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Petersburg, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Artillery at Petersburg

 
 
Artillery at Petersburg Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, November 22, 2008
1. Artillery at Petersburg Marker
Inscription. "The campaign became quite scientific, so that after the first few weeks, we learned to tell by the sound the nature of every missile that passed over us, and knew which ones to dodge. The mortar shells had the most terror for us. The ordinary field-pieces or siege-guns that threw shells directly through the air did not disturb us much, as we lay behind our breastworks."
Theodore Gerrish, 20th Maine Infantry

In front of you are just some of the types of cannon used in the Civil War. Some are bronze, some iron. Some are rifled - they fired conical shells. Others are smoothbore - they fired the traditional cannonball. Some had a range of nearly two miles (one could fire more than five miles); others could throw a shell only 1,000 yards.

The projectiles fired by these cannon ranged in weight from six to 65 pounds.

(Numbered tags to each cannon on display, referenced on the photograph):
Ranges given are typical, not maximum (one mile = 1,760 yards)

(1) Union 12-pounder Napoleon, bronze. Range 1,200 yds.
(2) Confederate 12-pounder Napoleon, bronze. Range 1,200 yards.
(3) Confederate 12-pounder field howitzer, iron. Range 1,000 yds.
(4) Austrian 6-pounder field gun, bronze. Range 1,000 yds.
(5) Union 12-pounder howitzer, bronze. Range 1,070 yds.
(6)
Artillery Display and Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, November 22, 2008
2. Artillery Display and Marker
Union 24-pounder Dahlgren boat howitzer, bronze. Range 1,300 yds.
(7) Union 24-pounder howitzer, bronze. Range 1,270 yds. Note battle damage.
(8) Union 32-pdr howitzer, bronze. Range 1,500 yds.
(9) Union 6-pdr (2.6") Wiard, iron. Range 1,000 yds.
(10) Confederate 3" rifle, bronze. Range 2,000 yds. Note battle damage.
(11) Union 14-pounder James rifle, bronze. Range 2,000 yds.
(12) Confederate 3" rifle, iron. Range 3,000 yds.
(13) Union 3" ordnance rifle, iron. Range 2,800 yds.
(14) Union 10-pounder Parrott rifle, iron. Range 3,200 yds.
(15) British 12-pounder muzzleloading Whitworth rifle, iron. Range 8000 yds.
(16) British 12-pounder breechloading Whitworth rifle, iron. Range 10,000 yds.
(17) Union 30-pounder Parrott Rifle, iron. Range 6,000 yds.
(18) Union 8" siege & garrison howitzer, iron. Range 2,200 yds.
(19) Union Navy 32-pounder, iron. Range 1,700 yds.
(20) Union 8" seige & garrison howitzer, iron. Range 2,200 yds.
 
Erected by Petersburg National Battlefield - National Park Service - U.S. Department of the Interior.
 
Location. 37° 14.673′ N, 77° 21.421′ W. Marker is in Petersburg, Virginia. Marker can
Artillery Display Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, November 22, 2008
3. Artillery Display
Looking from the right side of the display. Closest to the camera is artillery piece #20 from the list.
be reached from Petersburg Tour Road, on the left when traveling north. Click for map. Located along the Battery 5 walking tour, in Petersburg National Battlefield Park. Marker is in this post office area: Petersburg VA 23803, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Uprooted by War (a few steps from this marker); Battery 5 of the Dimmock Line (within shouting distance of this marker); Siege of Petersburg — Grant's First Offensive (within shouting distance of this marker); Battery 5 Trail (within shouting distance of this marker); The Siege of Petersburg (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Prelude to Petersburg (about 300 feet away); Stephen Tyng Mather (about 300 feet away); Opportunity Lost (about 400 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Petersburg.
 
More about this marker. In the upper right are illustrations of solid shot, case shot, shrapnel, and canister rounds used by rifled guns. The lower half of the marker displays a photograph of the guns on display, keyed to the numbers in the text above.
 
Also see . . .
1. Battle and Siege of Petersburg. National Park Service site. (Submitted on December 22, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 

2. History of the Petersburg National Military Park.
The Whitworth Guns Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, November 22, 2008
4. The Whitworth Guns
Tagged as numbers 15 and 16 on the captions, the two Whitworth guns are representative of the guns imported by both Federal and Confederate governments during the war. The pair also serves to illustrate the old technology used in the war (muzzle loading, at the bottom of this photo) with the new technology emerging at the time (breech loading, in the center). To the top of the frame is a 30-pounder Parrott Rifle.
(PDF) Detailed history of the park. In 1936 officials planned to develop an artillery exhibit at Petersburg. Since a wide variety of guns were used at the siege, Petersburg was a fitting place for such a display. By the start of World War II, over 100 pieces were acquired. But with the war came scrap drives. Officials at the park buried the guns to keep them from the melting pots. See page 95 of the PDF for more details. (Submitted on December 22, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Original Interpretive Sign Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, November 22, 2008
5. Original Interpretive Sign
The original sign for the display stands behind the 24-pounder Dahlgren Boat Howitzer.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,285 times since then and 65 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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