Summary Statement, 4th Quarter, 1863 – Kansas Batteries

Quarterly reviews of the Kansas batteries are always interesting, and demanding of attention. There were three formal batteries mustered and counted against the state’s quota of volunteers. And those did not have “conventional” lineages as we see with most state batteries. Furthermore, there were several sections formed within infantry and cavalry formations, which, while temporary, seemed always present on the summaries. Then there were militia batteries called out during the war by state or Federal authorities. From our 21st century perspective, it appears Kansas was awash with mountain howitzers and field pieces. All of which makes an exact, precise accounting of every tube difficult… if not impossible.

For the fourth quarter of 1863, we find six lines – four were from the formal batteries (the 2nd Kansas Battery reporting by section) and two were sections reported in cavalry regiments. And neither of those cavalry-reported sections match to those reported in the third quarter!

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  • 1st Battery:  Waverly, Tennessee with six 10-pdr Parrott rifles.  Captain Marcus D. Tenney remained in command.  In November the battery transferred from the Sixteenth Corps to the Department of the Cumberland, and assigned to the District of Nashville. They would guard the Nashville & Northwestern Railroad at Waverly until November 1864.
  • 2nd Battery:  At Fort Smith, Arkansas, with with four 10-pdr Parrotts. Captain Edward A. Smith remained in command, with the battery part of the District of the Frontier.  After campaigning in the Cherokee Nation through mid-November, the battery arrived at Fort Smith on November 15. They remained there through much of the war. However, one section was detached, as noted in the next line.
  • Section of 2nd Battery: At Fort Scott, Kansas, with two 3.67-inch (6-pdr) rifles. Lieutenant Daniel C. Knowles commanded this section, part of the District of the Border.
  • 3rd Battery: Reported at Van Buren, Arkansas with three 6-pdr field guns and one 12-pdr field howitzer. Still appearing on department returns as “Hopkins’ Battery,” Lieutenant John F. Aduddell commanded in the field. The battery was assigned to Third Brigade, District of the Frontier.
  • Battery Attached to 5th Kansas Cavalry: At Pine Bluff, Arkansas with six 12-pdr mountain howitzers. The 5th Kansas participated in the expedition to Little Rock in September. Then moved to Pine Bluff later that month, where they stayed through the winter of 1864. Department returns have ten companies under Lieutenant Colonel Wilton A. Jenkins assigned to Colonel Powell Clayton’s Independent Cavalry Brigade at the close of December 1863. Captain William F. Creitz had charge of this improvised battery, which sometimes appears in dispatches as Creitz’s battery. Based on the timing this entry appears in the records, it appears the howitzers were transferred from other units (notably Missouri batteries) then being reorganized or mustered out.
  • Battery Attached to 7th Kansas Cavalry: At Corinth, Mississippi with two 12-pdr mountain howitzers. Colonel Thomas P. Herrick commanded the regiment, then assigned to the First Brigade, Cavalry Division, Sixteenth Corps. These were also reported in the second quarter of 1863, though not in the third quarter.

I submit there are a few missing entries here. In the previous quarter, both the 2nd and 6th Kansas Cavalry had posted returns. The 2nd had just a traveling forge and stores. And those were probably turned over for proper disposition. The 6th reported a couple mountain howitzers on hand, which were probably passed along to one of the Indian Brigade regiments or other units then operating in the Indian Territories.

We should also mention Armstrong’s Battery, affiliated with the 1st Kansas Colored Infantry (later 79th USCT). No return to reference in the summary, but the unit appears in dispatches from around this time of the war.

Also worth mentioning is the Leavenworth Post Battery, at times referred to as the 4th Kansas Battery (without any official sanction by the state I would add). Captain Charles S. Bowman commanded. Later became Company M, 16th Kansas Cavalry.

Lastly, there were several Kansas militia batteries which were activated at the state level, if not officially by the federal authorities. As such, no returns were filed. But again, the units were “out there” and doing some service.

With those shortfalls noted, let us move back to what was reported… as in the ammunition:

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  • Fort Scott Section, 2nd Kansas Battery: 83 shot and 90 case for 6-pdr field guns. We often see 6-pdr ammunition issued for 3.67-inch rifles.
  • 3rd Kansas Battery: 100 shot and 300 case for 6-pdr field guns; 150 case for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • 7th Kansas Cavalry: 396 shell and 300 case for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.

More smoothbore on the next page:

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  • Fort Scott Section, 2nd Kansas Battery: 94 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
  • 3rd Kansas Battery: 100 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 100 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers. .
  • 7th Kansas Cavalry: 98 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.

We then skip a couple pages to the Parrott columns:

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  • 1st Kansas Battery: 317 shell, 205 case, and 141 canister for 10-pdr Parrott.
  • 2nd Kansas Battery: 592 shell, 240 case, and 75 canister for 10-pdr Parrott.

To the left is a single entry for Schenkl:

  • 2nd Kansas Battery: 224 shot for 3.67-inch rifles. This is an odd entry which could be entered on the wrong column (two to the left is the 10-pdr Parrott column for shot). Or could be entered on the wrong line, as the 3rd Kansas reported cannon of this caliber.

We now turn to the small arms:

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  • 1st Kansas Battery: Eighty-one Colt navy revolvers and fourteen horse artillery sabers.
  • 2nd Kansas Battery: Eighty-eight Colt navy revolvers, nineteen Remington army revolvers, one Remington navy revolver, and seven cavalry sabers.
  • Fort Scott Section, 2nd Kansas: Twenty-nine Colt navy revolvers, fourteen Remington Navy revolvers, and eight horse artillery sabers.
  • 3rd Kansas Battery: Eleven Colt army revolvers, one Colt navy revolver, seventy-three Remington army revolvers, and three Remington navy revolvers.

Clearly the Kansans preferred pistols over edged weapons.

One item entry on the next page:

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  • 1st Kansas Battery: 88 cartridge bags for 10-pdr Parrotts.

But healthy report of small arms ammunition, powder, fuses, and primers:

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  • 1st Kansas Battery: 1,000 cartridges for navy revolvers; 1,300 paper fuses; 10 pounds of musket powder; 2,100 friction primers; and 20 portfires.
  • 2nd Kansas Battery: 500 cartridges for army revolvers; 200 pounds of musket powder; and 122 friction primers.
  • For Scott Section, 2nd Kansas: 1,000 cartridges for navy revolvers.
  • 3rd Kansas Battery: 900 friction primers.

That concludes our look at the Kansas artillerymen for this quarter. They guarded railroads and outposts from Tennessee westward to the Indian Territories and their home state of Kansas.

Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – Kansas

Yes, we are in Kansas.  Well, in the Kansas section of the second quarter, 1863 summaries:

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Three batteries and three sections, assigned to cavalry.  Of which only one line lacks a receipt date.  Let us marvel the over zealous clerk who listed these batteries by designation and commander’s (or at least organizer’s) name:

  • 1st (Allen’s) Battery:  No report.  A June 30, 1863 return had Captain Norman Allen’s battery assigned to the District of Rolla, Missouri.  Presumably still with six 10-pdr Parrotts from the previous quarter.  Allen was absent from the battery through much of the first half of the year, and died in St. Louis in July.  Lieutenant (later Captain) Marcus Tenney replaced Allen.
  • 2nd (Blair’s) Battery:  Fort Blunt, Cherokee Nation (adjacent to Fort Gibson) with two 12-pdr Napoleons and four rifled 6-pdrs (3.67-inch rifle).  Captain Edward A. Smith remained in command.  According to returns, the battery was, in June, still at Fort Scott, Kansas, as part of the District of the Frontier.   By September, when the return was received in Washington, the battery had moved into the Cherokee Nation.  Of note, this battery was in action on July 17 at Honey Springs.  In his report, Smith listed his charge as, “two 12-pounder brass guns and two 6-pounder iron guns“.  I will speculate about this below.
  • 3rd (Hopkin’s) Battery: At Fort Gibson, Cherokee Nation, with three 6-pdr field guns and one 12-pdr field howitzer.  Captain Henry Hopkins remained in command of this battery, operating with the Indian Brigade and four companies of the 6th Kansas Cavalry, at Fort Gibson.  And we’ll see more from the 6th Cavalry below.

Moving down to the sections, these were all listed as mountain howitzer detachments assigned to cavalry.  In the previous quarter, two such detachments were recorded – with the 2nd and 9th Cavalry.  Here’s the list for the second quarter:

  • Section, Mt. Howitzers, 2nd Cavalry: At Springfield, Missouri with two 12-pdr mountain howitzers.  Eight companies of this regiment were at Springfield under Major Julius G. Fisk.  Lieutenant Elias S. Stover was probably still in charge of this section.  Stover was promoted to Captain later in the year.
  • Section, Mt. Howitzers, 6th Cavalry: At Camp Dole, Cherokee Nation with two 12-pdr mountain howitzers.  Captain John W. Orahood is listed as commanding a detachment of the regiment then at Fort Gibson at the end of June.  Later in July, Lieutenant-Colonel William T. Campbell was in command of that detachment (up to five companies).  I don’t have a name of the officer (commissioned or non-commissioned) assigned to the howitzers. Also I’m not certain as to the place-name of “Camp Dole.”  That surname is that of both an Indian Agent and an officer of the Indian Brigade.  So we might assume the place was near Fort Gibson, where the 6th Cavalry was operating at the time.
  • Section, Mt. Howitzers, 7th Cavalry: Listed at Fayetteville, Tennessee, but with no cannon reported.  Colonel Thomas P. Herrick’s regiment was assigned to the Sixteenth Corps, and operated in west Tennessee around the Memphis area.  I presume this placename refers to LaFayette there.  With no cannon mentioned on the report, we will look at stores.

That’s the basic administrative details for the Kansas units.

Moving to the ammunition, we have a busy smoothbore table:

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A lot of “feed” for the guns:

  • 2nd Battery:  444 shot, 564 case, and 478 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 17 shot, 100 shell, 57 case, and 43 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons; 152 canister for 12-pdr howitzer, either field or mountain (as that column was used interchangeably by the clerks).
  • 3rd Battery: 196 shot, 406 case, and 196 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 166 case and 150 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • Section, 2nd Cavalry:  144 case and 12 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.
  • Section, 6th Cavalry: 12 shell, 120 case, and 48 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.

Turning to the rifled projectiles, there is but one page to discuss:

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And an odd one at that:

  • Section, 7th Cavalry: 490 Hotchkiss fuse shell and 190 Hotchkiss bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

This would be part of the stores which the 7th Kansas Cavalry had to report.  Along with those Hotchkiss shells, the troopers had 900 friction primers, 875 paper fuses, and 837 packing boxes…. all of which the Ordnance Department wanted an accounting.

We have no entries for James, Parrott, or Shenkl projectiles.  And this is worth noting, as we consider 2nd Battery’s 6-pdr rifles.  But before we open speculation, let’s finish up the summaries on the small arms:

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We have:

  • 2nd Battery:  128 Navy revolvers and twenty-three cavalry sabers.
  • 3rd Battery: Eleven Army revolvers and thirty-five Navy revolvers.
  • Section, 2nd Cavalry: Twenty Army revolvers, one Navy revolver, and one cavalry saber.

Notice the very small number of edged weapons.  Make of it what you wish.

Now, let’s talk about Captain Smith’s guns.  As indicated above, the summary states these were two 12-pdr Napoleons and four BRONZE rifled 6-pdrs.  If we take that literally, those would be a quartet of the “don’t call them James” rifles.  But, we have the report from Smith, in which he specifically says he had two 6-pdr iron guns.  The discrepancy with the quantity aside (though not an expert on the battle, I seem to recall a section of guns detached), I’m inclined to go with Smith’s description of the guns.  If Smith could tell the Napoleons were bronze, then surely he could tell the 6-pdrs were iron!  So I would lean towards these being iron guns.

But we have the question of smoothbore or rifling.  Smith’s report fails to give clues in that regard.  The summary indicates his guns had smoothbore ammunition.  However, there are a few examples where smoothbore ammunition was employed by rifled guns in the 6-pdr/3.80-inch range.  So that is not necessarily definitive.

If these were smoothbores, plenty of candidates come to mind – batches of ancient (pre-1830s) guns were still around; private or state purchases, of course; and during the war there were a handful of rare iron types produced – all of which could be properly identified as “6-pdrs”.  And, of course, that assumes the caliber identification is a proper one.  Likewise, if these were rifled guns, a score of candidates come to mind.  I’d say Wiard and Delafield would be unlikely.  But Sawyer rifles seemed to get around.  And if the caliber (3.67-inch) is not definite, we might even discuss Blakelys.  Though I would be quick to point out the use of smoothbore ammunition would be unlikely in those “named” rifles.

An interesting detail to track.