the regiment, batteries served in the Mississippi River Valley in Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

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  • Battery A:  No report. The battery remained with First Division, Thirteenth Corps (minus one detached section).  Captain Herman Borris remained in command.  Starting the fall at Carrollton, Louisiana, the battery supported some campaigning in October and November through west Louisiana. At the end of December the battery was assigned to the Defenses of New Orleans. At some point in the fall, the first section of the battery, which had served on detached service in Missouri, rejoined the command.
  • Battery B: No report. Captain Fletcher H. Chapman commanded the battery, part of the Sixteenth Corps and assigned to the District of Corinth. The battery would move to Memphis when Corinth was abandoned in January.
  • Battery C: At Fort Donelson, Tennessee with four 3.80-inch James Rifles. Captain James P. Flood’s was assigned to Third Division, Reserve Corps, Army of the Cumberland. But with that corps disbanded with the army’s reorganization, the garrison was part of the District of Nashville, Department of the Cumberland.
  • Battery D: Indicated at Grand Junction, Tennessee with four 3.80-inch James Rifles. Captain Charles S. Cooper remained in command of this battery, then assigned to Fifth Division, Sixteenth Corps, out of the Memphis District.
  • Battery E: No report. In the previous quarter, this battery was at Carrollton, Louisiana with three 6-pdr field guns and one 12-pdr field howitzer.  Captain George L. Nipsel, promoted in the late summer, commanded the battery, which was assigned to Third Division, Thirteenth Corps, Department of the Gulf. After supporting campaigns in west Louisiana during the fall, the battery was assigned duty at Plaquemine, Louisiana, District of Baton Rouge. Lieutenant Emil Steger was acting commander at the close of the quarter.
  • Battery F: Indicated at what appears to be Hebron, Mississippi with two 6-pdr field guns and two 12-pdr field howitzers.  The battery was assigned to Fourth Division, Seventeenth Corps with Captain John W. Powell in command. But with him serving as division artillery chief, Lieutenant Walter H Powell led the battery. During the fall, the battery participated in an expedition into Louisiana (Harrisonburg). Then returned to Nachez, which is the actual battery location at the close of the year. Hebron, may be a contraction of New Hebron and a place associated with the Meridian Campaign. Thus may allude to the battery location in February 1864, when the report was filed.
  • Battery G: At Columbus, Kentucky with four rifled 6-pdr (3.67-inch) guns. Captain Frederick Sparrestrom commanded this battery. After duty in Vicksburg and Memphis through the summer and early fall, the battery was assigned to District of Columbus, Sixteenth Corps (with duty at times in Union City, Tennessee).
  • Battery H: Reporting at Clarksville, Tennessee  two 6-pdr field guns and four 3.80-inch James Rifles. Captain Henry C. Whittemore remained in command.  With the reorganization of the department’s Reserve Corps, the battery was listed in the garrison of Clarksville, District of Nashville, Department of the Cumberland.
  • Battery I:  At Chattanooga, Tennessee, turning in an assortment of weapons for six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Captain Charles M. Barnett commanded this battery, assigned to Second Division, Fourteenth Corps.
  • Battery K: No report.  This battery, under Captain Benjamin F. Rodgers, was at Natchez at this time of the war. A series of reorganizations brought the battery back to Fourth Division, Seventeenth Corps. In the new year, the battery would be assigned to the Defenses and Post of Natchez.
  • Battery L: Listed at Vicksburg with four 3.80-inch James Rifles. Part of Third Division, Seventeenth Corps. Captain William H. Bolton commanded.
  • Battery M: No report. In the previous quarter, the battery reported four 3.80-inch James Rifles and a location of Greenville, Tennessee.  Captain John C. Phillips command this battery, which assigned to the Twenty-third Corps, Army of the Ohio. Confederate advances in east Tennessee, in October, forced the withdrawal of Federal forces east of Knoxville, and that included Battery M. And around that time, Phillips was recalled to Nashville on other duties, leaving Lieutenant W.C.G.L. Stevenson in command. The battery was sent out in support of two regiments of cavalry scouting for Confederate raiders. This force was camped four miles outside Rogersville, Tennessee on November 6 when attacked by Confederates under Brigadier-General William E. Jones. Ill-prepared, outnumbered, and outmaneuvered, the force was all but destroyed. The battery spiked their guns. Survivors who were not captured reassembled under Phillips and assigned duty at Camp Nelson, Kentucky. Such events explain the lack of reporting for this battery.

Moving on to the ammunition and stores reported, we begin with smoothbore rounds:

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  • Battery F: 184 shot and 135 case for 6-pdr field guns; 120 shell and 133 case for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • Battery H: 166 shot and 140 case for 6-pdr field guns.
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  • Battery F: 28 canister for 6-pdr field guns and 31 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • Battery H: 42 canister for 6-pdr field guns.

On the right side of this page are the Hotchkiss columns for rifled projectiles:

  • Battery C: 100 shot and 68 shell (time fuse) for 3.80-inch James rifles.
  • Battery G: 566 shell (time fuse) for 3.67-inch rifles.
  • Battery H: 10 shot for 3.80-inch James rifles.
  • Battery I: 222 shell (time fuse) for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery L: 123 shell (time fuse) for 3.80-inch James rifles.

Additional Hotchkiss on the next page:

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  • Battery C: 385 shell (percussion fuse) and 346 canister for 3.80-inch James.
  • Battery G: 80 canister for 3.67-inch rifles.
  • Battery H: 32 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • Battery I: 125 shell (percussion fuse) and 286 canister for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery L: 161 shell (percussion fuse) and 60 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.

Moving to the right, we see James projectiles also on this page:

  • Battery C: 7 shot, 24 shell, and 2 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • Battery D: 45 shot, 203 (?) shell, and 60 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • Battery H: 105 shot, 242 shell, and 214 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • Battery L: 128 shell and 129 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.

On the next page we focus on the Schenkl projectiles:

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  • Battery D: 64 shot and 128 shell for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • Battery I: 252 shot for 3-inch rifles.

One last entry for Schenkl on the next page:

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  • Battery D: 64 case shot for 3.80-inch rifles.

Turning now to the small arms reported:

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  • Battery C: Seventy-four Colt army revolvers, four cavalry sabers, and six horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery F: Twenty-three Colt army revolvers and twenty-three cavalry sabers.
  • Battery H: Fifty-four Colt army revolvers and seven cavalry sabers.
  • Battery I: Thirteen Colt navy revolvers and fifteen horse artillery sabers.

Notice, no long guns…. On the next page there are cartridge bags reported:

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  • Battery C: 728 6-pdr or 12-pdr bags.
  • Battery D: 540 James rifle bags.
  • Battery G: 746 6-pdr or 12-pdr bags.

The last page lists small arms cartridges, fuses, primers, and other materials:

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  • Battery C: 1,880 army revolver cartridges; 1,150 friction primers; and 503 percussion caps.
  • Battery D: 222 navy revolver cartridges and 660 friction primers. (We might wonder if there are some un-reported revolvers with Battery D.)
  • Battery F: 1,010 army revolver cartridges and 365 friction primers.
  • Battery G: 566 paper fuses and 895 friction primers.
  • Battery H: 1,000 army revolver cartridges; 1,200 friction primers; 50 yards of slow match; and 500 percussion caps.
  • Battery I: 460 paper fuses and 1,694 friction primers.
  • Battery L: 800 friction primers.

At the close of 1863 the 2nd Illinois was sort of at an organizational cross-roads. Batteries from this regiment had participated in several of the important western campaigns of the year, in some cases playing an important role. Some would continue at the fore of the 1864 campaigns. But many of these batteries were sent to garrison duties. Some, such as Battery M, would never serve as a battery again. By the end of the year, enlistments would come due. Instead of recruiting up to full strength, the state consolidated many of these batteries. So this “snapshot” by way of the ordnance summary is in some ways a last good look at the unit as a full organization.

Summary Statement, 1st Quarter, 1863 – Second Illinois Artillery Regiment

You won’t find mention of any battery of the 2nd Illinois Artillery in the Gettysburg Campaign studies.  On the other hand, the gunners of the 2nd Illinois were very familiar with places in Louisiana and Mississippi as they played a role in the Vicksburg Campaign.  Not all of them, but a significant portion of the regiment did as most were under Major-General Ulysses S. Grant’s wide-spread command.  Looking at the first quarter, 1863 summaries, we find eight of the twelve batteries had recorded returns.  But only six reported cannon on hand:

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Two of these batteries were assigned duty as siege & garrison artillery, explaining their lack of field guns:

  • Battery A: Listed as “siege battery” at Helena, Arkansas.  No cannon reported. Captain Peter Davidson’s battery received orders to become a “field battery” later in the spring, assigned to First Division, Thirteenth Corps.
  • Battery B: Also listed as “siege battery” but posted to Corinth, Mississippi.  No cannon reported. Captain Fletcher H. Chapman commanded.
  • Battery C: At Fort Donelson, Tennessee with four 3.80-inch James Rifles.  Captain James P. Flood’s battery would shortly after this report receive a transfer to the Reserve Corps, Army of the Cumberland.
  • Battery D: At Grand Junction, Tennessee with four 3.80-inch James Rifles. Captain Charles S. Cooper replaced Lieutenant Harrison C. Barger in command of this battery during the winter. The battery was assigned to First Division, Sixteenth Corps, covering Memphis at the time.
  • Battery E: No report. In January this battery, at the time commanded by Sergeant Martin Mann, became part of Sixteenth Corps, guarding the railroad lines outside Memphis. Lieutenant George L. Nipsel resumed command later in the spring.
  • Battery F: Reporting at Lake Providence, Louisiana with two 6-pdr field guns and two 12-pdr field howitzers. Attached to Seventeenth Corps, Captain John W. Powell was the commander at the end of March 1863.
  • Battery G: No report. Captain Frederick Sparrestrom commanded this battery, assigned to Third Division, Seventeenth Corps, at the time either at Milliken’s Bend or Lake Providence.
  • Battery H: Another posted to Fort Donelson.  Reporting two 6-pdr field guns and four 3.80-inch James Rifles. Lieutenant  Jonas Eckdall’s battery was part of the “rear echelon” in Grant’s command guarding the communications and logistics lines.  But later in the spring the battery was transferred to the Reserve Corps, Army of the Cumberland.
  • Battery I:  Reporting at Nashville, Tennessee with two 12-pdr Napoleons, two 10-pdr Parrotts, and two 3.80-inch James Rifles.  Captain Charles M. Barnett commanded this battery.  It was assigned to Fourth Division, Fourteenth Corps, Army of the Cumberland.  Changes later in the spring sent the battery to the Reserve Corps.
  • Battery K: No report. The battery was also part of the push on Vicksburg.  Specifically Fourth Division, Sixteenth Corps.  Cpatain  Benjamin F. Rodgers commanded.
  • Battery L: Listed at Barry’s Landing, Louisiana (which again, matches to a placename that I think was in Arkansas) with four 3.80-inch James Rifles. Part of Third Division, Seventeenth Corps, Captain William H. Bolton commanded.
  • Battery M: No report. This battery remained in Chicago through the reporting period.  It was reforming after its surrender at Harpers Ferry the previous fall.

Take note.  With eighteen on hand, the 2nd Illinois’ artillerymen were familiar with the James Rifles. Only two Napoleons and two Parrotts in the whole regiment.  Just how it was out in the western armies.  Of course, that simplifies some of the projectile tables, right?

Let’s look first at the smoothbore ammunition reported:

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Just three reporting quantities on hand:

  • Battery F: 188 shot, 163 case, and 46 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 120 shell, 145 case, and 30 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • Battery H: 186 shot, 160 case, and 42 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
  • Battery I: 27 shot, 53 shell, 112 case, and 42 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.

Please note, I’m of the mind that the 12-pdr canister columns (last two on the right) are somewhat ambiguous based on use.  We see 12-pdr field howitzer canister listed at times on either column, despite the labeling.

Moving to the rifled projectiles, we start with Hotchkiss and find three batteries reporting:

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No surprises here, these are feed for the James Rifles (Again, Hotchkiss-pattern for James Rifles):

  • Battery C: 100 shot, 450 percussion shell, and 68 fuse shell for 3.80-inch rifle.
  • Battery H: 10 shot and 150 percussion shell also for those 3.80-inch rifles.
  • Battery I: 45 shot in 3.80-inch.

But wait!  There’s more Hotchkiss to consider, along with a lot of other patterns on the next page.  Let’s break those down to reduce squinting:

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Three batteries again, but notice we drop off I and add L:

  • Battery C: 250 canister for 3.80-inch James.
  • Battery H: 120 canister for 3.80-inch James.
  • Battery I: 76 canister for 3.80-inch James.

Moving to the James pattern columns we see, as one might expect, a lot of ammunition tallies:

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Looks like everyone got something here!

  • Battery C: 7 shot, 24 shell, and 2 canister for 3.80-inch James.
  • Battery D: 45 shot, 220 shell, 64 case, and 56 canister for 3.80-inch.
  • Battery H: 125 shot, 262 shell, and 214 canister for 3.80-inch.
  • Battery I: 56 shot and 123 canister for 3.80-inch.
  • Battery L: 14 shot, 376 shell, and 144 canister for 3.80-inch.

Again, those are James projectiles for James rifles.  Remember the redundancy there.

Now we had one battery reporting a pair of Parrotts on hand.  What did they feed those Parrotts?

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And that battery had:

  • Battery I: Parrott pattern – 122 shell, 240 case, and 46 canister for 10-pdr; and 17 Schenkl shot for 10-pdr.

To make this one of the most diverse listing of rifled projectiles we’ve considered, we move to the other Schenkl columns:

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Two batteries reporting:

  • Battery D: 64 shot and 123 shell for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • Battery I: 97 Schenkl shell for 3.80-inch.

Also note:

  • Battery H: 32 Tatham canister for 3.80-inch rifle.

All of these quantities must have made for busy ammunition boxes during the spring.

Lastly we turn to the small arms:

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By battery:

  • Battery C: Fourteen Army revolvers, fifty-one cavalry sabers, and six horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery F: Twenty-five Army revolvers.
  • Battery H: Eight Army revolvers, ten Navy revolvers, and six cavalry sabers.
  • Battery I: Twenty-five Navy revolvers and sixteen horse artillery sabers.

The most significant observation for the 2nd Illinois Artillery’s summaries for this period is the diverse ammunition, in just one caliber, issued to the batteries.  Later in the spring and summer of 1863, those James rifles would sent Hotchkiss, James, Schenkl, and Tatham rounds down range.