Missouri’s Marines and their abbreviated service

Early this week I used an entry from the ordnance summaries, second quarter of 1863 to introduce the Mississippi Marine Brigade.  That unit is often associated with Missouri, if for nothing else a lack of proper place to put the records.  Though there was a recruiting focus in the river towns of Missouri, in the War Department’s view there was no connection to the state.

Before leaving the subject of marines and Missouri, I’d be remiss without mentioning there were indeed Missouri Marines raised during the Civil War.  But that organization was short lived and we don’t see them listed in official reports, returns, or organizational tables.  In 1902, the office of the Secretary of War provided a report of organizations, in response to a Senate inquiry, titled “Missouri Troops in service during the Civil War.”  After a short paragraph on the Mississippi Marine Brigade (and establishing, officially at least, that unit was not “Missouri” in parentage), the report turned to a “Marine Corps” raised in Missouri:

Among the many peculiar and illegal organizations formed by Major-General Frémont, or by his authority, during his administration of the affairs of the Western Department, was an organization designated by him as a “Marine corps.” This corps, consisting of three companies, was organized for “river transportation service,” and would have no place in a history of Missouri military organizations but for the fact that an effort has been made to give the members of the corps a military status, and that, evidently through misapprehension as to their status in the service, they were credited to the quota of the State of Missouri.

The verbiage goes a long way to distance these three companies from formal recognition – illegal, with no place, but for a mistake.  The report went on to cite Frémont’s orders:

St. Louis, August 13, 1861.

Capt. Thomas Maxwell.

Sir. You are hereby authorized to recruit a Marine Corps to serve during the war, to consist of 1 captain, 2 pilots -first and second; 4 engineers – first, second, third, and fourth, 2 mates – first and second; 1 clerk, 1 steward, 30 sailors, 8 firemen, 1 watchman, 1 cook and mate, 1 cabin boy.

When you shall have completed the organization of said corps, you will apply to these headquarters, where the necessary order will be issued.

J. C. Frémont, Major-General, Commanding.

Key point here – these were not marines in the sense that we think of.  Instead of being “leathernecks” that would provide security, landing parties, and such, this is a formation tailored to operate boats.

One day after the order, Maxwell reported the force was “enrolled.”  Five days later, Frémont sent orders to have a steam transport turned over to Captain Maxwell.  On August 20, the company was sworn in as “First Company in the First marine Corps … of Missouri Volunteers” with a three year term of service.

Following this establishment, Frémont proceeded to order two more companies.  On August 28, Captain James Abrams was authorized to form a company.   Then on September 12, Captain John Reily was likewise to form a third company, this one to include a carpenter.  The report mentioned a fourth company, under Captain John Young, but indicated no authorization documents were found.  The designation changed to “Marine Corps for River Transportation Service.”

The first three companies were assigned to transports. Reily’s operated the steamer John D. Perry, a sidewheel steamer of 382 tons (empty).   Before the war, the Perry operated on the Mississippi on a circut between Cape Girardeau, Cairo, St. Genevieve, St. Louis, and other river towns.  Under contract for the US Government, the Perry operated mostly on the Missouri River.

On October 20, 1861, the Perry was on a trip up the Missouri to Jefferson City to deliver horses and wagons.  At Portland, Missouri, about thirty miles downstream from that point, the Perry‘s pilot, John F. Smith, attempted to dock around dusk to gather wood for fuel.  Some locals immediately informed the vessel “there was a force of 150 rebels back of the town,” with intentions to capture the vessel.  The pilot quickly pulled away, tied up to an island in the river, and gathered wood.  The Perry made Jefferson City at 11 the next morning, according to a report in the Daily Missouri Democrat (reporting on October 25).  Other than that incident, there are scant reports of operations by these Missouri Marines or their boats.

The operations with contract steamers and their Missouri Marine complements ceased shortly after Major-General Henry Halleck replaced Frémont.  Determining the contracts were not proper and likewise the enlistments did not conform to regulations, Halleck moved to break up the arrangements. On December 14, Halleck directed the Missouri Marines be disbanded.  Regarding their service, Halleck wrote to Washignton:

I am discharging most of the steamers formerly in the Government employment, and mustering out of service what is called “Marine Corps,” which are nothing more than hired men on these boats. This will be a great saving of expense.

Halleck insisted the Missouri Marines were not a military organization and were thus not properly, legally mustered.  Old Brains at it again.

Captain P.T. Turnley, quartermaster, had the duty of paying off and discharging the Missouri Marines.  By working through the Quartermaster’s Department, Halleck essentially covered the matter as one of contractual obligations and not of enlistments. He reported that was complete by December 31.  Finally, under Special Orders No. 29, from the Department of Missouri, Halleck officially announced disbanding “the three Marine Corps under command of Maxwell, Abrams, and Reily….”

In 1902, the War Department put closure to the Missouri Marines:

It has always been held by the War Department, since the attention of the Department was called to the military status of the “Marine Corps,” that its muster into service was not a lawful muster into the military service of the United States, such an organization being unknown to the military establishment and not authorized by law.  The members of this force were not officers or enlisted men in the United States military service, for which reason, evidently, they were paid by the Quartermaster’s Department and not from the appropriations for pay of the Army.  They are regarded by the War Department as having been civilian employees in the Quartermaster’s Department and not having been formed a part of the military establishment of the United States.

Not stated or considered, even forty years after the war, was that the military did indeed need such services on western waters.  And such duty was eventually performed by a mix of Army and Navy personnel, along with contract labor.

(Citations from War Department, Missouri Troops in Service in During the Civil War, 57th Congress, 1st Session, Document No. 412, Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1902, pages 195-7; OR, Series I, Volume 8, Serial 8, page 449; Daily Missouri Democrat, October 25, 1861, Page 2, Column 2; Documents filed in the Combined Service Record of Thomas Maxwell, Missouri, Miscellaneous papers pertaining to organizations, Record Group 94, Roll 0850.)

 

 

 

Fortification Friday: The Forts of St. Louis

Most postings this week have centered on the 2nd Missouri Artillery and St. Louis.  So I figured to continue that theme here on Friday and look at the fortifications, mentioned in earlier posts, were that regiment served at the end of June 1863.

St. Louis was an important city for the Federal war effort.  It’s shipyards turned out steamboats and ironclads to ply the western waterways.  Factories produced equipment and materials, to include cannon.  An arsenal and barracks complex provided staging points for men and materials.  The riverways, railroads, and road infrastructure made St. Louis an important logistical center.  And of course, it was famously the “Gateway to the West.”

Looking beyond just pure military matters, St. Louis was important politically for the control of Missouri.  As the state’s most populous corner, the side which controlled St. Louis had much more sway, politically, over the rest of the state (a problem “rural” Missourians complain about even to this day).   Had Missouri swung from “disputed border state” over to a “Confederate state” early in the war, the rebels could directly threaten the Old Northwest states and those of the upper Mississippi Valley.  Not to say the prospects for such a turn were likely.  Rather just to say St. Louis was more important than just a place for factories, shipyards, docks, and warehouses.  It was also the key to holding Missouri in the Union.

That said, St. Louis had to be defended.  That’s where the 2nd Missouri Artillery and other units factored in.  The city was defended by a series of forts first laid out in 1861 and not completed… well… by some measure never fully completed.  To understand the layout, we have to think of the city as it was in 1861, rolling back the sprawl that is today.  At that time, the city’s western outskirts were along Grand Avenue.  So, generally speaking, the engineers laid out a defensive line along Grand Avenue, which swept back on the north and south ends to meet the river.   The only wartime depiction of this arrangement comes from a set of engineer diagrams:

StLouisPage1_Plat

Note the north seeking arrow points to the right. The diagram is not to scale, but does show in … shall we say schematic… the arrangements.  Lacking, of course, is the run of Grand Avenue.  While useful, this diagram is far from idea.  Some good work was done by Chris Naffzinger recently, correlating the fort locations to points in an 1870 Pictorial Survey (Compton & Dry).  My intention, last night when drafting this post, was to build upon that by using an 1870 street map of St. Louis to “go between” the engineers diagram and the pictorial survey map.  But that task is a bit more complex than first assess… and will have to wait.

But what I would like to do is walk through the forts and arrangements, looking at the particular features seen.  There were ten numbered forts along with six detached batteries, which used letters for designations.

Fort No. 1: Anchoring the left of the line and situated along Chippewa Avenue.

StLouisPage2_Fort1

Three bastions connected with curtains to form a neat triangle. Notice inside is a blockhouse, taking up most of the interior, with bunks for 190 men.  A traverse covers the entrance to the blockhouse.  And in that traverse is a powder magazine.  About 400 feet on each face. While the shape is not what we come to expect for a bastion fort, it complies with Mahan’s instructions.  One departure of note, if you look at the profile A-B given in the upper left.  The bastion had an open gallery covered by a stockade.  Armament was one IX-inch Dahlgren, one 32-pdr, and one 24-pdr.  All of which were mounted on center pintle barbette mountings. Battery B, 2nd Missouri was posted here in June 1863.

Fort No. 2: Located off Cherokee Avenue and also manned by Battery B in June 1863.

StLouisPage7_Fort2

Rectangular bastion fort with two IX-inch Dahlgrens, a 32-pdr, and a 24-pdr.  A cross-shaped blockhouse, with bunks for 150 men, in the interior.  A traverse covers the sallyport.  There are a couple of variations of this fort’s plan within the set. All show a rectangular bastion.  But the interior arrangement details differed.

Battery A:  This was a redoubt located between Forts No. 2 and 3.  It was off Arsenal Street. It appeared to have three gun positions.

Fort No. 3:  Maybe we call this a “half cross”?  The fort sat just south of Lynch Street.

StLouisPage9_Fort3

The main bastion faced west and featured a position for a IX-inch Dahglren (which may not have been placed).  Covering the flanks were a pair of 32-pdrs.  Then a set of supporting bastions covered the sides and rear, each with a platform for a field gun. A blockhouse for 96 men sat within the rear face, flanked by outlets.  Battery F lived here in June 1863.

Fort No. 4: Similar layout as Fort No. 3, but off Shenandoah Street.

StLouisPage12_Fort4

Similar armament and interior arrangements, but Fort No. 4 appears to be smaller along the faces.  Note the very detailed profile on the left.  Battery I occupied Fort No. 4 during June 1863.

Fort No. 5: Positioned on the north side of Lafayette Avenue, was another with triangular layout.

StLouisPage13_Fort5

No indication as to the intended armament.  An asymmetrical layout with blockhouse and traverse in the interior. Battery A was in Fort No. 5.

Battery B:  Placed on Chouteau Avenue, and well advanced, was a redan in arrangement.

Fort No. 6: A trapezoid shape bastion fort south of Clark Avenue and covering the railroad entering the city at that sector.

StLouisPage19_Fort6_7

The bastions were configured for two IX-inch Dahlgrens and two 32-pdr guns.  A blockhouse, that wrapped around a traverse, had 96 bunks.  Battery G manned Fort No. 6 in June 1863.

Battery C:  A simple battery placed on a rise adjacent to Fort No. 7, along Olive Street.  This appeared to be a three gun arrangement for field artillery.

Fort No. 7:  Shared a plan with Fort No. 6, but was advanced on Franklin Avenue (which we’ve discussed).  Battery E’s headquarters was in this fort in June.

Battery D: Located at the corner of the St. Charles Road and Grand Avenue.  This battery covered the cavalry remount depot.  Another three gun battery.

Fort No. 8: North of the St. Charles Road (Cass Avenue), this was an enclosed redan with two bastions:

StLouisPage20_Fort8

The one bastion (left side, and what would be the north end of the fort) was setup for a IX-inch.  The other bastion had a 32-pdr.  Arrangements included three platforms for field guns. The blockhouse, which was “w” shapped, could house 200 men.  Battery E also manned this fort in June 1863.

Fort No. 9:  With a similar layout as Fort No. 8, this covered Natural Bridge Road, which entered the city from the northwest.

StLouisPage24_Fort9

Fort No. 9 had two 32-pdrs in the bastions along with three platforms for field guns.  It boasted a fully formed caponiere.  The w-shaped blockhouse could house 200 men (two full companies according to the diagram). Two outlets were covered by two traverses, which contained magazines. Fort No. 9 was assigned to Battery C.

Battery E: On the opposite side of Natural Bridge Road, this two gun battery complemented Fort No. 9.

Fort No. 10: Located west of Bellfontain Avenue, this was another quadrilateral fort:

StLouisPage27_Fort10

The four bastions supported a IX-inch Dahglren, a 32-pdr, and two 24-pdrs.  The rectangular blockhouse had 40 bunks.  Battery H manned this fort in June 1863.

Battery F: A two gun position that complemented Fort No. 10.

And that was the right end of  the line, just a few blocks from the Mississippi River.  I’m not aware of any surviving remains of these forts.  Even by 1870 the city was moving west and taking over what had been open fields in 1863.  So what we have to work with, for history’s sake, are these engineers plans and maps.  And what we see in the plans is much of Mahan’s teachings directly applied.

 

The “Horrible Assassination” of Captain Otto Schwarz, June 1, 1863

Another teaser from Tuesday’s posting … or shall I say “sordid details”… of the 2nd Missouri Artillery involved Battery E and its commander, Captain Otto Schwarz.  On the June 1863 returns for the regiment, the remark “Killed by unknown persons” appears to the right of his name.  Such a declaration, particularly for a battery not engaged in active campaigning, is interesting to say the least.

Schwarz, like many others in the 2nd Missouri, was an immigrant, having come over from Prussia.  His name appears in records as Schwartz or Swartz.  Here, I will stay with the spelling from the official documents, and drop the “t.”  I don’t know when he arrived in the United States.  But in 1860, he lived in St. Charles, Missouri (the “old” state capital, just north of St. Louis), working as a merchant.

At age 31, he enlisted in the 2nd Missouri Artillery in October 1861 (though I cannot claim any specifics, there are indications he served in the militia before the war and of course in those formations when called up in 1861).  The regimental book described him as five feet, 6½ inches tall, dark complexion, grey eyes, and light hair.  Schwarz was commissioned a second lieutenant in Battery I.  Then in October 1862 he was promoted to Captain and transferred to command Battery E.

Of course, the regiment had not, nor would in its initial enlistment period, see any significant campaigning.  Battery E was stationed at St. Louis.  But detachments of the battery were involved with skirmishes at Blomfield, Missouri in September and October 1862.  So they might claim to have seen some small part of the elephant.  Still, one might think this easy duty, guarding St. Louis.  But most of these men were recruited from the St. Louis area.  The inactivity must have given room for mischief.  Not just Battery E, but the 2nd Missouri Artillery as a whole.

Spring 1863 found Battery E manning Forts No. 7 and 8, in the defenses of St. Louis.

default1

 

A couple IX-inch Dahlgrens and a pair of 32-pdrs all in barbette pivot mountings. (Forts No. 6 and 7 had the same plan.  Fort No. 8 had one Dahlgren, two 32-pdrs, and three 12-pdr guns.) A lot of iron to throw about.  Just one of a chain of forts guarding the gateway to the west.  For all appearances, Battery E had a quiet garrison posting.

All that change… well for Schwarz, came to an end… in the early morning hours of June 1.  The Daily Missouri Democrat of St. Louis reported on June 2:

Horrible Assassination – Capt. Otto Schwartz Murdered by Soldiers – The Perpetrators Unknown.

Captain Otto Schwartz, of Company E, 2d Missouri Artillery, stationed at Fort No. 7, was murdered at one o’clock yesterday morning, in the most deliberate and cold-blooded manner.

A few moments before that hour he was in front of the residence of Lieut. Aaron Schenck at the junction of Grand and Franklin avenues, conversing with that gentleman and with Lieut. Leistner.

It was bright moon-light and the party felt disposed to enjoy the coolness and beauty of the hour.  Finally Leistner bade the Captain good-by and retired with Schenck to his room, while Capt. Schwartz moved off to return to Fort No. 7. Soon after entering their room, Schenk and Leistner heard the reports of two pistol shots, but paid little attention to them. In a few moments a groan and cry were heard in front of the house, and on opening the door they found the Captain lying mortally wounded on the pavement.

He was borne into the house, and Dr. Pondrom, Surgeon of the Second Missouri Artillery, was summoned. The patient was suffering intensely and evidently in death agony.  The Doctor could do nothing to save him.  The victim was asked who shot him.  The reply was, “I do not know; they were three soldiers together.”  He was again asked, “Were they any of your company?” He answered “No, none of my boys,” and shortly afterwards expired.

One of the balls entered the left side below the spleen, passed through the abdomen, and out above and near the right hip.  The other only passed through the calf of his right leg.  The death resulted from rapid and copious internal hemorrhage consequent upon the first wound.

A woman in the vicinity was yesterday at the Coroner’s inquest in view of the body, and testified that on hearing the pistol firing she looked out and saw three men run.  They were dressed in soldiers’ clothes. Capt. Schwartz, when shot, was at the corner of Page and Grand avenues.  He ran thence some one hundred and sixty or more yards to the spot where he was found.

No clue has yet been found to the perpetrators of this diabolical deed. By some the cause is traced to “mutiny” prevailing among certain of the 2d Missouri Artillery, and in consequence of which 3(?) score of arrests have been made within about three weeks past.  The murder is involved in mystery.

Captain Schwartz was a resident of St. Charles, was some thirty-five years of age, and unmarried.

Newspapers as far away as Ohio picked up the Democrat‘s report and ran the article.  Some newspapers apparently mistook Schwarz for a different officer of a similar name, offering the name, date, and place but mistakenly indicating the officer was in a Wisconsin regiment:

OttoSchwartz8thWis

I’m sure Otto Schwartz of the 8th Wisconsin was OK…. though his wife might have had a bad day.

I’ve not located any other accounts of the incident.  And more importantly, there are no follow up stories to provide any sort of closure.  No leads.  No suspects.  Though I’ve not exhausted every source just yet.

But this claim of mutiny in the 2nd Missouri is worth further examination.  Looking at the regimental returns, specifically at the number of soldiers in custody, there is a trend:

  • April 2: Two officers, 15 enlisted.
  • April 30: Four officers, 32 enlisted.
  • May 10: Five officers, 38 enlisted.
  • May 31: One officer, 65 enlisted.
  • June 10: One officer, 114 enlisted.
  • June 30: One officer, 195 enlisted.
  • July 10: Two officers, 176 enlisted.
  • August 10: Two officers, 105 enlisted.
  • August 20:  Three officers, twelve enlisted.

Of course, we know who one of those officers held in confinement was, but as to the rest, particularly all those enlisted men?  We can wonder about trends here and speculate something stimulated a rise in confinements starting in April, increasing in May, then peaking in June.  Keep in mind, during the five months sampled the regiment’s strength varied from 550 to 630 men.  So at the end of June, a third of the regiment was confined. Mutiny might well be the word for it.

But let us look at that “spike” in more detail.  A return from June 30 breaks out the confinements by battery:

  • Battery A:  One officer (Captain Michael Laux, who we know).
  • Battery B: 10 enlisted.
  • Battery C: 12 enlisted.
  • Battery D: No report.  This battery was at Cape Girardeau, Missouri
  • Battery E: 5 enlisted.
  • Battery F: 26 enlisted.
  • Battery G: 5 enlisted.
  • Battery H: None.
  • Battery I: 6 enlisted.
  • Battery K:  43 enlisted.
  • Battery L: 15 enlisted.
  • Battery M: 73 enlisted.

Recall the summary listing from earlier this week.  Batteries K, L, and M were actually not at St. Louis, but rather serving as light artillery in Southeast Missouri.  Such may help explain the number of confinements.  And may not necessarily be confinements due to mutinous behavior – infractions or missing movements, for example.

But looking through the newspaper’s articles that spring, it is apparent 2nd Missouri soldiers were involved with numerous altercations.  There are reports of stabbings, shootings, and fights.  And several appear in the weekly list of prisoners, identified as from the regiment.  A particularly bad incident occurred on July 4, with numerous – numbering above two dozen – members of the regiment arrested for questioning.  We might attribute that sort of behavior to disciplinary problems… but again… maybe not mutiny.

But most interesting among the “troubles” appearing for the 2nd Missouri occurred at the front end of this bulge of confinements. On April 23, the Daily Missouri Democrat reported:

Fort No. 8, St. Louis, April 21, 1863

A word from the detachment of Company E, 2d Missouri, referring to the President’s proclamation:

An order was received at this post yesterday, from Col. Almstedt’s headquarters, to furnish a certain George Hays with a safe-guard, to proceed to a certain house to recover his property, the said property being a runaway female slave.  When upon the men refusing to be used for such a duty on the plea that they had not enlisted as negro catchers, they were all ordered under arrest.  We support the above needs no comments.

[List of eleven soldiers, by name, who refused the assignment]

Some of the soldiers refusing were non-commissioned officers, indicating this was not some privates revolt against doing work.  This was a considered stand to make.  The next day, the paper walked this back a bit, claiming they intended to print the notice with some commentary.  But those comments had been inadvertently left out.  Concluding on the matter, the editor wrote:

It most clearly is the duty of the soldier to obey his superior officers, leaving responsibility of his consequent action upon the authority commanding it. If, however, he feels that is conscience or manhood will be outraged by yielding obedience to any particular order, then it is equally his duty to accept arrest and punishment without complaint.  But, as to the order referred to in this instance, our information leads us to conclude that the circumstances under which it was issued perfectly justify it, and that the disobedience was itself as unpardonable as the subsequent complaint was unsoldierly and wrong.

First, recall that Missouri was listed among the exemptions in the Emancipation Proclamation.  So Mr. Hays may have been a legal slaveholder, at least at that moment in time.  The question here is really if the military commander had an obligation to assist Hays, under his authority.  And that, I would submit, opens a larger can of worms.

But this brings up yet another possible reason for mutinous behavior.  And specifically from the men of Battery E.  Implied in the situation is Schwarz was the officer issuing the order to these men, as they came under his direct control.  I have looked through the records of six of the eleven, and find no indication of punishment or arrest.  Though a short period of confinement, say a few days, would slip go unrecorded in the service records.  But I would point out that two of these men went on to promotions and to reenlist in the regiment later in the fall.  Not graces normally accorded to those punished for disobedience.

So, we are left with Captain Schwarz killed by three soldiers, from the death-bead testimony of the victim, supported by one witness.  And we have a cry of mutinous behavior in the regiment.  Maybe we need to look deeper at the “climate” of the 2nd Missouri at this time.  The men were serving at home, literally for many.  They were given rather mundane garrison duty. They were close to the end of enlistments.  The city offered many distractions and “entertainment.”  And they were given orders that at least some found distasteful.

Any one of those factors… or all of those factors… might lead to a motive for shooting Captain Otto Schwarz.

“Conduct unbecoming” in Tony’s Saloon: Captain Michael Laux of the 2nd Missouri Artillery

Yesterday I gave you a bit of a teaser in the administrative section discussing the 2nd Missouri Artillery.  At the end of June, 1863, Captain Michael Laux, commander of Battery A, was under arrest and awaiting a hearing.  On the muster rolls, Laux’s status is simply – “Absent” and “Under arrest since February 27, 1863.”

Military things being what they were, when an officer is placed under arrest we are conditioned to expect some epic episode worthy of note… documented, of course, with a court marshal or other formal proceeding.  While there were all sorts of reasons for arrests, generally these fit into two broad categories – disobedience (not obeying orders) and misconduct.  And displays of misconduct more often than not are influenced by consumption of alcoholic beverages.  The case of Michael Laux fit into that latter category.

Laux was an immigrant, listed on the 1860 census as a carpenter originally from Bavaria, specifically the Rheinpfalz region.  At age 37, he lived in St. Louis with his wife Sibilla, aged 34.  They had two daughters, Margaretha and Mary, both born in Missouri and aged eight and six, respectively.

According to service records, Laux first joined the 1st US Reserve Infantry, Missouri Troops – a short enlistment early war formation – as a private.  He was commissioned a captain in the 2nd Missouri Artillery on September 26, 1861 and assigned to Battery A. The regimental book had Laux at five feet, 10 inches tall, with dark complexion, brown eyes, and dark hair.

Battery A’s service was mostly around St. Louis.  And it’s the winter of 1862 that we want to focus upon.  On February 5th of that year, Laux had… well… an incident:

Fold3_Page_22_Michael_Laux Fold3_Page_23__Michael_Laux

Transcription:

Headquarters, 2nd Mo. Art’y

St. Louis, Feb’y 1862

Charges and specifications against Capt. Michael Laux, Camp A, 2nd Mo. Art’y.

Charge. Conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman.

Specification. In this that on Wednesday, the 5th day of February, he went into Tony’s Beer saloon, being drunk, and ordered the proprietor to shut up the saloon and also ordered the guests to leave, assuming the authority of the Provost Marshall and saying that he was acting under such authority – and that after he had ejected the guests from the place he himself remained to drink beer for over half an hour, thereby forcing the proprietor to act against the rules established by the Provost Marshall.  During all this time he having demeaned himself toward the proprietor as well as the guests in a very ungentlemanly manner. When he left the Beer saloon he went into the oyster saloon attached to Tony’s Beer saloon and there repeated the same treatment towards the proprietor and guests.

Henry Almstedt

Col., Commanding, 2nd Mo. Art’y.

Witnesses:

Captain F. Johnson, Comdg. Fort No. 4.

Theodore Kanfuian (?), Seinberger’s Hotel.

Dr. F. Tunghans (?), Seinberger’s Hotel.

Anton Niederwieser, Proprietor of Tony’s Tivoli.

Of the witnesses, those from Seinberger’s Hotel appear to be guests at the bar.  With the name, Niederwiser, we can trace the location of the incident to Tony Niederwiser’s Beer Garden and Billard Saloon, at 17 South 4th Street, between Market and Walnut Streets (according to the 1863 St. Louis City Directory).

No indication from the records what prompted Laux’s behavior.  He was taken into custody two days after the incident.  He was apparently released back to duty within a couple of weeks.  Then in May he was granted a furlough, then returned to duties.  Battery A was detached for service at Rolla, Missouri in July 1862, with Laux in command.  The battery returned to St. Louis in late January 1863.  Then on February 27, Laux was under arrest again.  It is not clear if this arrest was due to a new charge or related to the earlier incident.  But what is clear, Laux was in jail.

This time Laux remained in custody at least through September.  In July he was removed from the battery rolls.  In late September, his enlistment was up and, like others in the 2nd Missouri, was eligible for discharge.  In Laux’s case, it appears formal charges were never brought forward.  Instead, Laux was released, on September 28, 1863, to a board established to adjudicate those men from the 2nd Missouri then leaving service.  But Laux was not discharged, the department indicated there were accounts to settle.  This added insult to injury, as Laux was still formally IN the service but not being paid for being in service (since his term had run out).

In November, he wrote to the commander of the 2nd Missouri Artillery (which had essentially reformed), Colonel Nelson Cole:

It is now two months since I am waiting for the adjustment of my accounts by the Ordnance Department.  I am thereby in a bad situation.  Not discharged from the service yet, I am nevertheless restrained from accepting a citizen’s employment.  I would therefore most respectfully ask you to have me mustered out of the service at once, like my brother officers, who were under the same circumstances mustered out. …

Finally, on December 5, 1863, by orders of Major-General John Schofield, Laux was “honorably mustered out of service” with the proviso that his final pay would be held until all accounts were settled…. you know, the old “we’ll send you a check in the mail” routine.  Thus ended Laux’s military service.  He appears on the draft rolls for 1863, listed as a carpenter living on Carondelet Avenue (matching an 1864 city directory listing).

Post-war, Laux moved to 915 Shenandoah Street.  The 1870 census found him with his wife Sevilla, but now with two boys and a young girl – Jacob (9), Henry (6), and Phillipine (4).  Clearly Michael and Sevilla maintained a prosperous home.  What of Margaretha and Mary?  With both of age by 1870 (you know they married young back then), it is no big surprise to see them out of the house.  The oldest, Margaretha, died in Nevada in 1927.  But Mary is a mystery to me.

Laux applied, and received, a pension in 1887.  He was still at the Shenandoah Street address when he died of endocarditis on October 29, 1894.  Sevilla survived him and worked as a housekeeper until her death in April 1900.

Laux may have avoided major battles and thus lacks celebratory events in his service record.  There is little evidence for us to evaluate Laux’s ability or qualities.  Yet, there was honor attached to his service, even if clouded.  The weighty question is, what prompted the incident of February 5, 1863?

Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – 2nd Missouri Artillery

The Second Missouri Artillery was organized in the fall of 1861 as the 1st Missouri Artillery, Reserve Corps with fifteen – yes, fifteen – batteries.  Three were designated light batteries (A, B, and C) and the remainder as heavy batteries for garrison duty.  Designated the 2nd Missouri in November 1861, the number of batteries was trimmed to twelve with a lot of shifting of resources. And for the first year or so of the war, these batteries defended Missouri, mostly around St. Louis.  By the summer of 1863, enlistments were coming up and the regiment faced some pending changes (which would lead to consolidation in the fall).  But at least through the end of June of that year, the formation remained a regiment in the table of organization and under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph Weydemeyer.

That said, the regiment’s summary is rather slim:

0193_1_Snip_MO2

Six batteries have no returns.  Of the other six, only three have cannons (two of which were the designated light batteries).  So let us attempt to at least identify what is left out with an administrative summary.  I recently came across a source with more detailed information about the officers assigned to this regiment.  And I’ve applied some of that here:

  • Battery A: No return.  Assigned to District of St. Louis, stationed at Fort No. 5.  Captain Michael Laux, of the battery, was under arrest for “Conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman” for an incident involving a consumption of beer.  Lieutenant Charles Faist filled in as commander.
  • Battery B:  With a November 1863 return    , this battery was at Helena, Arkansas with one 6-pdr field gun and one 12-pdr field howitzer. However, a battery muster roll from June 1863 indicates the battery was at Forts 1 and 2, at St. Louis at this same time.  In fact, I can find no record of a posting of this battery to Helena. So we have a conundrum with the summary.  Captain John J. Sutter was in command.
  • Battery C:  Another November 1863 return, and also placing this battery at Helena, Arkansas.  According to the return, Battery C had two 6-pdr field guns on hand.  But yet again, this is at odds with the muster rolls, placing Battery C at Fort 9, St. Louis. Captain William Baltz was in command.
  • Battery D: Based on a return filed in august 1864, this battery was at Cape Girardeau, Missouri, with an annotation “Infy Stores.”  — Though with a return, no equipment tallied. Captain Charles P. Meisner commanded this battery, posted to the garrison of Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
  • Battery E: No return. According to muster rolls, stationed at Forts No. 7 and 8 at St. Louis.  Captain Otto Schwarz, commanding this battery, was “killed by unknown person” on June 1, 1863.  Lieutenant Emil Holzborn replaced Schwarz.
  • Battery F: No return. Stationed at Fort No. 3, St. Louis.  Captain Arnold Roetter commanded.
  • Battery G: A return filed in January 1864 placed this battery at St. Louis with infantry stores.  There is a fort listed by name, but somewhat illegible. Muster rolls place the battery at Fort No. 6, St. Louis.  Captain Emil Strodtman (or Strodtmann) was in command, but detached for courts martial duty.
  • Battery H: No return. Posted to Fort No. 10.  Captain Frederick Lohman was in command.
  • Battery I: A return posted in August 1864 also indicates this battery had infantry stores on hand and stationed at St. Joseph, Missouri. The location is likely a transcription error.  Like sister batteries, Battery I was at St. Louis. In this case, Fort No. 4.  Captain Friederich W. Fuchs commanded.
  • Battery K: No return.  Assigned to the District of Southeast Missouri, this battery was equipped for field duty.  Muster rolls indicate service at Arcadia, Missouri. Lieutenant Thaddeus S. Clarkson.  The previous quarter, the battery reported two 12-pdr field howitzers and four 3-inch Ordnance rifles. This battery was involved with the Marmaduke Raid earlier in the spring.
  • Battery L: No return.  After serving at Rolla, Missouri through the spring, this battery returned to the St. Louis area – Camp Gamble.  I am not certain who was in command.  Lieutenant William Weydemeyer is the only officer I can say for certain was with the battery in June 1863.
  • Battery M: Reported at Little Rock, Arkansas, in a January 1864 return, with six 12-pdr mountain howitzers. This location was valid for September of 1863.  In June 1863 the battery was part of the Department of Southeast Missouri and reported at Arcadia. There are also reports indicating service at Pilot Knob.   Captain Gustave Stange remained in command.

The 2nd Missouri, as depicted in the points above, would cease to exist in September of 1863.  With so many enlistments complete, the batteries were disbanded or consolidated.  Most of the officers resigned their commissions.  But then started the cycle of raising a replacement.  For all practical purposes an entirely new 2nd Missouri was recruited, with new officers.

But that is for the next quarter’s summaries.  For now we have a handful of smoothbore cannons that need ammunition:

0195_1_Snip_MO2

Just three lines to consider:

  • Battery B: 42 shot, 84 case, and 56 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 30 shell and 50 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • Battery C: 98 shot, 216 case, and 92 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
  • Battery M: 84 shell, 444 case, and 72 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.

With that, we have accounted for the cannon ammunition reported by the regiment for the quarter.  I have posted the blank pages for the rifled projectiles should one wish to review: Hotchkiss, James, Parrott, and Schenkl.

Moving directly on to the small arms section:

0196_3_Snip_MO2

Only one line of entries:

  • Battery M: Eighty-two Army revolvers, sixty-seven cavalry sabers, and thirty horse artillery sabers.

That concludes the 2nd Missouri.  But we still have eight more lines of the “miscellaneous” independent batteries and detachments from Missouri.  Another administrative knot to untangle!

Summary Statement, 1st Quarter, 1863 – 2nd Missouri Artillery

Dyer’s Compendium relates the 2nd Missouri Light Artillery spent much of the first half of the Civil War on duty as garrison artillery. However, unlike garrison artillery in other sectors which took the form of heavy artillery, the 2nd Missouri had three “light” batteries.  The regiment received a full, by battery, listing in the summary for first quarter, 1863.  But there was little for the clerks to tally within the form:

0116_1_Snip_MO_2

Through the first quarter, Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph Weydemeyer, who had experience in the Prussian army, was the regimental commander. Weydemeyer would be replaced later in the year (some minor point of friction that falls outside our study today).

Of the five batteries offering returns, three have the annotation “Infty. Stores” (or some variation, if you wish).  On the lines for those batteries, there are no tallies for even tools associated with light artillery.  Thus our review of this “light” regiment’s equipment affords a relatively brief review.  Well… let’s at least give them some due respect and discuss where those garrison artillery batteries were serving during the winter of 1863:

  • Battery A: No return.  Assigned to District of Rolla, but returned to St. Louis in the spring.
  • Battery B:  No return.  My records show Battery B moved to New Madrid, Missouri during the winter.
  • Battery C:  No return. As with Battery A.
  • Battery D: Though with a return, no equipment tallied. Captain Charles P. Meisner commanded this battery, posted to the garrison of Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
  • Battery E: No return. One of the batteries posted at St. Louis.
  • Battery F: No return.  As with Battery A.  Of note, this battery would be consolidated into non-existence during the next quarter.  On the table of organization, Captain Clemens Landgraeber’s 1st Missouri Horse Artillery would thence be renamed Battery F, 2nd Missouri.
  • Battery G: Infantry stores at St. Louis.  Duty at both St. Louis and Rolla.
  • Battery H: No return. Duty at St. Louis.
  • Battery I: Infantry stores at St. Joseph, Missouri.  The location is likely a transcription error, as the battery didn’t serve anywhere near that point. For the first quarter of 1863 the battery was among the others posted to St. Louis.
  • Battery K: At St. Louis with two 12-pdr field howitzers and four 3-inch Ordnance rifles.  During the winter, Battery K was being configured for field service with the department’s cavalry.  Lieutenant Thaddeus S. Clarkson commanded later in the spring.  (Clarkson would later command the 3rd Arkansas (Federal) Cavalry).
  • Battery L: No return.  The battery was posted to Rolla during the winter.  In January, the battery accompanied a counter-attack towards the town of Hartville, incurring some casualties, remaining there to the spring.
  • Battery M: Reported at Pilot Knob, Missouri with four 6-pdr field guns and two 12-pdr field howitzers. This location was valid for June, 1863.  Prior to that time, Captain Gustave Stange’s battery was in St. Louis, part of the Second Division, Department of Missouri.

Let me remind readers this listing is more a snapshot in time.  Lineage of the 2nd Missouri Artillery batteries becomes a tangle further into the war.  Our focus here is just on the winter of 1863.  But just a few weeks into the second quarter and administrative change occurred.  Following an inquiry into enlistments and such, a portion of the regiment was mustered out.  What remained was reorganized.  And fresh enlistments filled those batteries mustered back in.  More tangles than we need be concerned with for this post.  But we must untangle some of those for the second and third quarters of 1863.

This leaves us with two batteries to consider in regard to equipment, projectiles, and small arms.  Starting with smoothbore:

0118_1_Snip_MO_2

Just two batteries to consider here:

  • Battery K: 340 shell, 120 case, and 40 canister for 12-pdr howitzer.
  • Battery M: 502 shot, 165 case, and 52 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 92 shell, 120 case, and 24 canister for 12-pdr howitzer (I believe the column entry is a transcription error as no 12-pdr field guns were on hand).

And only one battery reported rifles on hand, so we have short work considering projectiles for those guns:

0118_2_Snip_MO_2

Just Hotchkiss projectiles:

  • Battery K: 204(?) canister, 304 percussion shell, 304 fuse shell, and 196 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

Looking to the next couple of pages, we find no quantities of Dyer’s, James’, Parrott’s, or Schenkl’s projectiles. So we turn to the small arms:

0119_3_Snip_MO_2

Of the two reporting:

  • Battery K: Twenty Army revolvers and twenty-one horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery M: Thirty Army revolvers and sixty-eight cavalry sabers.

So “short work” for the 2nd Missouri artillery. Keep in mind this was a formation in a state of transition as winter turned to spring.  And we’ll revisit that organization in future installments.

But we are not done with Missouri.  Four more entry lines appear below the 2nd Regiment.  Those four are worthy of their own post, as each will take some lengthy discussions!