Lt.Arty James Rifles

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The James Rifle was not a widely used cannon in either army, though the 2nd Connecticut Battery was armed them at Gettysburg. All James Rifles fired 14-pound elongated shells and were accurate up to 1,500 yards.

ARTILLERY PROFILE
  • Models:
    • 12-pdr. James Rifle - Type I
    • 14-pdr. James Rifle - Type II, & III
    • Rifled 6 Pdr. Guns (Using the James Pattern of Rifling)
  • Type: Muzzleloading Rifled Gun
  • In Service With: United States Army
  • Purpose: Counter-battery & Support the infantry and cavalry forces in the field
  • Invented By: the U.S. War Department & Charles Tillinghast James
  • Patent: None for cannon, it's possible the overall shape and design should be credited to the War Department and Ames rather than Charles T. James. It's assumed that James himself developed the pattern used to create the rifling pattern, influenced by the design of his Patented Improved Cannon Projectiles.
  • Rarity: Uncommon to Rare
MANUFACTURING
  • US Casting Foundries:
    • Ames Manufacturing Company, Chicopee, Massachusetts
    • Miles Greenwood & Company, Cincinnati, Ohio (51 of the Type I Remanufactured Barrels Only)
  • Years of Manufacture: 1861 - 1862
  • Tube Composition:
    • Type I, II, Rifled 6 Pdr: Bronze
    • Type III: Steel
  • Variants:
    • Type I: Made from remanufactured 6-pdr. Gun Barrels
    • Type II: Purpose Cast 14-pdr. James Rifles of Bronze
    • Type III: Purpose Cast 14-pdr. James Rifles of Steel (Sometimes mistaken for a "12-pdr. Blakely - Type 8")
    • Rifled 6-pdrs.: These are not really James Rifles at all, but are rather guns "rifled in the James system". Otherwise, these guns conform to the typical profile and measurements of a typical 6-pdr. Gun.
  • No. Purchased During the Civil War: about 400
  • No. of Surviving Pieces Today: Over 150
WEIGHTS & MEASURES
DSC00136.JPG

DSC00137.JPG

(Above 2 Photos) 14-pdr. James Rifle, Type I
Manassas NBP, ©Mike Kendra, March 2012

1581385265301.png

14-pdr. James Rifle, Type II
Gettysburg NMP, ©Mike Kendra, February 2011


  • Bore Diameters:
    • Type I, II, III: 3.8 inches
    • Rifled 6-pdrs: 3.67 inches
  • Bore Length:
    • Type I & Rifled 6-pdrs: 57.5 inches
    • Type II & III: 65 inches
    • Rifled 6-pdrs: 57.5 inches
  • Rifling Types:
    • Type I: 15 rifle grooves
    • Type II: Series 1 - 7 rifle grooves
    • Type II: Series 2 - 10 rifle grooves
    • Type III: 10 rifle grooves
    • Rifled 6-pdrs: 6 to 10 rifle grooves
  • Trunnion Diameter: 3.67 inches
  • Barrel Thickness:
    • Type I: at Muzzle - 2.18 inches; at Vent - 3.0 inches
    • Type II: at Muzzle - 1.29 inches; at Vent - 3.0 inches
  • Tube Length:
    • Type I & Rifled 6-pdrs: 65.6 inches
    • Type II & III: 74 inches
  • Tube Weight:
    • Type I & Rifled 6-pdrs: about 880 lbs.
    • Type II: 917 lbs.
    • Type III: 930 lbs.
  • Carriage Type: No. 1 Field Carriage (900 lbs.), 57" wheels
  • Total Weight (Gun & Carriage): about 1,800 lbs.
  • Horses Required to Pull: 6
  • No. of Crew to Serve: Typical - 9, 1 Gunner, 8 Numbered Crew Positions
AMMUNITION
  • Standard Powder Charge: 1.25 lbs. Cannon Grade Black Powder
  • Projectiles Types: James & Schenkl and Hotchkiss Types
  • Projectiles Weights: 14 lb. bolt
PERFORMANCE
  • Rate of Fire: 2 rounds per minute
  • Effective Range:
    • Type I: at 5° - 1,700 yards ( 0.96 miles) with a 12 lb. Schenkl shell
    • Type I: at 5° - 1,530 yards ( 0.87 miles) with a 14 lb. Hotchkiss shell
    • Type II: Max Range - 2,000 yards (1.13 miles)
    • Rifled 6-pdr: at 2¼° - 1,000 yards (0.56 miles) with a 14 lb. shot
NOTES ABOUT THE 14-PDR. JAMES RIFLE

Charles Tillinghast James was a self-educated mechanic and carpenter who turned to public life, serving first as a senator from Rhode Island and later as Major General of the militia. He devoted considerable time and talent to the promotion of rifled cannons and to the projectiles they fired. His close friendship with J. Tyler Ames of Ames Foundry led to the development of these artillery pieces.

Prior to the start of the war, on November 1, 1860 a U.S. Army board recommended that half of the existing smoothbore cannons in forts and arsenals should be rifled according to the plans provided by James. The U.S. Army was so desperate for ordnance, it wanted James to rifle existing 6-lb. Smoothbore Guns in the James Pattern. Rifling the older guns to accommodate the James shells would inexpensively double the weight of shell fired, since the shells were elongated. It was believed this could be done without putting too much stress on the gun barrel. The guns were rifled in the James Pattern to a bore size of 3.67 inches. They would come to be known as Rifled 6-pounders or perhaps 12-pdr. James Rifles.

The designation of "James Rifles" may not have been used early on in the war effort, historically speaking, as they may not have been called that by the War Department. Late in 1861, the Ames Company received an order to produce several 3.8-inch rifles. Although the exact text of the order itself is lost to history, they used a reference to guns called "new model" or Model of 1861. Later, when General McClellan inquired about James rifles, Secretary of War Stanton responded by writing, "James is not known as a manufacturer of guns, and it is not known that he makes any pretense of having invented one. Ames, of Chicopee, manufactures guns, and is the manufacturer of James projectiles..."

So, perhaps it could be inferred that the Type II version of this class was known as the, "New Model Rifle, Model of 1861", a construct of the War Department that simply incorporated the James Pattern of Rifling into it's design, and utilized the James Patent Shell as it's primary ammunition type. At any rate, we will use the common name "James Rifle" to describe this class of artillery.

With the success of the Rifled 6-pounders, starting in early 1861, the War Department ordered James to skip casting new barrels, and use the inventory of existing castings from the older M1841 6 Pounders to create the next generation of James Rifles. These guns typically had 15 rifle grooves. One alteration was made in this design that was to prove chaotic to the ordnance supply system. The bore size was set to 3.8 inches, a new standard for the James Rifle system, a slightly larger bore size than the old 6-lb smoothbore guns being converted to the James Rifle Pattern.

This mismatch in bore sizes would become an extra headache for the ordnance department, and was the first strike against the James Rifles as a group.

Early in the war, the James Rifles proved to successful field guns, accurate, safe, and reliable. But, they soon suffered from wear on the bronze rifle grooves. The metallic properties of bronze proved to be just too soft for field artillery rifle use during wartime. This would be the second strike against the James Rifle. After just a year, many guns were showing heavy wear, and within three years, most all were removed from service in the East due to having no serviceable rifling.

The James Rifle, Type II. was more of a pure "James Rifle", comprising of a smooth bronze barrel similar in shape to the 3-inch Ordnance Rifle, and was produced by the Ames Manufacturing Company of Chicopee, Massachusetts. It usually has 7 or 10 rifle grooves and a distinctive front sight blade. The barrel was rifled in the standard James Pattern 3.8 inch bore. Unfortunately this model also suffered from heavy wear to the rifle grooves under normal use, and didn't have a long service life.

The James Rifle, Type III is the last update to the pure "James Rifle" class, finally switching the bronze out for a more durable Steel design. Sticking to the 3.8 inch bore, these guns were greatly outnumbered and still couldn't trade ammunition with the new iron Parrott and steel Ordnance Rifles that were becoming the standard rifled field artillery pieces of the day.

On October 17, 1862, Charles T. James, was fatally wounded by an accidental explosion from one of his shells, a worker examining a shell mistakenly set it off. This was the final blow to the James Rifle as an Artillery Class. By then other Cannons had proven to be just as effective, or better, and were replacing the James Rifle on the field. By 1863, most of the James rifled guns of all types were removed from service in the East, leaving only a few scattered units. Some in the West lasted a while longer, but without support from Charles T. James, no new updates or improvements were made, and no further guns were manufactured.

The Confederate Army did capture James Rifles during the war, but their usefulness was probably limited to the remaining ammunition in any chests that were also captured. It's likely that captured James Rifles were melted down and turned into Napoleons, or other more useful Rebel arms of the period. There is one

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CivilWarTalk

Lieutenant General
- ★★★ -
Managing Member & Webmaster
Joined
Apr 1, 1999
Location
Martinsburg, WV
14-PDR. JAMES RIFLE, TYPE I

IMG_0471.JPG

Antietam NB: 6-pdr. turned 3.80-inch bronze James rifle, Type I
Made by Miles Greenwood, Eagle Foundry of Cincinnati, Ohio
Registry #69, Cast in 1861, Weight 874 lbs.
Inspected by J.B.
©Michael Kendra, November 2019

IMG_0469.JPG

Antietam NB: 6-pdr. turned 3.80-inch bronze James rifle, Type I
Greenwood Registry #69, Insp. JB, 1861, Wt. 874
©Michael Kendra, November 2019

IMG_0470.JPG

Antietam NB: 6-pdr. turned 3.80-inch bronze James rifle, Type I
Greenwood Registry #69, Insp. JB, 1861, Wt. 874
©Michael Kendra, November 2019

IMG_0463.JPG

Antietam NB: 6-pdr. turned 3.80-inch bronze James rifle, Type I
Greenwood Registry #69, Insp. JB, 1861, Wt. 874 (15 grooves, RH Twist)
©Michael Kendra, November 2019



IMG_0516.JPG

Antietam NB: 6-pdr. turned 3.80-inch bronze James rifle, Type I
Ames Manufacturing Co. of Boston, Massachusetts
Registry "OHIO", Cast in 1861, Weight 872 lbs.
Inspected by: "L.B.DAVIES"
©Michael Kendra, November 2019

IMG_0518.JPG

Antietam NB: 6-pdr. turned 3.80-inch bronze James rifle, Type I
Ames, Registry OH, INSP LBD, 1861, WT. 872
stamped "OHIO" & "L.B.DAVIES"
©Michael Kendra, November 2019

IMG_0519.JPG

Antietam NB: 6-pdr. turned 3.80-inch bronze James rifle, Type I
Ames, Registry OH, INSP LBD, 1861, WT. 872
stamped "OHIO" & "L.B.DAVIES"
©Michael Kendra, November 2019

IMG_0520.JPG

Antietam NB: 6-pdr. turned 3.80-inch bronze James rifle, Type I
Ames, Registry OH, INSP LBD, 1861, WT. 872
stamped "OHIO" & "L.B.DAVIES"
©Michael Kendra, November 2019

IMG_0517.JPG

Antietam NB: 6-pdr. turned 3.80-inch bronze James rifle, Type I
Ames, Registry OH, INSP LBD, 1861, WT. 872 (15 grooves, RH Twist)
stamped "OHIO" & "L.B.DAVIES"
©Michael Kendra, November 2019
 
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CivilWarTalk

Lieutenant General
- ★★★ -
Managing Member & Webmaster
Joined
Apr 1, 1999
Location
Martinsburg, WV
14-PDR. JAMES RIFLE, TYPE II




IMG_1642.JPG

Gettysburg NBP: 14-pdr. Bronze James Rifle, Type II
Ames Manufacturing Co. of Boston, Massachusetts
Markings: "State of Connecticut" & "W.A.B."
for Connecticut's Wartime Governor: William Alfred Buckingham, 1804-1875
No Discernable Registry # or Inspector Stamp, 1862, Wt. 925 lbs.
©Michael Kendra, February 2011




IMG_1636.JPG

Gettysburg NBP: 14-pdr. Bronze James Rifle, Type II
Ames Manufacturing Co. of Boston, Massachusetts
Markings: "State of Connecticut" & "W.A.B."
for Connecticut's Wartime Governor: William Alfred Buckingham, 1804-1875
No Discernable Registry # or Inspector Stamp, 1862, Wt. 925 lbs.
©Michael Kendra, February 2011




IMG_1634.JPG

Gettysburg NBP: 14-pdr. Bronze James Rifle, Type II
Ames Manufacturing Co. of Boston, Massachusetts
Markings: "State of Connecticut" & "W.A.B."
for Connecticut's Wartime Governor: William Alfred Buckingham, 1804-1875
No Discernable Registry # or Inspector Stamp, 1862, Wt. 925 lbs.
©Michael Kendra, February 2011




IMG_1639.JPG

Gettysburg NBP: 14-pdr. Bronze James Rifle, Type II
Ames Manufacturing Co. of Boston, Massachusetts
Markings: "State of Connecticut" & "W.A.B."
for Connecticut's Wartime Governor: William Alfred Buckingham, 1804-1875
No Discernable Registry # or Inspector Stamp, 1862, Wt. 925 lbs.
©Michael Kendra, February 2011




IMG_1645.JPG

Gettysburg NBP: 14-pdr. Bronze James Rifle, Type II
Ames Manufacturing Co. of Boston, Massachusetts
Markings: "State of Connecticut" & "W.A.B."
for Connecticut's Wartime Governor: William Alfred Buckingham, 1804-1875
No Discernable Registry # or Inspector Stamp, 1862, Wt. 925 lbs.
©Michael Kendra, February 2011




IMG_1643.JPG

Gettysburg NBP: 14-pdr. Bronze James Rifle, Type II
Ames Manufacturing Co. of Boston, Massachusetts
Markings: "State of Connecticut" & "W.A.B."
for Connecticut's Wartime Governor: William Alfred Buckingham, 1804-1875
No Discernable Registry # or Inspector Stamp, 1862, Wt. 925 lbs.
©Michael Kendra, February 2011




IMG_1644.JPG

Gettysburg NBP: 14-pdr. Bronze James Rifle, Type II
Ames Manufacturing Co. of Boston, Massachusetts
Markings: "State of Connecticut" & "W.A.B."
for Connecticut's Wartime Governor: William Alfred Buckingham, 1804-1875
No Discernable Registry # or Inspector Stamp, 1862, Wt. 925 lbs.
©Michael Kendra, February 2011

 
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CivilWarTalk

Lieutenant General
- ★★★ -
Managing Member & Webmaster
Joined
Apr 1, 1999
Location
Martinsburg, WV
14-PDR. JAMES RIFLE, TYPE III

1581356923085.png

Front View - No Markings
14-pdr. James Rifle - Type III
Made by Ames Manufacturing Company, Chicopee, Massachusetts
Cast in 1863, Weight about 930 lbs.
At the intersection of Hamburg-Purdy Road and Eastern Corinth Road, Shiloh NMP, ©Ole Miss, 2019

1581357000855.png

Muzzle & Rifling - No Markings
14-pdr. James Rifle - Type III
Made by Ames Manufacturing Company, Chicopee, Massachusetts
Cast in 1863, Weight about 930 lbs.
At the intersection of Hamburg-Purdy Road and Eastern Corinth Road
Shiloh NMP, ©Ole Miss, 2019


1581357559020.png

14-pdr. James Rifle - Type III
Made by Ames Manufacturing Company, Chicopee, Massachusetts
Cast in 1863, Weight about 930 lbs.
At the intersection of Hamburg-Purdy Road and Eastern Corinth Road
Shiloh NMP, ©Ole Miss, 2019


1581357639400.png

14-pdr. James Rifle - Type III
Made by Ames Manufacturing Company, Chicopee, Massachusetts
Cast in 1863, Weight about 930 lbs.
At the intersection of Hamburg-Purdy Road and Eastern Corinth Road
Shiloh NMP, ©Ole Miss, 2019

 
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