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:

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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 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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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.  Captain James P. Flood’s battery was actually in middle Tennessee at the reporting date, 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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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  • 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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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  • 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:

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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.

Richard, the Widow, and some other cannon: Named guns at Vicksburg

A few days back, I posted about Widow Blakely, a 7.5-inch rifled gun imported from England and used by the Confederates in defense of Vicksburg.  I originally used this photo to illustrate the post:

Whistling Dick, ca. 1863

The photo is often captioned as “Whistling Dick” of Vicksburg fame, which it is not.  However, as reader D. Dickens pointed out, it is not the “Widow Blakely” either!  A mistake which I should have avoided simply by referring back to my original notes on this photo!

Alas, having found myself spinning even more confusion into what is already a confusing story, I pulled the image out of the post – I’d already seen where my miss-identification was carried onto another forum.  That said, I need to clear this up!

The gun in the photo, which you see reproduced often, is a 32-pdr Navy Gun.  The same gun appears in other wartime photos:

Vicksburg32Pdr

Here, from my archive of 35mm photos, is a similar gun posted outside the Vicksburg visitor center (in the 1990s, however the gun was on a siege carriage at some point):

Vicksburg32PDRRifle
Banded and Rifled 32-pdr with trimmed muzzle at Vicksburg

Notice the loop cascabel, rear sight arrangement, band extending back to the rear sight, the front sight block over the trunnions, and the truncated muzzle.  This gun has marks indicating proofing in 1849.

In Artillery and Ammunition of the Civil War, Historian Warren Ripley noted this particular gun came to the park from a Vicksburg cemetery which it had guarded since at least 1874.  Although provenance is not always enough to establish fact, three tons is a lot to move about.  I’ve never researched the full history of the gun, but believe there’s enough similarities between the wartime photos and the gun located at Vicksburg today to apply a “very likely” tag here.

There are several “sisters” to this gun, which I shall christen “Miss Identified.”  One sister is at Fort Branch, North Carolina:

NC 28 Jul 12 130
Banded and Rifled 32-pdr at Fort Branch

Another “sister” is at the Washington Navy Yard:

WNY 10 Apr 10 310
32-pdr Navy Gun of 57cwt, Banded and Rifled, from CSS Teaser

That particular gun was captured by the US Navy on board the CSS Teaser in July 1862.  And that 32-pdr is right next to the Widow Blakely’s sister…

WashNY 21 July 272
7.5-inch Blakely at the Navy Yard

…affording me a rather nice segue!

Widow Blakely Vicksburg
Widow Blakely at Vicksburg

We can say the bands on the Widow Blakely and “Miss Identify” are of two different types of construction.  The Blakely’s were done in England of course.  The 32-pdr bands were done by the Confederacy, likely Tredegar in all three cases.  In fact, there’s good reason to believe the 32-pdrs were among those guns captured at Gosport Navy Yard in April 1861.

But the muzzle of the two guns – Blakely and “Miss Identify” – which are similar enough to fool even this old cannon hunter.  Both have a few feet trimmed off to include the muzzle swell.  Because both guns were damaged at Vicksburg (or at least in the vicinity of Vicksburg), very likely the work was done by a local vendor.  If so, the odds on favorite is A.M. Paxton & Company.   I’ve mentioned that firm in connection with finishing done on Quinby & Robinson guns.  While the firm of A.B. Reading and Brothers sent most of their machinery to Georgia well before the siege of Vicksburg, Paxton apparently retained enough for work supporting the besieged garrison.

Page 80

That’s $2,000 for “Foundry work” through July 4, 1863.  Paxton’s account was not completely settled, even a year later.

I think we can establish, with little doubt, that Widow Blakely and “Miss Identify” were at Vicksburg at the time of the garrison’s surrender.  And the two guns, with only slight hesitation in regard to the 32-pdr, are at Vicksburg today.  But what about “Richard”… I mean Whistling Dick?

First, let us agree beyond a shadow of a doubt, the wartime photos captioned “Whistling Dick” are indeed NOT that famous gun.  The similarities between the gun in the photos and the surviving 32-pdar are far too close.  And we can rule out “Richard” being a 32-pdr.  In his official report of the siege, Major Samuel Lockett gave a very precise identification of the type of gun (emphasis added):

On the 29th, the usual repairs and improvements continued along the whole line: a new battery made in rear of the line left of Hall’s Ferry road; the new battery in rear of General Lee improved, and “Whistling Dick” (an 18-pounder rifled piece) put in position, and a new battery started in rear of General Moore’s center, but the working party was driven off by the enemy’s sharpshooters, and the work stopped.

While not attributing a name to the piece, Colonel Edward Higgins report indicates only one rifled 18-pdr was in the Vicksburg siege lines. That 18-pdr was temporarily disabled on May 22, at the same time the Widow Blakely suffered its burst muzzle (go figure!).  The 18-pdr was repaired and, as Lockett indicated, sent from the water batteries to reinforce the siege lines on May 28, 1863.

Do we have photos of Whistling Dick?  Not that I know of.  Lack of a post-surrender photo would lend credence to a Confederate veteran’s 1900 account.  Alfred Leach claimed the gun was dumped in the Mississippi the night before the official surrender.  Why, with over a hundred other guns in the lines, this particular gun was dumped, I cannot say.

Alternatively, I would offer that, as with so many other weapons captured at Vicksburg, the rifled 18-pdr might have remained in the city.  Federals later used the 10-inch columbiads, 32-pdr smoothbores, and other smaller pieces in the city garrison lines.  However weapons requiring non-standard projectiles – such as the Widow Blakely, Whistling Dick, and “Miss Identify” – were shunted to the side. The Widow went to West Point, was incorrectly cited as Whistling Dick, until corrected in the 1950s.  “Miss Identify,” as mentioned above, probably stayed in Vicksburg guarding a cemetery until relocated to the park in the 1960s.  But “Richard” is lost to the ages.  A famous gun, and a rare 18-pdr siege gun at that (only one cataloged survivor of the type today), discarded without a trace.

So there you have it.  My penance for an earlier mistake with the wartime photo.  Let us remove the confusion about Whistling Dick, Widow Blakely, and that “other” gun.

Sources:  See Ripley, Artillery and Ammunition of the Civil War (Forth Edition), pages 30-32. Ripley cited Edwin Bearss, “The Vicksburg River Defenses and the Enigma of Whistling Dick” from The Journal of Mississippi History, Vol. XIX, No. 1, January 1957, page 21. 

Vicksburg Sesquicentennial Schedule

Let me, somewhat belatedly, mention the ongoing schedule of events for Vicksburg’s sesquicentennial. Vicksburg National Military Park has a page detailing the events, which started in April, running through July. Back on April 30, the park began “State Memorial Days” with observances for each state with soldiers participating in the campaign. These run through May 28 (with a couple doubled up).

Interpretive events on Sunday, May 19, and Wednesday, May 22, highlight the days of major assaults on the works. The Memorial Day weekend is packed with living history displays, interpretive events, and concerts. The city of Vicksburg hosts a Memorial Day program including a parade.
The listing of events concludes on July 3 with a luminary, with 20,000 candles, throughout the park.I would love to attend, at a minimum, the Memorial Day events.

But work schedules will not permit. Looking at the schedule, I find interesting the contrast to the eastern theater events from the last couple of years. And to some degree even the western theater events at Fort Donelson, Shiloh, and Stones River. Up to this point in the sesquicentennial, for the most part, we have looked back at individual battles – maybe strung together with campaigns, such as Seven Days or Second Manassas or Antietam – with the peak focus on a handful of days. With Vicksburg, much as we may see for the Overland Campaign, Petersburg, and Atlanta Campaign, there’s a long running “even” spanning weeks. There’s several challenges there. Not the least of which is capturing the moments without saturating the audience.

150 years ago: “…we have an insufficient number of guns.”

In report to Richmond on this day (April 18) in 1863 Lieutenant-General John C. Pemberton, wrote frankly about the status of his defense of Vicksburg:

Jackson, April 18, 1863.
President Jefferson Davis:
The passage of batteries at Vicksburg by a large number of enemy’s vessels on night of [16th] shows conclusively that we have an insufficient number of guns. There are so many points to be defended at this time–Vicksburg, Grand Gulf, Port Hudson, Snyder’s Mill, and Fort Pemberton–that I have only twenty-eight guns at Vicksburg. Of these, two are smooth-bore 32s, two 24s, one 30-pounder Parrott, one Whitworth, and one 10.inch mortar. Vicksburg and Port Hudson, and if possible Grand Gulf, ought to be greatly strengthened in guns. I have also sent 4,000 men from Port Hudson to General Johnston. The enemy has eleven armed vessels between Vicksburg and Port Hudson. A large supply of ammunition and projectiles should be constantly forwarded.
J. G. Pemberton

The “passage of batteries” mentioned in Pemberton’s report were the gunboats and transports of Admiral David Dixon Porter, which ran past Vicksburg on the nights of April 16 and 17.

There are some interesting similarities between the situation at Vicksburg and that at Charleston (which I have been sawing over the last several months). First off is the shortage of heavy guns. Richmond forwarded some guns to fill the need. But not enough. Just as with the Charleston defenses, it’s possible to trace some of the guns used at Vicksburg back through receipts to J.R. Anderson & Company (Tredegar Foundry). For instance, in March 1863, Tredegar a couple of large guns to Jackson, Mississippi. Those guns were among the deliveries tallied on a March 1863 receipt for Tredegar deliveries:

Page 697d

This section of the receipt is for items shipped to “Gen. J.C. Pemberton, Jackson, Miss”. The first two items are 10-inch Columbiad number 1772 and 7-inch “Banded & Rifle Gun” number 1731, or in other words – a Brooke. These guns were cast in February 26 and January 6, 1863, respectively. The Tredegar gun book lists the rifle as an army type, presumably with a ratchet breech. Neither of these guns are known to survive today. So the receipt is all we have to work with here. Notice that Tredegar sent along carriages, sights, and other implements for these guns.

So was that Brooke in use when the Federals ran past the batteries?

Well, likely not. On April 17, Pemberton complained to Colonel Josiah Gorgas, Confederate Chief of Ordnance, that, “The Brooke gun arrived here yesterday without a solitary projectile. Where am I to get them?” The following day Pemberton followed with a sharply worded message:

If ammunition for the three 9-inch guns is not sent with them, they will be useless to me. Have heard nothing from you of bolts for the Brooke gun now here. Without bolts it had as well been left in Richmond. I have no coal, and am unable to get any.

So, for all practical purposes, Pemberton had a 15,000 pound rifled paperweight. And he feared having three more of the 9-inch, 9,000 pound variety delivered in the next few weeks.

This brings us to a second similarity to the situation at Charleston – shortage of ammunition. On April 17, Major-General Carter L. Stevenson wrote that “Our ammunition for heavy guns is nearly exhausted. We have some en route from Mobile and Selma. Please send some one to hurry it on.”

To hedge bets, on April 19, Pemberton sent a request to Mr. J.O. Stevens, running a foundry in Jackson, Mississippi, to:

… cast in the shortest possible time, working day and night, one hundred solid bolts – diameter, 6.95; weight, 128- and would urge on you the utmost energy, as the need for these projectiles is very great.

A bit of background, Stevens supplied ordnance from field artillery calibers up to 8-inch. So the firm had some experience, at least. However, I’ve not run across positive proof that Stevens delivered the desired rifle projectiles.

Just as at Charleston, a critical shortage of guns and projectiles factored into the situation. Beauregard could lean on Eason & Brothers for projectiles. Pemberton had to rely upon Stevens. But both commanders had to wait for Richmond to send heavy guns.

(Citations from OR, Series I, Volume 24, Serial 38, pages 756, 759, 760, 766, and 767.)