Summary Statement, 3rd Quarter, 1863 – 1st Pennsylvania Light Artillery

The 1st Pennsylvania Light Artillery (43rd Pennsylvania Volunteers) consisted of nine batteries.  One of those nine, Battery I, did not muster until near the war’s end.  And among the batteries on the rolls for the end of the third quarter of 1863, two were consolidated with other batteries in the regiment.  Colonel Robert M. West remained in command of the regiment, but was serving as garrison commander at Yorktown, Virginia.

Reviewing the summary, at first glance the regiment seems complete.  The Ordnance Department received at least something from seven of eight batteries:

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But this is somewhat deceptive.  Only four of the lines report cannon on hand.  Thus there are gaps to reconcile, starting right from the top:

  • Battery A: No return.  Captain John G. Simpson’s battery was assigned to Getty’s Division, Seventh Corps, at Portsmouth, Virginia.  All part of the Department of Virginia and North Carolina.  I believe the battery retained four 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery B: Reporting from Bristoe Station, Virginia, with four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Captain James H. Cooper remained in command.  And the battery remained with First Corps, Army of the Potomac.
  • Battery C: At Maryland Heights, Maryland, with no artillery indicated.  For the previous quarter the battery reported six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Captain Jeremiah McCarthy remained in command.  The battery was among those transferred out of the Army of the Potomac in June, and assigned to Twenty-second Corps, Defenses of Washington, at Camp Barry.  But the battery moved forward to Maryland Heights as part of Lockwood’s Division (Later the Maryland Heights Division), which by August was part of the Department of West Virginia.  Most sources have this battery consolidated with Battery D on October 23.  McCarthy was discharged on October 8.
  • Battery D: Just an annotation of “Consolidated with Baty. C.” Like Battery C, Battery D left the Army of the Potomac in June and was assigned duty at Camp Barry.  In August, the battery transferred to the Department of West Virginia, and served at Harpers Ferry.  Lieutenant Andrew Rosney was the ranking officer with the battery at that time.
  • Battery E: At Williamsburg, Virginia with four 12-pdr Napoleons.  Captain Thomas G. Orwig commanded this battery, assigned to the Yorktown garrison, Department of Virginia and North Carolina.
  • Battery F: Indicated at Culpeper, Virginia, with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Captain R. Bruce Ricketts commanded a combined Batteries F and G.  After Gettysburg, the battery transferred to Second Corps’ artillery brigade.
  • Battery G: The annotation “Consolidated with Battery F” tells the story.  Although some sources considered this an “attachment” instead of consolidation. Lieutenant Belden Spence was the ranking officer remaining with the battery.
  • Battery H: At Camp Barry, D.C. with four 12-pdr Napoleons. Captain Andrew Fagan commanded this battery, which arrived at Camp Barry in June 1863. The battery remained there through the spring of 1864, assigned to the Light Artillery Camp of Instruction.

Battery I would not muster until March 1865, and thus escapes our attention here.

Turning to the ammunition, with the smoothbore columns first:

0291_1_Snip_PA1

Two batteries with Napoleons reporting:

  • Battery E: 176 shot, 64 shell, 192 case, and 80 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery H: 182 shot, 52 shell, 162 case, and 64 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.

Then the Hotchkiss page:

0291_2_Snip_PA1

Again, two batteries to consider:

  • Battery B: 127 canister, 34 percussion shell, 242 fuse shell, and 335 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery F: 120 canister, 120 (?) fuse shell, and 200 (?) bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.  Those last two numbers appear faint, as if erased.  So we must wonder if those quantities were “retracted” for some reason.

No Dyer’s, James’, or Parrott’s patent projectiles reported.  So we move to Schenkl:

0292_2_Snip_PA1

  • Battery B: 79 shell and 18 case for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery F: 120 shell and 640 case for 3-inch rifles.

This brings us to the small arms:

0292_3_Snip_PA1

By battery as reported:

  • Battery B: Sixteen navy revolvers and seventeen horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery E: Eight navy revolvers and fourteen horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery F: Eleven army revolvers, eight navy revolvers, one cavalry saber, and nineteen horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery H: Fourteen navy revolvers and twenty-three horse artillery sabers.

That wraps up a short discussion of what was a small regiment from Pennsylvania.  But in addition to this regiment, Pennsylvania’s summary for this quarter included thirteen more lines.  Those covered a battery from the 3rd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery, eleven independent batteries, and an artillery section in the 11th Pennsylvania Cavalry.  So we have more to examine before completing Pennsylvania’s section.

 

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Summary Statement, 3rd Quarter, 1863 – Maryland’s Federal Batteries

For the previous quarter, Maryland’s section of the summary contained three battery listings – Battery A, Battery B, and the Baltimore Battery.  However, I mentioned at the bottom of the administrative portion of two additional batteries, being mustered but not yet in existence at the end of June 1863.  Those were Battery A (Second) and Battery B (Second).  Often referred to as the “Junior” batteries.  We find those listed in the third quarter:

0257_1_Snip_MD

The story of these “Junior” batteries deserves at least a short explanation.  With Abraham Lincoln’s Proclamation #102, issued on June 15, 1863, the call went forward Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio to provide volunteers for enlistments of six months to meet the emergency caused by the Confederate invasion.  We discussed the artillery side of Pennsylvania’s response in an earlier post.  Maryland’s quota in this was 10,000 men and included the two “Junior” batteries. Both batteries mustered into service on July 14.  And they would serve their six month hitches around Baltimore.

I cannot translate what was actually written in the “Regiment” column for lines 59 and 60.  But the company letters are clear.  These batteries were on active service during the quarter.  And as we see from the summary, were issued cannon.  Thus, at the end of September 1863 Maryland had five batteries reporting:

  • Battery A / 1st Battery: Indicated with the Army of the Potomac, with four (down from six)  3-inch Ordnance Rifles   Captain James H. Rigby remained in command. When the Fourth Volunteer Brigade of the Reserve Artillery was broken up on July 17, Rigby’s Battery transferred to the Third Volunteer Brigade.  As of the end of September that year the battery was in Culpeper County.
  • Battery B / 2nd Battery: Reported at Maryland Heights, Maryland, with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  In mid-July, the Captain Alonzo Snow’s battery was among the forces reoccupying Harpers Ferry.  The battery was assigned to the Second Brigade, Maryland Heights Division.
  • Baltimore Independent Battery: Showing at Baltimore, Maryland, with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  As mentioned in the previous quarter, this battery lost its guns at Winchester in June.  Captain Frederick W. Alexander remained in command with the battery reforming at Baltimore, being reequipped with rifles rather quickly in July.  The battery appears in Brigadier-General Erastus Tyler’s division, Northwestern Defenses of Baltimore.
  • Battery A (Junior): Reporting at Baltimore, Maryland with six 3-inch rifles (likely Ordnance Rifles).  As detailed above, the battery mustered in mid-July.  Captain John M. Bruce commanded.  The battery was also part of Tyler’s division.  The battery is often listed simply as “Junior Battery” on returns.
  • Battery B (Junior): At Camp Wharton (?), Maryland with six 12-pdr Napoleons.  The place name is not familiar to me, but I do know the battery was in the defenses of Baltimore.  Also seen on returns as the Eagle Battery.  Captain Joseph H. Audoun commanded.  As with the other Junior Battery, the Eagle Battery was assigned to the defenses of Baltimore, and part of Tyler’s division.

Turning to the ammunition reported, only one battery with smoothbore rounds on hand:

0259_1_Snip_MD

  • Battery B (Junior): 296 shot, 104 shell, 304 case, and 96 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.

But a lot of 3-inch rifles, meaning a lot of Hotchkiss entries:

0259_2_Snip_MD

  • Battery A: 80 canister for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery B: 182 canister, 188 percussion shell,  and 547 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Baltimore Battery: 121 canister, 120 percussion shell, 4 fuse shell, 10 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery A (Junior): 120 canister, 120 percussion shell, 240 fuse shell, and 720 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

These batteries had no rounds indicated on the next page:

0260_1_Snip_MD

But the batteries did report quantities of Schenkl on hand:

0260_2_Snip_MD

  • Battery A: 317 shell and 396 case for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery B: 253 shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Baltimore Battery: 240 shell and 710 case for 3-inch rifles.

Lastly, we turn to the small arms:

0260_3_Snip_MD

By battery:

  • Battery A: Eight Army revolvers, twenty cavalry sabers, and sixteen horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery B: Ten Army revolvers and twenty-one cavalry sabers.
  • Baltimore Battery: Twenty-four Army revolvers and thirty-two horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery A (Junior): Twenty Army revolvers and twenty cavalry sabers.
  • Battery B (Junior): Twenty Army revolvers and twenty cavalry sabers.

Consider that in July 1863 of the five Maryland batteries, two were just brought into existence and another had lost nearly all its equipment.  Those three batteries were constituted, or reconstituted as the case may be, within a matter of weeks.  That tells us much about the depth of the Federal war machine…. not to mention how many spare cannon were around just waiting to be issued.

Summary Statement, 3rd Quarter, 1863 – Indiana’s batteries, Part 2

We started on the last post working down this long list of Indiana batteries:

0249_1_Snip_IND_Pt1

In that last post, we discussed the first dozen independent batteries.  Picking up there, we have independent batteries 13 through 26:

0249_1_Snip_IND_Pt2

Yes, a baker’s dozen plus one.  But with those fourteen batteries, we actually have less numbers to consider as only half provided returns.  So a lot of administrative holes to resolve:

  • 13th Battery: No return.  Captain Benjamin S. Nicklin’s battery remained at Gallatin, Tennessee, garrisoning Fort Thomas, in the Army of the Cumberland.
  • 14th Battery: No return.  Lieutenant Francis W. Morse remained in command.  The battery started the summer in Jackson, Tennessee.  In June, the battery transferred to the railroad town of LaGrange and remained there for the remainder of the summer.  Presumably still with three 6-pdr field guns and one 3-inch Ordnance Rifle, the battery was part of the Sixteenth Corps’ many garrison commands.
  • 15th Battery: At Oak Springs, Tennessee with six 3-inch rifles.  Captain John C. H. von Sehlen commanded this battery, assigned to Fourth Division, Twenty-Third Corps and part of the campaign moving on Knoxville.   The report location is likely related to the November reporting date.
  • 16th Battery: A return of Fort Washington, Maryland without any guns listed.  There is a faint note “Infy Stores” under the regiment column.  Lieutenant Charles R. Deming’s battery were part of the Washington Defenses.
  • 17th Battery: No return.  At the end of the Gettysburg Campaign, Captain Milton L. Miner’s battery became part of the Maryland Heights Division, Department of West Virginia.  The battery reported six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles in previous quarters.
  • 18th Battery:  No Return. Captain Eli Lilly’s battery supported Wilder’s Brigade, Fourth Division, Fourteenth Corps.  The battery brought six 3-inch rifles and four 12-pdr mountain howitzers to Chickamauga.  The mountain howitzers supported the 72nd Indiana on September 20, and one of those was lost in the fighting.  Lilly reported the lost of two men killed and eight wounded;  six horses (plus one wounded); and expending 778 rounds.  A shame we don’t have a return from this… unique… and storied battery.
  • 19th Battery: Reporting at Chattanooga, Tennessee with three 12-pdr Napoleons and one 3-inch Rifles (not under the usual Ordnance Rifle column). This was a return dated January 1864.  But the location is valid.  Captain Samuel J. Harris’s battery was also part of Fourth Division, Fourteenth Corps and went into action at Chickamuaga with four 12-pdr Napoleons and two 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  On September 19, Harris was “disabled by a contusion” to his right side and turned command over to Lieutenant Robert S. Lackey.  During the fighting that disabled Harris, the battery lost a Napoleon and limber.  On the 20th, Lackey kept the battery in the fight, but would have one surviving Napoleon (axle straps) and a 3-inch rifle disabled.  While the Napoleon was brought off the field, the rifle’s axle came completely off and was had to be left behind.  Harris provided a very detailed statement of lost men, equipment and material after the battle.  In addition to the guns, the battery suffered two killed, 16 wounded, and two missing men.  The battery had fifteen horses lost or killed and six wounded. Harris accounted for four lost pistols, three sabers, seven sponges, four sponge buckets, two prolongs, among other items. The battery expended 350 3-inch rifle rounds and 750 12-pdr in the battle.  Harris recovered and remained in command of the battery.
  • 20th Battery:  At Nashville, Tennessee with two 6-pdr field guns and four 3.80-inch James rifles.  Captain Milton A. Osborne’s battery was assigned to the artillery reserve posted to Nashville, under the Army of the Cumberland. In October, the battery was among the forces pushed out to secure the railroad lines out of Nashville.
  • 21st Battery:  No return.  Captain William W. Andrew’s battery was the third Indiana battery assigned to Fourth Division, Fourteenth Corps.  However, Lieutenant William E. Chess field the battery’s report from the battle and appears to have lead the battery in the action.  They took six 12-pdr Napoleons into action, but lost one (and limber).  Chess recorded firing 10 shot, 168 case, 104 shell, and 160 canister – giving us some indication of the range at which this battery was engaged, and what targets they fired upon, during their part of the battle.
  • 22nd Battery: At Bowling Green, Kentucky with four 12-pdr Napoleons.  Under Captain Benjamin F. Denning, this battery was assigned to the Second Division, Twenty-Third Corps, Army of the Ohio.  Through the fall, the battery served at both Bowling Green and Russellsville, Department of Southwestern Kentucky.
  • 23rd Battery:  Reporting at Jonesboro (?), Tennessee with six 3.80-inch James Rifles.  Captain James H. Myers’ battery came across the Ohio River in September and was assigned to the “Left Wing” of Twenty-Third Corps.  Moving by way of the Cumberland Gap, the battery was among the forces operating around Morristown at the start of October.
  • 24th Battery: No return. Under Captain Joseph A. Sims, this battery moved from the Third Division to the Fourth Division in Twenty-Third Corps in August.  Though that move was basically part of the alignment of forces for the campaign on Knoxville.
  • 25th Battery:  No return. The 25th would not organize until the late summer of 1864.  So this is simply a placeholder line.
  • 26th Battery or Wilder’s: At Concord, Tennessee (just west of Knoxville) with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles, with a report date of March, 1864.  Recall this battery was first organized by (then) Captain John T. Wilder, later colonel of the famous “Lightning Brigade.”  The battery was captured at Harpers Ferry in 1862 and then reorganized.  Though given the 26th as a designation, throughout its service the battery was better known as Wilder’s.  Captain Hubbard T. Thomas commanded the battery, assigned to the Twenty-Third Corps.  The battery participated in the Knoxville Campaign in East Tennessee.  The location given in the return, however, likely reflects its winter garrison assignment.

As with the first batch of batteries, we see the “mark” of Chickamauga here reflected with lost cannon and in some cases missing reports.

Making what we can of the small number of returns, we start with the smoothbore ammunition:

0251_1_Snip_IND_Pt2

Three to consider:

  • 19th Battery: 20 shot, 8 shell, 72 case, and 52 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 20th Battery: 189 shot, 150 case, and 35 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
  • 22nd Battery: 98 shot, 119 shell, 144 case, and 121 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.

Note, the 19th Battery had but 152 rounds for their three Napoleons in the aftermath of Chickamauga.  That is if we take the report as precise for the moment in time.

Moving to the Hotchkiss columns:

0251_2_Snip_IND_Pt2

Four reporting:

  • 15th Battery: 460 canister, 402 fuse shell, and 1246 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 20th Battery: 145 percussion shell and 392 bullet shell for 3.80-inch James.
  • 23rd Battery: 365 percussion shell, 315 fuse shell, and 95 bullet shell for 3.80-inch James.
  • 26th Battery (Wilder’s): 520 canister, 260 percussion shell, 574 fuse shell, and 426 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

So we see those batteries sent into eastern Tennessee had ample ammunition on hand.

A couple more Hotchkiss entries on the next page:

0252_1A_Snip_IND_Pt2

Two reporting:

  • 20th Battery: 150 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • 23rd Battery: 210 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.

But none of these fourteen batteries had Schenkl projectiles or Tatham’s canister on hand:

0252_2_Snip_IND_Pt2

So we move on to the small arms:

0252_3_Snip_IND_Pt2

Looking at these by battery:

  • 15th Battery: Twenty-eight Army revolvers and twenty horse artillery sabers.
  • 19th Battery: Fourteen percussion pistols and fourteen horse artillery sabers.  I think the pistols are a transcription error, as the battery reported nineteen Army revolvers in the previous quarter.
  • 20th Battery: Twenty-two Army revolvers.
  • 22nd Battery: Thirty-two horse artillery sabers.
  • 23rd Battery: Thirty Navy revolvers and twenty horse artillery sabers.
  • 26th Battery (Wilder’s): Nineteen horse artillery sabers.

Moving from the independent batteries from Indiana for this quarter, we still have five entries “below the line” to consider.  We’ll pick those up in the next installment.

Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – Maryland’s Batteries

Sorry for the extended absence from the blog, as I’ve been on and off and back on vacation.  And let me pick up where we left off, on the second quarter, 1863 summary statements.  The next state in the queue is Maryland, with three batteries showing in the report:

0193_1_Snip_MD

Three lines, looking uniform with Ordnance Rifles all around:

  • Battery A: Indicated with the Army of the Potomac, but is that “Pa” or “Va”?  The former would be most precise, but either would be understood.  And reported with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  In May, the battery moved from the Sixth Corps to the Fourth Volunteer Brigade, Artillery Reserve. Captain James H. Rigby remained in command. The battery occupied a position on Powers Hill during the battle of Gettysburg, doing good work supporting the Federal position on Culp’s Hill.
  • Battery B: Reported at Maryland Heights, Maryland, with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Captain Alonzo Snow’s battery was also transferred out of the Sixth Corps in May, 1863.  Listed “unassigned” in the Artillery Reserve, the battery reported to Camp Barry, Washington, D.C., and was likely still there at the end of June.  In mid-July, the battery was among the forces reoccupying Harpers Ferry.
  • Baltimore Independent Battery: Showing at Baltimore, Maryland, with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  This is the correct location for the receipt date of February 1864.  But turning back to the end of June, 1863, the Baltimore Battery had much more to say.  Captain F. W. Alexander was part of Milroy’s command at Winchester, Virginia at the beginning of that month.  When that place was evacuated, Alexander’s men spiked the guns, disabled the carriages, destroyed ammunition, and escaped with their horses.  So their “proper” return would be no guns or ammunition, and reforming at Camp Barry.

Deserving brief mention, two other Maryland batteries were organized in July 1863 – Batteries A and B, Junior Light Artillery.  Both would serve but a year, mostly around Baltimore.  Neither were in existence at the end of June, however.

Moving to the ammunition pages, we can skip the smoothbore page, as these batteries had only rifles.  But where there are Ordnance Rifles, we expect to find Hotchkiss projectiles:

0195_2_Snip_MD

All three reported quantities:

  • Battery A: 98 canister, 110 fuse shell, and 196 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery B: 148 canister, 120 fuse shell, and 383 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Baltimore Battery: 121 canister, 120 percussion shell, 240 fuse shell, and 720 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

Of note, in the court of inquiry investigating the disaster at Winchester, Alexander indicated that at the start of the battle of Winchester, he had 1200 rounds on hand…. just one short of the actual tally given in the summary.   By the time of evacuation he was down to 28 rounds per gun, most of which was canister.  When ordered to evacuate, he testified,

I mounted the men on the horses, leaving those equipments that would rattle; saw the guns of my battery spiked, took off the cap-squares and linch-pins, and threw them into the water-tank. I then formed the men by twos, and marched them out of the fort.

So if we wish to split hairs, all the numbers given above for the Baltimore Battery, and their guns included, would be scratched out for the reporting date of June 30, 1863.

Moving to the next page, we find some Dyer’s projectiles on hand:

0196_1_Snip_MD

Two reporting quantities:

  • Battery A: 375 shrapnel and 43 canister for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery B: 97 shells for 3-inch rifles.

And the next page, we find the same two batteries with Schenkl projectiles:

0196_2_Snip_MD

  • Battery A: 372 shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery B: 444 shell for 3-inch rifles.

So once again, we find batteries with an assortment of projectile makes.

Moving on to the small arms:

0196_3_Snip_MD

By battery:

  • Battery A: Eight Army revolvers, twenty cavalry sabers, and twenty horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery B: Ten Army revolvers and twenty-two cavalry sabers.
  • Baltimore Battery:  Twenty-five Army revolvers and thirty-two horse artillery sabers.

Worth noting, in his official report, Alexander laments that most of his men were “totally unarmed” and thus were sent rapidly on the road to Harpers Ferry with the word of a Confederate cavalry pursuit.  He had just over eighty men to report at the end of the retreat, so just who had those pistols and sabers might be inferred.

(Citation from OR, Series I, Volume 27, Part II, Serial 44, page 103.)

Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – 5th Regiment, US Regulars

We move now to the Fifth US Artillery, which will complete our look through the Regulars for second quarter, 1863.  For the reporting period in question, every battery of the regiment had something recorded.  Though, that was not always cannon on hand.  Three of the battery reports arrived at the Ordnance Department in 1864 or 1865.  Otherwise, the Fifth appeared to have their paperwork in order.  So let’s see if that was simply a false front:

0168_1_Snip_5thUS

Walking through the rows:

  • Battery A: At Portsmouth, Virginia with six 12-pdr Napoleons.  During the spring, Battery A transferred, with parent organization, to Seventh Corps.  Under the new arrangements, Lieutenant James Gilliss’ battery supported Second Division of that corps.  The battery had been at Suffolk, Virginia, but was moving over to the Peninsula for Dix’s brief demonstration toward Richmond in late June.
  • Battery B:  Reporting at Hagerstown, Maryland with no artillery!  Battery B was at Fort Hamilton through much of the spring, completing its training and such.  In June, Lieutenant Henry A. Du Pont led the battery, reporting to First Division, Department of the Susquehanna, within the Middle Department’s Eighth Corps.  And the battery reported there with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.
  • Battery C: Technically off by one day, the battery reported at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania with six 12-pdr Napoleons.  With Captain Dunbar R. Ransom taking command of the 1st Brigade of the Artillery Reserve (Army of the Potomac), Lieutenant Gulian V. Weir assumed command of this battery.
  • Battery D: Bealton, Virginia (?) with six 10-pdr Parrotts.  Lieutenant Charles Hazlett’s battery supported Fifth Corps. The battery’s location on June 30 of the year was, of course, in the vicinity of Union Mills, Maryland.  And, as many readers are well familiar, Hazlett’s tenure in command was to end a couple days later as he defended Little Round Top.  Lieutenant Benjamin Rittenhouse was his able replacement.
  • Battery E: At Fort Hamilton, New York but without cannons.  As with Battery B above, Battery E completed its training and organization during the spring.  And like that sister battery, Battery E was transferred to the Department of the Susquehanna in June.  Lieutenant James W. Piper was in command.  The battery had six 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery F: No location given, but with six 10-pdr Parrotts.  The proper location, we know, was with Sixth Corps, around Manchester, Maryland.  Lieutenant Leonard Martin commanded this battery, which would defend Cemetery Hill on July 3.
  • Battery G: Port Hudson, Louisiana with six 12-pdr Napoleons.  Lieutenant  Jacob B. Rawles commanded this battery from Second Division, Nineteenth Corps.
  • Battery H: Tullahoma, Tennessee with two 12-pdr Napoleons and four 10-pdr Parrotts.  This was “flip” from the previous quarter, which I believe is in error.  The battery likely had four Napoleons and two Parrotts at this stage of the war. Captain George A. Kensel assumed command of the battery in mid-spring.  And the battery remained with First Division, Fourteenth Corps.
  • Battery I: Reporting at West Point, New York with four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. But we know that location is in error, possibly reflecting the 1865 report receipt date.   On June 30, Lieutenant Malbone F. Watson’s battery was with Fifth Corps along Pipe Creek.  Watson would lose a leg while leading his battery at Gettysburg on July 2.  Lieutenant Charles C. MacConnell took his place.
  • Battery K: No location given, but with four 12-pdr Napoleons. Another battery which we know was on the road to Gettysburg.  Lieutenant David H. Kinzie remained in command, but the battery transferred to the Twelfth Corps’ artillery.
  • Battery L: Reporting at Maryland Heights, Maryland with two 6-pdr field guns. Lieutenant Edmund D. Spooner’s battery was caught up in the disaster at Winchester, Virginia.  According to Spooner, eighteen men, armed only with sabers, escaped capture (having lost six Ordnance Rifles).  What remained of the battery reported to Camp Barry, which I’d submit is a more accurate location.  The report of two 6-pdrs points to some interesting inferences.
  • Battery M: At Warrenton, Virginia with six 12-pdr Napoleons. This location might be accurate for August, when the report was received. But at the end of June 1863 the battery was around Yorktown and was involved with Dix’s demonstration there. Captain James McKnight’s battery was assigned to Fourth Corps.

So we see the batteries of the Fifth Regiment were actively engaged across the board.  No easy garrison duty for those gunners!

Moving down the return… or more accurately, turning the page, we look at the smoothbore ammunition reported:

0170_1_Snip_5thUS

With the majority of the regiment’s batteries armed with Napoleons, we see those columns well populated:

  • Battery A: 192 shot, 96 shell, 288 case, and 192 canister for Napoleons.
  • Battery C: 465 shot, 162(?) shell, 369 case, and 100 canister for Napoleons.
  • Battery G: 217 shot, 352 shell, 438 case, and 132 canister for Napoleons.
  • Battery H: 172 shot, 64 shell, 171 case, and 100 canister for Napoleons.
  • Battery K:  36 shot, 5 shell, and 3 case for Napoleons.
  • Battery M:  288 shot, 96 shell, 288 case, and 96 canister for Napoleons.

The line that stands out is for Battery K.  Might those be the quantities on hand at the close of July 3, 1863?

Battery E probably had ammunition for its Napoleons on hand, but not reflecting on this report.

Spooner’s hard-luck, fought-out battery with their 6-pdrs reported:

  • Battery L: 96 shot, 56 case, and 48 canister for 6-pdr field guns.

Moving now to the rifled projectiles, there were two batteries with 3-inch Ordnance Rifles, but only one of which offered a full report.  Even with that, the Hotchkiss columns were noticeably short:

0170_2_Snip_5thUS

With Battery B still “new” and not fully reporting, only Battery I had Hotchkiss entries:

  • Battery I: 100 canister and 400 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

For the next page, we can narrow the review down to three batteries with Parrott rifles:

0171_1A_Snip_5thUS

Those three were:

  • Battery D: 320 shell, 500 case, and 48 canister for 10-pdr Parrotts.
  • Battery F: 480 shell, 480 case, and 144 canister for 10-pdr Parrotts.
  • Battery H: 240 shell, 54 case, and 94 canister for 10-pdr Parrotts.

And the next page, there were quantities of Schenkl projectiles reported:

0171_2_Snip_5thUS

Two entries for Parrott batteries and one for the 3-inch battery:

  • Battery D: 360 shell for 10-pdr Parrott.
  • Battery F: 120 shell for 10-pdr Parrott.
  • Battery I:  300 shell for 3-inch rifles.

Overall, the two “pure” Parrott batteries seemed well provisioned.  Battery H, which was mixed, might be a little lean.  And Battery I, with its 3-inch rifles, seemed a bit short.  But that might, again, be due to what the battery did during those first days of July.

That leaves us the small arms to consider… and a lot to consider:

0171_3_Snip_5thUS

Yes, a FULL slate of small arms reported:

  • Battery A: Twenty-two Army revolvers and sixty-five horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery B:  A hundred Army revolvers and 138 horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery C: Fifty-five Army revolvers and nineteen horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery D: Thirteen Navy revolvers, fifteen cavalry sabers, and thirty-seven horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery E: Twelve Army revolvers and 107 horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery F: Twenty-four Army revolvers and twenty horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery G: Twenty-one horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery H: Sixteen Navy revolvers, five cavalry sabers, and thirty-nine horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery I: Twenty-one Army revolvers and thirty-five horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery K: Fifty-eight Army revolvers and sixteen horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery L: Nothing… not even the sabers reported carried off the field at Winchester.
  • Battery M: Twenty-four Navy revolvers and twenty horse artillery sabers.

We again must keep in mind the time frame and context.  These numbers on the sheet were cannon, ammunition, and small arms which would be put to use by these batteries in June and July 1863.

Trip Report: Maryland Heights re-visit… and some perspective

Because of our close proximity to the Potomac River, Harpers Ferry is a frequent weekend day-trip destination for us.  On Saturday, the aide-de-camp and I drove over with the objective of “climbing as far as we can” up Maryland Heights (with the promise of an ice cream if we attained the summit).   I’ve not hiked the trail up Maryland Heights in several years.  The trail was one of my first “features” here on the blog.  I sort of cringe looking back at those early posts, well before I sorted out how best to compose a blog post.

The hike is not an easy one.  The Park Service website rates it “Difficult (steep and rocky in places), 4.5 or 6.5 miles round trip, 3 to 4 hours.”  But the view from the top and chance to examine fortifications makes that effort worthwhile.  The trip up on Saturday gave me a chance to see what changes were made by the park over the last few years.  I noticed this most around the Six-Gun Battery just below the top of the mountain.  In 2007 the magazine location was cluttered by deadfall:

Maryland Heights 22 Sept 211

As was the line of the works:

Maryland Heights 22 Sept 213

On Saturday, we noticed the site was much improved by clearing, making the magazine and line of works easy to make out… and thus making the magazine that much more impressive to the visitor:

Maryland Heights 412

Same for the interior line of works:

Maryland Heights 413

From the exterior, the visitor can better make out the ditch:

Maryland Heights 416

I don’t recall if this walkway over the works was in place back in 2007, but the one there on Saturday looked relatively new (using fiberboard):

Maryland Heights 418

Certainly makes access to the works easier… and ensures the works will still be around for some years to come.

Most who hike up the mountain spend the most of their time at the overlook of Harpers Ferry, on the south end of Maryland Heights, for good reason.  But don’t forget, particularly if you are into the Civil War history of the heights, the overlooks on the east side of the mountain.  Particularly looking down the Potomac:

Maryland Heights 426

This overlook is near the 100-pdr Battery location.   Do you recognize any features?

If not, let me mention some.  First off, to the immediate center-right is the north end of Short Hill Mountain, known as Buzzard Rock.  South Mountain’s southern terminus is out of view due to the trees.  Snaking through the center of view is the Potomac.  Notice the bridge at Brunswick (wartime Berlin), Maryland, where the Army of the Potomac twice put up pontoon bridges.  Beyond in the distance are the Catoctin Ridge and Sugarloaf Mountain.   Just under Sugarloaf Mountain is a saddle in Catoctin Ridge (Maryland section) where a Federal signal station operated at times during the war.  Here’s an annotated version of the photo above:

MarylandHeightsViewAnnotated

This view-shed is historic.  Across this “air” traveled some of the important messages from multiple Civil War campaigns. To demonstrate that, let us go to the maps.  First a map from 1861 showing the location of Federal signal stations:

MH_SLM_SigNet1861

I placed a red box on the left to show the location of a Federal signal station on Maryland Heights.  Follow the line to the right and you see Sugarloaf Mountain on the map.  Although telegraph lines followed the railroad down the Potomac to Harpers Ferry, that was sometimes problematic and vulnerable to Confederate interdiction.   So the wig-wag stations offered a reliable alternative.

This link was maintained through much of the war.  Thinking of the Antietam Campaign, when the station at Sugerloaf Mountain was captured by Confederates, they also severed the “air line” we see in the photo, which is depicted on the map by the red line.

Moving to the summer of 1863, and using the signal maps of the Gettysburg Campaign, we see the same “red line” augmented by several “spurs” from Sugarloaf Mountain:

MH_SLM_SigNet1863

Once again, the “air line” between Maryland Heights and Sugarloaf Mountain was critical.  Reports of Confederate movements into Maryland and Pennsylvania came to Major-General Joseph Hooker by way of Maryland Heights… and had to pass through Sugarloaf Mountain and thence to Washington (telegraph) before getting to Hooker.  Furthermore, Sugarloaf provided the “air line” to communicate to locations such as Leesburg or Poolesville.  So we have to ask, where was the best location for Hooker to command the army at … say… June 25, 1863?

The blue lines and boxes are stations related to the return from Gettysburg.  The signal stations provided coverage at the Berlin crossing site.  Point of Rocks, or Trammelstown depending on which report you read, was a secondary station used earlier in June, but took added importance coordinating the flow of supplies in July 1863.

All of these “air lines” depend upon the view-shed from Maryland Heights.  At critical phases of the Civil War, vital information “few” across that line of sight to leaders beyond.  Those leaders made key decisions, then communicated the details back across that “air.”  We can find reports and orders now consolidated in print within the Official Records which “flew” across the view in the photo above.

Consider this a vital dimension to add to your next battlefield visit. Imagine, if you will, those red lines through the sky.  How did the communications flow, from headquarters to the troops?  And where was that?

Such also adds a new dimension to our preservation discussions.  Do you see why preservationists should be sensitive to encroachments into the view-sheds?