Watching the approach of a shell, Yorktown, May, 1862
This photograph of Battery No. 4, planted for the bombardment of Yorktown, shows a sentinel on the watch, ready to give warning of the approach of a shell and thus enable every man to seek shelter.
Beside him is the bombproof in which the troops remained under cover when the bombardment was continuous.
At Yorktown, the Confederates had an 8-inch mortar with which they did rather indifferent shooting, but the moral effect on the Federal soldiers of the screeching shells was great.
The caliber of these mortars was thirteen inches, and on account of their tremendous weight, 17,000 pounds, it required great labor to place them in position.
The projectiles, which were principally used for sea-coast operations, varied in weight, according to character.
Their maximum weight was about 770 pounds, and these were fired with a maximum of about seventy-five pounds of powder.
The bore of this mortar is 35.1 inches in length.
This was a case of war's labor lost, as the Confederates left on May 3d, and McClellan's elaborate siege batteries never had a chance. |