Notes on the Composition of Confederate Second Corps Artillery Batteries at Gettysburg

Tom Elmore

1st Lieutenant
Member of the Year
Jan 16, 2015
The artillery of Lieutenant General Richard S. Ewell’s Second Corps was significantly upgraded during the early stages of the Gettysburg campaign (two weeks prior to the battle), thanks to a large acquisition of enemy guns captured at Winchester and Martinsburg. By one account, two 24-pounder Howitzers, four 20-pounder Parrotts, and 17 3-inch Ordnance Rifles were captured from Gen. Robert H. Milroy’s force at Winchester, while four additional 3-inch Ordnance Rifles were captured at Martinsburg. Apparently some 10-pounder Parrotts were in the mix as well (see below). All of these fine rifled guns, excluding the two large Howitzers, were distributed among Ewell’s batteries (so far as is known), replacing many outdated or inferior pieces. In addition, the Confederates captured 270 wagons/ambulances and 400 horses. Unfortunately the available sources permit only a partial understanding of how the captured guns were allocated to the various batteries before the battle, although hopefully additional information will come to light:

Captain William J. Reese’s battery, in Lieutenant Colonel Thomas H. Carter’s battalion, was completely reequipped with four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles, plus two ambulances and horses that were taken from Capt. Thomas Maulsby’s Battery F, 1st West Virginia Artillery at Martinsburg on June 14. Reese turned over his one Napoleon, one Howitzer and two Rifles (manufactured at Rome, Georgia) to the Confederate Ordnance Department for disposition. Sergeant Nicholas Weeks, Jr. of the 3rd Alabama recalled that Maulsby’s command was “the finest battery of light artillery I had most ever seen” … “every horse a deep bay, fat and sleek, and bearing the brand 1 M. B. on the shoulder.” (With Jackson in the Valley, by John Purifoy of Reese’s Battery, Confederate Veteran, vol. 30 (1922), p. 383; Address of Nicholas Weeks, Jr., Company A, 3rd Alabama, Galveston Daily News, April 4, 1904, quoted in Lone Star Valor: Texans of the Blue & Gray at Gettysburg, by Joe Owen,, 2019; Official Report of Col. E. A. O’Neal)

Captain Archibald Graham’s battery, in Capt. Willis J. Dance’s reserve battalion, received on June 15 two of the 20-pounder Parrotts captured at Winchester, which replaced an old 6-pounder brass gun and a 12-pounder Napoleon – a significant upgrade in firepower. The battery already had two 20-pounder Parrotts previously acquired at Harper’s Ferry (in 1862?). Each of the battery’s four heavy Parrotts at Gettysburg required 16 horses, eight for the gun (and limber) and eight more for the accompanying caisson. (The Story of a Cannoneer under Stonewall Jackson, by Edward Alexander Moore of the Rockbridge Artillery, New York and Washington: The Neale Publishing Company, 1907; Diary of Robert Sherrard Bell, Old Court House Civil War Museum, Winchester, Virginia,, 2/24/2007)

Captain David Watson’s battery, in Capt. Willis J. Dance’s reserve battalion, received two new Federal guns on June 16 according to Corporal John Vest, at which time they exchanged two 3-inch Ordnance Rifles with “I Co.” for two Parrotts, which gave them four 10-pounder Parrotts at Gettysburg. The inference is that they received two 10-pounder Parrotts from Milroy, and Vest reinforced that view with a comment that he received a “complete set of new Yankee harness for my gun.” This battery, known as the Second Company, Richmond Howitzers, presumably provided their two Ordnance Rifles to Capt. Edward S. McCarthy’s battery (First Company of Richmond Howitzers) in the First Corps, in exchange for two of the latter’s Parrotts. (Diary of John Henry Vest, Second Company Richmond Howitzers, Museum of the Confederacy, Richmond, Virginia, now the American Civil War Museum)

Four Federal pieces captured on June 14, not further described but probably 3-inch Ordnance Rifles, were absorbed into Lieutenant Colonel Hilary Pollard Jones’ battalion of four batteries. (Official Report of Lt. Col. H. P. Jones)

Other comments:

Captain Richard Channing Moore Page’s battery, in Lt. Col. Thomas H. Carter’s battalion, brought four 12-pounder Napoleons to Gettysburg. Earlier in the year, on February 20, the battery had been equipped with one Napoleon, one 3-inch Ordnance Rifle and four 6-pounder guns. (Morris, Orange and King William Artillery, by Gregory J. Macaluso, The Virginia Regimental Histories Series, Lynchburg, VA: H. E. Howard, Inc., 1991)

Captain Charles W. Fry’s battery, in Lt. Col. Thomas H. Carter’s battalion, had two 3-inch Ordnance Rifles and two 10-pounder Parrotts at Gettysburg, which was still the case in May and August 1864. Back on February 20, 1863 it had one Napoleon, two 12-pounder Howitzers and two 6-pounders. (Morris, Orange and King William Artillery, by Gregory J. Macaluso, The Virginia Regimental Histories Series, Lynchburg, VA: H. E. Howard, Inc., 1991; 1864 Ordnance Reports, Special Collections, University of Arkansas Libraries, Fayetteville)

Captain William P. Carter’s battery, in Lt. Col. Thomas H. Carter’s battalion, brought two 12-pounder Napoleons and two 10-pounder Parrotts to Gettysburg. Just over four months earlier the battery had consisted of one Napoleon, one Parrott, two 12-pounder Howitzers and one 6-pounder smoothbore. (Morris, Orange and King William Artillery, by Gregory J. Macaluso, The Virginia Regimental Histories Series, Lynchburg, VA: H. E. Howard, Inc., 1991)

Captain John C. Carpenter’s battery, in Major Joseph W. Latimer’s battalion, had two 12-pounder Napoleons and two 3-inch Ordnance Rifles at Gettysburg. The Napoleons may have been the same ones captured at Second Manassas in August 1862. (A Centennial History of Alleghany County, Virginia, by Oren F. Morton, reprint, Bridgewater, VA: C. J. Carrier Company, 1970)

Captain Asher W. Garber’s battery, in Lt. Col. Hilary P. Jones’ battalion, had four 12-pounder Napoleons, one of which was struck obliquely on the muzzle by an enemy solid shot on July 1, “giving it the appearance of making an effort to look cross-eyed at the sky.” This piece was left for the time being just north of town, where it attracted considerable attention from passersby. Later that afternoon, Garber sent a limber to retrieve one of the two Napoleons that Gen. Hays’ Louisiana brigade had captured from Capt. Lewis Heckman’s Battery K, 1st Ohio Artillery, as a replacement gun. It remained with the battery for the rest of the war. (Memoir of John W. F. Hatton, Dement’s Maryland Battery, Library of Congress, on file at Gettysburg National Military Park; Official Report of Lt. Col. H. P. Jones; February 24, 1904 account of Capt. A. W. Garber, Supplement to the Official Records)

See also, notes on the Confederate First Corps batteries: