Re: Would Artillery be Armed? part II
I began reenacting as artillery, and after a time became bored with it and wanted dearly to carry a musket, carbine, or pistol onto the field. To his credit, the battery commander told me that if I could find period documentation for it, I could do it. I scoured every conceivable source and turned up nothing, and only reinforced the rule of thumb that artillery, in general, were not issued small arms. Having happily transitioned to an excellent engineer company, I now have my musket.
McCarthy's Detailed Minutiae speaks at length of his experiences, as a member of the Richmond Howitzers, being issued muskets as "improvised infantry". He devotes an entire chapter to it. In this case it was during the Appomattox campaign, and he remarks they were "armed as infantry, but without the usual equipage", which must mean that they were given a musket and ammunition but not much more. It is interesting to note that the Second Company Richmond Howitzers still had their artillery pieces at this time, and it wasn't until later that, forced to abandon their guns, they were compelled to become infantry.
His only other mention of artillerymen being armed is that they started out with sabers but, after marching for a while, got sick of carrying them and stuck them into the mud. Never mind that the manuals, including the U.S. Ordnance Department's Instruction for Field Artillery as late as 1864, gave great attention to saber drill. He called revolvers "useless". When the artillerists found a pig that "needed shooting", McCarthy mentions that they had to find an infantryman to do it (p. 66).
Davidson's History of Battery A: First Regiment of Ohio Vol. Light Artillery records that, because of Confederate guerillas, the battery commander "drew an Enfield rifle for each man... The order of exercises after the new muskets were drawn was two daily drills of the company in infantry tactics" (p.137). This was very late in the war (after Lee's surrender) and the likelihood of engaging a disciplined Confederate force in the field was practically nil, and the only threat was from annoying guerillas. The artillery were therefore armed, but not with the intent that they carry these arms alongside their guns.
I've read through the previous topic on armed artillerists, and the relevant sources cited there, and others, seems to suggest that in general, when the artillery had small arms, it was under unusual circumstances. There is documentation mentioning artillerists with small arms, but usually for some detached duty as piquets or related function.
3rd Rgt. C.S. Engineers, Co. E.