Select Bibliography

Alexander, Edward Porter, Fighting for the Confederacy (Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 1989)

Andrews, R. Snowden, Andrews' Mounted Artillery Drill (Charleston, South Carolina, 1863)

Daniel, Larry )., Cannoneers in Gray (University, Alabama, 1984) Daniel, I .arryj., and Rilev W. Ounter, Confederate Canon Foundries (Union City, Tennessee, 1977)

French, William; Barry, William; 11 tint, Henry, Instruction for Field Artillery (New York, 1864)

GorgasJ., The Ordnance Manual (Richmond, Virginia, 1862) Osborn, Thomas, The Fiery Trail (Knoxville, Tennessee, 1986) Poague, William Thomas, Gunner With Stonewall (Wilmington, North Carolina, 1987)

Ripley, Warren, Artillery and Ammunition of the Civil War (New York, 1970)

Scott, Col. H.L. Military Dictionary (New York ,1864)

Tucker, Spencer, Arming The Fleet (Annapolis, Maryland, 1989)

Van Loan Naisawald, L., Crape and Canister (Washington, D.C., 1960)

Wise, Jennings Cropper, The Long Arm of Lee, Lincoln

Limbers And Caissons

A limber and caisson stand ready to be hitched up. (Gettysburg National Battlefield Park)


A: The caisson and limber attached - a side view.

Each gun had its own limber, plus a spare limber and caisson. The caisson was used to carry two extra limber chests, filled with ammunition. All the extra ammunition, as well as a spare wheel were stored in the limber chests that sat on top of the caisson. Each limber chest was removable, but when filled with ammunition, they were too heavy to be easily moved. Although a gun crew normally walked alongside the gun when it was being moved, they could also ride a caisson and limber. In this case, seated tram left as they faced front, the gunner, number six, and number five rode the limber used to pull the gun, while number two, number seven, and number one rode the limber that pulled the caisson. Number four, number eight, and number three rode on the front limber chest of the caisson.

Numbered parts are: 1: stock; 2: side rail; 3: foot board; 4: ammunition chest; 5: spare wheel; 6: axle for spare wheel; 7: chain and toggle: B: lock chain: 9: spare pole.

B: The 12-pdr. Napoleon gun attached to the limber, a side view.

Generally ammunition enough for a single action could be carried in the limber chest mounted on top of the limber which was also used to haul the gun. Indeed, the limber was essentially the artilleryman's prime mover, as It had the pole for attaching horses, while the hook on the back could be used to haul a gun, a caisson, a battery wagon, or a traveling forge Rammers and screws used to clean out the gun, were fitted in iron hooks under the gun carriage, while a water bucket, needed to swab out the gun during use hung from the

A limber and caisson stand ready to be hitched up. (Gettysburg National Battlefield Park)

bottom of the carriage and a grease bucket, In which spare grease was carried, hung from the bottom of the limber.

The parts numbered are: 1: handles; 2: ammunition chest: 3: turnbuckle and hasp; 4: corner plates; 5: prolonge; 6: stay pins and keys; 7; pintle hook; 8: axle body; 9: axle tree; 10: pole prop; 11: end bands of splinter bar, trace hooks and pole prop chain; 12: foot boards; 13: pole strap; 14: pole pad; 15: pole yoke; 16: pole.

C: The 12-pdr. Napoleon gun attached to the limber, a top view.

Equipment used with each gun was carried with the gun into action. The prolonge rope, by which the men could pull the gun on the field without having to resort to a horse team, was tied up on top of the carriage trail,

The parts numbered are: 1: prolonge hooks; 2; axle body; 3: nave bands; 4: handspikes and sponges; 5: cap square; 6: head of chin bolts; 7: wheel guard plates; 8: small pointing ring; 9: trail handles; 10: foot boards; 11: pole; 12: splinter bar; 13: lunette; 14: trail plate; 15: large pointing ring.

D: A detailed schematic drawing of the pattern for the 6-pdr. field gun carriage and the tubes it mounted.

The standard U.S. light artillery carriage at the start of the 19th Century used a split or flask trail design, although from as early as 1778 the British had been using a single trail design that offered advantages in terms of ease of construction and a shorter turning radius, with greater mobility.

The French Army adopted the British system in 1827, and the Americans began producing copies of the French

1827 French Army
above 12-pdr. Napoleons near City Point, Virginia, in 1864. Note the markings on the front of the limber chest. [Library of Congress)

carriages in 1830, based on drawings obtained by a visiting U.S. officer in 1829. They were so successful that they were adopted for the entire service in 1836. The carriage was officially designated the pattern of 1840.

American carriages came In three sizes, the most popular one of which was the 6-pounder gun carriage that was used for Napoleons, Parrott Rifles, 3-in. Ordanance Rifles and some Blakely and Wiard rifles. The 24-pounder howitzer carriage was similar but larger, although it was also sometimes used for Napoleons.

BELOW A battery wagon belonging to the 3rd Battery, Excelsior Brigade, from New York, at the battery's ordnance park in Washington. (U.S. Army Military History Institute)

Battery Wagon

E: A battery wagon. Top and side views with a cutaway of the interior from the top.

Equipment used for the battery was carried in the battery wagon, along with spare hay for the horses in the forage rack on its back, Equipment would have included: sabers, which were issued to all artillerymen but not worn in action by any but drivers; thumbstalls, used to prevent air from entering the bore while the weapon was being cleaned and reloaded between shots; vent picks, used to pierce the fabric powder bag so that a spark from the friction primer can enter it to explode the powder; vent cleaning punches, used to clear out the vent between shots: a pendulum hausse used by the gunner to aim the cannon by making sure It is level; the lanyard and friction primers.

Numbered parts (side view) are: 1: lunette; 2: stock; 3: guard plate; 4: lock chain bridle; 5: lock chain; 6; cover strap and turnbuckle; 7: lock chain hook; 8; bottom rails; 9; side boards; 10; bars of forage rack; 11: forage rack chains; 12; cover boards.

Numbered parts (top view) are: 1; lunette; 2: stock; 3: spare stock stirrup; 4: hinges: 5; cover boards; 6: bows; 7: cross bars; 8: bottom boards; 9; spare stock hook;

10: sides of forage rack; 11: bars of forage rack; 12: bottom rails.

F: The traveling forge, top arid side cutaway views.

Each battery had a traveling forge which was pulled by a limber, and used to reshoe horses and occasionally replace small pieces of iron cannon or limber parts damaged In action. The horseshoes, nails, and anvil were stored in the limber chest, while coal was carried In the chest on the rear of the forge. A vice was attached to the pole that connected the forge to its limber. Within minutes of stopping the forge could be in action, with a farrier assigned to work It.

Numbered parts (side view) are: 1: vice; 2: fireplace; 3: air back; 4: back of fireplace; 5: windpipe; 6: fulcrum and support for bellows pole; 7: bellows; 8: roof of ihe bellows house; 9; handles; 10; turnbuckle and hasp; 11: coal box; 12: side rail; 13: bellows hook; 14: stock stirrups; 15: stock; 16: prop.

Numbered parts (top view) are: 1: lunette; 2: wheel guard plates; 3: fireplace; 4: air back; 5: bellows hook; 6: fulcrum; 7: hook and staples for carrying bellows pole; 8: roof boards;

9: handles of coal box; 10: hinges of coal box; 11: lid of coal box; 12: bottom boards; 13: bellows; 14: bows; 15: hinges; 16: windpipe; 17: stock. G: Packed limber boxes.

Both from top and side, showing packed ammunition for, 1: 6-pdr. Gun; 2: 12-pdr. Gun; and 3: 12-pdr. howitzer. In the chests for the 6-pdr. and 12-pdr. gun (the Napoleon) a small tray was fitted so that the ammunition would be snug In the limber chest. It could be used for friction primers, tools, or whatever the section chief or battery commander wanted. The ammunition itself sat on wooden sabots, the ball resting In the sabot. The rounds were attached to cloth, usually flannel, sacks in which the powder was carried, They would be rammed into the tube as a single piece. The larger types of ammunition, one slot of which appears for each gun, were fixed canister rounds, iron balls packed into what was essentially a tin can, that were used for ant ยก-personnel rounds at close ranges.

The battery farrier makes use of the battery forge for some quick horse-shoing in this etching by eyewitness Edwin Forbes.

The battery farrier makes use of the battery forge for some quick horse-shoing in this etching by eyewitness Edwin Forbes.

Royal Horse Artillery Field Forge

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