previous next

[388] supplied with solid shot, and but scantily with these. The two thirty-pound Parrotts did beautiful practice until they were burst, one at the thirty-ninth round and the other at the fifty-fourth. The smooth-bores were all supplied with the badly made Bormann fuzes which cursed the Confederate artillery, from the beginning of the war until the end of 1863, for although their manufacture was discontinued shortly after this battle, the supplies on hand in the ordinance depots all had to be used up, and they were scarcely exhausted until after the battle of Gettysburg. They were, therfore, forbidden to fire over the heads of the infantry except with solid shot, and wherever they were tempted to disregard this order, the result was generally nearly as fatal to friend as foe. The position at Marye's Hill was fortunately an exception to this rule, as the features of the ground gave the infantry in front great protection; but, even here, an officer1 lost his arm, and several other casualties occurred from premature explosions of our own shell.

The rifle guns were even worse than the smooth bores, for they carried no solid shot, and had no percussion shells or case shot, their only ammunition being time-fuze shell and canister. Their shell were not only liable to burst prematurely, often in the gun,2 but when they did not do this they rarely burst at all, and very many of them would “tumble” and fall, and very far short of their targets. Had the Confederate artillerists possessed the guns and ammunition of their opponents, it would be difficult to over-estimate the damage they could have inflicted, for not only would the losses have been far greater in their assaulting and retreating columns, but the dense masses of infantry, and moving columns of all arms, and enormous parks of wagons constantly visible on the north bank, and moving to and from their bridges, must have suffered, it is no exaggeration to say, thousands of casualties. As it was, they were seldom fired at, and so rarely hit that it is doubtful if fifty men were hurt upon the north bank by artillery projectiles. Only within canister range could the Confederate artillerists take full advantage of their opportunities, and what these opportunities were, may be judged from the fact that in spite of these disadvantages, it was stated in Northern papers at the time, that one-fifth of all the losses were caused by artillery projectiles.

The volley poured by Colonel Fizer's command into the bridge builders, was the signal for a sharp fusilade, which immediately greeted

1 Captain Fulkinson, of the Seventeenth Mississippi.

2 It was supposed that this caused the explosion of the two thirty-pound Parrotts referred to above.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Fulkinson (1)
Fizer (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1863 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: