Lt.Arty 6 & 12 pdr. Wiard Rifles

Norman Wiard, a Canadian working for the United States invented several light artillery pieces which, although apparently excellent weapons, do not seem to have been very popular. Wiard advertised his weapons as being made of semi-steel in two calibers: a 6-pdr Rifle with a 2.6 inch bore and a 12-pdr smoothbore with a 4.62 inch bore. However, in practice, only rifled guns were ever sold.

ARTILLERY PROFILE
  • Type: Muzzleloading Rifled Field Guns
  • In Service With: U.S. Army
  • Purpose: Support the infantry and cavalry forces in the field
  • Invented By: Norman Wiard
  • Patent: None Found
  • Rarity: Rare
MANUFACTURING
  • US Casting Foundry: A mystery yet to be solved. The gun blank was believed to be forged at a sub-contractor, and is the subject of much speculation, possible sub-contractors may include:
    • Tugnot & Dally of New York for forging gun
    • Carpenter & Platt of New York for boring the Barrel
    • “O.F.” as engraved on the gun, might be for the O’Donnell’s Foundry in New York City, the firm originally thought to be the founder of the gun, but evidence shows this may not be correct. Another theory says these are the initials of the inspector, perhaps John O’Donnell of the foundry completed the inspection. It's all speculation at this point...
    • Norman Wiard's own Trenton Wiard Ordnance Works in New Jersey was known for forging barrels, we just don't know if they forged these barrels, or if they only supplied the semi-steel.
  • Years of Manufacture: Between 1861 and 1862
  • Tube Composition:
    • Puddled-Wrought-Iron “semi-steel” a mixture of low-carbon cast iron and scrap steel
    • It's been suggested that weaker "conventional iron" was substituted in later castings (#024 & up) as a cost saving measure
  • Muzzle Markings: None
  • Right Trunnion Markings:
    • "N.W." - Norman Wiard - Inventor
    • "N.Y.C." New York City
    • "O.F." - Unknown at this time.
  • Left Trunnion Marking: Year of Manufacture
  • Top of Barrel Marking: "U. S." and "WIARD"
  • Above Right Rimbase: 3 Digit Tube Number
  • Cost in 1862 Dollars: Sold by Wiard at a price of $11,500.00 for a full 6 Gun Battery:
    • Four 6-pdr. Rifled Guns, Two 12-pdr. Howitzers, Six Wiard Carriages with Limbers,
    • Six Caissons with Limbers, One Battery Wagon, One Traveling Forge
    • All the Implements, Equipment, and Spare Parts you need to keep a functional unit in the field
  • No. in North America from 1861 to 1865:
    • 6-pdr. Rifle: 40
    • 12 pdr. Rifled Boat Howitzer: 12
    • 12-pdr. Rifle: 20
  • No. of Surviving Pieces:
    • 6-pdr. Rifle: 25
    • 12 pdr. Rifled Boat Howitzer: 4
    • 12-pdr. Rifle: 12
1576817764312.png

Wiard's 6-pdr. Rifle & 12-pdr. Rifle
On display at the Gettysburg NMP
Old Visitor's Center
©Mike Kendra, 2004


1578012551732.png

Wiard 6-pdr. Muzzle Featuring
"U-Groove" Rifling & Front Sight Attachment.
Ft. Shenandoah, VA, ©Mike Kendra, 2009


WEIGHTS & MEASURES
  • Bore Diameters:
    • 6-pdr. Rifle: 2.6 inches
    • 12 pdr. Rifled Boat Howitzer: 3.4 inches
    • 12-pdr. Rifle: 3.67 inches
  • Rifling Type: Unique “U-groove” Style Rifling
    • 6-pdr. Rifle: 8 grooves, left hand twist, 1 turn in 9'
    • 12 pdr. Rifled Boat Howitzer: 12 grooves, left hand twist, 1 turn in 12'
    • 12-pdr. Rifle: 8 and 12 groove versions, left hand twist, 1 turn in 12'
  • Trunnion Diameter: 4.62 inches
  • Tube Length:
    • 6-pdr. Rifle: 52.5 inches
    • 12 pdr. Rifled Boat Howitzer: 53.75 inches
    • 12-pdr. Rifle: 63.5 inches
  • Tube Weight:
    • 6-pdr. Rifle: 725 lbs.
    • 12 pdr. Rifled Boat Howitzer: 785 lbs.
    • 12-pdr. Rifle: 1,175 lbs.
  • Carriage Type:
    • Wiard Field Carriage, 1,100 lbs. (Same Carriage for 6 & 12-pdr. Rifles)
    • Iron Naval Carriage for 12 pdr. Rifled Boat Howitzer
  • Total Weight (Gun & Carriage):
    • 6-pdr. Rifle: 1,825 lbs.
    • 12-pdr. Rifle: 2,275 lbs.
  • Horses Required to Field Guns Pull: 6
  • No. of Crew to Serve: 8
AMMUNITION
  • Standard Powder Charge:
    • 6-pdr. Rifle: ¾ lb. Cannon Grade Black Powder
    • 12-pdr. Rifle: 1¼ lb. Cannon Grade Black Powder
  • Projectiles Types: Hotchkiss Shells, Canister
  • Typical Number of Projectiles Per Gun:
    • 6-pdr. Rifle: 320 total rounds, 80 per chest
PERFORMANCE
  • Rate of Fire: 2 rounds per minute
  • Max Range (at 35°):
    • 6-pdr. Rifle: 7,000 yards
  • Projectile Flight Time (at 35°):
    • 6-pdr. Rifle: 34 seconds
  • Special Notes:
Wiard designed a unique carriage for his pieces. The first unusual feature was the axle and cheek arrangement which was designed for strength and high angle of barrel elevation, as high as 35°. This arrangement also permitted tighter storage and transportation because one carriage could slide beneath the next. Another innovation was the flat trail plate with a metal keel to guarantee that upon recoil the trail would slide straight and not dig in to soft dirt. Wiard also devised a better system for braking a gun carriage using a steel skid that held the carriage wheel from turning without damaging the iron tires.​

1576860257367.png

Wiard only was only able to make five orders for his field guns through 1862, after that the orders ended. Although this sounds like the end of the ordnance business for Wiard, in reality, he just moved on to developing and building larger siege weapons for the Army and the Navy.​
Here are the five signed contract orders for field guns in some detail:​
  1. May 1861 from Gen. Sickles, New York, Delivery Oct - Nov '61
    • (Twelve 2.6" Rifles + Six 3.67" Rifles) 18 Guns
    • Guns #001-018
    • Confiscated to Washington Arsenal by Ripley for inspection and testing.
    • Three guns failed proof testing and had barrels replaced immediately by Wiard.
    • Replacement Barrels #021-023
    • None of these Rifles ever left the Arsenal
  2. August 1861 from Gen. Fremont, Delivered to Dept. of the West, Sept '61
    • Two 2.6" Rifles
    • Guns #019-020
    • Contract was cancelled by Ripley, guns not returned, Wiard went unpaid
  3. 1577508252004.png

    Wiard's 12-pdr. Rifled Steel Boat Howitzer, Photo ©BarryCDog
    October 1861 from State of New York, for Burnside's NC Expedition, Delivered Jan '62
    • (Twelve 3.4" Rifled Steel Boat Howitzers + Four 2.6" Rifles) 18 Guns
    • Guns #024-027, Howitzers #001-012 - 1st New York Marine Artillery
  4. November 1861 from State of Ohio, Delivered Jan-May '62
    • (Sixteen 2.6" Rifles + Eight 3.67" Rifles) 24 Guns
    • Guns #028-051 - 1st Ohio Artillery, Batteries G & K, and the 12th & 14th Ohio Independent Batteries
    • #045 - Last gun of 1861 / #046 - First gun of 1862
    • used in action, Shiloh, Stones River, Cross Keys, 2nd Manassas
    • Guns of the 14th OH, 4 6-lb, & 2 12-lb. Guns, were captured by Confederates at Shiloh, were spiked, dismounted, & had front sights removed, before being recaptured and returned to service.
  5. Early 1862 from State of New York, Delivered July-November '62
    • (Six 2.6" Rifles + Six 3.67" Rifles) 12 Guns
    • Guns #052-063 - 3rd New York Artillery, Batteries F & G
    • Used in action near Charleston and Goldsboro
    • 1 Wiard Rifle exploded during action during the Goldsboro expedition, no injuries were reported
    • Tube #063 is believed to be the gun that exploded, based on the surviving gun Registry Numbers

1576860446466.png
1576860401358.png

6-pdr. Wiard guns at the Arsenal, Washington, D.C.
Gen. Daniel E. Sickles by the Gun in first photo
LOC, Mathew Brady, 1862.

Article:
From: Appleton's Annual Cyclopaedia and Register of Important Events
1870, Pages 33-34.
Wiard's Steel Cannon (1861-1862)

The first steel cannon produced in the United States was manufactured in June 1861 from plans devised during the two preceding months by Mr Norman Wiard of New York. It was a 6-pounder ready for service on the first of July, and on the 3d of the month mounted upon an improved field carriage, also of his invention, it was tested at Camp Scott, Staten Island, in fulfilment of a contract with Gen. D.E. Sickles, who had ordered 3 batteries to consist of two, 12, and four, 6-pounders each. The contract being assumed by the War Department, the batteries were completed and delivered to the Government at Washington.

Gen. Fremont next ordered 2 batteries for the department of the West, which however were afterwards diverted to the Burnside expedition, which at very short notice was supplied with twenty four, 6 and 12-pounders, and two other rifled guns, all of which up to the time of these sheets going to the press have been of the most efficient service in the various actions engaged in by this expedition. The governor of Ohio through the U.S. Ordnance Department ordered and obtained four 6 gun batteries, which have been in active service in the important campaigns at the West.

The guns bear a high reputation as being most accurate, substantial, and effective, and at the same time lighter than other pieces of the same caliber. They are forged under heavy steam hammers from puddled steel blooms, specially made for this purpose at the rolling mills at Troy NY and Trenton NJ, the puddling process being stopped at the point where the carbon unexpelled gives to the metal a steely character.

The weight of the 6-pounders is 700 lbs. and of the 12-pounders 1,200 lbs. each. They are forged solid at the works of Messrs. Tugnot & Dally, New York and bored by Messrs. Plass & Co. The trunnion bands are shrunk on, and do not affect the strength of the piece in resisting the explosive action. The 6-pounders are of 2.6 inch bore and the 12-pounders 3.67 inches The rifling turns to the left once in 9 feet in the 6-pounders, and once in 12 feet in the 12-pounders, the former having 8, and the latter 12 bands and furrows.

The projectile preferred is the Hotchkiss. With a 6-pounder at an elevation of 39°, a flight of 5 miles has been obtained.

The carriages, which are made by Messrs. Stephenson of New York are peculiar in the construction of the wheels, with iron adjustable hubs, and felloe wedges, so that by the aid of a small wrench, the wheels can be set up, or taken down, and the tire be set, and any shrinking of the wood be compensated for at any time. The corresponding parts of all the wheels in any number of batteries are counterparts of each other and interchangeable. The trail is hung under the axle, which admits of a much greater elevation being given to the piece than is practicable on the standard carriage. The forward portions of every part of the carriage are rounded off, so as to render it more secure against harm when struck by shot in action.

Beside the pieces named Mr. Wiard has furnished to the United States Navy several steel howitzers for boat service of 3.4 inch caliber weighing 800 lbs. each also, 50-pounders of 5.1 inch caliber. Those are the largest steel guns yet made in this establishment. Only about one gun in a hundred is found to be defective when tested. The steel is reported by the manufacturers as sustaining a strain of 107,000 to 118,000 lbs. to the square inch, thus showing a tensile strength of 3 to 4 times that of the best iron and bronze.


1577478811093.png

Marked as "View in the Arsenal Yard, Charleston, S.C. Captured Blakely Guns in the foreground"
On the ground, lying on wood ties you can plainly see
one Parrott Rifle, one 12-pdr. Wiard Rifle, and two 6-pdr. Wiard Rifles.
LOC, Taken by E. & H.T. Anthony, 1865
FOR FURTHER READING
  • "Wiard’s Steel Rifled Cannon,"The New York Times, August 2, 1861.
  • Wiard's System of Field Artillery, as Improved to Meet the Requirements of Modern Service, Norman Wiard, 1863.
  • "Not So Weird, Norman Wiard", The Artilleryman, Vol. 38, No. 1 (Winter 2016), pp. 22-30.
  • "Revealing the Makers of the Wiard Rifle",The Artilleryman, Vol. 36, No. 3 (Summer 2015), pp. 44-46.
  • "Wiard Rifles By the Numbers, How Many Were Made & Survive", The Artilleryman, Vol. 34, No. 3 (Summer 2013), pp. 6-9.
  • "Wiard Rifles Article Addendum", The Artilleryman, Vol. 34, No. 4 (Fall 2013), page 6.
1577497041428.png

Battery F, 3rd NY Artillery Sergeant P. Birchmeyer, 2nd parallel (Battery Wagner), with 12-pdr. Wiard Rifles.
2nd Battle of Fort Wagner, Morris Island, SC.
Photo: Hagley Museum and Library, Haas & Peale, 1863.

ASSOCIATED LINKS

1577499919507.png
1577499795777.png
1577499846227.png

12-pdr. Wiard Rifle, Stones River NB, Murfreesboro, TN © James N., 2019
(Click Photos to Zoom In)

1578012266354.png
1578012369082.png
1578012422222.png

Recently Live Fired Original Wiard 6-pdr. attached to a Wiard Limber
Note the Segmented Wheel, and the Wiard Engraving in the Third Photo
Ft. Shenandoah, VA, ©Mike Kendra, 2009
 
Last edited:

redbob

Major
Regtl. Staff Shiloh 2020
Joined
Feb 18, 2013
Location
Hoover, Alabama
They were innovative but strange looking weapons to be sure and there used to be a couple of them at the Stones River NMP.
 

Belfoured

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
Norman Wiard, a Canadian working for the United States invented several light artillery pieces which, although apparently excellent weapons, do not seem to have been very popular. Wiard advertised his weapons as being made of semi-steel in two calibers: a 6-pdr Rifle with a 2.6 inch bore and a 12-pdr smoothbore with a 4.62 inch bore. However, in practice, only rifled guns were ever sold.

ARTILLERY PROFILE
  • Type: Muzzleloading Rifled Field Guns
  • In Service With: U.S. Army
  • Purpose: Support the infantry and cavalry forces in the field
  • Invented By: Norman Wiard
  • Patent: None Found
  • Rarity: Rare
MANUFACTURING
  • US Casting Foundry: A mystery yet to be solved. The gun blank was believed to be forged at a sub-contractor, and is the subject of much speculation, possible sub-contractors may include:
    • Tugnot & Dally of New York for forging gun
    • Carpenter & Platt of New York for boring the Barrel
    • “O.F.” as engraved on the gun, might be for the O’Donnell’s Foundry in New York City, the firm originally thought to be the founder of the gun, but evidence shows this may not be correct. Another theory says these are the initials of the inspector, perhaps John O’Donnell of the foundry completed the inspection. It's all speculation at this point...
    • Norman Wiard's own Trenton Wiard Ordnance Works in New Jersey was known for forging barrels, we just don't know if they forged these barrels, or if they only supplied the semi-steel.
  • Years of Manufacture: Between 1861 and 1862
  • Tube Composition:
    • Puddled-Wrought-Iron “semi-steel” a mixture of low-carbon cast iron and scrap steel
    • It's been suggested that weaker "conventional iron" was substituted in later castings (#024 & up) as a cost saving measure
  • Muzzle Markings: None
  • Right Trunnion Markings:
    • "N.W." - Norman Wiard - Inventor
    • "N.Y.C." New York City
    • "O.F." - Unknown at this time.
  • Left Trunnion Marking: Year of Manufacture
  • Top of Barrel Marking: "U. S." and "WIARD"
  • Above Right Rimbase: 3 Digit Tube Number
  • Cost in 1862 Dollars: Sold by Wiard at a price of $11,500.00 for a full 6 Gun Battery:
    • Four 6-pdr. Rifled Guns, Two 12-pdr. Howitzers, Six Wiard Carriages with Limbers,
    • Six Caissons with Limbers, One Battery Wagon, One Traveling Forge
    • All the Implements, Equipment, and Spare Parts you need to keep a functional unit in the field
  • No. in North America from 1861 to 1865:
    • 6-pdr. Rifle: 40
    • 12 pdr. Rifled Boat Howitzer: 12
    • 12-pdr. Rifle: 20
  • No. of Surviving Pieces:
    • 6-pdr. Rifle: 25
    • 12 pdr. Rifled Boat Howitzer: 4
    • 12-pdr. Rifle: 12
View attachment 339211
Wiard's 6-pdr. Rifle & 12-pdr. Rifle
On display at the Gettysburg NMP
Old Visitor's Center
©Mike Kendra, 2004


View attachment 340887
Wiard 6-pdr. Muzzle Featuring
"U-Groove" Rifling & Front Sight Attachment.
Ft. Shenandoah, VA, ©Mike Kendra, 2009


WEIGHTS & MEASURES
  • Bore Diameters:
    • 6-pdr. Rifle: 2.6 inches
    • 12 pdr. Rifled Boat Howitzer: 3.4 inches
    • 12-pdr. Rifle: 3.67 inches
  • Rifling Type: Unique “U-groove” Style Rifling
    • 6-pdr. Rifle: 8 grooves, left hand twist, 1 turn in 9'
    • 12 pdr. Rifled Boat Howitzer: 12 grooves, left hand twist, 1 turn in 12'
    • 12-pdr. Rifle: 8 and 12 groove versions, left hand twist, 1 turn in 12'
  • Trunnion Diameter: 4.62 inches
  • Tube Length:
    • 6-pdr. Rifle: 52.5 inches
    • 12 pdr. Rifled Boat Howitzer: 53.75 inches
    • 12-pdr. Rifle: 63.5 inches
  • Tube Weight:
    • 6-pdr. Rifle: 725 lbs.
    • 12 pdr. Rifled Boat Howitzer: 785 lbs.
    • 12-pdr. Rifle: 1,175 lbs.
  • Carriage Type:
    • Wiard Field Carriage, 1,100 lbs. (Same Carriage for 6 & 12-pdr. Rifles)
    • Iron Naval Carriage for 12 pdr. Rifled Boat Howitzer
  • Total Weight (Gun & Carriage):
    • 6-pdr. Rifle: 1,825 lbs.
    • 12-pdr. Rifle: 2,275 lbs.
  • Horses Required to Field Guns Pull: 6
  • No. of Crew to Serve: 8
AMMUNITION
  • Standard Powder Charge:
    • 6-pdr. Rifle: ¾ lb. Cannon Grade Black Powder
    • 12-pdr. Rifle: 1¼ lb. Cannon Grade Black Powder
  • Projectiles Types: Hotchkiss Shells, Canister
  • Typical Number of Projectiles Per Gun:
    • 6-pdr. Rifle: 320 total rounds, 80 per chest
PERFORMANCE
  • Rate of Fire: 2 rounds per minute
  • Max Range (at 35°):
    • 6-pdr. Rifle: 7,000 yards
  • Projectile Flight Time (at 35°):
    • 6-pdr. Rifle: 34 seconds
  • Special Notes:
Wiard designed a unique carriage for his pieces. The first unusual feature was the axle and cheek arrangement which was designed for strength and high angle of barrel elevation, as high as 35°. This arrangement also permitted tighter storage and transportation because one carriage could slide beneath the next. Another innovation was the flat trail plate with a metal keel to guarantee that upon recoil the trail would slide straight and not dig in to soft dirt. Wiard also devised a better system for braking a gun carriage using a steel skid that held the carriage wheel from turning without damaging the iron tires.​
Wiard only was only able to make five orders for his field guns through 1862, after that the orders ended. Although this sounds like the end of the ordnance business for Wiard, in reality, he just moved on to developing and building larger siege weapons for the Army and the Navy.​
Here are the five signed contract orders for field guns in some detail:​
  1. May 1861 from Gen. Sickles, New York, Delivery Oct - Nov '61
    • (Twelve 2.6" Rifles + Six 3.67" Rifles) 18 Guns
    • Guns #001-018
    • Confiscated to Washington Arsenal by Ripley for inspection and testing.
    • Three guns failed proof testing and had barrels replaced immediately by Wiard.
    • Replacement Barrels #021-023
    • None of these Rifles ever left the Arsenal
  2. August 1861 from Gen. Fremont, Delivered to Dept. of the West, Sept '61
    • Two 2.6" Rifles
    • Guns #019-020
    • Contract was cancelled by Ripley, guns not returned, Wiard went unpaid
  3. View attachment 340143
    Wiard's 12-pdr. Rifled Steel Boat Howitzer, Photo ©BarryCDog
    October 1861 from State of New York, for Burnside's NC Expedition, Delivered Jan '62
    • (Twelve 3.4" Rifled Steel Boat Howitzers + Four 2.6" Rifles) 18 Guns
    • Guns #024-027, Howitzers #001-012 - 1st New York Marine Artillery
  4. November 1861 from State of Ohio, Delivered Jan-May '62
    • (Sixteen 2.6" Rifles + Eight 3.67" Rifles) 24 Guns
    • Guns #028-051 - 1st Ohio Artillery, Batteries G & K, and the 12th & 14th Ohio Independent Batteries
    • #045 - Last gun of 1861 / #046 - First gun of 1862
    • used in action, Shiloh, Stones River, Cross Keys, 2nd Manassas
  5. Early 1862 from State of New York, Delivered July-November '62
    • (Six 2.6" Rifles + Six 3.67" Rifles) 12 Guns
    • Guns #052-063 - 3rd New York Artillery, Batteries F & G
    • Used in action near Charleston and Goldsboro
    • 1 Wiard Rifle exploded during action during the Goldsboro expedition, no injuries were reported
    • Tube #063 is believed to be the gun that exploded, based on the surviving gun Registry Numbers

View attachment 339265 View attachment 339264
6-pdr. Wiard guns at the Arsenal, Washington, D.C.
Gen. Daniel E. Sickles by the Gun in first photo
LOC, Mathew Brady, 1862.

Article:
From: Appleton's Annual Cyclopaedia and Register of Important Events
1870, Pages 33-34.
Wiard's Steel Cannon (1861-1862)

The first steel cannon produced in the United States was manufactured in June 1861 from plans devised during the two preceding months by Mr Norman Wiard of New York. It was a 6-pounder ready for service on the first of July, and on the 3d of the month mounted upon an improved field carriage, also of his invention, it was tested at Camp Scott, Staten Island, in fulfilment of a contract with Gen. D.E. Sickles, who had ordered 3 batteries to consist of two, 12, and four, 6-pounders each. The contract being assumed by the War Department, the batteries were completed and delivered to the Government at Washington.

Gen. Fremont next ordered 2 batteries for the department of the West, which however were afterwards diverted to the Burnside expedition, which at very short notice was supplied with twenty four, 6 and 12-pounders, and two other rifled guns, all of which up to the time of these sheets going to the press have been of the most efficient service in the various actions engaged in by this expedition. The governor of Ohio through the U.S. Ordnance Department ordered and obtained four 6 gun batteries, which have been in active service in the important campaigns at the West.

The guns bear a high reputation as being most accurate, substantial, and effective, and at the same time lighter than other pieces of the same caliber. They are forged under heavy steam hammers from puddled steel blooms, specially made for this purpose at the rolling mills at Troy NY and Trenton NJ, the puddling process being stopped at the point where the carbon unexpelled gives to the metal a steely character.

The weight of the 6-pounders is 700 lbs. and of the 12-pounders 1,200 lbs. each. They are forged solid at the works of Messrs. Tugnot & Dally, New York and bored by Messrs. Plass & Co. The trunnion bands are shrunk on, and do not affect the strength of the piece in resisting the explosive action. The 6-pounders are of 2.6 inch bore and the 12-pounders 3.67 inches The rifling turns to the left once in 9 feet in the 6-pounders, and once in 12 feet in the 12-pounders, the former having 8, and the latter 12 bands and furrows.

The projectile preferred is the Hotchkiss. With a 6-pounder at an elevation of 39°, a flight of 5 miles has been obtained.

The carriages, which are made by Messrs. Stephenson of New York are peculiar in the construction of the wheels, with iron adjustable hubs, and felloe wedges, so that by the aid of a small wrench, the wheels can be set up, or taken down, and the tire be set, and any shrinking of the wood be compensated for at any time. The corresponding parts of all the wheels in any number of batteries are counterparts of each other and interchangeable. The trail is hung under the axle, which admits of a much greater elevation being given to the piece than is practicable on the standard carriage. The forward portions of every part of the carriage are rounded off, so as to render it more secure against harm when struck by shot in action.

Beside the pieces named Mr. Wiard has furnished to the United States Navy several steel howitzers for boat service of 3.4 inch caliber weighing 800 lbs. each also, 50-pounders of 5.1 inch caliber. Those are the largest steel guns yet made in this establishment. Only about one gun in a hundred is found to be defective when tested. The steel is reported by the manufacturers as sustaining a strain of 107,000 to 118,000 lbs. to the square inch, thus showing a tensile strength of 3 to 4 times that of the best iron and bronze.


View attachment 340087
Marked as "View in the Arsenal Yard, Charleston, S.C. Captured Blakely Guns in the foreground"
On the ground, lying on wood ties you can plainly see
one Parrott Rifle, one 12-pdr. Wiard Rifle, and two 6-pdr. Wiard Rifles.
LOC, Taken by E. & H.T. Anthony, 1865
FOR FURTHER READING
  • "Wiard’s Steel Rifled Cannon,"The New York Times, August 2, 1861.
  • Wiard's System of Field Artillery, as Improved to Meet the Requirements of Modern Service, Norman Wiard, 1863.
  • "Not So Weird, Norman Wiard", The Artilleryman, Vol. 38, No. 1 (Winter 2016), pp. 22-30.
  • "Revealing the Makers of the Wiard Rifle",The Artilleryman, Vol. 36, No. 3 (Summer 2015), pp. 44-46.
  • "Wiard Rifles By the Numbers, How Many Were Made & Survive", The Artilleryman, Vol. 34, No. 3 (Summer 2013), pp. 6-9.
  • "Wiard Rifles Article Addendum", The Artilleryman, Vol. 34, No. 4 (Fall 2013), page 6.
View attachment 340118
Battery F, 3rd NY Artillery Sergeant P. Birchmeyer, 2nd parallel (Battery Wagner), with 12-pdr. Wiard Rifles.
2nd Battle of Fort Wagner, Morris Island, SC.
Photo: Hagley Museum and Library, Haas & Peale, 1863.

ASSOCIATED LINKS

View attachment 340124 View attachment 340121 View attachment 340123
12-pdr. Wiard Rifle, Stones River NB, Murfreesboro, TN © James N., 2019
(Click Photos to Zoom In)

View attachment 340883 View attachment 340885 View attachment 340886
Recently Live Fired Original Wiard 6-pdr. attached to a Wiard Limber
Note the Segmented Wheel, and the Wiard Engraving in the Third Photo
Ft. Shenandoah, VA, ©Mike Kendra, 2009
Excellent material, as usual. I've always been intrigued by the fact that Wiard initially employed the unusual 2.6" and 3.4" calibers, eventually migrating to the 3.67". Do we know what the "conventional iron" was that he used for the later production? Craig's linked piece is a nice description of the pre-Bessemer processes for steel. In overly-simplified terms, I've understood Wiard's process to yield a carbon content midway between cast iron and wrought iron, reducing the brittleness of the former. And go figure that anything ordered by Dan Sickles turned out to have defects. :smile:
 

CivilWarTalk

Lieutenant General
- ★★★ -
Managing Member & Webmaster
Joined
Apr 1, 1999
Location
Martinsburg, WV
Excellent material, as usual. I've always been intrigued by the fact that Wiard initially employed the unusual 2.6" and 3.4" calibers, eventually migrating to the 3.67". Do we know what the "conventional iron" was that he used for the later production? Craig's linked piece is a nice description of the pre-Bessemer processes for steel. In overly-simplified terms, I've understood Wiard's process to yield a carbon content midway between cast iron and wrought iron, reducing the brittleness of the former. And go figure that anything ordered by Dan Sickles turned out to have defects. :smile:
It's speculation, in one of the articles in the Artillerymen there is evidence that at the end of 61 the lack of payment from the government was really putting the spurs to Wiard, but he couldn't afford to cancel the contracts coming in, so "maybe" he took shortcuts in production?

The only conclusive evidence I'm aware of, and this is from memory, but it was from one of the later original guns. The owners had some iron shavings from the barrel tested, and the results came back that the metal was akin to "scrap" or "trash" iron, with so many impurities it wasn't good for a cannon barrel or much of anything else. I don't remember if this was from metal at the trunnions, or somewhere else, but I believe that this is where the idea the quality of later barrels was questionable.

I do know that some people aren't too concerned, for instance, that Wiard at the bottom of my article is a late Model 6-pdr that likely saw action in South Carolina, and they shoot it today in the N-SSA without concern, so maybe it's not as serious of a problem as they think? The N-SSA would be all over that if they thought it was going to burst because it was an inferior iron casting.
 

CivilWarTalk

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Excellent material, as usual. I've always been intrigued by the fact that Wiard initially employed the unusual 2.6" and 3.4" calibers, eventually migrating to the 3.67". Do we know what the "conventional iron" was that he used for the later production? Craig's linked piece is a nice description of the pre-Bessemer processes for steel. In overly-simplified terms, I've understood Wiard's process to yield a carbon content midway between cast iron and wrought iron, reducing the brittleness of the former. And go figure that anything ordered by Dan Sickles turned out to have defects. :smile:
On the question of Bore Size, my guess is that Wiard tried to match the Early war 4 Gun / 2 Howitzer ratio that was somewhat standard to the Federal Artillery system, but I'm sure was already causing supply chaos, so the Army may have already started to set standardization rules in place, forcing Wiard to produce guns at a bigger caliber to meet purchase order demands.

I don't have any documentation on why Sickles ordered all of his guns as Rifles, in that same 4/2 ratio, but the ratio might be at Wiards suggestion perhaps, or maybe he was able to take 12 pdr. Howiter Barrels he had in stock and convert them to rifles, and that's why the caliber went up a fraction.... then they just stuck to that size for all 12 pdr. rifles. Again, I'm only speculating from the information I read.

I often wonder if the Artillery Batteries of the 3rd Corp in the AoP would have ended up with Sickle's Wiards if Ripley had not confiscated them. Then the unit I work with today would have a whole different history I bet.....

A Wiard thought... I guess, haha funny!
 

Ole Miss

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I am hardly a knowlegable man regarding cannons so will bow to your ID. Tomorrow, hopefuly I will have an artillery expert at Shiloh to teach me about the various types of tubes at the Park.
Regards
David
 

redbob

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I am hardly a knowlegable man regarding cannons so will bow to your ID. Tomorrow, hopefuly I will have an artillery expert at Shiloh to teach me about the various types of tubes at the Park.
Regards
David
To say that the guns at Shiloh were a hodge podge would be an understatement.
 

Belfoured

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On the question of Bore Size, my guess is that Wiard tried to match the Early war 4 Gun / 2 Howitzer ratio that was somewhat standard to the Federal Artillery system, but I'm sure was already causing supply chaos, so the Army may have already started to set standardization rules in place, forcing Wiard to produce guns at a bigger caliber to meet purchase order demands.

I don't have any documentation on why Sickles ordered all of his guns as Rifles, in that same 4/2 ratio, but the ratio might be at Wiards suggestion perhaps, or maybe he was able to take 12 pdr. Howiter Barrels he had in stock and convert them to rifles, and that's why the caliber went up a fraction.... then they just stuck to that size for all 12 pdr. rifles. Again, I'm only speculating from the information I read.

I often wonder if the Artillery Batteries of the 3rd Corp in the AoP would have ended up with Sickle's Wiards if Ripley had not confiscated them. Then the unit I work with today would have a whole different history I bet.....

A Wiard thought... I guess, haha funny!
I can only imagine what Hunt would have done with those added to the mix. He was obsessed with uniformity as it was - hence his dislike for rifles generally and their variety of ordnance. And he'd probably have you on report for that pun. :smile:
 
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Belfoured

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It's speculation, in one of the articles in the Artillerymen there is evidence that at the end of 61 the lack of payment from the government was really putting the spurs to Wiard, but he couldn't afford to cancel the contracts coming in, so "maybe" he took shortcuts in production?

The only conclusive evidence I'm aware of, and this is from memory, but it was from one of the later original guns. The owners had some iron shavings from the barrel tested, and the results came back that the metal was akin to "scrap" or "trash" iron, with so many impurities it wasn't good for a cannon barrel or much of anything else. I don't remember if this was from metal at the trunnions, or somewhere else, but I believe that this is where the idea the quality of later barrels was questionable.

I do know that some people aren't too concerned, for instance, that Wiard at the bottom of my article is a late Model 6-pdr that likely saw action in South Carolina, and they shoot it today in the N-SSA without concern, so maybe it's not as serious of a problem as they think? The N-SSA would be all over that if they thought it was going to burst because it was an inferior iron casting.
Good point - somebody must be satisfied that the manufacture is solid. I'm assuming they use the 3/4 lb charge?
 

Ole Miss

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I have read somewhere, now forgotten, that the majority of artillery pieces in Shiloh Park on display are of the correct era. I believe that to be bonus for all those interested Civil War artillery.
Regards
David
 

redbob

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I have read somewhere, now forgotten, that the majority of artillery pieces in Shiloh Park on display are of the correct era. I believe that to be bonus for all those interested Civil War artillery.
Regards
David
According to Timothy B. Smith's This Great Battlefield of Shiloh (p67), when the Park was being developed in 1896, 250 artillery tubes were sent to the Park by the War Department from 5 different arsenals.
 
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CivilWarTalk

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Good point - somebody must be satisfied that the manufacture is solid. I'm assuming they use the 3/4 lb charge?
No, for N-SSA rules, it's less then 1/2 the standard service charge to shoot live rounds for this event, so I believe they are limited to 4.5 oz. charge for a 2.6 inch bore rifle, we are only shooting at 200 yards, and they don't want to build pressure, especially in original barrels. The same would go for all the other guns too, 3 inch rifled guns are limited to 5.5 oz. as an example.
 

Belfoured

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No, for N-SSA rules, it's less then 1/2 the standard service charge to shoot live rounds for this event, so I believe they are limited to 4.5 oz. charge for a 2.6 inch bore rifle, we are only shooting at 200 yards, and they don't want to build pressure, especially in original barrels. The same would go for all the other guns too, 3 inch rifled guns are limited to 5.5 oz. as an example.
Thanks. That makes sense.
 

TomP

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I have read somewhere, now forgotten, that the majority of artillery pieces in Shiloh Park on display are of the correct era. I believe that to be bonus for all those interested Civil War artillery.
Regards
David
About 16 years ago I made up an inventory of all of the cannon on the park, noting their type, location, and markings. It is kept at the information desk. I try to keep it updated as some of the cannons have been moved over the years. We acquired a number of replica Wiard carriages and some guns were moved so the Wiards would be paired together. The carriages are very distinct. As for the Shiloh tubes, all but two are authentic. The two reproductions are the 24-pounder naval guns at the mouth of Dill Branch.

More Wiard Rifles from the Willard Bartery monument marker
These two pieces are actually at the marker for Terrill's Battery at the intersection of the Hamburg-Purdy and Eastern Corinth Roads. That is the Davis Wheat Field in the background. For many years these guns were thought to be Blakely's but are actually James Rifles. Field Artillery Weapons of the Civil War by Hazlett, Olmstead and Parks has a nice write up on them. (There is a third one at the Myer's Battery site in Sarah Bell's Cotton Field).
They classified these as Jame Rifles, Type 3. During a restoration the layers of black paint were being removed and during the process the classic lemon-shaped Ames logo was found painted on the top of the breech. See the notes on p. 19 of the Revised Edition.
 
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