Question. Does anyone have good photographs of a caisson hooked up to a horse team?

Leigh Cole

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I recently purchased a model of a 6 horse team with limber and caisson. The leather bridles, etc I will have to make myself. This is 28mm metal from Perry. I just cannot find any clear photographs of the method they are actually hooked up to the last two horses. Thanks in advance for any help. Leigh
 

ucvrelics

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I recently purchased a model of a 6 horse team with limber and caisson. The leather bridles, etc I will have to make myself. This is 28mm metal from Perry. I just cannot find any clear photographs of the method they are actually hooked up to the last two horses. Thanks in advance for any help. Leigh
Here are 2 threads we've had on this subject.

https://civilwartalk.com/threads/how-were-horses-were-hitched-to-a-cannon-limber.147749/
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/artillery-harness.101864/
 

ErnieMac

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https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/..._special_authorities_(1911)_(14739801596).jpg

Artillery.jpg
 

Leigh Cole

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This was great help! I am glad to see I was not the only one with this question. Perry Miniatures never includes directions of any kind, so when modeling a six horse team, you are on your own! Thanks again. That was a pretty cool video, too.
 

Rhea Cole

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There is a contributor to CWT who has extensive experience with horse drawn CW artillery. I will PM him for you.

To clarify things, there is no special hitch for a caisson. All artillery vehicles, traveling forges, battery wagons, caissons & cannon were hauled via a two wheeled limber. It was the pickup truck of the battery.

The traces of the wheel horses were attached to hooks on the drawbar built into the limber. The harness is designed so that a fallen horse can easily be cut loose & the limber continue onward.
 

Leigh Cole

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The one I purchased comes with two caissons...three men on each, plus the horse riders...I take it this one is sort of the supply wagon for the battery? I was thinking of replacing the back caisson with a 12lb Napoleon...
 

Rhea Cole

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The one I purchased comes with two caissons...three men on each, plus the horse riders...I take it this one is sort of the supply wagon for the battery? I was thinking of replacing the back caisson with a 12lb Napoleon...
Why not buy two complete cannon & limber combos so you would have a section. For what it is worth, the artillery crews almost never rode on the limber box. It is a six horse power vehicle, everything was focused on easing the load on the horses.

Riding on the limber box is very dangerous. I witnessed three crewmen being flipped into the air like pancakes. They all were evacuated in an ambulance.
 

Lampasas Bill

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Sep 24, 2018
Limbers carried a single ammunition chest. They were the element attached to the teams and were used to pull the other elements of the battery. A six-gun battery would consist of six guns, each towed behind a limber pulled by four or six horses. Each gun was accompanied by a caisson which carried two reserve boxes of ammunition and was towed behind a limber by four or six horses. Also one traveling forge and a two-wheeled battery wagon, each towed behind a limber by four or six horses. In all, a six-gun battery had 26 ammunition chests which were carried on 14 limbers and 6 caissons.
 
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limberbox

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These are a little indistinct, since they're photos of photos from a disposable camera, but these show a federal four-gun battery and its four caissons maneuvering (Raymond, MS reenactment). They take up quite a lot of space.

The battery of maneuver consists of the pieces (guns) belonging to the field battery with an equal number of caissons. Each caisson is permanently attached to a piece and maneuvers with it (per the manual). Rheas' suggestion to have equal numbers of caissons and guns is a good one, and Bill is correct to point out that the front half of each vehicle in the battery (gun, caisson, forge, wagon) is a limber, all of the same size and dimensions. However, the limbers for the traveling forge and the battery wagon contain tools and stores rather than ammunition, so the number of ammunition chests in a 6-pdr or 3" battery would be 24, four for each gun carried one each on gun limber, caisson limber and two on the caisson body. Since 12-pdr rounds are much larger, fewer will fit in the chest, and the manual accordingly calls for two caissons for each 12-pdr gun rather than one.

Raymond1A.JPG


Raymond2A.JPG
 

limberbox

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I've always loved this picture. Thanks for posting it along with the link to its caption, EarnieMac.

The two pieces in the foreground are clearly 3" Ordnance rifles but does the third appear to be a fatter bronze piece? Hard to tell and the the rest are even harder to discern. Interesting that the caption at the Wikimedia Commons link describes it as being two Federal batteries, A 2d U.S., and C & G 3d U.S. (Consolidated), when from the photo it looks like a single typical early war six-gun Federal horse battery, with six pieces up front each followed closely by its associated caisson and all cannoneers horsed. Perhaps more guns are behind the camera? Both were recognized horse batteries and both were armed with six 3" Ordnance rifles at Antietam a short three and a half months later. (Curt Johnson & Richard Anderson, Artillery Hell , p. 83 (citing a Memorandum in Gen. Hunt's papers).) They together with Batteries B & L (Capt. Robertson) and M (Capt. Benson), both of the 2d U.S., comprised the famous Horse Artillery Brigade of the AoP. This seems worth looking into....

A short internet search found the image in the Library of Congress with a different caption: https://www.loc.gov/item/2014646906/ It credits the picture as showing "the C & G Batteries of the 3rd U.S. Artillery" only. That makes sense. Looking at that clearer image also causes me to think that the visible guns are all 3" Ordnance rifles.

So where did Wikimedia get their description? They say it is from The Photographic History of the Civil War (1911). I got out the ladder and pulled down my Blue & Gray Press reprint copy. There in vol. I, p. 286 (the reprint combines each two volumes into one), I found the image and it is identified as being a picture of Gibson's Batteries C & G only.

The caption at the original Wikimedia Commons link also misidentifies Battery A's commander as Harry Benson. Battery A, 2nd U.S. is one of the most famous batteries of the war and was commanded by Capt. John C. Tidball in 1861-63. Capt. Henry Benson commanded a different horse battery, M 2d U.S., which was also a six-gun 3" Ordnance rifle battery in the same brigade. Capt. Benson was mortally wounded in early August 1862 at the second battle of Malvern Hill by a shell burst from one of his own guns. So how did Wikimedia Commons get so far off? Looking further I see another link and that leads to the image in an archive.org image of a different page in an original copy of The Photographic History of the Civil War, page 38 (actually 33) of vol. V, Forts & Artillery. That equates to vol. III of my reprint copy and there I find it, in a portion of the book contributed by a different author, O.E. Hunt, a captain in the U.S. Army. Hunt appears wrong. Not only did he misidentify the image as also including Battery A when it clearly is of a single six-gun battery, but he also got the name of Battery A's famous captain wrong. The caption written by original contributor and Ohio University history professor Henry W. Elson identifying the picture as being only of Battery C & G appears to be the correct one, as the Library of Congress evidently also concluded. And with that a very fine evening has been entirely consumed....

Here is the LOC image:
1623217063910.png
 
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