Summary Statement, 3rd Quarter, 1863 – Heavy Artillery

For the last post of this blogging year, we have the last post in the series covering the summary statements of the third quarter of 1863. This is simply an administrative summary of the heavy artillery units in Federal service at the end of that quarter. Some of these did appear in the summary statements, usually offering little more than a location. In this installment, we’ll expand upon that a bit with the aim (which will fall short, no doubt) to have at least mention of all Federal units designated as artillery which were serving at that time of the war.

The reality of the heavy artillery service is those units were by intent garrison troops. So in effect part artillery, but also part infantry. Both being on the “heavy” side of things. Not a lot of marching. Not a lot of combat. But a lot of drill and other propriety. And if artillery was crewed by the unit, those were typically considered property of the installation (be that a fort or other post) and not owned by the unit – for accounting purposes that is. Over my years of research, I’ve only seen a handful of these installation ordnance returns. The form was different, usually completed by an actual ordnance officer. I would presume from there the summaries were kept on a separate ledger. And I’ve never seen that ledger… if such exists.

All that means is we are left simply accounting for units, assignments, and duty locations. And even then we must acknowledge the list will be incomplete. Some infantry units served, for all practical purposes, as heavy artillery. And, particularly in the New England states, un-mustered militia units often pulled duty in the seacoast fortifications. So there are a lot of hairs to split in order to claim a full, complete accounting. For now, let us just focus on units mustered as, and thus designated as, heavy artillery. And we’ll look at those by state.

Alabama

  • 1st Alabama Siege/Heavy Artillery (African Descent): This unit had a date with destiny at a place called Fort Pillow… though under a different name. Initially organized in June 1863, from contrabands in Tennessee and Mississippi, by the end of September four companies were part of the Corinth, Mississippi garrison. No regimental commander was appointed until the spring 1864. The regiment would then be redesignated to the 6th US Colored Heavy Artillery (and after Fort Pillow, to the 7th US Colored Heavy Artillery; and in 1865 to the 11th USCT Infantry). The four companies, and commanders, at Corinth for the end of the third quarter were:
    • Company A: Captain Lionel F. Booth
    • Company B: Captain John H. Baker
    • Company C: Captain William T. Smith
    • Company D: Captain Delos Carson

Connecticut

  • 1st Connecticut Heavy Artillery: As mentioned earlier, Batteries B and M served with the Army of the Potomac, in 2nd Volunteer Brigade, Artillery Reserve.  The remainder of Colonel Henry L. Abbot’s regiment transferred to Second Brigade of the Defenses South of the Potomac (DeRussy’s Division, Twenty-Second Corps), defending Washington, D.C.  Regimental headquarters were at Fort Richardson. Abbot pulled double duty as the brigade commander.
  • 2nd Connecticut Heavy Artillery: Also serving in Second Brigade of the Defenses South of the Potomac. This regiment was under Lieutenant-Colonel Elisha S. Kellogg.

Delaware

Illinois

Indiana

Louisiana

  • 1st Louisiana Heavy Artillery (African Descent): A placeholder entry in the summaries. See post for details.

Maine

  • 1st Maine Heavy Artillery: Under Colonel Daniel Chaplin, was part of the defenses of Washington, D.C., assigned to the north side of the Potomac.  The regiment had detachments in Maine on recruiting duties and at the seacoast fortifications (mostly recruits being trained up for duty). 

Maryland

  • Company A, 1st Maryland Heavy Artillery: Details of this unit are scarce. Not exactly sure when it began to organize. By mid-1864, the entire regiment numbered only fifty men. As it failed to fully organize, those present were assigned to duties around Baltimore.

Massachusetts

  • 1st Massachusetts Heavy Artillery Regiment: Assigned to First Brigade of the Defenses South of the Potomac – DeRussy’s Division, Twenty-Second Corps.  Colonel Thomas R. Tannatt commanded the regiment, and also commanded, temporarily, the brigade.
  • 2nd Massachusetts Heavy Artillery Regiment: Freshly formed under Colonel Jones Frankle, this regiment left Massachusetts during the first weeks of September. Headquarters were going to New Berne, North Carolina. But the companies would serve at different stations throughout North Carolina and tidewater Virginia.
  • 1st Battalion, Massachusetts Heavy Artillery: This battalion was formed with four previously independent batteries and served primarily at Fort Warren, Boston harbor.  The four companies were originally the 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th unassigned heavy companies (becoming Companies A, B, C, and D respectively).  Major Stephen Cabot commanded this consolidated battalion. 
  • 3rd Company, Massachusetts Heavy Artillery: At Fort Independence, Boston, under Captain Lyman B. Whiton. Mustered into Federal service in January 1864 (as part of 3rd Massachusetts Heavy Artillery).
  • 6th Company, Massachusetts Heavy Artillery: Under Captain John A.P. Allen at Fort at Clark’s Point, New Bedford, Massachusetts. Would not actually muster into Federal service until May 1864 (as part of 3rd Massachusetts Heavy Artillery) .
  • 7th Company, Massachusetts Heavy Artillery: Unattached, but serving alongside the 1st Battalion at Fort Warren. Captain George S. Worchester commanded. Mustered into Federal service in August 1864 (as part of 3rd Massachusetts Heavy Artillery).
  • 8th Company, Massachusetts Heavy Artillery: Captain Loring S. Richardson commanded. Boston garrison. Mustered into Federal service in August 1864 (as part of 3rd Massachusetts Heavy Artillery).
  • 9th Company, Massachusetts Heavy Artillery: Captain Leonard Gordon commanded. Boston garrison. Mustered into Federal service in August 1864 (as part of 3rd Massachusetts Heavy Artillery).
  • 10th Company, Massachusetts Heavy Artillery: Commanded by Captain Cephas C. Bumpas. Boston garrison. Mustered into Federal service in September 1864 (as part of 3rd Massachusetts Heavy Artillery).
  • 11th and 12th Companies, Massachusetts Heavy Artillery: These companies were still organizing at the close of September 1863. They were, like the others, earmarked for garrison duty around Boston. Not mustered into Federal service until October-November 1864 (as part of 3rd Massachusetts Heavy Artillery).

Missouri

  • 2nd Missouri Artillery: As detailed in the summary post, this regiment was reorganizing and transforming from garrison artillery to light artillery.

Mississippi

  • 1st Mississippi Heavy Artillery (African Descent): Formed at Vicksburg in September. Colonel Herman Lieb commanded. Later became the 5th US Colored Heavy Artillery.
  • 2nd Mississippi Heavy Artillery (African Descent): Formed at Natchez in September, we looked at this regiment as a possible explanation for an entry line with the Mississippi Marine Brigade. Colonel Bernard G. Farrar commanded. Later became the 6th US Colored Heavy Artillery (a duplicate of the 1st Alabama Siege Artillery, above).

New Hampshire

  • 1st Company New Hampshire Heavy Artillery: Under Captain Charles H. Long, this battery formed in the spring of 1863 and was mustered into service at the end of July. The company garrisoned Fort Constitution. In 1864, this company, along with the 2nd, below, became the nucleus for the new 1st New Hampshire Heavy Artillery Regiment.
  • 2nd Company New Hampshire Heavy Artillery: Organized in August and mustered in September, this company garrisoned Fort McClary, Kittery Point, New Hampshire. Captain Ira M. Barton commanded.

New York

  • 2nd New York Heavy Artillery:  We discussed Colonel Joseph N. G. Whistler’s regiment while covering a lone entry for Battery L (which later became the 34th New York Independent Battery).  The 2nd New York Heavy was assigned to First Brigade, DeRussy’s Division, South of the Potomac. While Whistler commanded the brigade, Major William A. McKay led the regiment.
  • 4th New York Heavy Artillery:  Assigned to the Fourth Brigade, DeRussy’s Division, Defenses South of the Potomac.  Detachments manned Fort Marcy and Fort Ethan Allen. When Colonel Henry H. Hall was promoted to Brigadier-General, Captain John C. Tidball, of the regular army, was commissioned at the regimental commander in August.
  • 5th New York Heavy Artillery:  This regiment served by battalions at different postings. Colonel Samuel Graham, of the regiment, commanded the Second Brigade of Baltimore’s defenses. Lieutenant-Colonel Edward Murray was in charge of two battalions of the regiment in that brigade.  Third Battalion, under Major Gustavus F. Merriam, was in the defenses of Washington in First Brigade, DeRussy’s Division, South of the Potomac.
  • 6th New York Heavy Artillery:  Colonel J. Howard Kitching commanded.  The regiment was part of the Harpers Ferry garrison before the Gettysburg Campaign, and soon brought into the Army of the Potomac. At the time of the Bristoe Campaign, the regiment was serving as ammunition guards and handlers for the Army of the Potomac.
  • 7th New York Heavy Artillery: Second Brigade, Defenses North of the Potomac, Twenty-Second Corps under Colonel Lewis O. Morris (who also commanded the brigade).
  • 8th New York Heavy Artillery: Under Colonel Peter A. Porter, this regiment had garrison duty at Forts Federal Hill, Marshall, and McHenry around Baltimore, as part of Eighth Corps, Middle Department.  On July 10, the regiment moved forward to Harpers Ferry. On August 3, the regiment returned to Baltimore.
  • 9th New York Heavy Artillery: Second Brigade, Defenses North of the Potomac, Twenty-Second Corps under Colonel Joseph Welling.
  • 10th New York Heavy Artillery: This regiment formed the Third Brigade, Defenses North of the Potomac, Twenty-Second Corps.  Commanded by Colonel Alexander Piper. 
  • 11th New York Heavy Artillery:  We discussed their saga in an earlier post.  Colonel William B. Barnes’ regiment was still forming and incomplete when thrust into the Gettysburg Campaign. The total number of men mustered was about a battalion strength. Returning to New York in mid-July, the regiment helped suppress the draft riots. Afterward, the companies of the regiment served the forts around the harbor. However, with the end of July and regiment not forming out to full strength, the men were transferred at replacements to the 4th New York Heavy and the regiment disbanded.
  • 12th New York Heavy Artillery: Colonel Robert P. Gibson began recruiting this regiment in March, 1863. Never fully recruited, the state revoked the authorization and the men were transferred to the 15th New York Heavy.
  • 13th New York Heavy Artillery: Recruited by Colonel William A. Howard starting in May 1863, this regiment mustered by company and served by company and battalion detachments. First Battalion, with Companies A, B, C, and D, under Major Oliver Wetmore, Jr., departed for Norfolk in October.
  • 14th New York Heavy Artillery: Colonel Elisha G. Marshall recruited and organized this regiment starting in May 1863. Mustering by company, only six were in service by mid-October. Those mustered were initially assigned to the defenses of New York City.
  • 15th New York Heavy Artillery: Also authorized in May 1863, Colonel Louis Schirmer commanded this regiment. The nucleus of this regiment was the 3rd Battalion New York (German) Heavy Artillery, which had served from the fall of 1861, mostly in the Washington defenses. On September 30, that battalion (five companies) was consolidated with new recruits originally from the 12th Heavy to form the 15th Heavy. They were assigned to Fourth Brigade, DeRussy’s Division, South of the Potomac (with Schirmer commanding the brigade).
  • 16th New York Heavy Artillery:  Colonel Joseph J. Morrison began organizing this regiment in June 1863. Receiving men from the 35th Independent Battery and other organizations, the 16th Heavy began mustering in September. Companies A, B, and C left the state for Fort Monroe in October.
  • 9th Independent Battery: Assigned to Fort Reno, in the defenses of Washington.
  • 20th Independent Battery: Part of the garrison of Fort Schuyler, New York.
  • 28th Independent Battery: Also assigned to Fort Schuyler.

Ohio

  • 1st Ohio Heavy Artillery: Originally the 117th Ohio Infantry, this regiment changed to heavy artillery in May 18663. Colonel Chauncey G. Hawley, who was promoted in August, commanded this regiment. They garrisoned Covington, Paris, and other posts in Kentucky as part of Twenty-third Corps, Department of Ohio. In October, the regiment moved to cover posts in Tennessee.
  • 2nd Ohio Heavy Artillery: Under Colonel Horatio G. Gibson, this regiment began mustering, by company, in July 1863. By the end of September, all twelve were in service. The companies initially served at Covington Barracks, but were soon detailed to other posts in Kentucky.

Pennsylvania

  • 2nd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery:  (the 112th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers.) Under Colonel Augustus A. Gibson and assigned to First Brigade, Defenses North of the Potomac.  Regimental headquarters at Fort Lincoln.
  • 3rd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery: Since Battery H appeared in the summaries as a light battery, we discussed this regiment’s service in detail in an earlier post. Colonel Joseph Roberts commanded.
  • Ermentrout’s Battery: This militia battery, mustered during the Gettysburg Campaign, was mustered out at the end of August.

Rhode Island

  • 3rd Rhode Island Heavy Artillery: Battery C of this regiment appeared in the summaries, equipped as a light battery.  The remainder of the regiment served as heavy artillery in support of the Department of the South (which has been chronicled at length on this blog….) Colonel Edwin Metcalf commanded the regiment.
  • 5th Rhode Island Heavy Artillery:  Colonel George W. Tew commanded this regiment, the serving the defenses of New Berne, District of North Carolina.
  • 14th Rhode Island Heavy Artillery (African Descent): Organized on August 28, 1863, Colonel Nelson Viall commanded (some correspondence indicates a rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, as the regiment was only battalion strength at this time of the war). While forming, the regiment remained at Providence, Rhode Island. By the end of the year, one battalion would sail for Louisiana.

Tennessee

  • 1st Tennessee Heavy Artillery (African Descent): Colonel Ignatz G. Kappner commanded this regiment, at the time more of battalion strength, garrisoning Fort Pickering in Memphis. The regiment later became the 3rd US Colored Troops Heavy Artillery.
  • 2nd Tennessee Heavy Artillery (African Descent): This regiment, under Colonel Charles H. Adams, served at Columbus, Kentucky.  The regiment would later be designated the 4th US Colored Troops Heavy Artillery.

Vermont

  • 1st Vermont Heavy Artillery:  Colonel James M. Warner commanded this regiment, assigned to First Brigade, Defenses North of the Potomac, Twenty-second Corps.  Batteries garrisoned Forts Totten, Massachusetts, Stevens, Slocum, and others.

Wisconsin

  • Company A, 1st Wisconsin Heavy Artillery:  Captain Andrew J. Langworthy’s battery was assigned to the defenses of Alexandria, within DeRussy’s Division, Twenty-second Corps.
  • Company B, 1st Wisconsin Heavy Artillery: Captain Walter S. Babcock’s company did not leave Wisconsin until September 1863. It was assigned duty at Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
  • Company C, 1st Wisconsin Heavy Artillery: Still organizing in Wisconsin under Captain John R. Davies. This company moved to Chattanooga in October.
  • Company D, 1st Wisconsin Heavy Artillery: Would muster in November and then move to New Orleans.

US Colored Troops Heavy Artillery

  • 1st US Colored Heavy Artillery: Would organize in February 1864 at Knoxville.
  • 2nd US Colored Artillery: Light batteries organized starting in 1864.
  • 3rd US Colored Heavy Artillery: See 1st Tennessee Heavy Artillery (African Descent).
  • 4th US Colored Heavy Artillery: See 2nd Tennessee Heavy Artillery (African Descent).
  • 5th US Colored Heavy Artillery: See 1st Mississippi Heavy Artillery (African Descent).
  • 6th US Colored Heavy Artillery: Two units held this designation. The 2nd Mississippi Heavy Artillery (African Descent) and the 1st Alabama Siege/Heavy Artillery (African Descent). The former would retain the designation.
  • 7th US Colored Heavy Artillery: The 1st Alabama Siege/Heavy Artillery (African Descent), assigned this designation after de-conflicting the duplication mentioned above. And to further confuse things, initially the 1st Louisiana Heavy Artillery (African Descent) was given this designation before using the 10th US Colored Heavy Artillery.
  • 8th/11th US Colored Heavy Artillery: See 14th Rhode Island Heavy Artillery (African Descent), but would change to the 11th US Colored Heavy Artillery, as a new regiment with this designation was raised in Paducah, Kentucky, in April 1864.
  • 10th US Colored Heavy Artillery: See 1st Louisiana Heavy Artillery (African Descent), formerly the 1st Corps de Afrique Heavy Artillery.
  • Others: The 9th, 12th, and 13th US Colored Heavy Artillery were all new regiments formed in 1864. The 14th US Colored Heavy Artillery, also formed in 1864, began as the 1st North Carolina Heavy Artillery (African Descent). All to be detailed in later quarter summaries.

In closing, please pardon the lengthy resource post. Much of this was derived from raw notes in my files. And as you can see, particularly with the USCT regiments, lead into interesting discussions about designation changes.

On to the summaries for the fourth quarter of 1863! See you in 2019!

Summary Statement, 3rd Quarter, 1863 – 2nd Regiment, US Regulars

The 2nd US Artillery’s wartime service was varied – in terms of theater assignments and duties performed.  The batteries served as horse artillery, field artillery, and garrison artillery.  They saw service in Virginia, the Western Theater, and the Gulf Coast.  For the third quarter of 1863, we find nine returns from the twelve batteries.  And two extra lines were thrown in under the regiment:

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Let us break down the service by battery:

  • Battery A – Reporting at Culpeper, Virginia as of October 31, 1863 with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  That location was valid for the end of September.  But, we know from the war’s chronology on Halloween of that year Battery A was in Fauquier County north of the Rappahannock, having returned from a brisk march on the Bristoe Campaign.  Lieutenant Robert Clarke (Battery M) replaced Lieutenant John H. Calef after Gettysburg.  The Battery remained with Second Brigade, Horse Artillery.
  • Battery B – With a report, as of December 1863, located at Stevensburg, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  I might could “sell” this location for the end of September 1863… or for December 1863.  But neither, I feel, tell the full story.  This was actually combined Batteries B and L (see below), assigned to First Brigade of the Horse Artillery, under Lieutenant Edward Heaton.
  • Battery C – New Orleans, Louisiana with four 12-pdr Napoleons (a reduction of two guns).  The battery was part of Nineteenth Corps (transferring from Fourth Division to Second Division as the corps reorganized). Lieutenant Theodore Bradley commanded at the start of the quarter.  But late in the summer Lieutenant John I. Rodgers returned from leave to resume command.
  • Battery D – At Warrenton, Virginia, according to a reporting date of November 1863, with four 12-pdr Napoleons.  Battery D moved from Sixth Corps to the First Brigade, Horse Artillery at the end of the Gettysburg Campaign.  Lieutenant Edward D. Williston remained in command.
  • Battery E –  Nicholasville, Kentucky with four 20-pdr Parrott Rifles (vice six reported the previous quarter). This battery was part of the Second Division, Ninth Corps, which returned from Vicksburg.  After returning to Kentucky, the battery was assigned directly under the corps for reporting.  Lieutenant Samuel N. Benjamin remained in command, and also served as the Corps Chief of Artillery.
  • Battery F – Reporting from Memphis, Tennessee with two 6-pdr field guns and six 12-pdr Napoleons. The battery remained with the District of Memphis, of the Sixteenth Corps. Lieutenant Albert M. Murray replaced Lieutenant Charles Green  in command.
  • Battery G – Reporting at Germantown, Virginia (in Fauquier County) with four 12-pdr Napoleons (report dated January 1864).  We can move past inquiries about the location, and accuracy, to focus on the assignment.   After Gettysburg, the battery moved from Sixth Corps to Second Brigade, Horse Artillery.  Lieutenant John H. Bulter remained in command.
  • Battery H – “Infty. Stores” with a location of Fort Haggerty, Virginia.  This is out of order.  Battery H was, at this time, in Pensacola, Florida assigned to Fort Barrancas, Florida as garrison artillery. Not until the spring of 1864 would the battery move to the Eastern Theater, and even then to Baltimore.  Captain Frank H. Larned was in command.
  • Battery I – No report.  During the Gettysburg Campaign, the battery was assigned to the Second Brigade, Defenses of Baltimore, in the Eighth Corps or Middle Department.  Lieutenant James E. Wilson (a different James Wilson than that in Battery C, 1st Artillery at this time) commanded through much of the summer. But in early September, a newly promoted 1st Lieutenant Wilson was ordered to report to his original battery – Battery G – in Virginia.   Captain Thomas Gray replaced Wilson.
  • Battery K – No report.  The battery garrisoned Fort Pickens, Florida under Captain Harvey A. Allen.
  • Battery L – We see a description “with Battery B”, as discussed above.
  • Battery M – A reporting date of October 31, 1863 has this battery at Gainesville, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Considering the movements of the Bristoe Campaign, this might be accurate.  Assigned to First Brigade, Horse Artillery, Lieutenant Alexander C.M. Pennington commanded.

Keep in mind, when considering the regimental officers the service of Captains John C. Tidball and James M. Robertson.  Tidball had accepted command of the 4th New York Heavy Artillery and departed his position with the Second Brigade, Horse Artillery.  Robertson commanded the First Brigade, Horse Artillery.

Now as for those additional lines:

  • Adjutant, 2nd Artillery:  No location but a reporting date of October 4, 1863.
  • U.S. Corps of Cadets, West Point, New York: The annotation is “inf stores.” Not sure if this entry was placed at this point on the summary because of an affiliation with the 2nd Artillery, or if was simply entered on an open line.  Regardless, no cannon reported.  No equipment was reported on the forms under any columns for this line.  So we can wonder if this was simply an act by the clerks seeking an accounting.

We will return to these lines later in our discussion.

Turing to the smoothbore ammunition, the summary is clean:

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The figures match to the batteries reporting smoothbores:

  • Battery C: 26 shot, 135 shell, 160 case, and 68 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery D: 224 shot, 113 shell, 224 case, and 32 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery F: 135 shot, 104 case, and 145 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 448 shot, 152 shell, 448 case, and 152 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons; 20 case and 17 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • Battery G: 69 shot, 96 shell, 192 case, and 128 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.

The only question is the presence of 12-pdr howitzer ammunition with Battery F.  But that battery was at the time serving in a garrison role.  And the accumulation of additional stores might thus be explained.

Moving to the rifled rounds, first we see Hotchkiss:

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Four batteries reporting:

  • Battery A:  300 percussion shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery B & L:  95 canister and  290 percussion shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery E: 103 bullet shell for 20-pdr (3.67-inch) Parrott.
  • Battery M: 161 canister for 3-inch rifles.

On the next page, we see more projectiles for those 20-pdr Parrotts:

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But those are of three different makes:

  • Battery E: 50 Hotchkiss cannister, 150 Parrott shell, and 160 Schenkl shot for 20-pdr (3.67-inch) Parrott.

The last page of projectiles cover the other Schenkls:

0236_2_Snip_2ndUS

Two reporting:

  • Battery A: 70 case for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery B & L: 554 shells for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery M: 538 shell and 218 case for 3-inch rifles.

So we see a mix of Hotchkiss and Schenkl in the horse artillery batteries, probably to the dismay of General Henry Hunt.

Last, we look at the small arms reported:

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By battery:

  • Battery A: Eleven Army revolvers, fifty Navy revolvers, eight cavalry sabers, and seventy-three horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery B & L: Six Army revolvers, fifteen cavalry sabers, and one horse artillery saber.
  • Battery C: Eight Army revolvers and thirty-three horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery D: Thirteen Army revolvers and one horse artillery saber.
  • Battery E: Fifty Army revolvers, eight cavalry sabers, and thirty horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery F: Thirty-five Army revolvers, fourteen cavalry sabers, and forty-eight horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery G: Twelve Army revolvers and thirteen horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery M: 112 Army revolvers, two Navy revolvers, and twenty-five horse artillery sabers.
  • Adjutant, 2nd Artillery: Twenty-four cavalry sabers.

Looking beyond the armaments, let’s take a look at the other stores reported by the Adjutant.  Matching with the number of sabers reported, the Adjutant also had twenty-four saber belts, waist belts, and plates.  And, with full accounting for all government property, the adjutant had one “packing box” on hand.

I hope that packing box was put to good use!

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

The batteries of the 2nd US Artillery saw varied service during the Civil War – across several theaters of war and with several different assignments.  We saw examples of that service from the previous quarterly summaries.  Moving from winter into spring, the nature of the 2nd’s service remained… in a word… varied.

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We might also say the 2nd was orderly.  All returns filed were posted between July and October of 1863 (excepting, as you see above, that of Battery F).  However there are some blanks to fill in and some clarifications to make:

  • Battery A – Reporting from Warrenton Junction, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. The location is certainly reflecting the August 10, 1863 receipt date, as we know for a fact this battery was just outside Gettysburg on June 30. As most readers likely know, after Chancellorsville and reorganization with the Horse Artillery, Captain John C. Tidball took over the freshly constituted 2nd Brigade of the Horse Artillery.  That brigade would include his old battery.  Lieutenant John H. Calef would famously command this battery when it went into action, July 1, 1863, on McPherson’s Ridge. And of course, one of those six Ordnance rifles is still out there today.
  • Battery B – Reporting at Taneytown, Maryland with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.   This was actually combined Batteries B and L (see below).  The battery was assigned to First Brigade of the Horse Artillery, which was commanded it’s old commander, Captain James M. Robertson. Lieutenant Albert Vincent commanded the battery during the spring.  However, for the Gettysburg Campaign, Lieutenant Edward Heaton held the command.
  • Battery C – Port Hudson, Louisiana with six 12-pdr Napoleons.  The battery was part of Fourth Division, Nineteenth Corps. Lieutenant Theodore Bradley commanded.
  • Battery D – “In the field, VA” with six 12-pdr Napoleons.  Where else should a battery of Napoleons be?  Maybe a better description would be “on the way to Gettysburg.”  Battery D was assigned to Sixth Corps and commanded by Lieutenant Edward D. Williston.
  • Battery E –  [Illegible], Mississippi with six 20-pdr Parrott Rifles. While I cannot identify the placename, this battery was part of the Second Division, Ninth Corps, which had been sent from Kentucky to Vicksburg.  Lieutenant Samuel N. Benjamin remained in command.
  • Battery F – No report. Lieutenant Charles Green remained in command.  The battery moved to the District of Memphis, of the Sixteenth Corps.
  • Battery G – Reporting at Warrenton Junction, Virginia with six 12-pdr Napoleons.   The battery remained with Sixth Corps, and was among the mass of men moving towards Gettysburg at the end of June.  Lieutenant John H. Bulter was in command.
  • Battery H – Assigned to Fort Barrancas, Florida as garrison artillery.  We see “Infty. stores” indicated with no artillery equipment reported.  Captain Frank H. Larned was in command.
  • Battery I – Fort McHenry, Maryland.  No field artillery reported.  Lieutenant James E. Wilson commanded.
  • Battery K – Fort Pickens, Florida on garrison artillery assignment.  Captain Harvey A. Allen had command of this battery.
  • Battery L – We see a description “with Battery B” but with a location of [Illegible] City,  Maryland.  The Battery reported no cannon.
  • Battery M – No location given, but with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Assigned to 1st Brigade, Horse Artillery.  And like others, the location might be summarized as “on the way to Gettysburg.”  Lieutenant A.C.M. Pennington resumed command, replacing Lieutenant Robert Clarke, after the Chancellorsville Campaign.

With at least some of the blanks filled in and questions answered, let us move on to the ammunition reported on hand.  Here we find a rather clean set of entries:

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Three batteries with Napoleons, so we have three lines to consider:

  • Battery C: 96 shot, 128 shell, 160 case, and 128 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons
  • Battery D: 273 shot, 110 shell, 321 case, and 64 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery G: 144 shot, 144 shell, 288 case, and 192 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.

Moving to the next page, we see the Ordnance Rifle batteries had Hotchkiss proejctiles:

0170_2_Snip_2ndUS

  • Battery A: 167 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery B: 136 canister, 574 percussion shell, 307 fuse shell, and 213 bullet shells for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery M: 72 canister and 185 bullet shells for 3-inch rifles.

Here we have some room for interpretation and conjecture about the numbers, and the reporting process. Batteries A and M would report quantities of Schenkl shells on the later pages, which we will get to.  But we see here those two batteries did not report a substantial quantity of ammunition on hand.  Hard to believe those two batteries, particularly Calef’s, had only a few dozen rounds per gun as of the end of June.  More likely is the reports were filed giving quantities on hand after the battle or at some point during the pursuit phase of the campaign.  But we simply don’t know that for sure.  We must make of the numbers what we can.

One other point I’d raise here is in regard to Battery B.  Reports indicate the battery suffered from a batch of bad shells during the Gettysburg Campaign.  We might speculate there is something beyond just the numbers here also.

Moving over to the next page, we can focus on the Parrott projectiles used by Battery E:

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  • Battery E: 522 shell, 204 case, and 72 canister for 20-pdr Parrott rifles.

Moving to the last page of projectiles, we have a couple of entries for Schenkl:

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These make up, somewhat, for the shortages observed for Batteries A and M above:

  • Battery A: 145 shells for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery M: 389 shells for 3-inch rifles.

Still the aggregate quantities come up short for what one would assume the batteries carried into action at Gettysburg.  Particularly noteworthy is the absence of canister for Battery A.

Lastly we turn to the small arms reported:

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By battery:

  • Battery A:  Fourteen Army revolvers, sixty-six Navy revolvers, eight cavalry sabers, and seventy-three horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery B: Six Army revolvers, thirteen cavalry sabers, and one horse artillery saber.
  • Battery C: Nineteen horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery D: Eighteen Arm revolvers and forty-three horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery E: Fifty-two Army revolvers, eight cavalry sabers, and thirty-one horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery G: Twelve Army revolvers and fifteen horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery M: 119 Army revolvers and twenty-six (or is it eighty-six?) horse artillery sabers.

The standout line on this end of the summary, if not the entire summary, is that of Battery A’s small arms.  If this is accurate for June 30, or at least representing what was on hand during the battle of Gettysburg, it is significant. The numbers are similar to that reported the previous quarter…. only indicating a net loss of four cavalry sabers.  I don’t have at my fingertips the personnel returns for Calef’s battery, but clearly most of the men would have had a revolver and a saber.  Such would contradict some assumptions often stated about artillerymen and small arms.

Summary Statement, 1st Quarter, 1863 – 2nd Regiment, US Regulars

As we move forward with the summaries today, we look at the Second Regiment, US Artillery.  For the fourth quarter of 1862, we saw varied service for the batteries in this regiment – field and garrison, eastern and western theaters.  The service details remained varied into the first quarter of the new year.  Furthermore, the changes between the two reporting period reflected some of the organizational changes occurring in the winter of 1863.

That said, let’s examine the administrative details and reported cannon on hand:

0092_1_Snip_2ndUS

Looking at these particulars, I’ll work in the changes with each entry:

  • Battery A – No location given. Six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles on hand, as was reported in December.  The is was Captain John C. Tidball’s battery. Though part of the Army of the Potomac’s Artillery Reserve, the battery was nominally assigned to Second Division of the Cavalry Corps.
  • Battery B – At Aquia Creek, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  An increase of two guns over the last report. Battery assigned to the horse artillery brigade of the Cavalry Corps.  When Captain James M. Robertson moved up to command the horse artillery of the Cavalry Corps, Lieutenant Albert Vincent assumed command of the battery.
  • Battery C – Opelousas, Louisiana with six 12-pdr Napoleons, an increase of two over last report.  The battery was part of Fourth Division, Nineteenth Corps (one of those relatively new formations on paper), in the Department of the Gulf. Lieutenant Theodore Bradley commanded.
  • Battery D – No location given.  Six 12-pdr Napoleons on hand, as was the case the previous December.  Battery D was assigned to Sixth Corps and was thus in camp north of the Rappahannock.  A Medal of Honor was in the future (two campaign seasons later) for Lieutenant Edward D. Williston.
  • Battery E –  Reporting at Lexington, Kentucky with six 20-pdr Parrott Rifles.  This battery moved to Kentucky as part of the Ninth Corps in March 1863.  Lieutenant Samuel N. Benjamin remained in command.  Note the quantity of guns.  Hunt indicated the battery had six 20-pdrs during the battle of Fredericksburg.  But the December 1862 report clearly shows a “1” in the 20-pdr column.  By March 1863, the battery reported six.  So was the earlier report in error?  Or did the reporting period catch the battery during a stage of refitting with new guns?  At any rate, those guns which started the year in Virginia had more travels before June 1863.
  • Battery F – No report. The battery remained in the Corinth, Mississippi area and, despite all the reorganizations in the Army of the Tennessee, remained with the District of Corinth.  Lieutenant Charles Green commanded, replacing Captain Albert Molinard.
  • Battery G – No report.  The battery remained with Sixth Corps, north of the Rappahannock.  Lieutenant John H. Bulter was in command.
  • Battery H – Assigned to Fort Barrancas, Florida as garrison artillery.  No field weapons reported.
  • Battery I – Fort McHenry, Maryland.  No field artillery reported.
  • Battery K – Fort Pickens, Florida on garrison artillery assignment.
  • Battery L – Reported at Aquia Creek with the annotation “No stores”.  Battery L remained consolidated with Battery B (above).
  • Battery M – At Bealton Station, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Assigned to the Horse Artillery Brigade, Army of the Potomac.  Lieutenant Robert Clarke replaced Lieutenant Robert H. Chapin at the head of this battery.

One last entry line for the regiment is for “Adjutant, stores in charge.” The adjutant reported several types of implements, tools, and supplies but no cannon or projectiles.  The adjutant did have a few sabers to rattle around.

Looking to the smoothbore projectiles:

0094_1_Snip_2ndUS

As expected only the Napoleon batteries reported quantities:

  • Battery C – 144 shot, 16 shell, 528 case, and 208 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.
  • Battery D – 273 shot, 110 shell, 321 case, and 64 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.

So no surprises with the Napoleons.

For the Hotchkiss-types, we have only one battery to mention:

0094_2_Snip_2ndUS

But that reporting a healthy quantity:

  • Battery B – 266 shot, 90 canister, 434 percussion shell, 307 fuse shell, and 69 bullet shell for the “3-inch wrought-iron gun.”

Moving to the next page, we see entries for Dyer’s and Parrott’s patent projectiles:

0095_1_Snip_2ndUS

Yes, a lot of space for four numbers for us to consider.  I am including, this time around, some of the draft snips such as this one so readers might fully review the entries.  I may interpret a stray mark incorrectly, so this is intended to allow better validation (though… alas, I’ve pretty much cut up the workspace by creating the snips to begin with).  Looking narrowly here:

0095_1A_Snip_2ndUS

For Dyer’s:

  • Battery M – 348 Dyer’s shrapnel for 3-inch rifle.

The Parrott projectiles are for those 20-pdrs:

  • Battery E – 822 shell, 204 case, and 72 canister for 3.67-inch bore. Plenty for a six-gun battery to start an engagement.

Moving to the next page (full snip here) and Schenkl columns:

0095_2A_Snip_2ndUS

Just one battery reporting:

  • Battery M – 494 shell and 72 canister for 3-inch rifle.

We have no records for Battery A’s ammunition state at this period of the war.

Moving down to the small arms:

0095_3_Snip_2ndUS

 

By battery:

  • Battery A – Fourteen Army revolvers, sixty-six Navy revolvers, twelve cavalry sabers, and seventy-three horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery B – Thirteen cavalry sabers and two horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery C – Twenty-eight horse artillery sabers and twenty-eight foot artillery swords.
  • Battery D – Fifteen Army revolvers and sixty-two horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery E – Fifty-six Navy revolvers and thirty-three horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery M – 120 Army revolvers and twenty-six horse artillery sabers.
  • Adjutant – Twenty-four horse artillery sabers.

So… Captain Tidball had time to tally the number of revolvers and edged weapons on hand… and a large number at that!  But gave no numbers for ammunition on hand. Are we to believe this storied battery had empty ammunition chests?  Or was there something missing in the report?   I just can’t see someone with Tidball’s reputation leaving out such an important particular.  Must have been something rotten in the Ordnance Department.

June 4, 1864: Mortars to the front

Even though June 3, 1864 at Cold Harbor is best recalled as an infantryman’s fight, as mentioned yesterday, the Fifth Corps artillery launched over eighteen tons of ordnance towards the Confederate lines.  While massed batteries, as done with great effect just miles to the south at Malvern Hill in 1862, was not an applicable tactical option, the artillery remained an important combat force on the battlefield.  But field fortifications, even basic trenches, provided some mitigation against traditional field artillery.  With earth and wood protecting the soldiers from direct fire, the infantry could better withstand any eighteen tons of shot and shell the enemy might care to throw over.

Increasingly, not just in the Civil War but across the scope of warfare, vertical fires became more important where fortifications came into use.  In the Second Corps sector of the Federal lines, mid-day on June 3, Colonel John C. Tidball employed Coehorns in close proximity to the Confederate lines.  Captain James H. Wood, 4th New York Heavy Artillery, commanded the six mortars assigned to the Second Corps.  Wood wrote:

At 12 m. 3d of June one section (two pieces)was first placed in position at Cold Harbor, at a distance of about 800 yards from the rebel lines. The charge of powder used was 6 ounces and the length of fuse 15 seconds. The mortars were stationed in a hollow in rear of a belt of woods; 80 rounds were fired. It was reported by the front line of battle and the skirmishers of the Union forces that the shells made great havoc with the enemy, nearly every one exploding in their midst. At 7 p.m., by suggestion of General Barlow, the entire battery withdrew to the rear.

But the mortars would return.  That night the Federals completed mortar positions just 150 yards from the Confederate lines.  When the morning broke with heavy musketry, the mortars were ready:

At this place the charge of powder was 2 ½ ounces and the length of fuse 7 ½ and 8 seconds. The effect was excellent, and in about half an hour the rebels ceased to fire entirely. The position was such that the damage caused by the explosion of the shells was plainly discernible; and it was reported furthermore by our skirmishers that great execution ensued and the utmost consternation was visible among the enemy. The battery was highly complimented by Major-General Barlow and Brigadier-General Owen.

But their work soon attracted Confederate attention. Confederate field artillery fired in an attempt to damage or destroy the mortar battery.  But being so low and behind works, this did little good.  Confederate sharpshooters were more effective, preventing the gunners from standing up to aim or manage the mortars.  As a counter, the mortars began firing on the sharpshooters:

It was determined to try the effect of the mortar shells upon them and the whole battery delivered its fire, with the same charge of powder and length of fuse as at first. The result was almost instantaneous. Their firing was suppressed and was not resumed for several hours. It is perhaps not improper to observe that, during this affair, 2 rebels were seen to be blown 10 feet into the air, with heads detached. Their companions wildly scattered in every direction, and our infantry (General Owen’s brigade) giving a cheer, delivered a volley with telling effect.

Afterward the Confederates treated the mortars with caution.  Wood observed, “… that the enemy had fallen back in front of the mortars, leaving but a few skirmishers and sharpshooters in their front line of breast-works.”  In effect, the mortars had created a zone in which the Confederates could not operate.  While not a large zone, at least that offered some tactical advantage to the Federals.  But the Federals would need many more Coehorns if this was to be a useful advantage.

On the other side of the lines, the Confederates likewise started looking to vertical fires.  At that time, the Army of Northern Virginia lacked Coehorns.  But, Brigadier-General William N. Pendleton noted in his report on the campaign one adaptation of field artillery to the need.  “A 24-pounder howitzer of McIntosh’s battalion was adjusted a little in rear of the line and served as a mortar. It did good service in annoying the enemy’s working parties.”

Soon the howitzer and the Federal mortar began exchanging fires, as Wood recorded:

… the rebels fired at our forces with good range, using what was supposed to be a 24-pounder howitzer, trained as a mortar. The projectile thrown was spherical case-shot, by the explosion of one of which a man and a mortar were struck, but no serious damage was done to either. A new supply of ammunition having been received, it was decided to silence the rebel machine, if possible. By observing the smoke of their discharges, it was estimated that the distance was about 800 yards. A charge of 6 ounces of powder and a 15-second fuse were used, and after about one dozen discharges the enemy’s machine was silenced.

Wood’s mortars continued to do good work during the fighting at Cold Harbor.  The gunners had become very well practiced in the art of laying shells where needed.  Later, the mortars engaged in some more counter-battery fire, with good results:

On the 11th the remaining section, in charge of Captain Jones and Lieutenant Moore, was employed in firing at a rebel battery of light 12-pounders, which had opened upon a Union battery a short distance to our left. The mortars were estimated to be about 800 yards from the rebel battery. The charge was 5 ½ ounces and the length of fuse 15 seconds. The first shot struck on the left of the battery on a sand-bag breast-work, tearing a large hole therein. Another exploded inside the parapet, another in rear of the battery, another a short distance to the right. Assisted by the Union battery (light 12-pounders), the enemy’s guns were silenced. After this a few shells were thrown into a house almost in front of the mortars and 300 yards distant. The charge was 3 ½ ounces and the fuse 10 seconds in length. The house was a refuge for sharpshooters. One shell broke through the roof and exploded in the house. No more shots were observed to come from that locality.

With both armies remaining in close proximity for more than a week, the mortars were an idea weapon to use.  But there were precious few of them at the front.  Back in Massachusetts, Ames Manufacturing had a batch of fifty of the little mortars ready for inspection.  More Coehorns were on the way.

(Citations from OR, Series I, Volume 36, Part I, Serial 67, pages 527-8, 1050.)

 

Putting shells on target: Aiming the siege mortars

Earlier posts about mortars have focused on the weapons, projectiles, mountings, and means of transportation.  Let me turn now to some discussion about how the weapon was used.  Mortars typically sat in “pits” which precluded direct observation of the target.   Sighting the mortars was not like the practice used for direct fire weapons (such as guns and in most cases howitzers… but hold onto that last one for a few paragraphs here…). For the direct fire weapons, the gunner’s primary input to the “fire solution” was the line of sight from breech to muzzle, using the sights to point the weapon onto the target.  That could not be done in most cases where mortars were employed.

Mortars used indirect firing methods.  And recall that unlike what the “coffee table” histories tell us, indirect fire was a common practice by the time of the Civil War … centuries old in fact. For seacoast mortars, the garrison had plenty of time to lay out firing reference data.  The distance between the mortar’s position and the ship channels were well known.  The crew had the opportunity to calculate the firing solutions and re-calculate where needed.  All was then recorded for use when called for.

But for siege operations, regardless of what type of mortar was used, the crew lacked the opportunity to measure and calculate firing solutions to such a fine degree of accuracy.  Instead, the crew needed to factor that firing solution in the field as part of the mortar’s setup.   Again I turn to Colonel John C. Tidball’s Manual of Heavy Artillery Service, to describe how this was done.  Although written two decades after the Civil War, Tidball captured the practice with clarity.  And the practice had not changed much in two decades.

The practice of “aiming” a mortar relied upon some basic geometry.  To draw the most accurate line, you need more than two points of reference.  So the practical application of geometry started with the known points – the target and the mortar location.  To obtain an accurate measure of the angle on that line, which Tidball called the plane of sight, the crew used additional reference points.  Suspended below a wooden frame, a plummet became the reference point.  At a minimum, one plummet sat on the parapet of the mortar pit and another sat behind the mortar.  For precise aiming, yet another was placed just beyond the parapet in front of the mortar.  The illustration below, from the 1884 manual, provides an overview of this system of plummets.

The plummet itself hung from a wooden frame, or trestle.  Fine thread, preferably silk, suspended a weighted object (plum bob) above the ground between the trestle legs.  It was the perpendicular line formed by the string, not the weight itself, that became the reference point.  If winds worked against the force of gravity, causing the plummet to swing, the crew placed the plummet in a bucket of water to dampen movement.

The plummet behind the mortar was usually about six feet high, so the gunner didn’t need to stoop down when sighting, and about three yards behind the mortar.  That on the parapet was between a foot and eighteen inches high.  The plummet to the front had to be tall enough to be seen by the gunner from inside the pit.  Here’s Tidball’s description of the actions placing the plummets:

The gunner, assisted by No. 2, places a trestle upon the parapet near the interior crest, and suspends from it a plummet in such position that it will be approximately in the line passing through the centre of the platform and the object to be fired at.  No. 3 brings up another trestle, which the gunner causes him to place a few feet in advance of the first, and in line with it and the object; sighting by the plummet first established, he causes the second plummet [the one in front beyond the parapet] to be accurately adjusted on the line to the object; then, going to the front plummet and sighting back, he causes No. 4 to place in position the trestle in rear of the mortar, and suspended from it the plummet, being careful to have it in exact line with the two on the parapet.  The front trestle is then removed by No. 3.

Notice Tidball does not refer to the “target” but rather the “object to be fired at”.  Perhaps some Victorian sensitivities at play there.  Or perhaps a subtle choice of words which we should consider when reading the text.  After all, our “target” might not have been a target back then.

Transitioning from textbook to the field, there are several issues to keep in mind here.  Siege mortars were, by necessity, placed within range of the defending forces.  Very likely the enemy would notice the activity of placing trestles and establishing the line.  Tidball recommended the use of a priming wire, “… Should the fire from the enemy endanger the plummet on the parapet….”  Still, even that could be risky in the vicinity of sharpshooters.  Engineer Henry L. Abbot discussed other, somewhat ingenious, systems devised to work around such a tactical problem in his Siege Artillery in the Campaigns against Richmond.  I’ll save those for later posts (perhaps a 2014 sesqucentennial post?).   In his report on siege artillery, Abbot stress that mortar batteries needed good fields of view, even at the expense of additional work.

Tidball also mentioned the need for the target (or object upon which fire is placed) to be visible from the parapet.  Where that was not the case, the crew could use a system of mirrors in a more advanced application of geometry.  And by the 1880s, a device known as Paddock’s interpolator came into use.  But discussion of that device falls out of my Civil War scope.

The line of sight established, the crew could move the mortar on the platform as needed to align with the “plane of sight”.  The mortar gunner still had other factors to work out.  Not the least of which was the time of flight of the shell.  But at least the muscle work of moving the mass of iron was completed.  When you think about it, the process for establishing the azimuth of fire in the 1860s is not far removed from the practice used today by artillerists… just that now days the gunner has several computers, global positioning systems, and all sorts of other aids to rely upon.  Still, a line is a line.

Iron Beds for those Iron Frogs: Model 1861 Mortar Beds

When the Army changed from the Model 1840 mortars to the Model 1861 patterns, the entire weapon system underwent a redesign. Since the mortars dispensed with the wooden quoin elevation wedge, centered the trunnions for zero preponderance, and used elevating sockets on the breech, the old mortar beds just would not work. So a new mortar bed design went with the new mortars. The examples at Fort McNair sit atop original mortar beds, allowing for examination.

McNair 10 Apr 10 043
10-inch Siege Mortar – Fort Pitt #31

When Major Theodore T. S. Laidley wrote the 1862 edition of the Ordnance Manual, these beds were still new. He described them rather ambiguously, “The mortar-beds for the new-model mortars are made of wrought iron. Their details are not determined with sufficient accuracy to be inserted at this time.”

Two decades later, Colonel John C. Tidball provided a bit more descriptive examination of the beds in his Manual of Heavy Artillery:

[Mortar carriages] are constructed and put together in a manner similar to the top-carriage for guns. At the ends of each cheek are projections, called front and rear notches, underneath which the cannoneers embar with their handspikes to move the carriage. On those for siege mortars there are also two front and rear maneuvering bolts for the same purpose. The bottom part of each cheek, resting on the platform, is called the shoe; the front and rear ends being designated the toe and heel, respectively.

Here’s Tidball’s drawing of the mortar on its “carriage” as he called it:

The bed pictured above matches that description. The cheeks are connected with two cross members and a transom. On that transom is the eye for the elevating bar. The mortars at Fort Macon, North Carolina are a bit better prepared for public viewing in that regard:

Fort Macon 2 May 10 194
Elevating socket and “eye” for the bar

From the side, the mortars feature a rough triangle shape.

McNair 10 Apr 10 019
10-inch Siege Mortar – Fort Pitt #30

As Tidball described, there are “toes” and “heels” with the “shoe” resting on the ground. The “toes” and “heels” provided clearance as the crew wedged the mortar up to adjust the azimuth. Notice the maneuvering bolt sticking out at the front. The surviving examples I’ve seen lack the rear bolts Tidball described.

Tidball put the weight of the 10-inch mortar’s wrought iron bed at 1313 pounds. That of the 8-inch mortar weighed 900 pounds. This put the weight of the mortar and bed at 3213 and 1910 pounds, respectively. Mortar wagons could carry three of the 8-inch mortars, but only one of the 10-inch. Eight horses pulled that load.

But that was not the complete system. This wartime photo of Fort C.F. Smith shows one of the 8-inch Mortars on a wooden platform. Even has the bars maneuvering hadspikes laying on the side.

The platform was a necessary component of the mortar system. The wooden platform prevented the shoe from digging into the earth upon firing. It also afforded a relatively smooth surface on which the crew could adjust the mortar’s placement. Tidball provided details of the platform’s materials:

The sleepers rested on ground cleared and leveled by the crew. The deck-planks lay on top of those, just above the ground to ensure drainage. As you can see from the chart, this added another 1400 pounds, give or take, to the weight of the entire system. Just more stuff to haul around the battlefield. But necessary stuff.

The mortars at Fort Macon have a reconstructed platforms offering visitors a chance to see the entire system as it would have looked when employed during the war.

Fort Macon 2 May 10 191
Mortars, beds, and platforms

The only other piece of equipment I’d like to see there would be a mortar wagon and limber. But I’m sure *someone* who handles things down that way has already put those on the wish list.