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Bore-ing Question - Weapons of the Civil War - Civil War Talk - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
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 Posted: Fri Jul 21st, 2006 07:54 pm
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TimHoffman01
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Let's try this again:  I've actually spelled the URL correctly this time!

While at Petersburg the other weekend, I noticed two of the park's 3-in ordnance rifles had markedly different styles of rifling.  on one, the rifle grooves projected toward the center from an otherwise even circle bore.  On the other, the rifling seemed to be accomplished by scalloping the bore.  Instead of a basic circle, it is rather "flower-shaped" with seven "petals."  The manufacturing information for the one was totally nonexistant or obscured.  I was wondering if this was an indication of which side produced the piece (like the CS Napoleon being a smooth taper to the end of the tube while the US Napoleon has a muzzel swell at the end), or if this was simply a case of each factory doing it their own way.   

   


Last edited on Fri Jul 21st, 2006 09:04 pm by TimHoffman01



 Posted: Sat Jul 22nd, 2006 05:34 pm
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calcav
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Tim,

Do you have another photo of the unmarked cannon, a profile shot?

The cannon on the right is intresting. The records show it should be at Gettysburg not Petersburg. I'll update the appendix in my copy of "Field Artillery in the Civil War".

Tom



 Posted: Sat Jul 22nd, 2006 09:23 pm
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TimHoffman01
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Yes, I do have another shot.  Below is a 3/4 profile taken from the breech side. 

The detail you supplied on the other rifle is downright humerous.  Did they really misplace a cannon? ;)  That one now is one of two ordnance rifles sitting at Fort Stedman.  It and its partner sit back-to-back along what once was an adjoining trench.  The four guns inside the fort itself are all Napoleons.  I included a picture of the rifle pair for your curiosity.  The area behind the fence in the picture is the ground over which the confederate forces traveled to (temporarily) take the fort in April '65.  At the time of the picture this spring, it was closed off to protect Bald Eagle nests. 






 Posted: Mon Jul 24th, 2006 03:48 pm
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calcav
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Tim,

You found another one of a kind gun at Petersburg. Although you did not see any identifying stamps apparently someone did awhile back before it became so corroded. At one time the stamps "H.N.H. & Co. No.1 1336 lbs 1863 U.S." could be found. The rifle is the only ordnance rifle cast by the Henry N. Hooper Company of Boston. The recorded weight seems unreasonably high, perhaps subject some error in stamping, interpretation or transcription. The piece has the same dimensions of other ordnance rifles so the weight should be about 800 pounds. There is a photo of the cannon in "Field Artillery Weapons of the Civil War."

A very unusual rifling pattern in a one of a kind field piece.

Tom



 Posted: Tue Jul 25th, 2006 01:53 am
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TimHoffman01
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Thanks, Tom,

   I'll have to keep looking to see whatother neat things I can stumble onto.  I did have a thought.  I don't remember looking at the trunions on this one.  I remembered while I was reading this that it was normally on the trunions that I saw "Phoenix Co." stamped on several other ordnance rifles, signifying the Phoenix Iron Company in Phoenixville PA if I am remembering correctly. 

   You are, of course, quite right about the weight recorded.  It was probably the weight of the entire piece.  I think once they were on their carriages, they may have weighed about that, especially if it included any essential equipment such as worms and rams.

   Right now I am wracking my brains for a half formed memory.  I think I saw a rifling pattern quite like that somewhere else on one of my travels.  I just can't remember where, but I think it was on a larger gun.

     Thanks for all your research.  I don't have "Field Artillery in the Civil War"but I am thinking I just found something to put on my Christmas list.  This is a topic I find myself becoming more and more interested in.  It's rather neat to find out a bit of the stories behind the pieces on display at the parks.

   Tim.



 Posted: Wed Nov 8th, 2006 12:36 am
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Widow
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Tim, very late reply to your "bore-ing" question posted on 21 Jul 06.

I don't know anything about rifling patterns and such, but I can add a little tidbit about the guns you saw at Petersburg.

I have a friend near Richmond who is an NPS volunteer Civil War artillerist.  He told me that Fredericksburg has a new 12-lb. Napoleon, Richmond has a 3" ordnance rifle, and Petersburg also has a Napoleon.

If one of those parks is having a living history event with live firing demos, it might borrow from the other two parks to prove the big-bang theory.  (More is louder.)

For example, in Oct 2006 at Yorktown, Colonial National Historical Park, there was a big 4-day event commemorating the 225th anniversary of Cornwallis' surrender to Washington, 19 Oct 1781.  Part of the celebration was live firing of "Artillery through the Ages" from the earliest settlers in their 17-th century costumes with their little swivel guns the size of telescopes through the American Revolution and up to the Civil War.  Yorktown borrowed the two 12-pounders from Fredericksburg and Petersburg for this big occasion.

99% of the spectators and costumed living historians had no idea that Yorktown was also in the Civil War.  My artillery friends shot their two Napoleons (one crew wore blue, the other gray) and had a great time.  "Bigger rush," they said, compared to the ordnance rifle.

Patty



 Posted: Wed Nov 8th, 2006 04:53 pm
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TimHoffman01
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Hi Widow!

  I knew about "Matilda" in Fredericksburg, although I haven't heard her "sing" yet as my son put it the other day.  I'll be up there before Christmas (and the week after) so I'm hoping to have a chance to do so.  I didn't know the other two for sure, but when I was attending the events at Cold Harbor this past June, a group representing a gun from the Richmond Howitzers was there with their ordnance rifle...is that the same one?

   I've been interested in the basics of the Civil War years and years but only recently discovered just how fun the technical details can be.  I guess I grew up some.  I just recently procured a copy of Field Artillery Weapons of the Civil War, and am getting a real "Charge" out of it.  During his trip to take care of one of our family gravesites in PA, I had my father chase down a pair of 4" (or so) Parrot Rifles in concrete at the Emporium Cnty courthouse.  I had him get a few pictures so we could see what story they could tell us.

   My kids seem to be getting interested in the places I take them, they may be just humoring me, they're kind of young, but I figure if they get hooked early so much the better.  My wife thinks I'm nuts. :?



 Posted: Wed Nov 8th, 2006 05:36 pm
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Widow
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Well, Tim, you are nuts, aren't you?  I mean, going around to look at old pieces of junk and places where dead guys are buried.  In all kinds of weather.

To fill in with a few more details from my friend the NPS volunteer artillerist:

The park not only owns the gun, but supplies the black powder and transports gun and limber to the place where the living-history event is held.

The volunteer artillerists aren't members of a named group which goes to reenactments, they just go to the place where the park wants them.  The park issues the uniforms, blue or gray, depending on the event.  The men bring their own caps, accoutrements, and footwear.  Some of them may bring tents and camp out, but my friend says he's too old for sleeping on the ground.

For safety reasons, the park supervises the training of the volunteers, and no other artillery reenactors or guns are allowed.  So the "Richmond Howitzers" you saw at Cold Harbor were most likely NPS volunteers who portrayed that outfit on that particular day.  My friend usually is #2 when they're firing.

My friend and the rest of the artillery crew all live in the Richmond area.  They participate in events at the Fredericksburg, Richmond, and Petersburg parks.

Hope this adds to the list of questions you'll ask at the next event.  Patty



 Posted: Wed Nov 8th, 2006 06:05 pm
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calcav
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We bought a 6 pounder smoothbore at Shiloh over the summer but have yet to put on any interpretive programs. We have lost several staff members this fall and with Shiloh and Corinth combined we have just enough hands to man the one piece. Can't wait to hear that rascal.

Tom



 Posted: Wed Nov 8th, 2006 08:21 pm
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Widow
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Tim, I just re-read your post about the "Richmond Howitzers" artillerists you saw at Cold Harbor in June.  (Smacks palm to forehead).  Shoulda read it carefully the first time.

My friend and the rest of the gun crew were at the Cold Harbor event in June.  I wasn't there, so I just assume the gun they fired was the Richmond Park's one and only 3" ordnance rifle.

Cold Harbor is one of the ten units in the Richmond National Battlefield Park.  They're scattered in and around Richmond, some related to the Peninsula Campaign of 1862 and others to the Overland Campaign of 1864.  Two are downtown, the Tredegar Iron Works and the Chimborazo Hospital, now a medical museum.

So much to see, so much to learn, so many places to visit!  Patty



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