No. 18. Report of Bvt. Major General Henry J. Hunt, U. S. Army, Chief of Artillery1
ARTILLERY HEADQUARTERS, ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
Camp near Fort Albany, Va., June 1, 1865.
COLONEL: I have the honor herewith to submit a report of the artillery operations of this army subsequent to March 25, 1865.
The artillery consisted of forty-two field batteries, mostly of four guns each, and a siege train, as follows:
Eleven light 12-pounder field guns, eight 12-pounder field howitzers, one 24-pounder howitzer, two 32-pounder howitzers, nine 20-pounder Parrots (rifle), four 10-pounder Parrots (rifle), four 3-inch ordnance (rifle), one 6-pounder Sawyer (rifle)-forty guns of position, twelve 8-inch siege howitzers, thirty-seven siege mortars (one 13-inch seacoast, six 10-inch sea-coast, ten 10-inch siege, twenty 8-inch siege), thirty-six Coehorn mortars, ten 100-pounder Parrots (rifle), thirty-eight 30-pounder Parrots (siege), fourteen 4 1\2-inch siege rifles, one 30-pounder rifle (Brooke), rebel-188 piece; 62 officers, 1,767 enlisted men; total, 1,829.
The Siege Artillery, under the command of Bvt. Brigadier General Henry L. Abbot, consisted of 40 guns of position, 75 siege pieces (10 of which
were 100-pounder Parrots), 37 siege and 36 Coehorn mortars; in all, 188 pieces of ordnance, with their material. Of this train the forty guns of position, two 8-inch siege howitzers, five 8-inch siege and three 30-pounder Brooke (English, captured form the rebels) were in the Bermuda lines. Two siege guns and six 8-inch seize howitzers were in the City Point lines in position. One 100-pounder Parrott, twenty-eight siege guns, four 8-inch siege howitzers, six 10-inch siege and twenty-eight siege guns, four 8-inch siege howitzers, six 10-inch siege and twenty Coehorn and one 13-inch and three 10-inch sea-coast mortars were afloat at Broadway Landing.
After the fall of Petersburg the Siege Artillery was employed in securing the abandoned material of the enemy’s forts on the James and in the lines of Richmond and Petersburg, and in arranging and garrisoning the works. Upon the movement of this army toward Washington the train and troops were transferred to the defense of Richmond, by command of Major-General Halleck.
The personal of the train consisted of the First Regiment Connecticut Foot Artillery and the Third Connecticut Battery of Heavy Artillery; in all, 62 officers and 1,767 enlisted men.
Roder’s (K), 4th United States, four light 12-pounders.
Brown’s (B), 1st Rhode Island, four light 12-pounder.
Clark’s (B), 1st New Jersey, four light 12-pounder.
Dakin’s (M), 1st New Hampshire, four 3-inch.
Adams’, 10th Massachusetts, four 3-inch.
Davey’s, 11th New York, four 3-inch.
Mitchell’s (B), 4th United States, four light 12-pounders.
Johnson’s (D), 1st New York, four light 12-pounders.
Mink’s (H), 1st New York, four light 12-pounders.
Rawles’ (Dand G), 5th United States, four 3-inch.
Rogers’ (B), 1st New York, four 3-inch.
Parsons’ (A), 1st New Jersey, four 3-inch.
Adams’ (G), 1st Rhode Island, four 3-inch.
Van Etten’s, 1st New York Independent, four 3-inch.
Allen’s (H), 1st Rhode Island, four light 12-pounders.
Brinckle’s (E), 5th United States, four light 12-pounders.
Harn’s, 3rd New York Independent, four light 12-pounders.
Roemer’s, 34th New York Independent, four 3-inch.
Jones’, 11th Massachusetts Independent, four 3-inch.
Rhoads’ (D), Pennsylvania, four 3-inch.
Eaton’s, 27th New York, four light 12-pounders.
Rogers’, 19th New York, four light 12-pounders.
Twitchell’s, 7th Maine, four light 12-pounders.
Mayo’s, 3rd Maine.
Start’s, 3rd Vermont.
Wright’s, 14th Massachusetts.
Strubb’s, 2nd Maine.
Rhodes’ (E), 1st Rhode Island.
Harris’ (H), 1st Ohio.
White’s, 4th Maine.
Ritchie’s (C), 1st New York.
Matthewson’s (E), 1st New York.
Beck’s (L), 1st New York.
Phillips’, 5th Massachusetts.
McClelland’s (B), 1st Pennsylvania.
Milton’s 9th Massachusetts.
Stone’s (C and I), 5th United States.
Clark’s, 12th New York Independent.
McClellan’s (G), 1st New York.
Campbell’s (F), 1st Pennsylvania.
Rogers’, 6th Maine.
Woerner’s, 3rd New Jersey.
Second Corps, twelve batteries; Fifth Corps, eleven batteries; Sixth Corps, nine batteries, Ninth Corps, six batteries; Artillery Reserve, four batteries. The Horse Artillery was detached form this army with the cavalry. The Second and sixth Corps and the Reserve Artillery had also six Coehorn mortars, each with 100 round of ammunition.
Twenty-four of the batteries had two extra caissons each, and in the trains of the artillery brigades of the corps and of Reserve sufficient wagons were provided to transport the additional ammunition necessary to carry up the full supply to 270 rounds per gun. The field artillery comprised 202 guns, 511 artillery carriages, 3,972 horses, 6,123 men, besides the trains and 12 Coehorn mortars, with their equipments, &c.
On the 29th March the batteries for field service with the corps were ordered to be reduced to six for the Second and Sixth Corps and five for the Fifth and Ninth Corps. The reduction was effected at once in the Second and Fifth corps and the surplus batteries either left temporarily in position on the lines occupied by the Sixth corps in front of Petersburg or sent to report to Brigadier-General Tidball, commanding the artillery of the Ninth Corps, who employed such of them as he required in the lines or in reserve, and ordered the remainder to report to the Artillery Reserve of the army, at City Point. For the operations of the artillery in the reduction of Petersburg and subsequent operations, I respectfully refer you to the reports of the chiefs of artillery of the respective corps transmitted herewith.
When the Sixth and Ninth Corps moved after the capture of Petersburg they took with them six batteries each, leaving all the rest of the artillery in reserve at and near Petersburg. The field artillery with the army was thus actually twenty-three batteries-in all, ninety-two guns.
The severe marching entailed by the campaign on the batteries which, over bad road and with scant forage, were required to keep up with the movements of the cavalry and infantry, broke down many of he horses which at the commencement of the campaign were not in very good condition, as the allowance of forage during the whole winter had been restricted, the allowance of hay being but three or four pounds per diem.
Much additional labor was thrown upon the teams by their employment in hauling to the rear and securing captured and abandoned artillery. To replace the horses thus broken down heavy drafts were made on the Reserve Artillery, which, commencing on the 5th of April sent forward fresh teams to exchange for those which were broken down. In this way the artillery with the corps was kept in efficient condition, and was at all times prepared to act with the other troops. The records and reports show that the artillery bore its full share of the labors and dangers of this the last campaign of the rebellion.
To the chiefs and commanders of the artillery-Brigadier-General Hays, commanding Reserve Artillery; Brevet Brigadier-General Wainwright, Fifth Corps; Brevet Brigadier-General Tidgall, Ninth Corps; and Brevet Brigadier General Abbot, siege Artillery; Lieutenant-Colonel Hazard, Second Corps; Brevet Major Cowan, Sixty Corps; to Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel Fitzhugh, serving with Artillery Brigade, Fifth Corps; to Majors Ricketts and Miller, of the Reserve, and Ager, of the Siege Train-too much credit cannot be given for he excellent manner in which heir duties were performed. These duties were very ardors, and required for their efficient performance a much larger number of field officers. As it was, the maximum of efficiency possible under the circumstances was secured, and I respectfully recom-
To my staff-Brevet Colonel Warner, inspector of artillery, Brevet Major Craig, assistant adjutant-general, and Brevet Captain Worth, Eight Infantry, aide-de-camp-I am indebted for the prompt manner in which their duties were performed. Colonel Warner’s duties were co-extensive with the army; they were promptly and ably performed. Captain Worth, in additional to his duties on my staff, served actively on the staff of the major-general commanding in carrying and transmitting orders on the field.
In my previous reports I have had occasion to all attention to the want of a proper proportion of field officers for the artillery, and this I did especially in the reports of the battles of Chancellorsville and Gettysburg; and as there is no bureau of artillery nor other center of administration for it, I take this occasion to present the same subject in order that the results of our experience may not be lost. This is due to the reputation of the artillery in this war, as well as to the future interests of the service. At an early period of the war orders were given that field artillery should be taken into service only by single batteries “in order to save field officers;” this whilst infantry regiments of a single battalion were allowed four, with their proper staffs. Why this policy, so contrary to that of all modern armies and so destructive to the efficiency of the most complicated of all the arms of the service, was adopted I am at a loss to discern. Its effects have been but too clear. Not only has the service suffered form the want of officers absolutely necessary to its highest efficiency and economy, but this system has stopped promotion in the artillery, and, as a consequence, nearly every officer of promise as well as of nay distinction has been offered that promotion in the infantry, cavalry, or the staff which no amount of capacity, gallantry, or good conduct could secure him in his own arm. The result is that, with a few marked exceptions, in which officers were willing to sacrifice their personal advancement and prospects to their love for their arm, the best and most distinguished of the officers of the artillery accepted positions elsewhere or left the service in disgust, as opportunity offered. The effect of this and of other errors of organization has been but too evident; the artillery, although it has does much better than under the circumstances could have been expected or even hoped, has not attained to that efficiency which was possible, and has failed to retain the pre-eminence it once held in our Army and in public estimation. This sacrifice of efficiency has been made at the expense of economy. I do not hesitate to say that the field artillery of this army, although not inferior to any other in our service, has been from one-third to one-half less efficient than it ought to have been, whilst it has cost from one-third to one-half more money than there was any necessity for. This has been due principally to the want of proper organization, which has deprived it of the experienced officers required for its proper command, management, and supervision, and is in no respect the fault of the artillery itself.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
HENRY J. HUNT,
Brevet Major-General, Commanding.
Colonel GEORGE D. RUGGLES,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Army of the Potomac.
- The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XLVI, Part 1 (Serial Number 95), pp. 659-662 ↩