Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – 1st Tennessee Light Artillery

No surprise to Civil War students that Tennessee contributed troops to the Union cause.  While the infantry and cavalry receive their due, the artillery batteries are seldom mentioned.  And if we work from the summary statements for second quarter of 1863, that contribution was worthy only of a blank line:

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1st Battery Tennessee Artillery…. but there were actually two such 1st Batteries in existence as of June 1863.  Which one are we looking at here?  My short answer is “either, or!”  First let’s break down the two batteries that should be listed here.  The 1st Tennessee Light Artillery would eventually include eight batteries – A, B, C, D, E, F, G, and K.  The regiment (or battalion as it is sometimes identified by) was not formally created until November 1863.  Prior to that time, Batteries A and B existed as separate “1st Batteries” with separate identifications by the region in which they were assigned.

So our two batteries to consider:

  • 1st Middle Tennessee Battery:  Would be come Battery A, 1st Tennessee. Battery formed in the fall of 1862 under command of Captain Ephraim P. Abbott.  In June 1863 the battery was at Clarksville, Tennessee with two 6-pdr field guns and four 3.80-inch James rifles.  By the end of July, the battery was on campaign with the Third Division, Reserve Corps, Army of the Cumberland.
  • 1st East Tennessee Battery: Started forming in the spring of 1863, being recruited from refugees from east Tennessee.  Mustered into service on April 16.  Stationed at Camp Nelson, Kentucky while being formed and trained.  No guns assigned… in fact very little equipment of any sort assigned.  Commanded by Captain Robert Clay Crawford.  Later became Battery B, 1st Tennessee.  And Crawford would become colonel of the regiment in the fall.

The clerks offered us no clues as to which of these batteries is represented by the line in the summary.  Quite possible they just threw a placeholder on the form, leaving it at that.  No other equipment appears on any of the columns that follow.  (I’ve uploaded all to Flickr, so you can gaze at empty columns…) Since we have little to discuss in regard to equipment, allow me to expand upon the early history of these batteries… with emphasis on the battery commanders.

Abbott was not a Tennessean by birth or by any other measure.  He was from Zanesville, Ohio.  I believe he is the same Ephraim P. Abbott with an appointment to West Point in 1851.  But he did not graduate from the academy.  The 1860 census listed him as a 27 year old living with his father (and, if I read the line correctly, working as a surveyor).  Abbott volunteered for the 3rd Ohio Infantry (three-year) in June 1861, and was commissioned as captain of Company E.  Then on August 24, 1862, Abbott transferred to the newly authorized 1st Middle Tennessee Battery.  Military Governor Andrew Johnson gave Abbott authority to recruit in the Nashville and middle Tennessee area.  and Abbott formally took command in September.

The biggest issue facing the 1st Middle Tennessee Battery, according to Abbott’s reports, was pay.  The State Comptroller, Joseph Fowler, insisted on paying the men in Tennessee script, from the Bank of Tennessee in Nashville.  This was valued at 20% less than US currency.  So when paid $10, the Tennessee artillerists could only get $8 of whiskey from the sutlers.  Not good…. and thus the battery protested and refused pay for several months until the matter could be resolved. Even statements from Fowler to honor an “indebtedness” of the state to the soldiers were not good enough.  The matter was finally resolved in the soldiers favor, though just as the soldiers were assigned to a field command and ordered south.  Willie and Joe of a later war would certainly sympathize.

Just a side note on Abbott – we will hear more of him in later summaries, but he was not destined to remain in command through the war.  In December 1864 he was dismissed due to an unauthorized leave of absence.  Writing to confirm that action, Brigadier-General John M. Brannan assessed, “I do not believe the battery will ever be worth anything under his command.”  So we might conclude Abbott was not a stellar artillerist.

Turing to the 1st East Tennessee Artillery, authorization to recruit the battery came in March 1863:

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Captain Robert Clay Crawford is an interesting character… and that is an understatement.  He was from Rogersville, Tennessee.  Crawford had an appointment (secured by Andrew Johnson, who was then a US Representative) to West Point before the war, being admitted in 1850.  Like Abbott, Crawford did not graduate.  At some point in the 1850s he was convicted of a crime and spent time in prison.  Forging his pardon, he escaped back to Tennessee.  In February 1863, Crawford secured a commission as captain of Company B, 5th (East) Tennessee Infantry.  There is some indication his connection to Johnson played a role in obtaining that position.   And, as indicated above, shortly after he was charged with recruiting a light battery, by order of Johnson.

Crawford was apparently an efficient recruiter.  The battery was officially mustered on April 16.  By May the battery reported 121 men… but no equipment.  The troops had to purchase their own clothing and accouterments, pending government issue.  And they had no guns for drill.  They relocated to Camp Nelson in late May.  Then moved to Somerset, Kentucky in July.  Later in September, the battery received guns, to be drawn by mules.  All of which dampened spirits.

By November, authorities decided Tennessee needed a full regiment of light artillery.  And Crawford was deemed the right person to lead the regiment (again, likely due to his connections with Johnson).  We’ll see Crawford again in the summaries, of course.  But I’ll throw out a teaser here.  Crawford was brought up on charges, in November 1864, of counterfeiting notes from the Bank of Tennessee along about twenty other counts of theft and corruption.  You can’t make this stuff up!

Though outside the scope of “light” artillery, I should mention two of Tennessee’s heavy artillery regiments which had just organized in June 1863.

The 1st Tennessee Heavy Artillery (African Descent) formed in April 1863 to garrison Fort Pickering, Memphis, Tennessee.  Colonel Ignatz G. Kappner commanded the regiment.  But while the formation remained more battalion strength, Major Emil Smith was in command while Knapper commanded the fort’s overall garrison.  In March 1864, the regiment was re-designated the 2nd US Heavy Artillery (Colored).

The 2nd Tennessee Heavy Artillery (African Descent) was recruited from contrabands in and around Columbus, Kentucky.  Colonel Charles H. Adams (of Illinois) commanded.  The regiment had just formed in June 1863 and does not appear on returns until October.  In April 1864 the regiment became the 3rd US Heavy Artillery (Colored).

As you can see, Tennessee was providing many artillerists to the Federal cause in the summer of 1863.

Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – Indiana, miscellaneous lines

Before we can leave the Indiana batteries, here for the 2nd quarter, 1863, there is the matter of six lines below the numbered independent batteries:

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One of these, Wilder’s Battery on line 28, is familiar from the previous quarter.  Furthermore, that battery would receive a number designation, the 26th, later in the war.  But the others are “new” formations from the perspective of the summary reports.  So we should allow space for detailed “administrative” discussion:

  • Wilder’s Battery (26th Battery): At Somerset, Kentucky with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Lieutenant Casper W. McLaughlin was in command, with battery assigned to Second Brigade, First Division, Twenty-third Corps.  A Department of the Ohio artillery report, dated June 30, 1863, indicated the battery had six 3-inch steel rifles.  However, as we have often seen, the description of wrought iron guns was often imprecise, from a metallurgical standpoint.
  • Arty Det. 65th Vols“- or 65th Indiana Infantry (mounted):  First the listed particulars – this detachment reported from Raleigh, North Carolina with one 12-pdr field howitzer and three 3-inch Ordnance rifles.  The location most likely reflects the date of report receipt in Washington – May 6, 1865.  And in June 1863, the 65th Indiana had many, many miles to travel before reaching Raleigh.  Backing up to that spring, the regiment was mounted, and assigned to the Second Division, Twenty-third Corps, then serving in Kentucky.  Other than that, I don’t have details of the artillery detachment.
  • Battery [attached] to 1st Ind. Cavalry“: At Pine Bluff, Arkansas with three 10-pdr Parrott rifles.  During the spring of 1863, a portion of the 1st Indiana Cavalry operated in eastern Arkansas, at least six companies.  (Detachments of the regiment were assigned to both Eastern and Western theaters, with varied service histories.)  A June 1863 return has Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas N. Pace in command.  In his report for the Battle of Helena (July 4), Pace indicated First Lieutenant Samuel Lefler, Company B, had command of “our battery.”
  • Battery A, 1st Indiana Heavy Artillery: At Port Hudson, Louisiana with four 20-pdr Parrotts.  Part of the siege operations at that place, and assigned to the First Division, Nineteenth Corps.  Captain Eden H. Fisher was in command.  Interesting to note the clerks rated this battery as “field” and those 20-pdr Parrotts as field guns, despite the battery’s tactical role as siege artillery.
  • Battery E, 1st Indiana Heavy Artillery: Reporting from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with four 20-pdr Parrotts.  Part of the garrison then at the state capital, and part of the Nineteenth Corps.  Captain James W. Hamrick was in command at this time, according to the State Adjutant’s report.  As with the sister battery, it is worth noting the clerks rated this garrison battery as a field battery, with its Parrotts.
  • Lieut. 35 Infy“:  Reporting at Nashville, Tennessee with three 6-pdr field guns.  The 35th Indiana Infantry was at that time assigned to the Third Brigade, Third Division, Twenty-first Corps.  Recruited as an Irish regiment, the unit was under Major John P. Dufficy at this juncture of the war.  But why those Irish infantrymen were assigned three cannon is unknown to me.  No reports link these guns with the regiment (or higher units) during winter months at Murfreesboro or the Tullahoma Campaign.  The receipt date of this return was in 1865.  After the Atlanta Campaign, the regiment was among those sent to middle Tennessee, and fought there in the battles of late 1864.  So the unit has several periods of service in and around Nashville which this return might match with.

So a lot of unanswered questions remain within those six entries.  But, thankfully, the ammunition pages leave few questions.  Starting with the smoothbore rounds:

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With only two lines reporting, which appropriately matches to the cannon reported on hand:

  • 65th Infantry Detachment: 250 shell, 20 case, and 470 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers; and also 48 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
  • 35th Infantry Detachment: 28 shot and 4 case for 6-pdr field guns.

Perhaps it would have been nice for the 65th Infantry to send over that canister to the 35th?

Moving to the Hotchkiss page:

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Two batteries reported 3-inch rifles on hand.  But how about that third entry line?

  • Wilder’s Battery:  600 canister, 174 percussion shell, 350 fuse shell, and 426 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 65th Infantry Detachment: 140 canister and 150 percussion shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery A, 1st Heavy: 439 fuse shell in 3.67-inch rifle caliber.  And that corresponds to the bore of a 20-pdr Parrott.  Interesting entry, as we more often see Hotchkiss of this caliber issued to James Rifles.  And, as seen from the column header, the Ordnance Department considered it a “Wiard” caliber.  Sort of hitting all the spots there.

Moving to the next page, we can focus on the Parrott and Schenkl columns:

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Three batteries reported Parrott rifles.  And we have three lines to consider:

  • 1st Cavalry Detachment:  60 shell and 20 canister for 10-pdr Parrott.
  • Battery A, 1st Heavy: 250 shell for 20-pdr Parrott.
  • Battery E, 1st Heavy:  260 shell and 8 canister for 20-pdr Parrott.

Under the Schenkl columns:

  • Battery A, 1st Heavy: 40 shot for 20-pdr Parrott.
  • Battery E, 1st Heavy:  16 shot for 20-pdr Parrott.

There are no entries on the next page of projectiles.  So we move to the small arms reported:

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  • Wilder’s Battery: Nineteen horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery A, First Heavy:  Forty-eight rifles and eighteen foot artillery swords.

I am certain there are lots of “back stories” within the unanswered questions surrounding these six lines.  If any readers have leads, I would greatly appreciate a comment here.