War of the Rebellion: Serial 027 Page 0205 Chapter XXXI. THE MARYLAND CAMPAIGN.

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Numbers 7. Report of Brigadier General Henry J. Hunt, U. S. Army, Chief of Artillery, Army of the Potomac, of operations September 5-20.


Camp near Falmonth, Va., February 6, 1863.

GENERAL: I have the honor to report the general operations of the artillery of the Army of the Potomac, from the date of my appointment as chief of artillery, September 5, 1862, to the close of the Maryland campaign. The report, although it embraces the whole period of the campaign, must be necessarily brief, and, as regards battles, general, as the reports of action were made by battery commanders mostly to division and corps commanders.

On assuming the command, I found the artillery much disorganized. The batteries of the Army of the Potomac reached Aquia Creek from the Peninsula, drivers and horses in one class of transports, the batteries and cannoneers in another; consequently Major-General Porter, who directed that every energy should be employed in organizing the troops to move up the Rappahannock, ordered that as rapidly as batteries could be equipped they should be pushed forward, without regard to the troops with which they belonged. They were accordingly forwarded as fast as completed to Falmonth, where they were assigned to whatever divisions were ready to march. A number of the batteries of the Artillery Reserve then became separated from their command, and attached to troops not only of the Army of the Potomac, but to those of the Army of Virginia; and when I reached Falmonth from Aquia Creek, where I had been left in charge of the debarkation, I found that General Porter had gone forward, and I reported to General Burnside with the remainder.

When the army left Washington, I was compelled to obtain on the roads the names and condition of the batteries and the troops to which they were attached. Not only were the batteries of the Army of the Potomac dispersed as stated, and serving with other divisions than their own, but I had no knowledge of the artillery of the corps that had joined from the other armies other than what I could pick up on the road. Many had not been refitted since the August campaign; some had lost more or less guns; others were greatly deficient in men and horses, and a number were wholly unserviceable from all these causes combined.

The first measures were directed to procuring supplies of ammunition, and several hundred wagon-loads were, when we were at Rockville, ordered to be forwarded from the arsenal at Washington. Batteries were supplied from the Artillery Reserve to the corps and divisions deficient in guns. Horses were taken from the baggage train and men temporarily detailed from the infantry, and by the time the artillery reached the Antietam it was (considering the condition in which the disastrous campaign in August had left it) very respectably provided. Like the rest of the army, the artillery may be said to have been organized on the march and in the intervals of conflict.

The horse artillery, consisting of Gibson's, Tidball's, Robertson's, and Hains' (late Benson's) batteries to the cavalry, and, under the orders of Brigadier-General Pleasonton, were actively and efficiently employed throughout the entire campaign. On the 13th of September the enemy attempted to stop the march of our columns between Hamburg and Middletown. His guns were silenced and his force driven off by Gibson's and Hains' batteries, and followed up to a point a mile beyond Middletown, where he again attempted to make a stand, with the