As we continue with the summaries through the second quarter of 1863, a pattern emerges with respect to the equipment issued to batteries serving in the east. We might even narrow that down to just the batteries serving with the Army of the Potomac and Washington Defenses. Those tend to be armed with just one caliber and type of weapon. And that type tends to be one of the important three – 12-pdr Napoleon, 3-inch Ordnance Rifles, or 10-pdr Parrott. Likewise, the ammunition reported tends to be predictable, with Hotchkiss and Parrott the preferred rifled projectiles.
But when we look at those batteries outside that set, particularly out to the western theater, uniformity is thrown away for sake of availability. More so for the projectiles issued for use. We’ve seen some of this with the First Illinois Artillery Regiment. Now another dose as we look to the Second Illinois:
Of twelve batteries listed, the clerks recorded nine returns. And of those nine, six reported James rifles and one reported the “odd cousins” – rifled 6-pdrs.
- Battery A: No report. The battery marched with Fourteenth (or First, after reconciliation) Division, Thirteenth Corps. Captain Peter Davidson was in command, but during the Vicksburg Campaign Lieutenant Frank B. Fenton lead the battery.
- Battery B: No report, but with an annotation of “siege”. No cannon reported. Captain Fletcher H. Chapman commanded. The battery was part of the Sixteenth Corps, and assigned to the District of Corinth.
- Battery C: Reported at At Fort Donelson, Tennessee with four 3.80-inch James Rifles. Captain James P. Flood’s battery was actually in middle Tennessee at the reporting date, assigned to the Third Division, Reserve Corps, Army of the Cumberland.
- Battery D: Indicated at Memphis, Tennessee with four 3.80-inch James Rifles. Captain Charles S. Cooper remained in command of this battery, assigned to First Division, Sixteenth Corps, covering Memphis at the time.
- Battery E: Reported at Carrollton, Louisiana with three 6-pdr field guns and one 12-pdr field howitzer. The location is “as of date of receipt” for September 1863. In June 1863, Lieutenant George L. Nipsel’s battery was with Fourth Division, Sixteenth Corps, which was detached for duty in the Vicksburg siege lines.
- Battery F: Indicated at Natchez, Mississippi with two 6-pdr field guns and two 12-pdr field howitzers. Another “as of receipt” location. In this case, the battery was assigned to Sixth Division, Seventeenth Corps, with Captain John W. Powell in command, and at Vicksburg.
- Battery G: Outside Vicksburg, Mississippi with four rifled 6-pdr guns. Captain Frederick Sparrestrom commanded this battery, assigned to Third Division, Seventeenth Corps. There is an interesting, if trivial, sidebar that I hope to present in a follow up post. The short story – While being ferried across the Mississippi River at Bruinsburg on May 1, 1863, a collision resulted in the loss of most battery equipment and horses. As related earlier, Sparrestrom temporarily commanded Battery D, 1st Illinois Artillery for a time. The battery was re-equipped in Memphis and forwarded to Vicksburg, reporting on June 30 (or there-abouts).
- Battery H: Showing as posted to Fort Donelson. Reporting two 6-pdr field guns and four 3.80-inch James Rifles. Lieutenant Jonas Eckdall’s battery was transferred to the Third Division, Reserve Corps, Army of the Cumberland earlier in the spring. But the battery was among the forces posted to guard the army’s supply lines.
- Battery I: At Nashville, Tennessee with two 12-pdr Napoleons, two 10-pdr Parrotts, and two 3.80-inch James Rifles. Captain Charles M. Barnett commanded this battery. It was assigned to Second Division, Reserve Corps, Army of the Cumberland.
- Battery K: No report. This battery, under Captain Benjamin F. Rodgers, was part of the Fourth Division, Sixteenth Corps, which was forwarded to Vicksburg during the siege.
- Battery L: Listed at Vicksburg with four 3.80-inch James Rifles. Part of Third Division, Seventeenth Corps, Captain William H. Bolton commanded.
- Battery M: Cited as still in Chicago, Illinois, but gaining four 3.80-inch James Rifles. The battery was reforming after its surrender at Harpers Ferry the previous fall. In May, the battery, still under the command of Captain John C. Phillips, moved to Kentucky. There the battery became part of Fourth Division, Twenty-third Corps, Army of the Ohio. At the end of June, the battery was at Louisville, Kentucky.
As you can see, a lot of story-lines with the 2nd Illinois Artillery.
Moving to the ammunition, we start with the smoothbore rounds on hand:
Four batteries reporting smoothbore cannon. And four reporting ammunition on hand:
- Battery E: 207 shot, 164 case, and 203 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 34 shell, 60 case, and 34 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
- Battery F: 184 shot, 135 case, and 28 canister for 6-pd field guns; 120 shell, 133 case, and 31 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers. Interpreting the last figure as a transcription error by the clerks.
- Battery H: 186 shot, 160 case, and 42 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
- Battery I: 25 shot, 38 shell, 130 case, and 63 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
Moving to the rifled projectiles, here’s where we get busy. We start with the first page of the Hotchkiss columns:
Heavy use of the Hotchkiss rounds, but for James and 6-pdr calibers:
- Battery C: 100 shot, 430 percussion shell, and 68 fuse shell for 3.80-inch James.
- Battery G: 110 percussion shell and 935(?) fuse shell for 3.67-inch rifles.
- Battery H: 10 shot for 3.80-inch James.
- Battery I: 103 bullet shell for 3.80-inch James.
- Battery L: 300 percussion shell, 200 fuse shell, and 200 bullet shell for 3.80-inch James.
- Battery M: 70 shot, 340 fuse shell, and 270 bullet shell for 3.80-inch James.
But… we are not done with the Hotchkiss. Moving to the next page, which I’ll break down by section for ease of presentation, we find more Hotchkiss projectiles:
Canister for everyone! Well at least for four batteries:
- Battery C: 250 canister for 3.80-inch James.
- Battery G: 100 canister for 3.67-inch rifles.
- Battery L: 60 canister for 3.80-inch James.
- Battery M: 70 canister for 3.80-inch James.
And note, with underlines, the ordnance department and the battery in the field carried the 3.67-inch rifles and their ammunition separately from the James rifles. These weapons looked the same on the outside. The bore diameter was just over a tenth of an inch different. But for accounting and handling, these were different weapons. The Ordnance Department associated the 3.67-inch caliber with Wiard. But I don’t think we should read too much into that.
Moving to the right, we skip Dyer’s columns for the James-type projectiles:
Everything in 3.80-inch caliber:
- Battery C: 7 shot, 24 shell, and 2 canister in 3.80-inch James.
- Battery D: 45 shot, 203 shell, 64 case, and 60 canister for 3.80-inch James.
- Battery H: 125 shot, 267 shell, and 214 canister for 3.80-inch James.
- Battery I: 121 canister for 3.80-inch James.
- Battery L: 300 shell and 128 canister for 3.80-inch James.
Next we have the Parrott columns. Battery I had a pair of those, and here’s what they could fire:
- Battery I: 119 shell, 233 case, and 46 canister for 10-pdr Parrott.
And to be sure we are tracking, those were Parrott-patent projectiles. More in the same caliber, but Schenkl, are on the far right:
- Battery I: 30 shot for 10-pdr Parrott.
Then off to the next page where there are more Schenkl columns to consider:
But these are for James rifles:
- Battery D: 64 shot and 128 shell for 3.80-inch rifles.
- Battery I: 102 shell for 3.80-inch rifles.
And looking to the right of those, we find some Tatham canister reported:
More James caliber stuff:
- Battery H: 33 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.
So to summarize the rifled projectiles reported on hand for the 2nd Illinois Artillery…. a wide variety of types.
Lastly we move to the small arms:
By battery reporting:
- Battery C: Fourteen Army revolvers, fifty-one cavalry sabers, and six horse artillery sabers.
- Battery E: Eight Army revolvers, thirty-two cavalry sabers, and forty-four horse artillery sabers.
- Battery F: Twenty-five Army revolvers and twelve cavalry sabers.
- Battery H: Fifty-four Army revolvers, twenty-one cavalry sabers, and twelve foot artillery swords.
- Battery I: Seven(?) Army revolvers, twenty-three Navy revolvers, and thirty horse artillery sabers.
- Battery M: Twenty Army revolvers and twenty horse artillery sabers.
With that, we close the Second Illinois. But we are not done with this state’s contributions for the second quarter of 1863. Next up is the somewhat official Third Regiment and miscellaneous batteries.