Summary Statement, 4th Quarter, 1863 – California

Working in reverse alphabetical order through the C’s, as that’s how the clerks at the Ordnance Department recorded things, we come to California. Formally speaking, no batteries from California mustered into Federal service. But as we’ve detailed in previous quarters, infantry and cavalry regiments from California received artillery to support their duties at frontier posts. And those are reflected in the summaries. Furthermore, there were a handful of militia batteries, not mustered into Federal service, but for whom we have very solid documentation to discuss. That said, here’s the California section for the fourth quarter of 1863, ending in December of that year (note that all three lines indicate receipt dates in February 1864.. prompt considering the distances involved):

0309_1_Snip_CA
  • Company H, 3rd California Infantry: Reporting at Camp Connor, Idaho with one 12-pdr mountain howitzer. This entry line is a re-appearance of a cannon first reported in the second quarter of 1863 (being left out in the third quarter returns). I would suggest that mountain howitzer was with the company through the summer and fall. The lacking paperwork aside, Captain David Black commanded Company H. Looking through returns and CSRs, we find an annotation that “1 Mountain Howitzer turned over to Capt. Black, 3d Infy. C.V. en route to Soda Springs” in May 1863. And on May 23 of that year, Black established Camp Connor there at Soda Springs, Idaho. The larger context here is that Black’s command was part of Brigadier-General Patrick Edward Connor’s operations aimed to secure the Idaho Territory against any potential Confederate incursions. But in retrospect, was more so aimed at suppressing Indian tribes in that territory.
  • Company B, 1st Battalion California Mountaineers: At Fort Gaston, California, but with no cannon reported. Lieutenant-Colonel Stephen G. Whipple commanded this battalion, which served in the Humbolt District, in Northern California, protecting settlements from several hostile tribes in the “Two-Years War” phase of the Bald Hills Wars. This return should list at least one mountain howitzer, as one such appears in a report of action at the close of December that year. An expedition out of Fort Gaston came upon a fortified and armed group of Indians, about twenty-five miles from the post, on December 25, 1863. Whipple dispatched Captain George W. Ousley, of Company B, with a detachment and a mountain howitzer. “After the arrival of Captain Ousley [on December 26] a fire of shell was kept up as long as the ammunition lasted, doing some damage to the rancherias, but not dislodging the Indians, who had covered ways through which they passed from house to house.” While not effective in action, we can thus confirm the presence of a cannon with the battalion at that post.
  • Company C, 5th California Infantry: No location given, but with four 12-pdr mountain howitzers. Colonel George W. Bowie commanded this regiment, which served detached to several posts in the Department of New Mexico, mostly in the District of Arizona, at this time of the war. Company C, under Captain John S. Thayer, served at Mesilla, in the New Mexico Territory (though is sometimes listed as Las Cruces on some reports), protecting the approaches to El Paso. Specifically regarding the howitzers, Special Orders No. 44 from the District of Arizona Headquarters detailed, “Company C, Fifth Infantry California Volunteers, will take post at Mesilla upon the arrival at Las Cruces of Company E, same regiment. Capt. John S. Thayer, commanding Company C, will take charge of and receipt for the howitzer battery now in the hands of the acting ordnance officer, and have that company ready for efficient service with the same as soon as practicable.”

Perhaps more than I normally provide for the administrative details. But given the obscurity of service for these details, it is important to recall the context of their service.

Moving to the ammunition reported, we have smoothbore rounds to account for:

0311_1_Snip_CA
  • Company H, 3rd California: 36 shell and 36 case for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.
0311_2_Snip_CA
  • Company H, 3rd California: 24 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.

I’ve posted all the other pages to Flickr for review. But the only sheet with any more tallies is page 7:

0315_1_Snip_CA
  • Company H, 3rd California: 25 pounds of cannon powder.
  • Company C, 5th California Infantry: 50 pounds of cannon powder and 250 friction primers.

Before closing the book on California, we should consider the militia batteries from the state. Normally I don’t bring them up in relation to the Ordnance Summaries, as these were not active duty batteries and thus fall outside the scope of study here. But in the case of California, I find the militia service fairly well documented… and … well… interesting to a degree.

Two California militia batteries were in existence at the end of December 1863. The Washington Light Artillery of Napa, Napa County was organized on July 31, 1863, with Captain Nathan McCoombs in command. However, not until February of 1864 would Napa’s Washington Light Artillery receive arms and equipment (financed by bond). 

The National Light Artillery also formed in July 1863, but in Santa Clara County.  S. C. Houghton was named Captain after a continuous election. And rumors persisted about Confederate sentiments among the ranks. Yet, the battery was mustered into state service on October 1. This battery would not receive much support, but had a record of regular drill. I cannot determine what, if any, ordnance was issued to the battery.

Summary Statement, 3rd Quarter, 1863 – Missing Batteries

With the final entry for Wisconsin, I’ve presented all the sections from the Ordnance Summary Statements for the third quarter of 1863.  Those covered equipment reported from “light” batteries, or any other unit reporting field artillery on hand.  With any such accounting, and in particular during wartime, there will be gaps and missing information.  When I started these summary statement postings, I figured to just present the entries “as is” since that would leave the information in context.  But as I completed the first set (fourth quarter, 1862) realization set in that the context required identification of what was not mentioned.  Since then, I’ve preferred to identify these “in line” with the entries.  So where the clerks skipped, omitted, or simply didn’t know about a formation that WE, looking back from our perspective, knew existed, I’ll try to include those in the discussion under the appropriate heading.  And that’s what we’ve done for the third quarter of 1863.  Just a summary where those exist:

  • California: Two militia batteries organized in the summer of 1863, the The Washington Artillery (of Napa County) and  National Light Artillery (of Santa Clara County).  Neither were equipped until much later.  As these were militia batteries, one understands the omission. 
  • Connecticut: Batteries B and M, 1st Connecticut Heavy Artillery served the 2nd Volunteer Brigade, Artillery Reserve, Army of the Potomac.  As these batteries used 4.5-inch siege rifles, they were not, strictly speaking, light batteries.  And, of course, there are no columns for the big siege rifles on the summary form!  (… but we will see such a column later.)
  • Delaware: Crossley’s Half-Company of Artillery mustered as part of the efforts to meet the emergency situation in June 1863.  They mustered out in September.
  • Iowa: The 4th Iowa Battery, just getting organized, escaped the clerk’s mention.
  • Kansas: Several militia batteries existed at the time.  Because of the nature of the war in Kansas, these units, arguably, saw glimpses of “the elephant” without being formally mustered.  Additionally, Armstrong’s Battery, part of the 1st Kansas Colored Infantry, escaped mention.
  • Maine: 7th Maine Light Battery began formation in the fall of 1863. Though it would not formally muster until December.
  • Massachusetts: The 13th Massachusetts Battery served in Louisiana at this time of the war, though heavily reduced due to sickness, death, and accidents.  The men serving with the battery were serving with the 2nd Massachusetts Battery.  That situation may justify the battery’s omission.
  • New Jersey: Chapin’s Battery was among the troops mustered for the emergency of June 1863.
  • New York: The 35th and 36th New York Independent Batteries were being organized during the third quarter. But neither would complete, and their men would eventually be transferred to heavy artillery regiments.
  • Ohio: Law’s Howitzer Battery, associated with the 2nd Ohio Cavalry, probably escaped mention due to the lack of reporting.
  • Pennsylvania: While the independent batteries can be accounted for, the clerks, understandably, did not list the militia and other emergency batteries that saw service from June through the fall of 1863.
  • Tennessee: Only a heading entry in the summary.  But there were five batteries, either in service or being organized, as part of the state’s light artillery regiment.  Furthermore the Memphis Light Artillery, a USCT formation, and Hurlbut’s Battery, a temporary unit detailed from the Memphis garrison, might be mentioned.

But that last reference, to Tennessee, brings up a couple of other sets that escaped mention.  The first of these, like Hurlbut’s Battery, were temporary or composite units formed in response to operational needs. 

  • Boyle’s Battery:  Appears to be named for Brigadier-General Jeremiah T. Boyle.  Comprised of volunteers from the 107th Illinois, 80th Indiana, and 13th & 33rd Kentucky. Served in Western Kentucky.
  • Post Artillery, Fort Leavenworth: Also known as the 4th Kansas Independent Battery. Captain Charles S. Bowman commanded. Later became Company M, 16th Kansas Cavalry.
  • Hurlbut’s Battery: Which I grouped under Tennessee (probably incorrectly) and mentioned above.  Again, this was a battery built around a pair of James rifles and a pair of 6-pdr field guns.  The men were volunteers from regiments then assigned to the Memphis garrison.
  • 1st Florida Battery: This battery formed under the 1st Florida (US) Cavalry in the Pensacola area.  I call it a battery here out of convenience, and because occasionally it was cited as such.  In reality, this was properly a detachment under the regiment.

Another category here which should be mentioned are the US Colored Troops.  I’ve speculated that two entry lines, one annotated under Missouri and another under Mississippi, were likely reports from artillery sections of US Colored Troops.  And the 1st Louisiana Heavy Artillery, later known as the 1st Corps de Afrique Heavy Artillery, and eventually re-designated the 10th US Colored Heavy Artillery, had a line in the summaries.  But there are a few other batteries which should be mentioned:

  • Memphis Light Battery (AD):  “AD” for African Descent, as I’m working from the somewhat “official” designation that appears in post-war War Department notations. Already mentioned. Captain Carl Adolf Lamberg commanded.  The battery was sometimes carried as the 1st Tennessee Colored Light Battery or similar derivations. 
  • 1st Battery Louisiana Light Artillery (AD):  Organizing at Hebron’s Plantation, Louisiana, but would not muster until November 1863. Captain Isaac B. Goodloe commanded.
  • 2nd Battery Louisiana Light Artillery (AD): Being organized at Black River Bridge, outside Vicksburg, Mississippi.  Would not muster until December 1863. Captain William M. Pratt would command.
  • 3rd Battery Louisiana Light Artillery (AD):  Also being organized, but in this case at Helena, Arkansas.  The battery did not muster until December. Captain Jonas Fred Lembke would be the commander. 

Another “gap” that I wish we could close up are the guns assigned to the various heavy artillery units (either serving as heavy in name, or otherwise employed as such).  It appears, unfortunately, the Ordnance Department preferred to carry those on separate forms, if not outright ignored these.  I can speculate at length as to why this would be the case.  But that would be speculation lacking documentation.  In an effort to at least identify the context of that “gap” I will follow this post with a listing of heavy artillery units in service in the third quarter of 1863.