platform car, was very impressive for the Confederates
The car was moved within easy range of the Confederate
works, and halted at a curve in the track, so that, by moving it a few feet either way, the direction of fire could be changed.
Much apprehension was excited in the defenders' works by the huge missiles, and observers reported that one of the shells, on explosion, threw a Confederate field-gun and carriage above the parapet of the works.
The range was about thirty-six hundred yards.
Although the first really successful application of rifled cannon to warfare occurred in the Italian
campaign of Napoleon III, in 1859, the problem of a projectile that would satisfactorily take the rifling of the gun had not been solved, and up to the outbreak of the Civil War
the employment of such guns was, on this account, an uncertain undertaking.
During the years from 1861 to 1865, there was continual trouble in finding a projectile that would take the rifling successfully without injury to the gun, but developments were such during the war that, at its close, the problem consisted principally in deciding between the various types of projectiles.
Both belligerents devoted much time to the solution of these difficulties.
Many inventions had temporary vogue, and then gradually were laid aside, so that even experienced ordnance officers could not, at the close of the conflict, tell exactly what the prevailing opinion as to types was at any particular date.
In the Federal
service, experience caused the rejection of a number of varieties of rifled projectiles.
For the siege of Petersburg
there were used those of Parrott
, and Hotchkiss
The first was fired by the Parrott guns, and the others by the ordnance guns.
Case-shot and shell were used with all the systems, and solid shot in the Parrott and Hotchkiss.
The guns were also supplied with canister not designed to take the rifled motion.
Observations made throughout the war by the Federal