Summary Statement, 4th Quarter, 1863 – Michigan, more artillery

Turning back to the Michigan section of the fourth quarter summary, consider the last two entry lines:

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Isolating those down, we see entries for artillery assigned to an infantry regiment and another for the “6th Regt. Vol. Artillery”:

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But wait, you say, Michigan didn’t have six regiments of artillery! Well, it did have a 6th Regiment of Artillery. Let us look at the administrative details backing these lines:

  • Battery attached to 14th Mounted Infantry: The battery reports from Columbia, Tennessee with one 6-pdr (2.6-inch) Wiard rifle and one 3.80-inch James Rifle. Colonel Henry R. Mizner commanded the 14th Michigan Infantry, which on paper was assigned to the Fourth Division, Fourteenth Corps. However, the regiment was detached for service protecting the supply lines in Tennessee from guerillas and irregulars. In that capacity, on September 6, 1863, the regiment was mounted. Eight companies moved to Columbia and received Spencer rifles, revolvers, sabers, and mounts. In addition, the regiment outfitted and manned a section of light artillery. A report in January 1864 from Major John Mendenhall, Inspector of Artillery, Army of the Cumberland, indicates Lieutenant Gideon W. Gifford commanded this section. Gifford originally enlisted, as a private, in Battery C, 1st Michigan Artillery in October 1861. He was detailed as a hospital steward, but in May 1863 he accepted a commission to lieutenant in Company K, 14th Michigan Infantry. He made captain just before being mustered out in 1865. Early in the spring of 1864, the 14ths stint on garrison duty was at an end. Rejoining the Fourteenth Corps, the men reluctantly turned in their mounts and resumed duties as traditional infantry.
  • 6th Regiment Volunteer Artillery: At Port Hudson, Louisiana with one 12-pdr Napoleon. On July 10, 1863, Major-General Nathaniel Banks ordered this regiment converted to heavy artillery, assigned to the garrison of Port Hudson. Colonel Thomas S. Clark commanded this regiment. Certainly the regiment manned more than one Napoleon in their duties, but apparently all other cannon were considered part of the garrison itself and not of the regiment. However, there are hints to additional field artillery in the ammunition totals.

Before leaving the administrative section, there are two other artillery formations that deserve mention as they were in existence if not yet mustered. These were two independent batteries:

  • 13th Battery: Organized at Grand Rapids, the battery was under command of Callaghan H. O’Riordon. The battery was still forming at the end of December, but formally entered service on January 20, 1864. The battery left the state in February for its assignment – the Defenses of Washington.
  • 14th Battery: Also organized at Grand Rapids, this battery mustered on January 5, 1864. Captain Charles Heine commanded. Likewise, leaving the state in February, 14th Battery was sent to the Defenses of Washington.

For the two sections that are on the return, we must consider their ammunition and other stores, starting with smoothbore ammunition:

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  • 6th Michigan Heavy Artillery: 366 shot and 362 case for 6-pdr field guns; 36 shot, 14 shells, and 16 case for 12-pdr Napoleons; 93 shells and 200 case for 12-pdr field howitzers; 156 shells for 24-pdr field howitzers; and 3 shot and 11 shells for 24-pdr siege guns.

Much to consider there with the calibers reported. Perhaps just stores on hand. But likewise, perhaps indicating weapons on hand but not considered reportable by the unit.

Moving to the rest of the smoothbore ammunition:

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  • 6th Michigan Heavy Artillery: 106 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 96 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers; 48 canister for 12-pdr field guns; and 158 case and 99 canister for 24-pdr field howitzers.

To the right are reported quantities of Hotchkiss rounds:

  • 14th Michigan Infantry: 102 shot and 72 time fuse shell for 2.6-inch Wiard; 48 shot and 18 time fuse shell for 3.80-inch James rifles.
  • 6th Michigan Heavy Artillery: 3 shot for 3-inch rifles.

More Hotchkiss on the next page:

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  • 14th Michigan Infantry: 40 percussion fuse and 74 canister for 2.6-inch Wiard rifles; 18 percussion fuse, 72 bullet shell, and 168 canister for 3.80-inch James rifles.
  • 6th Michigan Heavy Artillery: 13 canister for 3-inch rifles.

To the right is a lone entry for James projectiles:

  • 14th Michigan Infantry: 50 shell for 3.80-inch rifles.

Further to the left is one column for Parrott rounds:

  • 6th Michigan Heavy Artillery: 127 shot for 10-pdr Parrott.

The next page continues the Parrott projectiles:

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  • 6th Michigan Heavy Artillery: 30 shell, 30 case, and 47 canister for 10-pdr Parrott; 10 shell for 24-pdr siege guns; 40 canister for 20-pdr Parrott.

To the right is one Schenkl tally:

  • 6th Michigan Heavy Artillery: 24 shell for 10-pdr Parrott.

No additional projectiles reported. So we turn to the small arms:

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  • 6th Michigan Heavy Artillery: Two Colt army revolvers. Yes, that’s all.

Reporting cartridge bags for the cannon:

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  • 14th Michigan Infantry: 90 bags for 6-pdr (2.9-inch) Wiard, 28 bags for 6-pdr (3.8-inch) James.
  • 6th Michigan Heavy Artillery: 189 10-pdr Parrott bags, 2 field gun (6-pdr field gun or 12-pdr field howitzer) bags; 90 bags for 20-pdr Parrott, and 113 bags for 24-pdr siege guns.

The last page contains tallies for fuses, primers, and miscellaneous items:

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  • 14th Michigan Infantry: 700 paper fuses and 220 friction primers.
  • 6th Michigan Heavy Artillery: 534 paper fuses, 34 pounds of cannon powder, 2,832 friction primers, 3 yards of slow match, and 11 portfires.

There is much to talk about in those two lines. These speak to units in transition from the intended role of infantry to, respectively, cavalry and heavy artillery. And along the way, a lot of equipment and stores moving about.

Summary Statement, 3rd Quarter, 1863 – Miscellaneous Ohio artillery

The last battery in the long list of Ohio independent batteries is the 26th Ohio Independent Battery.  The transformation of “Yost’s Captured Battery” of the 32nd Ohio Infantry into the 26th Ohio Battery… administrative that it was… is a good starting point for discussing a couple of lines from the third quarter 1863 summary statements from Ohio.  These two lines cover infantry regiments reporting, dutifully, about cannon in their possession:

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Those two lines, for those who won’t click the image to “embiggin,” read:

  • Company K, 86th Ohio Infantry:  Indicating “Artillery Stores” on hand at Cumberland Gap, Tennessee. The company reported one 6-pdr field gun, two 12-pdr mountain howitzers, one 12-pdr field howitzer, one 3-inch (steel or iron) rifle, and one 3.80-inch James rifle.  I’ll discuss this company and regiment in more detail below.
  • Company H, 71st Ohio Infantry:  Again “artillery stores” on hand.  In this case at Carthage, Tennessee.  The 71st Ohio reported two 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.

Let’s look at these in detail.

86th Ohio Volunteer Infantry

First in the queue and perhaps the most interesting in regard to the background story is this less-well known regiment.  First off, there were two 86th Ohios during the war. The first mustered in the June 1862 as a three month regiment.  They mustered out in late September 1862.  So not the 86th we are looking for here.  The second 86th Ohio mustered (or re-organized, as some sources indicate) as a six-month regiment on July 17, 1863 at Camp Cleveland, Ohio.  The muster was in response to Confederate activity, and akin to the militia and other emergency musters seen in other northern states.  Colonel Wilson C. Lemert (formerly the major of the original 86th) commanded.

The “hot issue” in Ohio at that time was Morgan’s Raid.  So the 86th moved to Camp Tod, Columbus, Ohio, and operated in pursuit of the raiders.  On August 11, the regiment moved to Camp Nelson, Kentucky.  There, the regiment joined Colonel John De Courcy’s brigade which was moving on the Cumberland Gap.  On September 9, the 86th deployed on the Harlen Road, leading into the north side of the gap, along with two guns from the 22nd Ohio Independent Battery, confronting one of the Confederate forts.   Concurrently, other Federal troops deployed to cover approaches on both sides of the gap.  This compelled the Confederates to surrender.  A bloodless victory for Burnside.

And with that surrender, a substantial amount of stores fell into Federal hands.  Captain Henry M. Neil, 22nd Ohio Battery, provided a list of those in a detailed report:

CumberlandGapCapturedStores

Most of these cannon and ordnance stores were repurposed by the Federals to help establish their garrison in the Cumberland Gap.  And the 86th Ohio was part of that garrison. Matching Neil’s report with the summary, it seems one of the bronze 6-pdr field guns, the two 12-pdr mountain howitzers, and one James rifle were assigned to the 86th. Those are simple, easy matches.

The summary indicates the 86th had a bronze 12-pdr field howitzer, but Neil indicates two iron 12-pdr field howitzer among those captured.  So we have to consider if the clerks in Washington simply tallied an iron howitzer as bronze; if the 86th reported a bronze howitzer where in fact that was an iron howitzer; if Neil got the description wrong; or… if the 86th received a bronze howitzer from another source.

Lastly, Neil did not mention any 3-inch rifles among the captured guns.  Or for that matter any 3-inch ammunition.  I suspect this came from another source (other than the captured lot).  However, we might entertain the possibility that a Confederate 3-inch rifle was among those turned over to the 86th Ohio.  Perhaps a slim possibility.

Either from capture or reorganization, the 86th Ohio had six cannon by the end of September, 1863.  These were commanded by Captain James W. Owens of Company K.  The 86th Ohio remained at the Cumberland Gap through the middle of January 1864.  At that time, they started a long seven day winter march out of the mountains and back to Ohio.  They were mustered out on February 10, 1864.  The cannon, however, were left up at the Cumberland Gap.

71st Ohio Volunteer Infantry

In the words of one historian, this regiment had a checkered wartime service but in the end was “redeemed” in battle. Suffering from a bad reputation after Shiloh and having been captured in August 1862, the regiment was mostly assigned to garrison duties.  In the summer of 1863, the regiment was assigned to First Brigade, Third Division, Reserve Corps, Army of the Cumberland.  The regiment had duties protecting the Louisville & Nashville Railroad, with headquarters at Gallatin, Tennessee.  Colonel Henry K. McConnell commanded.

Carthage, Tennessee, was indeed one of the points garrisoned by the Third Division of the Reserve Corps.  But there are no specific details I’ve found regarding details from the 71st assigned to that garrison.  Though it was a concentration point for Tennessee unionists being formed into regiments.  Furthermore, as Burnside reached Knoxville, Carthage, with its position on the Cumberland River, became an important connection between two armies then operating in Tennessee.

We can confirm that two 3-inch Ordnance rifles were at Carthage, however.  In a January 14, 1864 report on the artillery within the Department of the Cumberland, Major John Mendenhall commented that a lieutenant and thirteen men from the 13th Indiana Battery were at that post with the two rifles. So perhaps, for a short period during the summer and fall of 1863, the 71st Ohio had charge of those guns in Carthage.  If I read the column correctly, and that assignment was to Company H, then Captain Elihu S. Williams of that company was responsible for the guns.

Ammunition reported

Smoothbore first:

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  • 86th Ohio: 203 shot, 100 case, and 95 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 6 shot for 12-pdr field guns; 34 shell and 13 case for 12-pdr field howitzers; and 26 canister for either 12-pdr field howitzers or 12-pdr mountain howitzers.

Referencing Neil’s report, it appears the 86th Ohio received only a portion of the overall ammunition stores.  Perhaps only a portion issued for ready use, while the rest remained in centralized magazines?  The presence of shot for 12-pdr field guns opens questions. Neil reported the Confederates had, what would be non-standard, 12-pdr shot for their howitzers.  So is this six 12-pdr shot for field guns? Or for howitzers?  I could see either being the case.

The 71st Ohio reported Hotchkiss rounds for their Ordnance rifles:

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  • 71st Ohio Infantry:  43 canister, 9 percussion shell, and 290 fuse shell for 3-inch rifles.

Now back to the Cumberland Gap, where the 86th reported James projectiles on hand:

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  • 86th Ohio Infantry: 61 shot and 77 shell for 3.80-inch James.

The questions here, with respect to what Neil reported, is if the shells are percussion shell and if these are “Federal” James projectiles being recaptured…. or Confederate copies.

Neither infantry regiment reported Schenkl projectiles on hand.  And they did not tally any small arms for these detachments.  But I’ve posted those blank pages out of habit.

Before leaving this discussion of Ohio’s non-artillery formations that happened to have cannon on hand, we have one other organization that is not listed on the summary.  In mid-1863, returns from central Tennessee included an organization titled “Law’s Howitzer Battery” or simply “Mountain Howitzer Battery” under Lieutenant Jesse S. Law.

We can trace that battery back to a report from Colonel August V. Kautz, 2nd Ohio Cavalry, written on June 11, 1863 concerning a demonstration made to Monticello, Kentucky a few days before.  A minor affair of only passing interest.  But what concerns us is this accolade:

I must not forget to mention the gallant conduct of Private Jesse Law, commanding the howitzer battery.  This man well deserves a commission, and has been recommended for promotion.

And indeed, Private Law was soon Lieutenant Law. And he remained in charge of four mountain howitzers. This battery supported Kautz’ brigade, First Division, Twenty-Third Corps, which was part of Burnside’s campaign in east Tennessee.  Late in the campaign the battery remained intact, but serving separate from the 2nd Ohio Cavalry.  With that, we can place the howitzers, and Law, somewhere around Knoxville at the close of the third quarter, 1863.  However it appears by the end of the year Law’s howitzers were turned over to some other organization and the Lieutenant resumed cavalry duties.

As for Law himself, I’ve got a lot of information about his career still being complied and organized.  Not ready to post that just yet.  I am fairly confident in saying he was an artilleryvman before the war with Battery G, 4th US.  And he was discharged just after the battle of Antietam.  From there, he enlisted in the 2nd Ohio Cavalry and later received the promotion mentioned above.  Unfortunately, Law didn’t retain those lieutenant bars long.  Law was dismissed from the service in December 1864.  The details of that part of the story I am still working on.

 

150 Years Ago: Cannons thunder across Stones River

On this day 150 years ago, the lull on the battlefield of Stones River broke into an afternoon crescendo.  In response to a Confederate assault from Major General John C. Breckinridge’s division on the Federal left, Major General Thomas Crittenden turned to his chief of artillery, Captain John Mendenhall and said, “Now, Mendenhall, you must cover my men with your cannon.”   Captain Mendenhall massed parts of twelve batteries, with 58 guns precisely and repulsed the Confederate attack.

I wrote about this action a few years ago, and refer you there.  Although I’m now back home from my last sesquicentennial run of the 2012 season, while I was there McFadden Ford was among my stops.  Here’s the gunner’s view of the ford, just a few days shy of 150 years to the minute.

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Gunner’s view of McFadden Ford

The view of the bottom land between the artillery position and the river is open today.

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Approaches to McFadden Ford

But what is shielded from view by tree lines is residential development on the other side, where the Confederates advanced.

On the day I took these photos, the river was up with a strong current.  I wouldn’t want to swim it, much less wade across with full equipment.

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Area of McFadden Ford

Witnessing the artillery barrage, Brigadier General Charles Cruft, commanding a brigade supporting the guns would recall:

The line lay still and quiet behind the frail works we had been able to construct, with the shot and shell of the enemy coming from three directions and bursting above, in front of it, and all around it, while our own massed batteries were belching out their contents in front of and over it.  The roar of artillery was terrific.  The smoke from our own pieces and the bursting shell of the enemy at times obscured the line from view….

For the first time in 1863, artillery dominated a battlefield.  It would not be the last.

(Citations from OR, Series I, Volume 20, Part I, Serial 29, pages 451 and 528-9.)