War of the Rebellion: Serial 006 Page 0164 COASTS OF S. C., GA., AND MIDDLE AND EAST FLA. Chapter XV.

Search Civil War Official Records

penetration of the percussion shell would exceed, and its local effect would at least equal, that of the solid round shot. The general effect of the latter, within certain rangers, is a matter for consideration.

My own opinion, based principally upon personal observation, corroborated by the reports of experiments made in Europe, may be stated in the following terms:

First. Within 700 yards heavy smooth bores may be advantageously used for breaching, either alone or in combination with rifles.

Second. Within the same distance light smooth-bores will breach with certainty, but rifles of the same weight are much better.

Third. Beyond 700 yards rifled guns exclusively are much superior for breaching purposes to any combination of rifles and heavy or light smooth bores.

Fourth. Beyond 1,000 yards a due regard to economy in the expenditure of manual labor and ammunition required that smooth-bores, no matter how heavy they may be, should be scrupulously excluded from breaching batteries.

Fifth. In all cases when rifled guns are used exclusively against brick walls at least one-half of them should fire percussion shells. Against stone walls shell would be ineffective.

For breaching at long distances the James and Parrott projectiles seem to be all that can be desired. The grooves of the James gun must be kept clean at the seat of the shot. This is not only indispensably necessary, but of easy and ready attainment, by using the very simple and effective scraper devised on the principle of the searcher for the pieces we employed against Pulaski. This scraper consists of a number of steel springs or prongs, one for each groove, firmly attached by screws to the cylindrical part of a rammer-head, and flaring like a broom, so as to fit closely into the grooves. About half an inch of the lower end of each prong is bent out at right angles. The prongs being compressed by a ring, to which a lanyard is attached, when entering the bore spring out firmly into the grooves when the ring is removed, and clean them thoroughly as the scraper is drawn out.

The failure of the James shot, as reported on two or three occasions by apparently good authority, is probably due to neglect in this particular. There were no failures in our firing, except as before mentioned, with the 32-pounders (carrying a 64-pound shot), that had been bored too large.

Although the James projectiles are surrounded when first made by greased canvas, there is believed to be an advantage in greasing them again at the moment of loading. This was done in our batteries against Fort Pulaski. As the Parrott projectiles receive their rotary motion from a ring of wrought-iron or brass which surrounds the lower portion of the cylinder, and which does not foul the grooves while engaging them, no special precaution to prevent fouling need be taken with the Parrott guns.

With heavy James or Parrott guns the practicability of breaching the best-constructed brick scarp at 2,300 to 2,500 yards with satisfactory rapidity admits of very little doubt. Had we possessed our present knowledge of their power previous to the bombardment of Fort Pulaski, the eight weeks of laborious preparation for its reduction could have been curtailed to one week, as heavy mortars and columbiads would have been omitted from the armament of the batteries as unsuitable for breaching at long ranges.

It is also true beyond question that the minimum distance, say from 900 to 1,000 yards, at which land batteries have heretofore been con