Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – Pennsylvania’s Emergency Batteries

Last post, I mentioned the Pennsylvania militia and emergency batteries appearing on the Federal order of battle during the crucial summer months of 1863.  While those batteries escaped mention in the summaries, in the interest in cataloging ALL the artillery batteries from Pennsylvania, I do wish to at least name the organizations for reference.

To properly frame this, let’s turn to a proclamation issued by Governor Andrew G. Curtain on June 12, 1863.  At that time, the War Department had just created two new departments – Department of the Monongahela (also called Western Pennsylvania) including parts of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio; and Department of the Susquehanna, or Eastern Pennsylvania.  Major-Generals William T.H. Brooks and Darius N. Couch, respectively, commanded these departments.  This was all in response to a growing emergency as reports indicated a large Confederate force was on the move north.  In that proclamation, Curtain urged:

I earnestly invite the attention of the people of Pennsylvania to the general orders issued by these officers on assuming the command of their respective departments. The importance of immediately raising a sufficient force for the defense of the State cannot be overrated. The corps now proposed to be established will give permanent security to our borders. I know too well the gallantry and patriotism of the freemen of this Commonwealth to think it necessary to do more than commend this measure to the people, and earnestly urge them to respond to the call of the General Government, and promptly fill the ranks of these corps, the duties of which will be mainly the defense of our own homes, firesides, and property from devastation.

And the people of Pennsylvania did respond.  Over thirty-five regiments (though not “full” in terms of the number of companies) and numerous independent infantry companies formed up, in addition to cavalry battalions and companies.  The artillery component was eleven batteries, most of which existed as militia before the declaration of the emergency.

We find the administrative details of these batteries in Samuel P. Bates’ History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-5, Volume V, and from the returns provided by Brooks and Couch.  I’ll combine some details from those sources for this listing of batteries:

  • Frishmuth’s Battery: The Philadelphia Union Battery commanded by Benoni Frishmuth.  Mustered on June 26 and discharged on August 1.  Four officers and 100 men.  The battery had four guns, “the private property of [Frishmuth’s] company.”  A return from July 10 places the battery at Harrisburg, part of a brigade led by Brigadier-General William Hall, New York National Guard. Then on July 31, the battery was back in Philadelphia.
  • Miller’s Battery: Philadelphia Howitzer Battery. Commanded by Captain E. Spencer Miller.  Mustered June 19 and discharged July 25.  Three offices and 99 men.  This battery served in Brigadier-General William F. Smith’s division of the Susquehanna Department.  They supported the movement to Carlisle and subsequent pursuit of the Confederates.  Smith’s report indicates the battery had four pieces.
  • Landis’ Battery: 1st Philadelphia Battery. Captain Henry D. Landis’ battery mustered on June 27, serving until discharged on July 30.  Three officers and 105 men.  Also from Philadelphia and also assigned to Smith’s division.  This battery saw action at Sporting Hill and Carlisle.  Returns at the end of July place the battery at Chambersburg.
  • Joseph Knap’s Battery: Captain Joseph M. Knap had recently mustered out from Battery E, Pennsylvania Light Artillery (which is the connection to the “original” Knap’s Battery).  But he responded to the governor’s call, leading a battery of five officers and 121 men, which mustered on June 27.  They mustered out on August 16.
  • Ermentrout’s Battery: Captain William C. Ermentrout’s was a company of heavy artillery.  Mustered on July 3, and discharged on August 25, the company numbered five officers and 144 enlisted.  The battery formed in Reading and saw service around Camp Curtain and Harrisburg.
  • Guss’s Battery: Chester County Artillery. Commanded by Captain George R. Guss.  The battery consisted of five officers and 144 enlisted.  It mustered on July 3 and was discharged on August 25.  At the end of July, this battery was at Reading, Pennsylvania.
  • Fitzki’s Battery: Second Keystone Battery with Captain Edward Fitzki in command.  Five officers and 138 enlisted mustered with this battery, starting on July 6. The battery mustered out on August 24.  Fitzki had served with Battery G, 1st Pennsylvania earlier in the war. Returns place the battery at Camp Curtain and Harrisburg during July.
  • Woodward’s Battery: Captain William H. Woodward’s battery mustered on July 8.  Unlike these other batteries, Woodward’s was not mustered out until November 4, 1863, just short of a full six month enlistment.  The battery mustered with three officers and 128 enlisted.  Returns through July have the battery unattached and serving at Philadelphia.
  • Tyler’s Battery: Park Battery. Captain Horatio K. Tyler, who’d served earlier in the war with an infantry regiment, commanded this battery.  Mustered on July 16, the battery consisted of four officers and 138 enlisted.  In late August, the battery was in Colonel James Mulligan’s Brigade serving in West Virginia.  The battery remained in service until January 28, 1864.
  • Robert Nevin’s Battery: (Not to be confused with John Nevin’s Battery H, Pennsylvania Light.) Captain Robert J. Nevin’s battery mustered sometime in the first week of July and numbered five officers and 147 men.  On July 10, the battery was on the returns for Camp Curtain.  Then in late August, the battery reported a posting at Philadelphia.  It was armed with four 12-pdr Napoleons and two 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. During the fall, the battery was posted to West Virginia.  On January 7, 1864, the battery was mustered out in Philadelphia, but most of the men, including Nevin, would re-enlist for three years.  As such unit was re-designated Battery I, Pennsylvania Light Artillery.

Also, we might list Captain Matthew Hasting’s Keystone Battery which was on duty at Camp Barry until the end of June.  That battery appears on Bates’ list as a militia battery, though was actually on service in Washington, D.C.  As mentioned in the earlier post, the battery mustered out on August 20.

From the perspective of a “bean counting” clerk at the Ordnance Department, only four of these batteries were mustered prior to the end of the second quarter reporting period (June 30).  And only three of these batteries would be in Federal service at the end of third quarter (September 30).  So this gives the clerks a clean alibi for not allocating lines on the summary.  Their tracking was still not thorough, however, as they would allocate only one line to the three batteries for the third quarter (which we must wait to discuss).

Regardless of the administrative particulars which prevented the inclusion of the emergency batteries on the summaries, I offer them here as to help paint a more complete picture.  While briefly serving, it was service at a time of a crisis.  And the batteries appear on orders of battle for formations thrown into that crisis.  Their story also allows us to consider the structure of state and local militia organizations in relation to the more familiar volunteer organizations in Federal service.

(Citations:  OR, Series I, Volume 27, Part III, Serial 44, page 233; Serial 45, pages 79-80.)

Advertisements

Summary Statement: December 31, 1862 – Pennsylvania’s Independent Batteries and Miscellaneous Returns

Problems, problems, problems.  That’s what we have to sort out with the Pennsylvania independent batteries and the summary for fourth quarter, 1862.     Just look at these entries:

0075_Snip_Dec62_2_PA_1

These were “storied” batteries, some of which played important parts in great battles.  While tracking these batteries by the name of a commander or organizer will fit into those stories, there are some administrative inefficiencies to that manner of identification.  And as these summaries are more administrative in nature, there is some matching and sorting needed to ensure a complete and accurate assessment of the data.

We see thirteen entry lines on the summary page.  Of those seven returns are logged.  One of those seven returns, from the 2nd Pennsylvania Reserves, lists no guns.  Let us sort through the entries as they appear, then circle back to check that all the independent batteries are accounted:

  • Durrell’s Battery:  No return.  This was Captain George W. Durell’s battery, also known as Pennsylvania Independent Battery D.   This battery reported six 10-pdr Parrotts earlier in the fall.
  • Nevin’s Battery:  No return.  Here’s where the battery designation could have helped.  There were two Nevin’s Batteries.  Captain John I. Nevin’s battery, known as Pennsylvania Independent Battery H, was organized in late September 1862.  Captain Robert J. Nevin’s Pennsylvania Independent Battery I was not organized until June 1863 (with a six month enlistment).  So let us assume this to be John Nevin’s.  In that case, Nevin’s battery was at Camp Barry at the time.
  • Keystone Battery: At Union Mills, Virginia with six 10-pdr Parrotts. This was Captain Matthew Hastings’ battery, assigned to Casey’s Division and part of the Washington defenses.
  • Hampton’s Battery:  At Aquia Creek, Virginia with six 10-pdr Parrotts. This would be Captain Robert B. Hampton’s Pennsylvania Independent Battery F, assigned to Second Division, Twelfth Corps.
  • Illegible name in row 20: I cannot make out what the battery name is on this row.  At first I though “Isaac” but that does not match to any in my records.  At any rate, the line is blank with no return.
  • Knap’s Battery:  At Fairfax Court House with six 10-pdr Parrotts.  Captain Joseph M. Knap’s efficient battery was also known as Pennsylvania Independent Battery E.  The battery was also assigned to Second Division, Twelfth Corps.
  • Shaffer’s Battery:  No return.  This, I think, is Captain Frank Schaffer’s Pennsylvania Independent Battery A, assuming there is a missing “c” in the name. If correct, then this battery’s location was Fort Delaware, where it spent the entire war.
  • Schooley’s Battery:  No return. The only match I have for this name is Schooley’s Independent Company Heavy Artillery, Captain David Schooley in command.  If that is the case, then the battery’s location was at Fort Lincoln, Washington, D.C. for the reporting period.
  • Thompson’s Battery: At Fletcher’s Chapel, Virginia with four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. This would be Captain James Thompson’s Pennsylvania Independent Battery C.  Assigned to Second Division, First Corps at this time.
  • Ulman’s Battery:  No return.  The name matches to Captain Joseph E. Ulman’s independent battery organized in February 1862.  This battery was not accepted as artillery and disbanded when told to reorganize as infantry, in March of that year.  Why it was still on the rolls is a 150-year-old question for the clerks.
  • Stevens’ Battery: At Murfreesboro, Tennessee with four 6-pdr field guns and two 3.80-inch James Rifles.  There was but one Pennsylvania battery at Stones River, and that was Lieutenant Alanson J. Stevens’ Pennsylvania Independent Battery B.  I’ve seen it mentioned in correspondence as the 26th Pennsylvania Battery, and Muehler’s Battery (after Captain Charles F. Muehler who organized the unit).  The battery supported Third Division, Left Wing, Fourteenth Corps.  Stevens reported expending 1,650 rounds during the battle, losing seven horses, two men killed, and seven men wounded.
  • 11th Cavalry stores in charge:  At Camp Suffolk, Virginia.  Reporting three 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • Company F, 2nd Pennsylvania Reserves: Reporting from Belle Plain, Virginia with no cannon but stores on hand.  I am not familiar with any association of this formation to an artillery battery. And this will be a significant amount of ammunition on hand.

This listing, somewhat out of order, gives us all of the lettered independent batteries save one.  Allow me to translate here in a quick list:

  • Battery A – Schaffer’s Battery
  • Battery B – Stevens’ or Muehler’s Battery
  • Battery C – Thompson’s Battery
  • Battery D – Durrel’s Battery
  • Battery E – Knap’s Battery
  • Battery F – Hampton’s Battery
  • Battery G – Young’s Battery – not listed above.
  • Battery H – John Nevin’s Battery
  • Battery I – Robert J. Nevin’s Battery (not formed until June 1863)

Looking a few months into the future, as it would be from December 1862, we know that Batteries C and F would later consolidate.  So there is one battery we might plug into that row 20 question mark.  Captain John Jay Young’s battery, organized in August 1862, spent the war at Fort Delaware (good duty if you can get it), to the chagrin of the War Department.

Another pair of batteries that deserve mention with respect to Pennsylvania batteries at this time in the war was Segebarth’s Battalion Marine Artillery, Batteries A and B. Those were also posted to Fort Delaware in December 1862.  That unit would become part of the 3rd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery later in the war.

So, after an administrative interpretation that was long enough to be a blog post by itself, let us go through the ammunition reported.  For convienence, I am going to use the name designations seen on the summary.  For smoothbore ammunition:

0077_Snip_Dec62_2_PA_1

Just two entry lines for discussion:

  • 11th Cavalry: 24 shell, 24 case, and 12 canister for 12-pdr field howitzer.
  • 2nd Reserves:  292 shot, 111 shell, 421 case, and 181 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.

Stevens’ Battery might be excused, having fired all those rounds at Stones River, from offering a quantity for their 6-pdr guns.

Moving to rifled projectiles, we few Hotchkiss projectiles in use:

0077_Snip_Dec62_2_PA_2

  • Thompson’s Battery: 82 canister, 16 percussion shell, 144 fuse shell, and 259 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 2nd Reserves: 400 fuse shell and 132 bullet shell for 3-inch rifle.

Moving to the next page, we find Dyer’s, Parrott’s, and Schenkl’s patent projectiles:

0079_Snip_Dec62_2_PA_1

Starting from the left side columns and Dyer’s:

  • Thompson’s Battery: 216 3-inch Dyer’s shrapnel, 3-inch bore.

Now the Parrott pattern projectiles:

  • Keystone Battery: 684 shell, 339 case, and 319 canister in 10-pdr.
  • Hampton’s Battery: 120 shell, 480 case, and 144 canister of 10-pdr.
  • Knap’s Battery:  507 shell, 213 case, and 136 canister for 10-pdr.

For Schenkl:

  • Hampton’s Battery: 480 Schenkl shot for 10-pdr Parrott.

The second page of Schenkl projectiles has but one entry:

0079_Snip_Dec62_2_PA_2

That is Thompson’s Battery with 33 Schenkl shell for 3-inch rifle.

At last, the small arms:

0079_Snip_Dec62_2_PA_3

By battery:

  • Keystone Battery: Fourteen Army revolvers and 150 horse artillery sabers.
  • Hampton’s Battery: Twenty Navy revolvers, sixty cavalry sabers, and ten horse artillery sabers.
  • Knap’s Battery: Thirty-seven Navy revolvers and eight horse artillery sabers.
  • Thompson’s Battery: Thirty-two Navy revolvers and six cavalry sabers.
  • Stevens’ Battery: Eight Navy revolvers and eight cavalry sabers.
  • 2nd Pennsylvania Reserves: 2 horse artillery sabers.

Yes, a lengthy post for just a handful of batteries.  Consider, if you will, the problem confronting the clerk entering this information.  They have “friendly” names assigned that mention battery commanders.  But there was an official designation that the commanders in the field were using (at least in some correspondence and order of battle).  The clerk could not consult the “Alternate Designations” section in the back of the Official Records or search through Frederick H. Dyer’s Compendium.  Maybe we don’t have room to complain?