Field Artillery Western Theatre

Georgian183

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Apr 17, 2021
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photo by @Gettmore from https://civilwartalk.com/threads/kelly-field-chickamauga-battlefield.145205/#post-1799555

Hey yall, new member here. I visited Chickamauga recently for the first time. Something that stuck out to me was the prevalence of older 12lb and 6lb howitzers of the various Union and Confederate units engaged there. From the little I have researched thus far it seems older field pieces were prevalent in the Western Theatre. Was this intentional (Eastern Theatre given newer equipment first) or just happenstance? Any input and discussion would be greatly appreciated!
 
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Georgian183

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Apr 17, 2021
I understand most probably are not original to the battle/battlefield. I was referencing the many battery markers which listed they were composed of either completely of older pieces or a mixture of old and new. I was also surprised at how many Union battery's still used older 12lb howizters.
 

Belfoured

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
Hey yall, new member here. I visited Chickamauga recently for the first time. Something that stuck out to me was the prevalence of older 12lb and 6lb howitzers of the various Union and Confederate units engaged there. From the little I have researched thus far it seems older field pieces were prevalent in the Western Theatre. Was this intentional (Eastern Theatre given newer equipment first) or just happenstance? Any input and discussion would be greatly appreciated!
I haven't done any kind of statistical study but on the Federal side there is no doubt that the Army of the Potomac achieved uniformity in its batteries and was almost entirely outfitted with the 12 lb Napoleon and the two 2.9/3" caliber rifles well before the two main western armies were. I also believe that its percentage of Regular batteries was higher. i haven't seen a directive giving priority to the Army of the P (there may have been), but when McClellan took over in August 1861 he and his artillery chief William Barry were aggressive about organizing its artillery and outfitting with the new weapons. Since he was General in Chief at the time, that probably influenced here they were allocated.
 

Georgian183

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Apr 17, 2021
I have always considered the Western Theater the "Red Haired Stepchild" of the Civil War in many aspects, including leadership, equipment, etc. If it was out of date or sub par, it went West. Also, welcome to the group from Middle Alabama, it's good to have you join us.
See I have always gotten the same impression through all my reading about the war as well.
 

Carronade

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Pennsylvania
I have always considered the Western Theater the "Red Haired Stepchild" of the Civil War in many aspects, including leadership, equipment, etc. If it was out of date or sub par, it went West. Also, welcome to the group from Middle Alabama, it's good to have you join us.
Most weapons and equipment, manufactured or imported, originated in the east, so it seems only natural that the eastern armies would get them first.

I would suggest that leadership is a different category from manufactured equipment. Many of the Union's top commanders originated or came to prominence in the west.
 

Belfoured

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Aug 3, 2019
Most weapons and equipment, manufactured or imported, originated in the east, so it seems only natural that the eastern armies would get them first.

I would suggest that leadership is a different category from manufactured equipment. Many of the Union's top commanders originated or came to prominence in the west.
And the 10 lb Parrott was manufactured at West Point, the 3" Ordnance Rifle in Pennsylvania, and the 12 lb. Napoleon in Massachusetts. There were founders in the Mid-West making some "James" rifles but those never became a significant component of the Federal field artillery.
 

Georgian183

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Apr 17, 2021
I was not aware of this until I read David Powell’s massive work on Chickamauga. As I read, I also noted that the Federal batteries seemed to be poorly equipped. I found it stunning.
My reading of this and other books on Chickamauga definitely indicates that canister was the most effective round used in the Western theatre as the thick wooded terrain limited the tactical employment of artillery. Thus the terrain nullified a great portion of medium/long range artillery fire.
 

Lubliner

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Welcome from the Railroads and Steam Locomotives Forum
You know it does seem off that it would be outfitted with older cannon by 1863 due to Rosecrans continual delay at beginning the campaign movement toward Chickamauga. He was constantly requesting Washington for better cavalry equipment, I do know that. I am surprised he would not requisition the same for his artillery units.
Lubliner.
 

Georgian183

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Welcome from the Railroads and Steam Locomotives Forum
You know it does seem off that it would be outfitted with older cannon by 1863 due to Rosecrans continual delay at beginning the campaign movement toward Chickamauga. He was constantly requesting Washington for better cavalry equipment, I do know that. I am surprised he would not requisition the same for his

I think a large portion of his requests fell on deaf ears by Secretary of War Stanton and Lincoln (other than resupply) as they just wanted him to bring Bragg to battle as soon as possible. Rosecrans was apparently trusted so little back east that the Secretary of War sent Mr. Charles Dana to spy on his command and report each and every step/mis-step to Washington (although they also did the same with Grant prior to Rosecrans).
 
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Lubliner

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I think a large portion of his requests fell on deaf ears by Secretary of War Stanton and Lincoln (other than resupply) as they just wanted him to bring Bragg to battle as soon as possible. Rosecrans was apparently trusted so little back east that the Secretary of War sent Mr. Charles Dana to spy on his command and report each and every step/mis-step to Washington (although they also did the same with Grant prior to Rosecrans).
If you have access to the O. R. (Cornell U.) I found the report of inspection to the Chief of Artillery in the Department of the Cumberland on Jan. 14, 1864. Series 1, Vol. 32, part 2, pg. 90-95. (My O. R. is on a disk, so correlate).
It covers all the pieces at Fort Donelson, Clarksville, Gallatin, Carthage, Franklin, Columbia, Nashville, Tullahoma, Elk River and Decherd, Stevenson, and Bridgeport.
Lubliner.
 

Peace Society

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Ark Mo line
I'm reading Peter Cozzens' This Terrible Sound - question about artillery at Chickamauga:

On day one Federals twice captured Rebel batteries, only to find it was their own guns. How did they know? Did different batteries mark their guns so they could be identified? In the first case, the guns were returned to their owners. The second, they were quietly absorbed by the capturing division. Does the author know which batteries' guns because of his careful study of who was where when, or did the participants know because there was some way to identify the pieces?
 

Championhilz

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Clinton, Mississippi
I'm reading Peter Cozzens' This Terrible Sound - question about artillery at Chickamauga:

On day one Federals twice captured Rebel batteries, only to find it was their own guns. How did they know? Did different batteries mark their guns so they could be identified? In the first case, the guns were returned to their owners. The second, they were quietly absorbed by the capturing division. Does the author know which batteries' guns because of his careful study of who was where when, or did the participants know because there was some way to identify the pieces?
Probably from the Northern foundry marks, either on the muzzle of the gun or on the trunnions.
 

Peace Society

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So they could disappear into use anywhere with no one the wiser? Too bad for the losing battery. Guess they would just requisition more. Though I remember Sherman telling one of his men, scratch together whatever you can find. And he did, replacing his lost parrotts with more of the same.
 

Belfoured

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Aug 3, 2019
So they could disappear into use anywhere with no one the wiser? Too bad for the losing battery. Guess they would just requisition more. Though I remember Sherman telling one of his men, scratch together whatever you can find. And he did, replacing his lost parrotts with more of the same.
To follow up, on the Federal side the rim of the muzzle would in most cases contain serial no., inspector initials, and founder's/manufacturer's mark and/or name. If I recall correctly, Parrott may have used separate serial numbers for US orders and orders from states (e.g., NY). Some of this information is how we can tell today whether a piece is an actual ACW piece and (just possibly) if it was used in the battle where it is placed today.
 

Peace Society

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Ark Mo line
Another question. Before the war were the arsenals all over the South supplied with guns from Northern foundries? If so, many of the captured Rebel pieces would appear to be Federal. One would have to keep track of who was where when to know which battery lost pieces and whether what was captured was recovered or one from an arsenal. (Thanks!)
 
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