Summary Statement, 4th Quarter, 1863 – Miscellaneous New York Artillery

Below the list of independent batteries are three lines covering returns from formations either outside the listed artillery organizations or under the other branches of service. These are always good stories, often alluding to lesser known aspects of the war:

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Examining these three in detail:

  • 99th New York, U.S. Gunboat “Smith Briggs”: Reporting from Fort Monroe, Virginia with one 30-pdr Parrott Rifle. I provided a short background about this regiment and the Smith Briggs in last quarter’s summary. (I should follow up with details on this “Marine Brigade,” however) Captain John C. Lee seems to be the commander at this time (though it appears Lee had been relieved, temporarily, earlier in the year, then restored). However, there was, as indicated in the return, a change with the gunboat’s armament with a bigger Parrott rifle replacing the howitzer and 10-pdr Parrott reported in the previous quarter. This tracks with correspondence between Major-General John Foster and Rear-Admiral S. Phillips Lee from October 1863 in regard to armaments. In short, the Army needed cannon and carriages for shipboard use. And the Navy agreed to loan (not transfer) those. In February during the battle of Smithfield, the Smith Briggs suffered a shot through the boilers and was blown up. Presumably the Parrott rifle fell into Confederate hands.
  • Battery H(?), 13th New York [Heavy] Artillery: At Norfolk, Virginia, but with no cannon reported. I believe this line reflects the elements of the incomplete 36th Independent Battery which were folded into the 13th New York Heavy Artillery. Recall Charles G. Bacon was the officer raising the 36th. But with that authority receded, Bacon accepted a commission as a Lieutenant for Battery E, 13th New York Heavy in November 1863. At the end of 1863, Batteries A, B, C, and D of the 13th were assigned to Eighteenth Corps and stationed in the Norfolk area. Battery H, if that is correct for this entry, did not muster until March 1864. Further complicating a specific designation, the return was not received until August, meaning all batteries of the regiment are candidates! All may be a mute point, as the unit reported six No. 1 field carriages, assorted implements, tarps, and ammunition chests.
  • Lieutenant F.G. Comstock, Stores in Charge: Reporting at Fort Jefferson, Florida, with two 12-pdr field howitzers. The 110th New York Infantry transferred from Third Division, Nineteenth Corps to a garrison posting at Fort Jefferson in February 1864. And Lieutenant Franklin G. Comstock served as the regimental quartermaster. So the location appears to match, down to the name of the officer, for the received date of May 30, 1864, as opposed to the “reporting date” of December 1863. Turning back the calendar further, the 110th New York had an active fall, being involved with the expedition to the Teche Country in November. Perhaps the regiment used those howitzers while in Louisiana, and carried them along to Key West? Just as likely, the regiment assumed control of the howitzers after arriving at Key West for their garrison duties. Colonel Clinton H. Sage commanded the regiment through his discharge on December 10, 1863. Lieutenant-Colonel Warren D. Smith led the regiment afterward until a permanent replacement was assigned.

Looking back at last quarter’s post, there are some units that I’d submit were missed with the summary roll-up (either due to lack of return submission or clerical actions):

  • 51st New York Infantry: Had reported ordnance stores and ammunition on hand the previous quarter. Likely all were passed to other units by December.
  • 98th New York Infantry: The regiment remained posted to North Carolina. Though by this time their ordnance may have been deemed garrison equipment, and thus reported through other channels.
  • 3rd New York Cavalry, Allis’s Howitzers: I’ve detailed this section in earlier posts. If force to speculate, I’d say likely the 3rd New York retained that howitzer section through the end of the year, even if Lieutenant James A. Allis as not still in command.
  • 12th New York Cavalry, Fish’s Howitzers: This detachment, under Lieutenant Joseph M. Fish, was certainly still intact at the end of December. But was not reported here.

Those speculations aside and the details in view, we turn to the remaining pages of this summary, starting with the smoothbore ammunition:

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  • 110th New York: 100 shot for 18-pdr siege & Garrison gun; 10 shell and 36 case for 12-pdr guns (could be light, heavy, or siege).

Certainly not compatible with the howitzers reported on hand! This discrepancy continues on the next page:

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  • 110th New York: 36 canister for 12-pdr guns.

So why would the regiment have field howitzers, but ammunition for guns? Particularly all the 18-pdr shot? The details beg questions we cannot answer here.

The next page (Hotchkiss projectiles) has no entries. So we turn to the Schenkl columns:

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  • 99th New York: 30 shells for 4.2-inch rifles (30-pdr Parrotts).

As there are no other tallies of projectiles, we are left with the suggestion that Smith Briggs‘ guns were short of ammunition!

A lone entry on the small arms page:

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  • 99th New York: 5 Enfield muskets, .58-caliber.

This is an unconventional inclusion. Normally the small arms issued to the infantry were tallied on separate returns. This implies the five Enfields were assigned to the crew of the Smith Briggs, operating as gun crews. And the 99th had plenty of ammunition for those muskets:

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  • 99th New York: 2,000 musket cartridges for .54-caliber and 1,000 musket cartridges for .58-caliber.

So even within the small arms reporting, we see entries which beg questions.

The last page offers no such question marks:

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  • 99th New York: 40 friction primers.

If anything, these miscellaneous entries set up follow-on postings to better describe the nature of service. For the New Yorkers, I’ve got those taskings. The Marine Brigade and those cavalry howitzer sections deserve more story-telling.

Summary Statement, 4th Quarter, 1863 – New York Independent Batteries, Part 1

After a long break, let us resume this line of march. Picking up where we left off with in the New York section of fourth quarter summary statements for 1863. Next up are the independent batteries and miscellaneous lines:

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No we won’t try to jump all thirty-six lines at once. Rather in batches, as was our convention, starting with the first dozen:

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Of those first dozen, eight offered returns. Three of which were timely, posted within thirty days. However, one was tardily received in August. And for the data received, we see a lot of familiar placenames:

  • 1st Independent Battery: At Brandy Station, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.   Captain Andrew Cowan remained in command of the battery, assigned to Sixth Corps, Army of the Potomac.
  • 2nd Independent Battery:  No return.  The original battery mustered out on June 13, 1863.  Captain Wolfgang Bock received authority to recruit a reorganized 2nd Independent Battery.  However, on October 14, that authority was revoked and men recruited into the new 2nd were instead was made part of the 15th New York Heavy Artillery.
  • 3rd Independent Battery: Also at Brandy Station, Virginia and now with six 12-pdr Napoleons. The battery was also part of Sixth Corps, under Captain William A. Harn.
  • 4th Independent Battery: No return.  With Lieutenant William T. McLean in command, the battery was discontinued on December 4, 1863.  Remaining men of the battery transferred to the 5th New York Battery, 15th New York Battery, and to Battery B, 1st New York Light Artillery. In addition, one officer and 40 enlisted transferred to the 1st New York Engineers. At the time the battery disbanded, it was assigned six 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 5th Independent Battery: Also at Brandy Station.  Reporting with six 20-pdr Parrotts.  Captain Elijah D. Taft remained in command of this battery, in the Second Volunteer Brigade, Artillery Reserve.
  • 6th Independent Battery: At Camp Barry, District of Columbia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Captain Joseph W. Martin held command of this battery, assigned to the First Brigade, Horse Artillery, Army of the Potomac.  So, as of the end of December 1863, the battery was actually at Brandy Station. The reporting location reflects the date of posting – June 1864 – when the battery was reassigned to the Defenses of Washington.
  • 7th Independent Battery: At Norfolk, Virginia with two 12-pdr Napoleons and six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Captain Peter C. Regan’s battery was part of the Department of Virginia and North Carolina.
  • 8th Independent Battery: At Gloucester Point, Virginia with  six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Captain Butler Fitch commanded this battery, also in the Department of Virginia and North Carolina. 
  • 9th Independent Battery: Fort Reno, District of Columbia with no reported cannon. Captain Emil Schubert remained in command.  Battery assigned to the Twenty-Second Corps, defending Washington, serving as heavy artillery. 
  • 10th Independent Battery: No Return. This battery was broken up the previous summer. A detachment remained, under Lieutenant Charles T. Bruen, and served in the Washington Defenses through June of 1864.
  • 11th Independent Battery: No return.  Detachments from this battery served with Battery K, 1st New York Light.  Captain John E. Burton was busy bringing this battery back up to strength. In January 1864 the battery, fully manned, would re-appear in the Army of the Potomac’s order of battle, in the Second Volunteer Brigade, Artillery Reserve.
  • 12th Independent Battery: At Brandy Station, Virginia reporting six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. The battery remained with Third Corps, under Captain George F. McKnight.

Traversing on to the ammunition columns, we start with the smoothbore rounds:

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  • 3rd Battery: 288 shot, 96 shell, and 288 case for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 7th Battery: 41 shot, 46 shell, and 89 case for 12-pdr Napoleons.

More rounds to count on the next page:

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  • 3rd Battery: 96 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.
  • 5th Battery: 91 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
  • 7th Battery: 65 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.

The 5th Battery line offers an interesting question. What would they need with smoothbore canister in a battery of big Parrott rifles? Well, I again go to my “if it fits the bore, it is of some use” speculation. 3.67-inches is the caliber of the 20-pdr Parrott. I’ll offer that until a better explanation is proffered.

To the right are rifled projectiles. First the Dyer Patents:

  • 8th Battery: 321 Dyer shell and 650 Dyercase for 3-inch rifles.

And further right, Hotchkiss:

  • 1st Battery: 3 Hotchkiss shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 6th Battery: 10 Hotchkiss shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 7th Battery: 223 Hotchkiss shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 12th Battery: 142 Hotchkiss shell for 3-inch rifles.

More Hotchkiss from the next page:

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  • 1st Battery: 7 shell, 432 case, and 120 canister, all for 3-inch rifles.
  • 6th Battery: 28 case and 93 canister for 3-inch rifles.
  • 7th Battery: 56 shell, 566 case, and 132 canister for 3-inch rifles.
  • 8th Battery: 40 case and 175 canister for 3-inch rifles.
  • 12th Battery: 9 shell, 116 case, and 67 canister for 3-inch rifles.

The next page has entries for Parrott and Schenkl rounds:

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First the Parrotts:

  • 5th Battery: 75 shell and 74 case for 20-pdr Parrott. Note, no canister.

Then the Schenkl:

  • 1st Battery: 217 shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 5th Battery: 215 shell for 3.67-inch rifles.
  • 6th Battery: 544 shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 8th Battery: 44 shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 12th Battery: 90 shell for 3-inch rifles.

More Schenkl on the next page:

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  • 1st Battery: 420 case for 3-inch rifles.
  • 5th Battery: 202 case for 3.67-inch rifles.
  • 6th Battery: 15 case for 3-inch rifles.
  • 12th Battery: 200 case for 3-inch rifles.

Turning next to the small arms:

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  • 1st Battery: 15 Colt navy revolvers and 6 horse artillery sabers.
  • 3rd Battery: 4 Colt navy revolvers and 9 cavalry sabers.
  • 5th Battery: 25 Colt army revolvers and 21(?) horse artillery sabers.
  • 6th Battery: 103 Colt army revolvers, 10 Colt navy revolvers, and 10 cavalry sabers.
  • 7th Battery: 18 Colt navy revolvers and 17 horse artillery sabers.
  • 8th Battery: 13 Colt navy revolvers and 20 horse artillery sabers.
  • 9th Battery: 84 Springfield .58 caliber muskets and 6 foot officer’s swords.
  • 12th Battery: 28 Colt army revolvers and 8 horse artillery sabers.

The next page, we see the tally of cartridges:

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  • 5th Battery: 572(?) cartridge bags for 20-pdr Parrott.
  • 6th Battery: 166 cartridge bags for 3-inch rifles.
  • 8th Battery: 81 cartridge bags for 3-inch rifles.
  • 9th Battery: 2000 musket cartridges and 170 of something… in a column with no title?
  • 12th Battery: 987 cartridge bags for 3-inch rifles.

The last page we cover tallies pistol cartridges, powder, fuses, and other items:

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  • 3rd Battery: 600 navy pistol cartridges; 1,480 friction primers; 17 pounds of quick match; and 29 yards of slow match.
  • 5th Battery: 161 paper fuses.
  • 6th Battery: 370 navy pistol cartridges; 154 paper fuses; and 921 friction primers.
  • 7th Battery: 46 army and 550 navy pistol cartridges and 420 paper fuses.
  • 8th Battery: 444 navy pistol cartridges; 360 paper fuses; and 760 friction primers.
  • 12th Battery: 100 army pistol cartridges; 290 paper fuses; 1,515 friction primers; 50 yards of slow match; and 100 percussion caps.

In the snapshot of time, that was the end of 1863, the records of these first twelve of the New York Independent batteries speak to the intensity of war in that year. Batteries disbanded and mustered out. Others recruiting up to replace losses. And the rest armed after a hard season of campaigning, preparing for the worst the next year would offer.

Summary Statement, 4th Quarter, 1863 – 3rd New York Artillery

Unlike their sister light artillery regiment, the 1st New York, the 3rd New York Light Artillery seldom receives proper attention from historians.  Starting organization as an infantry regiment, and serving as such for the summer campaigns of 1861, the regiment reorganized as light artillery to support operations in North Carolina. And the batteries played an important role in an underappreciated and under-studied (in my opinion) theater.  As alluded to for the previous quarter, with about half of the enlistments running out in the spring of 1863, the regiment went through a reorganization.  Four batteries mustered out completely, with those retaining time on enlistments transferred to bring others up to strength.  Not until early 1864 were batteries added back to the regiment’s strength.  And by that time the regiment was no longer serving just in North Carolina.

Colonel Charles H. Stewart commanded the regiment at the end of 1863. With his headquarters at New Berne, North Carolina, he also exercised direct command of four batteries stationed there. His second in command, Lieutenant-Colonel Henry M. Stone, also held command of the garrison of Fort Macon, North Carolina. Regimental Majors were Terence J. Kennedy, Edwin S. Jenney, and Theodore H. Schenck, all veteran leaders by this time of the war. Lieutenant Edgar H. Titus served as Regimental Adjutant until replaced by Lieutenant Thomas J. Mersereau on December 24. Lieutenant Paul Fay became regimental Quatermaster on the last day of the year, replacing Lieutenant Samuel B. Tobey, Jr. Regimental Surgeon William W. Knight was supported by Assistant Surgeons Alfred D. Wilson and Bradford S. Manly.

With that background of the regiment in mind, let us turn to the summary:

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  • Battery A: No return.  The original Battery A mustered out in June 1863. Not until September 1864 did a new Battery A muster in its place.
  • Battery B: Reported on Morris Island, South Carolina, with four 12-pdr Napoleons.  Captain James E. Ashcroft remained in command of the battery, which was then part of the force facing Fort Sumter at the end of the Second Major Bombardment, assigned to the Tenth Corps. When Ashcroft took leave in December, Lieutenant Edward A. Wildt led the battery.
  • Battery C: Reporting at New Berne, with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Captain William E. Mercer remained in command of this battery, which had just reorganized and mustered on September 30, 1863. The battery was part of a “battalion” then serving at New Berne, part of the Eighteenth Corps.
  • Battery D: No return.  Another battery that mustered out in June 1863.  A new Battery D mustered in February 1864.
  • Battery E:  At New Berne, North Carolina with four 20-pdr Parrott rifles.  Captain George E. Ashby replaced Theodore H. Schenck (promoted to major) in command of the battery.  The battery was part garrison of New Berne, in the District of North Carolina, Eighteenth Corps.
  • Battery F:  On Folly Island, with four 12-pdr (3.67-inch) Wiard rifles. Captain Samuel C. Day remained in command of the battery, assigned to Vogdes’ Division, Tenth Corps.
  • Battery G: No return. Another battery mustered out in early June. The new Battery G mustered in March 1864.
  • Battery H: Reporting at Newport News, Virginia with six 12-pdr Napoleons.  In October the battery moved from New Berne to Newport News.  Captain William J. Riggs remained in command of the battery, assigned to Eighteenth Corps.
  • Battery I:  At New Berne and with six 12-pdr Napoleons.  Captain John H. Ammon transferred command of this battery to Captain John D. Clark at the end of the year.
  • Battery K: Also at New Berne but with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Captain James R. Angel remained in command.
  • Battery L:  As explained in earlier posts, this battery was not assigned to the 3rd New York.  Instead it served as the 24th Independent Battery.  Not until March 1865 was it officially assigned to the regiment.
  • Battery M: At Norfolk, Virginia with six 10-pdr Parrott Rifles.  Captain John H. Howell commanded. The battery transferred to the Norfolk area, listed as serving at Fort Monroe, in October, assigned to Heckman’s Division, Eighteenth Corps.

Those administrative particulars explain the gaps in the summary. And with those in mind, most of the ammunition quantities reported make sense… save one entry:

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  • Battery B: 298 shot, 5 shell, and 462 case for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery E: 20 shell for 24-pdr field howitzers; 2 shell for 32-pdr field howitzers. Recall Battery E originally had the big field howitzers on their charge, and apparently retained ammunition. This suggests the howitzers were still at New Berne but not assigned to the battery (or regiment).
  • Battery H: 276 shot, 65 shell, and 313 case for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery I: 318 shot, 126 shell, and 326 case for 12-pdr Napoleons.

On to the next page of ammunition:

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  • Battery B: 128 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery E: 6 canister for 24-pdr field howitzers; 6 canister for 32-pdr field howitzers.
  • Battery H: 96 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery I: 136 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.

Immediately to the right of the smoothbore columns is an entry for Dyer’s projectiles:

  • Battery C: 36 shell for 3-inch rifles.

Further to the right are columns for Hotchkiss rifled projectiles:

  • Battery C: 504 (?) time fuse shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery E: 84 time fuse shell for 20-pdr Parrotts.
  • Battery F: 84 shot and 92 time fuse shell for 3.67-inch rifles.
  • Battery K: 753 shot and 131 time fuse shell for 3-inch rifles.

More Hotchkiss columns on the next page:

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  • Battery C: 110 percussion fuse shell, 1,167 (!) bullet shells, and 204 canister for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery F: 108 percussion fuse shell, 376 bullet shell, and 289 canister for 3.67-inch rifles.
  • Battery K: 34 percussion fuse shell and 188 canister for 3-inch rifles.

On the next page are columns for Parrott projectiles:

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  • Battery E: 378 shot, 82 shell, 102 case, and 30 canister for 20-pdr Parrott.
  • Battery M: 648 shell, 15 case, and 134 canister for 10-pdr Parrotts.

Turning to the small arms reported:

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  • Battery B: Sixteen Colt navy revolvers and seventy-five horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery C: One Colt army revolver and sixty-five horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery E: Twenty-eight Colt navy revolvers, two cavalry sabers, and forty horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery F: Thirty-seven Colt army revolvers and twenty-five horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery H: Twenty Colt navy revolvers and fifty horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery I: Six Colt navy revolvers, nine Remington army revolvers and forty horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery K: Nineteen Colt navy revolvers, four Remington army revolvers, two cavalry sabers, and fifty-two horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery M: Twenty-three Remington navy revolvers and thirty horse artillery sabers.

Next are the cartridge bags reported:

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  • Battery C: 375 bags for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery E: 457 bags for 20-pdr Parrotts; 17 bags for 24-pdr or 32-pdr field howitzers.
  • Battery F: 1,125 bags for 20-pdr guns (presumably Wiard 3.67-inch).
  • Battery K: 123 bags for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery M: 185 bags for 10-pdr Parrotts.

Lastly, we look at the pistol cartridges, fuses, and miscellaneous items:

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  • Battery B: 316 navy pistol cartridges and 100 percussion caps.
  • Battery C: 100 army pistol cartridges; 250 paper fuses; 100 pounds of musket powder; 300 friction primers; and 20 yards of slow match.
  • Battery E: 500 navy pistol cartridges; 1,291 paper fuses; 75 pounds of musket powder; 1,472 friction primers; and 12 yards of slow match.
  • Battery F: 1,000 army pistol cartridges; 551 paper fuses; and 857 friction primers.
  • Battery I: 100 navy pistol cartridges.
  • Battery K: 200 army pistol cartridges and 450 navy pistol cartridges.
  • Battery M: 7,111 paper fuses and 1,200 friction primers.

As the calendar turned from 1863 to 1864, the 3rd New York Light Artillery filled back out as a regiment. By summer, ten batteries were in service. Furthermore, the needs of a war reaching its penultimate campaigns brought several of those batteries into the fighting around Petersburg.