Summary Statement, 3rd Quarter, 1863 – Delaware’s Batteries

Yes, Delaware’s batteries.  Plural.

In past quarters, we’ve looked at one lone entry line for Delaware.  That being Captain Benjamin Nields’ battery, often cited as the 1st Delaware Battery.  And that was it, so far as field batteries are concerned.  But the state also provided a company and a half … yes a half-company… of heavy artillery.  While that half-company’s service was so brief as to escape the need for an ordnance return, the other company was allocated a line for the third quarter of 1863:

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Two lines, but let us add that half-battery here for complete coverage:

  • 1st Battery: Reporting at Camp Barry, District of Columbia, with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  As mentioned above, Captain Benjamin Nields commanded.  The battery returned to Washington around the first week of July (after duty with the Seventh Corps on the Peninsula).  But no time to rest!  With the Draft Riots in New York, Nields’ battery was ordered to that city, where they fell under Brigadier-General Edward Canby’s command.  Among the last details of this detached service was a posting to Kingston, New York, on September 5, were a draft was being conducted.  By September 12, the battery was headed back to Washington and the training grounds of Camp Barry.
  • Ahl’s Independent Heavy Battery: Reporting only infantry stores.  In late July, 1st Lieutenant George W. Ahl left Pennsylvania Independent Battery G, then stationed at Fort Delaware, to become captain and commander of a new independent battery formed from former Confederates and Irish immigrants.  Designated Ahl’s Independent Heavy Battery, and allocated to Delaware, it began organization in mid-July.  Formally mustered on July 27, the battery’s assignment was Fort Delaware.  The men of Ahl’s spent little time with the fort’s armament of heavy Rodman guns. Rather, they served almost exclusively as prison guards.  Former Confederates, who’d “swallowed the dog” serving watch over Confederate prisoners…. what could go wrong?
  • Crossley’s Half-Company of Artillery: Not listed.  With Lee’s invasion of Pennsylvania in June 1863, Delaware mustered several emergency formations, just as other northern states did.  As far as artillery is concerned, they only had enough for half a battery.  And 1st Lieutenant Thomas Crossley commanded.  Crossley’s half-battery mustered on June 29, 1863 with three month terms.  Their duty was mostly along the railroad between Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore, replacing other units had moved to more vital and threatened points.  They mustered out on September 30.  In some organizational reports, Crossley’s is mentioned as the Delaware Emergency Troops, or Battery.  And in some correspondence, the battery is mentioned as the 2nd Delaware Battery.

There are no smoothbore cannon reported, so we can skip that page of the ammunition details.  Moving on to the Hotchkiss columns:

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Just Nield’s guns:

  • 1st Battery: 142 canister, 299 percussion shell, 3 fuse shell, and 172 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

No Dyer, James, or Parrott projectiles reported.  So we move to the Schenkl section:

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Again, Nields’ reporting:

  • 1st Battery: 494 case shot for 3-inch rifles (for that column header, canister is struck and case written in).

Lastly, the small arms:

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Presumably Ahl’s muskets were carried on an infantry ordnance return.  So again all we see are Nields’:

  • 1st Battery: Thirty Army revolvers and thirty-eight horse artillery sabers.

Before closing out this installment, let’s look a bit closer at Ahl’s Battery.  There is much of interest beyond those administrative details.  First off, George Washington Ahl was a proud descendant of a Revolutionary War veteran, from Massachusetts.  Before the war, he lived in Allegheny County, just outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he worked as a clerk. Married to Sarah Eleanor Hay Ahl, the couple had a young son on the 1860 census.  As mentioned above, Ahl received a commission in Pennsylvania Independent Battery G.  And in July received promotion to Captain in command of his own battery.

Through the rest of the war Ahl was in practice the prison commander at Fort Delaware.  Brigadier-General Albin Francisco Schoepf was in overall command, but gave his adjutant, Ahl, control over the operations.  With Confederate defeats in Mississippi and Pennsylvania, the prison population swelled.

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Over time, the prison population swelled to over 11,500.  All on little Pea Patch Island.  And those prisoners didn’t have nice things to say about Ahl.  According to Brian Temple, in “The Union Prison at Fort Delaware: A Perfect Hell on Earth,” prisoners referred to George as “Ahl-fired mean” and “Ape Ahl.”  Though not exactly a healthy and pleasant experience, Fort Delaware was at least not the worst. Still, it was not a comfortable place for a prisoner.

On the other hand, a photo on file with the Delaware Historical Society Collections tells us Ahl’s wartime service was rather comfortable:

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Ahl is third from the left.  Among the thirteen men identified, several are battery commanders mentioned in earlier posts about Fort Delaware – particularly Captains Stanislaus Mlotkowski and John Jay Young (Pennsylvania Independent Batteries A and G, respectively).  But on the back we read “Mamma was with him.”  Presumably indicating Sarah accompanied her husband to his wartime post.

The complement of Ahl’s command was not your normal Civil War battery muster.  Practically every entry in the Compiled Service Records offer intriguing stories.  A few to mention:

  • Private Jasper M. Barker: From Randolph County, North Carolina.  He joined Company F, 2nd North Carolina Battalion when the war broke out.  He was captured on Roanoke Island in February 1862, but paroled shortly after.  Remained with the regiment until the Gettysburg Campaign.  Falling ill, he was left behind at Shippensburg, Pennsylvania and captured.  A few weeks later, on July 27, 1863, he enlisted in Ahl’s Battery.  The book has him at five-feet, 11 ¼ inches tall; light complexion; blue eyes; light hair; and nineteen when joining the US service.
  • Private Reuben Barnes: When joining Ahl’s Battery in July 1863, Barnes was nineteen.  He hailed from Tyrell County, North Carolina.  He spent some time hospitalized for various ailments.  Barnes came north in June with company G, 1st North Carolina Infantry.  He was captured at Gettysburg on July 5 (there is an odd note on one of his cards stating “we failed to locate him” by . Sent to Fort Delaware, he obviously determined to make the best of the situation.  Barnes received the remaining $25 for bounty when mustering out on July 25, 1865.
  • Private John Bates: A farmer from Clinton, Missouri, Bates was a member of the Missouri State Guard (Company D, 2nd Cavalry, 8th Division) when the war started.  In June 1862, at age 18, he joined Company E, 4th Missouri Infantry.  All told, he saw action at Pea Ridge, Farmington, Iuka, Corinth, Hatchie Bridge, Port Gibson, and Grand Gulf.  He was wounded and captured at Champion’s Hill on May 16, 1863.  His Federal enlistment, dated like the others as July 27, has him at five feet, nine inches, hazel eyes, and light hair.  In May, 1864, Bates was entrusted to a detail escorting prisoners to Dry Tortugas (indicating he was deemed more loyal than the other Confederates, perhaps).  On July 25, 1865, he mustered out receiving $16.36 in back pay and $25 toward his bounty.  While I cannot say for sure, there is evidence Bates returned to Missouri after the war.
  • Private John Grady:  Born in Tipperary, Ireland. Age 38 when enlisting on July 27, 1863.  Grady escorted some prisoners to Fort Monroe in the summer of 1864.  Returning through Baltimore on August 9, he deserted.  He is among several who deserted while on similar escort duties.
  • Private Cornelius Layhan: A 24-year old, blue-eyed farmer from Cork, Ireland. Enlisted when the battery first formed.  Served as a cook and orderly when not on guard duty.   Escorted prisoners to Dry Tortugas in the spring of 1864.  Mustered out in July 1865, receiving $25 left on his bounty.
  • Private J.M. McDouaugh: Aged forty when enlisting in Ahl’s Battery, McDouaugh was from Sligo County, Ireland. McDouaugh also served on a detail taking prisoners to Dry Tortugas in the spring of 1864.  When mustered out, he received $28.06 in pay along with his bounty.
  • Private John Vaughn:  A short, 21-year old, blue-eyed and blond haired farmer from Jackson County, Alabama.  Vaughn was captured at Champion’s Hill on May 17, 1863.  Not entirely clear which regiment he was from.  He enlisted on July 27 for three years “or the war” with rank of corporal.  But he was reduced to private the following month.  Lost a bayonet the following year, for which he paid the government.  But he mustered out in July 1865 and collected his bounty.
  • James Waddington: At age 31 and hailing from Lancanshire, England, Waddington’s enlistment was a bit different than the others mentioned here.  He joined for a one year hitch starting in January 1865.  He was a cotton spinner by trade.  And his enlistment was credited to a ward in Philadelphia, leading me to wonder if this was some means to escape the draft.  He was discharged, with the rest, on July 25, 1865, and received $33.33 due on his bounty.

Certainly not the familiar stories for artillery service during the war.  But Ahl’s men received credit for service just the same.  One has to wonder how their post-war lives worked out.

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Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – Pennsylvania, Independent and other artillery

In the first quarter, 1863 returns, we had trouble with the Pennsylvania independent batteries as the clerks identified the units by the commander’s or organizer’s name.  But with some cross-matching we could at least tentatively identify seven of nine such batteries from the returns.  For the second quarter, we have but a fraction of that:

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From the standpoint of accountability this is simply unacceptable.  A section of mountain howitzers assigned to a cavalry regiment and three independent batteries.  We should see eight batteries listed.   Furthermore, there was a battery from the heavy artillery which had a section detailed to the Army of the Potomac during this period. And, with the Confederate invasion of Pennsylvania in June, we could also add in a good number of militia batteries called out to defend the Commonwealth.  Though, those batteries were not officially in the Federal army, just called out in defense of their state.  Still if we are counting all the gun tubes, those deserve mention.

Thus we have a lot of explaining to do and some blanks to fill in.  Starting with the first line on this section of the report, let’s consider those cavalrymen with the diminutive cannon:

  • 11th Pennsylvania Cavalry – The line read “Col. 11th Cav. Stores in charge.”  And among those stores were two 12-pdr mountain howitzers.  The 11th was assigned to the Seventh Corps, Department of Virginia and spent an active spring with detachments posted around the Suffolk and Norfolk area. Colonel Samuel P. Spear commanded.  The regimental history has passing mention of “our” howitzers, but no specifics.  However, on a reconnaissance mounted towards the end of the month one howitzer, managed by Sergeant Stewart B. Shannon, of Company I, went along.

Moving down to the independent batteries, let us list what was… and match to what we see on the list.  :

  • Battery A:  Schaffer’s Battery.  Not listed. Commanded by Captain Stanislaus Mlotkowski.  The battery was posted to Fort Delaware, in the Middle Department, and serving as garrison artillery despite the light artillery title.
  • Battery B: Muehler’s Battery, but appearing as Stevens’ Battery (Line 36) on this summary, for Captain Alanson J. Stevens. “In the field” with four 6-pdr field guns and two 3.80-inch James Rifles.  The battery was assigned to Third Division, Twenty-first Corps, Army of the Cumberland. Thus “in the field” was part of the Tullahoma Campaign.
  • Battery C: Thompson’s Battery. Not listed. Captain James Thompson’s Battery was, at this time, consolidated with Battery F (below) and assigned to 1st Volunteer Brigade, Artillery Reserve, Army of the Potomac.  Their six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles went into action at the Peach Orchard, at Gettysburg, around 5 p.m. of July 2, two guns facing west and four south.
  • Battery D: Durell’s Battery. Not listed. Captain George W. Durell’s battery was part of the well traveled First Division (having moved from the Second Division), Ninth Corps, taking in the summer at Vicksburg, Mississippi.
  • Battery E: Knap’s Battery. Appearing on Line 35 of this summary, as at Catlett’s Station, Virginia, with six 10-pdr Parrotts, as of August 5.  The battery was assigned to Twelfth Corps, Army of the Potomac. When Captain Joseph M. Knap resigned on May 16, Lieutenant Charles A. Atwell assumed command.  Atwell’s battery held an often underappreciated position on Power’s Hill at Gettysburg.
  • Battery F: Hampton’s Battery combined with Battery C (above) at this stage of the war.  Their monument is next to Battery C’s at Gettysburg. Lieutenant Nathaniel Irish was the ranking officer on the rolls of the battery at this time.
  • Battery G: Young’s Battery.  Not listed. Captain John Jay Young’s battery was also assigned to Fort Delaware.
  • Battery H: John Nevin’s Battery. Commanded by Captain William Borrowe and appearing as Line 34, at Alexandria, Virginia, with six 12-pdr Napoleons.  The battery was assigned to the Defenses of Washington, serving south of the Potomac.
  • Battery I:  Getting ahead of ourselves… Captain Robert J. Nevin’s Battery would not form until December 1863.

So we can match the three lines in the summary to three of the independent batteries.  Though we are conspicuously missing two batteries in field service – Battery C and Battery D.

As mentioned above, there were several militia batteries called out for service in the summer of 1863.  However, let avoid undue length and work those in as a separate post.  Though I would like to call out two other batteries, which were listed in the order of battle during certain stages of the Gettysburg Campaign:

  • The Keystone Battery: Captain Matthew Hastings commanded.  Listed in Bate’s as a militia battery, the Keystone Battery was assigned to the Defenses of Washington in August 1862.  In June 1863 the battery was at Camp Barry.  Before mustering out in August 1863, the battery briefly served in the field with Third Corps.  Their muster out date (August 20) might explain the lack of report in this summary.
  • Battery H, 3rd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery: The regiment’s batteries garrisoned several points from Baltimore to Fort Monroe (and perhaps we need a detailed posting on their service).  But Battery H, Commanded by William D. Rank, from Baltimore, had a section of 3-inch Ordnance Rifles sent forward to guard the railroad lines in Maryland.  That section was then caught up in the Gettysburg Campaign and saw serviced with First Brigade, Second Division, Cavalry Corps.  For more on this story, see Dana Shoaf’s video report.

With some of the blanks filled in and identification of what we do see on the summaries, let us turn to the ammunition reported:

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For smoothbore ammunition:

  • 11th Pennsylvania Cavalry: 100 case and 36 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzer.
  • Battery H ( Borrowe’s): 288 shot, 96 shell, 292 case, and 103 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery B (Stevens’): 448 shot and 200 case for 6-pdr field guns.

None of these batteries reported Hotchkiss projectiles on hand.  And on the next page we can focus on the Parrott columns:

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One reporting:

  • Battery E (Knap’s): 480 shell, 600 case, and 144 canister for 10-pdr Parrott.

Turning to the last page of ammunition:

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Just one entry:

  • Battery B (Stevens’): 100 shell for 3.80-inch rifles.

Lastly the small arms: 0220_3_Snip_PA_MISC

Of the three artillery batteries:

  • Battery H ( Borrowe’s): Fourteen Navy revolvers and sixty-one horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery E (Knap’s): Thirty-seven Navy revolvers and eight horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery B (Stevens’): Seven Navy revolvers, five cavalry sabers, and fourteen (?) horse artillery sabers.

In closing, we might complain the clerks “shorted” us four important batteries (if we include the Keystone Battery and Rank’s heavy artillerists).  But what was not listed provides us ample room for discussion.

And if you are keeping track, I “owe” a posting on the Pennsylvania militia batteries along with a full explanation of the 3rd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery’s dispositions.