Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – 3rd Rhode Island Heavy Artillery

Readers will be familiar with the 3rd Rhode Island Heavy Artillery due to their service along the South Carolina coast.  Hardly a month passes without mention of that unit here on this blog.  Though the main story-line in the 3rd’s service was operations against Charleston, batteries from the regiment served at times in Florida and Virginia.  And their service often defied the label of “heavy” artillery, as often the gunners served in the field as field artillery proper.

A bit of background on this regiment is in order.  The 3rd Rhode Island Volunteers first mustered as an infantry formation in August 1861.  As they prepared for their first major operation, as part of Brigadier-General Thomas W. Sherman’s expedition to Port Royal, they camped at Fort Hamilton, New York.  While there, under orders from Sherman, the regiment drilled on both heavy and light artillery.  By the time the regiment arrived at Hilton Head, it was for all practical purposes an artillery regiment.  Though the formal change did not occur until December of that year.

Over the months that followed, the 3rd Rhode Island served by batteries and detachments as garrison artillery, field artillery, infantry, and even ship’s complement as needs of the particular moment called.  In the winter of 1863, Battery C was designated a light battery in light of its habitual service.  We’ve seen that reflected in returns from the fourth quarter, 1862 and first quarter, 1863. However, the battery seemed to change armament with each quarter.  I believe this reflects more the “ad hoc” nature of tasking in the theater at that time.  For the second quarter, 1863, we find the guns reported on hand again changed:

0217_1_Snip_RI_3rd

At the end of June, Battery C had just returned from the raid on Darien, Georgia.  They were at Hilton Head on June 30, preparing for transit to Folly Island.  So this tally of two 12-pdr field howitzers may reflect a status as of January 1864, when the return was received in Washington.

This brief line, along with “clerical” lines for Batteries A and B, brings up a couple of facets to the summaries as they relate to the “real” operational situations.  First off, we know, based on official records and other accounts, not to mention photographs, the 3rd Rhode Island had more than just a couple of howitzers.  We must also consider the property management within the military and how that was reflected in the reports. The military in general tends to be very anal about tracking property.  For any given item, someone, somewhere is on the hook as the “owner” of said item.  Doesn’t matter if that item is a belt buckle or a cannon.  The “owner” might be a specific unit or could be a facility.  So, in the Civil War and specific to the context of this discussion, that “owner” could be a battery in the 3rd Rhode Island… or it could be the garrison commander at Hilton Head.  However, we rarely, if ever, see those garrison commands reflected in the summaries.  A significant blank that we cannot resolve with satisfaction.

What we can do, in the case of the 3rd Rhode Island, is use primary and secondary sources to provide a glimpse into that blank.  Let’s consider the 3rd Rhode Island by battery at this point in time of the war.  Recall, the 3rd and other units were, at the end of June, preparing for an assault from Folly Island onto Morris Island. Colonel Edwin Metcalf was in command of the regiment, with his headquarters on Hilton Head:

  • Battery A:  On Port Royal Island, under command of Lieutenant Edward F. Curtis (in absence of Captain William H. Hammer), serving as garrison artillery.
  • Battery B:  On Folly Island under Captain Albert E. Greene, having moved from Hilton Head at the end of June.  The battery manned six 10-inch siege mortars.
  • Battery C: Transferring from St. Helena Island to Hilton Head, and thence to Folly Island in the first week of July.  Commanded by Captain Charles R. Brayton.  The battery would man two 3-inch Ordnance Rifles and four 30-pdr Parrotts (along with a detachment from Battery C, 1st US Artillery).  Likely the reported howitzers were in reserve.
  • Battery D: Part of the original garrison sent to Folly Island in April.  Under the command of Captain Robert G. Shaw and manning eight 30-pdr Parrotts.
  • Battery E: On Hilton Head, serving as garrison artillery under Captain Peter J. Turner (who was serving as a staff officer, thus one of his lieutenants was in temporary command).
  • Battery F: On Hilton Head, serving as garrison artillery under Captain David B. Churchill.
  • Battery G: Stationed at Fort Pulaski and under Captain John H. Gould.
  • Battery H: On Hilton Head, serving as garrison artillery under Captain Augustus W. Colwell.  Would deploy to Morris Island in July.
  • Battery I:  On Folly Island under Captain Charles G. Strahan.  The battery manned four 20-pdr Parrotts.
  • Battery K: On Hilton Head, serving as garrison artillery under Lieutenant Horatio N. Perry.
  • Battery L: On Hilton Head, serving as garrison artillery under Captain Jeremiah Lanhan.
  • Battery M:  Part of the force on Folly island, under Captain Joseph J. Comstock.  They manned four 10-inch siege mortars and five 8-inch siege mortars.

Thus we see the 3rd Rhode Island was spread between garrison duties and advanced batteries preparing for a major offensive from Folly Island.  Those on the north end of Folly Island, overlooking Light House Creek, were armed with a variety of field guns, heavy Parrotts, and mortars.  Only the former category would have been covered by the summaries, as they existed in June 1863.  And what we have to work with is, based on official reports at the time, inaccurate.

But that’s what we must work with!  Turning to the smoothbore ammunition:

0219_1_Snip_RI_3rd

  • Battery C: 156 shell, 214 case, and 132 canister for 12-pdr field howitzer.

One might think no rifled projectiles would be on hand… but perhaps related to the two 3-inch rifles reported on Folly Island and manned by Battery C, we find some Hotchkiss projectiles on hand:

 

0219_2_Snip_RI_3rd

  • Battery C: 48 canister and 108 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

No ammunition reported on the next page, of Dyer’s, James, or Parrott patents:

0220_1_Snip_RI_3rd

But some Schenkl on hand:

0220_2_Snip_RI_3rd

  • Battery C: 100 shell for 3-inch rifles.

As for small arms:

0220_3_Snip_RI_3rd

  • Battery C: Forty-eight Army revolvers and 102 cavalry sabers.

I suspect, given the varied nature of the 3rd Rhode Island’s duties, the other batteries had a large number of small arms on hand also.  But because of the selective record, we don’t have the details.

Just to say we discussed ALL the Rhode Island artillery, let me mention two other heavy artillery regiments.  The 5th Rhode Island Infantry was reorganized as the 5th Rhode Island Heavy Artillery on May 27, 1863.  Stationed at New Berne, North Carolina, Colonel George W. Tew commanded the reorganized regiment.

Though not organized, we can trace the story of another heavy artillery regiment back to June 1863.  In response to the emergency developing in Pennsylvania, the governor of Rhode Island authorized Colonel Nelson Viall (formerly of the 1st Rhode Island Infantry) to form a six-month regiment.  Designated the 13th Rhode Island, recruitment was slow due to the war situation, small bounties, and the draft.  By July, the War Department decided no more six-month regiments would be accepted and insisted on a three-year enlistment standard.  With that, the 13th was disbanded and in its place the 14th Rhode Island was authorized.  That formation, which began organization in August, was a US Colored Troops Regiment of heavy artillery.

 

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!

Summary Statement, 1st Quarter, 1863 – 1st Regiment, US Regular

As I was working up the illustrations to start the next round of summary statements, I reviewed the entries for the 4th quarter, 1862 in order to gauge where the presentation had evolved. The 1st US Regulars Regiment, being the the “lead off” post, suffered as my effort had not fully evolved. I will make up for that as we lead off the entries for the 1st quarter of 1863.

Getting started on the quarter’s summary, consider what was happening in at the reporting period – administratively from January 1 to March 31, 1863.  The armies in the Western Theater went through major organizational changes.  The Army of the Cumberland, after Stones River, went from a three-wing formation to one of three corps – the Fourteenth, Twentieth, and Twenty-third.  Likewise, the Army of Tennessee also transformed from wings and divisions into corps.  Complicating the organization’s evolution was the short-lived Army of Mississippi under Major-General John McClernand. Not until late January was Major-General U.S. Grant able to implement his planned (in the previous November) reorganization into four corps – the Thirteenth, Fifteenth, Sixteenth, and Seventeenth. All this not to downplay the significant activity within the Army of the Potomac in Virginia during this same period.  One change being the departure of Ninth Corps to the Department of Ohio. All the while the “side” theaters, such as Louisiana or South Carolina, also saw organizational changes.  So while there were few battles during the first three months of 1863, the shakeup of organizations moved batteries around in the order of battle.

The batteries of the 1st US Artillery Regiment served in Virginia, South Carolina, and Louisiana. as reflected in the first page of their summary:

0092_Snip_1stUS_1

Looking at these batteries in detail:

  • Battery A – Reporting at Camp Mansfield, Louisiana (outside New Orleans) with four 12-pdr Napoleons and two 3-inch rifles.  Captain Edmund C. Bainbridge remained in command of this battery.  The reporting location was probably valid for January.  By March the battery was in the field as the Nineteenth Corps prepared to move on Port Hudson.  Battery A appears to have split equipment with Battery F (below) around this time.
  • Battery B – At Hilton Head, South Carolina with four 12-pdr field howitzers.  Lieutenant Guy V. Henry commanded this battery, assigned to the Department of the South’s Tenth Corps.
  • 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. As winter closed, Battery C was transferred to Hilton Head.  Lieutenant Cornelius Hook was in command.
  • Battery D – Beaufort, South Carolina with four 3-inch rifles.  Lieutenant  Joseph P. Sanger’s name is associated with this battery, but I don’t have confirmation that he was indeed was the commander. Battery D was paired with Battery M on organizational returns.
  • Battery E – At Falmouth, Virginia with four 3-inch rifles.  Captain Alanson Randol was in command of this battery supporting Third Division, Fifth Corps.  Sometimes cited as combined Batteries E and G (see below).  Later, in May, the battery transferred to the Artillery Reserve… but that part of the story for another day.
  • Battery F – No report, but known to be posted in the defenses of New Orleans under Captain Richard C. Duryea, before assigned to Third Division, Nineteenth Corps for the Port Hudson campaign.
  • Battery G – No report.  Dyer’s has Battery G’s personnel serving with Batteries E and K at this time.  However, during the late winter, Lieutenant E.W. Olcott had the guidon, at least on one organizational return.
  • Battery H – At Falmouth, Virginia with six 12-pdr Napoleons.  Serving with Second Division, Third Corps at the time. Lieutenant Justin E. Dimick was the battery commander.
  • Battery I – At Falmouth, Virginia with six 12-pdr Napoleons.  Lieutenant George Woodruff commanded this battery from the Second Corps’ artillery park.
  • Battery K – At Falmouth, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance rifles.  Assigned to the Artillery Reserve, Captain William Graham was the commander. However, with Graham pulled to head the brigade, Lieutenant  Lorenzo Thomas, Jr. appears as the commander on organizational tables from the later part of the winter.
  • 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.  They were part of a column advanced as a diversion against Port Hudson in March 1863.  So perhaps the location is possibly … maybe … accurate. However, I submit the location is also correct for July of 1863, when the report was received in Washington.
  • Battery M – At Beaufort, South Carolina with four 12-pdr Napoleons and two 3-inch Ordnance rifles.  Captain Loomis L. Langdon lead this battery.  It was also one of the batteries assigned to the Tenth Corps, and familiar to those of us following the Charleston campaigns.

One other portion of the 1st Artillery to mention, though they don’t appear on the summaries.  The Headquarters of the regiment appears in dispatches as at Fort Warren, Massachusetts.

Looking back at the previous quarter’s returns, we see a few changes at the battery level. Batteries E and K exchanged their Napoleons for Ordnance Rifles. Down in South Carolina, where cannons were scarce, some cross leveling may have taken place.  Battery B lost two 3-inch Rifles, while Battery D gained a pair. Battery B also gave up two Napoleons as  Battery M added two (they replaced two 24-pdr howitzers).  Stripped of its “good” guns, Battery B worked four 12-pdr field howitzers.  Not changing armament, Batteries A, H, I, and L reported the same types and quantities from the previous quarter.

Looking to the ammunition tables, we start with the smoothbore projectiles:

0094_Snip_1stUS_1

Rather healthy reports here, but some question marks:

  • Battery A – 520 case shot and 168 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.
  • Battery B – 250 shell, 250 case, and 78 canister for 12-pdr field howitzer.
  • Battery E – 128 shot, 60 shell, 196 case, and 184 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons. Are we to assume the battery had these quantities still on hand after exchanging for rifles?
  • Battery H – 299 shot, 96 shell, 279(?) case, and 96 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.
  • Battery I – 96 shell, 240(?) case, and 296(?) canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.
  • Battery L – 272 shot, 64 shell, 204 case, and 56 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.
  • Battery M – 485 shot, 150 shell, 506 case, and 110 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.

Moving to the rifled projectiles, we start with the Hotchkiss section:

0094_Snip_1stUS_2

Four batteries reporting:

  • Battery A – 42 shot, 114 canister, 170 percussion shell, 340(?) fuse shell, and 120 bullet shell for 3-inch rifle…. all for two guns.
  • Battery D – 86 canister, 60 percussion shell, 96 fuse shell, and 150 bullet shell for 3-inch rifle.
  • Battery K – 39 fuse shells in 3-inch rifle.
  • Battery M – 12 canister, 12 percussion shell, 24 fuse shell, and 20 bullet shell for 3-inch rifle.

Moving to the next page, there are entries for Dyer’s and Parrott’s projectiles:

0095_Snip_1stUS_1

One battery with Dyer’s:

  • Battery K – 133(?) 3-inch shrapnel.

As for Parrotts:

  • Battery L: 320 10-pdr Parrott shell.
  • Battery M: 120 10-pdr Parrott case.  And remember that the battery had 3-inch rifles, not Parrott rifles.

There was but one battery reporting Schenkl projectiles:

0095_Snip_1stUS_2

And plenty of them:

  • Battery K – 805 shell and 130 canister for 3-inch rifle.

One has to wonder what had been under that battery’s Christmas tree.

Lastly, the small arms reported:

0095_Snip_1stUS_3

Note the two penciled columns here.  “Sharps’ Carbine Cal .52” and “Springfield Cal. 58.”  Only the later factors into the 1st US returns:

  • Battery A – Ten Army revolvers and 59 horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery B – 84 Springfield rifles, 100 Army revolvers, seven cavalry sabers, and seventy horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery D – 125 Army revolvers, eight cavalry sabers, and 107 horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery E – Fourteen Navy revolvers and fourteen horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery H – Twenty-two Navy revolvers and sixteen horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery I – Twelve Navy revolvers and twenty-six horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery K – Sixteen Army revolvers, thirty-nine cavalry sabers, and eighty-one horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery L – Four Springfield rifles, 62 Army revolvers, eight cavalry sabers, and 107 horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery M – 85 Springfield rifles, 103 Army revolvers, one Navy revolver, nine cavalry sabers, and 104 horse artillery sabers.

Recall the small arms considerations for artillery service.  We see Batteries B, D, and M, all serving in South Carolina, were armed to the teeth.  And of course those batteries were often required to pull duties normally assigned to infantry troops in the larger field armies.  However, it is fair to point out that by late summer of 1863, some of the infantry in South Carolina were pulling duties normally assigned to artillery… as the big guns on Morris Island required crews.