Summary Statement, 4th Quarter, 1863 – 2nd Missouri Artillery

I hesitate to apply the designation “Light” artillery to the 2nd Missouri Artillery, at least not as it existed at the end of 1863. As chronicled in earlier posts, this regiment had an unconventional organizational history in many regards. Starting in the late summer of 1863, the regiment was reorganized, from the section up, with the aim of forming all into field artillery batteries. However, that process took time. And at the close of 1863, only four batteries were equipped and serving as field artillery. The remainder, if they were indeed reorganized, served as heavy artillery. We’ll look at their story in this “snapshot” view that the summaries provide.

Lieutenant-Colonel Nelson Cole remained in command of the regiment, and would receive promotion to full colonel in February 1864. In December, his second in command was Major Frank Backof. However, Backof was shortly dismissed from service in early 1864 (a story I hope to detail in a follow up post). As the regiment was still reforming, there was little to report in the way of “on hand” cannon and stores. Just the four “reorganized” field batteries mentioned above:

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But there’s more to the regimental’s December status than those four lines, as we fill in the gaps:

  • Battery A: No report. This battery was the consolidation of the old Batteries C and D and remained at Cape Girardeau, manning Fort B as heavy artillery. The battery was part of the District of St. Louis. Captain John E. Strodtman commanded. Men from Battery C (below) were also under his command. Not until June was the battery reorganized as light artillery.
  • Battery B:  No report. This battery moved from St. Louis in early December and was stationed at Fort No. 4 defending New Madrid, Missouri by the end of the month. Captain John J. Sutter remained in command.  The posting, as heavy artillery, was part of the extended District of St. Louis.
  • Battery C:  No report. The new Battery C was formed from the old batteries H and I.  Captain Frederick W. Fuchs, formerly Company I, commanded the new battery.  This new battery was stationed at Cape Girardeau, consolidated with Battery A at the time, as heavy artillery.  The battery waited until May to reorganize as light artillery.
  • Battery D: Reporting from DeValls Bluff, Arkansas with two 12-pdr field howitzers and two 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. The battery reorganized in September at St. Louis with the consolidation of old Batteries A, F, G, K, and M. Most of the first three batteries had mustered out in St. Louis. What remained was a large “section” reformed at that place. The “old” batteries K and M were at Little Rock and consolidated into the “new” Battery D.  The battery was assigned to 1st Cavalry Division, Army of Arkansas. Those sections from the old Batteries K and M served at DeValls Bluff, protecting the railroad line to Little Rock. Captain Charles Schareff commanded.  The St. Louis section, under Lieutenant Frederick W. von Bodengen served detached with the 1st Nebraska Cavalry. Bodengen’s section left St. Louis on December 3, moving through Rolla, West Plains, and finally to Bateville, Arkansas on the 25th.
  • Battery E: Reporting at Little Rock, Arkansas with six 3.67-inch bronze rifles.  Reorganized from parts of old Batteries E, L, and M, under Captain Gustave Stange (old Battery M) during the fall.  The battery served in 1st Cavalry Division, Department of Arkansas. 
  • Battery F: At Woodville, Alabama with four 12-pdr field howitzers.  Captain Clemens Landgraeber’s First Missouri Flying Artillery transferred into the regiment during the reorganization.  The battery supported First Division, Fifteenth Corps. In October, the battery supported their division during operations on the Memphis & Charleston Railroad (part of the relief of Chattanooga). In November, they participated in fighting around Lookout Mountain and the advance on the Federal right onto Missionary Ridge. After the relief of Knoxville, the battery moved with its parent formation into winter quarters.
  • Battery G: At St. Louis with one 3.67-inch bronze rifle.  The battery reformed on November 15 and stationed at Fort No. 3, in St. Louis, Captain William T. Arthur commanded.
  • Battery H: No return. A new Battery H formed out of men (new and old enlistments) at Springfield, Missouri on December 4, 1863, under command of Captain William C. Montgomery (formerly of the Missouri State Cavalry). The battery was initially part of a heavy artillery battalion formed at Springfield.
  • Battery I: No return. The new Battery I began reforming on December 28 at Springfield.  Captain Stephen H. Julian commanded.  Initially, the battery was designated heavy artillery.
  • Battery K: No return. A new Battery K was formed in January at Springfield, Missouri with Captain William P. Davis in command. The battery was also organized initially as heavy artillery.
  • Battery L: No return.  A new Battery L formed at Sedalia, Missouri in January 1864 and was formerly the 1st Battery, Missouri State Militia.  So we will see them accounted for under the “miscellaneous” portion of Missouri’s returns in this quarter. Captain Charles H. Thurber commanded.
  • Battery M: No return. The new Battery M organized at Fort No. 2, St. Louis, on February 15, 1864, and thus escapes our summary for this quarter.  Captain Napoleon Boardman would command this battery.

Of note, the battalion of heavy artillery, consisting of Batteries H, I, and K, came under the command of Major John W. Rabb, formerly of the 2nd Indiana Battery. This arrangement remained until the spring of 1864 when the batteries were reorganized (again) as light batteries.

Turning to back to the summary, we have ammunition to account for, starting with smoothbore rounds:

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  • Battery D: 113 shell and 77 case for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • Battery F: 288 shell and 197 case for 12-pdr field howitzers.

The smoothbore columns continue on the next page:

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  • Battery D: 43 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • Battery F: 84 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.

For the Hotchkiss columns to the right, two entries:

  • Battery D: 61 time fuse shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery E: 240 time fuse shell for 3.67-inch rifles.

More Hotchkiss on the next page:

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  • Battery D: 115 percussion fuse shell, 102 bullet shell, and 80 canister for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery E: 120 percussion fuse shell, 720 bullet shell, and 120 canister for 3.67-inch rifles.

No other projectiles reported by the 2nd Missouri batteries in this quarter, so we turn to the small arms:

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  • Battery D: Fourteen Colt army revolvers, eight Colt navy revolvers, twelve Remington army revolvers, and twelve horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery E: Twelve Colt navy revolvers, thirty-five Remington navy revolvers, thirteen cavalry sabers, and twenty-nine horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery F: Eighteen Colt navy revolvers and seventy-two cavalry sabers.
  • Battery G: Two Springfield .58-caliber muskets, thirteen Colt army revolvers, and thirteen horse artillery sabers.

From there, we turn to the columns for pistol ammunition, fuses, powder, and primers:

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  • Battery D: 1,000 army caliber and 1,000 navy caliber pistol cartridges; and 1,000 friction primers.
  • Battery E: 1,400 navy caliber pistol cartridges.
  • Battery F: 1,200 navy caliber pistol cartridges.
  • Battery G: 1,000 navy caliber pistol cartridges (perhaps a transcription error?).

While the 2nd Missouri was not engaged in many pitched battles or heavy combat, its stories from outside the battlefield continue to fascinate me. They certainly kept the clerks busy.

Next we’ll look at the Missouri State Militia batteries that were in service along with some of the artillery sections serving with the state’s cavalry.

Summary Statement, 3rd Quarter, 1863 – 2nd Missouri (soon to be Light!) Artillery

Given the twists and turns of the regiment’s history, you can probably see why I consider the 2nd Missouri Artillery Regiment a store of those “lesser known” stories from the Civil War.  But our focus with the summaries is what was reported and the context from which those reports were written.  That said, we consult the 2nd Missouri’s summary for the third quarter of 1863, officially ending in September:

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Keep in mind, given the time line in the previous post, what was happening behind the scenes of this summary.  Special Orders No. 219, issued on August 13, directed the muster out of those deemed to have enlisted under the “Reserve Corps” and the reorganization of the regiment.  Also, under that order, a board reviewed all officers of the regiment to determine who would be retained.  Colonel Henry Almstedt resigned on August 27. The first round of muster-outs came in September.  Many of the released officers have a muster out date of September 28.

The start of the reorganization was a new commander.  Nelson Cole came over from the 1st Missouri Artillery, to accept a Lieutenant-Colonel’s position, with date of rank from October 2.  Under Special Orders No 261, issued September 24, Batteries E, L, and M were consolidated into Battery E.  Batteries A and B were concentrated at St. Louis, but was to be organized into a new battery.  Batteries C and D in Cape Girardeau, and likewise reorganized into a new battery.  Other batteries were regrouped geographically, with detachments of D and E around Little Rock, Arkansas; and other batteries   So let’s see how this matches (or not) with the summary given:

  • Battery A: Filing, in July 1864, from Cape Girardeau, Missouri with “infantry stores.”  This battery was the consolidation of the old Batteries C and D.  Captain John E. Strodtman was appointed commander, transferred over from the old Battery G.  (His cards indicate an alias of Emil Strodtman, who appears on the rolls of Battery D, but pending full reconciliation I must consider these two different men for now).   The battery served as heavy artillery in the Cape Girardeau defenses, part of the District of St. Louis.
  • Battery B:  A December return has this battery at New Madrid, Missouri reporting only infantry stores.  Captain John J. Sutter remained in command.  The posting, as heavy artillery, was part of the extended District of St. Louis.
  • Battery C:  An April 1864 return has this battery at Helena, Arkansas with one 6-pdr field gun and one 3.80-inch James Rifle. This data does not match with the known battery history at all.  The new Battery C was formed from the old batteries H and I.  Captain Frederick W. Fuchs, Company I, commanded the new battery.  This new battery was stationed at Cape Girardeau, alongside Battery A, as heavy artillery.  The return from Helena with field guns does not match any of the known history of this battery.
  • Battery D: A timely October 20 return places this battery at Cape Girardeau sitting on “infantry stores.”  This may be partially accurate.  The battery name transferred to St. Louis, concurrent to the regiment reorganization, and reformed with a consolidation of old Batteries A, F, G, and K.  Captain Charles Schareff (formerly of Battery I) was appointed commander at the end of September.  The battery later equipped for the field and sent forward to support the cavalry operating in Southeast Missouri and Northeast Arkansas (raising the possibility Battery C’s return above was actually Battery D’s… reflecting confusion with the reorganization).
  • Battery E: No return.  This battery was, as of the end of September, reorganized from parts of old Batteries E, L, and M, under Captain Gustave Stange (old Battery M).  The battery was assigned to 1st Cavalry Division, Department of Arkansas.  On “paper” this battery was reorganized in St. Louis.  I would offer the men and equipment remained at Little Rock, with the new battery being organized by orders issued in St. Louis.  The battery reported four 12-pdr Mountain howitzers (see below).
  • Battery F: Indicated at Iuka, Mississippi as of October 25, with four 12-pdr field howitzers.  With the regimental reorganization, Captain Clemens Landgraeber’s First Missouri Flying Artillery transferred into the regiment.  The battery supported First Division, Fifteenth Corps and was en-route with other reinforcements sent to Chattanooga.
  • Battery G: A July 1864 return date places the battery at St. Louis.  There is an illegible notation for the battery.  Remaining men in the battery were mostly transferred to Battery A.  The battery reformed on November 15, stationed at Fort No. 3, in St. Louis, “equipped with 3-inch brass guns” according to the State Adjutant-General. Lieutenant William T. Arthur transferred from Battery F, 1st Missouri for a captaincy and command of the new Battery G, 2nd Missouri.
  • Battery H: No return. Most of old Battery H transferred to new Battery C.  A new Battery H formed out of men (new and old enlistments) at Springfield, Missouri on December 4, 1863, under command of Captain William C. Montgomery (formerly of the Missouri State Cavalry).
  • Battery I: A March 1864 return has this battery at Cape Girardeau with infantry stores.  Battery I was also reformed (recreated, may be the more applicable word) in Springfield Missouri.  It’s organization date was December 28, so beyond the scope of this quarter’s summary.  Captain Stephen H. Julian would command.  Julian had previously served with the Missouri State Militia batteries.
  • Battery K: Reporting from Little Rock, Arkansas with two 12-pdr field howitzers and four 3-inch rifles.  Here again we catch the regiment in the state of reorganization.  This is the old Battery K, at that time part of the 1st Cavalry Division, Department of Arkansas and under Lieutenant Thaddeus S. Clarkson, a former officer on Brigadier-General John Davidson’s staff, and not actually a regimental officer.  However, that old Battery K was broken up, with most of its men transferred to the new Battery D.  A new Battery K was formed in January at Springfield, Missouri with Captain William P. Davis (briefly… but that is for the story ahead) in command.
  • Battery L: No return.  Most of the old Battery L folded into the new Battery E.  A new Battery L formed at Sedalia, Missouri and was formerly the 1st Battery, Missouri State Militia in January.  So we will see them accounted for under the “miscellaneous” portion of Missouri’s returns in this quarter.
  • Battery M: A January 1864 return has this battery at Little Rock, with four 12-pdr mountain howitzers. I would contend this was actually  Captain Gustave Stange’s old Battery M, reorganized into the new Battery E (above).  The new Battery M was organized at Fort No. 2, St. Louis, on February 15, 1864, and thus escapes our summary for this (and next) quarter.  Captain Napoleon Boardman would command this battery.
  • Quartermaster:  “Stores in charge” at St. Louis.  No doubt with all the reorganization ongoing, the regimental quartermaster was likely busy processing the turn in of government equipment from the many men mustering out.  And at the same time, he would need to account for equipment staying with the men, but moving over to new battery designations.  Certainly a job for a perfectionist.

Thus what we see in this section of the summary is a little of the “old” mixed with the “new.”  Of the four batteries reporting field artillery on hand, two were clearly the old batteries, with entries not yet reflecting the reorganization.  A third was a formerly independent battery transferred into the regiment.  The fourth eludes exact identification, but is likely one of the old batteries, prior to reorganization.  These reorganizations would continue through the next two quarters.  And beyond that, the heavy batteries were afterwards re-equipped as light batteries, completing the transformation of the regiment in late 1864.

Another point to make is the nature of the service.  The 2nd Missouri had not been thrust into major campaigns, up to this time of the war.  Other than the batteries, or portions thereof, in Little Rock and the “Flying Artillery” with the Fifteenth Corps, none of these were involved in active campaigns.  Duty with the 2nd Missouri was still “safe” for the third quarter.

That said, we have four batteries worth of ammunition to account for, starting with the smoothbores:

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Four batteries:

  • Battery C: 59 shot, 114 case, and 91 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
  • Battery F: 240 shell, and 64 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers; 330 case for mountain howitzers (likely a transcription error, and should be under the field howitzer column).
  • Battery K: 62 shell, 10 case, and 43 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • Battery M: 2 shell, 73 case, and 46 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.

Not many, but a few, rifles on hand.  And Hotchkiss for those 3-inch rifles reported:

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  • Battery K: 321 canister, 193 percussion shell, 124 fuse shell, and 188 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

Moving over to the James columns:

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  • Battery C: 80 shot, 150 shell, and 70 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.

And more in that caliber under the Schenkl columns:

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  • Battery C: 40 Schenkl case for 3.80-inch rifles.

We then turn to the small arms:

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By battery:

  • Battery F: Twelve (?) Army revolvers, twenty Navy revolvers, and eighty-one cavalry sabers.
  • Battery K: Fifty-five Army revolvers, Thirty-nine Navy revolvers and thirty-four horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery M: Seventeen Army revolvers, sixty-four Navy revolvers, sixty-seven cavalry sabers, and thirty horse artillery sabers.
  • Quartermaster: Sixteen Army revolvers and sixteen cavalry sabers.

The report of small arms looks suspicious to me.  We don’t usually see a mix of revolver calibers.  Usually the battery was issued one or the other.  Where there are a mix reported, the quantities of one of the two is usually short.  Here we see substantial quantities.   Almost as if a column was transposed. But without the original returns, it would be impossible to determine where that error might be… if in error at all.

Though I would point out the quartermaster line has a nice even sixteen and sixteen.  As if sixteen officers turned in their pistols and sabers before mustering out.  Perhaps?

We are not done with Missouri for this quarter.  There are nine lines below the 2nd Missouri for militia batteries, independent batteries, and artillery sections in the other arms.

 

205 Years Ago: The New Madrid Earthquake and repercussions on the Civil War

Yesterday the US Geological Survey posted this reminder to their Facebook page:

The New Madrid Earthquake is well known though mostly as the answer to trivia questions. The presence of a major and active fault line in the middle of the continent is not unusual.  But as it sits in the middle of the United States, it is perhaps one of the most studied such faults.  What most interests me, having lived in that area and having a strong interest in the history, is how the earthquake affected the land in ways still visible today.  Specific to the Civil War, it is that changed landscape we must consider when studying several campaigns.  Most notably the Battle of Island No. 10.

The USGS website (linked in the post above) provides more details about the earthquake.  An important point to understand is the earthquake was not simply one incident on one date.  Yes, the most violent of the quakes was on February 7, 1812 measuring 7.5 in magnitude.  But that was just one among over 200 recorded between December 16, 1811 and March 15, 1812, “… ten of these were greater than about 6.0; about one hundred were between M5.0 and 5.9; and eighty-nine were in the magnitude 4 range.”  The quakes caused major damage across parts of the central Mississippi Valley.  Shaking was observed as far away as Washington and other cities on the Atlantic Coast.  In short, this was a “big one.” But at the time, the location was among the westernmost settlements in the United States.  So it was not as bad as it could have been – one recorded death in the sparsely populated region.

In terms of physical affects, the web article summarizes:

The earthquakes caused the ground to rise and fall – bending the trees until their branches intertwined and opening deep cracks in the ground. Deep seated landslides occurred along the steeper bluffs and hillslides; large areas of land were uplifted permanently; and still larger areas sank and were covered with water that erupted through fissures or craterlets. Huge waves on the Mississippi River overwhelmed many boats and washed others high onto the shore. High banks caved and collapsed into the river; sand bars and points of islands gave way; whole islands disappeared. Surface fault rupturing from these earthquakes has not been detected and was not reported, however. The region most seriously affected was characterized by raised or sunken lands, fissures, sinks, sand blows, and large landslides that covered an area of 78,000 – 129,000 square kilometers, extending from Cairo, Illinois, to Memphis, Tennessee, and from Crowley’s Ridge in northeastern Arkansas to Chickasaw Bluffs, Tennessee. Only one life was lost in falling buildings at New Madrid, but chimneys were toppled and log cabins were thrown down as far distant as Cincinnati, Ohio, St. Louis, Missouri, and in many places in Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee.

And I would point out that many of those affects are still visible today.  Driving through the area, one will often see discolored patches of sandy soil marking the location of a fissure or sand-blow.  However, one very notable remnant of this quake was large subsidence in Tennessee:

A notable area of subsidence that formed during the February 7, 1812, earthquake is Reelfoot Lake in Tennessee, just east of Tiptonville dome on the downdropped side of the Reelfoot scarp. Subsidence there ranged from 1.5 to 6 meters, although larger amounts were reported.

If you refer to the map embedded with the post above, Reelfoot Lake is just to the upper right of the bold Reelfoot Fault line, on the Tennessee side of the Mississippi River.  Where the river crosses the fault line is the area where Island No. 10 was located. I’ve written some on Island No. 10 in the past. Specifically how the topography has changed between 1862 and today, thanks in some part to work aimed at keeping the river in check.

But reflecting back to the earthquakes of 1811-12, there is another geographic and geologic component to consider.  Reelfoot Lake and the expansion of similar low areas on the Missouri side created a natural barrier.  One of my favorite contemporary illustrations to use when discussing the topography around Island No.10, New Madrid, and Reelfoot Lake is this one:

MississippiRiver1850cropped

Yes, horribly stylized with exaggerated features.  But the point is served, between Crowley’s Ridge and the Tennessee River lay a vast area of swamps and lowlands, interrupted at intervals with high ground such as the Chickasaw Bluffs.  These swamps inhibited transit on land, making the river a vital transportation and communication artery.

When studying terrain as it relates to military campaigns, normally we are drawn to mountains were passes become key terrain features that might be easily defended.  But in this case the “passes” are in fact waterways. And therefore we see a natural barrier that might be defended – not with fortifications cited on lofty purchases – but by batteries carefully placed on narrow strips of dry land to contest the passage of ships.  The Federals could not by-pass Island No.10 and its associated batteries due to the expanse of swamp.  Eventually, the key to unlocking this barrier lay in cutting a passage through the swamps.  And that effected, Reelfoot Lake turned from a feature anchoring the Confederate right flank, into a roadblock preventing retreat.  You see, those areas of subsidence caused by the New Madrid Earthquake figured prominently in the course of a major campaign.

And those were formed 205 years ago as the earth around New Madrid, Missouri shook.