previous next

[111] To accomplish this, trenches were dug in front of the gun and on each side about a yard from the wheels, in which the artillerists stood while loading and manoeuvring the gun, their heads being below the parapet, and only the hands of those ramming being exposed. The dangerous space was well defined and easy to be avoided, and only the head of the gunner while in the act of aiming was at all endangered. Mantlets for the gunners' protection while aiming were proposed, and some were constructed of thick oak-plank to rest upon the axles and trunnions, and they were used to some extent. The material of which they were composed, however, prevented their general adoption; for wooden mantlets would cause the explosion of a percussion-shell if struck by one, and would themselves make dangerous splinters. Barbette-guns are easily withdrawn from the enemy's view and fire, and yet kept ready for instant use.

Magazines were seldom built except where the guns were exposed to a mortar-fire; dismounted limber-chests covered with tarpaulins being used instead without disadvantage. A very important adjunct to each battery was found to be a ‘look out’ upon each flank. The ‘looking out’ is the most important part of the battery service, not only that no time may be lost on any appearance of the enemy, but that the aiming of the gunners may be superintended and corrected; and to insure its being well done it should be made as safe as possible.

Except in the siege of Petersburg the Army of Northern Virginia seldom built second lines of intrenchments in rear of the first; not from any doubt of their value, but because they rarely had the force to spare from the front line. Even when the second line at Petersburg was built it was principally intended as a means of covered communication which could not be otherwise obtained, and in was only occupied by a few guns in rear of the most exposed points of the first line, which were designed to check the enemy should he penetrate them. Where the ammunition is safe to be fired over the heads of the first line, it would doubtless be an excellent plan to put all of the rifled guns in detached batteries in rear of exposed points, where they would have an excellent effect in checking an enemy who should penetrate and either seek to advance or sweep down the lines. An instance of the effect of such batteries may be found in the battle of the Crater, at Petersburg, July 30th 1864, which is indeed about the only case where the Confederate lines ever had even detached batteries in rear of a point gotten possession of by the enemy. Flanner's battery in the Jerusalem plankroad five hundred yards directly in rear of the Crater, and Wright's,

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.
Flanner (2)
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.
July 30th, 1864 AD (2)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: