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:


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:


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:


  • 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:


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:


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

At last, the small arms:


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?


Summary Statement: December 31, 1862 – Ohio Independent Batteries, Part 1

We saw last week that the 1st Ohio Light Artillery Regiment’s batteries were pulling duty, as of the end of 1862, with two armies – the Army of the Potomac and the Army of the Cumberland.  In contrast, the independent batteries saw more varied service from the standpoint of assignment as of that point on the timeline.  During the war, there were twenty-six designated independent batteries from Ohio, along with a few National Guard batteries brought on active duty for short duration (falling outside our survey of the moment), according to Dyer’s Compendium.  The summary for fourth quarter, 1862 offered reports for some of the first twenty of those:


To avoid a flurry of “Too long, didn’t read” remarks, let us focus on the first half of those.  So looking closely at the 1st through 10th Ohio Independent Light Batteries, we have this snip to work with:


Of these, the clerks skipped the 3rd and 8th Batteries.  However, of those listed, only the 1st’s details are absent.  And all but two of those reporting had the paperwork in Washington by the end of 1863.  With those, we have:

  • 1st Ohio Independent Battery: No return. Captain James R. McMullin commanded this battery, supporting the Kanawha Division, then in (what is today) West Virginia. Earlier in the fall, the battery fought at South Mountain with six James Rifles. However it is likely the battery re-equipped with 3-inch Ordnance Rifles shortly afterward.
  • 2nd Ohio Independent Battery: At Helena, Arkansas with two 12-pdr field howitzers and four 3.80-inch James Rifles. Captain Newton J. Smith commanded this battery, which was assigned to the District of Eastern Arkansas at the time.
  • 3rd Ohio Independent Battery: Not listed. Was part of Third Division, Right Wing, Thirteenth Corps, at Memphis in December 1862.  Captain William S. Williams commanding.
  • 4th Ohio Independent Battery:  At Greenville, Mississippi with two 12-pdr field howitzers and four 3.80-inch James Rifles. Captain Louis Hoffmann’s battery was also with General Frederick Steele’s force at Helena in December 1862.  The battery was involved with an expedition to Greenville in April 1863, when the report was filed.
  • 5th Ohio Independent Battery:  At Holly Springs, Mississippi with two 6-pdr field guns, two 12-pdr field howitzers, and two 3.80-inch James Rifles.  Assigned to the Fourth Division, Right Wing, Thirteenth Corps (soon to be in the Seventeenth Corps).  Commanded by Lieutenant Anthony B. Burton.
  • 6th  Ohio Independent Battery: I interpret the location to say “Thomas’s East Line.”  And I think that refers to the battery’s location at Chattanooga, Tennessee for the September 1863 reporting date.  Feel free to look that over so we might get it right.  The battery reported two 6-pdr field guns and four 10-pdr Parrotts. As of December 31, 1862, the battery was in the field at Stones River supporting First Division, Left Wing, Fourteenth Corps.  Captain Cullen Bradley commanded the battery, which suffered the loss of two killed, two wounded, and one captured in the battle.  Bradley reported firing 500 rounds.
  • 7th  Ohio Independent Battery: Tallahatchie, Mississippi with four 3.80-inch James Rifles.  Also assigned to Fourth Division, Right Wing, Thirteenth Corps.  Commanded by Captain Silas A. Burnap.
  • 8th  Ohio Independent Battery: Not listed. This battery was part of Sherman’s force at Chickasaw Bayou, commanded by Lieutenant  James F. Putnam.
  • 9th  Ohio Independent Battery: Tullahoma, Tennessee with six 12-pdr Napoleons. Another case where the location (and possibly other particulars) refer to the battery’s state at the time of the report’s receipt in Washington.  As of December 1862, the battery was commanded by Captain Harrison B. York and was part of the Third Division, Army of Kentucky. It would soon join the Army of the Cumberland, as part of the Reserve Corps.
  • 10th  Ohio Independent Battery: Young’s Point, Louisiana with four 3.80-inch James Rifles.  The location may be valid for a reporting date later in 1863.  In December 1862, this battery was under Captain Hamilton B. White and in Sixth Division, Left Wing, Thirteenth Corps, among those operating in Northern Mississippi.

So we see varied service – batteries in West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas (and later Louisiana also).

For smoothbore ammunition, here is the appropriate section:


By battery, they reported:

  • 2nd Battery:  All for 12-pdr field howitzer – 41 shell, 113 case, and 77 canister.
  • 4th Battery:  For their 12-pdr field howitzers – 162 shell, 105 case, and 92 canister.
  • 5th Battery:  For 6-pdr field guns – 40 shot, 267 case, and 93 canister.  For the 12-pdr field howitzers – 57 shell and 82 canister.  There is an entry for 147 12-pdr Napoleon spherical case, but I would guess this was a transcription error, and should be under the 12-pdr field howitzer case column.
  • 6th Battery:  For 6-pdr field guns – 175 shot and 72 canister.
  • 9th Battery: For 12-pdr Napoleons – 84 shot, 289 shells, 484 case, and 310 canister.

Moving to the rifled projectiles, starting with the Hotchkiss type:


All of these were for the reported James Rifles, 3.80-inch caliber:

  • 2nd Battery:  100 shot, 127 percussion shell, and 190 fuse shell.
  • 4th Battery: 169 shot and 106(?) percussion shell
  • 7th Battery: 40 shot.
  • 10th Battery:  39 shot and 71 fuse shell.

Moving over to the next set of columns, we see one more entry for Hotckhiss, along with James and Parrott types:


Note to self:  In the future try to split these sections up a bit to make them easier to read and flow better….Let me break these down by type:

Hotchkiss, continued:

  • 10th Battery:  389 Hotchkiss-type canister for 3.80-inch James Rifles.


  • 2nd Battery:  100 James-patent shot for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • 4th Battery: 304 James-patent shell for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • 5th Battery:   55 shot, 150 shell, and 95 canister in James-patent for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • 7th Battery: 100 James-patent 3.80-inch canister.


  • 6th Battery: 310 shell, 217 case, and 80 canister Parrott projectiles for 10-pdr rifles.

The last page of the rifled projectiles lists Schenkl’s and Tatman’s:


Schenkl, all 3.80-inch James Rifle caliber:

  • 7th Battery: 340 shells.
  • 10th Battery: 176 shells.

Tatham’s, all 3.80-inch James Rifle caliber:

  • 2nd Battery: 144 canister.
  • 4th Battery: 90 canister.
  • 7th Battery:  80 canister.

Just an off-the-cuff observation, but these Ohio batteries had quite a quantity of canister of all types.

Finally the small arms:


No long arms, not a lot of pistols, but a fair allocation of edged weapons:

  • 2nd Battery: Three Army revolvers and twelve cavalry sabers.
  • 4th Battery: Forty cavalry sabers and six horse artillery sabers.
  • 5th Battery: Seven Navy revolvers and fifty-six cavalry sabers.
  • 6th Battery: Fourteen horse artillery sabers.
  • 7th Battery: Eleven Army revolvers and seven horse artillery sabers.
  • 9th Battery: Thirteen horse artillery sabers.
  • 10th Battery: Five Army revolvers and twelve cavalry sabers.

That’s the first half of the Ohio Independent Batteries.  Should have the second half of that section posted in the next few days.

Summary Statement: December 31, 1862 – Missouri’s First Regiment of Artillery

The Missouri section of the fourth quarter, 1862 summary statement lists sixteen batteries.  That covers all of the 1st Regiment, Missouri Light Artillery as a whole.  It also includes bits and pieces of what would become the 2nd Regiment and some militia batteries brought onto Federal service at the time.  For this installment, we will look at the easy to interpret 1st Missouri Artillery.  And “easy” is a relative term.

The First Missouri Artillery had batteries assigned to the Department of Missouri, Army of the Frontier, the Army of Tennessee, and the Army of Cumberland.  Four of the batteries – D, H, I, and K – served together as a battalion under the command of Major George H. Stone during the Battle of Corinth, earlier in October, 1862.  However, the remainder were, as was common among the volunteer batteries, scattered around as needs required.

Looking to the first page of the summary, note the date which the returns were received.  This factors into my interpretation of some entries:


To help identify the batteries further, I’ll mention the battery commander for each, though it is not indicated in the summary.  That may aid the “untangling” of some of the organizational nuances of these batteries and answer some underlying questions:

  • Battery A: Helena, Arkansas.  Four 6-pdr field guns and two 12-pdr field howitzers. This battery was part of the District of Southeast Missouri, but would shortly become part of the “new” Thirteenth Corps as reorganized under Major-General John McClernand.  It’s battery commander was Captain George W. Schofield, namesake of the post-war Schofield revolver and brother of Major-General John Schofield.
  • Battery B:  Brownsville, Texas.  Two 12-pdr “heavy” field guns and four 12-pdr field howitzers.  Captain Martin Welfley commanded this battery.  The location is certainly incorrect for December 1862.  Likely that is tied to the date of the report’s receipt in Washington – April 1864.  At the close of 1862, the battery was in Missouri.  Welfley took the two heavy 12-pdr guns to Vicksburg when sent to the siege lines in June 1863.  By September of that year, he reported four heavy 12-pdrs and only two howitzers.
  • Battery C:  No report. Part of the Left Wing, Thirteenth Corps in December 1862. Later reorganized into the Sixteenth Corps.  Commanded by Lieutenant Edward Brotzmann.
  • Battery D: Reporting from Corinth, Mississippi, with five 20-pdr Parrott rifles.  Captain Henry Richardson commanded this battery.  It was among those in Stone’s battalion earlier in the fall.  The battery would spend time in Sixteenth and Seventeenth Corps during the winter of 1863.
  • Battery E: At Fayetteville, Arkansas, with four 10-pdr Parrotts and two 3.5-inch “English Rifles.”  Several notes here.  First this battery was organized by Captain Nelson Cole, but by the Prairie Grove campaign, in the Army of the Frontier,  it was commanded by Lieutenant Joseph Foust.  Those English rifles were products of Fawcett & Preston in Liverpool, purchased by General John C. Fremont early in the war.  Like other Civil War ordnance “enthusiasts,” I class these weapons as Blakelys based on caliber, projectiles, and loose affiliation of origin.  By September, Foust increased the number of English guns by one.
  • Battery F:  No report.  This battery had also seen service at Prairie Grove. Captain David Murphy’s battery moved with a column to Van Buren, Arkansas after the battle.  From notes about Prairie Grove, this battery should have reported a mix of James rifles and those Blakelys (or Fawcett & Preston, as you may prefer).
  • Battery G: No report.  This is Captain Henry Hescock’s battery supporting Third Division (Sheridan), Right Wing, Army of the Cumberland at the Battle of Stones River.  Hescock was also the division’s chief of artillery at the time, and I’ve wondered if he performed both roles (division chief and battery commander) or delegated the battery to a senior lieutenant.  His official report reads as if he retained command of the battery.  The battery fired 1,112 rounds at Stones River, lost one officer and 21 enlisted men, and reported short 37 horses.
  • Battery H:  At Corinth, with two 6-pdr field guns, one 24-pdr field howitzer, and two 10-pdr Parrotts.  Was part of Stone’s battalion earlier in the fall.  Commanded by Captain Frederick Welker.  Also part of the Thirteenth Corps in December, 1862.  By the end of the winter, the battery was part of Sixteenth Corps.
  • Battery I:  At Corinth, reporting four 6-pdr field guns and two 12-pdr field howitzers. I don’t know exactly when, but command of this battery passed from Captain William Pile, who went on to command the 33rd Missouri Infantry, to Captain Benjamin Tannrath.  Like the other Corinth-based batteries, Battery I was part of the Thirteenth Corps at the end of 1862, but being part of the reorganization into the Sixteenth Corps.
  • Battery K: Reporting four 10-pdr Parrotts at Vicksburg.  They might have wished they were *in* Vicksburg that winter!  Maybe the Confederates would have appreciated the loan of those Parrotts that winter!   Certainly this is a transcription error.  This was George Stone’s old battery and part of his battalion at Corinth.  Captain Stillman O. Fish had command of the battery, with Stone managing a “battalion” and later unbrigaded artillery at Corinth.
  • Battery L:  No report. This was Captain Frank Backof’s battery which fought at Prairie Grove.  They had four James rifles and two 12-pdr field howitzers.  By the end of the month, the battery was at Van Buren, Arkansas.
  • Battery M:  No location indicated, but with four 10-pdr Parrott rifles.  The battery was part of the Left Wing, Thirteenth Corps (soon to be the Sixteenth Corps) and stationed around Jackson, Tennessee.  Battery commanded by Captain Junius W. MacMurray.

MacMurray went on to serve in the regular army after the war:


And many of MacMurray’s papers are in the Princeton University Library,which according to the description “include quartermaster’s lists, invoices, and returns.”  Should anyone have access to those, I’d be interested if copies of MacMurray’s Ordnance Returns and other “cannon” related documents are in that set.

Yes, from the perspective of organization (and to some degree the armament), the Missouri batteries were one bag of confusing entries.  I’m making it somewhat worse by going beyond what is written in the summary. Thankfully, the rest of the summary, focusing on ammunition, is less confusing.  Starting with smoothbore ammunition:


These lines are interesting, if for nothing else with the inclusion of the 24-pdr unfixed ammunition.

  • Battery A:  6-pdr field gun – 400 shot, 308 case, and 188(?) canister; 12-pdr field howitzer – 11 shells, 156 case, and 27 canister.
  • Battery B: 12-pdr field gun – 128 shot, 84 case, and 32 canister; 12-pdr field howitzer – 340 shells, 358 case, and 64 canister.
  • Battery H: Reporting nothing for the 6-pdr guns, but for the 24-pdr field howitzers – 109 shell, 62 case, and 66 canister.
  • Battery I:  6-pdr field gun – 169 shot, 437 case, and 222 canister; 12-pdr field howitzer – 120 shell, 109 case, and 145 canister.
  • Battery K: 6-pdr field gun – 98 case and 28 canister.

Moving to the rifled ammunition, first we consider the Hotchkiss patent projectiles:


Yes, just one entry – Battery D had 38 Wiard-type 3.67-inch shot.  Yes, 20-pdr Parrotts had a 3.67-inch bore, nominally.

Lots of entries for Parrott and Schenkl columns:


By battery:

  • Battery B: 20-pdr Parrott – 291 shell, 75 case, and 111 canister.  With the battery armed only with smoothbore, this might be quantity under the charge of the battery at a garrison in Missouri.  Or perhaps another transcription error, putting the entries for Battery D on the wrong line?
  • Battery E: Parrott projectiles for 10-pdr Parrott – 420 shell and 131 canister.  Schenkl for 10-pdr Parrott – 133 shot.
  • Battery H:  Parrott for 10-pdr Parrott – 13 shell and 69 canister.
  • Battery K:  Parrott for 10-pdr – 175 shell, 350 case, and 120 canister.  Schenkl for 10-pdr Parrot – 100 shot.
  • Battery M:  Parrott for 10-pdr – 152 shell, 250 case, and 94 canister.  Schenkl for 10-pdr Parrot – 80 shot.

Continuing with the Schenkl entries, we have Battery M with 98 Parrott canister by that patent:


Now for the small arms!


Let’s see how those gunners were armed:

  • Battery A: 9 Navy revolvers and 35 cavalry sabers.
  • Battery B: 19 Navy revolvers, 52 cavalry sabers, 10 horse artillery sabers, and 8 foot artillery sabers.
  • Battery D: 30 cavalry sabers.
  • Battery E: 85 Army revolvers and 53 cavalry sabers.
  • Battery H: 5 Army revolvers and 45 horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery I: 15 Army revolvers, 106 cavalry sabers, and one horse artillery saber.
  • Battery K: 4 Navy revolvers and 40 cavalry sabers.
  • Battery M: 13 Army revolvers and 7 horse artillery sabers.

The 1st Missouri Artillery entries were a lot of “finger work” and research on my end.  And I am still not happy with all the validations for the batteries and their armaments.  I would stress again this is the “summary” reflecting what was reported from paperwork received at intervals in Washington.  We don’t know if one clerk did all the work… or if a team of clerks were involved.  In short, we don’t have a clear picture of how the paperwork was processed.  Thus we have to add questions about data integrity.

On to the 2nd Missouri and the State Militia batteries….


Summary Statement: December 31, 1862 – Michigan Batteries

During the Civil War, the state of Michigan mustered fourteen light artillery batteries. Of that set, only ten were organized at the time of the December 1862 report.   According to many official reports and returns, the first twelve were lettered batteries within the 1st Regiment Light Michigan Artillery (i.e. Battery A, 1st Michigan; Battery B, 1st Michigan, etc).  But other references cite these as numbered batteries (i.e. 1st Michigan Battery, 2nd Michigan Battery, etc).  As Dyer’s recognizes the first twelve as lettered batteries within a regiment of light artillery, I’m normally inclined to use such designations.  However, the summary statement for December 1862 lists these batteries by number.  So for this post I’ll translate from the listed designation to the other designation.

I said ten batteries, right?  Well we have ten and a detachment to discuss:


We see all but the first two were diligent and filed their returns as required… all received by the fall of 1863.  Let me fill in the few blanks regarding battery assignments:

  • Battery A (1st Battery): No return.  Was assigned to the Army of the Cumberland’s Center Wing (1st Division) and at Stones River in December 1862. Lieutenant George Van Pelt’s battery rendered good service that day, firing 697 rounds.
  • Battery B (2nd Battery): No return. This battery was still smarting from losses sustained on April 6, 1862 … you know, first day at Shiloh.  A surviving section was attached to Battery C, 1st Missouri Light Artillery (Mann’s Battery).  And the reorganized, freshly recruited sections were in transit to west Tennessee that December.
  • Battery C (3rd Battery): Corinth, Mississippi.  One 12-pdr field howitzer and three 10-pdr Parrotts.  Assigned to the cumbersome 13th Corps at the time.
  • Battery D (4th Battery): Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Two 12-pdr field howitzers, two 10-pdr Parrotts, and two James 3.80-inch rifles.  Assigned to the Third Division, Center Wing, Army of the Cumberland, Captain Josiah Church’s battery expended 170 rounds in the battle of Stones River.
  • Battery E (5th Battery): At Nashville, Tennessee with four 6-pdr field guns. This battery was on garrison duty.
  • Battery F (6th Battery): Munfordsville, Kentucky. Two 6-pdr field guns and two 10-pdr Parrotts.  Records show that one section (type of guns unknown) was at Munfordsville under Lieutenant L.F. Hale.  Another section was at Bowling Green under Lieutenant D.B. Paddock.
  • Battery G (7th Battery):  Carrollton, Louisiana.  Six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Carrollton was the battery’s location in September 1863, when the report was received in Washington.  In December 1862, this battery was with Sherman’s ill-fated Chickasaw Bayou expedition.
  • Battery H (8th Battery): No location indicated.  Two 12-pdr field howitzers, two 6-pdr (3.67-inch) rifles, and two James (3.80-inch) rifles.  This battery was in transit down the Mississippi River to Memphis, where it would join the 13th Corps.
  • Battery I (9th Battery): Washington, D.C.  Six 3-inch rifles.  This battery was assigned to the defenses of Washington. It would later become part of the Army of the Potomac’s Horse Artillery.
  • Battery K (10th Battery): Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Two 12-pdr field howitzers and four 3-inch steel rifles. Was preparing for a posting to the defenses of Washington. Captain John Schuetz commanded this battery through the war.
  • Finch’s Section: Lexington, Kentucky. Two 12-pdr field howitzers.  Lieutenant A. J. Finch (18th Michigan Infantry, if my research is correct) commanded this section in the “Army of Kentucky” or District of Central Kentucky.

A fair allocation of the Michigan artillerists, weighted as one might expect to the Western Theater.

Turning to the ammunition, first the smoothbore reported:


By battery from those reporting:

  • Battery C: 30 shell, 80 case, and 25 canister for 12-pdr field howitzer.
  • Battery D: 100 shell, 50 case, and 40 canister in 12-pdr field howitzer.
  • Battery E: 316 shot, 257 case, and 277 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
  • Battery H: 240 shell and 63 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • Battery K: 156 shell, 204 case, and 43 canister for 12-pdr field howitzer.
  • Finch’s Section: 96 shell, 96 case, and 64 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.

Rifled projectile listings start with Hotchkiss:


We see those for:

  • Battery G: 302 3-inch canister of the Hotchkiss type.
  • Battery H: 281 shot and 130 percussion shell of the Hotchkiss type for 3.80-inch James rifles.
  • Battery I: 108 canister, 75 percussion shell, and 200 fuse shells of Hotchkiss type for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery K: 96 canister, 165 percussion shell, 165 fuse shell, and 390 bolts of Hotickiss patent for 3-inch rifles.

Moving over to the James, Parrott, and Schenkle types:


  • Battery C: 40 shell and 382 case Parrott-patent for 10-pdr Parrott.  And then 57 Schenkle shot for 10-pdr Parrott.
  • Battery D: 30 case Parrott-type for 10-pdr Parrotts.
  • Battery H: 97 James-type for 3.80-inch rifles.

Continuing with Schenkle projectiles on the second page:


  • Battery C: 126 Schenkle canister for 10-pdr Parrott.
  • Battery D: 150 Schenkle shell for 10-pdr Parrott and 265 Schenkle shell for James 3.80-inch rifles.

Added to the end columns we see Battery H had 186 canister of 3.67-inch and 41 canister of 3.80-inch, both quantities of Tatham’s type.

And finally, the small arms reported by the Michigan batteries:


  • Battery C:  Seven cavalry sabers.
  • Battery D: 20 cavalry sabers.
  • Battery E: 10 horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery G: 16 Army revolvers, 8 cavalry sabers, and 6 horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery H: 50 cavalry sabers.
  • Battery I: 161 Army revolvers and 33 horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery K: 20 Army revolvers and 167 horse artillery sabers.
  • Finch’s section: Four cavalry sabers.

Clearly those Michigan troops in Washington, or destined to be posted to Washington, got the lion’s share of the pistols and edged weapons.


Summary Statement: December 31, 1862 – Indiana’s Batteries

Time now we look to the Hoosier Artillery as reported for December 1862.  Indiana organized twenty-six light batteries for Federal service during the war, all numbered and not within a regimental system.  Twenty-one of those Indiana batteries had entry lines on the December 1862 summary.  Of those, only seven had a posted date for receipt of returns.  I’ll focus on those seven, but mention the status of the other fourteen for our purposes today.  (And note, there was a 1st Indiana Heavy Artillery Regiment serving mostly with the Department of the Gulf, that falls outside the summaries.)

Of the seven batteries with data for the form, we see all posted late. Three were received in the spring of 1863.  Three more trickled in through the summer and fall.  Then the 2nd Indiana Battery’s was received in April 1864.  All must be considered when reviewing the data presented in the summary.


For the battery-by-battery breakdown, let us “fill in” the location and assignment for batteries without a report… just to round things out (Looking here for any patterns of the omissions).  And, for emphasis, these are all “Independent Light Artillery” batteries from Indiana, designated by sequential numbers:

  • 1st Battery: No report.  The battery was part of the short lived Army of Southeastern Missouri, operating in the Ironton area.
  • 2nd Battery: Springfield, Missouri. Three 6-pdr field guns and four James 3.80-inch rifles.  The battery was in the Army of the Frontier.
  • 3rd Battery: No report. Part of the Central District of Missouri and reported at both Rolla and St. Louis during the quarter.
  • 4th Battery: La Vernge or Lafayette (?), Tennessee.  Two 6-pdr field guns and two James 3.80-inch rifles.  The 4th was in the Right Wing, Army of the Cumberland, specifically, Sheridan’s Third Division.  The battery was in action at Stones River on December 31.  Captain Asahel Bush’s official report mentions the battery had one more cannon on hand – a field howitzer (12-pdr).  One 6-pdr and a James rifle were lost on the field.  And the other 6-pdr disabled. The battery fired 1,160 rounds in the battle.  Losses were six killed, seventeen wounded, and three captured or missing.
  • 5th Battery. No report. Was posted to Second Division (Johnson), Right Wing, Army of the Cumberland, and at Stones River.  Captain Peter Simonson mentioned two 10-pdr Parrotts and two 12-pdr Napoleons in his official report of the battle. The battery fired only 213 rounds in the battle but lost two guns.
  • 6th Battery. No report. The battery was in the multi-armed Thirteenth Corps and with McPherson’s Right Wing in northern Mississippi.
  • 7th Battery. Murfreesboro, Tennessee.  Four 10-pdr Parrotts.  The battery was in Van Cleve’s Third Division, Left Wing, Army of the Cumberland.  Captain George Swallow’s battery fired 406 rounds in the battle at Stones River, lost no guns, suffered four killed and eight wounded, along with losing one horse.
  • 8th Battery. No report.  First Division (Wood), Left Wing, Army of the Cumberland.  Lieutenant George Estep’s battery fired 871 rounds at Stones River.
  • 9th Battery. No report. Captain George Brown’s battery was assigned to Fourth Division, Right Wing, Thirteenth Corps.
  • 10th Battery: No report. Captain Jerome Cox’s battery was also assigned to First Division, Left Wing, Army of the Cumberland and at Stones River.   The battery fired 1,442 rounds during the battle.
  • 11th Battery: No report. Though assigned the Army of the Cumberland, this battery was part of the Nashville garrison.
  • 12th Battery: Fort Negley, Nashville, Tennesseee.  Annotated as “siege.”  Four 4.5-inch siege rifles.
  • 13th Battery: No report. Also annotated as a “siege” battery.  I have no particulars on this battery.  It was posted to Gallatin, outside Nashville, and some reports have it operating as cavalry.
  • 14th Battery:  Jackson, Tennessee.  Three 6-pdr field guns and one 3-inch Ordnance Rifle.  The battery was part of Thirteenth Corps at the time.
  • 15th Battery:  No report.  Had surrendered earlier in the fall at Harpers Ferry.  Was still on parole.
  • 16th Battery: Fort Pennsylvania, DC.  Three 20-pdr Parrotts and four James 3.80-inch rifles.  This battery spent most of the war defending Washington.
  • 17th Battery: No report. The 17th Battery was assigned to the Middle Department and the defenses of Baltimore.
  • 18th Battery: No report. Though assigned to the Center Wing, Army of the Cumberland, this battery was not at Stones River but rather supporting troops pursuing Confederates raiders.
  • 19th Battery:  (Illegible), Kentucky.  Four 12-pdr Napoleons and two 3-inch steel guns.  Also assigned to the Center Wing, the 19th was likewise active in pursuit of Confederate raiders at this time of the war.
  • 20th Battery: No report.  Assigned to the garrison of Henderson, Kentucky.
  • 21st Battery: No report. On duty at various locations in Kentucky.

Sorry for the lengthy interpretation, but a necessary listing for the purposes of these posts.  There are several batteries (particularly the 19th Indiana) that I’d like to discuss further. But for now let me save those for separate posts in the future.

Turning to smoothbore ammunition on hand:


Just three batteries reporting quantities:

  • 2nd Battery:  6-pdr field gun – 8 spherical case and 191 canister.
  • 4th Battery: 6-pdr field gun – 320 shot, 160 case, and 30 canister.
  • 14th Battery: 6-pdr field gun – 328 shot, 296 case, and 68 canister.

Rifled projectiles followed to the right of the smoothbore listings, with Hotchkiss patent types:


Three batteries reporting:

  • 2nd Battery: James 3.80-inch – 54 shot and 176 (?) bullet shell.
  • 14th Battery: 162 of Hotchkiss pattern 3-inch percussion shell.
  • 19th Battery: 3-inch rifle – 98 canister and 86 fuse shell.

Continuing to the columns for James and Parrott projectiles:


Two batteries with quantities on hand:

  • 7th Battery:  155 Parrott 10-pdr case shot.
  • 14th Battery: James patent 3.80-inch – 188 shell, 120 case shot, and 222 canister; and 650 20-pdr Parrott shells.

Clearly a battery posted to defend the nation’s capital got plenty of ammunition!

And next those of Schenkl and Tatham’s:


Two batteries reporting:

  • 14th Battery: 83 3-inch Schenkl shells and 45 3-inch Tatham’s canister.
  • 19th Battery: 28 3-inch Schenkl canister.

Finally, the small arms:


All seven of the “reporting” batteries listed some small arms on hand, some more than others:

  • 2nd Battery: 134 Army revolvers and 49 cavalry sabers.
  • 4th Battery: 24 cavalry sabers.
  • 7th Battery: 2 cavalry sabers.
  • 12th Battery: 14 horse artillery sabers.
  • 14th Battery: 16 cavalry sabers.
  • 16th Battery: 2 Army revolvers.
  • 19th Battery: 15 Army revolvers and 16 horse artillery sabers.

Other than the “everyone gets a revolver” in the 2nd Battery, we might consider this a “meager” allotment of sabers and pistols.

That concludes the lengthy summary of the Indiana batteries.  Keep in mind that a quarter of these batteries were in action at the end of December 1862 at Stones River.  And those batteries expended around 4,000 rounds between December 31 and January 2.  Not to mention the lost guns, equipment, horses, and lives in the battle.  What I am left wanting is a “before” and “after” accounting from those batteries of equipment.  Such would offer a measure, on paper, of the violence seen at stones River.


Summary Statement: December 31, 1862 – 1st Illinois Artillery Regiment

During the war, Illinois provided two regiments of artillery and a regiment’s worth of independent batteries.  Many of those batteries achieved fame on the battlefield, and are well known to those familiar with the Western Theater.  Looking at their equipment, we will discover a wide array of issued weapons among these regiments.  We see that with the summary statement of the 1st Illinois Light Artillery Regiment:


We see that even into December 1862 the Illinois batteries reflected the “rush to war” in the nature of the cannons reported.  Also worth noting is the number of batteries which were not only “in the field” but also actually engaged in combat as of December 31, 1862:

  • Battery A: At Vicksburg Mississippi with four 6-pdr field guns and two 12-pdr field howitzers.  Battery A was assigned to the Thirteenth Corps, Army of the Tennessee at reporting time.  They were part of the action at Chickasaw Bayou outside Vicksburg at the end of the year.
  • Battery B: Also at Vicksburg, but with five 6-pdrs and only one 12-pdr field howitzer.  Battery B was also at Chickasaw Bluffs.
  • Battery C: At Murfreesboro, Tennessee.  They were assigned to Third Division (Sheridan), Right Wing, Fourteenth Corps, Army of the Cumberland.    In action on December 31, they fired 1,154 rounds, lost 95 horses, and all their guns.  Thus the slim return for this summary.  I don’t know exactly what Battery C had going into battle, but know they had at least some rifled guns.
  • Battery D: No return received.  The battery was part of the Right Wing, Thirteenth Corps, Army of the Tennessee, operating out of Jackson, Tennessee at the time.
  • Battery E: At Vicksburg with six James 3.80-inch rifles.  I don’t find this battery on the order of battle for Chickasaw Bayou, but it was part of the District of Memphis, from which Sherman drew his forces for the campaign.
  • Battery F: Camp Sherman, Mississippi with four James 3.80-inch rifles.  The battery was in the Right Wing (McPherson), Thirteenth Corps at the reporting time.
  • Battery G: Had four 24-pdr field howitzers.  Battery G was part of the District of Corinth, Thirteenth (later Seventeenth) Corps.
  • Battery H: At Vicksburg with two 6-pdr field guns and two 20-pdr Parrott rifles.  Also at Chickasaw Bayou.
  • Battery I: No return received.  Battery I was also part of McPherson’s Right Wing, Thirteenth Corps.  They were guarding the railroads outside Memphis at the time.
  • Battery K: Paducah, Kentucky with ten Union Repeating Guns (or the Agar “coffee mill” gun).  This is intriguing, as we most identify the use of this weapon in the Eastern Theater.  (UPDATE: Battery K likely did not have these guns, but some other “light” weapon.  More on this in a follow up post.)
  • Battery L: At New Creek, Virginia, with two 12-pdr Napoleons and four James 3.80-inch rifles.  Battery L was part of the Eighth Corps, and posted in soon-to-be West Virginia.
  • Battery M: Munfordsville, Kentucky, reporting three 10-pdr Parrott rifles.

As you can see, there are a lot of threads to follow among those twelve batteries. Again, were this post not focused on the summary, I’d love to break down individual battery histories.

But that is not the line of march today.  So onward to the smoothbore projectiles reported.  We’ll look at this in two sections.  First the 6-pdrs and 12-pdrs:


These were reported in three batteries:

  • Battery A:  6-pdr field gun – 148 shot,  512 case, and 117 canister. 12-pdr field howitzer – 120 shell, 107 case, and 36 canister.
  • Battery B: 6-pdr field gun – 350 shot, 270 case, and 131 canister.   12-pdr field howitzer – 30 shell, 160 (?) case, and 19 canister.
  • Battery L: 6-pdr field gun – 70 shot.  12-pdr Napoleon – 136 shot, 122 shell, 180 case, and 88 canister.

Note the entry for Battery L with seventy 6-pdr solid shot.  It was often reported that batteries would use 6-pdr ammunition in James rifles.  The projectile fit, of course. Here we see documentation of that practice in the field.

A lesser note here – Battery H, with two 6-pdrs, reported no rounds for those pieces on hand.

Also in the smoothbore category, we have Battery G with those big 24-pdr field howitzers:


So for four howitzers only 36 shells, 30 case, and 24 canister on hand.

Moving to the rifled projectiles, first on the sheet are those of Hotchkiss Patent:


Follow this close:

  • Battery F: Wiard 3.67-inch – 107 shot on hand.
  • Battery L: James 3.80-inch – 210 shot and 28 “bullet shell” or case. 3-inch – 40 percussion shells and 160 fuse shells.

For two lines, we have a lot to talk about.  Remember these are Hotchkiss-type projectiles made to work with particular types of rifled artillery – in the case of these two batteries those are James rifles.  But, what about Wiard?  My first response is “if it fits, we fire it!”  The difference between the Wiard 12-pdr’s 3.76-inch bore and the James 3.80-inch bore allows that.  But let us relegate that for the moment to supposition and speculation.  This could also be due to a mistake in the supply system… or a mistake in reporting.  That explanation could also carry over to the entries for Battery L, which would have little to no use for 3-inch projectiles.

Moving to the next page, none of the 1st Illinois batteries reported Dyer’s Patent projectiles.  But they did, of course, have those of James’ Patent:


Three batteries reporting quantities of “6-pdr James” of 3.80-inch bore:

  • Battery E – 480 shell and 160 canister.
  • Battery F – 100 shot, 378 shell, and 100 canister.
  • Battery L – 320 shot, 36 shell, and 19 canister.

So as one might expect in terms of issue, but interesting that Battery L had small quantities of shell and canister on hand.  Instead that battery had a lot of solid shot (also count the 70 6-pdr smoothbore and 107 Wiard solid shot mentioned above).  We’ll see more tallies for Battery L below.

Batteries H and M had Parrott rifles on hand, and they reported projectiles for those guns:


  • Battery H:  20-pdr (3.67-inch) Parrott – 120 shell, 48 case, and 57 canister.
  • Battery M: 10-pdr (2.9-inch) Parrott – 285 shell and 105 canister.

The next set of columns listed Schenkl projectiles:


Here we find Battery L had 132 Schenkl shells for their James rifles.  Still only a fraction of the shells on hand for the two western batteries.

On the far right of that snip, we can add 172 Tatham’s pattern canister, in 3.80-inch caliber, for Battery L’s James rifles.  However, Battery F reported 183 Tatham’s pattern canister in 3.67-inch for their James rifles.  One wonders how the logisticians kept track of projectiles which differed by just over a tenth of an inch.

Finally, the small arms:


Entries in almost every column:

  • Battery A: 14 Army revolvers, 60(?) Navy revolvers, two cavalry sabers and a horse artillery saber.
  • Battery B: 50 Navy revolvers and 11 cavalry sabers.
  • Battery C: 8 Navy revolvers and 8 cavalry sabers.
  • Battery E: 10 cavalry sabers.
  • Battery F: 25 Army revolvers and six cavalry sabers.
  • Battery G: 45 of what ever the .58-caliber long arm reported in the third column (See update below).  45 cavalry sabers and 16 foot artillery sabers.
  • Battery H: 17 Navy revolvers and 9 cavalry sabers.
  • Battery K: 12 Springfield .58-caliber rifles and 114 horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery L: 17 carbines and 148 cavalry sabers.

UPDATE: Phil Spaugy suggested the third column’s written header could be “Whitney, cal .58.”  Those being modified Model 1841 rifles.  This matches information from Arming the Suckers by Ken Baumann, for Battery G.

Sorry for the length of this post.  But that’s what it takes to detail some of the anomalies in the 1st Illinois Light Artillery, as of December 1862.


Sesquicentennial Observation: The last great surge for Civil War battlefield preservation… why?

During the last four years, as I “walked and talked” the Civil War sesquicentennial, there were many observations which I rolled about at the pace of my footsteps.  A post-sesquicentennial objective of mine is to fill some of those out and share here as blog posts.  One of those is already up.  Today I’ll continue that thread with another observation “from the field,” if you will – we are experiencing the last great opportunity for Civil War battlefield preservation.

Yes, we are witnessing the last great chance for preservation of Civil War battlefields… any additional battlefields.   I say that within the context of a comment from NPS historian John Hennessy:

For the moment, let’s focus on the 2/2 part of that tweet conversation (we’ll circle back to the first part later).  Americans have preserved MORE acres Civil War battlefield than any other nation has preserved for any other war in all of history.  An impressive statistic.  Civil War Trust lists 40,000 acres of battlefield among their accomplishments – preserved in whole or in part by that organization.  Add to that federal (small “f” as in national, not the opposite of Confederate!), state, and local parks on battlefields.  And also mention lands preserved by other means, to include the initiative of the land owners.  More land than for any other war in human history.  Let that simmer at the fore.

Why is that?

Let me offer my answer to that in “Craig Swain” fashion… as in starting with the “nuts and bolts.”  The first part to consider is how – legally and administratively – all that land went onto the “preserved” side of the sheet.  Preservation didn’t happen all at once.  It took time and came in waves.  The first great wave of preservation was by the generation which witnessed the Civil War, and driven by those veterans in the population.  Timothy B. Smith called this the “Golden Age of Battlefield Preservation.”  Very apt title, coming at the later half of the Gilded Age and conducted by veterans reaching their “golden years.”  This period produced five battlefield parks, under government management (Chickamauga-Chattanooga, Shiloh, Gettysburg, Antietam, and Vicksburg).  More important, this period provided the blueprints for additional preservation.  We talk of the “Gettysburg plan” vs. “Antietam plan” because of methods used.  And beyond that, the blueprint incorporated plans for public use.  The practical, surface use was interpretation of the battle (notably, justified as an open air classroom for military officers).  Less practical, but very much at the fore, was public use for commemoration.

The blueprint established – for both the means and uses – the next big period of preservation was also pushed from the federal level.  And it resembled that “golden age”… except for less participation of the veterans, who were passing away by that time.  Parks established from 1915 to 1938 included Richmond, Fredericksburg-Spotsylvania, Petersburg, Stones River, and Brices Cross Roads.  Also in the list of fields preserved during that period are Revolutionary War sites such as Cowpens, Moore’s Creek, and Kings Mountain.  Such indicates “federal directed” preservation had moved beyond the urgings of Civil War veterans to a broader goal embracing the wider context of American history.   Sort of a function of the period, if I may.  Though I want to steer clear of the obvious rabbit hole there, for the sake of brevity.

The preservation of these major battlefields setup the Centennial of the Civil War.  There were places for those observances to occur.  But – and let me be clear that I cannot say this from the stance of a participant – those observances seemed confined.  The Centennial period, from the perspective of preservation, comes across as entrenchment.  The focus was more toward interpretation of what was in place – those wonderful, dated guidebooks and orientation movies that have only recently been updated.   In terms of land, bookend achievements at Manassas and Monocacy epitomize the efforts of that era – small, timid efforts that appear, in hindsight, fraught with missed opportunities.

But some of those missed opportunities setup the next period of Civil War battlefield preservation.  For the first 100 years after the Civil War, major development threats to battlefields were few and far between.  Remoteness insulated many fields from disruption.  That changed in the 1970s as the vectors producing “sprawl” brought direct and indirect changes to these battlefields.  And the “uncovered” battlefield lands were often thrown into the middle of a public discussion which pitted perceived “progress” against preservation.  Typical of these episodes, Manassas battlefield faced major developments on ground which arguably should have been included in the original park’s boundaries.  Another example came from Brandy Station, where preservationists contested major development projects which would have obliterated an otherwise pristine battlefield.  While both of those sites may be listed as “successful,” other places, such as Chantilly and so many of the Atlanta Campaign sites, were not so.  This was a contentious period for preservation, to say the least.  This “contentious” period saw private individuals and advocacy groups at the fore of the dialog.  In many places, the advocates for preservation came to terms with “preserve what you can” compromises. While federal and state officials were there, it was the preservation advocates doing most of the push.  Instead of “top down” driven goals, what emerged were “grass roots” preservation advocates.

Into the 21st Century and approaching the Sesquicentennial, preservation efforts continued along the lines of the last quarter of the previous century.  Opportunities came (and still come) with the alert, “targeted ares need protection NOW before something happens.”  And these are not “the sky is falling” pleas.  The nature of the sprawling development, indicative of this age, leaves no quarter.  Such renders the old Antietam plans obsolete.  Missed opportunities from the 1960s have translated to obliterated fields.  Though at some quarters, such as at Franklin, preservationists have turned to options rehabilitating portions of the battlefield – an extreme of “preserve what you can.” The preservationists through the Sesquicentennial are faced with the question “if not now, when?”

So we see through these five periods, preservation of all that battlefield land was not governed by a single guiding strategy or movement.  Rather the preservation efforts were a function of each generation’s initiative.  However, at the same time we can say through all the periods, the efforts focused on the land for those two core reasons – interpretation and commemoration.  Interpretation, through these periods, remained somewhat rigid for its application (in terms of how we process information, the signage of the 1890s is not far removed from the smart-phone app geo-tag of today) even while the content of the message remained fluid.  On the other hand, commemoration has defied any fixed characterization over the decades, ranging from celebration to reflection to introspection.  While we all approach the battlefields from the context of history, gaining perspective from the interpretation, what we carry away from them – the commemorative aspect – varies by individual.

And there in lies the answer to the question.  The reason we have so much Civil War battlefield space preserved is because that war was a broad, almost limitless, subject from which so much defies concrete definition.  We might start the discussion around “facts” or “sources” or such. But in the end, all devolves into “opinions” based on our own perspectives.  And the best place to reach any authoritative perspective is standing with both feet planted firmly on the ground.

We have not, as a nation, come to terms with the Civil War after 150 years.  So we should not be surprised that we have such an attachment to the ground over which it was fought.  Perhaps, the country needs those acres to serve as an unhealed wound.