Cannons in the Atlanta Campaign

James N.

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What type of Cannons were used in the Atlanta Campaign for the Union and Confederate?
You might find this thread useful:

 

Belfoured

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What type of Cannons were used in the Atlanta Campaign for the Union and Confederate?
On the Union side, the artillery chief, Barry, reduced the ordnance variety to 3" ordnance rifles, 10- and 20-lb Parrotts, and the M1857 12 lb Napoleon. There was a trend towards the 3" rifle - for example, the 1st Minn. turned in their 6lb "James" rifles for the 3" gun and IIRC the 1st Ohio Light Battery I exchanged their Napoleons for the 3". During the campaign there also was an effort by the Union side to reduce standard battery size from 6 guns to 4. For more specifics I'd have to check my notes, which aren't at hand right now.
 

Coonewah Creek

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Here's a partial campaign OoB. It includes the artillery types for each side. Sorry I don't have a separate listing for just the Union artillery. The Confederate artillery battalions are broken down to each corps.
 

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Belfoured

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Here's a partial campaign OoB. It includes the artillery types for each side. Sorry I don't have a separate listing for just the Union artillery. The Confederate artillery battalions are broken down to each corps.
It's difficult to be precise about the entire campaign. For example, the attached OOB doesn't show that until June 30 the 7th IN, 19th IN, and 1st Ohio, "I", all had 6 guns each and were reduced to 4. Another example is that between July 15 and July 24 1st ILL, "C", 2d ILL, "I", and 7th IN exchanged their Parrotts for 3" Ord Rifles. And that's only the XIV Corps. I also see an error regarding the 1st Minnesota. They never had Wiards - only "James" 6 lb rifles and 12 lb howitzers, 4 total. But in March 1864 (while still at Vicksburg) they exchanged those for 3" Ordnance rifles before moving east in May to take part in the Atlanta Campaign.
 
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Coonewah Creek

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It's difficult to be precise about the entire campaign. For example, the attached OOB doesn't show that until June 30 the 7th IN, 19th IN, and 1st Ohio, "I", all had 6 guns each and were reduced to 4. Another example is that between July 15 and July 24 1st ILL, "C", 2d ILL, "I", and 7th IN exchanged their Parrotts for 3" Ord Rifles. And that's only the XIV Corps. I also see an error regarding the 1st Minnesota. They never had Wiards - only "James" 6 lb rifles and 12 lb howitzers, 4 total. But in March 1864 (while still at Vicksburg) they exchanged those for 3" Ordnance rifles before moving east in May to take part in the Atlanta Campaign.
Thanks for the corrections. I certainly have no problem with them. That OoB was constructed many, many years ago for a wargaming exercise without a great deal of cross-checking IIRC. It was probably "close enough" at the time. :wink:
 

Belfoured

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Thanks for the corrections. I certainly have no problem with them. That OoB was constructed many, many years ago for a wargaming exercise without a great deal of cross-checking IIRC. It was probably "close enough" at the time. :wink:
Agree. The reliability of information on gun-types for Union units in the Western Theater is a much bigger challenge than with the AoftheP. By the time of Atlanta you've got effectively three different armies with a history of widely-mixed calibers, etc. And the OOB is almost certainly good enough for gaming. When in doubt, just use canister. 😎
 

Georgia

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Agree. The reliability of information on gun-types for Union units in the Western Theater is a much bigger challenge than with the AoftheP. By the time of Atlanta you've got effectively three different armies with a history of widely-mixed calibers, etc. And the OOB is almost certainly good enough for gaming. When in doubt, just use canister. 😎
And, we know whatever cannons and artillery they had worked by the reports and photographs after the siege.
 

Bob777

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Now I am being specific about the six pounder cannons what type would have been at Atlanta Campaign. Was there any M1841
pounder field gun.
 

Belfoured

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Now I am being specific about the six pounder cannons what type would have been at Atlanta Campaign. Was there any M1841
pounder field gun.
I'm aware of none on the Union side. As noted, the 1st Minn Light was one of the few Federal batteries that still had any 6 lb guns (2) by early 1864, and those were "James" rifles. (re-bored or new - uncertain) Even those were exchanged for 3" Ord Rifles in March. It's possible that there were an isolated few on the Confederate side but by this point in the War the vast majority of smooth bores there would have been 12 lb Napoleons with some 12 lb Howitzers and they had never had many 6 lb "James" rifles. So I'd be skeptical - but somebody else may have specific information.
 

Orion.M.E

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What type of Cannons were used in the Atlanta Campaign for the Union and Confederate?
I’m unsure of what types of canons they used, I too researched this exact topic, reason being was that my ancestor was wounded in the right leg by a canister explosion at cheatham hill which is part of the Atlanta campaign. What I can tell you is that in some cases they named canons after people like Cheatham
 

James N.

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I’m unsure of what types of canons they used, I too researched this exact topic, reason being was that my ancestor was wounded in the right leg by a canister explosion at cheatham hill which is part of the Atlanta campaign. What I can tell you is that in some cases they named canons after people like Cheatham
Canister doesn't explode - in fact it's one of the few projectile types that doesn't. Canister, as the name implies, is a tin or steel can containing many small (usually) round balls; upon firing the can comes apart or disintegrates, allowing the balls to spread out in a funnel-shaped pattern the exact way that buckshot does when fired from a shotgun. Your ancestor could well have been hit by one of those balls, usually about the size of a large marble or jaw-breaker gumball, or even a piece of the can itself.
 

Carronade

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During the campaign there also was an effort by the Union side to reduce standard battery size from 6 guns to 4.

This has been mentioned a few times recently, and I'm curious about it. Presumably the four-gun batteries retained their complement of support vehicles, battery wagon, traveling forge, etc. so those would actually be a higher proportion of the battery than in the six-gun organization. Someone probably has exact numbers, but the four-gun battery would have 2/3 the firepower of the six-gun but need about 3/4 of the supplies, space on the road, etc. So what was the advantage of going from 6 to 4?
 

Belfoured

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This has been mentioned a few times recently, and I'm curious about it. Presumably the four-gun batteries retained their complement of support vehicles, battery wagon, traveling forge, etc. so those would actually be a higher proportion of the battery than in the six-gun organization. Someone probably has exact numbers, but the four-gun battery would have 2/3 the firepower of the six-gun but need about 3/4 of the supplies, space on the road, etc. So what was the advantage of going from 6 to 4?
The decision for the Army of the Potomac was pretty much a compromise. Because of the terrain in the Wilderness, the large Artillery Reserve that had been so important at Gettysburg was not used and Grant wanted to get rid of it. From Hunt's perspective, too many decisions regarding batteries were made by infantry commanders who were clueless about proper position, tactics, and usage of ammunition. The Reserve left an artillery officer (himself) in command of a large number of batteries that were not under the control of corps commanders. So to keep the Reserve he agreed to knock the battery size down. In any event, until the armies got to Petersburg and a siege, field batteries played a lesser role in the campaign than they had previously, where a lot of the fighting took place with good fields of fire and observation. Even Chancellorsville - fought within a few miles of the Wilderness - actually had better artillery positions at Hazel Grove and Fairview.
 

Belfoured

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Canister doesn't explode - in fact it's one of the few projectile types that doesn't. Canister, as the name implies, is a tin or steel can containing many small (usually) round balls; upon firing the can comes apart or disintegrates, allowing the balls to spread out in a funnel-shaped pattern the exact way that buckshot does when fired from a shotgun. Your ancestor could well have been hit by one of those balls, usually about the size of a large marble or jaw-breaker gumball, or even a piece of the can itself.
There's also a bit of a ricochet effect. As the funnel expands some of the balls hit ground and then other objects (troops)
 

Carronade

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The decision for the Army of the Potomac was pretty much a compromise. Because of the terrain in the Wilderness, the large Artillery Reserve that had been so important at Gettysburg was not used and Grant wanted to get rid of it. From Hunt's perspective, too many decisions regarding batteries were made by infantry commanders who were clueless about proper position, tactics, and usage of ammunition. The Reserve left an artillery officer (himself) in command of a large number of batteries that were not under the control of corps commanders. So to keep the Reserve he agreed to knock the battery size down. In any event, until the armies got to Petersburg and a siege, field batteries played a lesser role in the campaign than they had previously, where a lot of the fighting took place with good fields of fire and observation. Even Chancellorsville - fought within a few miles of the Wilderness - actually had better artillery positions at Hazel Grove and Fairview.

Thanks, but keeping the Reserve is precisely what didn't happen. The Reserve (specifically the two field artillery brigades) was broken up and its batteries assigned individually to the corps. The reduction from 6 to 4 guns meant that each corps had about the same number of guns as before and 3-5 more sets of battery wagons and other support vehicles.

As I've bored the forum with before, simply withdrawing the Reserve artillery brigades would have been less complicated, would leave the army with the same number of guns but fewer support elements, and would make it easier to bring the artillery back when needed.
 

Belfoured

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Thanks, but keeping the Reserve is precisely what didn't happen. The Reserve (specifically the two field artillery brigades) was broken up and its batteries assigned individually to the corps. The reduction from 6 to 4 guns meant that each corps had about the same number of guns as before and 3-5 more sets of battery wagons and other support vehicles.

As I've bored the forum with before, simply withdrawing the Reserve artillery brigades would have been less complicated, would leave the army with the same number of guns but fewer support elements, and would make it easier to bring the artillery back when needed.
That's correct to an extent, although Hunt got Grant to modify his intentions about altering calibers/types. While the smaller Reserve batteries were distributed, they could be readily brought back as a larger unit if needed. As I pointed out, however, none of this really mattered in the end. Field artillery played a very limited role in the rest of the Overland Campaign and once everybody got to Petersburg it became a siege, so there was much less decision-making involved and the existence of the Reserve became less relevant. Even then, however, Grant put Hunt in charge of artillery for the siege.
 
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