use of shell, spherical case, or canister, and was most effective at close quarters; the latter, because it was light and easily handled, and its range and accuracy remarkable.
At the siege of Petersburg
, in the summer of 1864, a battery of 20-pound Parrotts from a Confederate work shelled passing trains behind the Union
lines, which excited the ire of some 3-inch rifle batteries.
The Confederate work was heavily built and well provided with embrasures for the guns, but these were torn away day by day and replaced at night.
The range was finally so accurate that if a Confederate cap on a stick was raised over the edge of the parapet, it would immediately be cut down by a shot.
The Confederate 30-pound Parrotts did not prove a success.
Two of them mounted on Lee's Hill
, at the battle of Fredericksburg
, burst, one at the thirty-ninth, the other at the fifty-seventh discharge.
Besides the home-made guns, which were all muzzle-loaders, a number of guns of various make, Whitworth
, and Hotchkiss
, were brought in through the blockade.
Two Whitworths were sent to the Army of Northern Virginia.
They had a great reputation for range and accuracy of fire, but beyond the shelling of distant columns and trains, proved a disappointment.
The length and weight of the guns were above the average, making them difficult to transport, and the care and length of time consumed in loading and handling impaired their efficiency for quick work.
Transportation, after all, was one of the most difficult problems with the Confederate artillery. Four horses to a piece, and the same to a caisson, was the utmost allowance, excepting, perhaps, the 20-pounder Parrott gun. In consequence, the cannoneers were required to walk, and General Jackson
issued more than one order on the subject.
When A. P. Hill
's artillery was hurrying from Harper's Ferry
to General Lee
's assistance, the first battery to arrive on the field was worked by less than half the complement of men, officers, commissioned and non-commissioned, lending a hand.