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"War of 1812 artillery" Topic


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15 Sep 2014 3:38 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

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Comments or corrections?

eptingmike07 Sep 2011 9:06 a.m. PST

Hello all,
I have been reading a couple of books on the War of 1812 and so far the main field piece mentioned is a 3-pounder. What I am wondering is what you folks would recommend figure-wise? Were these just left over pieces from the Revolutionary era? If so would they have retained the wood/carriage/trail or recycled the barrels? A quick look at different manufacturers it seems the smallest Napoleonic piece is the 6-pounder. What to do?
Thanks so much
Mike

Connard Sage Inactive Member07 Sep 2011 9:09 a.m. PST

Figure size?

Further reading
link
link

eptingmike07 Sep 2011 9:11 a.m. PST

28mm is what I am working with. Sloooooowly trying to put together some Brits and Yanks.

Connard Sage Inactive Member07 Sep 2011 9:13 a.m. PST

Depends how 'correct' you want/need to be.

Front Rank do an Austrian 3 pdr.

picture

RudyNelson07 Sep 2011 11:30 a.m. PST

American firld artillry in the South. Which is what most of my book research has been on, is very diverse.
You had artillery cannon provided by militia companies, State arsenals and Federal armories.

The Georgia artilly in Alabama consited of two small caliber, 3pdrs, At least one's history could be traced back to being captured at Saratoga in 1777. Most georgia Artillery was deployed along the Atlantic coast to deter british ships from raiding the coast. Georgia also deployed many single guns at supply depots to guard them along the frontier.
The unique thing about the georgia artilley guns (2) was that they were on four wheel naval carriages. They were carried to the battlefield in wagons. they were unloaded at nightfall for camp or when they were going to attack. The gunners were GA volunteers.

Tennesse troops also carried two cannon. these were on dual train carriages. Some comments indicate that dual train carriageswere regarded as more sturdy for frontier duty than single trail british style carriages. The Tenn guns were one 3 pdrand one 6pdr. they would fire one round each evening when camping on the campaign route in order to estimate the defensive range of the camp.

I actually got to see one 6pdr round shot which was brought to my county office. jackson had camped at our county seat one night. they found it when the escavated for a hospital!

Tenn also deployed single guns at supply depots. For years many folk thought that the gunners were regular US troops. Now with more intense research, both the attached infantry, for workers, and the gunners were Tenn militia/volunteers. The OIC IIRC was a Regular Army officer. It was not unusual to have regular Army officers deployed with territorial outposts to organize the local militia.

RudyNelson07 Sep 2011 11:32 a.m. PST

major forts at Mobile and New orleans and Spanish Pensacola had a large variety of cannon running from 3pdr to over 18pdrs.

eptingmike07 Sep 2011 12:29 p.m. PST

@Connard Sage
Scanning through the second link you posted, it would seem to me that the 3-lbs mentioned in the books I am reading(Pierre Berton to be specific)most likely were left overs from the Revolutionary War and in state and local service. Not 100% sure as my memory is terrible but I do believe that in Berton's books they seem to be in the militia heavy/small detachments on both sides.
Those links are great, by the way.
@Rudy: Great info, though a bit 'south' of the area I plan on gaming! :)

RudyNelson07 Sep 2011 12:44 p.m. PST

link


A photo of a 6pdr. the strange thing is that the 3pdr is on the same size carriage as the 6pdr. the 3pdr barrel almost looks lost

Glengarry Inactive Member07 Sep 2011 12:44 p.m. PST

Actually, the most common artillery piece on both sides in the War of 1812 on the Canadian front was the 6pdr, although I have read of 3PDR's and even 1 PDR's!! My British artillery also includes 5.5" howitzers and 2 24 PDR's that were fielded at the battle of Lundy's Lane. At the same battle the Americans fielded 12 PDR's. I use standard British single trail carriages for my Brit 6 PDR's and split trails for the others. Indeed, when I field my American artillery I will sometimes "borrow" peces from my prussian Napoleonic army as both nations painted thier carriages mid-blue! My 1PDR is an "old school", small 15mm cannon that is dwafed by the other 18mm sale creeped artillery and works quite nicely!

Glengarry Inactive Member07 Sep 2011 12:46 p.m. PST

Oh, and don't forget the British also fielded Royal Marine Artillery rockets! Hardly battle winning but great fun on the table!

RudyNelson07 Sep 2011 12:51 p.m. PST

link

Notice that the shade on the gun is a little lighter (from sitting out in the sun?)
This is the static display in fromt of the museum. The park ranger has a real operating cannon that they fire each march on the anniversary. They crew dresses in Tenn State Vol uniforms.

Personal logo Buckeye AKA Darryl Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2011 1:05 p.m. PST

At Lundy's Lane many of the guns were of the 6-pounder size:

Americans:
Biddle's Company (probably three 12-pdr guns)
Ritchie's Company (two 6-pdr guns, one 5.5" howitzer)
Towson's Company (two 6-pdr guns, one 5.5" howitzer)
William's Company (probably three 18-pdr guns)
Douglass's Company of Sappers, Bombardiers, and Miners (two 18-pdr guns)

Brits/Canucks:
Five brass 6-pdr guns
One brass 5.5" howitzer
Two brass 24-pdr guns
Congreve Rocket section

At Mackinac the Brits had one six pounder and one three pounder, while the Yanks had two six pounders.

Man of Few Words Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2011 1:06 p.m. PST

eptingmike:
Glengarry seems to have answered while I went for my OB notes. I have the same kind of results as he. I think mine came from a Nafziger OB. You might try CARL link in the "812/3/4U" series.

Man of Few Words Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2011 1:14 p.m. PST

Darrl:
My notes agree on British guns but have following in addition:
? Batt-2 6pdrs & 1 5.5 in How (with 1st or Light Bde)
CPT MacLachlane's Co, LT Tomkyns 2 24pdrs
Sergt Austin's Rocket Section
CPT Mackonachie's Co 3 6pdrs
I have not before had break out for US Douglass & Williams, thanks.

roughriderfan Inactive Member07 Sep 2011 1:47 p.m. PST

The "standard" weapon for both armies was the 6pm gun, though for the British forces it was a single trail "brass" weapon, while for the Americans it was a double trail iron weapon. The great mineral deposits in the Upper Michigan area had yet to be opened, so the supplies needed for "brass" weapons were expensive – and so the US War Department was more interested in iron weapons,

The issue gets complicated in that states supplied many of the weapons in American service – so one has a mixture of weapons left over from the AWI as well as newer pieces – the State of New York purchased weapons directly from France in the prewar years, so one can find 12lb and 4lb guns in the service on it's frontiers (Considerate this a case of New York showing off.)

Wooden gun carriages could be rebuilt by any experienced woodworker or wheelwright – and in a world where pressure treated wood is unknown – rebuilding of gun carriages is a ongoing issue. Carriages get built, rot out in a few years, and get rebuilt.

Add to this mix the number of shipboard weapons that are in private hands – many a ship sailing to the East and West Indies carried ship board cannon for self defence during the period 1784-1811. These weapons were light -usually 3 or 4 lb guns – that were carried more for hope of discouraging any attack – then actual service. However they are out there and can be pressed into service – as the 3lb guns used by Georgia militia mentioned above.

The 3lb sleigh mounted guns used by Protor at Feenchtown appear to be ships guns as well.

One of the rules of the frontiers seems to have a trust that the way to keep Native Americans away was to have some type of cannon for defense. There are multiple examples of weapons in service in villages and forts out on the frontier – ranging from swivel guns up to the mentioned 3/4lb ships guns -the carriages are not to be considered as "field" guns by any means – but they work as defensive weapons.

The best known example of such is the "come and take" cannon at Gonzales that helps start the Texas Revolution two decades later.

Bottom line for the Americans is you can use a mixture of guns and gun carriages – though for the regulars a 6lb gun is pretty standard

My .02

summerfield07 Sep 2011 2:05 p.m. PST

The Americans followed the advice in Muller (1757) Treatise on Artillery that the trunnions would be at the centreline. This differed from the British Blomefield and French Gribeauval Gun tubes that had trunnions below the centreline. The French and British Iron guns also followed this.

This alone destroys the long held premice that the American Guns were Gribeauval Designs. Their calibres followed the British practice of 3-, 6- & 12-pdr not the French 4-, 8- & 12-pdr.
Stephen

eptingmike07 Sep 2011 2:46 p.m. PST

What a great wealth of info from all of you!
Thank you so much!
I am gonna have to print this stuff out!

10th Marines Inactive Member07 Sep 2011 3:12 p.m. PST

'The Americans followed the advice in Muller (1757) Treatise on Artillery that the trunnions would be at the centreline. This differed from the British Blomefield and French Gribeauval Gun tubes that had trunnions below the centreline. The French and British Iron guns also followed this.'

The current Muller edition was 1780-the 1757 manual was out of date by the time of the Napoleonic Wars.

The United States Army partially adopted the Gribeauval System in 1809. They used the vehicles, gun carriages, and limbers of that system, which the American Artillerist's Companion was also used for. That was the American artillery manual for the War of 1812, not Muller. Muller, edition 1757, was used for the War of the Revolution.

'This alone destroys the long held premice that the American Guns were Gribeauval Designs.'

By whom?

The Gribeauval gun calibers were not generally adopted by the US in 1809 as there were plenty of serviceable field pieces available and not really any need to cast new ones of different calibers. This has been known for quite some time.

That being said, the US did employ 12-pounders with their field artillery companies, most noteworthy being along the Niagara frontier in 1814, when the British gave the American artillery the very high compliment, 'We thought you were French.'

Their calibres followed the British practice of 3-, 6- & 12-pdr not the French 4-, 8- & 12-pdr.

Generally speaking, that is correct, but not always. The Americans also had plenty of native iron, and iron field pieces were experimented with from time to time.

Sincerely,
Kevin

roughriderfan Inactive Member07 Sep 2011 3:52 p.m. PST

A couple of additional points –

1. Henry Knox preferred the 6lb gun back in the AWI for his organization that gave every infantry brigade an attached company of artillery – but settled for the 3/4lb guns.

2. By 1811 the French had realized the issues with Gribeauval system as well – having gone over to a system of having a 6lb gun and a 12lb gun, – using the 6lb gun to replace both the 4lb and 8lb gun. However they never had the chance to complete the system army wide

3. The Jeffersonian concept of an army saw the need for specialists such as gunners and engineers. West Point has it's humble beginnings under Jefferson – and his US Army from 1801 to 1808 consisted of two regiments of infantry, and one regiment of artillery. Moreover the artillery regiment was two battalions strong – so the ratio of artillery to infantry was 1:1.

In Jefferson's world – infantry would flow as needed from the American yoeman farmer, who would leap to arms as needed – but gunners needed to be trained. It is not surprising that the British were impressed by the American artillery arm in 1814

My .02 as usual

RudyNelson07 Sep 2011 4:54 p.m. PST

Stephen I have never seen American single trail guns portrayed in any account or contemporary illustrations. They have all been dual trail as pictured in my links.

That Americans preferred 6pdr seems to be confirmed that when in jackson's first probe toward Horseshoe Bend when he was forced to retreat, beat in my opinion. he had left the 3 pdr protecting a depot and brought only the 6 pdr on the campaign. The ball that I examined a few years ago matched 6pdr dimensions.

summerfield08 Sep 2011 2:20 a.m. PST

Dear Rudy Nelson
Sorry for the misunderstanding. I am referring to the gun tube design and not the carriages as I have stated above. Yes the Americans in the War of 1812 were using bracket trails. These had a mix of influences. Alas the terminology used over the years has been to describe everything that is a bracket trail as a Gribeauval Carriage.

French Gribeauval Carriages had an iron axle, it is unclear as to whether the American Carriages actually did at this time. This is a very controversial area. The US Artillery still perferred the British Artillery wheel to the French. The former is less dished.

MULLER (1780)
Muller (1780) Treatise on Artillwery was a combination of Muller (1757) and Muller (1767) Supplement to the Treatise of Artillery. It was not a revised edition and were done by the publisher. Dr John Muller (1699-1784) had retired in 1766 as Professor of Fortifications and Artillery in 1764. It is not even a good guide to the British Ordnance used in the AWI that were using Light Common gun tubes and Congreve Snr bracket carriages.
See
- Summerfield (2010) "Introduction to the Pocket Gunner" in Adye & Eliot (1813 rp 2010) The Bombardier and the Pocket Gunner, 7th Edition, Ken Trotman Publishing
- Graves (2006) American Artillery Texts on Napoleon Series
- Graves (2007) Reading maketh the man ….., Ken Trotman Publishing
- Caruana (1990) Dating of Muller…., The Canadian Journal of Arms Collecting]

TOUSARD (1809)
This heavily drew upon Muller for various aspects. This is amply covered by
Don Graves (2010) "Louis de Tousard and his ‘Artillerists Companion': An Investigation of Source Materials for Napoleonic Ordnance,"Smoothbore Ordnance Journal, Issue 1 [Reprint of Don Graves (May 1983) Canadian Journal of Arms Collecting, 23 (2), 51-60]
link

Now printed by Ken Trotman in 2011
link

I hope that clarifies a little the background.
Stephen

RudyNelson08 Sep 2011 7:02 a.m. PST

I understand your position better now.

In regards to gun tubes, I am not sure how Americans developed their heavy ordance armories.

I do know that the US Army conducted field trials in the 1780s. the focus was on the deployment and trnsport on guns.

The focus under directives from Jefferson to support his isolationist policies gave priority on denfensive functions. This included naval cannon for fortresses. Field Artillery, I am not sure. jefferson was intent on not being involved in European wars and supported frontier expansion where field artillery was not as important.

summerfield08 Sep 2011 7:29 a.m. PST

Dear Rudy Nelson
The production of gun tubes before about the 1820s seems to be a cottage industry in the US. I have seen very little written upon the subject about the technical aspects. Also Cast Iron guns rarely have many distinguishing marks and those that they were are likely to have corroded with the years.

It is an area that I have started to look at as there are many pieces of Spanish guns in the US and I am writing a book on the Spanish Napoleonic Infantry, Cavalry and Artillery of 1808. From looking at extent pieces and Maritz II the date of introduction of the Gribeauval System is as early as 1769 in Spain and not 1781 or 1783. The Garrison and Siege pieces were always distinct from France.

I think the influence of the Spanish Ordnance was as strong as that of France and Britain upon US Ordnance. The Mexican American War is another interesting cross-over period. The US Army was re-invented again it seems.
Stephen

RudyNelson08 Sep 2011 8:33 a.m. PST

Considering that the Americans obtained Spanish cannon at Pensacola, Mobile and even at New Orleans and Baton Rouge and St Louis. All had been Spanish outposts with cannon deployed there. Some were turned over to the French who turned them over to the Americans after the Louisiana Purchase. Pensacola and Mobile had been captured from Anglo-Spanish garrisons.

Since the Spanish did maintain a presence in North America after 1783, I would agree that a Spanish influence on the USA cannon foundry operations would have been possible.

10th Marines Inactive Member09 Sep 2011 7:00 p.m. PST

‘ Henry Knox preferred the 6lb gun back in the AWI for his organization that gave every infantry brigade an attached company of artillery – but settled for the 3/4lb guns.'

Agree-many times the Americans had to go with what they had-and that included American-made field pieces.

'Brigade artilery, seventeen brigades, with four guns each
:-sixty-eight pieces to be 3-, 4-, or 6-pounders; with the park-two 24-pounders, four 12-pounders, four 8-inch howitzers, eight 5.5-inch howitzers, ten 3- or 4-pounders, ten 6-pounders; for the reserve-to be kept at a proper distance from camp, -thirty 3-, 4-, and 6-pounders, two 12-pounders, one 24-pounder; all of the foregoing brigade, park, and reserve guns to be brass. In addition, twelve 18-pounders, twelve 12-pounders, battering pieces, on traveling carriages, together with two 5.5-inch and twelve 8-, 9-, and 10-inch mortars; the battering pieces and mortars to be cast iron.'
-Henry Knox, 'estimates of the needs for the campaign of 1778.'

‘By 1811 the French had realized the issues with Gribeauval system as well – having gone over to a system of having a 6lb gun and a 12lb gun, – using the 6lb gun to replace both the 4lb and 8lb gun. However they never had the chance to complete the system army wide'

The French Systeme AN XI was never fully implemented and was approved by the Artillery Committee, chaired by Marmont and including such skilled and vegteran artillerymen as Generals Gassendi and Eble, in 1803. The new system was to be comprehensive and was essentially a simplified version of Gribeauval's light artillery system. It was never fully implemented for a variety of reasons and the only field pieces that were manufactured in any numbers were the 6-pounder and the 5.5-inch (24-pounder) howitzer. Gribeauval field pieces, the 4- and 8-pounders, were still being used by the Army of Germany in 1809, along with the 6-pounder, and the Young Guard artillery had the Gribeauval 4-pounder as late as 1811.

Many senior artillerymen did not like the new 6-pounder and wanted to go back officially to the 4- and 8-pounders, which is what happened after Waterloo. The 8- and 12-pounder calibers would compose the new field pieces with the new gun carriages and caissons of the Vallee System in 1829. The 6-pounder was out.

The Systeme AN XI did not replace the Gribeauval System, but supplemented it with two new field pieces. The rolling stock (vehicles, gun carriages, etc., were not put into full production and the Gribeauval System vehicles were used until the end of the period).

‘ The Jeffersonian concept of an army saw the need for specialists such as gunners and engineers. West Point has it's humble beginnings under Jefferson – and his US Army from 1801 to 1808 consisted of two regiments of infantry, and one regiment of artillery. Moreover the artillery regiment was two battalions strong – so the ratio of artillery to infantry was 1:1.'

Jefferson's actual concept was to gut the regular army and the US Navy when he came to power in 1801. One of his cabinet, Elbridge Gerry, did his utmost to gut the professional armed forces, instead relying on the unreliable militia for land defense and the dubious security of gunboats for coastal defense. The excellent US Navy of 36 seagoing warships built up by the Adams administration was quickly and summarily reduced to 13 with reduced crews.

Jefferson had nothing, or next to nothing to do with American artillery development and probably could have cared less.

‘In Jefferson's world – infantry would flow as needed from the American eoman farmer, who would leap to arms as needed – but gunners needed to be trained. It is not surprising that the British were impressed by the American artillery arm in 1814'

In Jefferson's world, there was little place for professional soldiers and sailors. The US proficiency in artillery in the War of 1812 had nothing to do with Jefferson and his administration and it is surprising that the overall efficiency of the American artillery arm was as proficient as it was in spite of Jefferson and his followers.

Sincerely,
Kevin

10th Marines Inactive Member09 Sep 2011 7:03 p.m. PST

‘Yes the Americans in the War of 1812 were using bracket trails. These had a mix of influences. Alas the terminology used over the years has been to describe everything that is a bracket trail as a Gribeauval Carriage.'

Yes, the US artillery arm had a mix of artillery influences, but the overwhelming influences can be reduced to two-the British first, and the French second. The partial adoption of the French Gribeauval Artillery System (vehicles and not gun tubes) has been well-established. For two quick references see Albert Manucy, Artillery Through the Ages and Harold Peterson's Roundshot and Rammers.

‘French Gribeauval Carriages had an iron axle, it is unclear as to whether the American Carriages actually did at this time.'

Peterson in Roundshot and Rammers states that the US used iron axels. The references are also there for the iron axel in Tousard's American Artillerist's Companion.
‘This is a very controversial area.'

Why?

The references are quite specific.

Is there information from credible sources that contradict those points?

‘The US Artillery still perferred the British Artillery wheel to the French. The former is less dished.'

Do you have a reference for this?

Peterson states that the US artillery wheel was constsructed differently than that of the French artillery wheel, but there is no reference to a preference for the British wheel. If it wasn't the same size, it would not be a good fit for the Gribeauval gun carriage, et al.

‘Muller (1780) Treatise on Artillwery was a combination of Muller (1757) and Muller (1767) Supplement to the Treatise of Artillery. It was not a revised edition and were done by the publisher. Dr John Muller (1699-1784) had retired in 1766 as Professor of Fortifications and Artillery in 1764.'

Agree.

‘It is not even a good guide to the British Ordnance used in the AWI that were using Light Common gun tubes and Congreve Snr bracket carriages.'

But it is a good reference for the Continental artillery as that is the artillery manual used during the War of the Revolution by the Americans.

‘TOUSARD (1809) This heavily drew upon Muller for various aspects.'

Muller was one of the references used by Tousard, most of it in the Introduction to the book. It doesn't appear to have been used ‘heavily.'

‘The production of gun tubes before about the 1820s seems to be a cottage industry in the US. I have seen very little written upon the subject about the technical aspects. Also Cast Iron guns rarely have many distinguishing marks and those that they were are likely to have corroded with the years.'

The United States had a federal foundry for the production of artillery pieces in Springfield Massachusetts. There were also private foundries that would and could cast artillery, some of them superior to those produced in the federal foundry. Paul Revere had one in Massachusetts, as did J. Byers in Philadelphia and Daniel King in Germantown, both in Pennsylvania. I wouldn't call those a ‘cottage industry' however.

‘It is an area that I have started to look at as there are many pieces of Spanish guns in the US and I am writing a book on the Spanish Napoleonic Infantry, Cavalry and Artillery of 1808. From looking at extent pieces and Maritz II the date of introduction of the Gribeauval System is as early as 1769 in Spain and not 1781 or 1783. The Garrison and Siege pieces were always distinct from France.'

Most of the Spanish ordnance from the St. Augustine was taken by the Spanish when they left. Apparently, most of what is there now is British. Also there were many similarities between English and Spanish pieces, sometimes to make them appear almost identical. Perhaps this was a result of having Muller translated into Spanish.

‘I think the influence of the Spanish Ordnance was as strong as that of France and Britain upon US Ordnance.'

It would be a far distant third behind the British and French. Americans ‘grew up' with British ordnance because that was what was on hand in the colonies and during the Revolution. British crew drill was also used. As French influence grew greater, and with the partial adoption of the Gribeauval System in 1809, French influence grew and crew drill, for example, was changed from the British manner to the French. Nothing of the sort took place adopted from the Spanish.

‘The Mexican American War is another interesting cross-over period. The US Army was re-invented again it seems.'

The US Army was ‘reinvented'?

What is that supposed to mean?

The lineage of the modern US Army basically starts with the Legion of the United States ca 1795 as organized and trained by Anthony Wayne. The US National Guard units trace their lineage back to the Continental Army.
The US artillery can be traced steadily back to the Honorable Artillery Company in 1638 in New England and after the Revolution when the Continental Army stood down, it was an artillery unit that was left and was what constituted the US Army.

After the War of 1812, the fighting generals, such as Winfield Scott and Alexander Macomb built the US Army based on the successes in 1814-1815, both of them, and other combat veterans, ensured the professionalism of the army and built it into an expert fighting force that fought and won the Mexican War, reinforced by volunteer units.

The American Regular army of 1846 was well-trained and –disciplined, and had an expert artillery arm, based on the artillery system of 1836-1840 which had evolved along with that of the French and British. Block trailed gun carriages and an excellent bronze 6-pounder field piece were used, among other ordnance, and an elite horse artillery arm had been established. In nearly every engagement of the war, though outnumbered, the US artillery arm outshot and outfought the Mexican equivalent.

K

summerfield12 Sep 2011 4:02 p.m. PST

Dear Kevin
My comments came from long conversations to Matthew C. Switlik who is considered one of the formost experts in US field gun carriages. He has since the 1960s built and restored scores of American Carriages.

What you have written is the theoretical state of carriages but the reality is far more complex. The wheel and the axle construction were uniquely American. The shape and the metal work were also different. When is a Gribeauval Carriage with all these differences a Gribeauval Carriage. I do not know and there is little point discussing this until someone produces plans or carriages that can be directly compared. Alas none exist.

See his article
"US Field Gun Carriages—Their History and Evolution" By Matthew C. Switlik
link

Remember that Albert Manucy, Artillery Through the Ages and Harold Peterson's Roundshot and Rammers are products of the 1960s. It is hoped that research into this important area has shed more light on the situation.

The American Army suffered from similar problems to the British in that after a war it was dismantled and neglected.

Stephen

10th Marines Inactive Member27 Sep 2011 3:00 a.m. PST

‘My comments came from long conversations to Matthew C. Switlik who is considered one of the formost experts in US field gun carriages. He has since the 1960s built and restored scores of American Carriages.' ‘See his article
"US Field Gun Carriages—Their History and Evolution" By Matthew C. Switlik'

I read the article, and while somewhat helpful and very intresting, there isn't anything that contradicts what either Manucy or Peterson have written in their books. I also looked up Switlik's book and the subject chapters and it seems, and please correct me if I am wrong, that he is mostly concerned in making reconstructions of gun carriages and period artillery for sale, though undoubtedly he is going for authenticity. Still, they are reconstructions and not originals.

I did disagree with Switlik on one very important point. He states in the article referenced that . ‘Ballistically, field artillery changed very little in the 200 years before the introduction of rifled artillery.' Of course, that depends on what he means by ‘ballistically.' If he means the mechanics of launching a round down range (which would then go into at least four sub-topics under the ballistics category), then I really do disagree with him. Accuracy was greatly improved during the period being considered and range was increased with the advance in accuracy. Those I would submit are ballistic improvements. The round flew truer.

Rifled artillery was experimented with from at least 1542, so the concept was not new. In 1846 a rifled breech-loader was developed in Germany. In 1855 Armstrong developed a rifled breech loader in Great Britain. So, 200 years before say 1855 would be 1655. Improvements in gunfounding, metallurgy, and the overall gradual improvement of smoothbore cannon did develop artillery ballistically, as the range improved and was definitely more accurate, witness the 1857 Napoleon smoothbore which had a much greater effective range than did, say, the field pieces of ca 1800 (the Napoleon could hit a target a almost 1,600 yards). That would tend, I think, to improve cannon ballistically in smoothbores.

It is also interesting to note that the study of ballistics first came to everyone's attention in 1537 with Tartaglia's treatise on gunnery.

He was, however, correct that ‘Changes in carriage design dramatically affected tactical use of artillery in this same period.' That has been discussed much, though much of the discussion was disregarded, unfortunately. Perhaps that will change.

‘What you have written is the theoretical state of carriages but the reality is far more complex. The wheel and the axle construction were uniquely American. The shape and the metal work were also different. When is a Gribeauval Carriage with all these differences a Gribeauval Carriage. I do not know and there is little point discussing this until someone produces plans or carriages that can be directly compared. Alas none exist.'

That isn't exactly correct. Gribeauval carriages were produced by during the period by Decius Wadsworth, the Chief of Ordnance. He was using, and indicated so in his correspondence, that the French gun carriages were being used as the model for constructing American gun carriages during he War of 1812.

Remember that Albert Manucy, Artillery Through the Ages and Harold Peterson's Roundshot and Rammers are products of the 1960s. It is hoped that research into this important area has shed more light on the situation.'

Have you seen or read anything on the subject besides Switlik? I have downloaded various US period manuals up to and including the Civil War period from Google Books and they are to my mind much more helpful than Switlik's article, not discounting Switlik's work on the subject. Still, he is a secondary source. And, as pointed out above, Manucy and Peterson were not disagreed with by Switlik as far as I can see. And they are still the standard to be followed historically. The period manuals are more than useful.

‘The American Army suffered from similar problems to the British in that after a war it was dismantled and neglected.'

But the American artillery arm still existed and field pieces were still manufactured. And new developments were always underway. There was the continuing controversy between bronze and iron field pieces and the development of ‘new' gun carriages, limbers, and caissons based on the French Vallee System, which was based on the British block trail gun carriages and ancillary vehicles (which the US called the ‘stock trail').

Further, it must be remembered that West Point was an artillery/engineer school and that is what they were producing as graduates by education if not by chosen or assigned arm. So, while the army was reduced after every war the US participated in during the 19th century, the basic ‘brain trust' was still in existence for the savant arms. As in the French army of the period, the American artillery arm was considered a corps d'elite and so proved itself during the War of 1812.

In 1814, during the latter stages of the War of 1812, the American artillery arm was reorganized from three foot artillery regiments and one light artillery regiment into a Corps of Artillery of twelve artillery battalions of four companies each. This was further changed in 1821 to four artillery regiments of nine companies each organized from the Corps of Artillery, the Regiment of Light Artillery, and the Ordnance Department.

Sincerely,
Kevin

Rifleman Harris Sponsoring Member of TMP26 May 2014 7:46 a.m. PST

With this much disagreement out there and without definitive sources with plans to follow, what are miniatures manufacturers to do; simply not produce gun models for fear of condemnation? Is there some consensus around the production of 3, 6, and 12lb guns with split-trail carriages? Should they resemble French carriages, and if not, in what ways would they differ?

PaintinLead26 Jul 2017 8:07 p.m. PST

Does anybody know what type of limbers the U. S. used. From what I can find, the British used their standard box-style limber, the same as was used in Europe. I've tended to think of the American limbers as being more like the French limber, but that's only because of the box-trail design of all of the U. S. guns I've seen.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP28 Jul 2017 8:33 a.m. PST

The limbers used were of the Gribeauval type, and probably the ammunition caissons as well. The US partially adopted the Gribeauval System in 1809, but did not adopt the gun tubes of that system, as the US had calibers on hand such as were used by the British-3-, 6-, and 12-pounders for field artillery.

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