National Park Service black bar with arrowhead logo
History and Culture
Gettysburg Seminar Papers

The Army of the Potomac in the Gettysburg Campaign

The Army of the Potomac's Logisticians during the Gettysburg Campaign
Mark A. Snell

"Few appreciate the difficulties of supplying an army. If you will calculate that every man eats, or is entitled to eat, nearly two pounds a day, you can easily estimate what a large army consumes. But besides what men eat, there are horses and mules for artillery, cavalry, and transportation in vast numbers, all which must be fed or the army is dissolved or made inefficient. There is another all-important matter of ammunition, a large supply of which for infantry and artillery must be carried, besides what is carried on the person and in the ammunition chests of guns and caissons. Our men carry forty rounds in boxes, and when approaching a possible engagement take twenty more on the person. Of this latter, from perspiration, rain, and many causes there is great necessary waste. It is an article that cannot be dispensed with, of course, and the supply on the person must be kept up. The guns cannot be kept loaded, therefore the diminution is constant from this necessary waste. My division, at present numbers, will require forty to fifty wagons to carry the extra infantry ammunition. You should see the long train of wagons of the reserve artillery, passing as I write, to feel what an item this single want is."

Alpheus Williams to his daughters
July 6, 1863

Nineteenth-century military theorist Baron Antoine Henri Jomini defined logistics as "the practical art of moving armies." He submitted that logistics also included "providing for the successive arrival of convoys of supplies ... [and] establishing and organizing ... lines of supplies." In other words, logistics was defined as the "practical art of moving armies and keeping them supplied." [1]

As important as logistical operations are to a successful military campaign, there have been very few studies that focus on this aspect of military history. Even in the field of Civil War scholarship, where almost everything has been studied several times over, little has been written. The few inquiries into this subject are concerned with strategic logistics, or the movement of troops and supplies within a given theater of war or between theaters. Only a handful of Civil War studies focus on tactical logistics, which can be defined as the movement and supply of troops in a given campaign or battle. [2]

An examination of logistical operations during the Gettysburg Campaign could fill an entire lengthy volume when one considers the magnitude of moving and supplying the 163,000 soldiers who comprised the two armies that participated. This essay, therefore, merely will serve as a primer to familiarize students of the war with the missions and staff functions of logisticians serving the field armies, using the Army of the Potomac's logisticians as a case study.

The three staff functions examined are the roles of the Quartermaster General, the Commissary of Subsistence, and the Chief Ordnance Officer.

Before jumping ahead to the summer of 1863, however, it first is necessary to understand the historical background of the United States Army's supply departments. When the Rebellion began in the spring of 1861, the three army departments responsible for arming, supplying, moving, and feeding U. S. soldiers found themselves in a terrible predicament. Not only were the Quartermaster, Subsistence, and Ordnance departments ill-prepared for a large-scale conflict, these organizations also suffered the loss of many key officers who resigned to join the Confederacy.

The Quartermaster Department, which was formed in 1812, was responsible for land and water transportation, billeting, clothing, providing some categories of personal equipment, and procuring horses and forage. In 1861 the Department had an authorized strength of 37 officers and seven military storekeepers. Almost one-fourth of the Department's officers, including the Quartermaster General, Brigadier General Joseph E. Johnston, resigned to cast their lot with the South. [3]

The Subsistence Department had similar difficulties. Organized in 1818 and charged with feeding the troops, the Department had an authorized strength of only twelve officers when the war began. Secession brought the immediate resignation of four officers, a loss of one-third of the Department. Congress remedied the situation by passing legislation in August 1861 that added twelve more officer positions, for a total of twenty-four. This was still too small an officer corps to oversee the procurement and issue of food for hundreds of thousands of men, so a year and a half later the department again was modestly enlarged to twenty-nine officers. [4]

The Ordnance Department probably had the most difficult assignment of the three supply departments in 1861: it was responsible for the manufacture and procurement of small arms, edged weapons, artillery, ammunition, and accouterments used by the land forces. In addition, the Department was responsible for storage and accountability of ordnance supplies at all Federal arsenals, for maintaining those weapons once they were with the field armies, and for issuing and transporting the ammunition.

Complicating matters was the fact that the United States Government owned only two weapons manufacturing facilities when the war began. The United States Armory at Harpers Ferry was captured immediately by Confederate forces and its machinery dismantled and transported south. This left the Springfield Armory as the lone government-owned weapons-producing facility in the Union, thus making it necessary for the Ordnance Department to contract with private gun makers both at home and abroad. The end result was that many different makes and calibers of small arms saw service in the Union army for the first two years of the conflict. The Ordnance Corps originally had been part of the Corps of Artillery, but in 1832 Congress passed legislation to make it an autonomous department. Still, the Department had only forty-one officers when the conflict began. [5] Some, like Benjamin Huger, would resign to join the Confederate army, while many other ordnance officers, such as Oliver Otis Howard and Jesse Reno, would take field commands in the Union army.

Although the supply departments of the United States Army were ill-prepared and undermanned before the outbreak of hostilities, the men in charge of them would have to quickly overcome any obstacles and adapt to the pressing needs of the service once the shooting began. Most of the logistical officers of the Regular Army were West Point graduates and had several years, if not decades, of experience in their respective specialties. The rapid expansion of the Union Army in 1861, however, would mean that untried and inexperienced volunteers would fill the ranks of the Quartermaster, Ordnance, and Subsistence departments for the war's duration.

By the time that the Army of Northern Virginia embarked on its second invasion of the North, the logistical officers of the Army of the Potomac had gained a wealth of experience since the opening shots two years earlier. During the time since the first battle of Bull Run, the officers and enlisted men of the three supply departments had moved the entire Army of the Potomac to the Virginia Peninsula and back again, they had armed the soldiers with adequate small arms and artillery—albeit of many different types and calibers—and they had supplied the troops by water, rail, and overland transportation. (Rail transport was the responsibility of the Director of Military Railroads, initially a civilian-run operation, but the Quartermaster Department was responsible for all procurement activities of that organization.) [6]

The Army of the Potomac's logisticians had learned valuable lessons about locating forward supply depots too close to the front lines, such as at Savage's Station, just east of Richmond. There, on the Richmond and York River Railroad during the Seven Days' battles the year before, hundreds of thousands of dollars in army supplies had to be set to the torch lest they be captured by the advancing Confederates. [7] During that same campaign, the logisticians learned the hard way about the proper organization and coordination of wagon train movements, for when Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan ordered the change of his army's supply base from the York to the James River, confusion reigned, and it was every wagon-train master for himself. The result of the haphazard movement from the supply base at White House on the York River, to Harrison's Landing on the James, was the loss of almost half of the Army of the Potomac's 5000 wagons. [8]

By the third summer of the war, the men responsible for supplying, arming, and moving the Army of the Potomac had become seasoned veterans. Army regulations had streamlined to some extent the troops baggage trains, which now were organized, moved by schedule, and left far to the rear when a battle was imminent. In addition, the standardization of ammunition calibers finally was coming about, and the soldiers were well-clothed and fed. The men in Washington charged with overseeing these functions also had come a long way since 1861. The most prominent was Quartermaster General Montgomery C. Meigs. Meigs had not been a quartermaster before the war, but had served his entire career in the Corps of Engineers. For much of the previous decade he had been assigned with the rank of captain as the chief engineer in charge of the construction of the new Capitol dome in Washington. He was relieved from this position in 1859 by the unscrupulous secretary of war, John B. Floyd. Meigs was appointed Quartermaster General after Abraham Lincoln took office. Meigs was a brilliant engineer and very detail-oriented. His aggressive management of the Quartermaster Department's operations, coupled with his strong belief in the Union cause, were the driving factors behind his success. [9]

When the war began the head of the Subsistence Department was Colonel George Gibson, an old man who had been an invalid for many years. Running the day-to-day operations of the Department was Lieutenant Colonel Joseph P. Taylor, who became the Commissary General of Subsistence when Gibson died in September 1861. The Commissary General's mission was as daunting as the tasks charged to Montgomery Meigs. Unlike armies in European wars where the troops generally were expected to live off the land, most food for the Union forces was purchased in the major metropolitan areas of the North and then packed and shipped to field depots. From there the foodstuffs were issued to the commissary officers of the field armies and then transported to the troops. The exception to this procedure was the procurement of flour and beef, both commodities usually being purchased in the areas were the armies were operating. Much of the fresh beef was transported with the armies in herds and then slaughtered as needed. [10]

The Chief of Ordnance when the war began was another old man, Colonel Henry Knox Craig, then seventy years of age. Deemed not suitable to manage the wartime demands that would be placed on the Department, he was replaced in April 1861 by Lieutenant Colonel James W. Ripley, who at sixty-seven years of age was no young man himself. Yet Ripley was equal to the assignment, and he certainly had the experience to run the Department, having previously served in several important ordnance positions including stints as commander of Watertown Arsenal and Springfield Armory. His most important duty would be to properly arm the hundreds of thousands of men entering the Union army. Although the Ordnance Department has been greatly criticized by some historians for failing to arm the troops with the most modern weapons then available, a close examination of the facts reveals that Ripley and his officers accomplished a monumental task just ensuring that most of the front line troops were armed with rifled-muskets, regardless of their make, caliber, or from which end of the barrel they were loaded. By 1863, domestic production of first-quality rifled-muskets had made it possible to begin replacement of all but the best European-made arms, such as the Enfield, then in the hands of the troops. [11]

Still, the Army of the Potomac's soldiers carried a variety of different long arms onto the field of battle at Gettysburg, including .54, .577, .58, and .69 caliber muskets, and a few units carried breech-loading Sharps rifles. (The .577 and .58 caliber were interchangeable, and most of the .69 caliber weapons were smoothbores.) Cavalry troopers were armed primarily with .52 caliber Sharps carbines, although a few other makes and calibers could be found. Troopers also were armed with .44 or .36 caliber single-action pistols. Union artillery primarily employed "twelve-pounder" smooth-bore cannon that fired spherical ammunition, and "ten-pounder" Parrott rifles and three-inch ordnance rifles that fired elongated concoidal ammunition. Only one Union battery in the Army of the Potomac employed a larger cannon, the twenty-pound Parrott rifle. [12]

It is important to recognize that the greater the variety of ammunition required, the more wagons were required to haul it (only one type of ammunition was authorized per wagon), and the greater the chance that the wrong caliber of ammunition would be issued during the heat of battle.

All three supply departments had experienced problems with crooked contractors early in the war, part of which was exacerbated by a lack of qualified officers who could check the corruption and fraud. Legislation expanding the departments remedied the situation somewhat, but the small number of Regular Army officers filling critical positions would hamper the efficiency of the logistical departments for the rest of the war. Since ordnance, quartermaster, and subsistence officers also were authorized on army, corps, division, and sometimes brigade and regimental staffs, there obviously would not be enough qualified officers to go around. Thus, these staff positions usually were filled by line officers, who normally were volunteers themselves. When officers were placed in logistical staff positions but were not assigned to the respective supply departments, they were designated as "acting-," such as "acting assistant quartermaster" or "acting commissary of subsistence." The majority of the logistical officers in the Army of the Potomac fit this bill.

In the summer of 1863, however, the three chief logisticians of the Army of the Potomac were Regular Army officers holding commissions in their respective departments, and they all had a good deal of field experience in their areas of expertise.

Rufus Ingalls

Key among the Army of the Potomac's logisticians was its quartermaster general, Brigadier General Rufus Ingalls, an 1843 graduate of West Point and a classmate of U. S. Grant. A Maine native, Ingalls originally was commissioned a dragoon officer and saw service during the Mexican War. He became a quartermaster in 1848, so by the time of the Civil War he had thirteen years' experience under his belt. [13] Ingalls became the Quartermaster General of the Army of the Potomac at the close of the Peninsula Campaign in the summer of 1862. He was a little more than a month away from his 44th birthday when the Battle of Gettysburg was fought. [14]

Henry F. Clarke

The Chief Commissary of Subsistence was Colonel Henry F. Clarke of Pennsylvania. Like Ingalls, Clarke also was a 1843 graduate of West Point. He finished 12th in the class of 1843, ahead of both Ingalls and U. S. Grant. His friends gave him the nickname "Ruddy," apparently because of his rugged complexion. He was commissioned in the artillery and served in the 2nd U. S. Artillery in Mexico where he was wounded in action and breveted for gallantry. [15] After the Mexican War, he was assigned as a mathematics professor at West Point where he formed close friendships with future Union generals George McClellan, William Franklin, and Fitz John Porter, as well as future Confederate General Dabney Maury. [16] Clarke transferred from the artillery to the Subsistence Department in 1857 and served as the Chief Commissary of Subsistence for the Mormon Expedition that same year. In 1861, he married the daughter of Joseph Taylor, the Commissary General of Subsistence of the U. S. Army. Clarke became the Chief Commissary of Subsistence for the Army of the Potomac when his friend McClellan took command in the summer of 1861. [17] Ruddy Clarke was forty-two years of age in the summer of 1863.

Daniel Webster Flagler

Captain Daniel Webster Flagler was the Army of the Potomac's Chief Ordnance Officer. A native of New York State, he graduated from the United States Military Academy in June 1861 and was commissioned directly into the Ordnance Corps. He served as an acting aide-de-camp to Colonel David Hunter at the first battle of Bull Run and subsequently became an aide to Brig. Gen. Irvin McDowell from the end of July until December 1861. During Ambrose Burnside's expedition to the North Carolina coast Flagler was assigned as the chief ordnance officer for the entire expedition. When Burnside's command joined the Army of the Potomac in the late summer of 1862, he served as an assistant ordnance officer and aide-de-camp on Maj. Gen. Burnside's staff. Flagler became the Army of the Potomac's chief ordnance officer on November 21, 1862 when Burnside was elevated to its command. [18] At age twenty-eight, Captain Flagler was the youngest of that army's three supply chiefs.

Ingalls, Clarke, and Flagler were the primary staff officers of their respective logistical functions in the Army of the Potomac, but they could not possibly supply and move the army by themselves. The staff officers in the echelons below army level—normally "acting commissaries," "acting quartermasters," and "acting ordnance officers"—consolidated requests from their subordinate units, ensured the paperwork was filled out properly, and forwarded the requests to the next higher command. When the requests were filled, these men ensured that the correct number and type of supplies were picked up, transported, and issued to their subordinate commands. For example, the chief commissary of subsistence for the First Division of V Corps would have provided staff supervision for the requisitioning, transportation, and issue of food for the three brigades assigned to his division. The brigade chief commissaries had similar responsibilities and provided staff supervision of the regimental quartermasters (commissary officers were not authorized in regiments). This setup was similar for the chief quartermasters, but ordnance officers were not authorized any lower than division level staffs.

Since the regiment was the basic building block of the army's organizations, most of the hands-on logistical work occurred at the regimental level. In the majority of instances, the lieutenants serving in these logistical functions were line officers of their respective branches (ie.; cavalry, infantry, or artillery) At the regimental level of organization, the quartermaster also served as the commissary officer, but he was assisted by a quartermaster sergeant and a commissary sergeant. Ordnance officers were not authorized at the brigade and regimental level, but most regiments were authorized an ordnance sergeant who issued ammunition and made minor repairs on his unit's weapons. Still, many brigade and regimental commanders chose to have an officer oversee their units' ordnance supply and transportation, so they appointed a line officer to this position as an extra duty. At the company level of organization, infantry units were authorized a wagoner, and cavalry companies were authorized two farriers, one saddler, one quartermaster sergeant, one commissary sergeant, and two teamsters. Artillery batteries were authorized a quartermaster sergeant, two to six artificers (repairmen), and a wagoner. [19]

During the Chancellorsville campaign in the spring of 1863, the main supply base of the Army of the Potomac was at Aquia Creek, a tributary of the Potomac River about 25 miles southwest of Washington. On June 14 the depot there was ordered abandoned, but Quartermaster General Meigs was adamant that as much government property as possible should be saved. During the next three days, over 10,000 wounded and sick soldiers were moved, as was 500 car loads of army and railroad property. With its base of supply closed down, the Army of the Potomac marched westward to the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, which became its main line of supply. [20]

Once it had been determined that Robert E. Lee's intention was to strike across the Potomac River into Maryland and Pennsylvania, General Ingalls decided to make Baltimore the Army of the Potomac's main supply base. [21] While the Union force groped northward in search of Lee's army, Ingalls, Clarke, and Flagler saw to it that the vast supplies of the army were stockpiled at strategic locations and several days supply of food, ammunition, forage, and other essentials accompanied the troops. To do this, long wagon trains followed in the rear of the forces or traveled on alternate roads. As the supplies were consumed, empty wagons were sent back to the forward supply depots for replenishment and returned with full loads. Ingalls later reported that "our transportation was perfect, and our source of supply same as in...[the Maryland] campaign. The officers in our department were thoroughly trained in their duties. It was almost as easy to maneuver the trains as the troops." [22]

The forward depots of the Army of the Potomac during the Gettysburg Campaign were adjacent to rail stations, since the railroad was the main means of transportation for the bulk supplies. Once the cargo had been off-loaded from the cars by enlisted men and civilian laborers, supply officers would set up storage areas with the different supplies organized by type or category. A careful inventory was maintained by the supply officers so that they would know how many days of supply, by item, that they had on hand. Issues were made from these stocks to the supply officers assigned to the various corps of the Army. As supplies began to dwindle, telegrams were sent to the respective supply bureaus in Washington where orders were issued to release stocks from the main depots, such as Washington Arsenal.

Complicating matters was the fact that the Army of Northern Virginia destroyed railroad bridges, rolling stock, and sections of track as it moved through enemy territory. To the rescue came Herman Haupt, a brilliant engineer who always seemed at his best during crisis situations. A native of Pennsylvania, Haupt graduated from West Point in 1835 along with George Meade, who had taken over command of the Army of the Potomac on June 28, 1863. Haupt resigned his commission shortly after graduation from the academy and went to work for the railroads. He taught for a while at Pennsylvania College in Gettysburg, and in 1851 published a book titled The General Theory of Bridge Construction, which was considered a significant contribution to the engineering profession at the time. Haupt had several other important positions during the antebellum period, including general superintendent and later chief engineer of the Pennsylvania Railroad, and chief engineer in charge of construction of the Hoosac Tunnel in Massachusetts. He had served the War Department since the spring of 1862, and his accomplishments under very adverse conditions had enabled him to acquire almost dictatorial authority over the military operations of the railroads in the Eastern Theater. One historian of Civil War railroads has said that Haupt took pleasure in surmounting difficulties, and was delighted to find a badly tangled situation which he could clear up with his magic touch. ...this humorless man was responsible for developing not only the general principles of railroad supply operation, but also detailed methods of construction and destruction of railroad equipment. To this capable engineer and brilliant organizer is due most of the credit for the successful supply of the Army of the Potomac.... [23]

Haupt took control of the situation on June 27 when, in Special Orders No. 286, General-in-Chief Henry Halleck authorized and directed him "to do whatever he may deem expedient to facilitate the transportation of troops and supplies to aid the armies in the field in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania." [24]

Even if Haupt could repair the tracks and keep the trains moving, it took wagons, mules, horses, and teamsters to transport the supplies from the forward depots to the army, and the Army of the Potomac had an abundance of wagons during the Gettysburg Campaign—3,652, not counting ambulances. Four horses or mules were required to pull an army wagon, sometimes six animals if the wagon was overloaded, so a minimum of 14,608 animals were required just to move the supplies and baggage of the Army of the Potomac. [25] Transportation and supply reforms earlier in the year were supposed to decrease the number of wagons accompanying the army on campaign. General Ingalls estimated that "one wagon to every 50 men ought to carry 7 days' subsistence, forage, ammunition, baggage, hospital stores and everything else." This was a standard of twenty wagons to every thousand men. During the Gettysburg Campaign, there was one wagon for every 25.6 men, which translates to roughly 39 wagons per 1,000 men. If the transportation reforms had been adhered to, the Army of the Potomac would have required only 1,870 wagons, 1,782 less than what was actually employed. [26]

The total number of horses and mules employed by the Army of the Potomac at the Battle of Gettysburg has been estimated at 43,303. Ingalls not only was accountable for the horses used by his own trains, he also was responsible for the replacement of horseflesh for the artillery and cavalry as well. [27] For example, General Alfred Pleasanton's Cavalry Corps had been very active the month of June, and the wear and tear on the horses was beginning to tell. Ingalls telegraphed Pleasonton on June 26 to inform him that 700 horses were being shod at Alexandria and were ready for issue. [28]

The supply of forage for the horses and mules was Ingalls' responsibility, too. In the same telegram that he sent Pleasanton on the June 26, Ingalls asked him if "fifty wagons, laden with forage" had yet reported to his command. [29] Since these animals normally required twelve pounds of grain and fourteen pounds of hay per day, almost 520,000 pounds of feed and 606,000 pounds of hay had to be supplied to the Army of the Potomac every day of the campaign if the horses were going to remain healthy. Grazing would reduce the amount of feed and forage required to keep the horses fit, but the great number of Union and Confederate horses (over 72,000 combined) quickly devoured the grasses and other edible vegetation in the Gettysburg area. Comments by the soldiers of the cavalry and artillery about their worn-out horses indicate that the poor brutes were not eating very well, and it is no wonder that forage probably constituted the largest single commodity of supply during the Battle of Gettysburg. [30]

Those men not lucky enough to ride a horse had to walk, and the wet weather and macadamized roads of Maryland and Pennsylvania were taking their toll on the footwear of the Union soldiers. On June 28 Ingalls wired Meigs that at least 10,000 pairs of shoes and socks were needed at Frederick to issue to soldiers as the various corps of the Army of the Potomac passed through the town. Ingalls telegraphed back the same day that the "bootees and socks have been ordered, and will be sent as soon as a safe route and escort can be found." Then Meigs followed with a terse message:

Last fall I gave orders to prevent the sending of wagon trains from this place to Frederick without escort. The situation repeats itself, and gross carelessness and inattention to military rule has this morning cost us 150 wagons and 900 mules, captured by cavalry between this and Rockville.

Yesterday morning a detachment of over 400 cavalry moved from this place to join the army. This morning 150 wagon were sent without escort. Had the cavalry been delayed or the wagons hastened, they could have been protected and saved.

All the cavalry of the Defenses of Washington was swept off by the army, and we are now insulted by burning wagons 3 miles outside of Tennallytown.

Meigs ended his missive with the sarcastic conclusion that "[y]our communications are now in the hands of General Fitzhugh Lee's brigade." [31]

The wagon train in question had been captured by the troopers of J.E.B. Stuart's cavalry as it was making its circuitous ride around the Army of the Potomac. Ingalls shot a telegram back, stating that it was unfortunate that the train was captured, but he did not even know about the Union cavalry force leaving earlier in the day, nor did he feel any ordinary guard force could have prevented the train's capture. [32] Shortly after sending this message, Ingalls received another telegram, this one from his assistant, Lieut. Col. Charles G. Sawtelle, who said he had just seen Gen. Meigs, who in turn told him there was to be an investigation concerning the loss of the wagon train. [33]

Now Ingalls was very upset. He telegraphed Meigs that he did not understand how the Quartermaster General could hold him responsible, since he had nothing to do with the escort. [34] Meigs apparently settled down and became more rational. In a follow-up message to Ingalls he mentions that 25 teams of mules sent later in the day to Edwards Ferry, Maryland, also had been captured, yet Meigs did not lay fault this time. In fact, he told Ingalls that he was sending 20,000 pairs of shoes and socks instead of the 10,000 pairs ordered, and that 600,000 pounds of grain had been loaded on a train, ready for him if he needed it. [35]

Ingalls obviously had better things to do than engage in a war of words with the Quartermaster General. The Army of Northern Virginia was somewhere in Pennsylvania, and the Union army was desperately trying to ascertain its whereabouts. To prevent the clogging of roads by the Army of the Potomac's supply trains as the forces approached Gettysburg, Ingalls made sure that the combat units always had the right-of-way. He later wrote that "[o]n this campaign, ...our trains, large as they were necessarily, never delayed the march of a column, and, excepting small ammunition trains, were never seen by our troops. The main trains were conducted on roads to our rear and left without the loss of a wagon." [36]

Once the battle was opened on July 1, Westminster, Maryland, was selected as the forward supply base of the Army of the Potomac. In his official report written months after the battle, Ingalls described the logistical scenario as the battle unfolded:

The wagon trains and all impedimenta had been assembled at Westminster, on the pike and railroad leading from Baltimore, at a distance of about 25 miles in the rear of the army. No baggage was allowed in front. Officers and men went forward without tents and with only a short supply of food. A portion only of the ammunition wagons and ambulances was brought up to the immediate rear of our lines. This arrangement, which is always made in this army on the eve of battle and marches in the presence of the enemy, enables experienced officers to supply their commands without risking the loss of trains or obstructing roads over which the columns march. Empty wagons can be sent to the rear, and loaded ones, or pack trains, brought up during the night, or at such times and places as will not interfere with the movement of troops. [37]

General Ingalls was not the only supply chief who was busy on the eve of the battle. From his tent at Headquarters, Army of the Potomac, then located in Taneytown, Maryland, Col. Ruddy Clarke scribbled a hurried report at 10 p.m., June 30, to his father-in-law, Commissary General Joseph Taylor. He informed General Taylor that the army had seven days' rations on hand except for the cavalry, which apparently had out-distanced its supply wagons. (On June 30, Brig. Gen. John Buford, commanding the 1st Division, Cavalry Corps, telegraphed to his wing commander, Maj. Gen. John Reynolds, "I can get no forage or rations; am out of both. The people give and sell the men something to eat, but I can't stand that way of subsisting; it causes dreadful struggling."

Clarke forecasted his subsistence requirements and requested that 300,000 rations of hard bread, coffee, and sugar, 100,000 rations of pork or bacon; 100,000 rations of candles; 150,000 rations of salt; and 50,000 rations of soap be loaded on rail cars in Washington or Baltimore and kept ready to be sent forward. Clarke stipulated that if hard bread could not be supplied, then flour must be substituted. He also demanded that the coffee was to be roasted and ground. Colonel Clarke then told his chief that one of his assistants had been sent to the main supply base at Baltimore to arrange matters for the Army's future food supply, but that he had not yet arrived, the Army of Northern Virginia having destroyed a section of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad on which his assistant was traveling. After informing the Commissary General that the Army of the Potomac "was well off for beef cattle," which were following in herds behind the supply trains, Clarke concluded that, "it is necessary I should be kept informed of the arrangement made by the [Subsistence] Dept. to supply this army in so far as I have requested and otherwise." [38] But the situation rapidly changed. Two and a half hours later, at 12:30 a.m. on July 1, Clarke sent an urgent telegram to Taylor which read, "...send three hundred thousand (300,000) marching rations to Union Bridge on the Westminster Rail Road as soon as possible." [39]

Captain Daniel Flagler, the Chief Ordnance Officer of the Army of the Potomac, apparently sent few messages back to Washington during this time period. Since the infantry and artillery had not been engaged for several weeks, enough ammunition was on hand for any imminent confrontation with the enemy. The cavalry had been in contact with the enemy several times in June, but the status of their ammunition supply on the eve of the Battle of Gettysburg is not known. (The troopers apparently had enough ammunition, since none of the cavalry brigade or division commanders mentioned any shortages in their messages or reports.) General Orders No. 20, Headquarters Army of the Potomac, dated March 25, 1863, dictated that infantry divisions must constantly have on hand 140 rounds per man, and cavalry must have 100 rounds carbine and 40 rounds pistol ammunition per man. Both of these figures included the rounds soldiers carried in their cartridge boxes. For the artillery, 250 rounds per gun were required to be on hand, including that carried in the limber's ammunition chest.

These same general orders dictated that the wagons carrying a division's reserve ammunition would be marked by a six-inch wide horizontal stripe painted on the canvas. Artillery ammunition had a red stripe, cavalry a yellow stripe, and infantry had light blue. To prevent confusion in a combat situation, the wagons had to be "distinctly marked with the number of the corps and division" to which they belonged, as well as the type and caliber of the ammunition they carried. [40] Captain Flagler apparently was so unmoved by the events transpiring on July 1 that he took the time that day to fulfill one of the Ordnance Department's bureaucratic requirements: he sent to the Chief of Ordnance in Washington the Army of the Potomac's quarterly "disbursement" and "accounts current" reports for the second quarter of calender year 1863. [41]

By July 2, the flow of supplies was coming into Westminster without much difficulty. The major supply artery between Baltimore and Westminster was the Western Maryland Railroad. It had only a poorly constructed single track, no telegraph line, and no adequate sidings. Its main station was at Westminster, and the terminus was at Union Bridge. Herman Haupt was at Westminster on July 1. He immediately brought order to a very confusing situation, since the line was being operated off schedule to prevent capture of the trains. After assessing the situation, Haupt sent for construction supplies, tools, lanterns, and 400 laborers. He also borrowed rolling stock from several other railroads. Since there was only one track and no acceptable sidings, Haupt sent the trains to and from Westminster three convoys a day, five or six trains at a time, with ten cars per train. Haupt calculated that by keeping to this plan, he could move 1,500 tons of supplies a day from Baltimore, and return with 2,000 to 4,000 wounded soldiers. Two other rail lines also were available for use at this time, the North Central from Baltimore to Hanover Junction, and the B & O to Frederick. [42] Most supplies went over the Western Maryland, however, since the route through Westminster was the most direct path to Gettysburg.

Meanwhile, General Ingalls moved with army headquarters and directed resupply operations from Gettysburg. He made arrangements to issue supplies at Westminster and eventually at Frederick, and ensured that telegraphic communications were open between these two towns and Baltimore and Washington. He then established communications with Westminster and Frederick by sending relays of cavalry couriers every three hours. [43]

At 7 a.m. on July 3, Ingalls wired Meigs that "[a]t this moment the battle is raging as fiercely as ever.... We have supplies at Westminster that must come up to-morrow if we remain here." He concluded by correctly predicting that "[t]he contest will be decided today, I think." [44] Only ammunition wagons and ambulances had been allowed to accompany the various Union corps to Gettysburg, and after three days of fighting, Ingalls knew that the Army of the Potomac soon would have to be resupplied. His efforts had made the situation appear to be almost routine, but on July 3 he had a close call. While Ingalls was conversing with Generals Meade and Butterfield during the artillery duel that preceded Pickett's Charge, a shell from a Confederate gun exploded so close to the trio that it knocked down and severely wounded Butterfield, but neither Ingalls nor Meade was hurt. [45] (During the same bombardment the ordnance officer responsible for the ammunition of the Army of the Potomac's Artillery Reserve reported that "[s]everal shells passed over the [ammunition] train, and three or four fell among the teams, only one exploding. A mule in one of the teams was stuck by a solid shot and killed, and many of the animals became so unmanageable that there was danger of a stampede.") [46]

Back in Westminster, the rations that Colonel Clarke had requested in the early morning hours of July 1 finally began to arrive on July 2. Private James Terry, a teamster assigned to Company A, 7th Wisconsin Infantry, noted in his diary that "100 teams came from Washington with rations for the troops. We are 25 miles from them [the troops at Gettysburg]." [47] Late the next day, July 3, orders were received in the Army's wagon parks in Westminster to proceed to Gettysburg with fresh rations. The magnitude of this task was daunting; in the Third Corps alone, which had only two divisions, 60,000 rations and 250 head of cattle were sent northward on the Baltimore Pike towards Gettysburg. [48] Hundreds of wagons headed northward on the Baltimore Pike and off-loaded their supplies, most of which began arriving during the early morning hours of July 4. A First Corps soldier who had been captured on July 1 and had escaped the morning of July 4 remembered that he had just gotten back to the Union lines in the morning when the commissary wagons began arriving. "[W]e soon filled our haversacks with coffee, sugar, pork, and hardtack, the standard articles of a soldiers diet," he wrote. [49]

In Washington, Quartermaster General Meigs prepared for the battle's aftermath. He sent messages to quartermasters in Philadelphia and Harrisburg directing them to purchase as many wagons and horses as possible to replace expected losses in the Army of the Potomac. On July 4 Meigs telegraphed Ingalls to buy or impress all the serviceable horses that were within the rage of his foraging parties. Priority for fresh mounts went to the combat arms: he directed Ingalls to "refit the cavalry and artillery in the best possible manner." Instructions also were sent to the quartermaster at Baltimore to redirect all remounts to Frederick as replacements for the cavalry. As if to underscore his priorities, Meigs sent a message to Herman Haupt at Westminster: "Let nothing interfere with the supply of rations for the men, and grain for the horses..." On July 6, General Meigs telegraphed his counterpart in the Army of the Potomac that 5,000 horses would be headed by rail for Frederick from depots across the East and Midwest. [50]

The soldiers of the Army of the Potomac and their horses needed sustenance, but they required ordnance supplies, too. One historian has estimated that the Union soldiers probably expended over 5,400,000 rounds of small arms ammunition during the three days of fighting. [51] Captain Flagler estimated that at least 25,000 artillery rounds also had been fired or lost as well. [52] (He was not far off the mark: Brig. Gen. Henry Hunt, Chief of Artillery, later reported that 32,781 rounds were fired or lost during the battle.) [53] The situation was serious enough that General Meade issued a circular on July 5 urging his corps commanders to be cautious in expending both their small arms and artillery ammunition. "We are now drawing upon our reserve trains," the circular stated, "and it is of the highest importance that no ammunition be exhausted unless there is reason to believe that its use will produce a decided effect upon the enemy." [54]

On July 6, Captain Flagler wired General Ripley at the Ordnance Bureau. After informing his chief that a wagon train of ammunition was standing by at Frederick, he requested the following ordnance supplies be sent to Gettysburg:

  • 800,000 cartridges, caliber .574
  • 100,000 .69-caliber rifled-musket cartridges
  • 200,000 .54-caliber cartridges
  • 200,000 .69-caliber smooth-bore cartridges
  • 30,000 Sharps rifle cartridges

For the artillery, he initially requested

  • 2500 12-pound rounds
  • 2,500 rounds for 3-inch rifles
  • 1,500 rounds for ten pounders. [55]

Shortly after his request was sent, Flagler found out that the Army of Northern Virginia had begun its withdraw. Since the Army of the Potomac soon would be in pursuit, Flagler requested that the ammunition be sent to Frederick instead of Gettysburg. He also asked if his earlier request for artillery ammunition could be increased to 4,000 rounds each of 3-inch and 12-pound rounds. The telegraph operator made a mistake, however, and requested 40,000 rounds each. Upon arriving in Frederick, Flagler discovered the error, took what he needed from the supply train—15,000 rounds each of 3-inch and 12-pound ammunition, much more than his earlier request—and sent the rest back to the Washington Arsenal. [56] Although he drew enough artillery ammunition to compensate for that which had been expended, the amount of small arms ammunition that Flagler requested appears to be much too low.

Some ordnance officers remained in Gettysburg when the Army of Potomac marched southward after Lee's army. Over 24,000 muskets were collected by the Ordnance Department in the immediate aftermath of the battle, as well as thousands of bayonets, cartridge boxes, and other accouterments. [57] Some of these items would be reissued to the troops, while many were sent back to Washington Arsenal for repair. Similarly, General Meigs sent Captain Henry C. Blood of the Quartermaster Department from Washington on July 6 to assist with the collection of government property and oversee the burial of the dead. The first week he was in Gettysburg his time was occupied with getting the dead buried. Thousands of horses on both sides had been killed, and their carcasses also had to be disposed of. After a quick return to Washington, Blood was back in Gettysburg by July 16 and spent much of his time supervising the collection of equipment from the battlefield and the confiscation of U. S. property from the citizens of Gettysburg who had picked it up on the field. Wounded and worn-out horses which were wandering aimlessly about the battlefield or had been taken by civilians also were rounded up. In fact, Meigs received word from Gettysburg on July 18 that over 350 horses and mules had been recovered and, with proper care and medication, could be made ready for service in a very short time. The recovery of equipment at Gettysburg by the Quartermaster Department would continue through the end of August. [58]

As the Army of the Potomac moved farther away from the Gettysburg area in its pursuit of General Lee, the supply trains that had been assembled at Westminster were ordered to rejoin their respective corps by way of Frederick so they could re-stock from the forward depot established there. [59] The badly wounded had no choice but to remain in Gettysburg, and arrangements had to be made for their care. Colonel Clarke ordered 30,000 rations brought to Gettysburg on July 4 to be issued specifically to the hospitals, and he ordered more to be delivered after the army departed. [60] When the Army moved west from Frederick, once again only ammunition and ambulance trains were allowed to accompany their commands. Supply and baggage wagons were to remain in the Middletown Valley on the evening of July 9. The trains were left without guards. The severe manpower losses sustained by the Army of the Potomac at Gettysburg required every able-bodied man to be in the ranks. While Meade's command was taking up positions around Williamsport from 10 - 13 July to attack the Confederate army, the trains remained in Middletown Valley and supplied the Army from there. [61]

After the Army of Northern Virginia escaped across the Potomac, General Ingalls ordered his logisticians to replenish the Army's supplies from depots that had recently been established at Berlin and Sandy Hook, Maryland, and Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Three days' worth of cooked rations were issued to the troops, and those men who needed replacement articles of uniform were issued them at that time. In addition, fresh horses and mules were issued to commands that required them, though probably not in the requisite numbers, as it would take some time for the horses that Meigs ordered sent to the Army to actually arrive. Once the Army crossed the Potomac, Ingalls made the necessary arrangements to resupply the command via the Orange and Alexandria Railroad. [62] Thus ended the Gettysburg Campaign from the logistical perspective.

The logisticians of the Army of the Potomac had accomplished a herculean task, but the soldiers and animals were worn out. Muddy roads from heavy rains made resupply difficult as the Union force pursued Meade through Maryland, making tired men and horses even more exhausted. The campaign had taxed the transportation assets of the army to its fullest, and food and forage was running low. [63] Ammunition supplies had been replenished, but it is doubtful that the Army of the Potomac had as much ordnance on had as it did when the battle began, especially in light of the modest requisitions made earlier by Flagler—almost 3,000,000 small arms rounds less than what was expended.

The major logistical lesson that was learned from the Gettysburg Campaign was that large supply trains degrade the tactical mobility of an army. In order to reduce the number of wagons accompanying the Army of the Potomac on campaign, General-in-Chief Henry Halleck issued a general order on August 21, 1863 that instituted, for the entire United States Army, the transportation recommendations made earlier by General Ingalls: no more than twenty wagons would be allowed per every 1,000 men. [64] (Field commanders, however, would not always abide by this policy.)

Even though Ingalls had done a magnificent job in resupplying the Army while at the same time keeping the ponderous wagon trains out of harm's way—and out of the way of the combat elements of the Army—the logistical umbilical cord had been stretched thin. The horrific three-day battle was the largest and most intense that had ever been fought on American soil, and the supply of military necessities could not keep up with the demand, especially ammunition. From a purely tactical point of view, Meade should have counterattacked Lee on the 4th or 5th of July. When the element of logistics is factored into the equation, Meade probably made the correct decision not to attack.

And what happened to the men who orchestrated the supply efforts of the Army of the Potomac during the Gettysburg Campaign? Ruddy Clarke remained the Chief Commissary of Subsistence of the Army of the Potomac until the spring of 1864. At his own request he was transferred to a commissary post in New York. Clarke was breveted to major general on March 13, 1865 for faithful and meritorious service during the war. When the conflict ended, he stayed in the army and served in several commissary positions, including Chief Commissary under General Sheridan in the Division of Missouri. Henry Francis Clarke died on May 10, 1887. [65]

Daniel Flagler became ill shortly after the battle and took sick leave from the army. Once he had recovered, he was reassigned to inspection duty at the West Point Foundry from October 1863 until May 1864, and finished the war as an assistant in the offices of the Ordnance Bureau in Washington, D. C. He was breveted to Lieutenant Colonel in March 1865 for distinguished service in the field and faithful service to the Ordnance Department. After the war, Flagler had a number of different ordnance assignments, his most notable as commander of Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois, for 15 years. He was promoted to brigadier general in the Regular Army and appointed the Chief of Ordnance in January 1891. He still served in this capacity during the Spanish American War. General Flagler died on March 29, 1899. [66]

Rufus Ingalls remained the Army of the Potomac's quartermaster general for the duration of the war. At the end of the conflict he was breveted to major general for faithful and meritorious service during the war. Like his two other fellow logisticians, he, too, stayed in the regular army, and was promoted to increasing positions of responsibility, becoming Quartermaster General of the United States Army in February 1882. Ingalls retired on July 1, 1883, twenty years to the day after the Battle of Gettysburg began. He died ten years later, on Jan. 15, 1893. [67]

The men who moved, armed, fed, and supplied the Army of the Potomac are a shining example of American logisticians at their best. Although no monuments were dedicated at Gettysburg to honor their memory, it is obvious that their efforts were critical to the success of the Army of the Potomac during the first week of July 1863. If nothing else, these men certainly deserve more attention by historians than they have received in the past.


1. Cited in Martin Van Creveld, Supplying War: Logistics from Wallenstein to Patton (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977), p. 1.

2. A discussion of theater-level logistics can be found in Herman Hattaway and Archer Jones, How the North Won: A Military History of the Civil War (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1983); Edward Hagerman, The American Civil War and the Evolution of Modern Warfare (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1988); and several studies on Civil War railroads. (Hagerman discusses logistics—and the impact on tactical doctrine—during the Gettysburg Campaign in moderate detail, but mostly from the perspective of Rufus Ingalls, Quartermaster General of the Army of the Potomac.) The role of Northern and Southern industry in manufacturing weapons and supplies, as well as the role of agriculture in feeding the armies has received scholarly attention, but not nearly the consideration it deserves. In The Gettysburg Campaign: A Study in Command, Edwin Coddington devotes a chapter to the discussion of arms, equipment, and organization of the two armies, but his concentration was not a detailed analysis of logistical operations. See the chapter "Arms and Men" in The Gettysburg Campaign: A Study in Command (New York: Charles Scribners' Sons, 1968), pp. 242-259. The best overall treatment of military logistics is Martin Van Creveld's Supplying War but, unfortunately, the author focused on European wars and failed to even mention the impact of the American Civil War on the evolution of military logistics. The one study of tactical logistics during the Civil War is William J. Miller's "'Scarcely any Parallel in History': Logistics, Friction, and McClellan's Strategy for the Peninsula Campaign" in William J. Miller, ed., The Peninsula Campaign of 1862: Yorktown to the Seven Days, vol. 2 (Campbell, CA: Savas Woodbury Publishers, 1995). A brief, yet well written discussion of Civil War field logistics can be found in Jay Luvass and Harold Nelson, editors, The U. S. Army War College Guide to the Battle of Antietam: The Maryland Campaign of 1862 (Carlisle, PA: South Mountain Publishers, 1987). See Appendix I, "Field Logistics in the Civil War," (pp. 255-284), by Lieutenant Colonel Charles R. Shrader.

3. Erna Risch, Quartermaster Support of the Army: A History of the Corps, 1775-1939 (Washington: Center of Military History, U. S. Army, 1989 [2nd edition]), pp. 136, 334.

4. Ibid., pp. 202, 382-83.

5. Carl L. Davis, Arming the Union: Small Arms in the Civil War (Port Washington, NY: National University Publications, 1973), p. 14.

6. Risch, Quartermaster Support, p. 397.

7. Stephen W. Sears, To the Gates of Richmond: The Peninsula Campaign (New York: Ticknor & Fields, 1992), p. 263.

8. Hagerman, The American Civil War and the Origins of Modern Warfare, p. 51.

9. Meigs' life is chronicled in Russell B. Weigley's Quartermaster General of the Union Army: A Biography of Montgomery C Meigs (New York: Columbia University Press, 1959).

10. Ibid., pp. 382-385. For a discussion of European methods of subsisting the troops during the period from the early Napoleonic campaigns through 1866, see Van Creveld, Supplying War, pp. 40-82.

11. Davis, Arming the Union, pp. 12-14, 76. Davis provides a revisionist interpretation of the role of the Ordnance Department. He convincingly argues that the officers of the Ordnance Department were extraordinary in their untiring efforts to place first-rate rifled arms in the hands of the troops.

12. For a listing of small-arms calibers and types, by unit, see Dean Thomas, Ready, Aim, Fire: Small Arms Ammunition in the Battle of Gettysburg (Gettysburg Thomas Publications, 1991), 52-59. The three types of cannon predominantly employed by the Army of the Potomac at Gettysburg were the Model 1857 12-lb. bronze smoothbore gun howitzers, known as "Napoleons"; the 3-inch ordnance rifles; and the 10-lb. Parrott rifles. According to the Brig Gen. Henry Hunt, Chief of Artillery, Army of the Potomac, of the 320 artillery pieces employed by the Union army at Gettysburg, "142 were light 12-pounders, 106 3-inch guns, 6 20-pounders, 60 10-pounder Parrott guns, and a battery of 4 James rifles and 2 12-pounder howitzers...." Hunt also mentioned that his report excluded the 44 3-inch guns employed by the Cavalry Corps' horse artillery. "Report of Brig. Gen. Henry Hunt, U. S. Army, Chief of Artillery, Army of the Potomac, September 27, 1863." OR 27 (part 1), p. 241.

13. Patricia L. Faust, editor, Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War (New York: Harper & Row, 1986), p. 383.

14. Miller, ed., Peninsula Campaign, p. 184.

15. Ibid., p. 180.

16. Dabney H. Maury, Recollections of a Virginian in the Mexican, Indian, and Civil Wars. (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1894), pp. 53-54.

17. Miller, ed., Peninsula Campaign, pp. 184-85.

18. George W. Cullum, Biographical Register of Officers and Graduates of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, from its Establishment in 1802 to 1890 (3rd ed., revised and extended; Boston, Houghton, Mifflin, 1891) volume 2, p. 814. "General Orders No. 185, Headquarters Army of the Potomac, Nov. 21, 1862." U.S. War Department, War of the Rebellion: The Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, 128 vols. (Washington, D.C., 1880-1901). series I, vol. 21, p. 785. Hereinafter cited as OR. All references are to series I unless otherwise noted.

19. Shrader, "Field Logistics," in Luvass and Nelson, eds., Guide to the Battle of Antietam, pp. 260-61. The personnel authorizations apply to volunteer units. Generally, fewer logistical personnel were authorized for Regular Army units.

20. Thomas Weber, The Northern Railroads in the Civil War, 1861-1865 (reprint; Westport CT: Greenwood, 1970), p. 162.

21. Risch, Quartermaster Support, p. 439.

22. Ingalls to Meigs, Sept. 29, 1863. OR 27 (part 1), p. 221

23. Weber, Northern Railroads, p. 138-141.

24. S.O. No. 286, HQ of the Army. Adjutant General's Office, Washington, D. C., June 27, 1863. OR 27 (part 3), pp. 367-68.

25. "Estimated Numbers of Wagons and Horses, Gettysburg Battlefield Vicinity, June - July 1863." USNPS Report (July 1993), GNMP files.

26. Cited in Hagerman, Origins of Modern Warfare, p. 73. The figure of 93,500 is used as the strength of the Army of the Potomac for the Battle of Gettysburg (Coddington, Gettysburg Campaign, p. 249). 93,500 divided by 3652 (number of wagons) equals 25.6. 1000 divided by 25.6 equals 39.06. These figures do not include ambulances.

27. Blake A. Magner, Traveller and Company: The Horses of Gettysburg (Gettysburg Farnsworth House Military Impressions, 1995), p. 47.

28. Ingalls to Pleasonton, June 26, 1863. OR 27 (part 3), p. 338.

29. Ibid.

30. Brig. Gen. John Buford, commander of the the 1st Division, Cavalry Corps, reported on June 30: "My men and horses are fagged out. I have not been able to get any grain yet." Buford to Maj. Gen. Alfred Pleasanton, OR 27 (part 1), p. 923.

31. Meigs to Ingalls, June 28, 1863. OR 27 (part 3), p. 378.

32. Ingalls to Meigs, June 28, 1863. Ibid., p. 379.

33. Sawtelle to Meigs, June 28, 1863. Ibid.

34. Ingalls to Meigs, June 28, 1863. Ibid.

35. Meigs to Ingalls, June 28, 1863. Ibid., p. 380.

36. Ingalls to Meigs, August 28, 1864. OR 27 (part 1), p. 222.

37. Ibid., pp. 221-222.

38. Clarke to Taylor, June 30, 1863. Records of the Commissary General of Subsistence, General Correspondence, Letters received, 1828 - 1886. (Box 145.) National Archives, Washington D.C. Buford's message is in OR 27 (part 1), pp. 923-24.

39. Clarke to Taylor, July 1, 1863. Records of the Commissary General of Subsistence (Box 146.) Marching rations consisted of hard bread, salt pork and coffee.

40. Cited in Thomas, Ready, Aim, Fire, p. 60.

41. Flagler to Brig. Gen. James W. Ripley, July 11863. Record Group 156, Records of the Office of the Chief of Ordnance, General Records, Letters Received, 1812 - 1894 (box 276).

42. Weber, Northern Railroads, pp. 164-65.

43. Ingalls to Meigs, August 28, 1864. OR 27 (part 1), p. 222.

44. Ingalls to Meigs, July 3, 1863. OR 27 (part 3), pp. 502-503.

45. A file on Butterfield in the Robert L. Brake Collection, USAMHI, has a note that states that a tag was attached to a relic shell fragment. The tag reads: "While Generals Meade, Ingalls, and Butterfield were conversing at the battle of Gettysburg, July 3, 1863, this piece of shell from a Confederate gun knocked down and severely wounded Major General Butterfield, Chief of Staff of the Army of the Potomac."

46. "Report of Lieut. Cornelius Gillett, First Connecticut Heavy Artillery, Ordnance Officer, Artillery Reserve, Camp near Warrenton Junction, Va., August 23, 1863." Gillett also reported that he issued 19,189 rounds from his train during the battle. OR 27 (part 1), pp. 878-79.

47. 7th Wisconsin Infantry File, GNMP Library.

48. Lieutenant Colonel George Woods to Maj. Gen. David Birney, July 3, 1863. George H. Woods Papers, USAMHI.

49. Sergeant Austin C. Stearns, Three Years with Company K, Arthur A. Kent, ed. (Rutherford, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson Univ. Press, 1976), pp. 203-204. Stearns was in the 13th Massachusetts Infantry.

50. Russell F. Weigley, Quartermaster General of the Union Army: A Biography of M. C. Meigs (New York: Columbia University Press, 1959), pp. 280-282.

51. Thomas, Ready, Aim, Fire, p. 12.

52. Flagler to Ripley, July 11, 1863. OCO, Letters Received, 1812-1894 (Box 276).

53. Hunt's Report, OR 27 (part 1), p. 241.

54. OR 27 (part 3), p. 542.

55. Flagler to Ripley, July 6, 1863. OCO, Letters Received, 1812-1894 (Box 276).

56. Ibid., July 11, 1863.

57. "Report of John R. Edie, Acting Chief Ordnance Officer of the Army of the Potomac." OR 27 (part 1), pp. 225-226.

58. Gregory A. Coco, A Strange and Blighted Land: Gettysburg: The Aftermath of a Battle (Gettysburg Thomas Publications, 1995), pp. 318-325.

59. Ingalls to Meigs, August 28, 1864. OR 27 (part 1), p. 222.

60. Report of Surgeon Jonathan Letterman, U. S. Army Medical Director, Army of the Potomac. OR 27 (part 1), p. 197.

61. Ingalls to Meigs, August 28, 1864. OR 27 (part 1), p. 222.

62. Ibid., p. 223-224.

63. Hagerman, Origins of Modern Warfare, p. 76. By the end of July, some two weeks after the campaign had ended, the supply system seemed to be back on track. In one command, however, a few officers went to bed hungry, necessitating the following circular order: "Many officers have complained of their inability to procure proper food for their own use, when the troops of their commands have been fully supplied owing to the neglect of the Brigade Commissaries in furnishing supplies for their use at the same time they issued rations to the men. Officers are human as well as enlisted men and have natural wants and the duty of Brigade Commissaries attends to supplying officers as well as men." Circular of the 2nd Division, III Corps, dated July 29, 1863. George H. Woods Papers, USAMHI. (Emphasis added.)

64. Hagerman, Origins of Modern Warfare, p. 77. The breakdown was as follows: 6 wagons for baggage, 7 wagons for subsistence and quartermaster supplies, 5 wagons for ordnance, and 2 wagons for medical supplies.

65. Miller, "Federal Logistics," in Miller, ed., The Peninsula Campaign, p. 185; Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, from its Organization, September 29, 1789, to March 2, 1903 (reprint; Univ. of Illinois Press, 1965) vol. 1, p. 307.

66. Heitman, Historical Register, p. 424; Ordnance Hall of Fame file, U. S. Army Ordnance Museum, U. S. Army Ordnance Center & School, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD; Cullum, Register of Graduates, vol. 2, p. 814.

67. Heitman, Historical Register, p. 562; Miller, "Federal Logistics," in Miller, ed., The Peninsula Campaign, p. 180.

Previous Top Next


History and Culture