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31078Re: Union Artillery

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  • Jeff
    May 2, 2005
      I think we are arguing semantics here. The type of projectile is
      defined differently by different branches of the services and with
      varying alterations served varying responsibilities. A cavalry
      trooper carries a saber while an officer of infantry carries a
      sword. Yes, they are slightly different, they are basically the
      same type of weapon. If I were discussing a saber and you were a
      sailor, you would know what I am talking about as would a cavalry
      trooper. An infantry officer would better know it as a sword. An
      artillery gunner would know what canister was and refer to it as
      such, while a naval gunner would request grape shot for the purpose
      of his work. Could a cavalry trooper carry a sword? Sure, but he
      might not call it a sword. Could a field gunner fire grape? Sure,
      but he might not call it as such.

      From your description of grape, you will notice it was used on the
      larger bore tubes and thus would not eventually demonstrate itself
      to be very effective. The larger the projectile balls, the less in
      the tube. Large ball grape against infantry, although effective
      would not be as effective as smaller canister. On the other hand
      small ball canister would not be as effective on the stout rigging
      of a naval ship.

      Your description of pre-war terms and tubes indicate that by the CW
      time many of these huge guns were rendered obsolete due to the fact
      that they were way to heavy in the field. I think Burnsides had a
      couple of 20# Napoleons at Antietam, but when one discusses the
      general makeup of the armament of the CW period, minor exceptions to
      the rule are surely evident, but not in a manner sufficient to make
      any noticable impact on the warfare of the time.

      Larger bore guns were either seige guns or fortress mounted naval
      guns. But although they could fire the canister/grape type of
      projectile against the fortifications of Vicksburg or Richmond, what
      effective purpose would they have?

      The description of the stand of grape even goes so far as to say it
      was discontinued prior to 1861 and replaced with canister. Could a
      case be made that some obsolete Mexican War relic of a tube sitting
      in the city square of some small town militia in Dixie didn't fire
      an obsolete stand of grape at one time against the Yankee hordes?
      Maybe, but I doubt it actually turned the tide of war.

      In your description below, I think the terms grape and canister are
      being used to describe the type of manufacture of the projectile
      more than anything else. Grape usually was strapped together or as
      show below, kinda melted together. Canister was loose shot in a
      thin metal canister.


      --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, GnrlJEJohnston@a... wrote:
      > In a message dated 5/2/2005 3:45:17 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
      > jblake47@y... writes:
      > "Canister" shot larger than 1.0 caliber were really grape shot
      > in naval guns to strip ships of their rigging. The balls needed
      > be bigger to affect a more damaging effect on a more solid target
      > than flesh and bone.
      > However, not common, but grape shot was used by ground batteries
      > horrendous damage to the advancing enemy.
      > Confederate
      > Stand of grape
      > DIAMETER: 4.60 inches
      > GUN: 12-pounder smoothbore, 4.62-inch caliber
      > LENGTH: 5 13/16 inches to top plate
      > WEIGHT: 14 pounds 6 ounces
      > CONSTRUCTION: Grape shot
      > SABOT: None
      > FUZING: None
      > This non-excavated specimen is referred to as a stand of grape.
      The Federal
      > forces discontinued the 12-pounder stand of grape prior to 1861
      and replaced
      > it with canister. The shot used in canisters were large enough to
      > effective, and the canister balls possessed the advantage of
      striking a great many
      > more points on impact than grape. When fired, the center bolt
      would break free,
      > sending nine iron grape shot, two rings, and two plates flying at
      > intended target. Stands of grape are also found in the following
      field calibers:
      > 18-pounder (5.3-inch caliber), and 24-pounder (5.82-inch
      caliber). Note the
      > crude mold seams on the iron balls which point to Confederate
      > Three complete 12-pounder stands were recovered from Vicksburg,
      > Complete excavated specimens are extremely rare.
      > Pre-war Federal
      > Quilted grape
      > DIAMETER: 2.74 inches
      > GUN: 3-pounder smoothbore, 2.9-inch caliber
      > LENGTH: 8 inches
      > WEIGHT: 8 pounds 12 ounces
      > CONSTRUCTION: Quilted grape
      > SABOT: Wooden cylinder
      > FUZING: None This is an example of a pre-war grape shot
      projectile. It
      > consisted of a wooden base with a rod centered like a bolt around
      which lead
      > balls were piled in tiers. The above arrangement was then
      completely enclosed
      > in canvas, and a heavy twine (sometimes wire) was stitched
      between the
      > balls. This gave the projectile its distinctive quilted-like
      appearance and
      > common name quilted grape. The book known as Cooper's Tactics,
      1845 Edition,
      > stated that the Federal forces continued the use of the 3-pounder
      > cannon into the 1820's as a light field artillery piece.
      According to Louis De
      > Tousard's American Artillerist's Companion, 1809 Edition; and
      Duane's Military
      > Dictionary, 1810 Edition; they considered, based on their tests,
      that the 3-
      > and 4-pounder quilted grape shot was accurate and dependable at
      > yards. Less than 400 yards case-shot and canister were more
      effective, primarily,
      > because of the dispersement. The early manufactured quilted grape
      > lead balls. The lead balls deformed to much upon the ignition of
      the powder
      > charge. Lead balls were later replace with iron. This example
      > thirty-five one-inch lead balls and is located in the West Point
      Military Academy
      > Museum.
      > JEJ
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