Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – 4th Regiment, US Regulars

Looking at the summary for the 4th US Artillery for the 2nd quarter (ending in June) of 1863, we see ten of the twelve batteries posted returns (or more accurately, had their returns recorded by the Ordnance Department… assuming nothing here).  Of those ten returns, all but one was received by the end of 1863.  But only six offered a location for the battery as of the time of report.  Is this the impact of active campaigning on the administrative reports?  Let’s see….

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Looking at these lines by battery:

  • Battery A – Reported at Sulphur Springs, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. The location is obviously reflecting the date when the report was actually filed, not where the battery was located on June 30 of the year.  The battery was, on that date, marching through Maryland.  Lieutenant Alonzo Cushing had but three more days in command of this battery, supporting Second Corps.
  • Battery B – No location given, but with  six 12-pdr Napoleons. Of course we know this battery, led by Lieutenant James Stewart, was supporting First Corps and was camped south of Gettysburg on June 30.  And of course, the following day the battery would perform admirably on the field.
  • Battery C – And no location given, but also reporting six 12-pdr Napoleons. In late May the battery transferred to the 1st Brigade (Regular), Artillery Reserve, Army of the Potomac.  Lieutenant Evan Thomas remained in command.  That brigade was moving up from Frederick, Maryland on June 30.
  • Battery D – Yet another without location given, though with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. This battery remained at Suffolk, Virginia, assigned to First Division, Seventh Corps and commanded by Captain Frederick M. Follett.
  • Battery E – No report.  Lieutenant  Samuel S. Elder’s was in the First Brigade, Horse Artillery assigned to the Cavalry of the Army of the Potomac, with four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles assigned.  Another battery with a location “on the march” and destined for the fields of Gettysburg.
  • Battery F – Reporting at Kelly’s Ford, Virginia with six 12-pdr Napoleons. Yes, another reflecting the “as of report” location.  Lieutenant Sylvanus T. Rugg commanded this battery in support of Twelfth Corps.  We can place them, also, among the columns moving through Maryland and southern Pennsylvania on June 30.
  • Battery G – No report given for this quarter.  Battery G was assigned to the Eleventh Corps artillery earlier in June.  The battery location as of June 30 was on the road between Emmitsburg and Gettysburg, with six 12-pdr Napoleons. Lieutenant Marcus Miller went on recruiting duty and was replaced, briefly, by Lieutenant Bayard Wilkeson.  But Wilkeson would be mortally wounded on July 1 while leading his battery at a poor position on what became known as Barlow’s Knoll.  Lieutenant Eugene A. Bancroft succeeded in command.
  • Battery H – At Murfreesboro, Tennessee with four 12-pdr field howitzers. Lieutenant Harry C. Cushing in command of this battery, assigned to Second Division, Twenty-First Corps.
  • Battery I – Belle Creek, Kentucky with four 12-pdr Napoleons. Lieutenant Frank G. Smith commanded this battery, supporting Third Division, Fourteenth Corps.  the location is a question mark.  The battery was, at this time, with its parent formation around Murfreesboro.
  • Battery K – Bridgeport, Maryland with six 12-pdr Napoleons. Another location which reflects the later reporting date.  This battery, under Lieutenant Francis W. Seeley, was supporting Third Corps and was around Emmitsburg on June 30. Seeley was wounded on July 2 (so badly that he later resigned his commission), and Lieutenant Robert James assumed command.
  • Battery L – No location offered, but with two 12-pdr Napoleons and four 10-pdr Parrotts.  Under command of Captain R. V. W. Howard, and assigned to First Division, Seventh Corps, in Southeast Virginia. .
  • Battery M – At Murfreesboro, Tennessee reporting four 12-pdr Napoleons and two 24-pdr field howitzers.  Lieutenant Francis L. D. Russell remained in command and the battery remained with Second Division, Twenty-First Corps.  Of note, the battery upgraded from field howitzers to Napoleons.

So comparing what we know about each particular battery’s service to what was recorded administratively, there does appear to have been some disruption of paperwork at the end of the second quarter.  Though I don’t think anyone would fault the officers for inattention to cyclic reports at this interval of the war.  They were more concerned with the real business of artillery.

Turning to the ammunition pages, we start with the smoothbore columns… noting the need to extend those to support the “big howitzers” of Battery M:

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A lot of Napoleons and howitzers, so a lot to discuss:

  • Battery B: 360 shot, 236 shell, and 164 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons. However, a tally of 452 case for 6-pdr field guns is offered.  I think this is a transcription error and should correctly be interpreted as case for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery C: 163 shot, 186 shell, 388 case, and 196 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery F: 288 shot, 96 shell, 388 case, and 96 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery H: 219 shell, 342 case, and 146 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • Battery I: 192 shot, 62 shell, 192 case, and 64 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery K: 288 shot, 96 shell, 288 case, and 96 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery L: 96 shot, 32 shell, 96 case, and 33 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery M: 138 shot, 64 shell, 212 case, and 128 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons; 72 shell, 72 case, and 48 canister for 24-pdr field howitzers.

With so many of these batteries seeing action at Gettysburg, we might seek some insight as to what was on hand for the battle and what was used.  But yet again we must exercise some caution with making conjectures. There is an “as of date” along with a “reporting date” and other variables to consider here.  More than a grain of salt is required, in my opinion.

Moving to ammunition for the rifled guns, we start with Hotchkiss:

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Two batteries reporting:

  • Battery A: 120 canister, 36 percussion shell,  319 fuse shell, and 673 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery D:  83 canister, 100 percussion shell, 542 fuse shell, and 475 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

As there was no record for Battery E, we are left to wonder what Elder’s gunners had on hand.

Moving to the next page, we can focus specifically on the Parrott columns:

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Just that one battery at Suffolk to consider here:

  • Battery L: 474 shell, 340(?) case, and 96 canister for 10-pdr Parrotts.

None of these batteries reported Schenkl projectiles on hand.  So we can move to the small arms:

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By battery:

  • Battery A: Sixteen Army revolvers and twenty-five horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery B: Twenty-two Navy revolvers and seven cavalry sabers.
  • Battery C: Eighteen (?) Navy revolvers and thirty horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery D: Nine Army revolvers and 135 horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery F: Thirteen Army revolvers and twenty horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery H: Sixteen Army revolvers, six cavalry sabers, and fifteen horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery I: Three Army revolvers and forty-five cavalry sabers.
  • Battery K: Twelve Army revolves, one Navy revolver, and thirteen horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery L: Fourteen Army revolvers and 117 horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery M: Eight Army revolvers and thirty horse artillery sabers.

With so many of these batteries seeing action in the opening days of July, the figures are, again, tempting.  While trivial of sorts, the number of small arms reflect weapons of war used by the batteries.  In some cases, we might seek precision as to the use of those weapons.  For instance, when Lieutenant Alonzo Cushing drew his revolver to order his men back to their posts on July 3, was that an Army revolver, as was reported with his battery?  Colt or Remington? Or something the Lieutenant had come by outside of official channels?

“… forced to halt and lie down by the tornado of canister…”: Stewart’s Battery at Gettysburg

Last summer, Civil War Trust re-opened the Thompson House site at Gettysburg, better known as Lee’s Headquarters.  The Trust’s site details the work from acquisition through restoration with sliding navigation and videos.  If you are not familiar with this story, the Trust finalized the purchase of the grounds in January 2015.  The restoration involved the demolition of non-historic structures, removal of a parking lot, and renovation of the historic structure.  We might simply say this was a “rollback of the asphalt” type preservation effort.  But there’s a little more.  The effort effectively restored a portion of the viewshed.  And given the prominence of the house in relation to the battle, as well as featuring in photographs from the war and immediate post-war period, the restoration aids in interpretation.

However, from my perspective the most anticipated change was the return of cannons to a location adjacent to the Thompson House.  Speaking here of the position for Battery B, 4th US, commanded by Lieutenant James Stewart at the time of the battle. I’ve heard several stories as to why the position has long been without cannons.  But all boil down to the park not having the resources to spread around. The concrete pads were there.  But no cannon.

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The spot was within the NPS easement, and thus technically not part of the Trust’s restoration, but the re-installation of the cannon just made perfect sense at this juncture.

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For those who query about such details, the guns are 12-pdr Napoleons.  The one on the left (of the photo above) is registry number 14 from Cyrus Alger (cast in 1862):

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And on the right is registry number 318 from Revere Copper, cast in 1863:

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The battery had six Napoleons in action during the battle.  Around mid-day on July 1, 1863, Stewart deployed the battery on the north side of the Chambersburg Pike.  Stewart himself took a three gun section to the north side of the railroad cut.  The other three, under Lieutenant James Davison, stood between the Pike and the railroad.  Augustus Buell, in “The Cannoneer”, described the disposition:

We were formed… “straddle” of the Railroad Cut, the “Old Man” [Stewart] with the three guns forming the right half-battery on the north side, and Davison with the three guns of the left half-battery on the south side.  Stewart’s three guns were somewhat in advance of ours, forming a slight echelon in half-battery, while our three guns were in open order, bringing the left gun close to the Cashtown Road.  We were formed in a small field just west of Mrs. Thompson’s dooryard, and our guns ranked the road to the top of the low crest forming the east bank of Willoughby’s Creek.

And today we can look over those guns at for a view similar to that of Davison’s gunners on the day of battle.  We might debate as to exactly where the guns were placed that day.  But we see here ample room to deploy a three gun section commanding the slope up to McPherson’s Ridge.  And what did the battery do in this position?  Again, Buell recalled:

Directly in our front -that is to say, on both sides of the pike – the Rebel infantry, whose left lapped the north side of the pike quite up to the line of the railroad grading, had been forced to halt and lie down by the tornado of canister that we had given them from the moment they came in sight over the bank of the creek.

However effective the battery fires were, they were somewhat exposed with the Confederate advance.

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Buell continued:

But the regiments in the field to their right (south side) of the pike kept on, and kept swinging their right flanks forward as if to take us in reverse or cut us off from the rest of our troops near the Seminary.  At this moment Davison, bleeding from two desperate wounds, and so weak that one of the men had to hold him on his feet (one ankle being totally shattered by a bullet), ordered us to form the half-battery, action left, by wheeling on the left gun as a pivot, so as to bring the half-battery on a line with the Cashtown Pike, muzzles facing south, his object being to rake the front of the Rebel line closing in on us from that side. Of the four men left at our gun when this order was given two had bloody heads, but they were still “standing by,” and Ord. Serg’t Mitchell jumped on our off wheel to help us.  “This is tough work, boys,” he shouted, as we wheeled the gun around, “but we are good for it.” And Pat Wallace, tugging at the near wheel, shouted back: “If we ain’t, where’ll you find them that is!”

Well, this change of front gave us a clean rake along the Rebel line for a whole brigade length, but it exposed our right flank to the ranking volleys of their infantry near the pike, who at that moment began to get up again and come on.  Then for seven or eight minutes ensued probably the most desperate fight ever waged between artillery and infantry at close range without a particle of cover on either side.  They gave us volley after volley in front and flank, and we gave them double canister as fast as we could load.  The 6th Wisconsin and 11th Pennsylvania men crawled up over the bank of the cut or behind the rail fence in rear of Stewart’s caissons and joined their musketry to our canister, while from the north side of the cut flashed the chain-lightning of the Old Man’s half-battery in one solid streak!

At this time our left half-battery, taking their first line en echarpe, swept it so clean with double canister that the Rebels sagged away from the road to get cover from the fences and trees that lined it.  From our second round on a gray squirrel could not have crossed the road alive.

All that drama taking place within easy view of the area now preserved around the Thompson house:

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(Citation from Augustus Buell, “The Cannoneer”: Recollections of Service in the Army of the Potomac, Washington, D.C.: The National Tribune, 1890, pages 67-8.)

Summary Statement, 1st Quarter, 1863 – 4th Regiment, US Regulars

When reviewing the 4th US Artillery Regiment’s summary from the fourth quarter, 1862, we saw an extra line designated for the “Colonel” of the regiment.  That line covered tools and stores on hand at Fort Washington, Maryland. The equipment, which did not include any cannons but did include some small arms, were items not issued to batteries.  Presumably, Colonel Charles S. Merchant, commander of the regiment (more a “paper” command, of course) had direct responsibility for those stores.

But for the first quarter, 1863, that line for Merchant’s stores is absent:

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Not a significant change, but one worth pause for discussion.  When an officer received equipment, he was  responsible for the care, maintenance, and, very importantly, accountability of the equipment.  An officer might be held liable if the equipment is damaged or lost while assigned to him.  When the equipment was transferred, the officer needed documentation to support relief from responsibility.   This is one reason we often find correspondence between officers discussing relatively trivial matters of equipment. That said, there was probably some document in Merchant’s personal papers concerning the transfer of three revolvers or various implements to another party.  The good colonel would not want some trouble over such trivial issues to detain him later.  Just something to consider when looking through correspondence.

But we are not concerned with property accountability 150 years after the fact, but rather the status of those batteries.  And here’s what was reported:

  • Battery A – At Falmouth, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. The battery was assigned to the artillery reserve of Second Corps, Army of the Potomac.  During the winter, Lieutenant Alonzo Cushing replaced Lieutenant Samuel Canby in command of the battery.
  • Battery B – Reporting in from Belle Plain, Virginia with six 12-pdr Napoleons. Lieutenant James Stewart commanded this battery assigned to First Division of the First Corps.
  • Battery C – Around Falmouth, Virginia with six 12-pdr Napoleons.  Supporting First Division, Second Corps and commanded by Lieutenant Evan Thomas.
  • Battery D – From Suffolk, Virginia and reporting six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Assigned to Seventh Corps and commanded by Captain Frederick M. Follett.
  • Battery E – No report.  Transferred from the Ninth Corps in February, Lieutenant  Samuel S. Elder’s battery became part of the Horse Artillery assigned to the Cavalry of the Army of the Potomac.
  • Battery F – At Stafford Court House, Virginia with six 12-pdr Napoleons.  Lieutenant Franklin B. Crosby, who would not survive the Chancellorsville Campaign, commanded this battery supporting First Division, Twelfth Corps.
  • Battery G – Outside Fredericksburg, Virginia with six 12-pdr Napoleons. Assigned to the Army of the Potomac’s Artillery Reserve and commanded by Lieutenant Marcus P. Miller.
  • Battery H – Out in Murfreesboro, Tennessee and in possession of four 12-pdr field howitzers.  In January, Batteries H and M (below) split.  Lieutenant Charles C. Parsons retained command of the battery at that time, but later in the springpassed command of the battery to Lieutenant Harry C. Cushing.  Battery H supported Second Division, Twenty-First Corps.
  • Battery I – Winchester… Tennessee, not Virginia with four 12-pdr Napoleons. Lieutenant Frank G. Smith commanded this battery, supporting Third Division, Fourteenth Corps.
  • Battery K – Another battery at Falmouth, Virginia with six 12-pdr Napoleons. Lieutenant Francis W. Seeley remained in command of this battery, which was assigned to Second Division, Third Corps.
  • Battery L – At Suffolk, Virginia with two 12-pdr field howitzers and four 10-pdr Parrotts.  Lieutenant Henry C. Hasbrouck commanded this battery of Seventh Corps.
  • Battery M – At Murfreesboro, Tennessee reporting four 12-pdr Napoleons and two 24-pdr field howitzers.  After the split with Battery H, Lieutenant Francis L. D. Russell assumed command.  The battery supported Second Division, Twenty-First Corps.

Note that all but one battery’s return was received in Washington for the quarter.  And those received between April and August of 1863.  The 4th Artillery kept on top of their paperwork.

The regiment had thirty-eight Napoleons.  As such, we see a lot of 12-pdr rounds on hand:

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Most of the entries are as we might expect, but one entry raises questions:

  • Battery B – 216 shot, 92 shell, 216 case, and 92 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.
  • Battery C – 96 shot, 96 shell, 384 case, and 192 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.
  • Battery F – 252 shot, 76 shell, 252 case, and 76 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.
  • Battery G – 86 shot, 35 shell, 103 case, and 40 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.
  • Battery H – 240 shell and 240 case for 12-pdr field howitzer.  Then 128 in the column for 12-pdr mountain howitzer canister. Though as mentioned last week, I think this was the clerk’s expediency and was actually canister for field howitzer of the same caliber.
  • Battery I – 200 shot, 64 shell, 188 case, and 64 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.
  • Battery K – 288 shot, 96 shell, 288 case, and 96 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.
  • Battery L – 140 shell and 154 case for 12-pdr field howitzer.  32 canister for 12-pdr mountain or field howitzer, as the case may be.
  • Battery M –  Here’s a question of what should have been.  The battery reported no ammunition for its 24-pdr field howitzers.  I’ve shown the empty columns here (split to the right as they appear on the next page of the form).  So were the ammunition chests empty?

One other question comes to mind when comparing the numbers to the previous quarter.  There are no changes, for the most part, in reported quantities within the batteries supporting the Army of the Potomac.  Is that to say the batteries were “topped off” in December 1862 and needed no more?  Or might this be a “copy what we reported last quarter” approach to filling the form?  Either way we have a reason to question the quantities.

Moving next to see what feed the gunners had for rifled guns, first the Hotchkiss projectiles:

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Two batteries with 3-inch rifles and two batteries with Hotchkiss:

  • Battery A – 120 canister, 50 percussion shell, 305 fuse shell, and 725 bullet shell for 3-inch rifle. And note, these are the same quantities reported by the battery for the previous quarter…. go figure.
  • Battery D –  53 canister, 49 percussion shell, 342 fuse shell, and 576 bullet shell for 3-inch rifle.  Now these quantities do differ from the previous quarter.

The next page of the summary covers Dyers, James, and Parrott projectiles, along with a few columns for additional Hotchkiss and Schenkl projectiles.  But there is a lot of empty space in that section.  The whole snip is posted for your review.  I’ll focus on the Parrott columns:

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Just one battery reporting, as expected:

  • Battery L – 480 shell, 240 case, and 96 canister for 10-pdr Parrott.

And yes, that is exactly what Battery L reported the previous quarter… the trend continues.

The Schenkl/ Tatham columns are bare:

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So we turn to the small arms:

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All except Battery E reporting something here:

  • Battery A – Seventeen Army revolvers and twenty-five horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery B – Thirty-seven Navy revolvers and twenty-four cavalry sabers.
  • Battery C – Thirteen navy revolvers and thirty-two cavalry sabers.
  • Battery D – Nine Army revolvers and 139 horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery F – Sixteen Army revolvers and thirteen horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery G – Seven Navy revolvers and Ninety-three horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery H – Seventeen Army revolvers and six cavalry sabers.
  • Battery I – Four Army revolvers and forty-three cavalry sabers.
  • Battery K – Twelve Army revolvers, two Navy revolvers and fifteen horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery L – Fourteen Army revolvers and 118 horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery M – Seven Army revolvers and seventeen cavalry sabers.

I would point out these quantities differ from those reported the previous quarter.  And such leaves a conundrum.  Are we to conclude the ammunition quantities reported were accurate, with little to no resupply over the winter?  Perhaps there was some omission, across the board, of ammunition numbers?  Or maybe some clerical magic was in play?  And I’m sure you can come up with other possibilities.  Again, the point here is that the summaries should not be considered very accurate of data sets.  We have to keep the anomalies and questions in mind. But… they are the most complete sets of data available for the subject!

Wainwright’s Diary, March 6 , 1864: “the army has been quite gay during my absence”

Colonel Charles S. Wainwright began his diary entry for March 6, 1864 by relating news of the Kilpatrick-Dahlgren Raid:

March 6, Sunday.  Kilpatrick has reached Yorktown, but Jefferson Davis still sits enthroned in Richmond, and our prisoners still suffer on Belle Isle. The whole thing has been a failure; resulting, so far as we yet know, in nothing but the burning of one or two railroad bridges, and the pretty thorough using up of most of the 3,000 horses.  That is, if Dahlgren gets in safely; he was detached with 500 men and sent to cross the James above Richmond, but has not since been heard of.

These raids never amounted to anything on either side beyond a scare, and proving that once in within the enemy’s line a good body of cavalry can travel either country with perfect freedom for a long time. When Jeb Stuart first went around McClellan’s army at the Peninsula it was something new, and as it was not known how easily such feats could be performed, he deserved some considerable credit for it; the moral effect, too, amounted to something then.  Now it is known that any sharp fellow acquainted with the roads could make the circuit of either army with 100 men, but he would cause very little scare and do very little harm.  General Sherman has been trying a raid too out West, but on a very much larger scale; stil he does not seem to have accomplished any more than Kilpatrick. These raids make a big noise in the papers, and so glorify their commander; who is generally a man of that kind who court newspaper renown.

Considering traditional cavalry missions and roles, the Civil War experience seemed to overemphasize raiding operations.  Indeed, as Wainwright pointed out that winter, the raid almost eclipsed those responsibilities which arguably were more important, operationally that is.

Wainwright turned away from the military matters to mention the social atmosphere in camp:

I understand that the army has been quite gay during my absence. The Third Corps ball was followed by one in the Second, to which many ladies from Washington came down; [General William] Barry brought his two daughters, who stopped with Mrs. Webb.  I must go over, and call on Madame some day soon.  General [James Clay] Rice, commanding our First Division has had a bevy of girls at his headquarters, a private theater and what not.  [Dr. E. E.] Heard says he was over there once or twice, and tells a good story of his mother when giving her name to a shop girl in Baltimore being asked if she was any relation to Dr. Heard of the First Corps, who the shop girl said she knew very well, having met him during her visit to General Rice, in the army.  Imagine Mamma’s disgust, she having just social standing enough to feel such a thing….

We are existing without a cook or waiter; that is all.  Now my groom says he wants to leave. I am getting desperate, and shall turn pig, like the rest of mankind.  General [John] Newton still has his wife with him.  [James] Stewart and [Gilbert] Reynolds have brought theirs down, too; the latter is exceedingly pretty and ladylike in appearance.

Yes, the Winter Encampment was not all a martial affair.  But those military matters took precedence:

The New York Times says that General Meade has summoned to Washington to answer charges brought against him before the Committee on the Conduct of the War about Gettysburg, by Sickles and Doubleday.  A pretty team! – Rascality and Stupidity.  I wonder which hatches the most monstrous chicken.

The passage leaves little doubt as to Wainwright’s opinion on events during those three days the previous July.   But with the mention of the erroneously alleged inventor of baseball, the closing passage of the day fell right in line:

The weather continues fine; so that my batteries are having a good spell of drilling.  Reynolds’s park and stables look beautifully now that he has them all finished and his carriages painted up.  His men are great on baseball and have a lovely ground for it in front of the stables.  Here too he exercises his horses every day that he cannot have a battery drill….

Spring was due in any day.  So I imagine a good game of baseball served the men well in between drill and exercises.

(Citations from Charles S. Wainwright, A Diary of Battle: The Personal Journals of Colonel Charles S. Wainwright, 1861-1865, edited by Allan Nevins, New York: Da Capo Press, 1998, pages 324-6.)

Wainwright’s Diary, January 19, 1864: Fine huts and stables for the batteries

For January 19, 1864, Colonel Charles S. Wainwright began his diary entry with more observations about the commanders in the Federal army:

We have no more news as to the corps consolidation; that is, nothing more decisive than the first report. Burnside has permission to raise his corps to 40,000 men. He is working for it in the different states himself very hard, and with good success, as I learn through the Talbots.  They are to rendezvous at Annapolis and are probably meant for some expedition south so soon as spring opens.  It is astonishing how a man who has shown himself so utterly unfit manages to continue getting independent commands.  Hancock, who is just recovering from the wound he received at Gettysburg, is also trying to raise his corps to a like number.  He has entire sway in Pennsylvania, that being his own state and he hand and glove with the Governor….

Contrary to Wainwright’s speculation, Major-General Ambrose Burnside’s Ninth Corps would operate in Virginia, as a separate formation from the Army of the Potomac.  The separation was in part to prevent Burnside, by virtue of date of rank, from returning to command the Army of the Potomac.

Personally I don’t set a lot of value to ratings from the ranks. No matter how good the captain, there is always someone in the company who thinks poorly of him.  Likewise, even the worst commander has a handful of admirers in the formation.  But give Wainwright’s opinion some weight.  He’d seen both Burnside and Winfield Scott Hancock in action, and is entitled to opinions.

Moving away from command arrangements, Wainwright provided an excellent description of his brigade’s camps.  He started with Lieutenant James Stewart’s Battery B, 4th US Artillery:

After four weeks of hard work my batteries have now about got their camps finished.  The palm lays between Stewart and Reynolds, both of whom have tried their best: they are different in every respect.  Stewart’s huts are beautiful, all the same size, and near five feet high to the eaves; they are in two rows facing inward, the first sergeant’s and office tent being at the foot of the street so that he can see the door of every tent from it; the street is about twenty-five feet wide, with a three-foot corduroy sidewalk all around it. His stable has the advantage over all the others of a broad roof; the horses face inward and the sides are closed by split logs pinned into the uprights.

As for 1st New York Light, Batteries E and L under Captain Gilbert Reynolds:

Reynold’s huts are quite uniform in size, but they are too low; the chimneys are not all on the same side, nor do they all open into the street, which he has made more than double the width necessary.  This he did so as to form his company in the street for parade.  I tell him it will greatly increase the labour of keeping his camp in order. Reynolds’ sable is something unique, being the half of a hollow square, with his carriages parked in the centre.  The ground was particularly well fitted for him to carry out this idea, which of a fine, dry sunny day will be very showy.  The inner side of the stables is open; the other is closed with split logs set upright.  Roof and floor are made in the same way, with not a nail in the whole thing.

Turning to Captain Charles Mink’s Battery H, 1st New York Light Artillery:

Mink has arranged his huts like Stewart’s, only they are altogether too low, and he finds his ground rather wet.  His stable, too, is planned the same, only instead of logging up close he has set up an eight-foo-high brush fence all around, and some five feet off, which I think is better as it will give more air while it is quite as much protection against the wind.

Lastly, the 5th Maine Battery under Captain Greenleaf Stevens, “has built very elaborate huts, quite equal to Stewart’s in one row, facing south, just under the lee of his clump of pines.”

Looking over the ground of the camp today, it is not hard to imagine the huts cannons, horses, carriages, limbers, and wagons out on the hillsides.

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Although there are some who’s mental faculties are less capable, so they pry about in the dirt looking for the past.

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Sad they must disrupt the ground, and attempt to cover the resultant hole, looking for affirmation of the past.  The real rich stuff, that they most often miss, is in plain view… out there in the written accounts of the men who lived that winter of 1864.

(Citations from Charles S. Wainwright, A Diary of Battle: The Personal Journals of Colonel Charles S. Wainwright, 1861-1865, edited by Allan Nevins, New York: Da Capo Press, 1998, pages 316-7.)

Wainwright’s Diary, January 14, 1864: “how much depends on the care of its horses”

Colonel Charles Wainwright opened his diary entry for January 14, 1864 discussing the horses that moved his batteries.

I have just got a curious report from Captain [Joel D.] Cruttenden, my quartermaster, showing the number of horses drawn by each battery in the command since we left White Oak Church.  The Fifth Maine, which started as a six-gun battery and was reduced to four guns, has drawn forty-nine horses; Cooper with four guns has drawn forty-five; while Reynolds with six guns has drawn but thirty-eight and Stewart only sixteen – a wonderful difference, showing how much depends on the care of its horses as to the efficiency of a battery.

Wainwright’s batteries left White Oak Church when starting the movement on what became the Gettysburg Campaign.  The measure of time here is from June 12, give or take, to January 14 – or seven months.   The 5th Maine Battery and Captain James H. Cooper’s Battery B, 1st Pennsylvania Light Artillery went through about 40% of their regulation allocation of horses in that time.  Captain Gilbert H. Reynolds’ consolidated Battery from the 1st New York Light Artillery went through around 30%.  But the regulars in Captain James Stewart’s Battery B, 4th US, required only 14%.  Recall Brigadier-General Rufus Ingalls’ predictions in June 1863.  Then consider three major campaigns, and several minor movements, and one of the war’s largest battles, took place over the seven months in question.   There’s the context for Wainwright’s comment about the care of horses.

Two years into the war, and there remains a gap in this statistic between the regulars and volunteers.  Would be interesting to see if that trend continued across the army.

Wainwright continued on, spending a full paragraph on affairs at home.  Then he discusses an additional responsibility he’d taken on:

General [Henry] Hunt has gone off on a leave of absence.  During the time he is away, I am ordered to take his place at headquarters, in addition to my other duties. I cannot say that I rejoice in the privilege of thus signing myself Chief of Artillery of the Army of the Potomac; “le feu ne vaut pas le chandelle.” I have enough to do here without riding four miles to Brandy Station every day through these bad roads; to say nothing of leaving my own bed and the contents of all those boxes behind me if I stay over night….

Keep in mind that the reason Wainwright was selected for such duty was his rank.  In military organizations, succession of command, even temporary stays as the case here, is bound to rank, by custom, and ability only by exception.  I would submit with Wainwright, both those attributes met nicely as a replacement while Hunt took time for a deserved rest.  That he accepted the role grudgingly might also speak to Wainwright’s qualifications.

“le feu ne vaut pas le chandelle” – The flame is not worth the candle.

We don’t write like that today.

(Citations from Charles S. Wainwright, A Diary of Battle: The Personal Journals of Colonel Charles S. Wainwright, 1861-1865, edited by Allan Nevins, New York: Da Capo Press, 1998, pages 315-6.)