Sandwiched between the summaries for the 1st and 3rd New York Artillery Regiment is this lonely line:
- Battery L: At Haine’s (Hayne’s Bluff, Mississippi with four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Captain Jacob Roemer commanded this battery, assigned to the Ninth Corps detachment sent to reinforce Grant at Vicksburg.
I discussed Battery L, 2nd New York’s complicated history in a post for the first quarter summary. As mentioned, this battery was detached from the main portion of the regiment, which was then serving in the Washington Defenses. Later it would be redesignated the 34th New York Independent Battery.
Captain Roemer’s battery started the quarter in Kentucky. In June, they were ordered to Mississippi as part of a detachment of the Ninth Corps under Major-General John G. Parke, specifically Second Division (Brigadier-General Robert Potter) of that detachment. This detachment was part of the force guarding the “backside” of the Vicksburg siege lines to prevent any Confederate attempt to interfere. While there was little action on their front, the battery had a brief skirmish during passage downriver. As related in Roemer’s Reminiscences of the War of the Rebellion: 1861-1865 (page 115):
Nothing of importance occurred until the steamer reached Lake Providence. Here they were fighting on the land, and we could hear the musketry. Our flotilla consisted of eleven transports led by two gunboats. The Mariner was the rear boat of the flotilla, and two of the Battery’s guns were in position in the bow of the boat ready for action….
Just as the boat neared the bank and swung away from it to the left, several companies of Confederates rushed out of the canebrake, and let us have the contents of their muskets. When they had fired three volleys, I made up my mind that some of us might suffer. My first thought was for my son. I made him lie down and then covered him with mattresses. I then went to the guns in the bow, had them loaded with canister, and fired. That the guns were so well aimed, was proved by the fact that we could see the “Johnnies” hop. The latter started to run and we sent some shrapnel after them. It was all over in a few minutes, but the “Johnnies” got the worst of it, for we suffered no casualties.
Roemer went on to say his fires played out just as a counterattack occurred on land. While this seems to match into the narrative for the Battle of Lake Providence, fought on June 9, 1863, there are several discrepancies with Roemer’s dates. At any rate, the battery off-loaded at Hayne’s Bluff on June 18. From that point, the battery setup in positions looking east and anticipated Confederate approaches to relieve Vicksburg.
Meanwhile, the main portion of the 2nd New York (Heavy) Artillery was assigned to the Washington Defenses south of the Potomac. Colonel Joseph N. G. Whistler took command of the regiment on May 6, 1863, and held that position for the remainder of the war. A year later the 2nd New York Heavy was assigned to Second Corps, Army of the Potomac as “foot artillery.” As the Overland Campaign progressed, they, along with other “Heavies” were pressed into service as infantry.
Turning back to Battery L, we have a healthy, but varied, quantity of ammunition on hand:
Battery L reported 30 percussion shell, 336 fuse shell, and 224 bullet shell, of Hotchkiss patent, for 3-inch rifles.
The battery also had 83 canister on hand, but of Dyer’s patent, for 3-inch rifles.
Adding to the variety were 30 shells for 3-inch rifles of the Schenkl patent.
Turning to the small arms:
In the previous quarter, the battery reported fifteen Navy revolvers and fifteen horse artillery sabers. By the end of June, they had twelve Army revolvers and fourteen horse artillery sabers. Sounds like the supply sergeant did some dealing.