Summary Statement, 3rd Quarter, 1863 – New York Independent Batteries, Part 3

We start this, the third and final installment for the New York Independent Batteries and the summaries of their third quarter returns, looking at less than a dozen lines:

0273_1_Snip_NY_IND3 But, there were, technically speaking, independent batteries numbered 25 to 36 around in the third quarter.  But the clerks at the ordnance department cut that tally short for reasons we will explore.  So let us consider these batteries in detail:

  • 25th Battery: No return.  Recall, while in transit to New Orleans in January, this battery’s transport wrecked.  This “hard luck” battery remained at New Orleans, assigned to the Fourth Division, Nineteenth Corps through October as part of the city defenses.  Captain John A. Grow remained in command.  In the previous quarter, the battery reported four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.
  • 26th Battery: Reprting at Thibodaux, Louisiana, with four 12-pdr Napoleons.  Also suffering loss in the January shipwreck, the 26th was, at the reporting time, part of the District of LaFourche. Captain George W. Fox remained in command of the battery, organizationally assigned to the Fourth Division, Nineteenth Corps.
  • 27th Battery: At Camp Niagara (?), Pennsylvania with four 12-pdr Napoleons.  In July the battery moved from Camp Barry, D.C. to the Department of the Susquehanna, and assigned to the garrison at Philadelphia. Captain John B. Eaton commanded this battery.
  • 28th Battery: At Fort Schuyler, New York with “infantry stores.”  The battery served at Fort Schuyler and Sandy Hook.  Captain Josiah C. Hannum retained command.
  • 29th Battery: No return. At the end of June, the battery was run down with troops with remaining enlistments assigned to the 32nd Battery.  However, at least through the first week of July the battery remained on the organizational returns, assigned to the Harpers Ferry garrison. Captain Otto Diedrich remained commander, on paper at least.
  • 30th Battery: On Maryland Heights, Maryland, with six 12-pdr Napoleons.  Captain Adolph Voegelee was dismissed in August, having not been in the field for some time.  Lieutenant Alfred Von Kleiser, who’d lead the battery through much of the last year, was promoted to battery captain in his place.   At this time of the war, the battery was part of the Department of West Virginia.
  • 31st Battery: No return.  Captain Gustav Von Blucher was in command.  The battery appears in the Department of West Virginia. But as it was reduced, with many of the men attached to the 30th Battery, the battery was in effect only a paper designation. Von Blucher himself was serving as a staff officer with the Artillery Reserve, Army of the Potomac.
  • 32nd Battery: At Maryland Heights, Maryland with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Captain Charles Kusserow remained in command.  And the battery remained with  Maryland Heights Division, staying there as the command was folded into the Department of West Virginia.
  • 33rd Battery:  No return.  Authorized on July 9, 1863, mustered on September 4.  It was initially assigned to the Artillery Camp of Instruction, Camp Barry, in the Department of Washington (Twenty-second Corps).   Captain Algar M. Wheeler commanded.  However, with Wheeler still in New York, Lieutenant J. DeWitt Woods held operational command of the battery at its first posting.
  • 34th Battery: Not listed. This number was reserved for Battery L, 2nd New York Artillery. Captain Jacob Roemer’s battery, then serving in East Tennessee, would officially take it’s “Independent” number in November.
  • 35th Battery: Not listed. Authorized on July 9.  Captain James B. Caryle was given the commission to recruit the battery.  But it never completed organization.  The authority was recalled. The recruited men were assigned to Battery A, 16th New York Heavy Artillery.
  • 36th Battery:  Not listed.  On August 11, 1863, Captain Charles Graham Bacon was authorized to recruit this battery. On October 14, authority was revoked and the men recruited by that time were transferred to the 13th New York Heavy Artillery.

See?  An even dozen in existence, even if only on paper.  Those in actual service being mainly in “garrisons” – New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Harpers Ferry, and New Orleans.  But still having equipment to account for.

And ammunition on hand.  We start with the smoothbores:

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Three batteries reporting:

  • 26th Battery: 148 shot, 12 shell, 48 case, and 12 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 27th Battery: 192 shot, 64 shell, 192 case, and 64 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 30th Battery: 308 shot, 128 shell, 320 case, and 112 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.

But just one line for the Hotchkiss rifled projectiles:

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  • 32nd Battery: 120 canister and 104 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

No entries on the next page, so we skip to the Schenkl projectiles:

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  • 32nd Battery: 583 shell and 393 case for 3-inch rifles.

That leads us to the small arms on hand:

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By battery reporting:

  • 26th Battery: Twenty-five (?) army revolvers, twelve cavalry sabers, and twelve horse artillery sabers.
  • 27th Battery: Seventeen army revolvers, thirty cavalry sabers, and ten horse artillery sabers.
  • 30th Battery: Six army revolvers and fifteen cavalry sabers.
  • 32nd Battery: Nine army revolvers, thirty-six cavalry sabers, and eleven foot artillery swords.

This wraps up the entire page from the third quarter 1863 summaries allocated to New York units.  In addition to these light batteries, New York provided several heavy artillery organizations.  As those fall outside these summaries, I’ll look at those at the end of the quarter’s entries as part of a broader look at all the “heavies” then in service.

 

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Summary Statement, 3rd Quarter, 1863 – 2nd New York Heavy Artillery Regiment

The 2nd New York Artillery Regiment mustered, by company, through the fall and winter of 1861 at Staten Island.  Moving in batches of companies, the regiment moved to Washington, D.C. and became part of the capital’s defenses through the first half of the war.  As related in the previous quarter, there was one “black sheep” in this regiment – Battery L.

In June 1862, Battery L took to the field as field artillery assigned to the Second Corps, Army of Virginia.  The battery saw action at Cedar Mountain and the Northern Virginia Campaign which followed.  With reorganizations that followed Second Manassas, Battery L went to Ninth Corps.  They saw action at Antietam and later at Fredericksburg, remaining with their new formation through the winter that followed.  And when Burnside took the Ninth Corps west, Battery L transferred to Kentucky.  In June, 1863, the battery was among the reinforcements (two divisions of the corps) sent to Vicksburg.  With the conclusion of that campaign, the Ninth Corps detachment returned to Kentucky and became part of Burnside’s East Tennessee Campaign.  All told, Battery L logged a lot of travel miles in 1863, the majority of which were in transit between theaters of action.

But let’s not get ahead of the summary here.  Just as in the previous quarter, the clerks at the Ordnance Department allocated one line for the 2nd New York Artillery, and that to Battery L:

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  • Battery L:  At Knoxville, Tennessee with four 3-inch steel rifles.  As these were on the Ordnance rifle column the previous quarter, we should question the consistency of the clerks.  Captain Jacob Roemer commanded this battery, then assigned to Second Division, Ninth Corps.  After September, the battery transferred to First Division.  And in November, they were officially removed from the 2nd New York and re-designated the 34th New York Independent Battery.

This battery had no smoothbore ammunition on hand, of course.  But they did report quantities of Hotchkiss:

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  • Battery L: 96 canister, 30 percussion shell, 219 fuse shell and 424 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

No James or Parrott rounds to report.  But the battery had bit of Schenkl mixed in with the Hotchkiss:

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  • Battery L: 30 shells for 3-inch rifles.

And that brings us to the small arms:

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  • Battery L: Twelve Army revolvers and fourteen horse artillery sabers.

While we could put a period here and call our look at the 2nd New York Artillery done, that’s not the whole story.  The rest of those companies (which was often preferred over “battery” for heavy artillery) were still stationed at Washington, D.C., with Colonel Joseph N.G. Whistler commanding.  The regiment served in First Brigade of those forces deployed south of the Potomac (Virginia side).  They are associated with Forts Haggerty, Corcoran, Strong, and C.F. Smith.  Later, in the following spring, the regiment would leave those forts for an assignment with the Army of the Potomac.  But that’s getting ahead of the story a bit.

Looking through the individual companies, here are the command assignments at the time:

  • Company A: Captain William A. Berry.
  • Company B: Captain Michael O’Brien.
  • Company C: Captaincy vacant. Captain George Hogg was dismissed in May (he was reinstated later, but by that time Hogg was mustered as a Major.   Lieutenant Robert K. Stewart the senior officer as of September 1863.
  • Company D: Captain John Jones.
  • Company E: Captain George Klinck.
  • Company F: Captain George S. Dawson.
  • Company G: Captain Thomas J. Clarke.
  • Company H: Captain Charles L. Smith.
  • Company I: Captain Abner C. Griffen.
  • Company K: Captain Pliny L. Joslin.
  • Company L: See above.
  • Company M: Captain Oscar F. Hulser.

Keep in mind the heavy artillery usually worked by detachments of battalion size, assigned to work specific forts.  As such, their structure more closely matched infantry units than their field artillery brethren.  Thus made the field grade officers even more important to the unit.  At that time, Colonel Whistler could call upon Lieutenant-Colonel Jeremiah Palmer, Major William A. McKay, Major Thomas McGuire, the adore-mentioned and Major George Hogg.

It is important to note here the manner for accounting for the artillery for these “heavies”.  The guns were normally assigned to the post, or in this case the fort.  And an officer from the detachment might be detailed as ordinance officer for that fort.  When the unit was reassigned, the detailed officer would transfer control of those cannon to an officer from the unit arriving as replacements… or in the event the fort was dismantled, the detailed officer had the duty of returning the ordnance to a depot or arsenal.  So, while there were certainly field-type artillery in the forts named above, the 2nd New York technically didn’t report those.  Instead, a separate set of books carried returns from the installations, or in this case the forts. We will see in later quarters the divide between “field” and “garrison” reporting is removed to some degree.  Yet, the Ordnance Department continued to insist that units would report only what they had in their direct charge, on their books.  What was with the fort stayed with the fort and was reported by “the fort.”

Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – 2nd New York Artillery Regiment

Sandwiched between the summaries for the 1st and 3rd New York Artillery Regiment is this lonely line:

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That line:

  • Battery L: At Haine’s (Hayne’s Bluff, Mississippi with four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Captain Jacob Roemer commanded this battery, assigned to the Ninth Corps detachment sent to reinforce Grant at Vicksburg.

I discussed Battery L, 2nd New York’s complicated history in a post for the first quarter summary.  As mentioned, this battery was detached from the main portion of the regiment, which was then serving in the Washington Defenses.  Later it would be redesignated the 34th New York Independent Battery.

Captain Roemer’s battery started the quarter in Kentucky.  In June, they were ordered to Mississippi as part of a detachment of the Ninth Corps under Major-General John G. Parke, specifically Second Division (Brigadier-General Robert Potter) of that detachment.  This detachment was part of the force guarding the “backside” of the Vicksburg siege lines to prevent any Confederate attempt to interfere.  While there was little action on their front, the battery had a brief skirmish during passage downriver.  As related in Roemer’s Reminiscences of the War of the Rebellion: 1861-1865 (page 115):

Nothing of importance occurred until the steamer reached Lake Providence.  Here they were fighting on the land, and we could hear the musketry.  Our flotilla consisted of eleven transports led by two gunboats.  The Mariner was the rear boat of the flotilla, and two of the Battery’s guns were in position in the bow of the boat ready for action….

Just as the boat neared the bank and swung away from it to the left, several companies of Confederates rushed out of the canebrake, and let us have the contents of their muskets.  When they had fired three volleys, I made up my mind that some of us might suffer.  My first thought was for my son.  I made him lie down and then covered him with mattresses. I then went to the guns in the bow, had them loaded with canister, and fired.  That the guns were so well aimed, was proved by the fact that we could see the “Johnnies” hop.  The latter started to run and we sent some shrapnel after them.  It was all over in a few minutes, but the “Johnnies” got the worst of it, for we suffered no casualties.

Roemer went on to say his fires played out just as a counterattack occurred on land.  While this seems to match into the narrative for the Battle of Lake Providence, fought on June 9, 1863, there are several discrepancies with Roemer’s dates.  At any rate, the battery off-loaded at Hayne’s Bluff on June 18.  From that point, the battery setup in positions looking east and anticipated Confederate approaches to relieve Vicksburg.

Meanwhile, the main portion of the 2nd New York (Heavy) Artillery was assigned to the Washington Defenses south of the Potomac.  Colonel Joseph N. G. Whistler took command of the regiment on May 6, 1863, and held that position for the remainder of the war.   A year later the 2nd New York Heavy was assigned to Second Corps, Army of the Potomac as “foot artillery.”  As the Overland Campaign progressed, they, along with other “Heavies” were pressed into service as infantry.

Turning back to Battery L, we have a healthy, but varied, quantity of ammunition on hand:

0203_2_Snip_NY2nd

Battery L reported 30 percussion shell, 336 fuse shell, and 224 bullet shell, of Hotchkiss patent, for 3-inch rifles.

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The battery also had 83 canister on hand, but of Dyer’s patent, for 3-inch rifles.

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Adding to the variety were 30 shells for 3-inch rifles of the Schenkl patent.

Turning to the small arms:

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In the previous quarter, the battery reported fifteen Navy revolvers and fifteen horse artillery sabers.  By the end of June, they had twelve Army revolvers and fourteen horse artillery sabers.  Sounds like the supply sergeant did some dealing.

Summary Statement, 1st Quarter, 1863 – 2nd New York Heavy and 3rd New York Cavalry

Before moving on to the New York Independent Batteries, there are two lines to clean up for the first quarter, 1863.  Sandwiched between the returns for the 1st Regiment and 3rd Regiment is a lone line for Battery L, 2nd New York Heavy.  And at the bottom of the page is an entry for artillery assigned to the 3rd New York Cavalry.  I’ve split the lines here so we can focus without those light regiments in the way:

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Transcribing the lines:

  • Battery L, 2nd New York Artillery: At Crab Orchard, Kentucky with four 3-inch rifles.
  • Section “attached to 3rd New York Volunteer Cavalry”:  At New Bern, North Carolina with two 12-pdr field howitzers.

As we don’t have a lot else to discuss, let’s take a closer look at these two.

Battery L was among those missing from the previous quarter and I am at a loss to explain why I didn’t mention such!  So let’s introduce them formally.  The battery was recruited at Flushing, New York by Captain Thomas L. Robinson.  It was known as the Hamilton Artillery and Flushing Artillery at times.  But was formally Artillery Company of the 15th New York Militia.  Before leaving the state, the battery was assigned to the 2nd New York Artillery.  Though a “heavy” regiment, it was not uncommon to have a light battery assigned.  Robinson’s battery might have filled in as Battery L for the 3rd New York, but they were still training at Camp Barry when Burnside’s North Carolina Expedition departed.  When Robinson left the service, Captain Jacob Roemer assumed command.  And around that time, the battery was assigned to the Army of Virginia.  The battery saw action at Cedar Mountain, Second Manassas, but remained in the Washington Defenses for the Maryland Campaign.  Battery L returned to the field for Fredericksburg as part of Ninth Corps (Second Division).  When the Ninth Corps transferred west, Battery L was among them, Roemer still in command.

Crab Orchard, Kentucky?  That location appears on September 1863 dispatches related to the battery.  I may be splitting hairs, but the battery’s duty location was listed as Paris, Kentucky in April of that year.

But we have some asterisks to address on the unit designation.  In November 1863, Roemer’s Battery became the 34th New York Independent Battery.  A new Battery L, 2nd New York Heavy was recruited in its place.  Meanwhile the 34th came back east with the Ninth Corps for the Overland Campaign.  Lots of changes, but follow the ball.  We’ll see this same battery on a different line on future summaries.

However, there is the matter of this photo:

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“Fort C.F. Smith, Co. L, 2d New York Artillery” the caption says. No disputing the location. And that is a 3-inch Ordnance Rifle.  But which Battery L?  This could be the “original” just before leaving the Washington Defenses in 1862.  Or perhaps during the Antietam Campaign when the battery was also posted to the capital (though returns place the battery on the Maryland side of the Potomac).  Or is this the “new” Battery L later in the war?  Sure would be nice to link that rifle in the photo to one tallied in the summary.  (UPDATE: Or maybe this isn’t even Battery L….)

Turning now to the 3rd New York Cavalry, as mentioned for the forth quarter, 1862 summary, I believe this to be Allee’s Howitzers.  However, that same line indicated mountain howitzers the previous quarter.  We may have a transcription error.  Even worse, to the right of the cannon columns, the clerks indicated the section had two 6-pdr carriages and two 12-pdr howitzer caissons. Go figure.

And I’ll tell you something else strange about that section assigned to the 3rd New York Cavalry:

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Apparently they had no ammunition!

So readers don’t feel cheated, that section did report having some stores on hand: two each – sponge buckets, tar buckets, fuse gauges, gimlets, gunner’s haversacks,  pick axes, felling axes, priming wires, shoves, sponge covers, vent covers, padlocks, claw hammers, hand saws, and wrenches.  Also six sets of harness traces, four lanyards, six nose bags, six tarps, four tube punches, four whips, 98 leather bridles, 99 leather harnesses, and one packing box.

Moving to the rifled projectiles, Battery L did have ammunition to fire:

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Hotchkiss columns first:

  • Battery L:  83 canister, 32 percussion shell, 336(?) fuse shell, and 324 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

But nothing to see on the next page:

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Moving right along to the last page of ammunition:

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  • Battery L: 30 Schenkl 3-inch shells.

Throw in some small arms:

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Again, just Battery L, as we assume the 3rd Cavalry reported theirs on a separate set of “cavalry” forms:

  • Battery L: 15 Navy revolvers and fifteen horse artillery sabers.

There you have it… A battery and a section.  Four Ordnance Rifles and two howitzers.  805 projectiles for the rifles.  Fifteen pistols and fifteen sabers.  And I stretched that out to make a blog post.