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:

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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.

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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.