Summary Statement, 4th Quarter, 1863 – Massachusetts

As was the case with summaries from the previous quarters, the clerks at the Ordnance Department “shorted” Massachusetts in the battery listings. There were, eventually, sixteen batteries from the Bay State. And for the fourth quarter, we see a couple of omissions:

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  • 1st Battery: At Brandy Station, Virginia with six 12-pdr Napoleons. The battery remained with the Artillery Brigade, Sixth Corps, Army of the Potomac, and Captain William H. McCartney remained in command.  The battery saw action near the Saunders’ House during the battle of Mine Run, firing fifteen rounds.
  • 2nd Battery: No return. Captain Ormand F. Nims remained in command of this battery. Part of the Nineteenth Corps, Department of the Gulf, the battery transferred from the corps artillery reserve to the Cavalry Division. Around this time the battery exchanged six 6-pdr rifled field guns for a like number of 12-pdr Napoleons. The battery saw field service in the Teche Campaign in October and November. Moving from Brashear City, the cavalry column to which the battery was attached reached Opelousas on October 21, having skirmished frequently with Confederates along the way. A section under Lieutenant William Marland saw action at Carrion Crow Bayou and Grand Couteau (November 2 and 3, respectively). In the latter action, Marland found his battery surrounded and without support. He ordered the section limbered up and charged through to save the guns. The battery arrived at New Iberia on November 17 and remained there until January.
  • 3rd Battery: Reporting at Bealton, Virginia with six 12-pdr Napoleons.  Assigned to the Artillery Brigade, Fifth Corps, with Lieutenant Aaron F. Walcott in charge of the battery.  Captain Augustus P. Martin, of the battery, comanded the corps artillery brigade. Participating with the corps through the Bristoe Campaign and Mine Run, the battery went into winter quarters outside Brandy Station, off the north end of Fleetwood Hill.
  • 4th Battery: Reporting New Iberia, Louisiana with two 12-pdr Napoleons and two 3-inch ordnance rifles.  Captain George G. Trull commanded. However, in Trull’s absence Lieutenant George W. Taylor led the battery in December 1863. The battery participated in the Teche Expedition in October. They were in action at Vermillion Bayou on November 11, without loss. The battery transferred from Third Division to First Division, Nineteenth Corps later in November.  
  • 5th Battery: Reporting at Rappahannock [Station], Virginia with six 3-inch rifles.  Captain Charles A. Phillips remained in command, and the battery assigned to the Fifth Corps.  The battery participated in the Bristoe and Mine Run Campaigns. Following those, the battery, alongside the 3rd Battery, went into winter quarters at Brandy Station.
  • 6th Battery: At New Iberia, Louisiana with four 12-pdr Napoleons and two 12-pdr field howitzers. The battery was assigned to First Division, Nineteenth Corps.  When Captain William W. Carruth mustered out on October 3rd, Lieutenant Edward K. Russell (2nd Battery, above) transferred to command.  Then on December 9, Lieutenant John F. Phelps, of the battery, took command.  Phelps would be promoted to Captain with commission back dated to October 3. The battery participated in the Teche Campaign of that fall, arriving at New Iberia on November 16 and going into winter quarters.
  • 7th Battery: At Camp Barry, D.C., with six 3-inch Ordnance rifles.  Captain Phineas A. Davis resigned at the start of October to receive a promotion.  In his place Lieutenant Newman W. Storer received the captaincy. This much traveled battery was not resting long at Camp Barry. In January, they embarked on a steamer for New Orleans and a transfer to the Nineteenth Corps.
  • 8th Battery: No return.  Mustered out in November 1862 at the end of a six-month enlistment.
  • 9th Battery: At Brandy Station, Virginia with four 12-pdr Napoleons. Remaining with the First Volunteer Artillery Brigade, Artillery Reserve. Captain John Bigelow commanded, but was recovering from wounds.  Lieutenant Richard S. Milton filled in his place.
  • 10th Battery:  Also at Brandy Station, Virginia but with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Captain J. Henry Sleeper commanded this battery, assigned to Third Corps, Army of the Potomac. The battery was active in the field for both the Bristoe Station and Mine Run Campaigns.
  • 11th Battery: No return.  This battery mustered out of service in May 1863. However, it remained as a militia battery (and was called out to suppress riots in Boston in July).  On December 1, Captain Edward J. Jones, commanding the battery, received authorization to recruit up to full strength and prepare the battery for muster back into service. That re-muster occurred on January 2, 1864. Along the way, the battery received six new 3-inch rifles.
  • 12th Battery:  At Port Hudson, Louisiana, with five 6-pdr field guns and one 12-pdr field howitzer. Captain Jacob Miller remained in command. On October 15 the battery transferred from the New Orleans garrison to that of Port Hudson.
  • 13th Battery: Not listed. The 13th Battery was down to around fifty effective men by the fall of 1863.  Having transferred their guns and horses to fill out other batteries earlier in the year, the battery served as a detachment under the 2nd Battery (see above). At this time of the war, Captain Charles H. J. Hamlin was on recruiting duty.  In his place, Lieutenant Ellis L. Motte led the detachment.
  • 14th Battery: Not listed.  Philip H. Tyler, formerly a lieutenant in the 3rd Battery, received authorization to recruit this battery in December 1863. But his efforts failed and the authority was receded. In January, Joseph W.B. Wright, formerly of 1st Battery (original three month muster) and the 1st Massachusetts Heavy Artillery, received authorization to begin recruiting. Wright’s efforts bore fruit with a February 1864 muster.
  • 15th Battery: At Lakeport, Louisiana with two 6-pdr field guns.  Captain Timothy Pearson saw most of his battery equipment and horses transferred to other units in the spring of 1863.  The men served at the forts protecting the road and railroad to Lake Ponchatrain. During that duty, they received two guns, horses, and necessary equipment. On December 29, the battery moved to Lakeport. Then on January 2nd, the battery embarked on the steamer Kate Dale for six weeks’ duty on Lake Ponchatrain. Of note, official accounts of that expedition indicate the 15th Battery mounted FOUR guns on the steamer (Lieutenant Albert Rouse in command of the detachment). Furthermore, later in the year the battery reported two 6-pdrs and four 12-pdr Napoleons on hand. Such leads to speculations.
  • 16th Battery: Not listed.  Battery did not begin recruiting until January-February 1864.

Thus we see three main themes with the Massachusetts batteries – chasing Lee in Virginia, serving in steamy Louisiana, and recruiting up for muster. Three of those activities required ammunition. And ammunition was reported. We start with the smoothbore:

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  • 1st Battery: 288 shot, 96 shell, and 288 case for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 3rd Battery: 192 shot, 96 shell, and 387 case for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 4th Battery: 24 shot, 150 shell, and 47 case for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 6th Battery: 57 shot, 179 shell, and 251 case for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 9th Battery: 180 shot, 64 shell, and 192 case for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 12th Battery: 107 shot and 147 case for 6-pdr field guns; 59 shell and 42 case for 12-pdr field howitzers.
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  • 1st Battery: 96 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 3rd Battery: 96 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 4th Battery: 35 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 6th Battery: 63 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 9th Battery: 54 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 12th Battery: 285 canister for 6-pdr field guns and 19 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.

To the right we start the rifled projectiles, with the Hotchkiss leading off:

  • 4th Battery: 84 time fuse shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 7th Battery: 120 time fuse shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 10th Battery: 189 time fuse shell for 3-inch rifles.

Continuing with more Hotchkiss:

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  • 4th Battery: 281 percussion fuse shell and 39 canister for 3-inch rifles.
  • 5th Battery: 97 canister for 3-inch rifles.
  • 7th Battery: 236 percussion fuse shell and 120 canister for 3-inch rifles.
  • 10th Battery: 98 percussion fuse shell, 341 case shot, and 115 canister for 3-inch rifles.

On the next page is an interesting entry for Parrott projectiles:

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  • 5th Battery: 41 Parrott canister for 3-inch bore rifles.

This deserves some consideration. Note the header has different columns for 10-pdr/2.9-inch and 10-pdr/3-inch Parrott. Clearly this is the latter. Could one fire a 3-inch Parrott projectile from a 3-inch Ordnance Rifle? Technically, I see no reason why not. If it fits down the bore, it will fire back out, right? But the poor 5th Battery had two types of canister on hand and no explosive projectiles! We see that was resolved in the Schenkl columns to the right:

  • 5th Battery: 140 shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 10th Battery: 41 shell for 3-inch rifles.

And more Schenkl on the page that followed:

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  • 5th Battery: 904 case shot for 3-inch rifles.
  • 7th Battery: 720 case shot for 3-inch rifles.
  • 10th Battery: 256 case shot for 3-inch rifles.

Moving to the small arms reported:

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  • 1st Battery: Eight Colt army revolvers, nine cavalry sabers, and five horse artillery sabers.
  • 3rd Battery: One Colt army revolver, eight cavalry sabers, and twenty horse artillery sabers.
  • 4th Battery: Seven Colt army revolvers and twenty-eight horse artillery sabers.
  • 5th Battery: One Colt army revolver and twenty-seven horse artillery sabers.
  • 6th Battery: Seventeen Colt army revolvers and twenty-six cavalry sabers.
  • 7th Battery: Twenty Colt army revolvers and forty-eight horse artillery sabers.
  • 9th Battery: Eight Colt army revolvers and ten horse artillery sabers.
  • 10th Battery: Sixteen Colt navy revolvers and nineteen horse artillery sabers.
  • 12th Battery: Eighteen Colt army revolvers and thirty horse artillery sabers.
  • 15th Battery: Fifty Springfield .58 caliber muskets, fourteen Colt navy revolvers, eight cavalry sabers, and fifty-nine horse artillery sabers.

Let’s talk cartridge bags:

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  • 5th Battery: 1,185 cartridge bags for 3-inch rifles.
  • 10th Battery: 1,234 cartridge bags for 3-inch rifles.
  • 12th Battery: 162 cartridge bags for smoothbore field pieces.

And far to the right we see the 15th Battery records ammunition for it’s muskets:

  • 15th Battery: 100 cartridges for .58 caliber muskets. Two rounds per rifle? What’s up with that?

On the last page we review, there are many tallies to record. So keep up:

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  • 1st Battery: 104 cartridges for army revolvers and 2,844 friction primers;
  • 3rd Battery: 2,100 friction primers.
  • 4th Battery: 235 paper fuses; 2,500 friction primers; 50 yards of slow match; and 65 portfires.
  • 5th Battery: 1,847 friction primers and 50 yards of slow match.
  • 6th Battery: 2,440 friction primers.
  • 7th Battery: 600 cartridges for navy revolvers; 1,400 paper fuses; and 850 friction primers.
  • 9th Battery: 500 cartridges for army revolvers; 186 friction primers; and 50 yards of slow match.
  • 10th Battery: 753 paper fuses and 1,796 friction primers.
  • 12th Battery: 1,400 cartridges for army revolvers.
  • 15th Battery: 788 cartridges for navy revolvers; 1,524 friction primers; 2 yards of slow match; 1,400 percussion caps for pistols; and 20 portfires.

I’m often wondering how to reconcile the reported number of guns to projectiles, and thence out to the primers and fuses on hand. More so with regard to cartridges and percussion caps for small arms. To some extent, we have to consider this was the quantity deemed “reportable, on hand” as opposed to what actually might have been laying about. Nuanced, there is a difference. Particularly with the small arms. And I’d also say that applied to things like fuses and friction primers. Then again, there is a reason batteries were issued things like portfires and slow match.

Summary Statement, 1st Quarter, 1863 – 2nd Regiment, US Regulars

As we move forward with the summaries today, we look at the Second Regiment, US Artillery.  For the fourth quarter of 1862, we saw varied service for the batteries in this regiment – field and garrison, eastern and western theaters.  The service details remained varied into the first quarter of the new year.  Furthermore, the changes between the two reporting period reflected some of the organizational changes occurring in the winter of 1863.

That said, let’s examine the administrative details and reported cannon on hand:

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Looking at these particulars, I’ll work in the changes with each entry:

  • Battery A – No location given. Six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles on hand, as was reported in December.  The is was Captain John C. Tidball’s battery. Though part of the Army of the Potomac’s Artillery Reserve, the battery was nominally assigned to Second Division of the Cavalry Corps.
  • Battery B – At Aquia Creek, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  An increase of two guns over the last report. Battery assigned to the horse artillery brigade of the Cavalry Corps.  When Captain James M. Robertson moved up to command the horse artillery of the Cavalry Corps, Lieutenant Albert Vincent assumed command of the battery.
  • Battery C – Opelousas, Louisiana with six 12-pdr Napoleons, an increase of two over last report.  The battery was part of Fourth Division, Nineteenth Corps (one of those relatively new formations on paper), in the Department of the Gulf. Lieutenant Theodore Bradley commanded.
  • Battery D – No location given.  Six 12-pdr Napoleons on hand, as was the case the previous December.  Battery D was assigned to Sixth Corps and was thus in camp north of the Rappahannock.  A Medal of Honor was in the future (two campaign seasons later) for Lieutenant Edward D. Williston.
  • Battery E –  Reporting at Lexington, Kentucky with six 20-pdr Parrott Rifles.  This battery moved to Kentucky as part of the Ninth Corps in March 1863.  Lieutenant Samuel N. Benjamin remained in command.  Note the quantity of guns.  Hunt indicated the battery had six 20-pdrs during the battle of Fredericksburg.  But the December 1862 report clearly shows a “1” in the 20-pdr column.  By March 1863, the battery reported six.  So was the earlier report in error?  Or did the reporting period catch the battery during a stage of refitting with new guns?  At any rate, those guns which started the year in Virginia had more travels before June 1863.
  • Battery F – No report. The battery remained in the Corinth, Mississippi area and, despite all the reorganizations in the Army of the Tennessee, remained with the District of Corinth.  Lieutenant Charles Green commanded, replacing Captain Albert Molinard.
  • Battery G – No report.  The battery remained with Sixth Corps, north of the Rappahannock.  Lieutenant John H. Bulter was in command.
  • Battery H – Assigned to Fort Barrancas, Florida as garrison artillery.  No field weapons reported.
  • Battery I – Fort McHenry, Maryland.  No field artillery reported.
  • Battery K – Fort Pickens, Florida on garrison artillery assignment.
  • Battery L – Reported at Aquia Creek with the annotation “No stores”.  Battery L remained consolidated with Battery B (above).
  • Battery M – At Bealton Station, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Assigned to the Horse Artillery Brigade, Army of the Potomac.  Lieutenant Robert Clarke replaced Lieutenant Robert H. Chapin at the head of this battery.

One last entry line for the regiment is for “Adjutant, stores in charge.” The adjutant reported several types of implements, tools, and supplies but no cannon or projectiles.  The adjutant did have a few sabers to rattle around.

Looking to the smoothbore projectiles:

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As expected only the Napoleon batteries reported quantities:

  • Battery C – 144 shot, 16 shell, 528 case, and 208 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.
  • Battery D – 273 shot, 110 shell, 321 case, and 64 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.

So no surprises with the Napoleons.

For the Hotchkiss-types, we have only one battery to mention:

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But that reporting a healthy quantity:

  • Battery B – 266 shot, 90 canister, 434 percussion shell, 307 fuse shell, and 69 bullet shell for the “3-inch wrought-iron gun.”

Moving to the next page, we see entries for Dyer’s and Parrott’s patent projectiles:

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Yes, a lot of space for four numbers for us to consider.  I am including, this time around, some of the draft snips such as this one so readers might fully review the entries.  I may interpret a stray mark incorrectly, so this is intended to allow better validation (though… alas, I’ve pretty much cut up the workspace by creating the snips to begin with).  Looking narrowly here:

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For Dyer’s:

  • Battery M – 348 Dyer’s shrapnel for 3-inch rifle.

The Parrott projectiles are for those 20-pdrs:

  • Battery E – 822 shell, 204 case, and 72 canister for 3.67-inch bore. Plenty for a six-gun battery to start an engagement.

Moving to the next page (full snip here) and Schenkl columns:

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Just one battery reporting:

  • Battery M – 494 shell and 72 canister for 3-inch rifle.

We have no records for Battery A’s ammunition state at this period of the war.

Moving down to the small arms:

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By battery:

  • Battery A – Fourteen Army revolvers, sixty-six Navy revolvers, twelve cavalry sabers, and seventy-three horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery B – Thirteen cavalry sabers and two horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery C – Twenty-eight horse artillery sabers and twenty-eight foot artillery swords.
  • Battery D – Fifteen Army revolvers and sixty-two horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery E – Fifty-six Navy revolvers and thirty-three horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery M – 120 Army revolvers and twenty-six horse artillery sabers.
  • Adjutant – Twenty-four horse artillery sabers.

So… Captain Tidball had time to tally the number of revolvers and edged weapons on hand… and a large number at that!  But gave no numbers for ammunition on hand. Are we to believe this storied battery had empty ammunition chests?  Or was there something missing in the report?   I just can’t see someone with Tidball’s reputation leaving out such an important particular.  Must have been something rotten in the Ordnance Department.