Today in History:

32 Series I Volume XXVIII-I Serial 46 - Ft. Sumter - Ft. Wagner Part I

Page 32 S. C. AND GA., COASTS, AND IN MID. AND E. FLA. Chapter XL.

Average range obtained with guns on Morris Island.

Elevation Charge Range

Gun Degrees Minutes Pounds Yards

300-pounder 13 30 26 4,290

200-pounder 11 47 16 4,272

100-pounder 13 30 10 4,272

300-pounder 5 12 25 1/2 1,950

200-pounder 4 12 16 1,750

100-pounder 4 15 10 1,750

158. The Parrott guns are not without defects, the most serious of which we found to be their very unequal endurance. Some of our most valuable batteries were disabled at a very early stage in the operations. The 8-inch rifle in the Marsh Battery burst at the 36th discharge, at a constant elevation of 31^30' and a constant charge of 16 pounds. The projectiles weighed 150 pounds.

For the purpose of comparison, take two 100-pounders which burst as follows: One of them at the 122nd round t 3^15' elevation, the greatest elevation having been 3^20', and the average 3^18', while the other burst at the 1,151st round at 12^30'. Ten pounds of powder was the charge for both pieces.

159. By far the most remarkable example of endurance furnished by any of our guns, and perhaps the most remarkable on record, was that of a 30-pounder Parrott rifle. The following history of the piece is furnished by Captain Modecai, chief of ordnance of this department: The gun was cast at the West Point Foundry in 1863; its ordnance number is 193; it was mounted on Cumming's Point in December, 1863, for the purpose of throwing shells into the city of Charleston; it was placed on a plain wooden carriage manufactured on Morris Island. Sixty-nine days elapsed between the first and last discharge of the gun. It was being fired the 4,606 round when it burst. There were fired 4,594 rounds with 3 3/4 pounds of powder, and percussion shells of 29 pounds charged with 1 1/2 pounds of powder, with an elevation of 40^. One round with the same as above excepting the elevation, which was 49^45'; 7 rounds with the same as above, excepting that time fuses were used, with 40^ elevation; 4 rounds with 3 1/4 pounds of powder, time fuse, 4 1/2-inch shells, weighing 29 pounds and charged with 1 1/2 pounds of powder; elevation, 2^50'.

Of these rounds, 4, 253 shells reached the city; 259 tripped and fell short; 10 took the rifling and fell short; 80 exploded prematurely, but none in the gun; and 4 were fired at Fort Sumter, and reached it, the distance being 1,390 yards.

The first 2,164 rounds were fired at intervals of five minutes, but the firing was not continuous, 237 rounds being the greatest number fired in any one twenty-four hours, and 2 rounds the least. The average per day was 127 rounds.

The last 2,442 rounds were fired at intervals of fifteen minutes, not continuously, 157 rounds being the greatest number fired in any one day, and 7 the least; the daily average being 97 rounds.

All the shells were wedged and greased. The gun was cleaned after each discharge, first with a dry sponge and then with an oiled one; it was washed out with water and cooled after every ten fires. After the gun was loaded, and while waiting to be fired, a canvas cap was placed over the muzzle to keep out drifting sand, and every

Page 32 S. C. AND GA., COASTS, AND IN MID. AND E. FLA. Chapter XL.