foundries which had hitherto exclusively supplied to the United States the requisite ordnance material. The Ordnance Department promptly met my requisitions, by enlarging as far as possible the operations of the arsenals of supply and construction, and by the extensive employment of private contractors. The use of contract work, while it gave increased facility in meeting promptly the suddenly increased demand, was the unavoidable cause of introducing into the service much inferior ordnance material. The gun-carriages were particularly open to this objection, and their bad construction was in more than one instance the unfortunate occasion of the loss of field-guns. It affords me great satisfaction to state that the Ordnance Department in the main kept the supply constantly up to the demand, and by the cheerful and ready attention to complaints, and the prompt creation of the requisite means enabled me to withdraw inferior material, and substitute such as was found to be more reliable. To Lieutenant-Colonel Ramsay, in command of Washington Arsenal, to Lieutenant Bradford, his assistant, and to Captain Benton, in the office of the Chief of Ordnance, these remarks in particular apply. To their promptness, industry and active general cooperation am I indebted in a great degree for the means which enabled me to organize such an immense artillery force in so short a time. As has been before stated, the whole of the field-artillery of the “Division of the Potomac,” July twenty-fifth, 1861, was comprised in nine imperfectly equipped batteries of thirty guns, six hundred and fifty men, and four hundred horses. In March, 1862, when the whole army took the field, it consisted of ninety-two batteries, of five hundred and twenty guns, twelve thousand five hundred men, and eleven thousand horses; fully equipped and in readiness for active field service. Of the whole force, thirty batteries were regulars, and sixty-two batteries volunteers. During this short period of seven months nearly all this immense amount of material was issued to me, and placed in the hands of the artillery troops after their arrival in Washington. About one quarter of all the volunteer batteries brought with them from their respective States a few guns and carriages; but they were nearly all of such peculiar calibre as to lack uniformity with the more modern and more serviceable ordnance, with which I was arming the other batteries, and they had therefore to be withdrawn, and replaced by more suitable material. While about one sixth came supplied with horses and harness, less than one tenth were apparently fully equipped for service when they reported to me, and every one of these latter required the supply of many deficiencies of material, and all of them very extensive instructions in the theory And practice of their special arm. When the army of the Potomac on the first of April, 1862, embarked for Fort Monroe and the Virginia Peninsula, the field-artillery which had been organized under my direction, was disposed as follows:
The operations on the Peninsula by the army of the Potomac commenced, therefore, with a field-artillery force of fifty-two batteries of two hundred and ninety-nine guns.
To this must be added the field-artillery of Franklin's division of McDowell's corps, (four batteries of twenty-two guns,) which joined a few days before the capture of Yorktown, but was not disembarked from its transports for service until after the battle of Williamsburgh; and the field-artillery of McCall's division of McDowell's corps, (four batteries of twenty-two guns,) which joined in June--a few days before the battle of Mechanicsville, (June twenty-sixth, 1862;) making a grand total of field-artillery, at any time with the army of the Potomac, on the Peninsula, of sixty batteries of three hundred and forty-three guns.
With this large force serving in six corps d'armee of eleven divisions, and the artillery reserve, the only general and field-officers were: One brigadier-general, four colonels, three lieutenant-colonels, and three majors — a number obviously insufficient, and which impaired to a great degree the efficiency of the arm, in consequence of the want of rank and official influence of the commanders of corps and divisional artillery.
As this faulty organization can only be suitably corrected by legislative action, it is earnestly hoped that the attention of the proper authorities may be at an early day invited to it. Where there were so many newly organized volunteer field-batteries, many of whom received their first and only instruction in the intrenched camps covering Washington during the three or four inclement months of the winter of 1861-2, there was of course much to be improved.
Many of the volunteer batteries, however, evinced such zeal and intelligence, and availed themselves so industriously of the instructions of the regular officer, their commander, and of the example of the regular battery, their associates, that they made rapid progress, and finally attained a degree of proficiency highly creditable.
Special detailed reports have been made and transmitted by me of the general artillery operations at the siege of Yorktown, and, by their immediate commanders, of the services of the field-batteries at the battles of Williamsburgh, Hanover Court-House, and those severely contested ones comprised in the operations in front of Richmond.
|Detached for service in Dept. of South-Carolina,||2||12|
|Detached for service in Dept. of North-Carolina,||1||6|
|Detached for service in Department of the Gulf,||1||6|
|Detached for service in Command of Major-Gen. Dix, (Baltimore,)||8||20|
|Detached for service in Mountain Department, (Div. Blenker,)||3||18|
|First Corps, (Major-Gen. McDowell,)||12||68|
|Fifth Corps, (Major-Gen. Banks,)||12||59|
|Defences of Washington, (Brig.-Gen. Wadsworth,)||7||32|
|Embarked (March 15th to April 1st) for the Peninsula,||52||299|