Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – West Virginia Batteries

At the close of the second quarter of 1863, West Virginia was but ten days a state.  Word of the state’s admission to the Union did not move quickly down Pennsylvania Avenue to the clerks at the Ordnance Department.  They continued to place the batteries under a heading of “Virginia.”

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The clerks allocated lines for batteries A to H.  Though Battery H had not formed at this time.  An additional line, dated August 7, accounts for a mountain howitzer in the charge of the 13th West Virginia Infantry.  Looking at the administrative details:

  • Battery A: At Camp Barry, D.C. with no cannon reported. This battery was in the Artillery Camp of Instruction, Camp Barry.  Lieutenant (later Captain) George Furst remained in command.  The battery only reported some equipment and small arms in its return.
  • Battery B: At New Creek, (West) Virginia with six 10-pdr Parrotts.  Captain John V. Keeper command this battery,  supporting Averill’s Brigade, Department of West Virginia.
  • Battery C: At Taneytown, Maryland with four 10-pdr Parrotts. Captain Wallace Hill commanded this battery.  In May, the battery transferred from Eleventh Corps to 3rd Volunteer Brigade, Artillery Reserve, Army of the Potomac.  Their Parrotts held a position on Cemetery Hill on July 2 and 3, at Gettysburg.  In the battle, Hill reported two men killed, two wounded, and the loss of five horses.  The battery expended 1,120 rounds.  “I think,” Hill concluded in his report, “I have just cause to feel proud of the part my men sustained during the entire terrible engagement.”
  • Battery D: Reporting at Hancock, Maryland with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Captain John Carlin’s battery was assigned to First Brigade, Second (Milroy’s) Division, Eighth Corps (Middle Department).  The battery was with that command during the battle of 2nd Winchester.  According to Carlin’s report, the battery had six 3-inch Ordnance rifles and 300 rounds as of June 12.  During the battle, the battery fired 265 rounds.  In the morning of June 14, Carlin received orders to spike the guns, destroy ammunition, and ride out with the horses.  He added, “Had I been allowed to do so, I could have taken my guns and equipment… and, in my opinion, could have rendered good service in covering the retreat….”
  • Battery E: Reporting at New Creek, (West) Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Under Captain Alexander C. Moore this battery supported Campbell’s Independent Brigade, Department of West Virginia.
  • Battery F: No return.  Captain Thomas A. Maulsby commanded the battery, supporting Third Brigade, First Divsion, Eighth Corps (Middle Department).  The battery reported six 3-inch Ordnance rifles in the previous quarter.  They were stationed at Martinsburg with their brigade when Confederates attacked on June 14.  In the withdrawal, Maulsby was wounded in the leg.  Lieutenant George W. Graham took over the battery.
  • Battery G: Indicated at Martinsburg, (West) Virginia with two 6-pdr field guns and two 10-pdr Parrotts.  Captain Chatham T. Ewing commanded this battery, supporting Averell’s Separate Brigade, Department of West Virginia.
  • Battery H:  The state’s Adjutant’s report has Captain James H. Holmes commissioned as commander of this battery in late September.  This was a “six months” battery, and does not appear to have entered Federal service.  The battery was reformed in January 1864.
  • “Col. 13th Infantry”:  Colonel William R. Brown commanded the 13th West Virginia Infantry, part of Scammon’s Division of the Department of West Virginia.  The regiment spent the winter split between Point Pleasant and Hurricane Bridge, West Virginia.  They tangled with Confederates in late March.  Then in late June the regiment moved to Charleston, West Virginia, arriving on June 30.  Within a few days the regiment was dispatched to assist in the pursuit of Morgan’s Raiders.  The return indicates the 13th Infantry had use of one 12-pdr Mountain Howitzer.  But I have no further details.

One “administrative” note here for clarity.  Many of these West Virginia batteries were counted as part of the Middle Department.  With the Confederate drive down the Shenandoah and into Pennsylvania, changes to the Federal order of battle occurred on the fly.  Thus some elements were gathered into the Department of West Virginia.  I don’t have space here to detail, and the subject is a bit out of scope. Hopefully readers will appreciate the context.

Turning to the ammunition.  Just one battery and the infantry section reported smoothbore cannon:

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Those were:

  • Battery G: 100 shot, 90 (or 70?) case, and 56 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
  • 13th Infantry: 92 case and 68 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.

Moving to the rifled projectiles, Hotchkiss first for the 3-inch Ordnance rifles:

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  • Battery E: 142 canister, 344 percussion shell, and 1,208 fuse shell for 3-inch rifles.

Keep in mind that Battery D, with 3-inch rifles at Winchester, expended or destroyed all it’s ammunition.  And Battery F, also with 3-inch rifles, did not file a return. Both were caught up in the debacle of the Federal retreat out of the Shenandoah.

For the next page, we can focus narrowly on the Parrott columns:

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Three reporting:

  • Battery B: 483 shell and 334 canister for 10-pdr Parrott.
  • Battery C: 383 shell, 240 case, and 163 canister for 10-pdr Parrott.
  • Battery G:  80 shell for 10-pdr Parrott.

In regard to Battery C, was that the quantity left on hand after firing 1,120 rounds at Gettysburg?  Or was that the quantity on hand as of December 29, 1863 – as the report was dated?

Battery B also reported some Schenkl projectiles for its Parrotts:

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  • Battery B: 308 shell and 610 canister for 10-pdr Parrotts.

Turning to the small arms:

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By battery:

  • Battery A: Fifteen Army revolvers and seventy-five cavalry sabers.
  • Battery B: Seventeen Army revolvers and forty-eight horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery C: Ten Navy revolvers and nine cavalry sabers.
  • Battery D: Sixteen (?) Navy revolvers and thirty horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery E: Twenty-nine Army revolvers and thirty horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery G: Thirteen Army revolvers.

Circling back to the service of these batteries at this particular time of the war, the statements offered by Captains Hall and Carlin (in the administrative section above) resonate.  One battery commander lamented the lack of cannon to perform his duty.  Another lauded his men for performance holding a critical line.

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

For the second quarter of 1863, we find a remarkably clean summary entry for the batteries from Rhode Island:

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By way of refresher, Rhode Island provided four artillery regiments to the Federal ranks – one light regiment and three heavy regiments – along with two separate batteries (each of which only served three months early in the war).  Contradicting the normal progression, two of the Rhode Island heavy regiments evolved from infantry regiments.  The third was a USCT regiment.  We’ll consider the lone Battery C, 3rd Rhode Island Heavy, which served as a field battery and is seen on this listing, in a separate post.

That leaves us to concentrate on the 1st Rhode Island Light Artillery and its batteries:

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Colonel Charles H. Tompkins commanded the regiment, though his primary duty was that of Artillery Chief of the Sixth Corps.  The 1st Rhode Island only ever mustered batteries A through H.  The inclusion of the others (I, K, L, and M) for this quarter of 1863 was apparently clerical efficiency…. or deficiency, if you prefer.  We find all eight batteries provided returns between July and September of 1863.  Give those men a gold “B” for bureaucratic efficiency!

  • Battery A: Reporting at Cedar Mountain, Virginia, as of September 26, with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Captain William A. Arnold remained in commanded this battery,  supporting Second Corps.  Thus the location as of June 30 was outside Taneytown, Maryland.  The battery occupied a key position on Cemetery Ridge, July 2 and 3.
  • Battery B: “In the field” with six 12-pdr Napoleons. Battery B paired with Battery A (above) in Second Corps’ artillery brigade.  Thus their location at the end of June was also Taneytown.  Captain  John G. Hazard of this battery was the corps artillery chief.  In his place, Lieutenant Thomas Frederick Brown commanded. In the afternoon of July 2, the battery helped repulse the Confederate attack on the center of the Federal lines.  In that action the battery sustained heavy casualties, including Brown who was wounded.  Lieutenant William S. Perrin, of the second section, assumed command.  The battery briefly lost two guns in the fighting.  Those recovered, the battery still had to send two guns to the rear for lack of men and horses.  Lieutenant Joseph S. Milne, of this battery,  served with Battery A, 4th US (Cushing’s). He was mortally wounded on July 3.
  • Battery C: Reporting, as of August 26, at Warrenton, Virgnia, with six 10-pdr Parrotts (as opposed to six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles on the previous return).  Captain Richard Waterman commanded this battery, which had moved around a bit, organizationally speaking, in May and June.  The battery fought at Chancellorsville in the Fifth Corps.  An amendment to Special Orders No. 129 (May 12) sent the battery to the Third Volunteer Brigade, Artillery Reserve (which Waterman commanded, briefly).  But just prior to the Gettysburg Campaign, the battery transferred to Sixth Corps (a temporary move made permanent on June 15).  Thus we place them near Manchester, Maryland, as of June 30.  The battery saw very little action at Gettysburg, being held in reserve for the most part.  Sometime during the month that followed, the battery exchanged Ordnance rifles for Parrotts.
  • Battery D: At Camp Nelson, Kentucky  with six 12-pdr Napoleons. Captain William W. Buckley commanded this battery.  With reorganizations within the Department of the Ohio, the battery moved from Second Division, Ninth Corps to First Division, Twenty-third Corps.
  • Battery E: Reporting on September 9 at Sulphur Springs, Virginia with six 12-pdr Napoleons.  The battery remained with Third Corps. Captain George E. Randolph, of this battery, was in command of the corps’ artillery brigade.  Lieutenant Pardon S. Jastram, formerly commanding the battery, accepted a position as Randolph’s adjutant.  Thus Lieutenant John K. Bucklyn commanded the battery at the start of the Gettysburg Campaign.  Marching with the Third Corps, the battery was at Emmitsburg on the evening of June 30.   In the afternoon of July 2, Battery E occupied a position on the Emmitsburg Pike near the Sherfy Farm.  There the battery faced Barksdale’s attack and was driven back with Graham’s Brigade.  With Bucklyn wounded, command devolved to Lieutenant Benjamin Freeborn.  Despite the desperate position, the battery managed to secure all its guns, losing only a caisson (which was recaptured after the battle).  Losses were five killed, and 24 wounded.  The battery lost forty horses, however.
  • Battery F: At New Berne, North Carolina with six 12-pdr Napoleons (vice 10-pdr Parrotts reported in the last quarter). Captain James Belger commanded this battery, part of the Artillery Brigade, Eighteenth Corps.  The battery sent sections in support of several operations during the spring and early summer.
  • Battery G: Reporting on August 29 at Warrenton with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Captain George W. Adams’ battery was another that moved around during the spring.  After Chancellorsville, the battery moved from Second Corps to the Fourth Brigade, Artillery Reserve. Then in June the battery was transferred to Colonel Tompkins’ brigade to support Sixth Corps.  The battery camped at Manchester, Maryland on the night of June 30.  The battery remained in reserve through the battle of Gettysburg.
  • Battery H: At Fort Ward, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Assigned to the Twenty-second Corps from the Defenses of Washington.  Captain Jeffrey Hazard commanded this battery.

Thus five of eight batteries were on the field of Gettysburg by July 3.  Notice all batteries were uniform in armament.

Moving to the ammunition, first the smoothbore columns:

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Three batteries reporting:

  • Battery B: 252 shot, 84 shell, 252 case, and 84 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery E: 288 shot, 96 shell, 288 case, and 96 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery F: 400 shot, 160 shell, 360 case, and 144 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.

Battery D is noticeably absent from this page.

The Hotchkiss page is contains three lines worth of entries, for those 3-inch rifles:

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Three batteries reporting:

  • Battery A: 195 canister, 54 percussion shell, 464 fuse shell, and 504 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery G: 179 canister, 4 percussion shell, 133 fuse shell, 344 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery H: 231 percussion shell and 589 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

Let us break down the next page into two sections.  First the columns for Dyer’s patent projectiles:

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Two lines of Dyer’s patent projectiles:

  • Battery G: 34 shell and 20 canister for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery H: 120 shrapnel for 3-inch rifles.

Moving to the left, there are Parrott and Schenkl projectiles:

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First those of the Parrott patent:

  • Battery C: 324 shell, 204 case, and 122 canister for 10-pdr Parrotts.

Then Schenkl:

  • Battery C: 460 shot for 10-pdr Parrott.

As most sources have Battery C on the field at Gettysburg with 3-inch Ordnance rifles, yet the returns give us Parrotts, the ammunition quantities may indicate an initial issue of ammunition.  The turn-over of guns appears to have occurred as the Gettysburg Campaign was winding down.   Still, that is a lot of shot for field gun duty.  And I am pressed to explain why a battery would switch guns at that particular time.

Turning to the remainder of the Schenkl columns:

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  • Battery A: 64 shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery G: 146 shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery H: 260 shell for 3-inch rifles.

Lastly the small arms reported:

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By battery:

  • Battery A: Four Army revolvers, twenty Navy revolvers and thirty-nine horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery B: Twenty-six horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery C: Eight Navy revolvers and twelve horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery D: Eight Army revolvers, twelve Navy revolvers, forty-five cavalry sabers and eighteen horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery E: Fifteen Navy revolvers and four (?) horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery F: 104 Navy revolvers, twenty cavalry sabers and nine horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery G: Fourteen Navy revolvers, ten cavalry sabers, and eighteen horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery H: Twenty Army revolvers and thirty-six horse artillery sabers.

One note with the small arms.  Battery F’s history alludes to service of detachments either as cavalry or as artillery assigned to support cavalry, on patrols in North Carolina.  The small arms reported seems to back that up.

 

Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – New York Independent Batteries, Part 1

In addition to batteries within the regimental formations, the state of New York provided thirty-six independent batteries during the course of the Civil War.  That number is somewhat misleading, as some of those independent batteries were simply re-designations of existing batteries; some were later re-designated within the regimental formation; others mustered out when their time came and were not replaced; or never completed organization. But, the clerks in Ordnance Department had to track those as lines for accounting purposes.  By June 1863, there were thirty-two of those independent batteries to account for:

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Plus three lines of “other” detachments.  I’ll break these down in groups of twelve, to allow proper examination.  So the first twelve look like this:

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Four of those twelve did not have a return on file:

  • 1st Independent Battery: At Warrenton, Virginia with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. The location probably reflected the August reporting date.  Captain Andrew Cowan remained in command of the battery, assigned to Sixth Corps, Army of the Potomac.  On June 30, the battery was at Manchester, Maryland, with a long march toward Gettysburg in their immediate future.  On July 3, Cowan’s battery helped repulse Pickett’s charge, firing their last canister – double canister, that was – at 20 yards.
  • 2nd Independent Battery:  No return.  The battery mustered out, in New York, on June 13, 1863.  Captain Hermann Jahn was last in command. The men with time left on their enlistments transferred to Battery I, 1st New York.  A reorganized 2nd Independent was authorized, but instead was made part of the 15th New York Heavy Artillery.
  • 3rd Independent Battery: At Manchester, Maryland  with six 10-pdr Parrotts. The battery was part of Sixth Corps, under Lieutenant William A. Harn.  The battery saw less action at Gettysburg than Cowan’s, being positioned along the Taneytown Road.
  • 4th Independent Battery: No return.  Captain James E. Smith’s battery had six 10-pdr Parrotts when placed in defense of the Devil’s Den on July 2.   They were, of course, assigned to Third Corps. We are familiar with the 4th, thanks to their stand at the Devil’s Den at Gettysburg, and know they had six 10-pdr Parrotts.  By the end of the day, the battery would have only three of those Parrotts (and one was on a disabled carriage).  Smith reported firing 240 rounds during the battle.
  • 5th Independent Battery: At Warrenton Junction, Virginia (reflecting the August report date) with six 20-pdr Parrotts (increased from four over last quarter’s report).  This was Captain Elijah D. Taft’s battery in the Army of the Potomac’s Artillery Reserve.  And as such was near Taneytown, Maryland on June 30.  Taft’s battery went into action defending the cemetery on Cemetery Hill.  In the action, the battery had one Parrott burst, while expending 80 Schenkl percussion shell, 63 Schenkl combination-fuse shrapnel, 32 Parrott shell, and 382 Parrott shrapnel.
  • 6th Independent Battery: “In the field” and with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Captain Joseph W. Martin held command of this battery, assigned to the First Brigade, Horse Artillery, Army of the Potomac.  Martin’s battery lost three guns on the field at Brandy Station.  After that battle, the battery was sent to Washington for refitting.  Rejoining the army on June 28, the battery had a full complement of guns.  A remarkable testament to the depth of Federal logistics at this time of the war.
  • 7th Independent Battery: At Norfolk, Virginia with three 12-pdr Napoleons (added during the quarter) and six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Captain Peter C. Regan’s battery supported the Seventh Corps.
  • 8th Independent Battery: At Fort Keyes, Virginia with  six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Captain Butler Fitch commanded this battery.  In the previous quarter, the battery reported at Yorktown.  The Fort Keyes assignment indicates it moved across the York River to Gloucester Point.
  • 9th Independent Battery: Fort Reno, District of Columbia, with only infantry stores. Captain Emil Schubert remained in command.  Battery assigned to the Twenty-Second Corps, defending Washington.  As indicated, the battery was not equipped as light artillery.
  • 10th Independent Battery: Marked “not in service.”  In May, the battery transferred from Third Corps to the Artillery Reserve, Army of the Potomac. And in June, the battery was sent to Washington.  Members of the battery were transferred to four different batteries, none of which were from New York.  Captain John T. Bruen remained commander, but was absent for much of May.  Lieutenant Samuel Lewis was listed in command through early June.  Then Lieutenant Charles T. Bruen picked up the assignment.  For all practical purposes, the 10th Battery was “cross leveled” to bring other batteries up to strength.
  • 11th Independent Battery: No return and dittos for “not in service.” This battery moved from the Third Corps to the Fourth Brigade, Artillery Reserve in May 1863.  On, or about June 16, what remained of the battery was attached to Battery K, 1st New York Light.  Not until the end of the year was the 11th Battery brought up to strength.  Captain John E. Burton was, on the rolls at least, in command.
  • 12th Independent Battery: At Bealton, Virginia reporting six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles (an increase from four reported the previous quarter). The location reflects a September reporting date, by which time the battery had not only moved, but also changed organizational assignments.  As of June 30, the battery was at Camp Barry, Washington, D.C. Later in the summer, the battery transferred to Third Corps.  Captain George F. McKnight remained in command.

So five of the twelve were directly involved with the Gettysburg Campaign.  Two other batteries had attachments at Gettysburg.

Moving to the ammunition, we start with the smoothbore:

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Only one battery had Napoleons, and we see their chests accounted for here.  But what of the other line?

  • 5th Battery: 96 canister for 6-pdr.
  • 7th Battery: 57 shot, 46 shell, 89 case, and 65 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.

Taft’s Battery had 20-pdr Parrotts, with a bore diameter of 3.67-inch, which is the same as a 6-pdr smoothbore.  However, in an otherwise detailed report for Gettysburg, Taft does not mention the use of that ammunition type.  So, was this reflective of Taft receiving, after Gettysburg, some 6-pdr stocks?   Or did he take 6-pdr canister to Gettysburg?  We also cannot rule out clerical error (at the battery or in Washington)… or for that matter that someone in the battery mistakenly identified Parrott canister as smoothbore type (hard to imagine… but a possibility).

Turning to the rifled projectiles, the Hotchkiss rounds are well represented:

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  • 1st Battery: 126 canister, 7 percussion shell, 3 fuse shell, and 456 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 6th Battery: 93 canister, 10 fuse shell, and 128 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 7th Battery: 152 canister, 64 percussion shell, 239 fuse shell, and 675 bullet shells for 3-inch rifles.
  • 8th Battery: 66 canister for 3-inch rifles.
  • 12th Battery: 60 canister, 65 percussion shell, 126 fuse shell, and 366(?) bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

And as with many of these reports for the second quarter, we have to ask if these are quantities reported strictly “as of June 30″…. or at a time when the officers got around to doing the paperwork.  Those numbers could tell us about the battery’s state prior to Gettysburg, or just after, as the case may be. There isn’t a way to say for sure.

Breaking the next page down by section for easier handling, we turn to Dyer’s projectiles:

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Three batteries with that type on hand:

  • 1st Battery: 571 Dyer’s Shrapnel in 3-inch rifle caliber.
  • 5th Battery: 4 Dyer’s Shrapnel in 3-inch rifle caliber.
  • 8th Battery: 369 shell, 650 shrapnel, and 109 canister, Dyer’s patent, for 3-inch rifles.

I cannot explain why 5th Battery would need 3-inch shrapnel.  Perhaps a transcription error.

Moving to the right, Parrott projectiles:

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Two batteries reporting:

  • 3rd Battery: 490 shell, 490 case, and 177 canister for 10-pdr Parrotts.
  • 5th Battery: 46 shell and 138 case for 20-pdr Parrotts.

Of course, missing, as their return was not recorded, is 4th Battery.  Would be interesting to account for what Smith’s Battery took into action on July 2, compared to what was on hand July 3… or later when replenished.

Last of the ammunition columns, the Schenkl projectiles:

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A lot of lone entries:

  • 1st Battery: 37 shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • 3rd Battery: 67 shell for 10-pdr Parrotts.
  • 5th Battery: 84 shell for 20pdr Parrotts.
  • 6th Battery: 654 shell for 20-pdr Parrotts.  Yes, 20-pdr.
  • 8th Battery: 45 shell for 3-inch rifles.

The entry for 6th Battery may be a transcription error, just one column over from where it should be.

And the final section covers the small arms:

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By battery:

  • 1st Battery: Thirty-one Navy revolvers and twelve horse artillery sabers.
  • 3rd Battery: Four Navy revolvers and ten cavalry sabers.
  • 5th Battery: Twenty-five Army revolvers and twenty-one horse artillery sabers.
  • 6th Battery: 131 Navy revolvers and ten cavalry sabers.
  • 7th Battery: Eighteen Navy revolvers and twenty-six horse artillery sabers.
  • 8th Battery: Thirteen Navy revolvers and twelve horse artillery sabers.
  • 12th Battery: Twenty-eight Army revolvers and twenty-nine horse artillery sabers.

The first dozen independent batteries served in the Eastern Theater, with close association with the Army of the Potomac.  The next dozen, from the 13th to 24th Independent, saw much more diverse service.  We’ll look at those next.