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THE Gettysburg Gun-Battery B, First Rhode Island

Discussion in 'Battle of Gettysburg' started by Gettysburg Greg, Jan 6, 2017.

  1. Gettysburg Greg

    Gettysburg Greg Corporal

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    I find one of the more interesting vignettes from the Battle of Gettysburg to be the story of the Gettysburg Gun which I'm sure many of my friends here are at least somewhat familiar with. This refers to one of the guns in Brown's Battery B, First Rhode Island Artillery that saw action around the Copse of Trees on July 2nd and 3rd. During the artillery bombardment prior to Pickett's Charge, the battery was in action just south of the Copse of Trees. As one of the guns was being loaded with powder, a very accurate or lucky Confederate shot struck the muzzle of the gun killing the loader and severely wounding the sponge man. The surviving artillerymen attempted to ram the solid shot down the barrel, but the shell was now stuck in the distorted muzzle. They even resorted to using an ax in their attempt to dislodge the round, but as the hot barrel cooled, it welded the solid shot in place. This disabled gun having been struck three times was then moved to the rear. The gun eventually was put on display in the Statehouse in Providence, Rhode Island, where it remained until 1963 when it was decided to bring the gun back to Gettysburg for the Centennial Celebration. It was prior to this move that someone thought of asking about the powder charge still in the tube behind the stuck shell. So the 1863 powder charge was removed by drilling two holes into the back of the tube and flushing out the charge. The Gettysburg Gun made it to the Centennial and then was returned to Providence where it can be seen today resting on a rare Civil War carriage. On the left in my photo, is the gun and the carriage on display in Providence and on the right is a close up focusing on the damaged muzzle and the solid shot that has been stuck in place since July 3, 1863.
    GB gun combo.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2017

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  3. alexjack

    alexjack Sergeant Major

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    Thanks Greg. I never heard that story before.
     
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  4. Bee

    Bee 2nd Lieutenant

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    I am selfish: I wish they would have left the display in Gettysburg so I can see it :smile: @Gettysburg Greg I am not sure how cannon balls work: this one looks fully intact and contained, so I was surprised that people were killed when it landed (I know about firearm rounds, but zilch about canon balls)
     
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  5. Doug5861

    Doug5861 Private

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    I wish the new visitor center had a general display area where some of the stuff in storage could be displayed.
     
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  6. Gettysburg Greg

    Gettysburg Greg Corporal

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    Hello, @Bee , I may have not been clear in my description. The Confederate round that struck the muzzle exploded killing the two artillery men. The solid shot stuck in the barrel was loaded after the muzzel was damaged, which is why it became lodged there. Make sense?
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2017
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  7. Bee

    Bee 2nd Lieutenant

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    Ahh, yes! THIS was not the round that killed the men, this happed afterwards. Got it:smile:
     
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  8. Yankeedave

    Yankeedave 2nd Lieutenant

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    It used to be on display.
     
  9. Tom Elmore

    Tom Elmore First Sergeant

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    This same gun had an equally fascinating story to tell on the previous day, July 2. It was the fourth piece in the battery, under Sergeant Albert A. Straight, and it was held in place to fire a last discharge at the advancing Georgians of Brig. Gen. Ambrose R. Wright's brigade, around 7 p.m. But in the meantime, two of the limber horses were shot down, so the piece had to be abandoned. Sitting in the middle of the field between the Union lines and the Emmitsburg Road, it became an immediate focal point in the path of the 48th Georgia. I seem to recall an account describing a Confederate officer being shot while standing on the piece, and reportedly the color bearer planted his flag alongside it.
     
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  10. Yankeedave

    Yankeedave 2nd Lieutenant

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    What was the guns position when over ran?
     
  11. Gettysburg Greg

    Gettysburg Greg Corporal

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    I believe it was out in front of the COT on the outcropping seen there today. There is a marker on the spot, I believe I have a pic. Will post later, if interested.
     
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  12. Yankeedave

    Yankeedave 2nd Lieutenant

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    Yes please. I imagine it was slightly left of south from the cop but farther out?
     
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  13. Yankeedave

    Yankeedave 2nd Lieutenant

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    Sorry. I mean slightly left of west of the cop.
     
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  14. Gettysburg Greg

    Gettysburg Greg Corporal

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    Ok, @Yankeedave , I didn't have a picture, but I have video I shot at that location that I can capture a still from. Here you see the Brown Battery location marker with the Codori farm in the background for reference. I will include a second image captured from the Emmitsburg Road facing towards the Copse. Closer to the camera and to the right is the outcropping where the Brown marker is located approximately where I placed the arrow.
    brown bat.jpg

    from ER.jpg
     
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  15. Yankeedave

    Yankeedave 2nd Lieutenant

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    Ty Greg. Very interesting stuff. I have a lot to say on it mostly questions. :wink: like a little kid in a candy store.
     
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  16. Wallyfish

    Wallyfish Sergeant Trivia Game Winner

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  17. rpkennedy

    rpkennedy Major

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    Brown's rightmost section was about 100 yards due west of the Copse with the rest of the battery lined southwest of the section (paralleling the direction of the Emmitsburg Road). They were approximately halfway between the stone wall and the Emmitsburg Road.

    The 82nd New York and the 15th Massachusetts, stationed along the road to Brown's front, stood and fought briefly with Wright's Georgians before retreating back to the ridge. The artillerymen, firing double canister, ripped ragged holes in the Confederate line but couldn't stop them. Lt. Brown ordered his men to limber up and move to the rear but one of the gun commanders decided to give the Georgians a parting shot. In those few moments, the gun's horse team was shot down and the piece was abandoned. Another gun was left about 20 yards from the wall.

    Some of Wright's men attempted to turn the cannon on the Federal line but were driven away by Cushing's battery who fired canister into Brown's former position.

    Ryan
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2017
  18. PeterT

    PeterT 2nd Lieutenant

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    Great story Greg!

    And photos too!
     
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  19. Bee

    Bee 2nd Lieutenant

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    An overnight road trip to RI from Gettysburg: everyone take turns driving! (well, you would not want me to drive -- trust me) :smile:
     
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  20. PeterT

    PeterT 2nd Lieutenant

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    I'm in! I'll drive ... with my Longstreet/Hood mantra ... "go to the right, go to the right" to help me!
     
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  21. Bee

    Bee 2nd Lieutenant

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    DEAL!!! One half-blind driver and one who drives on the wrong side of the road: Any more takers???
     
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