The Virginia in the Civil War Message Board

Re: Department of Richmond – – the heavy artil

Bryce-Here is some information from my notes about the use of these Battalions as infantry:

3/19/63 Richmond to Col Rhett chief of Arty cdg Richmond defenses-...there is no law for the organization of Hvy Arty Co's. They must be regarded as Infy on Arty duty & must conform to the Infy organization...

3/19/63 Lee to Davis-On my arrival yesterday, learning that the enemy's Cav had retired across the Rappahannock, & that no effort was being made by their Infy to cross the river, I countermanded the orders for Pickett's & Hood's Div’s to march in this direction, & returned to Richmond the two Bns of Hvy Arty, armed as Infy, that I had brought up to Hanover Junction to guard our stores, RR bridges, &c.

4/7/63 AG to Lee-In response to Gen Heth's of 3/13 that Lt Col Howard's Bn of Arty be ordered to his Bgde, the Sec says it was referred to Gen Elzey & his endorsement was that Howard's Bn formed an important part of Co Rhett's command & cannot be spared without serious injury to that corps. It is not an Infy organization but like all Hvy Arty it has muskets for self-defense & is not available for detached service except in extreme necessity as was the case a few days since.
Col Rhett has exerted himself to organize & improve his command & it be an injustice to him to cut it up to fill up others.
In consequence of above it is not desired to spare Howard's Bn at this time

4/27 Our entire command (Lightfoot's Bn), & a large part of the City Defenses, all under command of Col Rhett, left today for Gordonsville & the vicinity

4/28 Rhett's command arrived at Gordonsville that night

4/30/63 Lee to Davis-Dispatch of 11.30 P.m. yesterday received. Gen Stuart is supposed to have crossed Rapidan last Night to interrupt Enemy's column at Germania. He cut it in the afternoon near Maddens
As the Federal Cav was moving on Lee's flank & as a strong Infy force was suspected to be moving beyond Lee's left toward Gordonsville, it was highly important that the Va Central RR be protected, in case the Federals could not be turned back.
T. S. Rhett's command, some 1,400 eff, was rushed to Gordonsville & other troops were ordered from Staunton.

May 20, 21, 23, 24, & 25, 1864-Report of inspection of the Bns of Hvy Arty of the Richmond Defenses:
1st Div, Lt Col J W Atkinson cdg, composed of 10th Va Bn, Maj J 0 Hensley cdg; 19th Va Bn, Maj N R Cary cdg
2nd Div, Lt Col James Howard cdg; composed of 18th Va Bn, Maj M B Hardin cdg; 20th Va Bn, Maj J E Robertson cdg
Drill: As Infy, imperfect; in Co’s A & C, 19th Va Bn, bad; as Hvy Arty, good, except dtchmt Co A, 20th Bn, on Mill road, Most of the cdg officers report that owing to the heavy details for guard duty in Richmond during the last ten months they have been unable to drill their commands The morale of these 'troops has been doubtless much impaired by this service Three drills a day have recently been ordered by Gen Pemberton, & the details for city duty are suspended With the exception of two or three
Co’s, which have seen service, the men have had no Arty practice The NCO’s are reported as generally ignorant of the theory of firing
No officers absent without leave; 9 men who received furloughs remain absent without leave Clothing very good; 11 men entirely without shoes, the remainder generally with excellent shoes; 72 men without a blanket These Bns have no transportation

Arms: 1125 smooth-bore, caliber 69; 28 rifled, caliber, 69; 215 rifled, caliber 58; 260 rifled, caliber, 54. In no case were the arms in as good order as is required of troops in garrison; many were rusty, Ammunition for Arty & small-arms in good condition The magazines on the intermediate line are generally damp

The number of extra duty men is not excessive Four men of the 20th Bn are improperly detailed as a permanent guard at Mr. Lyon's house; they should be relieved at short intervals As artillerists: It is not probable that these troops would do good
service in an emergency, on account of their almost entire want of practice in or out of the presence of the enemy; as Infy, scattered & broken up as the Co’s now are, they cannot be considered efficient. Two or three Co’s of veteran artillerists would be a much more reliable force at the guns on the lines of Richmond, & these Bns organized as a Bgde of Infy (1,429 bayonets), if it can be legally done, would make a handsome reinforcement to any army, in the field
The Hvy Arty would become very active in 1864. 1st, on 2/4/64 thirty men were reassigned from the 10th & 19th Bns to the Engineer Regt. On the 20th, Capt Chalmers of Smithfield was ordered to exchange his Springfield muskets for an equal number of Miss Rifles. On March 1, 1864, 19th Bn was ordered to proceed immediately to the intersection of the intermediate lines with the Brooke Turnpike with rations on hand & 30 rounds of ammunition in their cartridge boxes. The movement was in response to the Kilpatrick-Dahlgren raid on Richmond. Afterwards, Col Stevens reported that the Arty had been “handled exceedingly well”. In May 1864, the 10th & 19th Bns were shuffled around to meet the rumored advances of Gen Butler.
In late May 1864 Col Archer Anderson in his inspection of Richmond Arty defenses stated “As Infy, imperfect . . . : as Hvy Arty good.” However, more drills were ordered, & part of 19th Bn was ordered to the Mechanicsville Turnpike & the Intermediate Lines. Also, the Btry on the Williamsburg Road was transferred from the 19th Bn to the 10th Bn.

4/6/65 Sailor’s Creek
… G W. Custis Lee’s Div, the rear guard of Ewell’s Corps, contained Richmond defense troops, Hvy Arty men turned Infy including from Col Crutchfield’s Bn & a few veteran units such as the 18th Ga Bn.
FOUR YEARS UNDER MARSE ROBERT: Stiles, Robert, 1836-1905
…Some time, I think in December, '64,--strange as it may appear, I am not certain of the date,--I was promoted to be major of artillery, and ordered on duty with the battalion of heavy artillery at Chaffin's Bluff, on the north side of the James River, about ten or twelve miles below Richmond, and about a mile below Drewry's Bluff, which was on the south side. There were batteries of heavy guns on the shore at both these points, the battalions manning them being also armed with muskets, and our iron-clads were anchored in the river about and between the two land batteries. These iron-clads were manned by a body of marines and seamen under command of Admiral Tucker. At the close of the campaign proper of 1864 all the troops manning the defenses of Richmond who were not strictly of the Army of Northern Virginia were under command of Lieutenant-General Ewell, who was in charge of the Department of Richmond. The heavy artillery battalions on the river--the Chaffin's Bluff battalion among them--and the local troops manning the parts of the line adjacent thereto constituted the division of Gen. Custis Lee

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Department of Richmond – – the heavy artillery
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Re: Department of Richmond – – the heavy artil
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Re: Department of Richmond – – the heavy artil