Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – New York’s miscellaneous detachments and batteries

Below the second quarter, 1863 listing for the New York independent batteries are three lines derived from returns of separate, non-artillery battery, detachments:

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Recall we discussed a fourth “line” earlier in this series – the 3rd New York Cavalry – as that entry was better placed in the order it appeared on the summaries. These remaining “orphans” include artillery pieces and stores under the charge of a Lieutenant (unit unspecified) and reported by two infantry regiments:

  • “Lieutenant – Stores in Charge”: The unnamed lieutenant was at Gloucester Point, Virginia.  With several artillery batteries, in particular some New York batteries, at that station, one wonders why the stores were not distributed to the artillerists.
  • 100th New York Infantry:   Reporting a pair of 6-pdr field guns at Morris Island, South Carolina.  Of course, as of June 30, the regiment was actually on Folly Island, across the Stono River.  They would land on the southern end of Morris Island on July 10.  These guns were not part of the masked batteries on Folly Island.  More likely the 6-pdrs were assigned to the works securing the southwestern end of the island.
  • 132nd New York Infantry: The regiment was stationed at New Bern, North Carolina at this time.  No cannon on hand. Just stores and equipment.  With so many artillery batteries stationed there, we must again wonder why the infantry was stuck with this charge.

There is, however, one light battery which escaped the tallies of the clerks in Washington.  And that was not due to some administrative oversight.  Rather, that battery’s service, as a mustered “Federal” battery, was very brief.

Colonel William B. Barnes received authorization to recruit the 11th New York Artillery Regiment in February 1863.  Handbills and newspaper announcements proclaimed this regiment would man the fortifications around New York City, with promises of no marches or backpacks.  Good duty if you can get it!  By June, Barnes had upwards of 1,000 recruits at Rochester, New York.

Then the other shoe dropped.  With reports of Confederates moving into Pennsylvania, authorities in Washington and New York reached for any and all resources to meet the threat.  Among those was the 11th New York.  On June 15, orders came for the regiment to report to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  Before that could happen, the mustering officer culled out unfit or otherwise unqualified recruits.  This limited the regiment to just four batteries – A, B, C, and D.

Of those four, only Battery D was equipped as a light battery.  Captain William F. Goodwin recruited his battery with an additional enticement – service with a unique and advanced weapon.  From a notice run in the Albany Evening Journal, on, quite appropriately, June 15:

Goodwin’s Battery. – Capt. Goodwin is recruiting in this city for a Battery to be attached to the 11th Artillery.  His company is nearly half full, and he hopes, in the course of a few weeks, to be in position to take the field.

His guns – his own invention – have been warmly approved by leading artillery officers and accepted by the Government.  They are breech-loaders, and are claimed to have the widest range of any in the world.  They have projected a ball the enormous distance of six miles, and can be fired at the rate of fifteen times a minute.  Capt. G. assures us that they can be fired fifteen hundred rounds without cleaning or swabbing.

Capt. Goodwin is an officer of high character and large experience in the science of gunnery, and his Battery is destined to make its mark.

Artillery enthusiasts know well this song.  Such advanced weapons rarely lived up to the sales pitch hype! The details of this weapon are best saved for a dedicated post.  But Goodwin did provide an illustration of the mechanism with a patent application:

 

GoodwinGun

Goodwin’s design included a breech plug, lined with rubber or other material.  That was forced into a seat with a breech piece swung horizontally on a yoke.  I’ll offer more details separately, but the main point today is this was of Goodwin’s own design.

Goodwin’s Battery, along with the three others, boarded trains for Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on June 17.  In Pennsylvania, the 11th was part of the scratch force assembled to defend Harrisburg.  On July 1, the 11th was ordered to proceed to Carlisle, in reaction to Confederate cavalry, to serve as infantry.  This prompted a mutiny, as the rank and file had not signed up for such. Writing on July 10, Brigadier-General Lorenzo Thomas, in Harrisburg, had unflattering words about the regiment as a whole, but held a favorable impression of Goodwin’s:

… Goodwin’s battery of four 10-pounder rifled breech-loading guns went forward [to Chambersburg] this morning.  The Eleventh New York Heavy Artillery, excepting Goodwin’s battery, which rendered good service, left this morning for New York City, to report to General Wool. This is the regiment which refused to go forward as infantry when the rebels were advancing and near this place.  (OR, Series I, Volume 27, Part III, Serial 45, pages 633-4.)

Thomas’ report confirms Goodwin’s Battery did serve as field artillery during their brief active service. Furthermore, we have some indication as to the caliber of weapon, if indeed those were of Goodwin’s design.  While not precise, the 10-pounder label is often used for 3-inch caliber.

While Batteries A, B, and C of the 11th proceeded back to New York, Battery D briefly served in Pennsylvania.  By the end of July all were back in their home state, serving at Fort Richmond (Battery A), Fort Hamilton (Batteries B and D), and Sandy Hook (Battery C).  The 11th was mustered out shortly afterwards, but remained on state rolls.  Because of the brief, perhaps only six weeks in total, service of Battery D, we do not see them recorded on this summary.

Goodwin’s Battery was still at Fort Hamilton on September 18 when disaster struck.  While practicing, one of the guns discharged prematurely.  Goodwin was badly injured and a private lost his arm when the breech plug blew out the back of the gun.  A report in Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, on October 3, lamented, “… it is feared the Captain will lose his eyesight.”

Turning back to the summaries, we find the 100th New York Infantry had ammunition on hand for it’s 6-pdrs:

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  • 100th New York Infantry: 40 shot, 40 case, and 20 canister for 6-pdr field guns.

Ample supply for a couple of guns guarding the approaches to Folly Island.

The 132nd New York had Hotchkiss projectiles on hand:

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  • 132nd New York Infantry: 26 shot, 20 percussion shell, and 40 fuse shell for 2.6-inch rifles, presumably Wiard 6-pdrs.

Further down, we see the unnamed lieutenant at Gloucester Point had his hands full with 3-inch projectiles:

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  • Gloucester Point: 73 Dyer’s shrapnel for 3-inch rifles.

Add to several chests worth of Schenkl shells:

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  • Gloucester Point: 299 Shenkl shell for 3-inch rifles.

As a taxpayer, I am profoundly irritated, 150 years after the fact, at this gross wastage.  Why weren’t these 372 projectiles simply transferred over to the 8th New York Independent Battery?  Instead, some lieutenant wasted his time, and my tax money, accounting for and maintaining this pile of shells!   If only the Ordnance Department were as “vigorous” for accounting of Goodwin’s Battery!

Things never seem to change, do they?

Turning to the small arms we see…..

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Nothing.  Of course, these units would report their small arms on a separate report specifically for infantry weapons.

Thus concludes New York for the second quarter of 1863.  Up next… OHIO!

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Summary Statement, 1st Quarter, 1863 – Rhode Island’s Light Batteries

When transcribing the summary statements, I like to see clean entries where clerks have recorded returns for all listed batteries.  Such reduces questions to some manageable level.  And that is what we see with the Rhode Island volunteers for the first quarter, 1863:

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Not exactly crisp, however.  We see one entry was delayed until 1864.  And we have two station entries that are blank.  Still, better than many we’ve encountered.  As with the previous quarter, we have two parts to consider for the Rhode Island artillerymen.  We start with the 1st Rhode Island Artillery Regiment:

  • Battery A: At Falmouth, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Captain William A. Arnold remained in commanded this battery,  supporting Second Division, Second Corps.
  • Battery B: No station given, but with six 12-pdr Napoleons. Battery was also assigned to Second Division, Second Corps and was thus also at Falmouth.  When Captain  John G. Hazard became the division’s artillery chief, Lieutenant T. Frederick Brown assumed command (the move occurred at the end of the winter months).
  • Battery C: No station given, but with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Captain Richard Waterman commanded this battery, assigned to First Division, Fifth Corps. The battery was also in the Falmouth area.
  • Battery D: At Lexington, Kentucky  with six 12-pdr Napoleons. Captain  William W. Buckley commanded this battery assigned to Second Division, Ninth Corps.  Recall this division was among the troops dispatched wet to Kentucky, with Burnside, during the winter months.
  • Battery E: At Falmouth with six 12-pdr Napoleons.  Captain Pardon S. Jastram’s battery remained with First Division, Third Corps.
  • Battery F: At New Berne, North Carolina with six 10-pdr Parrotts (shed of two howitzers reported in the last quarter). Captain James Belger commanded this battery, part of the Artillery Brigade, Eighteenth Corps.
  • Battery G: Falmouth, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Assigned to Third Division, Second Corps, then at Falmouth.  Captain George W. Adams assumed command prior to the Chancellorsville Campaign.
  • Battery H: At Union Mills, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Assigned to Casey’s Division, Twenty-second Corps from the Defenses of Washington.  Captain Jeffrey Hazard commanded this battery.

Moving down a lot of blank lines, we have one battery from the 3rd Rhode Island Heavy Artillery that was serving in the light artillery capacity:

  • Company C: At Beaufort, South Carolina with four 12-pdr field howitzers, having turned in it’s mix of Parrotts and 24-pdr field howitzers.  Captain Charles R. Brayton was in command, assigned to the Tenth Corps.

The Rhode Island batteries were somewhat uniform, with the few mixed batteries refitting from the previous quarter.  Such makes the ammunition listings predictable:

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Four batteries of smoothbores… but only three listings:

  • Battery B: 288 shot, 96 shell, 388(?) case, and 96 canister for Napoleons.
  • Battery E: 288 shot, 96 shell, 288 case, and 96 canister for Napoleons.
  • Battery C, 3rd Artillery: 426 shell, 549 case, and 164 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.

So no ammunition reported for Battery D.  And two very suspiciously uniform lines for Battery B and E.  Battery C, by the way, had plenty of ammunition on hand.

Moving to the rifled columns, we saw four batteries with 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Correspondingly, four batteries reported Hotchkiss projectiles in that caliber:

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Quantities reported were all for 3-inch rifles:

  • Battery A:  195 canister, 57 percussion shell, 467 fuse shell, and 509 bullet shell.
  • Battery C: 120 canister, 251 percussion shell, 193 fuse shell, and 603 bullet shell.
  • Battery G: 239 canister, 104 percussion shell, 211 fuse shell, and 461 bullet shell.
  • Battery H: 120 canister, 250 percussion shell, 280 fuse shell, and 582 bullet shell.

We saw one battery with Parrott rifles.  And there is one entry line to consider:

0143_1A_Snip_RI

  • Battery F: 1,293 shell, 171 case, and 134 canister for 10-pdr Parrotts.

Yes, 1,293 shells…. 215 shells per gun in that battery.

The only “strays” in this set are on the Schenkl columns:

0143_2_Snip_RI

Two batteries reporting quantities:

  • Battery A: 157 Schenkl shells for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery G: 181 Schenkl shells for 3-inch rifles.

Other than a few open questions (particularly with Battery D, moving to the Ohio Valley, not reporting ammunition on hand) these are “clean”.  So on to the small arms.

0143_3_Snip_RI

By Battery:

  • Battery A: Four Army revolvers, twenty Navy revolvers, and thirty-nine horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery B: Twenty-five horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery C: Eight Navy revolvers and twelve horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery D: Eight Army revolvers, twelve Navy revolvers, and eighteen horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery E: Seventeen Navy revolvers.
  • Battery F: Sixteen Army revolvers, eighty-eight Navy revolvers, twenty cavalry sabers, and nine horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery G: Fourteen Army revolvers and eighteen horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery H: Twenty Army revolvers and thirty-two horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery C, 3rd Artillery: Forty-nine Navy revolvers and 120 cavalry sabers.

There were two batteries included within these summaries which lacked any direct affiliation with the Army of the Potomac (Battery D was leaving that army, being transferred west).  Those two batteries, Battery F and lone heavy battery serving as light, were posted to backwater assignments.  Those two batteries reported a larger quantity of small arms on hand, as they assumed some non-artillery roles in the line of duty.

Summary Statement, 1st Quarter, 1863 – 3rd New York Light Artillery Regiment

Given the nature of mustering, organizing, and outfitting, it was rare that all the batteries of a light artillery regiment went to war as a set.  Arguably, that is what happened with the 3rd New York Light Artillery Regiment.  Arguably… as the regiment was also not completely outfitted as light artillery, serving as heavy artillery.  I briefly discussed the regiment’s formation in the preface to the fourth quarter return.  And we saw the regiment (minus Battery L, which was really just a paper designation) served in North Carolina, mostly around New Bern.  With the new year changes came.  First, Colonel James H. Ledlie became the Chief of Artillery, Eighteenth Corps.  Lieutenant-Colonel Charles H. Stewart then assumed command of the regiment, with Lieutenant-Colonel Henry M. Stone as second in command.  But the regiment was not to remain intact.  Major-General David Hunter called for reinforcements for his planned offensive on Charleston.  Along with other units, Major-General John Foster sent Batteries A, B, C, D, E, F, and I to the Department of the South.  The other batteries remained in North Carolina, and many men saw action in the Siege of Washington, March 30-April 20, 1863.

With those changes in mind, what do we see on the returns for the quarter?

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Strictly according to the clerks at the Ordnance Department:

  • Battery A: No return.
  • Battery B: No location listed, but reporting six 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery C: Infantry Stores, New Bern, North Carolina.
  • Battery D: Infantry Stores, New Bern, North Carolina.
  • Battery E: New Berne, armed with two 24-pdr and two 32-pdr field howitzers.
  • Battery F: No return.
  • Battery G: No return.
  • Battery H: New Berne with six 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery I: New Berne reporting four 20-pdr Parrotts.
  • Battery K: New Berne with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.
  • Battery L: No return.  Again, this battery did not exist
  • Battery M: Infantry Stores, New Bern, North Carolina.

But allow me to reconcile these lines against details from the regimental history.  First off, the batteries, or sections thereof, transferred to South Carolina:

  • Battery A: Lieutenant Martin Laughlin with 60 men to serve as heavy artillery, armed with rifles.
  • Battery B: Captain Joseph J. Morrison, with 102 men serving six 12-pdr Napoleons.  (Although Captain James B. Ashcroft appears on other records.)
  • Battery C: Lieutenant Charles B. Randolph with 26 men serving as heavy artillery.
  • Battery D: Lieutenant Luke Brannick with 25 men serving as heavy artillery.
  • Battery E: Captain Theodore H. Schenck with 90 men also serving as heavy artillery. Presumably leaving the heavy howitzers in North Carolina.
  • Battery F: Captain Edwin S. Jenny (when promoted, replaced by Captain David A. Taylor) and 94 men with six 6-pdr Wiards (Though I question if that caliber or the 12-pdrs were assigned).
  • Battery I: Lieutenant George W. Thomas, 98 men, and six 12-pdr Napoleons (in lieu of 20-pdr Parrotts?).  (However, Captain John H. Ammon was listed as battery commander.)

Note that some batteries were reduced much in manpower, in part due to expiration of enlistments.  We see some matches to the returns, with equipment reported.  And some clear misses!  And we might correctly allocate Batteries A, B, E, and I, at least, to Port Royal at this time.  These seven batteries/sections were carried on some returns as a battalion, under Schenk. (And I would mention, as a shameless promotion of other blog posts, you readers are familiar with these batteries from their work during the summer of 1863 on Morris Island.)

Back in North Carolina, Battery G was part of the Washington (North Carolina) garrison.   Batteries H, K, and M reported from New Bern. Sections, or at least detachments, from Batteries E, F, and I remained at New Bern. Thus we have some reconciliation between the actual duty location and that indicated on the summary.  Of those not mentioned above, here were the battery commander assignments:

  • Battery G:  Captain John Wall.
  • Battery H:  Captain William J. Riggs.
  • Battery K: Captain James R. Angel.
  • Battery M:  Captain John H. Howell.

I’ve spent much longer discussing the organization and activities of the regiment, as that sets up for a longer discussion, during the next couple of quarters, as batteries were mustered out and replaced.  And besides, with all those “Infantry Stores” lines, there are not a lot of artillery projectiles to count!

Turning beyond that organizational aspect of the 3rd New York, let us look at ammunition on hand.  First the smoothbore:

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Three batteries to consider:

  • Battery B: 648 shot, 408 shell, 848 case, and 440 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon (I believe column entries for shell is another clerking error.)
  • Battery E: 42 shell, 166 case, 42 canister for 24-pdr field howitzers; 66 shell, 130 case, and 48 canister for 32-pdr field howitzers.
  • Battery H: 439 shot, 130 shell, 464 case, and 160 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.  (Again, the entry for case appears to be a transcription error by the clerks.)

We see above that Battery E did not take the big howitzers to South Carolina.  Later, there are reports of howitzers of those calibers around New Bern.  So I assume those were transferred to the garrison there.

Moving to ammunition for the rifles, there are short entries:

0126_2_Snip_NY3

Just one battery with Hotchkiss:

  • Battery K: 184 canister, 160 percussion shell, 287 fuse shell, 452 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

On the next page of rifled projectiles, we can focus on entries for Parrott-types:

0127_1A_Snip_NY3

And that is for 20-pdrs that we might assume, based on regimental history, were left in North Carolina:

  • Battery I: 541 shell and 450 case shot for 20-pdr Parrotts.

Moving to the third page, likewise only one line reporting… and that on the far right of the section:

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Tatham’s:

  • Battery I: 123 Tatham 3.67-inch canister.

While Tatham is most associated with James and other bronze rifles, the 20-pdr Parrott’s bore was 3.67-inch.

Lastly, we turn to the small arms:

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By battery reporting:

  • Battery B: Twenty Army revolvers and thirty-three horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery E: Nineteen Navy revolvers, two cavalry sabers, and thirty-one horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery H: Thirty-one Navy revolvers and fifty horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery I: Ten Army revolvers, nine Navy revolvers, and forty horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery K: Twenty-seven Navy revolvers, three cavalry sabers, and fifty-two horse artillery sabers.

Would be interesting to have a full set of returns for the small arms.  Some of the “heavy” batteries are listed here, but not all.  Given the nature of the 3rd regiment’s service at this point in the war, it is odd not to see long guns reported.
(Details of the 3rd New York Artillery’s service from Henry Hall and James Hall, Cayuga in the field : a record of the 19th N. Y. Volunteers, all the batteries of the 3d New York Artillery, and 75th New York Volunteers, Auburn, New York, 1873.)

“They … could not believe there was any danger till it was upon them”: March 8, 1865, Wyse Fork

Although one of the largest engagements in North Carolina during the Civil War, the Battle of Wyse Fork is overshadowed by the larger battle of Bentonville.  Though some  some 120 miles northeast of Major-General William T. Sherman’s columns on March 8, 1865, Wyse Fork was a direct result of logistic needs for the Federals operating in North Carolina. I mentioned some of the placenames yesterday, but allow me to point them out on the map:

WF_MoreheadCity_Goldsboro_Fayetteville

As you can see, there was a lot of “map” between Fayetteville and New Bern, where Sherman might draw supplies.  And, as of March 8, Sherman was not yet in Fayetteville.  The intent was to use Morehead City as the main seaport supplying Sherman, using a railroad through New Bern up to Goldsboro.  Federals captured New Bern in March 1862, and then Morehead City shortly after.  Since that time, they’d maintained a rail line from the coast to New Bern.  But now the Federals needed a rail line extended some sixty miles inland.  About midway along the route was Kinston, on the Neuse River.

This task fell to Major-General Jacob Cox, who’s troops, roughly three divisions, would cover repairs to the railroad as they advanced on Goldsboro.  Cox was a veteran commander who’d seen much service from the opening phases of the war in West Virginia and during the Antietam Campaign.  Through 1864, Cox served as a division commander, during the Atlanta Campaign, in the Twenty-third Corps, under Major-General John Schofield.  After victory in the Battle of Nashville, the Twenty-third Corps, Cox included, came east to operate against Wilmington.

The Federals had operated in this area before.  In fact, Major-General John Foster lead an expedition from New Bern to raid Goldsboro in December 1862.  For his march, Foster had used the Trent Road, which enabled him to work against the flanks of Confederate defenses of Kinston.  Cox would not have that luxury.  With very few wagons to support his movement, Cox would advance down the railroad line.

WF_Cox_Advance

Starting from New Bern on March 2, Cox noted “Troops slowly getting in motion.”  Aside from the transportation issues, Cox’s troops were not experienced with field campaigning.  Much as had happened to troops in the Department of the South, the troops on the North Carolina coast served in various garrisons and rarely operated in brigades, much less divisions.  Two divisions dressed out from”District of Beaufort.”  Brigadier-General Innis Palmer commanded the first, with three brigades.  Brigadier-General Samuel Carter had the second division, also organized into three brigades.  Both divisions contained a sizable number of troops formed into provisional battalions.  (Many of these “provisionals” were formed from troops assigned to Sherman’s four corps – returning from convalescence or recently recruited.  Sent to North Carolina, but unable to rejoin their units, these men were formed into units pending transfer to their parent organizations.) Between these two divisions were two batteries of artillery.  Cox had only the 12th New York Cavalry and a troop of North Carolina unionists for a mounted arm.

Cox’s forces reached Core Creek on March 4.  Here the railroad ran through Dover Swamp, which Cox described as “one great swamp, with occasional dry spots in it, and a few roads.” On March 6, Cox moved Palmer and Carter forward along the rail line, while using his small cavalry force to screen along the Trent Road.  Behind, at Core Creek, Cox left the newly arrived (from Wilmington) division of Brigadier-General Thomas Ruger, from the Twenty-third Corps. These were the only experienced campaigners in Cox’s force.

On March 7, Palmer and Carter cleared out of Dover Swamp and moved towards Southwest Creek.  On the west side of the creek, the Confederates maintained a defensive perimeter defending approaches to Kinston and the railhead there.  Cox had Palmer’s division advance on the railroad while Carter’s division did the same on the Dover Road leading out from a cross roads called Wyse Fork.  At the creek, the divisions found Major-General Robert Hoke’s division, formerly the defenders of Wilmington.  Cox had each of his divisions make a probe of the Confederate lines across the creek, to no avail.  He then ordered dispositions to watch the Confederate line, with his small cavalry force posted for flank protection.  But those dispositions were somewhat faulty and lacked sufficient flank protection.

At that time, Schofield arrived in New Bern, and Cox departed the front to confer with his commander.  At about 10 a.m. the next morning, while Cox was greeting Schofield, a message arrived from the front – the Confederates were moving against Carter’s left.  Cox immediately put Ruger’s division in motion to reinforce, and then departed to see the situation himself.

Outside Kinston, General Braxton Bragg had assembled a patchwork force to oppose Cox’s advance.  In addition to Hoke’s division, Bragg had a “contingent” under Major-General Daniel H. Hill, consisting of three divisions (nine brigades total) mostly from the Army of Tennessee.  Bragg also had a brigade of North Carolina Junior Reserves.  Supporting this force was one battery of artillery and a few mounted troops.  Beyond that, Bragg had hoped the ram CSS Neuse might make a sortie, but even with the flood waters the vessel drew too much water to be of service.  All told, Bragg had about 8,500 men facing about an equal number of Confederates.  The one edge Bragg held was the experience of his troops.

wyse-fork-march-7-10-1985

On the morning of March 8, Hoke’s division shifted out of the trenches on Southwest Creek, leaving them to Hill’s men.  Hoke then took a route around Kelly’s Pond which placed him firmly on Carter’s left flank.  From there, Hoke launched a savage assault that cut into Carter’s line.  Colonel Charles Upham, commanding Second Brigade in Carter’s division, on the receiving end recalled:

About 10 a.m. of the 8th the enemy opened upon us with artillery, which was returned by our guns, and the skirmish line became briskly engaged.  Receiving information that a body of the enemy was moving upon a road to our left, I ordered the Twenty-seventh Massachusetts Volunteers into the woods to our left, forming across the British Road, with skirmishers thrown out on both flanks.  About noon the enemy made a sudden and impetuous attack upon the Twenty-seventh Massachusetts.

Upham soon found the attack cut off his two-regiment brigade from the rest of the division. One Lieutenant with a small band of men were the only ones from the Fifteenth Connecticut to escape capture.

Taking the queue from Hoke’s advance, the North Carolina Reserves then moved out of their trenches to attack Carter’s front.  But that advance ran into snags.  First the North Carolinians had to cross some marshy ground.  Further, for most of the men in their first open engagement, the experience overwhelmed them.  Hill later wrote, “The North Carolina Reserves advanced very handsomely for a time, but at length one regiment (the First, I think) broke, and the rest lay down and could not go forward.” Hill then moved to support the Reserves by taking up their left and pressing the Federals.  At about that same time, a suggestion came from Hoke that Hill might move along the Neuse (River) Road to British Road, and thus fall on the rear of the Federal force.  This suggestion was endorsed by Bragg.  Dutifully, Hill began a wide flanking march to the right.

Meanwhile, Carter took advantage of a lull in the Confederate efforts.  Learning of Upton’s plight, Carter went forward to take control of the situation.  At the intersection of the British and Dover Roads, Carter noticed an abandoned artillery piece and directed efforts to recover it.  But another Confederate surge swept the intersection.  Following that, Carter said his command “fell back a short distance” which on the ground equated to over a quarter mile.  On the Federal right, though he was not as hard pressed, Palmer realized his left was uncovered when Upham’s brigade fell.  He too fell back to the intersection of the British Road and the rail line.  There Palmer joined Carter erecting breastworks in anticipation of another assault.

By this time Cox arrived on the field and began salvaging the situation. Cox ordered a strengthened line to cover the valuable Wyse Fork intersection, running from Dover Road to the Railroad.  Carter would hold Dover Road while Palmer maintained the railroad.  Ruger’s division, arriving that afternoon, took the center.  “The tangled nature of the ground enabled us to retard the enemy’s advance so that it was nearly 1 o’clock before he was within musket-range from the line of breast-works constructed by our troops.”

As the Federals withdrew, Hill maneuvered to gain their flank.  “I pushed on rapidly to West’s house, and threw a picket across to the British Road, and went to it in person, but saw no enemy.” At that point, officers familiar with the area advised that a wider flank march was imprudent given the late hour.  Hill retraced his steps.  Hearing Hoke’s force still engaged, Hill moved to cover his rear.  Then he received new instructions from Bragg to link up with Hoke on the Dover Road.  Not until midnight was Hill’s command finished with that movement.

So at the conclusion of the first day of action at Wyse Fork, the Confederates had scored a tactical victory, but failed to translate that into an operational victory.  The Federals still maintained a hold on the railroad and road network.  In his journal, Cox recorded:

Our losses to-day appear to be about 600 captured from Upham’s brigade and 1 field gun. The cavalry lost 50 men and 2 [mountain] howitzers. The mischief was caused by the lack of care and the inexperience of that brigade. They had been two years doing garrison duty, and could not believe there was any danger till it was upon them.

The next day, the two armies held their positions.  Cox, with limited transportation and the railroad repair averaging one mile a day, had little to do but wait for the remainder of the Twenty-third Corps to arrive from Wilmington.  Other than reconnaissances and skirmishing, March 9 was a day of waiting.  However, before Bragg would give up Kinston, he wanted to give Cox one more push.

(Citations from OR, Series I, Volume 47, Part I, Serial 98, pages 931-2, 977, 998-9, 1087.)

Sherman’s March, March 7, 1865: “try and keep the foragers from insulting families by word or rudeness”

In more ways than one, 150 years ago this day the campaign became the Carolinas Campaign.  March 7, 1865 was, for many in Major-General William T. Sherman’s marching columns, the last day spent in South Carolina.  By the end of the day, only the Right Wing camped short of the North Carolina border.  Writing to the Left Wing commander, Major-General Henry Slocum, the day before, Sherman cautioned, with respect to behavior of the men, as they entered North Carolina:

Of course we will dispose of all public stores and property but will spare private houses. Use wheat, corn, meal, bacon, animals, wagons, &c., needed by your command, but try and keep the foragers from insulting families by word or rudeness. It might be well to instruct your brigade commanders that we are now out of South Carolina and that a little moderation may be of political consequence to us in North Carolina.

And while Sherman’s men gained the state line, 120 miles northeast a Federal column, lead by Major-General Jacob Cox, neared Kinston.  So not only was Sherman entering North Carolina, his forces were within range of supporting columns from the coast. Cox under orders to push towards Goldsboro and join with Sherman.  This was the leading element of what would become Sherman’s “Center Wing,” or Army of the Ohio, under Major-General John Schofield.  Now one might look at the map and determine that Wilmington was, at that day, some thirty miles closer than Kinston.  To understand why Cox would be at Kinston instead of Fayetteville or other point closer to Sherman, we need to consider the logistics supporting the campaign.

Thus far in the march across South Carolina, the logistics for Sherman’s columns amounted to what was carried in the wagons.  But after five weeks, the armies were running low on things which could not be foraged in any quantities – ammunition, hardtack, shoes, uniforms, and military equipment.  And Sherman had anticipated that need.  Sherman’s Quartermaster, Brigadier-General Langdon C. Easton, not accompanying the march, established depots at three ports in North Carolina – Wilmington, Morehead City, and New Bern.  Wilmington presented a problem, as, being just secured from the Confederates, the river channel had to be cleared of torpedoes and the railroad leading inland needed repair.  New Bern was far too inland for oceangoing ships, though it could serve as a base for operations.

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It was Morehead City, and nearby Beaufort, which offered a port for ocean-going vessels and railroads leading inland (to New Bern).  However, the force under Schofield at Wilmington lacked the wagons and other support to move the troops by land to Morehead City or New Bern.  Enough was on hand for two divisions under Major-General Alfred Terry would move out of Wilmington. But the other five divisions had to move by water to Morehead City. Schofield began shifting his troops, by water, from Wilmington to Morehead City for his next role in the campaign.  However, this movement put more pinch to the already strained shipping resources.

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And, as mentioned above, had the effect of moving the much needed link-up point with Sherman further out.  Such would provide the Confederates one more “gift” of time.  But for the time being, the Confederates had to find ways to delay these two advancing forces from reaching a juncture before their wide spread forces could concentrate.

OK… enough of the logistics stuff and grand operations!  What moved on March 7?

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The Right Wing made a slow-march that day.  A march that Major-General Oliver O. Howard recorded as “without special incident.” Perhaps Howard simply forgot, when later compiling his official report, the day did have its own “special” incidents.  I’ll get to that in a separate post, later today.   Point being, though, the march was not contested.  The Seventeenth Corps moved on a single road and went into camp at Beaverdam Creek, just short of the state line.

The Fifteenth Corps moved by three columns.  The First Division moved on a road to the left of Seventeenth Corps, but running east of Crooked Creek.  The Fourth Division marched on a road to the left of that.  Both lines of march converged at Brightsville.  To the left of them, the Third and Second Divisions (in that order) marched through Quick’s Church toward the state line.

However, that last mentioned element of the Fifteenth Corps got a late start.  The Twentieth Corps received the right of way on the same road to start their movement, and to create the “echelon” formation Sherman desired.  Major-General Apheus S. Williams reported marching fifteen miles and reaching the railroad at Mark’s Station.   Not bad for men on short rest.  Leading the Corps was Major-General John Geary’s Second Division.  Geary recorded:

… marched in advance of the corps, at 6 a.m., on good roads though a very poor, sandy country, the inhabitants of which devoted their chief attention to the manufacture of resin.  At noon we reached Station 103, on the Wilmington, Charlotte, and Rutherford Railroad…. The structure is excellent, laid with T-rail of the best English make.  Here we destroyed three-quarters of a mile of track, and a quantity of new iron rails which were piled up for shipment to other points.  Several large resin factories along our route were destroyed to-day.  One alone contained 2,000 barrels of resin lately manufactured.

Geary also reported some of his foragers, united with others from the Fourteenth Corps reached Rockingham. There they skirmished with the Confederate rear guard.  That rear guard was also pressed by the Cavalry Division, which moved up to Rockingham that day.  Major-General Matthew Butler’s men gave a fight, but only enough to keep the Federals off the columns retreating north.

Behind all this, the Fourteenth Corps completed crossing the PeeDee River.  The corps marched ten miles in the direction of Rockingham.  However, with another delay crossing a river, the Fourteenth Corps was out of formation. More hard marching was needed to create the echelon and Fayetteville.

For the Confederates, General Joseph E. Johnston issued some direction which had been sorely lacking in the weeks before.  Sizable elements of the Army of Tennessee, namely Major-Generals Benjamin Cheatham’s and A.P. Stewart’s commands, were just then arriving at Chester where rail cars could move them to Charlotte.  General Braxton Bragg, reluctantly accepting a subordinate position to Johnston the day before, positioned his force in front of Cox’s advance on Kinston.  Bragg’s force included the Wilmington garrison reinforced with parts of the Army of Tennessee under Major-General D.H. Hill.  And, mentioned above, Lieutenant-General William Hardee’s forces fell back from Rockingham.  Hardee turned east towards Fayetteville.

(And let us not forget that in Virginia at this same time, Major-General Philip Sheridan had launched a drive that started at Waynesboro, Virginia.  Though given the objective eventually joining with Sherman’s forces in North Carolina, Sheridan would not.  That route certainly looks inviting on the map.  But I would remind readers there is some rather difficult terrain to traverse between Waynesboro, taking Lynchburg to Danville.  Needless to say, Sheridan instead moved to Charlottesville and back to Richmond, thus putting him on a different stage for April’s campaigns.)

On March 7, 1865, large columns began movement into southeastern North Carolina.  These concentrations were like gathering storm clouds.

(Citations from OR, Series I, Volume 47, Part I, Serial 98, page 690; Part II, Serial 99, page 704.)