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[110] and ‘Brooke's rifles’ of six and four-tenths and seven inches calibre. These rifles only needed telescopic sights (which could not be made in the Confederacy) to be perfect arms of their class, their trajectories being more uniform than the sighting of the guns could be made by the eye. In addition to these rifles Captain Brooke also furnished some heavily banded smooth-bores of ten and eleven inches calibre, to fire wrought iron balls with very high charges against the ironclads, which would doubtless have been extremely effective at short ranges.

On several occasions during 1863 and 1864 where mortar-fire was desirable in the field, the twelve and twenty-four pounder howitzers were used for the purpose very successfully, by sinking the trails in trenches to give the elevation, while the axles were run up on inclined skids a few inches to lift the wheels from the ground and lessen the strain of the recoil. The skids would not be necessary where the desired range is not great. During the siege of Petersburg a number of iron twelve and twenty-four pounder Coehorn mortars were made and rendered excellent service. Wooden mortars were also made and tried for short ranges, but even when they did not split, the ranges were so irregular that they could not be made useful.

In the location of batteries to defend lines of intrenchment, the campaign of 1864 gave the Confederate artillerists and engineers much experience, and a few of the deductions therefrom may not be out of place.

Embrasures for the protection of the guns and men became unpopular, and were considered very objectionable, except for the rare cases where guns are to be reserved entirely for a flank defence of important points. The objections to them are that they restrict the field of fire, and thus render it difficult to conform the defence to unforeseen attacks. They are liable to be choked by the enemy's shot, and can only be repaired with much exposure of the men, and they do not accomplish their intended object, the protection of the men and guns. Sharpshooters' balls coming obliquely through the embrasures, or glancing off the gun or carriage, and artillery projectiles piercing the angles of the cheeks, make the limits of the dangerous space in rear of the embrasures very vague, and men are often unnecessarily exposed and hit without being aware of their danger. The barbette-gun not only has a greater field of view, but is more rapidly made ready, can be concealed from view until wanted, can only be silenced by being hit, offers a less conspicuous mark than an embrasure, and can be worked with less exposure of the artillerists.


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John M. Brooke (4)
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