Yes, we are in Kansas. Well, in the Kansas section of the second quarter, 1863 summaries:
Three batteries and three sections, assigned to cavalry. Of which only one line lacks a receipt date. Let us marvel the over zealous clerk who listed these batteries by designation and commander’s (or at least organizer’s) name:
- 1st (Allen’s) Battery: No report. A June 30, 1863 return had Captain Norman Allen’s battery assigned to the District of Rolla, Missouri. Presumably still with six 10-pdr Parrotts from the previous quarter. Allen was absent from the battery through much of the first half of the year, and died in St. Louis in July. Lieutenant (later Captain) Marcus Tenney replaced Allen.
- 2nd (Blair’s) Battery: Fort Blunt, Cherokee Nation (adjacent to Fort Gibson) with two 12-pdr Napoleons and four rifled 6-pdrs (3.67-inch rifle). Captain Edward A. Smith remained in command. According to returns, the battery was, in June, still at Fort Scott, Kansas, as part of the District of the Frontier. By September, when the return was received in Washington, the battery had moved into the Cherokee Nation. Of note, this battery was in action on July 17 at Honey Springs. In his report, Smith listed his charge as, “two 12-pounder brass guns and two 6-pounder iron guns“. I will speculate about this below.
- 3rd (Hopkin’s) Battery: At Fort Gibson, Cherokee Nation, with three 6-pdr field guns and one 12-pdr field howitzer. Captain Henry Hopkins remained in command of this battery, operating with the Indian Brigade and four companies of the 6th Kansas Cavalry, at Fort Gibson. And we’ll see more from the 6th Cavalry below.
Moving down to the sections, these were all listed as mountain howitzer detachments assigned to cavalry. In the previous quarter, two such detachments were recorded – with the 2nd and 9th Cavalry. Here’s the list for the second quarter:
- Section, Mt. Howitzers, 2nd Cavalry: At Springfield, Missouri with two 12-pdr mountain howitzers. Eight companies of this regiment were at Springfield under Major Julius G. Fisk. Lieutenant Elias S. Stover was probably still in charge of this section. Stover was promoted to Captain later in the year.
- Section, Mt. Howitzers, 6th Cavalry: At Camp Dole, Cherokee Nation with two 12-pdr mountain howitzers. Captain John W. Orahood is listed as commanding a detachment of the regiment then at Fort Gibson at the end of June. Later in July, Lieutenant-Colonel William T. Campbell was in command of that detachment (up to five companies). I don’t have a name of the officer (commissioned or non-commissioned) assigned to the howitzers. Also I’m not certain as to the place-name of “Camp Dole.” That surname is that of both an Indian Agent and an officer of the Indian Brigade. So we might assume the place was near Fort Gibson, where the 6th Cavalry was operating at the time.
- Section, Mt. Howitzers, 7th Cavalry: Listed at Fayetteville, Tennessee, but with no cannon reported. Colonel Thomas P. Herrick’s regiment was assigned to the Sixteenth Corps, and operated in west Tennessee around the Memphis area. I presume this placename refers to LaFayette there. With no cannon mentioned on the report, we will look at stores.
That’s the basic administrative details for the Kansas units.
Moving to the ammunition, we have a busy smoothbore table:
A lot of “feed” for the guns:
- 2nd Battery: 444 shot, 564 case, and 478 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 17 shot, 100 shell, 57 case, and 43 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons; 152 canister for 12-pdr howitzer, either field or mountain (as that column was used interchangeably by the clerks).
- 3rd Battery: 196 shot, 406 case, and 196 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 406 case for 12-pdr Napoleons; 166 case and 150 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers. I’m willing to consider the 406 case shot for Napoleons was a data entry error, and should be 406 field howitzer shell.
- Section, 2nd Cavalry: 144 case and 12 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.
- Section, 6th Cavalry: 12 shell, 120 case, and 48 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.
Turning to the rifled projectiles, there is but one page to discuss:
And an odd one at that:
- Section, 7th Cavalry: 490 Hotchkiss fuse shell and 190 Hotchkiss bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
This would be part of the stores which the 7th Kansas Cavalry had to report. Along with those Hotchkiss shells, the troopers had 900 friction primers, 875 paper fuses, and 837 packing boxes…. all of which the Ordnance Department wanted an accounting.
We have no entries for James, Parrott, or Shenkl projectiles. And this is worth noting, as we consider 2nd Battery’s 6-pdr rifles. But before we open speculation, let’s finish up the summaries on the small arms:
- 2nd Battery: 128 Navy revolvers and twenty-three cavalry sabers.
- 3rd Battery: Eleven Army revolvers and thirty-five Navy revolvers.
- Section, 2nd Cavalry: Twenty Army revolvers, one Navy revolver, and one cavalry saber.
Notice the very small number of edged weapons. Make of it what you wish.
Now, let’s talk about Captain Smith’s guns. As indicated above, the summary states these were two 12-pdr Napoleons and four BRONZE rifled 6-pdrs. If we take that literally, those would be a quartet of the “don’t call them James” rifles. But, we have the report from Smith, in which he specifically says he had two 6-pdr iron guns. The discrepancy with the quantity aside (though not an expert on the battle, I seem to recall a section of guns detached), I’m inclined to go with Smith’s description of the guns. If Smith could tell the Napoleons were bronze, then surely he could tell the 6-pdrs were iron! So I would lean towards these being iron guns.
But we have the question of smoothbore or rifling. Smith’s report fails to give clues in that regard. The summary indicates his guns had smoothbore ammunition. However, there are a few examples where smoothbore ammunition was employed by rifled guns in the 6-pdr/3.80-inch range. So that is not necessarily definitive.
If these were smoothbores, plenty of candidates come to mind – batches of ancient (pre-1830s) guns were still around; private or state purchases, of course; and during the war there were a handful of rare iron types produced – all of which could be properly identified as “6-pdrs”. And, of course, that assumes the caliber identification is a proper one. Likewise, if these were rifled guns, a score of candidates come to mind. I’d say Wiard and Delafield would be unlikely. But Sawyer rifles seemed to get around. And if the caliber (3.67-inch) is not definite, we might even discuss Blakelys. Though I would be quick to point out the use of smoothbore ammunition would be unlikely in those “named” rifles.
An interesting detail to track.