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 Posted: Wed Apr 8th, 2009 05:54 pm
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Henry
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Hello- This is an initial topic on this forum. I am interested in any reference material anyone might have regarding the 13" Seacoast Mortar , Model of 1861. If you have any reference to these behemoths beyond what is included in the Official Records please post here. Regards, Henry

Letter from Lieutenant Wise, U.S. Navy, to Hon. Frank P. Blair, regarding the placing of an order with Knap, Rudd & Co. for ordnance.

Washington, August 1, 1861

Dear Sir: In compliance with your request, I have placed in the hands of Mr. Charles Knap, of the firm of Knap, Rudd &Co., Fort Pitt Foundry, Pittsburg, the order of the Secretary of War to furnish Major-General John C. Fremont, U.S. Army, with 16 navy shell guns of IX-inch bore and 30 XIII-inch mortars of army pattern, together with shells for the same, all to be forwarded with the utmost dispatch to St. Louis, Mo.

Mr. Knap has accepted the order in a communication of this date addressed to the Secretary of War, in which he states the following terms, viz:

1. That the navy guns will be charged at the original price for which the contract was made, to wit, 7 1/2 cents per pound, each gun weighing about 9,000 pounds.

2. The mortars to be charged at the army contract price of 61/2 cents per pound, each piece weighing about 17,500 pounds.

3. The shells at the navy contract price of 4 1/2 cents per pound; the IX-inch weighing about 71 pounds and those for the mortars 200 pounds.

Mr. Knap further agrees to subject the mortars, guns, and shells to whatever examination or proof under navy or army conditions that the ordnance authorities may choose to direct.

I here desire to remark, in reference to the navy shell guns, that the guns now in possession of the Fort Pitt founders were rejected some few years ago by the Navy as part of a lot which were found to have been cast with defective trunnions. Some of the navy ordnance officers who were charged specially with the duty of inspecting these 16 pieces reported favorably on them and recommended their acceptance, all of which appears on the record of the Bureau of Ordnance. In a conversation, however, which I had this morning with Captain Dahlgren, from whose designs the guns were made, he told me he would not trust the guns beyond 300 rounds per gun.

I would take this occasion to suggest that an order be issued from the War Department to direct the shells for both mortars and guns to be fitted at or by the authorities of the Allegheny Arsenal.

With reference to the carriages for the navy guns, they will depend very much apon the positions the guns are to be mounted. If in battery on board of vessels they will require elevating screws and drawings of carriages, which I presume would be supplied by requisition on the Navy Department. I would finally remark that the probable allowance of shells for both guns and mortars should be 100 shells per piece. Knap, Rudd & Co. promise to forward the guns at once and to turn the mortars out at a rate of four per week.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant, H.A. Wise

Assistant Inspector Ordnance, U.S. Navy

The Hon. Frank (P.) Blair, House of Representatives

Attachment: Mortar 13 ich Seacoast.jpg (Downloaded 91 times)

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