View Full Version : In Battery

Jim Updegraff
07-02-2005, 09:27 PM
The Civil War re-enacters were here a couple of weeks ago. I went in the unlikely role of “authenticity judge.” It was a hoot and I did get a couple ideas. Here is one of them. The re-enactors only had one cannon with them – a three inch ordinance rifle that was rescued from the scrap heap at the Rock Island Arsenal in the 1960s. The guys in Scott’s Tennessee Battery, Davenport, Iowa, have reconstructed the gun carriage and a limber chest from the rescued iron. The gun has appeared in several historical extravaganza movies and big re-enactments at Shiloh and Gettysburg.

Usually a Union field artillery battery consisted of six guns, a like number of limbers, twelve caissons, a mobile forge for iron working and horse shoeing, three or four officers and about 100 enlisted men and a like number of horses. The gun crew itself was five men, Number One who handled the rammer and sponge and stood at the right of the muzzle, Number Two who inserted the round into the muzzle at the left of the muzzle, Number Three who served the vent from the right rear of the gun and Number Four who aimed the gun under the direction of the Gunner who actually fired the piece by jerking on a lanyard attached to a friction primer inserted in the vent. Other men carried ammunition from the limber and caissons. A man at the caisson set the fuses on shells at the direction of the gunner or the supervising officer. Each two gun section, was under the supervision of one of the officers or an senior NCO. The battery commander, usually a captain, was in charge of the whole thing.

Here we have the whole battery in line, called “in battery”, The guns are spaced with 14 yards between each gun and the guns firing deliberately from the right gun to the left gun. The section leaders are in position to control their section. The horse drawn limbers and caissons are to the viewer’s rear. The left hand foreground figure is carrying a cartridge, a shell with a powder charge fixed to it, to the Number One Gun on the right of the battery line.

Oil on canvas, 36" x 24". A long way to go, yet.


Jim Updegraff
07-23-2005, 07:56 PM
A little more work on this thing.




07-24-2005, 05:15 AM
Jim, I can imagine how these guys are fanatics about detail, so your knowledge and reputation should give you a way in to this market.


Anita Murphy
07-29-2005, 11:37 AM
Amazing work, Jim. I'm always amazed by how you change people's positions completely. Its like watching a movie frame by frame! The guy carrying the next shell has taken a step forward and the guy in front of him has turned round. What is going to happen next?????????

Jim Updegraff
08-03-2005, 09:23 PM
A little more work on this thing. It has a ways to go yet. The object in the officer’s hand is a pair of field glasses. Binoculars had pretty well replaced telescopes for non-marine purposes by the mid-nineteenth century.




Jim Updegraff
08-07-2005, 07:41 PM
I think this one is done. I’ll post it and a couple details in the oil painting forum and let the rock chucking begin.