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Tredegar

Jack Bell University of North Texas Press PDF

Tredegar

In the early months of the war, Southern foundries scrambled to meet the Confederacy’s needs for a wide variety of military ordnance. At this time Tredegar and Bellona Foundries were the only ones that could make large caliber cannons needed by the Confederacy.1

Charles Dew’s book on Tredegar2 and the Tredegar Foundry records,3 indicated that in

July 1861 Tredegar developed some hybrid cannon designs and promoted their use with the Confederate Army and Navy. The Confederate Army Ordnance Office ordered from

Tredegar hybrid cannon and projectiles for the hybrid cannon at the same time, probably to ensure they worked together. These hybrid rifles were a temporary solution to the urgent need to get large caliber rifles into the field.

Tredegar manufactured several types of hybrid rifles. These included 7-inch rifles bored from 9-inch Dahlgren smoothbore gun blocks;4 6.4-inch rifles bored from 10-inch

Columbiad gun blocks; 5.82-inch rifles bored from 8-inch Columbiad gun blocks, and

4.62-inch rifles bored from 8-inch siege howitzer and 24-pounder siege gun blocks.

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Preston-Blakely

Jack Bell University of North Texas Press PDF

Preston-Blakely

Credit for sorting out the confusing story of the so-called “Preston” shells goes to

Warren Ripley. In his classic book, Artillery and Ammunition of the Civil War, Ripley traces the history of the Preston name.

“Preston” is painted on several shells photographed at the Charleston Arsenal in

1865, undoubtedly by Union Army officers who recovered them and labeled them as such. The label probably relates to the use of the shells in Blakely rifles. The particular ones with the flanged rifling were made in the Fawcett, Preston and Co. foundry in

Liverpool, England.1 Ripley diligently checked surviving Confederate records, but could find no references to Preston in the 3.5-inch and 4-inch caliber. He did find a reference to

Blakely in those calibers in the records, and confirmed that the 4-inch Blakely rifle had 6groove rifling that matched the “Preston” shape.

Subsequent research has confirmed that the patent for the “Preston” design of rifle and projectile was actually awarded to Blakely in 1863.2

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Brooke

Jack Bell University of North Texas Press PDF

Brooke

Cdr. John Mercer Brooke, CSN, is best known for his designs of rifled cannon and projectiles for the Confederacy. He also designed the torpedoes and armor for the CSS

Virginia and oversaw its manufacture by Tredegar Foundry.1 Brooke was so highly regarded by both sides that Union Adm. David Porter said he only regretted the loss of two officers to the Confederacy from the United States Navy: Brooke and Catesby Jones.2 Porter did not mean to be flattering with that comment. After the war he said that Brooke had done more harm to the North than any other man in the South.3

Like his early work in designing cannon, Brooke’s early projectile patterns were modified versions or outright copies of existing designs. For example, in working on projectiles for the CSS Virginia, Brooke asked for designs from the Gosport Navy Yard ordnance officer, then modified the Dahlgren pattern for a shell design. He wrote in his notes, “200 shells are being cast at the Tredegar—of my design—Dahlgren pattern serving as the basis.”4 A number of experiments were conducted using Brooke’s Dahlgren designs,

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Parrott

Jack Bell University of North Texas Press PDF

Parrott

Robert Parker Parrott was both the most successful and the most controversial designer and founder of rifled cannon and projectiles of the Civil War. His West Point Foundry was located in Cold Spring, New York, across the Hudson River from the United States Military

Academy at West Point. During the war, Parrott and the West Point Foundry produced over 3,100 cannon, twice as many as the combined cannon production of all Confederate foundries and 33 percent more than any other Union foundry.1 Parrott also produced more rifled projectiles for the Union military forces than any other foundry.

Parrott got a head start in producing rifled cannon and projectiles because of his experimental work in the late 1850s. Parrott worked on rifled cannon designs in cooperation with Dr. John Read of Alabama, who worked on projectile designs.2 By 1861 they had already worked out many of the practical problems of integrated rifle-projectile design for field caliber artillery.

Parrott was already selling field caliber rifles to individual states before the war began.3

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Lace

Georgia Kemp Caraway University of North Texas Press PDF

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