Make up of an artillery battery

Kelly408

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Columbia, SC
I'm doing some research on the Wiggins Battery used during the Carolina's Campaign. It was described by Confederate Col. Dibrell as a two-gun battery located, at the time, outside Columbia, SC. Based on shell fragments, we are pretty sure at least one was a 3-inch ordinance rifle. Some speculate the other gun was a 12-pdr. Does it make sense that one battery would be made up of more than one type of gun?
 

Ole Miss

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I am not an artillery expert but at Shiloh batteries on both sides often had artillery tubes of different sizes and styles. Southern units especially, were equipped with whatever type of cannon could be secured.
I would suggest contacting @redbob for more detailed infromation.
Regards
David
 
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Rick Richter

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I'm doing some research on the Wiggins Battery used during the Carolina's Campaign. It was described by Confederate Col. Dibrell as a two-gun battery located, at the time, outside Columbia, SC. Based on shell fragments, we are pretty sure at least one was a 3-inch ordinance rifle. Some speculate the other gun was a 12-pdr. Does it make sense that one battery would be made up of more than one type of gun?
Yes, Confederate batteries were frequently of mixed armament, with two or even three types of guns.
 

Rhea Cole

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Wiggins' Battery certainly had an active service. After being all but wiped out at Shelbyville in Wheeler's resounding defeat, it served out the war as a single section [two gun] battery in name only. There is vey little likelihood that a single section of guns assigned to Wheeler's cavalry at that time would have two types of guns. Logistic logic, if nothing else, argues for two guns of the same type in the section.

The battery had a mix of 12 pound howitzers & 3" rifles before Shelbyville June 1863. Between the capture of Wiggins, 3 guns, abandonment of 2 guns & the return of 2 rifles as unserviceable during the spring of 1863, it is likely that the remaining 40 something men of the battery would have been issued two guns of the same type. There is no record that I could find that indicated that the battery was armed with mismatched guns. It could have happened, but the documentary evidence makes that highly unlikely.
 

Kelly408

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Columbia, SC
Wiggins' Battery certainly had an active service. After being all but wiped out at Shelbyville in Wheeler's resounding defeat, it served out the war as a single section [two gun] battery in name only. There is vey little likelihood that a single section of guns assigned to Wheeler's cavalry at that time would have two types of guns. Logistic logic, if nothing else, argues for two guns of the same type in the section.

The battery had a mix of 12 pound howitzers & 3" rifles before Shelbyville June 1863. Between the capture of Wiggins, 3 guns, abandonment of 2 guns & the return of 2 rifles as unserviceable during the spring of 1863, it is likely that the remaining 40 something men of the battery would have been issued two guns of the same type. There is no record that I could find that indicated that the battery was armed with mismatched guns. It could have happened, but the documentary evidence makes that highly unlikely.
The info I have comes from the Official Correspondence, Vol. 47, pt 2, pg 1015 where Dibrell writes on Jan. 15, 1865, "Sergeant McDaniel, of Wiggins' Battery, is with me also, with two guns." At the "battle" at Congaree Creek on Feb. 15, 1865, there were two guns behind the tete de pont. I'm figuring these two guns belong to the Wiggins Battery. The artifacts recovered from the battlefield included pieces of shell that would have been fired from a 3-inch rifle. I just assumed battery's were made up of the same guns, but I've obviously been corrected on that assumption.
 

Rhea Cole

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The info I have comes from the Official Correspondence, Vol. 47, pt 2, pg 1015 where Dibrell writes on Jan. 15, 1865, "Sergeant McDaniel, of Wiggins' Battery, is with me also, with two guns." At the "battle" at Congaree Creek on Feb. 15, 1865, there were two guns behind the tete de pont. I'm figuring these two guns belong to the Wiggins Battery. The artifacts recovered from the battlefield included pieces of shell that would have been fired from a 3-inch rifle. I just assumed battery's were made up of the same guns, but I've obviously been corrected on that assumption.
I think the fact that the "battery" only consisted of a section of two guns plus the archeological evidence of 3" rounds is conclusive.
 

ucvrelics

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I'm doing some research on the Wiggins Battery used during the Carolina's Campaign. It was described by Confederate Col. Dibrell as a two-gun battery located, at the time, outside Columbia, SC. Based on shell fragments, we are pretty sure at least one was a 3-inch ordinance rifle. Some speculate the other gun was a 12-pdr. Does it make sense that one battery would be made up of more than one type of gun?
Without ordnance reports its really hard to say. Wiggins was originally trained and outfitted as Light arty. At Shiloh they had 2 6lb smooth-bores and 2 12lb howitzer. After that they traipsed across the country with Gen Forrest and Gen Wheeler as horse artillery. By the end of the war that went by the wayside. Since the US Army was the largest supplier of cannons to the CS Army anything is possible. But trying to match a piece of 3 inch arty frag to them is just about impossible as being a 3 inch gun the round could have come from anywhere.
 

Kelly408

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Without ordnance reports its really hard to say. Wiggins was originally trained and outfitted as Light arty. At Shiloh they had 2 6lb smooth-bores and 2 12lb howitzer. After that they traipsed across the country with Gen Forrest and Gen Wheeler as horse artillery. By the end of the war that went by the wayside. Since the US Army was the largest supplier of cannons to the CS Army anything is possible. But trying to match a piece of 3 inch arty frag to them is just about impossible as being a 3 inch gun the round could have come from anywhere.
I normally would agree, but in this case Union forces only brought a 20lb Parrott and 12 lb Napoleons to the party (we have ordinance reports for this). The Confederates had 2 more batteries that included 12 lb howitzers and Napoleons....and then what ever was in Wiggins battery. This was at most a 4 hour skirmish and no other battles took place in this area. So the 3 inch shells must have come from Confederates. I think!
 

Belfoured

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Yes, Confederate batteries were frequently of mixed armament, with two or even three types of guns.
True. Occasionally, in order to deal with the mix of calibers and ordnance, sections with the same caliber/type would be placed in a temporary "battalion". Similar to the British in the AWI grabbing Lights or Grenadiers from multiple regiments and forming ad hoc infantry battalions. Mixing rifles with 12 lb howitzers or 6 lb smooth bores created a lot of tactical problems.
 

Rhea Cole

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1841 Six pound cannon & 12 pound howitzers copy.jpg

A two gun section of 1841 Model 6 pound cannon & a single 1841 12 pound howitzer. Stones River Living History
Photo by Author
At the Battle of Stones River, the majority of U.S. general Rosecrans' 14th Army Corps artillery was made up of six pounders & 12 pound howitzers. The same was true of the C.S. Army of Tennessee. In the early part of the war, batteries routinely consisted of a mix of 6 pounders & 12 pound howitzers. Following that doctrine, it was not uncommon for there to be a mix of rifled guns & howitzers. Needless to say, the logistical puzzle that resulted was challenging.
artillery fortress rosecrans copy.jpeg

Battle scarred 1841 Model 6 Pound Cannon, Fortress Rosecrans 1863​

After the battle, Rosecrans rationalized the makeup of his batteries. Virtually all of the 6 pounders & 12 pound howitzers were removed to fortifications. Napoleon gun/howitzers or 3" rifles of various models in homogenous 6 gun batteries became the rule in the newly organized Army of the Cumberland. Tactical doctrine was moving toward four gun batteries of either Napoleons or 3" rifles.

Bronze beauties copy.jpg

All Shined Up, Bronze Beauties at Chickamauga NB Living History Demonstration.
Three 6 pdr cannon, a 12 howitzer, & 2 gun rifle section of a Parrott & 3" Ordinance rifle.
Photo by Author​

The artillery of the Confederate Army of Tennessee, as depicted in the image above, continued to consist largely of 1841 Model 6 pdr & 12 pound howitzers. The traditional prewar practice of organizing batteries with a mix of cannon & howitzers was typical.

Eight gun battery fired from the left copy.jpeg

With the addition of rifles to the A of T's artillery park, mixed batteries with sections of rifles, six pdr's & or 12 pdr howitzers were common. As depicted in this image, controlling the fire of guns with disparate performance was a challenge for battery commanders.

 
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ucvrelics

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I normally would agree, but in this case Union forces only brought a 20lb Parrott and 12 lb Napoleons to the party (we have ordinance reports for this). The Confederates had 2 more batteries that included 12 lb howitzers and Napoleons....and then what ever was in Wiggins battery. This was at most a 4 hour skirmish and no other battles took place in this area. So the 3 inch shells must have come from Confederates. I think!
Could you post a photo of the fragment in question
 

Kelly408

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Columbia, SC
Could you post a photo of the fragment in question
A couple of points...these fragments were collected by archeologists in 2014 so there wasn't much left by then. I give tours here and have yet to be shown the actual fragments - they aren't for public viewing. This is a picture of the picture board I supposed to use in my presentation. I actually use real artifacts from other battlefields and pass them around. Nothing like seeing a 10 year old hold a solid 12 pounder for the first time. At least before Covid.

IMG_5505.JPG
 

Belfoured

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View attachment 382422
A two gun section of 1841 Model 6 pound cannon & a single 1841 12 pound howitzer. Stones River Living History
Photo by Author
At the Battle of Stones River, the majority of U.S. general Rosecrans' 14th Army Corps artillery was made up of six pounders & 12 pound howitzers. The same was true of the C.S. Army of Tennessee. In the early part of the war, batteries routinely consisted of a mix of 6 pounders & 12 pound howitzers. Following that doctrine, it was not uncommon for there to be a mix of rifled guns & howitzers. Needless to say, the logistical puzzle that resulted was challenging.
View attachment 382423
Battle scarred 1841 Model 6 Pound Cannon, Fortress Rosecrans 1863​

After the battle, Rosecrans rationalized the makeup of his batteries. Virtually all of the 6 pounders & 12 pound howitzers were removed to fortifications. Napoleon gun/howitzers or 3" rifles of various models in homogenous 6 gun batteries became the rule in the newly organized Army of the Cumberland. Tactical doctrine was moving toward four gun batteries of either Napoleons or 3" rifles.

View attachment 382424
All Shined Up, Bronze Beauties at Chickamauga NB Living History Demonstration.
Three 6 pdr cannon, a 12 howitzer, & 2 gun rifle section of a Parrott & 3" Ordinance rifle.
Photo by Author​

The artillery of the Confederate Army of Tennessee, as depicted in the image above, continued to consist largely of 1841 Model 6 pdr & 12 pound howitzers. The traditional prewar practice of organizing batteries with a mix of cannon & howitzers was typical.


With the addition of rifles to the A of T's artillery park, mixed batteries with sections of rifles, six pdr's & or 12 pdr howitzers were common. As depicted in this image, controlling the fire of guns with disparate performance was a challenge for battery commanders.

Great photos. During the Overland Campaign Hunt agreed to reduce standard battery size in the A of the P to 4 guns in a negotiation with Grant that saved the Artillery Reserve. He prioritized having a centralized artillery command and tactics over keeping the 6-gun battery. Grant was focused on the inability to make use of the Reserve at the Wilderness because of the terrain, etc.
 
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