Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – 1st Ohio Light Artillery

The 1st Ohio LIGHT Artillery…. which needs to be emphasized, as there was a 1st Ohio Heavy Artillery.  The “heavy” regiment spent most of the war in garrison locations across Kentucky and Tennessee.  The “light” regiment, on the other hand, was active in the field supporting armies in both eastern and western theaters. Colonel of the regiment was James Barnett, who also doubled as the Chief of Artillery, Department/Army of the Cumberland.

For the second quarter of 1863, the clerks in Washington complied reports from nine of twelve batteries:

0217_1_Snip_Ohio_1st

And, as a bonus, we have a line for the 32nd Ohio Infantry and their four cannon.  As mentioned while discussing the independent batteries, the clerks opted to misplace what would become the 26th Independent Battery with the 1st Ohio Light.

Putting that on hold for the moment, let us look at the administrative details for the 1st Ohio Light:

  • Battery A: Reported, as of August 1864, at Tullahoma, Tennessee with two 12-pdr Napoleons and four 3.80-inch James Rifles. Captain Wilbur F. Goodspeed remained in command of this battery assigned to Second Division, Twentieth Corps, Army of the Cumberland.
  • Battery B: “In the field” with two 6-pdr field guns and four 3.80-inch James Rifles.   Remaining under Captain William E. Standart, this battery was part of Second Division, Twenty-First Corps (with Standart also serving as division chief of artillery). The battery remained at Cripple Creek, Tennessee until June 24, when it moved with the rest of the division on the Tullahoma Campaign.
  • Battery C: At Elk River, Tennessee with two 12-pdr Napoleons and four 3.80-inch James Rifles. Captain Daniel K. Southwick commanded the battery asigned to Third Division, Fourteenth Corps.  The battery supported its parent division on the Tullahoma Campaign.
  • Battery D: No report. Battery D was, as of the June 30 reporting date, in the field supporting the Cavalry of the Army of the Cumberland, on the Tullahoma Campaign.  One section, under Captain Andrew J. Konkle supported Second Brigade, First Division, of the corps.  Another, under Lieutenant Nathaniel M. Newell, supported First Brigade, Second Division.   with three 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  This report covered just one section, under Lieutenant Nathaniel M. Newell, with the Second Division, Cavalry Corps, Army of the Cumberland.  The battery was armed with 3-inch Ordnance rifles.
  • Battery E: No report. This battery was assigned to Second Division, Reserve Corps, still recovering from heavy losses the previous winter at Stones River.  It was posted to Nashville through the spring.  Lieutenant Stephen W. Dorsey remained in command of the battery.  Later in July, the battery moved forward to Chattanooga.  Captain Warren P. Edgarton, of the battery, was in command of the Nashville garrison artillery.
  • Battery F: No report. Captain Daniel T. Cockerill remained in command of this battery, part of Second Division, Twenty-first Corps. Consolidated reports, complied at the department, indicate the battery had six 12-pdr Napoleons and five 3.80-inch James Rifles (!).
  • Battery G: At Decherd, Tennessee with four 12-pdr Napoleons and two 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Captain Alexander Marshall’s battery assigned to Second Division, Fourteenth Corps.  As such, they were involved with the Tullahoma Campaign.
  • Battery H: At Brownsville, Maryland (likely a location associated with the August 7th report date) with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Although Captain James F. Huntington held the command billet, Lieutenant George W. Norton lead the battery in the field.  Transferred to the 3rd Volunteer Brigade, Artillery Reserve, Army of the Potomac in late spring.  Thus, instead sitting at the base of South Mountain on June 30, Battery H was north of Frederick, Maryland.
  • Battery I: At Emmitsburg, Maryland with six 12-pdr Napoleons. Captain Hubert Dilger’s battery was assigned to Eleventh Corps.  Dilger and his battery would do good work supporting the left of the corps on July 1.
  • Battery K: Bridgeport, Alabama, with four 12-pdr Napoleons.  Captain William L. De Beck resigned on May 11, 1863, and was replaced by Captain Lewis Heckman.  This battery supported Eleventh Corps.  On July 1, the battery went into action just on the edge of Gettysburg (corner of Carlisle Street and Lincoln Avenue today).  Heckman reported firing 113 rounds that day, “mostly canister”, in an effort to delay the Confederate advance. The battery lost two men killed, eleven men wounded, nine horses, and two pieces.  The location is valid for later in the fall when the battery, along with the rest of the Eleventh Corps, reinforced Chattanooga.
  • Battery L: “In the field” with six 12-pdr Napoleons. Captain Frank C. Gibbs had command of this battery, supporting Fifth Corps.  The battery played a vital role defending Little Round Top on July 2, 1863.
  • Battery M: Stevenson, Alabama with two 3-inch guns and four 3.80-inch James rifles. Captain Frederick Schultz commanded this battery, assigned to Second Division, Fourteenth Corps.  Thus, instead of being just south of Bridgeport, Alabama, as indicated on this line, the battery was further north, near Hoover’s Gap, on June 30, 1863.

As mentioned, one line from outside the regiment:

  • Company F, 32nd Infantry: At Vicksburg, Mississippi with two 12-pdr Napoleons and two 3-inch Ordnance rifles.  Company F, 32nd Ohio was originally formed in August 1861.  In July 1862, the company was detached for service as artillery and known as “Potts’s Ohio Battery” after it’s first commander, Captain Benjamin F. Potts.  The battery served in the Shenandoah and was caught up in the surrender at Harpers Ferry in September 1862.  The battery was exchanged, along with the rest of the regiment, on January 21, 1863.  The 32nd was then assigned to Third Brigade, Third Division, Seventeenth Corps, then in operations against Vicksburg.   At Champion’s Hill, the brigade captured a Confederate battery.  The division commander, Major General John A. Logan, knowing of the unit’s artillery service, assigned the captured guns to Company F.  Under Captain Theobold D. Yost, they were called “Yost’s Captured Battery” and were posted opposite Fort Hill in the Vicksburg siege lines.  After the siege, the battery was broken up, with men assigned to other batteries.  However, in December 1863, the battery was officially reformed as the 26th (Independent) Ohio Battery.  The exact identification of the guns assigned to the battery during the siege, being captured from Confederates, is open for interpretation.

From top to bottom, including the battery formed from the 32nd, we see all these batteries experienced active field service that summer.

Moving to the ammunition pages, we see a busy section for smoothbore projectiles:

0219_1_Snip_Ohio_1st

A pyramid of rounds:

  • Battery A: 56 shot, 64 shell, 108 case, and 64 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery B: 40 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
  • Battery C: 13 shot, 42 case, and 46 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 96 shot, 82 shell, 96 case, and 32 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery G: 77 shot for 6-pdr field guns; 211 shot, 64 shell, 128 case, and 64 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons; 143 case and 46 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • Battery I: 288 shot, 96 shell, 288 case, and 96 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery K: 192 shot, 64 shell, 192 case, and 64 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery L: 300 shot, 102 shell, 280 case, and 117 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Company F, 32nd Infantry: 17 shell and 20 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.

Two flags to consider with this list.  Battery C didn’t have 6-pdrs at this stage of the war, having turned those in sometime in January.  But the rounds, theoretically, could be fired from their James rifles.  So those might have simply been residual ammunition left over from earlier service… or service ammunition set aside for special use with the rifles.

Battery G had no use at all for 6-pdr rounds.  And use of howitzer rounds in Napoleons would be puzzling.  So this escapes any simple conjecture.

Moving to the rifled projectiles, we consider the Hotchkiss columns:

0219_2_Snip_Ohio_1st

Two calibers in play here – 3-inch and 3.80-inch:

  • Battery A: 90 shot for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • Battery B: 20 bullet shell for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • Battery C: 109 fuse shell for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • Battery G: 77 canister, 96 percussion shell, and 120 fuse shell for 3-inch rifles; Also 121 percussion shell for 3.80-inch rifles!!!
  • Battery K: 98 canister and 643 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery M: 56 canister, 115 percussion shell, and 40 fuse shell for 3-inch rifles; And 75 shot, 56 fuse shell, and 180 bullet shell for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • Company F, 32nd Infantry: 107 fuse shell and 451 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

As Battery G had no use for James caliber projectiles, the quantities of that caliber on hand may have been a transcription error by the clerks.  But where to put 121 percussion shells, I don’t know.

The next page offers a mix of Hotchkiss, Dyer’s, and James projectiles.

0220_1A_Snip_Ohio_1st

Taking these in turn, first the “left over” Hotchkiss columns:

  • Battery A: 140 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • Battery G: 148 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • Battery M: 94 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.

Here again we see Battery G with James-caliber projectiles… but no James rifles on hand.

Dyer’s projectiles:

  • Battery G: 96 shrapnel for 3-inch rifles.

We don’t often see Dyer’s projectiles issued to batteries in the western theater.

James’ projectiles:

  • Battery C: 102 shot and 61 shell for 3.80-inch rifles.

Turning to the Shenkl columns on the next page:

0220_2_Snip_Ohio_1st

Five batteries reported quantities:

  • Battery A: 318 shell for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • Battery B: 240 shell for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • Battery C: 239 shell for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • Battery H: 349 shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery M: 278 shell for 3.80-inch rifles.

Two batteries reported Tatham’s canister:

  • Battery B: 180 canister for 3.80-inch.
  • Battery M: 66 canister for 3.80-inch.

Lastly we move to the small arms:

0220_3_Snip_Ohio_1st

By battery:

  • Battery A: Three Navy revolvers, two cavalry sabers, and eight horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery B: Twenty-three horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery C: Just eight horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery G: Nine Navy revolvers and twelve cavalry sabers.
  • Battery H: Twenty Army revolvers and thirty-eight horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery I: Twelve Navy revolvers and thirty-four horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery K: Twelve Army revolvers and twelve horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery L: Nineteen Navy revolvers and thirty-four (?) foot artillery sabers.
  • Battery M: Seven Army revolvers and three (?) cavalry sabers.

Closing out the Ohio batteries, we find that at the closing date for the second quarter, 1863, all of the 1st Light Regiment were well employed.  And we must also add the fine work by Company F, 32nd Ohio Infantry to that list.

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Rebel bounty: Captured guns at Chickamauga

As the sun rose on September 21, 1863, the Confederates in the Army of Tennessee experienced a rare experience – possession of a battlefield following a clear victory.  Taking inventory of the debris of the battle, Confederate ordnance officers found a substantial amount of artillery equipment – on paper enough cannons to equip over six batteries.

In his report of the battle, Colonel James Barnett detailed the loss of 39 cannons and carriages.  By type these were:

  • Six 3-inch rifles
  • Seven 10-pdr Parrotts
  • Four 12-pdr Napoleons
  • Nine James rifles
  • Six 6-pdr field guns
  • Six 12-pdr field howitzers
  • One 12-pdr mountain howitzer

In addition, Barnett recorded the loss of 13 limbers, 30 caissons, and one battery wagon.  Oh, and thousands of rounds of ammunition.

On the other side of the line, Captain O.T. Gibbs, ordnance officer for the Army of Tennessee, recorded a different quantity and breakdown in his statement of stores received at Ringold, Georgia:

  • Six 3-inch rifles
  • Two 12-pdr Napoleons
  • Eleven James rifles
  • Eight 6-pdr field guns
  • Fifteen 12-pdr field howitzers
  • Seven 12-pdr mountain howitzers
  • Two 24-pdr howitzers

Fifty-one total.  The reason for the discrepancy?  Gibbs tallied the weapons received by his office, including old, worn out, or simply disfavored weapons.  Gibbs also appears to have included in his list guns captured by Federals on the field, then recaptured by the Confederates, and turned in for repairs.  Furthermore, in several cases, the batteries helped themselves to Federal guns and turned in their old weapons to the ordnance depot. (And in at least one case, a battery ‘horded’ a field howitzer without letting the ordnance officers know about it.) In short, Gibbs’ list is far from definitive for the tally of captured guns.  Although it does offer a wealth of details about those guns.

The numbers are interesting on both sides.  Looking first to Barnett’s tally, I consider three types to be “top notch” favored weapons of the Civil War – 3-inch Ordnance Rifles, 10-pdr Parrotts, and 12-pdr Napoleons.  The Federals gave up only seventeen of those.  Or enough for four four-gun batteries (or three six-gun batteries).  The remainder of the lost guns were of less favored types.

Many would return to action in the spring in a different guise – melted down by the Confederate foundries into 12-pdr Napoleons.  Gibbs’ inventory reads like a “who’s who” of ordnance manufacture, with vendors, both north and south, represented:

6-pounder bronze gun, with carriage and limber, made at Greenwood’s,  Cincinnati, Ohio. 1861….

12-pounder howitzer, with carriage and limber, Saint Louis, Mo., Marshall  &Co., 1862….

12-pounder bronze howitzer, with carriage, damaged, A. B. R. & Bro., Vicksburg, Miss….

3-inch iron rifled gun, with carriage and limber, Rome, Ga., Noble &  Bro.. 1862….

12-pounder bronze howitzer and carriage, J. Clark, New Orleans….

A substantial number of weapons turned in to the depot included early war Tredegar products:

12-pounder iron howitzer, with carriage. J. R. & Co., 1861

12-pounder iron howitzer, with carriage. J. R. & Co., 1862

3-inch rifled gun, with carriage, No. 1480, J. R. & Co

The foundry number of the 3-inch rifle matches one invoiced in May 1862:

Page 380b

Although the receipt does not indicate, other weapons cast around that time were iron.  So it leads to the logical inference that #1480 was an iron 3-inch rifle. We might also presume that, just as in the eastern theater, the iron 3-inch rifle and iron 12-pdrs had fallen into disfavor among the gunners of the western theater.  So these were selected for return to the ordnance depot when nice new Yankee cannon were in hand.

With Gibbs’ tally, only three of the “top notch” guns were turned in to the ordnance depot – two Napoleons and one 3-inch Ordnance Rifle.  Two of the Napoleons captured on the field were immediately incorporated into Battery D, 9th Georgia Artillery (Captain Tyler M. Peeples), who turned in the two 24-pdr howitzers seen in Gibbs’ report.   All the Parrott rifles and five of the 3-inch Ordnance Rifles were put to immediate use.  The one 3-inch Ordnance Rifle received at Ringold had the detailed listing of:

3-inch steel rifled gun, U.S., No. 86, P.A. & Co., 817 pounds.

That gun is still around, but on another field.

Gettysburg 199

Where would that be?  Don’t click on the photo… no cheating!

Gettysburg 203

This gun stands today on Hancock Avenue at Gettysburg, representing Battery H, 3rd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery.

Gettysburg 205

Practically a world away from the woods of Northern Georgia.  I’ve long wondered if a swap arrangement might be appropriate.  But then again, every time I pass the gun at Gettysburg, I pause to recall that the war was not ONLY fought for three days in July 1863.

(Barnett’s and Gibbs’ reports are from OR, Series I, Volume 30, Part I, Serial 50, pages 237-9, Part II, Serial 51, pages 40-43.)

150 Years Ago: The Federal Artillery at Chickamauga

Back in December, I posted about the Federal artillery at Stones River. Let me continue working that thread by turning yet again to a report from Colonel James Barnett, Chief of Artillery for the Department of the Cumberland. The Army of the Cumberland reorganized from three wings into three corps – Fourteenth, Twentieth, and Twenty-first – with a reserve and cavalry corps. In his report of the battle, Barnett detailed each battery assignment complete with the number and type of guns:

Fourteenth Army Corps:

First Division.–Battery H, Fifth U.S. Artillery, Lieutenant Burnham commanding: Four 12-pounder Napoleons, two 10-pounder Parrotts. Fourth Indiana Battery, Lieutenant Flansburg commanding: Two 12-pounder Napoleons, two 6-pounder James rifles, two 12-pounder howitzers. Battery A, First Michigan, Lieut. G. W. Van Pelt commanding: Six 10-pounder Parrotts….

Second Division.–Company M, First Ohio Artillery, Capt. F. Schultz commanding: Four James rifles, two 3-inch rifled guns. Company G, First Ohio Artillery, Capt. A. Marshall commanding: Four 12-pounder Napoleons, two 3-inch rifled guns. Bridges’ (Illinois) Battery, Capt. L. Bridges commanding: Two 12-pounder Napoleons, four 3-inch rifled guns….

Third Division.–First Michigan Battery, Capt. J. W. Church commanding: Two 10-pounder Parrotts, two 6-pounder James rifles, two 12-pounder howitzers. Company I, Fourth U.S. Artillery, Lieut. F. G. Smith commanding: Four 12-pounder Napoleons. Company C, First Ohio Artillery, Lieut. M. B. Gary commanding: Four James rifles, two 12-pounder Napoleons….

Fourth Division.–Eighteenth Indiana Battery, Capt. Eli Lilly commanding: Six 3-inch rifled guns, four mountain howitzers. Nineteenth Indiana Battery, Capt. S. J. Harris commanding: Four 12-pounder Napoleons, two 3-inch guns. Twenty-first Indiana Battery, Lieutenant Chess commanding: Six 12-pounder Napoleons….

Twentieth Army Corps:

First Division.–Second Minnesota Battery, Lieut. A. Woodbury commanding: Two 10-pounder Parrotts, four 12-pounder Napoleons. Eighth Wisconsin, Lieut. J. D. McLean commanding: Two 12-pounder Napoleons, four 3-inch guns. The Fifth Wisconsin Battery, being on duty with Colonel Post’s brigade, was not engaged….

Second Division.–Fifth Indiana Battery, Capt. P. Simonson, commanding: Four 6-pounder James rifles, two light 12-pounder guns. Company A, First Ohio Artillery, Capt. W. F. Goodspeed commanding: Four 6-pounder James rifles, two light 12-pounder guns. Twentieth Ohio Battery, Capt. E. Grosskopff commanding: Four 3-inch rifled guns, two light 12-pounder guns….

Third Division.–Company G, First Missouri Artillery, Capt. H. Hescock commanding: Four light 12-pounder guns, two 10-pounder Parrotts. Company C, First Illinois Artillery, Captain Prescott commanding: Four 3-inch rifled guns, two 12-pounder howitzers. Eleventh Indiana Battery, Capt, A. Sutermeister commanding: Four 12-pounder light guns, two 3-inch rifled guns.

Twenty-first Army Corps:

First Division.–Sixth Ohio Battery, Capt. Cullen Bradley commanding: Four 10-pounder Parrotts, two light 12-pounder guns. Eighth Indiana Battery, Capt. George Estep commanding: four 6-pounder smooth-bore guns, two 12-pounder howitzers. The Tenth Indiana Battery, belonging to this division, was not engaged, being with General Wagner’s brigade at Chattanooga….

Second Division.–Company B, First Ohio Artillery, Lieut. N. A. Baldwin commanding: Four James rifles, two 6-pounder smoothbore guns. Company M, Fourth U.S. Artillery, Lieut. F. L. D. Russell commanding: Four 12-pounder Napoleons, two 24-pounder howitzers. Company H, Fourth U. S. Artillery, Lieut. H. C. Cushing commanding: Four 12-pounder howitzers. Company F, First Ohio Artillery, Lieut. G. J. Cockerill commanding: Four 6-pounder James rifles, two 12-pounder howitzers….

Third Division.–Third Wisconsin Battery, Lieut. C. Livingston: Four 10-pounder Parrotts, two 12-pounder howitzers. Seventh Indiana Battery, Capt. George R. Swallow: Four 10-pounder Parrotts, two 12-pounder Napoleons. Twenty-sixth Pennsylvania Battery, Capt. A. J. Stevens: Four 6-pounder smooth-bore guns, two 6-pounder James rifles….

Reserve Corps:

Eighteenth Ohio Battery, Capt. C. C. Aleshire commanding: Six 3-inch rifled guns. Company M, First Illinois Artillery, Capt. George W. Spencer commanding: Four 12-pounder Napoleons, two 3-inch rifled guns. Company I, Second Illinois Artillery, Capt. C. M. Barnett commanding: Two 12-pounder Napoleons, two 6-pounder James rifles, two 10-pounder Parrotts.

Not mentioned in Barnett’s report, The Chicago Board of Trade Battery and a section from Battery D, 1st Ohio Light Artillery accompanied the Cavalry Corps.

Just as in December 1862, the Army of the Cumberland retained the “one battery per brigade” assignment on paper. Of the thirty-two batteries who’s armament was detailed by Barnett, only five are “pure” with one type of weapon (though we might throw in the 18th Indiana as a sixth with it’s unique mountain howitzer section).

Over the winter, the Army of the Cumberland increased its artillery park by about a third. In those thirty-two batteries listed, Barnett had 192 guns, with a type breakdown as such:

  • Sixty-two 12-pdr Napoleons
  • Thirty-six 3-inch rifles
  • Thirty-two James Rifles or 6-pdr Rifled Guns
  • Thirty 10-pdr Parrotts
  • Sixteen 12-pdr field howitzers
  • Ten 6-pdr smoothbores
  • Four 12-pdr mountain howitzers
  • Two 24-pdr field howitzers

In comparison to the December 1862 armament, the increase came mostly with the 12-pdr Napoleons and 3-inch rifles. In fact, the number of Napoleons increased by six times, while the number of 3-inch rifles over four-fold. The Wiard guns disappeared from the field.

The guns of the Army of the Cumberland were well crewed during the September fighting. Yet a large number of those guns were in Confederate hands by the end of the battle. That’s the next length of thread on this storyline.

(Citations from OR, Series I, Volume 30, Part 1, pages 233-6.

150 Years Ago: Guns, ammunition, harnesses, and wagons to replace losses at Stones River

Some days ago, I offered the composition of the artillery in the Federal Army of the Cumberland going into the Battle of Stones River.  Always good to offer a “before” and “after” comparison.  And again I turn to the report of Colonel James Barnett, the army’s chief of artillery.  (Most of the figures that follow are from the table accompanying his report, reproduced here.)

Barnett accounted for the men engaged at the close of his report, “The whole number of men engaged in servicing the batteries was 86 commissioned officers and 2,760 non-commissioned officers and privates.”  Of this force the casualties from three days of battle were 63 killed, 204 wounded, and 106 captured or missing.  Roughly, the artillery arm suffered a 13% casualty rate across the board.  As might be surmised from a simple examination of the battle, the batteries supporting the Right Wing (Major General Alexander McCook) suffered the most casualties.

Of course batteries consisted of three major “components” – men, horses, and guns.  Yesterday I mentioned the quartermaster’s report detailing the loss of horses and mules.  Lieutenant Colonel John W. Taylor indicated the loss of 555 artillery horses.  There are several line item discrepancies between that report and that of Barnett, who indicated the artillery lost 569 killed, 60 wounded (and likely later destroyed), and 59 missing horses.  In other words, 133 more horse casualties than Taylor reported.  Because horses require harnesses, Barnett listed the loss of 119 harnesses of all types.  (And if you are counting, Taylor reported the army lost 1,540 overall.)

Next the guns… Barnett recorded the loss of 28 guns, with one disabled.  In particular, two batteries lost six guns apiece – Battery E, 1st Ohio and Battery C, 1st Illinois.  Losses, again as one would expect, were heaviest on the right side of the line where the Confederate attacks of December 31st fell.  Indeed, lost or disabled guns came from batteries supporting the three divisions of the Right Wing and Negly’s (Second) Division of the Center.  (The report of Lieutenant Alexander Marshall, Battery G, 1st Ohio, which supported Negly’s division, offers a notable study in the retreat of a battery caught in an impossible tactical situation.)  Overall, the Army of the Cumberland lost over 20% (yes, one-fifth) of its guns in battle.

Barnett did not delineate the number of lost limbers or caissons.  The army did lose three battery wagons and five forges, with one of each reported disabled.  These losses were slightly offset with the capture of six guns, three caissons, three forges, and two battery wagons.

The last statistic to mention from Barnett’s report is the number of rounds  expended – 20,307.  That translates to an average of 148 rounds per gun.

As the numbers indicate, the artillery arm was in bad need of resupply and refit after the battle. Correspondence between Major General William Rosecrans and Washington bears this out, with requests for artillery ammunition, harnesses, horses, and guns.  One request, made by Rosecrans to General-in-Chief Major General Henry Halleck on January 4, 1863, stands out in reference to the guns:

I require, to replace batteries lost in battle in the cedar thickets eighteen 12-pounder light field guns, twelve 3-inch rifled guns or Parrott, six 24-pounder howitzers, with harnesses, forge, and battery wagons complete.  We must have them wit hall possible dispatch.  Can you send us a couple of new batteries? There was one ready in Cleveland.

General Horatio Wright, commanding the Department of the Ohio, indicated the next day he’d ordered forward two replacement batteries.

The types of cannons requested by Rosecrans is at the same time expected and yet somewhat odd.  I doubt anyone, then or now, would wonder about the request for more Napoleons, 3-inch Ordnance Rifles, or Parrotts.  But 24-pdr howitzers?  Well the big howitzers filled a tactical niche the army required.  Battery M, 4th US Artillery received two of the 24-pdr howitzers during the refit period.

The new guns requested in January were but the first of many that the Army of the Cumberland received prior to the next major campaign.  By the type of its next major battle, at a creek named Chickamauga in September 1863, the army would have many more 3-inch rifles, 10-pdr Parrotts, and Napoleons.  But it would keep significant number of 6-pdr field guns, 12-pdr howitzers, and bronze James rifles.  But that is a subject best left for a post down the road a bit.

(Citations from OR, Series I, Volume 20, Part I, Serial 29, pages 241-2 and Part II, Serial 30, pages 297-8.)

150 Years Ago: The Federal artillery at Stones River

With the battles of Fredericksburg and Stones River occurring in close proximity, calendar wise, we can make an easy comparison between the artillery parks of two major Federal armies – one in the east and one in the west.  Brigadier General Henry Hunt provided a very detailed report about Fredericksburg (along with a supplementary letter complaining about the 20pdr Parrott rifles).  The Army of the Potomac’s cannoneers manned 3-inch Ordnance Rifles, 10-pdr Parrotts, 12-pdr Light Field Guns (Napoleons), and a few 12-pdr field howitzers.  Hunt’s siege train included 20-pdr Parrotts (to his displeasure) and a few 4.5-inch rifles.   So with the exception of the 12-pdr howitzers, the Army of the Potomac fought with “new stuff.”

The Chief of Artillery for the Army of the Cumberland, Colonel James Barnett, filed a detailed report for Stones River in February 1863.   (Again, Fourteenth Army Corps, Army of the Cumberland, and Department of the Cumberland designations are interchangeable, somewhat.  Barnett prefaced his report as “Department of the Cumberland”.  I’ll ask the reader’s indulgence with the use of “Army of the Cumberland” to make the “army to army” comparison here.)  That report included a tally of the guns supporting each wing of the army:

Right wing, Second Division, composed of the following batteries: Battery A, First Ohio Artillery, Lieutenant Belding commanding, attached to General Willich’s brigade; Battery E, First Ohio Artillery, Captain Edgarton, attached to Colonel Kirk’s brigade; Fifth Indiana, Captain Simonson, attached to Colonel Buckley’s brigade, having the following guns: Nine James rifles, three 6-pounder smoothbore, two 12-pounder howitzers, two 10-pounder Parrotts, and two 12-pounder light field guns…

The artillery of the First Division is composed of the following batteries, and had the following guns: Fifth Wisconsin, Captain Pinney, attached to Colonel Post’s brigade; Second Minnesota, Captain Hotchkiss, attached to Colonel Carlin’s brigade; Eighth Wisconsin, Captain Carpenter, attached to Colnel Woodruff’s brigade.  Four 10-pounder Parrotts, eight 6-pounder smooth-bore, four 12-pounder howitzers….

The batteries of the Third Division are as follows: Battery G, First Missouri, Captain Hescock, attached to Colonel Schaefer’s (Second) brigade; Battery C, First Illinois, Captain Houghtaling, attached to Colonel Robert’s (Third) brigade; Fourth Indiana Battery, Captain Bush, attached to General Sill’s (First) brigade, with the following guns: Two 10-pounder Parrotts, four 12-pounder light field guns, two James rifles, six 6-pounder smooth-bore, and four 12-pounder howitzers….

Center – The artillery of the First Division consists of the following batteries: Captain Stone, First Kentucky Battery; Lieutenant Van Pelt, First Michigan Battery; Company H, Fifth U.S. Artillery, Lieutenant Guenther, with the following guns: ten 10-pounder Parrotts, two James rifles, two 6-pounder smooth-bore, and four 12-pounder light field guns….

The batteries of the Second Division, Brigadier-General Negley, are as follows: Company M, First Ohio, Captain Schultz; Company G, First Ohio Artillery, Lieutenant Marshall; Company M, First Kentucky [Second Kentucky Battery], Lieutenant Ellsworth, with the following guns: Two 12-pounder Wiard steel guns, two 6-pounder Wiard, four 12-pounder howitzers, two James rifles, one 6-pounder smoothbore, and two 16-pounder Parrotts….

Left Wing – The batteries of the left wing are the following: Company M, Fourth U.S. Artillery, Lieutenant Parsons; Company H, Fourth Artillery, Lieutenant Throckmorton; Company B, First Ohio Artillery, Captain Standart, attached to the Second Division; Tenth Indiana, Captain Cox; Eighth Indiana, Lieutenant Estep; Sixth Ohio Captain Bradley, attached to the First Division; Seventh Indiana Battery, Captain Swallow; Third Wisconsin, Lieutenant Livingston; Twenty-sixth Pennsylvania [Battery B, Pennsylvania Light Artillery], Lieutenant Stevens, attached to the Third Division, with the following guns: Four 3-inch rifles, ten 12-pounder howitzers, six James rifles, twelve 6-pounder smooth-bores, and sixteen 10-pounder Parrotts.

In addition Barnett mentioned the Chicago Board of Trade Battery under Captain Stokes with four 3-inch rifles and two James rifles.  Not mentioned in Barnett’s report are ten batteries assigned to the Center Wing’s unengaged forces (Third, Fourth, and Fifth divisions if you are counting).  Barnett also left out Lieutenant Nathan Newell’s section of the 1st Ohio, Battery D in support of the Cavalry Division; and Captain Cockerill’s 1st Ohio, Battery F which was in the Second Division of the Left Wing.

By Barnett’s count, the Army of the Cumberland at Stones River had 137 guns engaged at Stones River.  By type those were:

  • Thirty-two 6-pdr field guns
  • Twenty-four 12-pdr field howitzers
  • Twenty-three James rifles
  • Thirty-six 10-pdr Parrotts (The “16-pdr Parrotts” in the Center Wing is a transcription error)
  • Ten 12-pdr Napoleons
  • Four Wiard rifles
  • Eight 3-inch Ordnance rifles

Certainly a varied lot compared to the artillery supporting the Army of the Potomac.  Indeed, if you throw out the James and Wiard rifles, the list of types is closer to what armed the Army of Northern Virginia.  However, the Army of the Cumberland had a more favorable mix of rifles, with 71 total.  Although we know that the James and Wiards were not as well received as the Parrotts and Ordnance rifles.

I cited Barnett’s organization of the artillery above not only to show the weapon quantities and types, but also the assignments.  The Army of the Cumberland did not centralize control of the artillery at higher levels, and retained the “one battery to each brigade” pre-war practice for the most part.  Furthermore, there are a lot more junior officers commanding those batteries.  Consider even the Army’s chief of artillery was wearing colonel’s eagles and not brigadier’s stars.

Another point with the order of battle is the number of U.S. regular artillery formations.  There were really only two – Battery H, 5th US and combined Batteries H and M, 4th US.  And this translated into a shortage of “regular” artillery officers.  Barnett himself is a good example.  He was a senior officer in the Cleveland Light Artillery, a militia formation, before the war.  While a capable officer, he was not a Hunt or William Barry, with a career spent in the practical study of how to use artillery on the battlefield, notions of how to use it with greater impact, and a recently published manual on the use of artillery.

But I would not read too much into the differences between the artillery of the respective armies.  At Stones River the artillery played just as important a role in the outcome as at the major eastern battles.  The western artillerists could and did practice their deadly trade just as well as their eastern counterparts.