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

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

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

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

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

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

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Those were:

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

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

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

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

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

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Three reporting:

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

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

Battery B also reported some Schenkl projectiles for its Parrotts:

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

Turning to the small arms:

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By battery:

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

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

Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – Maryland’s Batteries

Sorry for the extended absence from the blog, as I’ve been on and off and back on vacation.  And let me pick up where we left off, on the second quarter, 1863 summary statements.  The next state in the queue is Maryland, with three batteries showing in the report:

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Three lines, looking uniform with Ordnance Rifles all around:

  • Battery A: Indicated with the Army of the Potomac, but is that “Pa” or “Va”?  The former would be most precise, but either would be understood.  And reported with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  In May, the battery moved from the Sixth Corps to the Fourth Volunteer Brigade, Artillery Reserve. Captain James H. Rigby remained in command. The battery occupied a position on Powers Hill during the battle of Gettysburg, doing good work supporting the Federal position on Culp’s Hill.
  • Battery B: Reported at Maryland Heights, Maryland, with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Captain Alonzo Snow’s battery was also transferred out of the Sixth Corps in May, 1863.  Listed “unassigned” in the Artillery Reserve, the battery reported to Camp Barry, Washington, D.C., and was likely still there at the end of June.  In mid-July, the battery was among the forces reoccupying Harpers Ferry.
  • Baltimore Independent Battery: Showing at Baltimore, Maryland, with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  This is the correct location for the receipt date of February 1864.  But turning back to the end of June, 1863, the Baltimore Battery had much more to say.  Captain F. W. Alexander was part of Milroy’s command at Winchester, Virginia at the beginning of that month.  When that place was evacuated, Alexander’s men spiked the guns, disabled the carriages, destroyed ammunition, and escaped with their horses.  So their “proper” return would be no guns or ammunition, and reforming at Camp Barry.

Deserving brief mention, two other Maryland batteries were organized in July 1863 – Batteries A and B, Junior Light Artillery.  Both would serve but a year, mostly around Baltimore.  Neither were in existence at the end of June, however.

Moving to the ammunition pages, we can skip the smoothbore page, as these batteries had only rifles.  But where there are Ordnance Rifles, we expect to find Hotchkiss projectiles:

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All three reported quantities:

  • Battery A: 98 canister, 110 fuse shell, and 196 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery B: 148 canister, 120 fuse shell, and 383 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Baltimore Battery: 121 canister, 120 percussion shell, 240 fuse shell, and 720 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

Of note, in the court of inquiry investigating the disaster at Winchester, Alexander indicated that at the start of the battle of Winchester, he had 1200 rounds on hand…. just one short of the actual tally given in the summary.   By the time of evacuation he was down to 28 rounds per gun, most of which was canister.  When ordered to evacuate, he testified,

I mounted the men on the horses, leaving those equipments that would rattle; saw the guns of my battery spiked, took off the cap-squares and linch-pins, and threw them into the water-tank. I then formed the men by twos, and marched them out of the fort.

So if we wish to split hairs, all the numbers given above for the Baltimore Battery, and their guns included, would be scratched out for the reporting date of June 30, 1863.

Moving to the next page, we find some Dyer’s projectiles on hand:

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Two reporting quantities:

  • Battery A: 375 shrapnel and 43 canister for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery B: 97 shells for 3-inch rifles.

And the next page, we find the same two batteries with Schenkl projectiles:

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  • Battery A: 372 shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Battery B: 444 shell for 3-inch rifles.

So once again, we find batteries with an assortment of projectile makes.

Moving on to the small arms:

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By battery:

  • Battery A: Eight Army revolvers, twenty cavalry sabers, and twenty horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery B: Ten Army revolvers and twenty-two cavalry sabers.
  • Baltimore Battery:  Twenty-five Army revolvers and thirty-two horse artillery sabers.

Worth noting, in his official report, Alexander laments that most of his men were “totally unarmed” and thus were sent rapidly on the road to Harpers Ferry with the word of a Confederate cavalry pursuit.  He had just over eighty men to report at the end of the retreat, so just who had those pistols and sabers might be inferred.

(Citation from OR, Series I, Volume 27, Part II, Serial 44, page 103.)

Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – 5th Regiment, US Regulars

We move now to the Fifth US Artillery, which will complete our look through the Regulars for second quarter, 1863.  For the reporting period in question, every battery of the regiment had something recorded.  Though, that was not always cannon on hand.  Three of the battery reports arrived at the Ordnance Department in 1864 or 1865.  Otherwise, the Fifth appeared to have their paperwork in order.  So let’s see if that was simply a false front:

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Walking through the rows:

  • Battery A: At Portsmouth, Virginia with six 12-pdr Napoleons.  During the spring, Battery A transferred, with parent organization, to Seventh Corps.  Under the new arrangements, Lieutenant James Gilliss’ battery supported Second Division of that corps.  The battery had been at Suffolk, Virginia, but was moving over to the Peninsula for Dix’s brief demonstration toward Richmond in late June.
  • Battery B:  Reporting at Hagerstown, Maryland with no artillery!  Battery B was at Fort Hamilton through much of the spring, completing its training and such.  In June, Lieutenant Henry A. Du Pont led the battery, reporting to First Division, Department of the Susquehanna, within the Middle Department’s Eighth Corps.  And the battery reported there with six 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.
  • Battery C: Technically off by one day, the battery reported at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania with six 12-pdr Napoleons.  With Captain Dunbar R. Ransom taking command of the 1st Brigade of the Artillery Reserve (Army of the Potomac), Lieutenant Gulian V. Weir assumed command of this battery.
  • Battery D: Bealton, Virginia (?) with six 10-pdr Parrotts.  Lieutenant Charles Hazlett’s battery supported Fifth Corps. The battery’s location on June 30 of the year was, of course, in the vicinity of Union Mills, Maryland.  And, as many readers are well familiar, Hazlett’s tenure in command was to end a couple days later as he defended Little Round Top.  Lieutenant Benjamin Rittenhouse was his able replacement.
  • Battery E: At Fort Hamilton, New York but without cannons.  As with Battery B above, Battery E completed its training and organization during the spring.  And like that sister battery, Battery E was transferred to the Department of the Susquehanna in June.  Lieutenant James W. Piper was in command.  The battery had six 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • Battery F: No location given, but with six 10-pdr Parrotts.  The proper location, we know, was with Sixth Corps, around Manchester, Maryland.  Lieutenant Leonard Martin commanded this battery, which would defend Cemetery Hill on July 3.
  • Battery G: Port Hudson, Louisiana with six 12-pdr Napoleons.  Lieutenant  Jacob B. Rawles commanded this battery from Second Division, Nineteenth Corps.
  • Battery H: Tullahoma, Tennessee with two 12-pdr Napoleons and four 10-pdr Parrotts.  This was “flip” from the previous quarter, which I believe is in error.  The battery likely had four Napoleons and two Parrotts at this stage of the war. Captain George A. Kensel assumed command of the battery in mid-spring.  And the battery remained with First Division, Fourteenth Corps.
  • Battery I: Reporting at West Point, New York with four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. But we know that location is in error, possibly reflecting the 1865 report receipt date.   On June 30, Lieutenant Malbone F. Watson’s battery was with Fifth Corps along Pipe Creek.  Watson would lose a leg while leading his battery at Gettysburg on July 2.  Lieutenant Charles C. MacConnell took his place.
  • Battery K: No location given, but with four 12-pdr Napoleons. Another battery which we know was on the road to Gettysburg.  Lieutenant David H. Kinzie remained in command, but the battery transferred to the Twelfth Corps’ artillery.
  • Battery L: Reporting at Maryland Heights, Maryland with two 6-pdr field guns. Lieutenant Edmund D. Spooner’s battery was caught up in the disaster at Winchester, Virginia.  According to Spooner, eighteen men, armed only with sabers, escaped capture (having lost six Ordnance Rifles).  What remained of the battery reported to Camp Barry, which I’d submit is a more accurate location.  The report of two 6-pdrs points to some interesting inferences.
  • Battery M: At Warrenton, Virginia with six 12-pdr Napoleons. This location might be accurate for August, when the report was received. But at the end of June 1863 the battery was around Yorktown and was involved with Dix’s demonstration there. Captain James McKnight’s battery was assigned to Fourth Corps.

So we see the batteries of the Fifth Regiment were actively engaged across the board.  No easy garrison duty for those gunners!

Moving down the return… or more accurately, turning the page, we look at the smoothbore ammunition reported:

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With the majority of the regiment’s batteries armed with Napoleons, we see those columns well populated:

  • Battery A: 192 shot, 96 shell, 288 case, and 192 canister for Napoleons.
  • Battery C: 465 shot, 162(?) shell, 369 case, and 100 canister for Napoleons.
  • Battery G: 217 shot, 352 shell, 438 case, and 132 canister for Napoleons.
  • Battery H: 172 shot, 64 shell, 171 case, and 100 canister for Napoleons.
  • Battery K:  36 shot, 5 shell, and 3 case for Napoleons.
  • Battery M:  288 shot, 96 shell, 288 case, and 96 canister for Napoleons.

The line that stands out is for Battery K.  Might those be the quantities on hand at the close of July 3, 1863?

Battery E probably had ammunition for its Napoleons on hand, but not reflecting on this report.

Spooner’s hard-luck, fought-out battery with their 6-pdrs reported:

  • Battery L: 96 shot, 56 case, and 48 canister for 6-pdr field guns.

Moving now to the rifled projectiles, there were two batteries with 3-inch Ordnance Rifles, but only one of which offered a full report.  Even with that, the Hotchkiss columns were noticeably short:

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With Battery B still “new” and not fully reporting, only Battery I had Hotchkiss entries:

  • Battery I: 100 canister and 400 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

For the next page, we can narrow the review down to three batteries with Parrott rifles:

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Those three were:

  • Battery D: 320 shell, 500 case, and 48 canister for 10-pdr Parrotts.
  • Battery F: 480 shell, 480 case, and 144 canister for 10-pdr Parrotts.
  • Battery H: 240 shell, 54 case, and 94 canister for 10-pdr Parrotts.

And the next page, there were quantities of Schenkl projectiles reported:

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Two entries for Parrott batteries and one for the 3-inch battery:

  • Battery D: 360 shell for 10-pdr Parrott.
  • Battery F: 120 shell for 10-pdr Parrott.
  • Battery I:  300 shell for 3-inch rifles.

Overall, the two “pure” Parrott batteries seemed well provisioned.  Battery H, which was mixed, might be a little lean.  And Battery I, with its 3-inch rifles, seemed a bit short.  But that might, again, be due to what the battery did during those first days of July.

That leaves us the small arms to consider… and a lot to consider:

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Yes, a FULL slate of small arms reported:

  • Battery A: Twenty-two Army revolvers and sixty-five horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery B:  A hundred Army revolvers and 138 horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery C: Fifty-five Army revolvers and nineteen horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery D: Thirteen Navy revolvers, fifteen cavalry sabers, and thirty-seven horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery E: Twelve Army revolvers and 107 horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery F: Twenty-four Army revolvers and twenty horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery G: Twenty-one horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery H: Sixteen Navy revolvers, five cavalry sabers, and thirty-nine horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery I: Twenty-one Army revolvers and thirty-five horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery K: Fifty-eight Army revolvers and sixteen horse artillery sabers.
  • Battery L: Nothing… not even the sabers reported carried off the field at Winchester.
  • Battery M: Twenty-four Navy revolvers and twenty horse artillery sabers.

We again must keep in mind the time frame and context.  These numbers on the sheet were cannon, ammunition, and small arms which would be put to use by these batteries in June and July 1863.