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Author Topic: CS Used Parrott  (Read 325 times)

CarlS

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CS Used Parrott
« on: September 27, 2018, 09:32:48 PM »
A formunite asked me to post these images of a Parrott shell that appears to have been lathed down from 3" to 2.9".  The shells is fused with a CS copper adapter and lathe marks are visible down the shell body.  Anyone see this before or know of any reference to it?
Best,
Carl

speedenforcer

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Re: CS Used Parrott
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2018, 03:27:01 PM »
Wow
It's not always "Survival of the fitest" sometimes the idiots get through.

Woodenhead

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Re: CS Used Parrott
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2018, 01:33:25 PM »
Carl - is that an early war Parrott shell? For a month or two during late 1860 or early 1861, Parrott's West Point Foundry was sizing its projectiles with a lathe. The Rebs didn't do that until the first half of 1862. All of their 1861 projectiles were simply cast and ground down or filed if need be.

The two pages shown below may be the first two lathed projectiles with dimples in the bottom to strike the 'sacred' soil of VA during the war between the states. They were both made in New York. Identical examples have been dug at Parrott"s test range along the Hudson River. Because lathe lines and dimples were traditionally considered proof of CS manufacture, these were always thought to be Southern made. But they positively were not. These are 3.3 inch Dyer bolts probably lost or fired by one of the four New York batteries equipped with 3.3 inch Parrott guns that spent about 2 months at the front during the summer of 1861. They employed Parrott's patented cast-on sabot (lead) and were manufactured by Parrott under contract from Col. Dyer. We choose to call them "Dyers," instead of "Parrotts," because Parrott himself, and everyone else at the time called them "Dyers." Some of the 3.3 inch Dyer shells that accompanied these bolts were also lathed, but that is a more complicated matter because maybe the Rebs made some.

Further proof of Parrott's early lathing activity can be seen in the lathe lines covering the bearing surface of the U.S. 2.9 inch Parrott shell pictured below. I walked into a recent Gettysburg Show and saw it for sale on a friend's table. I assumed it was I Reb projectile until I looked at the base which had a good quality wrought iron sabot and no lathe dimple. And when I saw the fuze hole set up for a West Point style percussion fuze, I realized it had to be made in New York. It had been found in the early 1862 swamps east of Richmond. He said it was definitely fired by the Yanks. Remember, none of the approximately 8,500 Reb 2.9 inch Parrotts made in 1861 had lathe dimples either, but the South never put West Point style two-piece percussion fuzes in them, and the overall quality of the wrought iron cup sabots was inferior.

Woodenhead

rommack

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Re: CS Used Parrott
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2018, 08:35:54 AM »
Carl , Have you ever heard of one of these 2.9 Parrotts being found at Vicksburg ? I have a slick one that looks lathed and measures 2.87 along its body. Hard to get a good measurement on the sabot but looks like 2.96 so I guess its 3 inch ?

alwion

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Re: CS Used Parrott
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2018, 09:41:44 AM »
oh my another 3.3" style I don't have

Woodenhead

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Re: CS Used Parrott
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2018, 04:14:56 PM »
Yes, that should be a 3 inch CS Parrott you found at Vicksburg. All of the 20 to 30 Parrott Rifles made in the Deep South during 1861-62 were 3 inch guns. That was the Confederate Ordnance Bureau's regulation size until the summer of 1862. Most of those guns were probably lost when the North captured the Mississippi and sank the CS river fleet. All of the CS Parrott shells fired at Shiloh should be 3 inch caliber. Read the second paragraph of the Dec. 1862 letter below from Col. Wright - a master of Deep South projectile production. He guarantees that only 3 inch Parrott ammunition had been made previously in the Deep South.

The Southern ordnance people never wanted the smaller 2.9 inch Parrotts. In 1861 correspondence, they describe the 3 inch Parrott as just another form of the regulation 3 inch Rifle. Richmond inherited Virginia's thirteen 2.9 inch Parrotts and the 5,000 rounds the state had ordered to be made by Tredegar (included some Parrott bolts and a majority of those Bormann-fuzed). The South captured another seven or nine 2.9 inch Parrott Rifles at the great victory on the plains on Manassas, and additional Parrotts during the bloody spring 1862 Peninsula Campaign. That's why there have been so many 2.9 inch rounds dug in VA. But meanwhile, the only Parrott Rifles actually made by the VA foundries were of the 3 inch caliber. They reverted to, and formally adopted the 2.9 inch caliber, during summer of 1862 when the production of 20 & 30 pounder Parrotts began in Richmond. Afterwards, the authorities sent complete batteries of 2.9 inch Parrotts to the western theater and no more 3 inch Parrott were produced anywhere in the South.

The first color photo below shows the nose with the West Point style percussion fuze of the Parrott shell shown previously. To the best of my knowledge, only Federal 10 pounders used this fuze. I know some Deep South Reads employed a brass version. That was actually ordered by John Read himself when he set up some of the first CS foundries that made rifled field projectiles, but you don't see those in VA except on some of the heavy bombs.

Please read the second paragraph of the Dec. 1862 letter below. By that time, some 2.9 inch batteries should have been arriving in the west.

The last two book pages shown below are self explanitory. Both 2.9 inch Parrott shells pre-date the use of precision lathes in early 1862. Prior to that, I don't believe Tredegar lathed any of their Rifle shells. They were filed or sized on a grindstone. The second page which shows an obviously lathed shell with no dimple was likely among the 1,000 or so produced by Samson & Pae during 1861. They were the first to lathe their shells including some "long Archers" (i.e. Burtons) finished for the state of VA as early as June 1861.

Woodenhead