A Confederate gun that ran the blockade
Beside the home-made guns, which were all muzzle-loaders, a number of guns of various makes, Whitworth, Armstrong, James, Blakely, and Hotchkiss, were brought in through the blockade.
The gun in this photograph is a modified 12-pounder breech-loading Whitworth.
The breech was open when the picture was taken.
The breech mechanism was adopted from the British Armstrong type and from the French system.
In the Armstrong breech-loading gun the breech-block has the full screw that is seen here.
The item taken from the French system was the manner of swinging the block back after the screw had become disengaged.
The large ring through which the breechblock passes is hinged to the right side of the breech of the gun. Two Whitworths were sent to the Army of Northern Virginia. One of them was used in an attempt to knock over General Benjamin F. Butler's famous signal-tower.
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 gun were above the average, making it difficult to transport, and the care and length of time consumed in loading and handling impaired its efficiency for quick work.
The cross-section of this gun was a hexagon with rounded comers.
The twist was very rapid, and the projectiles were made long.
The diameter of the bore was 2.75 inches, its length 104 inches, its weight 1,092 pounds, and it fired a 12-pound projectile with a usual load of 1.75 pounds of powder. |