Looking at the artillery formations Illinois sent to war, there are over a dozen independent batteries or sections which we may discuss. Some of these became batteries in the two artillery regiments. Others remained independent throughout the war. Famous independent batteries, I may add.
Looking at the third quarter, 1863, the summaries carried eight independent batteries and one artillery section. However, the clerks at the Ordnance Department continued to carry one of those batteries under “3rd Illinois Artillery,” a formation that cannot be found in the final records. Thus we have a split set to discuss in this installment:
As discussed in previous quarters, we can identify Battery A, 3rd Illinois Artillery as Springfield Light Artillery, or Vaughn’s Battery (after Captain Thomas F. Vaughn).
The other batteries appear on the next page:
Working from the top… of my snips, we start with that miss-identified battery and work down:
- Battery A, 3rd Illinois / Springfield Light Artillery: At Little Rock, Arkansas with six 3.80-inch James rifles. Captain Thomas F. Vaughn commanded this battery, which was assigned to the Sixteenth Corps. As part of Steele’s Expedition to Little Rock, the battery got its first real taste of battle on September 10 at Bayou Fourche. In that action, Vaughn reported firing 14 shot, 292 shell, and 8 canister over three hours. The battery lost two men in the fight.
- Stokes’ Battery / Chicago Board of Trade Battery: Reporting at Nashville, Tennessee with four 6-pdr field guns, two 12-pdr field howitzers, one 3-inch Ordnance Rifle, one rifled 6-pdr (3.67-inch), and two 3.80-inch James rifles. At the end of September, this battery was, like most of the Army of the Cumberland, holding on at Chattanooga. The battery was with the force holding the river crossings above the city. By the time of the reporting date (November), the battery was posted near Huntsville, Alabama, having spent some of the intervening time supporting operations against Confederate cavalry raids. The battery remained with Second Division, Cavalry Corps, Army of the Cumberland. During the siege of Chattanooga, Captain James H. Stokes commanded Second Division of the Artillery Reserve, Army of the Cumberland (the “right batteries” in reports). In his place, Lieutenant George Robinson led the battery, with more than it’s fair share of cannon!
- Chicago Mercantile Battery: At Franklin, Louisiana with four 3-inch Ordnance rifles. In the reorganizations after Vicksburg, this battery moved with parent formation to the Fourth Division, Thirteenth Corps, which was sent to the Department of the Gulf. Captain Patrick H. White remained in command.
- Elgin Battery: No return. Assigned to the 23rd Corps, this battery participated in the Knoxville Campaign. Captain George W. Renwick resigned in May 1863 and was replaced by Captain Andrew M. Wood.
- Cogswell’s Battery: At Nashville, Tennessee with four 3.80-inch James rifles. This battery moved to Vicksburg in June as part of First Division, Sixteenth Corps. In July, just after the fall of that city, the battery transferred to Fourth Division, Fifteenth Corps. Thence transferring again to Seventh Division, Seventeenth Corps. And that division later became Second Division of the corps. Good thing corps badges were not used in the western theater at the time! In late September the battery moved to Memphis as part of the force sent to reinforce Chattanooga. The indicated location reflects the July 1864 reporting date. Though Captain William Cogswell remained in command of the battery, Lieutenant Henry G. Eddy appears to have led the battery in the field.
- Henshaw’s Battery: Reporting from Loudon, Tennessee with four 6-pdr field guns and two 3.80-inch James rifles. In September 1863, this battery was part of Twenty-third Corps and in the advance toward Knoxville. So the Loudon location reflects a November reporting date. Captain Edward C. Henshaw commanded.
- Bridges’ Battery: At Chattanooga, Tennessee with one 12-pdr Napoleon and three 3-inch Ordnance rifles. Assigned to Second Division, Fourteenth Corps and under command of Captain Lyman Bridges. Going into battle at Chickamauga, the battery boasted two Napoleons and four Ordnance rifles. Posted on the morning September 20 astride the road near the McDonald House, the battery suffered heavily. Six killed, twenty wounded, and four missing out of a command of 126. Aside from the two guns (a Napoleon and an Ordnance rifle) the battery lost 46 horses, three limbers, one caisson, and much equipment. Bridges would, rightfully in my view, complain of lacking infantry support. The battery pulled four of its guns off the field and moved to Snodgrass Hill. Bridges would later pull four guns, abandoned by other batteries, off the field. The position of Bridges’ desperate fight on the morning of the 20th is marked today:
- Colvin’s Battery: “In the field, Tennessee” with two 3-inch Ordnance rifles and two 10-pdr Parrotts. Overlooked in the previous quarter, this battery was assigned to Twenty-Third Corps, and, as of the end of September, was part of the force in East Tennessee aimed at Knoxville. Captain John H. Colvin commanded.
- 14th Cavalry, Artillery Section: No location given, with four 12-pdr mountain howitzers. The 14th Illinois Cavalry was part of Twenty-third Corps at this time of the war and participated in the advance on Knoxville. The regiment, under Colonel Horace Capron, retained a section of mountain howitzers, led by Lieutenant Henry Clay Connelly.
Taken with the service details of the 1st and 2nd Regiments, we see almost all the Illinois artillerymen were serving in the Western Theater at this time of the war.
Moving to the ammunition reported, let us take this in blocks with the Springfield Light Artillery getting the lead position. That battery reported no smoothbore ammunition. But did have some Hotchkiss rounds:
- Springfield Battery: 274 Hotchkiss percussion shell for 3.80-inch rifles..
More Hotchkiss appear on the next page along with James patent projectiles:
- Springfield Battery: 172 Hotchkiss canister; 236 James shot, 212 James Shells, and 30 James canister, all for 3.80-inch rifles.
And more canister on the last page of projectiles:
- Springfield Battery: 36 Tatham’s canister for 3.80-inch rifles.
Turning to the other independent batteries, we look back to the smoothbore:
- Chicago Board of Trade Battery: 173 shot, 283 case, and 244 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
- Henshaw’s Battery: 286 shot, 315 case, and 138 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
- Bridges’ Battery: 4 shot, 148 shell, and 34 case for 12-pdr Napoleons. No canister.
- 14th Illinois Cavalry: 108 shell, 576 case, and 60 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.
Advancing to the Hotchkiss columns:
- Chicago Board of Trade Battery: 7 shot and 30 percussion shell for 3.80-inch James.
- Chicago Mercantile Battery: 90 canister, 195 percussion shell, 201 fuse shell, and 281 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
- Cogswell’s Battery: 170 percussion shell for 3.80-inch James.
- Henshaw’s Battery: 95 percussion shell and 80 fuse shell for 3.80-inch James.
- Bridges’ Battery: 66 canister, 130 percussion shell, 186 fuse shell, and 163 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
- Colvin’s Battery: 38 canister, 50 percussion shell, and 160 fuse shell for 3-inch rifles.
We have more Hotchkiss on the next page along with James and Parrott rounds:
- Chicago Board of Trade Battery: 33 cansiter for 3.80-inch rifles.
- Chicago Board of Trade Battery: 33 shot and 45 shell for 3.80-inch rifles.
- Cogswell’s Battery: 31 shot, 247 shell, and 109 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.
- Colvin’s Battery: 165 case for 10-pdr Parrott.
Both Schenkl and Tatham’s on the last page of projectiles:
- Chicago Board of Trade Battery: 219 shell for 3.80-inch rifles.
- Henshaw’s Battery: 66 shell for 3.80-inch rifles.
- Colvin’s Battery: 23 case for 10-pdr Parrott.
- Cogswell’s Battery: 149 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.
Finally to the small arms, we can “bounce” these in one listing from two snips:
- Springfield Battery: Ten horse artillery sabers.
- Chicago Board of Trade Battery: Two Army revolvers, 133 Navy revolvers, eight cavalry sabers, and twenty horse artillery sabers.
- Chicago Mercantile Battery: One Army revolver and four horse artillery sabers.
- Cogswell’s Battery: Two Army revolvers and two cavalry sabers.
- Henshaw’s Battery: Eighteen Army revolvers and sixteen horse artillery sabers.
- Bridges’ Battery: Ten Army revolvers, fifteen cavalry sabers, and five horse artillery sabers.
- Colvin’s Battery: Two Navy revolvers and eight cavalry sabers.
- 14th Illinois Cavalry Section: Six rifled muskets (foreign manufacture) and thirty-one Army revolvers.
Consider here the story of Bridges’ Battery at Chickamuaga. I think we see some of that story reflected in the numbers reported for the returns. Certainly we see the reduction of the number of guns reported. Ammunition might be replenished, but I’d advance the quantities were still low for the battery (as resupply of Chattanooga was desperate until late November). Though the small arms quantities look average for a field battery, I’d bet many of those men who survived September 20, 1863 would “acquire” more – officially or unofficially.