obtained with 2 1/2 degrees elevation and 12 pounds large-grained powder, when the projectiles took the grooves. With 15 pounds the projectile broke. The gun thus far is uninjured, and I have no doubt will continue so under any ordinary practice. This will be continued as soon as Parrott projectiles can be procured.
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If Parrott shot are provided, range, accuracy, weight, and velocity are obtained with safe charges, and from the effect of the 8-inch bolts on the monitors I believe one or two well-directed shots from the 10-inch rifles will drive any one of them out of action, and half a dozen permanently damage and sink them.
The two 10-inch columbiads selected for experiment weighed over 15,000 pounds before they were double-banded, and afterward, respectively, 22,000 pounds and 20,000 pounds.
As long, therefore, as we can get equal or greater ranges with the same elevations and charges with the rifled as with the smooth-bore guns and throw projectiles of more than double the weight with increased accuracy, it would seem advisable to continue the alteration of these guns of the same patterns and dates.
The principle of the Blakely gun has not been tried as yet with these columbiads, because they do very well when fired according to the ordinary method; but by the application of the principle I should hardly deem it jumping at a conclusion. Would it not be better than remaining in statu quo?a
I cannot believe that it would have been advisable to wait for the elucidation of the matter by the United States Ordnance Bureau, from their trials with 10-inch guns at West Point, for we may depend upon it that if successful the first we shall know of the fact will be the transfer to Morris Island and continuance of their experiments on ourselves by heavy batteries of this description of ordnance. I prefer that we should try the experiment on our enemy rather than let him test it on us. Fas est ob hoste doceri is a good axiom in war, but not exactly in the way you propose.
I regard the projectiles of the Parrott pattern as entirely successful, and would recommend that they should be provided as speedily as possible for the guns now in readiness, made as light as is consistent with strength. The effect of the Yankee projectiles of this description here has fully demonstrated their peculiar value.
In your letter you write:
I have no objections to banding columbiads, either 8 or 10 inch, provided it be confined to guns for special service, and therefore limited to a few of each caliber.
The guns selected for the purpose were captured at Forts Moultrie and Sumter in April, 1861, of the very best iron, and superior to those now manufactured by the Ordnance Department of the Confederate States.
I do not say that these rifled and banded 8 and 10 inch guns are the best that can be made of their calibers, but, in my belief, they
a Some days later than the date of this report of General Ripley the following satisfactory results were obtained from the 10-inch rifled and banded gun in position on Sullivan's Island: Range of 5 shots: Elevation, 3 1/4; charge, 15 2/5; weight, 231 2/5 bolt; recoil, 4 deg., 9"; range in yards, 1,438.
The condition of the gun General Ripley reports as good as before it was fired; the projectiles took the grooves in every instance. They were al flat-headed bolts, which would not permit so good a range as with the pointed. The experiment is conceived to be sufficient to demonstrate the efficiency of the gun.
Experiments with the air chamber applied to a 32-pounder gun communicated to me by Major-General Maury, commanding Department of the Gulf, prove the value of the principle.