Summary Statement, 3rd Quarter, 1863 – Independent and Miscellaneous Illinois Artillery

Looking at the artillery formations Illinois sent to war, there are over a dozen independent batteries or sections which we may discuss.  Some of these became batteries in the two artillery regiments.  Others remained independent throughout the war.  Famous independent batteries, I may add.

Looking at the third quarter, 1863, the summaries carried eight independent batteries and one artillery section.  However, the clerks at the Ordnance Department continued to carry one of those batteries under “3rd Illinois Artillery,” a formation that cannot be found in the final records.  Thus we have a split set to discuss in this installment:

0241_1_Snip_ILL3

As discussed in previous quarters, we can identify Battery A, 3rd Illinois Artillery as Springfield Light Artillery, or Vaughn’s Battery (after Captain Thomas F. Vaughn).

The other batteries appear on the next page:

0249_1_Snip_ILL_Msc

Working from the top… of my snips, we start with that miss-identified battery and work down:

  • Battery A, 3rd Illinois / Springfield Light Artillery: At Little Rock, Arkansas with six 3.80-inch James rifles.  Captain Thomas F. Vaughn commanded this battery, which was assigned to the Sixteenth Corps.  As part of Steele’s Expedition to Little Rock, the battery got its first real taste of battle on September 10 at Bayou Fourche.  In that action, Vaughn reported firing 14 shot, 292 shell, and 8 canister over three hours.  The battery lost two men in the fight.
  • Stokes’ Battery / Chicago Board of Trade Battery: Reporting at Nashville, Tennessee with four 6-pdr field guns, two 12-pdr field howitzers, one 3-inch Ordnance Rifle, one rifled 6-pdr (3.67-inch), and two 3.80-inch James rifles.  At the end of September, this battery was, like most of the Army of the Cumberland, holding on at Chattanooga.  The battery was with the force holding the river crossings above the city.  By the time of the reporting date (November), the battery was posted near Huntsville, Alabama, having spent some of the intervening time supporting operations against Confederate cavalry raids.  The battery remained with Second Division, Cavalry Corps, Army of the Cumberland.  During the siege of Chattanooga, Captain James H. Stokes commanded Second Division of the Artillery Reserve, Army of the Cumberland (the “right batteries” in reports).   In his place, Lieutenant George Robinson led the battery, with more than it’s fair share of cannon!
  • Chicago Mercantile Battery: At Franklin, Louisiana with four 3-inch Ordnance rifles.  In the reorganizations after Vicksburg, this battery moved with parent formation to the Fourth Division, Thirteenth Corps, which was sent to the Department of the Gulf.  Captain Patrick H. White remained in command.
  • Elgin Battery: No return.  Assigned to the 23rd Corps, this battery participated in the Knoxville Campaign.  Captain George W. Renwick resigned in May 1863 and was replaced by Captain Andrew M. Wood.
  • Cogswell’s Battery: At Nashville, Tennessee with four 3.80-inch James rifles. This battery moved to Vicksburg in June as part of First Division, Sixteenth Corps.  In July, just after the fall of that city, the battery transferred to Fourth Division, Fifteenth Corps.  Thence transferring again to Seventh Division, Seventeenth Corps.  And that division later became Second Division of the corps.  Good thing corps badges were not used in the western theater at the time!  In late September the battery moved to Memphis as part of the force sent to reinforce Chattanooga.  The indicated location reflects the July 1864 reporting date. Though Captain William Cogswell remained in command of the battery, Lieutenant Henry G. Eddy appears to have led the battery in the field.
  • Henshaw’s Battery: Reporting from Loudon, Tennessee with four 6-pdr field guns and two 3.80-inch James rifles.  In September 1863, this battery was part of Twenty-third Corps and in the advance toward Knoxville.  So the Loudon location reflects a November reporting date. Captain Edward C. Henshaw commanded.
  • Bridges’ Battery: At Chattanooga, Tennessee with one 12-pdr Napoleon and three 3-inch Ordnance rifles.  Assigned to Second Division, Fourteenth Corps and under command of Captain Lyman Bridges.  Going into battle at Chickamauga, the battery boasted two Napoleons and four Ordnance rifles.  Posted on the morning September 20 astride the road near the McDonald House, the battery suffered heavily.  Six killed, twenty wounded, and four missing out of a command of 126.  Aside from the two guns (a Napoleon and an Ordnance rifle) the battery lost 46 horses, three limbers, one caisson, and much equipment.  Bridges would, rightfully in my view, complain of lacking infantry support.  The battery pulled four of its guns off the field and moved to Snodgrass Hill.   Bridges would later pull four guns,  abandoned by other batteries, off the field.  The position of Bridges’ desperate fight on the morning of the 20th is marked today:

Vacation24 237

  • Colvin’s Battery: “In the field, Tennessee” with two 3-inch Ordnance rifles and two 10-pdr Parrotts. Overlooked in the previous quarter, this battery was assigned to Twenty-Third Corps, and, as of the end of September, was part of the force in East Tennessee aimed at Knoxville.  Captain John H. Colvin commanded.
  • 14th Cavalry, Artillery Section:  No location given, with four 12-pdr mountain howitzers. The 14th Illinois Cavalry was part of Twenty-third Corps at this time of the war and participated in the advance on Knoxville.  The regiment, under Colonel Horace Capron, retained a section of mountain howitzers, led by Lieutenant Henry Clay Connelly.

Taken with the service details of the 1st and 2nd Regiments, we see almost all the Illinois artillerymen were serving in the Western Theater at this time of the war.

Moving to the ammunition reported, let us take this in blocks with the Springfield Light Artillery getting the lead position.  That battery reported no smoothbore ammunition. But did have some Hotchkiss rounds:

0243_2_Snip_ILL3

  • Springfield Battery: 274 Hotchkiss percussion shell for 3.80-inch rifles..

More Hotchkiss appear on the next page along with James patent projectiles:

0244_1_Snip_ILL3

  • Springfield Battery: 172 Hotchkiss canister; 236 James shot, 212 James Shells, and 30 James canister, all for 3.80-inch rifles.

And more canister on the last page of projectiles:

0244_2_Snip_ILL3

  • Springfield Battery: 36 Tatham’s canister for 3.80-inch rifles.

Turning to the other independent batteries, we look back to the smoothbore:

0251_1_Snip_ILL_Msc

  • Chicago Board of Trade Battery: 173 shot, 283 case, and 244 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
  • Henshaw’s Battery: 286 shot, 315 case, and 138 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
  • Bridges’ Battery: 4 shot, 148 shell, and 34 case for 12-pdr Napoleons.  No canister.
  • 14th Illinois Cavalry: 108 shell, 576 case, and 60 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.

Advancing to the Hotchkiss columns:

0251_2_Snip_ILL_Msc

  • Chicago Board of Trade Battery: 7 shot and 30 percussion shell for 3.80-inch James.
  • Chicago Mercantile Battery: 90 canister, 195 percussion shell,  201 fuse shell, and 281 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Cogswell’s Battery: 170 percussion shell for 3.80-inch James.
  • Henshaw’s Battery: 95 percussion shell and 80 fuse shell for 3.80-inch James.
  • Bridges’ Battery: 66 canister, 130 percussion shell, 186 fuse shell, and 163 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Colvin’s Battery: 38 canister, 50 percussion shell, and 160 fuse shell for 3-inch rifles.

We have more Hotchkiss on the next page along with James and Parrott rounds:

0252_1_Snip_ILL_Msc

Hotchkiss:

  • Chicago Board of Trade Battery: 33 cansiter for 3.80-inch rifles.

James:

  • Chicago Board of Trade Battery: 33 shot and 45 shell for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • Cogswell’s Battery: 31 shot, 247 shell, and 109 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.

Parrott:

  • Colvin’s Battery: 165 case for 10-pdr Parrott.

Both Schenkl and Tatham’s on the last page of projectiles:

0252_2_Snip_ILL_Msc

Schenkl:

  • Chicago Board of Trade Battery: 219 shell for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • Henshaw’s Battery: 66 shell for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • Colvin’s Battery: 23 case for 10-pdr Parrott.

Tathams:

  • Cogswell’s Battery: 149 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.

Finally to the small arms, we can “bounce” these in one listing from two snips:

0244_3_Snip_ILL3

And….

0252_3_Snip_ILL_Msc

By battery:

  • Springfield Battery: Ten horse artillery sabers.
  • Chicago Board of Trade Battery: Two Army revolvers, 133 Navy revolvers, eight cavalry sabers, and twenty horse artillery sabers.
  • Chicago Mercantile Battery: One Army revolver and four horse artillery sabers.
  • Cogswell’s Battery: Two Army revolvers and two cavalry sabers.
  • Henshaw’s Battery: Eighteen Army revolvers and sixteen horse artillery sabers.
  • Bridges’ Battery: Ten Army revolvers, fifteen cavalry sabers, and five horse artillery sabers.
  • Colvin’s Battery: Two Navy revolvers and eight cavalry sabers.
  • 14th Illinois Cavalry Section: Six rifled muskets (foreign manufacture) and thirty-one Army revolvers.

Consider here the story of Bridges’ Battery at Chickamuaga.  I think we see some of that story reflected in the numbers reported for the returns.  Certainly we see the reduction of the number of guns reported.  Ammunition might be replenished, but I’d advance the quantities were still low for the battery (as resupply of Chattanooga was desperate until late November).  Though the small arms quantities look average for a field battery, I’d bet many of those men who survived September 20, 1863 would “acquire” more – officially or unofficially.

Advertisements

Summary Statement, 3rd Quarter, 1863 – 2nd Illinois Artillery Regiment

Before the war, Thomas Scott Mather was the state Adjutant General, where he demonstrated good organizational and administrative skills.  During the first fall of the war, Mather accepted the colonelcy of the 2nd Illinois Artillery.  As with most field artillery regiments, the 2nd never marched as a whole.  And thus the position of regimental commander was more so an administrative post.  But the rank gave Mather the ability to serve in other capacities.  For a time he was Chief of Staff for General John McClernand.  Later Mather served as the Inspector General for the Department of the Susquehanna.  For this “faithful and meritorious services” Mather received a brevet to brigadier-general at war’s end.

For the third quarter of 1863, Mather’s batteries appeared as such on the summaries:

0241_1_Snip_ILL2

A “western theater” regiment:

  • Battery A:  No report. The battery remained with Fourteenth (or First, after reconciliation) Division, Thirteenth Corps.  When Captain Peter Davidson promoted to major in the spring, Lieutenant Herman Borris, promoted to captain that April, moved up to command the battery (though Lieutenant Frank B. Fenton lead the battery during the Vicksburg Campaign).  The battery remained with the division as the corps was transferred to the Department of the Gulf.  At the end of September, the battery was at Carrollton, Louisiana.
  • Battery B: Indicated at Fort Donelson, Tennessee with four 3.80-inch James rifles. The location reported is possibly a transcription error, and should be applied to Battery C (below) along with the four James rifles.  Captain Fletcher H. Chapman commanded.  Champman’s battery remained part of the Sixteenth Corps and assigned to the District of Corinth.
  • Battery C: No report.  Captain James P. Flood’s battery remained at At Fort Donelson, Tennessee with four 3.80-inch James Rifles, assigned to the Third Division, Reserve Corps, Army of the Cumberland.
  • Battery D: Indicated at Memphis, Tennessee with four 3.80-inch James Rifles. Captain Charles S. Cooper remained in command of this battery, assigned to First Division, Sixteenth Corps, covering Memphis at the time.
  • Battery E: Reported at Carrollton, Louisiana with three 6-pdr field guns and one 12-pdr field howitzer.  After Vicksburg, Lieutenant George L. Nipsel’s battery transferred to Third Division, Thirteenth Corps, which was subsequently assigned to the Department of the Gulf.
  • Battery F: Indicated at Natchez, Mississippi with two 6-pdr field guns and two 12-pdr field howitzers.  The battery was assigned to Fourth Division, Seventeenth Corps in the post-Vicksburg reorganizations. Captain John W. Powell remained in command, but with him serving as division artillery chief, Lieutenant Walter H Powell led the battery.
  • Battery G: At Vicksburg, Mississippi with four rifled 6-pdr guns. Captain Frederick Sparrestrom commanded this battery, assigned to Third Division, Sixteenth Corps.
  • Battery H: Reporting at Clarksville, Tennessee  two 6-pdr field guns and four 3.80-inch James Rifles. Captain Henry C. Whittemore assumed command of the battery at the end of June.  Battery assigned to Third Division, Reserve Corps, Army of the Cumberland, and performing garrison and escort duties.
  • Battery I:  Under siege at Chattanooga, Tennessee with two 12-pdr Napoleons, two 10-pdr Parrotts, and two 3.80-inch James Rifles.  Captain Charles M. Barnett commanded this battery.  It was assigned to Second Division, Reserve Corps, Army of the Cumberland.
  • Battery K: No report.  This battery, under Captain Benjamin F. Rodgers, had been with Seventeenth Corps at the start of the year.  It transferred to the Sixteenth Corps when serving at Vicksburg.  And after that siege, transferred to the Thirteenth Corps (Fourth Division).   At this time, the battery was on garrison duties at Natchez.
  • Battery L: Listed at Vicksburg with four 3.80-inch James Rifles. Part of Third Division, Seventeenth Corps.  Captain William H. Bolton commanded.
  • Battery M: Reporting at Greeneville, Tennesse with four 3.80-inch James Rifles.  Captain John C. Phillips command this battery, which assigned to Fourth Division, Twenty-third Corps, Army of the Ohio.

Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana – but varied service and duties.

Looking to the smoothbore ammunition reported:

0243_1_Snip_ILL2

Four batteries reporting:

  • Battery E: 204 shot, 164 case, and 203 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 34 shell, 60 case, and 34 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • Battery F: 184 shot, 135 case, and 28 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 120 shell, 133 case, and 31 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • Battery H: 176 shot, 150 case, and 42 canister for 6-pdr filed guns.
  • Battery I: 43 shot, 52 shell, 95 case, and 90 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.

Moving to the rifled projectiles, the Hotchkiss are first:

0243_2_Snip_ILL2

No 3-inch Ordnance rifles, but a scattering of rounds for the 3.80-inch and 3.67-inch rifles:

  • Battery B: 100(?) shot, 430 percussion shell, and 68 fuse shell for 3.80-inch James.
  • Battery G:  110 percussion shell and 955 fuse shell for 3.67-inch (6-pdr) rifles.
  • Battery I: 46 shot and 108(?) bullet shell for 3.80-inch James.
  • Battery L: 161 percussion shell and 123 fuse shell for 3.80-inch James.
  • Battery M: 40 shot, 50 percussion shell, 240 fuse shell, and 150 bullet shell for 3.80-inch James.

Let us break the next page down into sections for clarity.  Starting with a pair of Hotchkiss columns carried over to that page:

0244_1A_Snip_ILL2

  • Battery B: 250 canister for 3.80-inch James.
  • Battery G: 100 canister 3.67-inch (6-pdr) rifles.
  • Battery L: 60 canister for 3.80-inch James.
  • Battery M: 55 canister for 3.80-inch James.

As expected, many entries for the James projectiles:

0244_1B_Snip_ILL2

  • Battery B: 24 shell and 2 canister for 3.80-inch James.
  • Battery D: 45 shot, 203 shell, and 60 canister for 3.80-inch James.
  • Battery H: 115 shot, 252 shell, and 214 canister for 3.80-inch James.
  • Battery I: 108 canister for 3.80-inch James.
  • Battery L: 128 shell and 128 canister for 3.80-inch James.

We have only one battery with Parrott rifles:

0244_1C_Snip_ILL2

  • Battery I: 27 shot, 131 shell, 185 case, and 64 canister for 10-pdr Parrotts.

The last page of the rifled projectiles contains columns for Schenkl and Tatham:

0244_2_Snip_ILL2

Two batteries with quantities of Schenkl to report:

  • Battery D: 64 shot, 128 shell and 64 case for 3.80-inch James.
  • Battery I: 42 shell for 3.80-inch James.

But over to the far right is one line for Tatham’s canister:

  • Battery H: 32 canister for 3.80-inch James.

Lastly, we turn to the small arms:

0244_3_Snip_ILL2

By battery:

  • Battery B: Five (?) Army revolvers, nine Navy revolvers, four cavalry sabers, and six (?) horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery E: Eight Army revolvers, twenty-four cavalry sabers, and forty foot artillery swords.
  • Battery F: Twenty-two Army revolvers and twelve cavalry sabers.
  • Battery H: Fifty-four Navy revolvers and seven cavalry sabers.
  • Battery I: Seven Army revolvers, twenty-three Navy revolvers and thirty horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery M: Twenty Army revolvers and twenty horse artillery sabers.

That concludes our look at the 2nd Illinois Artillery and their third quarter, 1863 returns.  Next are the independent batteries and “others” from Illinois.

Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – Mississippi Marine Brigade

The Mississippi Marine Brigade:  They were not from Mississippi.  Nor were they Marines.  And they were not a full brigade!

An interesting formation, the Mississippi Marine Brigade. Some have called it a prototype for the “Brown Water” units used by the US Navy in Vietnam.  Others have compared it to special forces units in the modern military.  Yet, others might point to a speckled service and rate the unit as more a disruption to good order – both in the Federal ranks and on the southern river-cities.   Before we go too far, let’s get some things straight about the Mississippi Marine Brigade.

First off, it was not from Mississippi.  Rather the brigade operated ON the Mississippi River.  In March 1862, civil engineer Charles Ellet, Jr., with a colonel’s commission and authority from Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, built a squadron of riverboat rams (initially four in number) for use on the Mississippi River and other western waters.  Ramming tactics being what they are, Ellet needed an infantry force on board to board rammed vessels… or repel borders from other vessels.  To fill the need, Ellet recruited from those convalescing in hospitals, but also received companies from the 59th and 63rd Illinois.  The former was a company commanded by Captain Alfred W. Ellet, Charles’ brother.  Although playing a key role in the Battle of Memphis, June 6, 1862, the ram fleet suffered a setback when Charles Ellet was mortally wounded.

On his brother’s death, Alfred assumed command of the rams.  Promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel, and later Brigadier-General, Alfred pressed his command downriver toward Vicksburg.  In the late summer and early fall of 1862 the Navy had forces under Admirals David Farragut and David D. Porter operating against Vicksburg, but without any substantial land forces.  Not only did this prevent a direct move on Vicksburg, it left the navy without security from Confederate raiding parties and sharpshooters on shore.  To address the security problem on October 21, 1862, Porter wrote to Secretary of the Navy Gideon Wells that a naval brigade was necessary.  While calling for Ellet’s rams to come under his command, Porter also offered:

Colonel Ellet thinks he can promptly raise the men by enlistment, if authorized to do so, and this would be a far preferable way of procuring them…. This brigade will be invaluable, and will enable us to effectually operate against the numerous guerrilla bands and other scattered rebel forces along these rivers.

With authorization, Porter and Ellet set about organizing such a force.  Several side-wheel and stern-wheel steamers were outfitted as transports, with loopholes and other fixtures to allow the troops to fight from the boat if needed.  The force also included a logistical “tail” with vessels outfitted as hospital ships, receiving vessels, and outfitting shops.

As for the men recruited, that brings us to the next point – these were not Marines!  Ellet recruited heavily from the Missouri and the convolecent hospitals in the Western Theater through the winter of 1863.  However, his artillery came complete from Pennsylvania, which we’ll discuss in detail below. Recruiting flyers bragged that Mississippi Marines would not dig trenches, perform picket duty, camp in the mud, or suffer long marches.  Just cruise down the river on a boat!  These were Army enlistments, not Navy.  And to cut a fine point, the men were organized not as traditional Marines, in the 19th century notion, who would be assigned to and operate as part of a ship’s crew to provide security.   Rather these were companies organized to conduct riverine operations (again, splitting hairs, a 20th century Marine chore).  The command, with Army troops, would operate under the Navy.

And lastly, this was not a brigade!  Ellet recruited a battalion of infantry and a battalion of cavalry.  Neither of these formations were recruited to full strength.  Added to this, Ellet secured a battery of Pennsylvania artillery.  So the “Brigade” might be called a small legion.  Or perhaps just considered a large combined arms battalion, but far short of a brigade.

It is the artillery battery that interests us here.  Captain Daniel Walling’s battery was organized as a battery in Colonel Hermann Segebarth’s Pennsylvania Marine Artillery Battalion (I’ve mentioned them in passing).  Despite the title, Segebarth’s, which was organized starting in August 1862, was heavy artillery and first assigned to Fort Delaware.  The formation would later become the core of the 3rd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery Regiment.  For reasons I’ve never been able to establish, Company C of Segebarth’s, under Walling, was chosen for service with the Mississippi Marine Brigade. Maybe it was Segebarth’s applied label that prompted the selection.  The battery had six Ordnance Rifles.  In addition a pair of howitzers operated with the brigade.

The Mississippi Marine Brigade first went into action in April 1863 with a patrol up the Tennessee River looking for guerrillas.   The following month, the brigade and ram fleet moved down the Mississippi to support the effort against Vicksburg.  In late May, the brigade fought an action outside Austin, Mississippi ( a series of events that lead to the destruction of the town by the brigade…. but that is another story…).  In June, the brigade operated from Young’s Point and the Milliken’s Bend.  A detachment from the brigade manned a 20-pdr Parrott rifle opposite Vicksburg, served with great effect against a Confederate foundry in the city.

With this introduction as to what the Mississippi Marine Brigade was… and was not… let’s turn to the second quarter summaries for 1863.  The brigade was given a separate section, independent of Missouri or Pennsylvania:

0201_1_Snip_MMB

By itself, this is a significant administrative detail.  As mentioned before, the brigade was Army, but assigned to the Navy for duty.  So we have a set of returns.  But those are not filed inside the normal coalition of returns, rather under a separate heading as if a separate state or territory.  One can imagine the consternation this caused the clerks.  So what do we have on those four lines:

  • Light Battery Artillery:  Reported on board steamer ‘Baltic’ with six 3-inch Ordnance rifles.  This matches to other reports for Walling’s Battery.
  • Company A, 1st Battalion Cavalry:  At Vicksburg with two 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • “Capt” Stores in ChargeOn board steamer ‘Diana’ with two 12-pdr field guns.  The heavy guns, not Napoleons.
  • “Qmst” (?) Stores in ChargeOn board steamer ‘E. H. Fairchild’ with no guns reported.  The Steamer E.H. Fairchild was indeed the quartermaster and commissary boat for the brigade.

Of note, we have accounting for the Ordnance rifles, but no indication of howitzers.  Yet, we see full sized 12-pdr field guns – both the Model 1841 “heavy” and the “light” Napoleons.

The steamers mentioned here deserve more space for description and discussion.  Perhaps at a later date.  In lieu, here is an illustration from Warren D. Crandall’s History of the Ram Fleet and Mississippi Marine Brigade in the War for the Union on the Mississippi and its Tributaries:

DianaBalticAtGreenville

As the caption states, we see the Baltic and Diana in an action (in May 1864).

Moving to the ammunition, the smoothbore quantities seem far too uniform:

0203_1_Snip_MMB

  • A, 1st Battalion Cavalry:  58 shot, 88 shell, 157 case, and 88 canister for 12-pdr field guns.
  • On the Diana: 58 shot, 88 shell, 157 case, and 88 canister for 12-pdr field guns.

As for rifled projectiles, we find one line:

0203_2_Snip_MMB

And that is for Hotchkiss projectiles:

  • Light Battery (Walling): 374 canister, 125 percussion shell, 74 fuse shell, and 2,260 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

The brigade reported no Dyer’s re, James’, Parrott’s, or Schenkl’s projectiles. So we move to the small arms:

0204_3_Snip_MMB

Just one line:

  • Light Battery (Walling): Twenty Navy revolvers and twenty horse artillery sabers.

The infantry and cavalry likely filed separate, branch specific, reports for their respective small arms.

Outside the scope of what is normally discussed in these posts, the Quartermaster on the E.H. Fairchild reported various implements and tools associated with artillery pieces, along with 3,000 .38-caliber cartridges.

The Mississippi Marine Brigade offers a lot of threads to follow.  Certainly unique in service.  And offering many noteworthy stories.  But from the artillery side of things, I must point out this formation was not long in service.  In September 1864, Walling’s battery was broken up and re-constituted as Battery E, 1st Missouri Light Artillery (reorganized), and no longer assigned to the brigade.

(Citation from ORN, Series I, Volume 23, page 428.)

Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – Independent and other Illinois Batteries

Some batteries seemed to have more names than guns assigned.  For Illinois batteries falling outside the regimental affiliations, that was the case.  For the second quarter, 1863, below the entries for the two regiments, we find several lines which require formal introductions:

0177_1_Snip_ILL_misc

With the first line, we see “Third Artillery.”  But from there things fall into disorder.  We find the 14th Illinois Cavalry reporting some mountain howitzers on hand.  Then five batteries identified by commander or sponsor.  Lastly, the 51st Illinois Infantry reported a couple 6-pdrs.  So pardon the lengthy explanations (or wild guesses!) to follow.

  • Battery A, Third Artillery:  We same the same identification for the fourth quarter, 1862, but noted this battery was most often cited as the Springfield Light Artillery, or Vaughn’s Battery (after Captain Thomas F. Vaughn).  The latter was used for the first quarter, 1862.   As mentioned in those earlier posts, the designation of a third regiment is a mystery to me.  But we can match the other details to this battery’s service.  Reporting six 3.80-inch James Rifles, the battery, part of the garrison of Memphis, Tennessee, was split into sections at this time, one at Germantown and another at Collierville.
  • I read this as “Col. 14th Cav?. Stores in charge“:  Presuming I transcribe that correctly, this indicates Colonel Horace Capron’s 14th Illinois Cavalry had four 12-pdr mountain howitzers on hand.  At the time of reporting, the regiment was in the First Brigade, Third Division, Twenty-third Corps, Army of the Ohio, reporting at Tompkinsville, Kentucky.  The regimental history provides some insight into this “howitzer battery,” along with accounts of use.  The section was under command of Lieutenant Henry Clay Connelly.  The battery, and regiment, would be involved with pursuit of Morgan in July.

HCConnelly

  • Stokes’s Battery:  This is the Chicago Board of Trade Independent Battery Light Artillery, commanded by Captain James H. Stokes.  If I am reading the faded ink correctly, the battery reported from Manchester, Tennessee, with four 6-pdr field guns, one 6-pdr (3.67-inch) rifle, and two 3.80-inch James rifles.  The battery was part of the Second Cavalry Division, Cavalry Corps of the Army of the Cumberland.
  • Mercantile Battery:  At Vicksburg, Mississippi with three 6-pdr field guns and two 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Under Captain Patrick H. White, this battery was assigned to Tenth Division, Thirteenth Corps.
  • Cogswell’s Battery: Reporting at Nashville, Tennessee with four 3.80-inch James Rifles.  The location probably reflects the July 1864 receipt date.  In June 1863 the battery was at Vicksburg as part of the First Division, Sixteenth Corps. Lieutenant Henry G. Eddy remained in command.
  • Henshaw’s Battery: Indicated at Loudon, Tennessee with four 6-pdr field guns and three 3.80-inch James Rifles.  The location is valid for a later reporting date.  In June 1863 Captain Edward C. Henshaw’s battery was part of the Third Division, Twenty-third Corps, Army of the Ohio, operating in Kentucky.
  • Bridges’ Battery:  At Manchester, Tennessee with two 6-pdr field guns, two 12-pdr field howitzers, and two 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Captain Lyman Bridges commanded the battery, which supported the Pioneer Brigade, Army of the Cumberland.
  • Lieut 51st Infy“:  Reporting two 6-pdr field guns.  I leave a large, bold question mark over this one.  If I am correct with the identification, the regiment was assigned to Third Brigade, Third Division, Twentieth Corps at the time of report. This puts them in the middle of the Tullahoma Campaign.

Missing from this list is the Elgin Battery and Colvin’s Independent Battery, which were also operating in Kentucky at this time.  With those omissions, coupled with the question mark on the last line entry, leads me to call this the messiest summary section presented thus far.

But let us press on to the ammunition.  Starting with the smoothbore:

0179_1_Snip_ILL_misc

Lots of smoothbores:

  • Springfield Battery: 72 shell, 28 case, and 56 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.  Recall the battery reported similar quantities on hand even back in December, with no weapons in that caliber on hand.
  • 14th Cavalry: 108 shell, 576 case, and 108 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.
  • Stokes’ Battery: 334 shot, 302 case, and 259 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
  • Mercantile Battery: 305 shot, 340 case, and 61 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 102 case for 12-pdr field howitzers.  With that last entry, we have another mismatch of ammunition.
  • Henshaw’s Battery: 369 shot, 375 case, and 84 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
  • Bridges’ Battery: 195 shot, 266 case, and 122 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 100 shot, 250 case, and 50 canister for 12-pdr field guns; 50 shell and 350 case for 12-pdr field howitzers.  Yet another line with mismatched ammunition reported.
  • 51st Infantry: 70 shot, 84 case, and 42 canister for 6-pdr field guns.

While we can wave off the Springfield Battery’s howitzer ammunition pointing to previous reports, the issues with the Mercantile and Bridge’s battery leave questions.

To the rifled ammunition starting with Hotchkiss:

0179_2_Snip_ILL_misc

And another question:

  • Springfield Battery: 48 shot, 73 percussion shell,  and 30 canister for 6-pdr, 2.6-inch bore; 63 bullet shell for 3.80-inch rifles.  Only the latter would work for the battery’s reported rifles.
  • Stokes’ Battery: 17 shot and 80 percussion shell for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • Mercantile Battery: 42 canister, 105 percussion shell, 93 fuse shell, and 160 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Henshaw’s Battery: 63 percussion shell for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • Bridges’ Battery: 84 canister, 65 percussion shell, 250 fuse shell, and 105(?) bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

Perhaps the entries for the Springfield Battery were transcription errors.  Perhaps.

Moving to the next page, let’s trim the view have a good look at the numbers:

0180_1A_Snip_ILL_misc

Let’s break this down by type for clarity, starting with the left over Hotchkiss columns:

  • Springfield Battery: 77 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • Stokes’ Battery: 40 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.

Those are “clean”.  So on to the James-patent projectiles:

  • Springfield Battery: 350 shot, 480 shell, and 30 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • Stokes’ Battery: 33 shot and 72 shell for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • Cogswell’s Battery: 31 shot, 407 shell, and 47 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.

That allows us to move to the last page of rifled projectiles.  We find three entries:

0180_2_Snip_ILL_misc

One of those for Schenkl:

  • Stokes’ Battery: 292 shell for 3.80-inch rifles.

And then over to the Tatham’s columns:

  • Springfield Battery: 36 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • Cogswell’s Battery: 149 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.

So, if you served in the Springfield Battery and canister was ordered, one might find three different varieties in the limber chest.

We might presume, given all the questions and remarks above, the small arms section would be a real mess.  Not so.  Relatively tame:

0180_3_Snip_ILL_misc

Not to disappoint, we have some entries at least deserving a remark or two:

  • Springfield Battery:  Ten horse artillery sabers.
  • Stokes’ Battery: 135 Army revolvers, eight cavalry sabers, and 26(?) horse artillery sabers.
  • Mercantile Battery: Four horse artillery sabers.
  • Cogswell’s Battery: Two Army revolvers and two cavalry sabers.
  • Henshaw’s Battery: Thirty (?) Army revolvers and twenty horse artillery sabers.
  • Bridges’ Battery: Ten Army revolvers, fifteen cavalry sabers, and ten horse artillery sabers.
  • 51st Infantry:  Two Army revolves and two horse artillery sabers.

Somewhat understandable the Board of Trade Battery (Stokes’) assigned to the cavalry would have a lot of small arms. We find the Mercantile Battery, serving at Vicksburg, with just four sabers.  Cogswell’s was little better with a pair of pistols and a pair of sabers.  But, speaking against my presumptive identity, we have small arms reported for the last line.  Normally we wouldn’t see that carried (ref. the 14th Cavalry line on the same sheet).  But whoever had those 6-pdrs also had matching revolvers and sabers.

Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – Second Illinois Artillery Regiment

As we continue with the summaries through the second quarter of 1863, a pattern emerges with respect to the equipment issued to batteries serving in the east.  We might even narrow that down to just the batteries serving with the Army of the Potomac and Washington Defenses.  Those tend to be armed with just one caliber and type of weapon.  And that type tends to be one of the important three – 12-pdr Napoleon, 3-inch Ordnance Rifles, or 10-pdr Parrott.  Likewise, the ammunition reported tends to be predictable, with Hotchkiss and Parrott the preferred rifled projectiles.

But when we look at those batteries outside that set, particularly out to the western theater, uniformity is thrown away for sake of availability.  More so for the projectiles issued for use.  We’ve seen some of this with the First Illinois Artillery Regiment.  Now another dose as we look to the Second Illinois:

0177_1_Snip_ILL_2

Of twelve batteries listed, the clerks recorded nine returns.  And of those nine, six reported James rifles and one reported the “odd cousins” – rifled 6-pdrs.

  • Battery A:  No report. The battery marched with Fourteenth (or First, after reconciliation) Division, Thirteenth Corps.  Captain Peter Davidson was in command, but during the Vicksburg Campaign Lieutenant Frank B. Fenton lead the battery.
  • Battery B: No report, but with an annotation of “siege”. No cannon reported. Captain Fletcher H. Chapman commanded.  The battery was part of the Sixteenth Corps, and assigned to the District of Corinth.
  • Battery C: Reported at At Fort Donelson, Tennessee with four 3.80-inch James Rifles.  Aside from garrisoning the fort, Captain James P. Flood’s battery also performed escort duties, assigned to the Third Division, Reserve Corps, Army of the Cumberland.
  • Battery D: Indicated at Memphis, Tennessee with four 3.80-inch James Rifles. Captain Charles S. Cooper remained in command of this battery, assigned to First Division, Sixteenth Corps, covering Memphis at the time.
  • Battery E: Reported at Carrollton, Louisiana with three 6-pdr field guns and one 12-pdr field howitzer.  The location is “as of date of receipt” for September 1863.  In June 1863, Lieutenant George L. Nipsel’s battery was with Fourth Division, Sixteenth Corps, which was detached for duty in the Vicksburg siege lines.
  • Battery F: Indicated at Natchez, Mississippi with two 6-pdr field guns and two 12-pdr field howitzers.  Another “as of receipt” location.  In this case, the battery was assigned to Sixth Division, Seventeenth Corps, with Captain John W. Powell in command, and at Vicksburg.
  • Battery G: Outside Vicksburg, Mississippi with four rifled 6-pdr guns. Captain Frederick Sparrestrom commanded this battery, assigned to Third Division, Seventeenth Corps.  There is an interesting, if trivial, sidebar that I hope to present in a follow up post.  The short story – While being ferried across the Mississippi River at Bruinsburg on May 1, 1863, a collision resulted in the loss of most battery equipment and horses.  As related earlier, Sparrestrom temporarily commanded Battery D, 1st Illinois Artillery for a time.  The battery was re-equipped in Memphis and forwarded to Vicksburg, reporting on June 30 (or there-abouts).
  • Battery H: Showing as posted to Fort Donelson.  Reporting two 6-pdr field guns and four 3.80-inch James Rifles. Lieutenant  Jonas Eckdall’s battery was transferred to the Third Division, Reserve Corps, Army of the Cumberland earlier in the spring.  But the battery was among the forces posted to guard the army’s supply lines.
  • Battery I:  At Nashville, Tennessee with two 12-pdr Napoleons, two 10-pdr Parrotts, and two 3.80-inch James Rifles.  Captain Charles M. Barnett commanded this battery.  It was assigned to Second Division, Reserve Corps, Army of the Cumberland.
  • Battery K: No report.  This battery, under Captain Benjamin F. Rodgers, was part of the Fourth Division, Sixteenth Corps, which was forwarded to Vicksburg during the siege.
  • Battery L: Listed at Vicksburg with four 3.80-inch James Rifles. Part of Third Division, Seventeenth Corps, Captain William H. Bolton commanded.
  • Battery M: Cited as still in Chicago, Illinois, but gaining four 3.80-inch James Rifles.  The battery was reforming after its surrender at Harpers Ferry the previous fall.  In May, the battery, still under the command of Captain John C. Phillips, moved to Kentucky.  There the battery became part of Fourth Division, Twenty-third Corps, Army of the Ohio.  At the end of June, the battery was at Louisville, Kentucky.

As you can see, a lot of story-lines with the 2nd Illinois Artillery.

Moving to the ammunition, we start with the smoothbore rounds on hand:

0179_1_Snip_ILL_2

Four batteries reporting smoothbore cannon.  And four reporting ammunition on hand:

  • Battery E: 207 shot, 164 case, and 203 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 34 shell, 60 case, and 34 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • Battery F: 184 shot, 135 case, and 28 canister for 6-pd field guns; 120 shell, 133 case, and 31 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.  Interpreting the last figure as a transcription error by the clerks.
  • Battery H:  186 shot, 160 case, and 42 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
  • Battery I:  25 shot, 38 shell, 130 case, and 63 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.

Moving to the rifled projectiles, here’s where we get busy.  We start with the first page of the Hotchkiss columns:

0179_2_Snip_ILL_2

Heavy use of the Hotchkiss rounds, but for James and 6-pdr calibers:

  • Battery C: 100 shot, 430 percussion shell, and 68 fuse shell for 3.80-inch James.
  • Battery G: 110 percussion shell and 935(?) fuse shell for 3.67-inch rifles.
  • Battery H:  10 shot for 3.80-inch James.
  • Battery I: 103 bullet shell for 3.80-inch James.
  • Battery L: 300 percussion shell, 200 fuse shell, and 200 bullet shell for 3.80-inch James.
  • Battery M:  70 shot, 340 fuse shell, and 270 bullet shell for 3.80-inch James.

But… we are not done with the Hotchkiss.  Moving to the next page, which I’ll break down by section for ease of presentation, we find more Hotchkiss projectiles:

0180_1A_Snip_ILL_2

Canister for everyone! Well at least for four batteries:

  • Battery C:  250 canister for 3.80-inch James.
  • Battery G: 100 canister for 3.67-inch rifles.
  • Battery L: 60 canister for 3.80-inch James.
  • Battery M: 70 canister for 3.80-inch James.

And note, with underlines, the ordnance department and the battery in the field carried the 3.67-inch rifles and their ammunition separately from the James rifles.  These weapons looked the same on the outside.  The bore diameter was just over a tenth of an inch different.  But for accounting and handling, these were different weapons.  The Ordnance Department associated the 3.67-inch caliber with Wiard.  But I don’t think we should read too much into that.

Moving to the right, we skip Dyer’s columns for the James-type projectiles:

0180_1B_Snip_ILL_2

Everything in 3.80-inch caliber:

  • Battery C: 7 shot, 24 shell, and 2 canister in 3.80-inch James.
  • Battery D: 45 shot, 203 shell, 64 case, and 60 canister for 3.80-inch James.
  • Battery H: 125 shot, 267 shell, and 214 canister for 3.80-inch James.
  • Battery I: 121 canister for 3.80-inch James.
  • Battery L: 300 shell and 128 canister for 3.80-inch James.

Next we have the Parrott columns. Battery I had a pair of those, and here’s what they could fire:

0180_1C_Snip_ILL_2

  • Battery I:  119 shell, 233 case, and 46 canister for 10-pdr Parrott.

And to be sure we are tracking, those were Parrott-patent projectiles.  More in the same caliber, but Schenkl, are on the far right:

  • Battery I: 30 shot for 10-pdr Parrott.

Then off to the next page where there are more Schenkl columns to consider:

0180_2A_Snip_ILL_2

But these are for James rifles:

  • Battery D: 64 shot and 128 shell for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • Battery I: 102 shell for 3.80-inch rifles.

And looking to the right of those, we find some Tatham canister reported:

0180_2B_Snip_ILL_2

More James caliber stuff:

  • Battery H: 33 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.

So to summarize the rifled projectiles reported on hand for the 2nd Illinois Artillery…. a wide variety of types.

Lastly we move to the small arms:

0180_3_Snip_ILL_2

By battery reporting:

  • Battery C: Fourteen Army revolvers, fifty-one cavalry sabers, and six horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery E: Eight Army revolvers, thirty-two cavalry sabers, and forty-four horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery F: Twenty-five Army revolvers and twelve cavalry sabers.
  • Battery H: Fifty-four Army revolvers, twenty-one cavalry sabers, and twelve foot artillery swords.
  • Battery I: Seven(?) Army revolvers, twenty-three Navy revolvers, and thirty horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery M: Twenty Army revolvers and twenty horse artillery sabers.

With that, we close the Second Illinois.  But we are not done with this state’s contributions for the second quarter of 1863.  Next up is the somewhat official Third Regiment and miscellaneous batteries.

Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – 3rd Regiment, US Regulars

The wartime service of the 3rd US Artillery was, in my opinion, “cushy”.  Several batteries remained on the west coast.  No doubt a vital assignment, ensuring the gold of California remained secure (and that’s not said with any sarcasm).  But since so much of the regiment served as garrison artillery, that left little to report in the Ordnance Returns. Thus a lot of white space for the 2nd quarter of 1863:

0168_1_Snip_3rdUS

We find only four batteries reported having field artillery tubes on hand!

  • Battery A – At Albuquerque, New Mexico with two 12-pdr field howitzers and two 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Same as the previous quarter.  And, updating my own notes here, Lieutenant John B. Shinn was in command of this battery (brevetted to captain for his service on the initial campaigns in New Mexico).
  • Battery B – Given the annotation “Infy. Stores.”  The battery remained at Fort Point, San Francisco, California.
  • Battery C – No location given, but with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Part of the Second Brigade of the Horse Artillery, Army of the Potomac.  Lieutenant William D. Fuller was in command.  The battery was not on the field at Gettysburg (and thus often left off some order of battle listings) but was with the Second Brigade, Second Division, Cavalry Corps at Westminster, Maryland.
  • Battery D – At Alcatraz Island, California with the annotation “Infy. Stores.”  Captain William A. Winder, of the 3rd US Artillery, commanded the garrison of Alcatraz at this time of the war.  Under his command were Batteries D, H, and I (which we will mention below).
  • Battery E – No return. Serving in the Department of the South, posted to Folly Island, South Carolina at the end of June.  Lieutenant  John R. Myrick was in command.
  • Battery F – At Warrenton Junction, Virginia with six 12-pdr Napoleons. The location is certainly in error for the June 30th date, but accurate for August when the report was received in Washington.  This battery, combined with Battery K (below), was assigned to the 1st US Regular Brigade, Artillery Reserve, Army of the Potomac, under Lieutenant John G. Turnbull.  So the location was somewhere between Frederick, Maryland and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
  • Battery G – Fort Turnbull, Connecticut  but without any assigned cannon. The battery had been disbanded the previous fall and was being reorganized with new recruits.  Eventually, Lieutenant Herbert F. Guthrie would command, but I am not certain as to the date of his assignment.
  • Battery H – “Infy. Stores” with location as Alcatraz Island, California.
  • Battery I – Also “Infy. Stores” and at Alcatraz Island.
  • Battery K – Annotated as “with Battery F”.  See that battery’s notes above.
  • Battery L – At Columbus, Kentucky with six 10-pdr Parrotts. Combined with Battery M, below.  Captain John Edwards in command.  The battery was assigned to First Division, Ninth Corps.  At the start of the spring was posted to Kentucky.  In early June, the battery moved with its parent division to reinforce Vicksburg.  And after the fall of Vicksburg the battery was part of the pursuit to Jackson, Mississippi.  So a well-traveled battery.
  • Battery M – “With Battery L” at Columbus.  — At Lexington, Kentucky with six 10-pdr Parrotts.
  • Lieutenant – “Stores in Charge.”  This line tallied various implements and supplies, apparently assigned to a lieutenant of the regiment, but with no location indicated.

So the service details out of the way, we turn to the ammunition reported on hand, starting with smoothbore ammunition:

0170_1_Snip_3rdUS

Two lines to consider, but not without some notes:

  • Battery A: 148 shot, 112 case, and 216 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 170 shell, 240 case, and 88 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers; and 24 shells for 12-pdr field guns.
  • Battery F & K: 360 shot, 96 shell, 198 case, and 104 canister for 12-pdr Napoleon.

Battery F’s quantities, though with a rather high number of solid shot, are within reason.  But Battery A, out there in New Mexico, held on to ammunition for a pair of 6-pdrs that were no longer on hand.  I’m not going to say the 12-pdr shells there in Albuquerque were for Napoleons or the old 12-pdr heavy field guns.  Regardless, their listing here raises an unresolved question.

Moving to rifled projectiles, we have to consider Hotchkiss types first:

0170_2_Snip_3rdUS

Two batteries up again:

  • Battery A: 96 canister, 144 percussion shell, 110 fuse shell, and 288 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery C: 30 canister and 50 fuse shell for 3-inch rifles.

We can trim the next page to focus only on the Parrott columns:

0171_1A_Snip_3rdUS

That much traveled battery out at Vicksburg:

  • Batteries L & M: 618 shell, 435 case, and 265 canister for 10-pdr Parrotts.

And we have but one entry to consider for Schenkl:

0171_2_Snip_3rdUS

  • Battery C: 18 shells for 3-inch rifles.

That last entry fills up, somewhat, the allocation for Battery C.  But one expect to see more.  The report arrived in Washington in November, 1863.

We move last to the small arms:

0171_3_Snip_3rdUS

Hopefully those numbers are legible.  The original lacked clarity in the column lines. And overall the sheet’s quality diminishes towards the bottom of the page.  Here’s what I transcribe:

  • Battery A: Thirteen carbines, eighty-six Army revolvers, seventy-six Navy revolvers, and eighty-seven horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery C: One carbine, twenty-six Navy revolvers, thirty-five cavalry sabers, and 172 horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery F & K: Thirteen Navy revolvers and forty-five horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery G: Eighty-six horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery L & M: Fifteen Army revolvers and forty-five horse artillery sabers.

I can understand Battery A, out in the far west and given many non-artillery duties, would need carbines, pistols, and sabers.  But Battery C?  That’s a lot of sabers… even for a data entry error!

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.