Discussion Were captured Confederate manufactured artillery pieces used by the Union?

Rusk County Avengers

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20200602_151854.jpg

(Artillery piece at Fort Donelson NP. I actually have no idea what it is.)

We all know both sides captured a lot of the enemy's artillery and they weren't always spiked or thoroughly disabled, enabling the other side to put them into service. Great example, the Confederacy managed to get they're hands on a lot of 3-inchers and Parrotts. I've often read of Union guns captured from the Confederates being pressed back into Federal service.

So what about Confederate made pieces in Union service?

The CSA made a lot of cannons on their own, some excellent quality, others a big case of "What were they thinkin?" and I'm curious how many got put into Federal service.

It conjures up an interesting image, Union troops manning a Brooke Rifle, or Tredegar built howitzer. I know a lot of guns captured trying to be brought through the blockade were used, so why not home grown "Made in the CSA" pieces?
 

Coonewah Creek

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I think you set yourself a real challenge on that question. Not alone who the original manufacture was, but how many times they may have changed hands back and forth. Captured and recaptured. If any end of conflict inventory exist, it might designate, but again not knowing if actually used.
Reminds me of an exchange between Forrest's Chief of Artillery, Capt. John Morton and Forrest following the battle of Brice's Crossroads...

"Well, John, your artillery won this fight."

"General, you pressed us up pretty close at times," Morton responded.

"Yes, artillery is made to be captured," Forrest calmly replied, "and I wanted to see if they could take yours."
 

leftyhunter

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(Artillery piece at Fort Donelson NP. I actually have no idea what it is.)

We all know both sides captured a lot of the enemy's artillery and they weren't always spiked or thoroughly disabled, enabling the other side to put them into service. Great example, the Confederacy managed to get they're hands on a lot of 3-inchers and Parrotts. I've often read of Union guns captured from the Confederates being pressed back into Federal service.

So what about Confederate made pieces in Union service?

The CSA made a lot of cannons on their own, some excellent quality, others a big case of "What were they thinkin?" and I'm curious how many got put into Federal service.

It conjures up an interesting image, Union troops manning a Brooke Rifle, or Tredegar built howitzer. I know a lot of guns captured trying to be brought through the blockade were used, so why not home grown "Made in the CSA" pieces?
No doubt the Confederacy imported artillery mostly British and French but possibly other nations as well.
I don't recall any statistics of what percentage of the Confederate artillery was imported or how much much imported artillery was confiscated by the USN. The general rule of thumb is that a blockade runner always ran a ten percent chance of being siezed by the USN. Perhaps @mark F.Jenkins can confirm that.
Leftyhunter
 

Carronade

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On the naval side, CSS/USS Tennessee was put into Union service almost immediately after being captured, participating in the bombardment of Fort Morgan. Her Brooke rifles were ideal for defeating a masonry fort, and I assume they were used, firing off their remaining supply of ammunition. Comments/corrections welcome.
 

Rusk County Avengers

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No doubt the Confederacy imported artillery mostly British and French but possibly other nations as well.
I don't recall any statistics of what percentage of the Confederate artillery was imported or how much much imported artillery was confiscated by the USN. The general rule of thumb is that a blockade runner always ran a ten percent chance of being siezed by the USN. Perhaps @mark F.Jenkins can confirm that.
Leftyhunter

I'm not sure they bought any French guns, I think all the cannons from abroad were British, (top of the line by everyone's standard, or as it was advertised), and some old and new rifled Austrian guns, that somewhere is evidence they were put into Federal service.

https://markerhunter.wordpress.com/2011/09/10/austrian-6-pdr-field-guns-pt1/

https://civilwartalk.com/threads/12-pdr-whitworth-breechloading-rifle.166086/

I've seen some speculation that the Union used Whitworths came off a captured blockade runner.
 

leftyhunter

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I'm not sure they bought any French guns, I think all the cannons from abroad were British, (top of the line by everyone's standard, or as it was advertised), and some old and new rifled Austrian guns, that somewhere is evidence they were put into Federal service.

https://markerhunter.wordpress.com/2011/09/10/austrian-6-pdr-field-guns-pt1/

https://civilwartalk.com/threads/12-pdr-whitworth-breechloading-rifle.166086/

I've seen some speculation that the Union used Whitworths came off a captured blockade runner.
The above article states that the Union had A six gun battery of Whitworths but doesn't specify how the Union obtained them.
Based on the above articles it does not appear that a significant amount of artillery was imported by the Confederacy.
Leftyhunter
 

Yankee Brooke

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I don't see why not....if the gun is in serviceable condition, it sure beats having to wait for a Federal issue gun to arm your guys who now need new ones.
 

redbob

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The above article states that the Union had A six gun battery of Whitworths but doesn't specify how the Union obtained them.
Based on the above articles it does not appear that a significant amount of artillery was imported by the Confederacy.
Leftyhunter
Evidently the Union didn't particularly see the value of British artillery, even though they would have had the capability to have manufactured the rounds for them.
 

leftyhunter

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Evidently the Union didn't particularly see the value of British artillery, even though they would have had the capability to have manufactured the rounds for them.
That's interesting because the Union at least in theory could of purchased substantial amounts of British artillery and if imported on British vessels there is nothing the CSN could do to stop the shipments.From what some posters have stated
contemporary British artillery was superior to American artillery.
Leftyhunter
 

Yankee Brooke

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That's interesting because the Union at least in theory could of purchased substantial amounts of British artillery and if imported on British vessels there is nothing the CSN could do to stop the shipments.From what some posters have stated
contemporary British artillery was superior to American artillery.
Leftyhunter

You would think they'd want to buy it, if for no other reason so the Confederacy couldn't.
 

Carronade

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Evidently the Union didn't particularly see the value of British artillery, even though they would have had the capability to have manufactured the rounds for them.

That might be the point. Although they could presumably manufacture ammunition, even the odd Whitworth projectiles, logistically it was undesirable to have too many different types. We might recall how they sought to standardize ammunition between the 3" Ordnance rifle and the 10pdr Parrott.

If they captured guns and a supply of ammunition, might as well use it up, but keeping and supporting the weapons in service thereafter was more problematical.
 

Belfoured

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I don't see why not....if the gun is in serviceable condition, it sure beats having to wait for a Federal issue gun to arm your guys who now need new ones.
Except that, so far as I'm aware, and certainly after the first six months or so the US - unlike the Confederates - was not short of guns and had no need to supply itself with inferior products. Not to mention the increased outfitting of batteries during that time with the 3" Ordnance Rifle and the 10 lb Parrott. Anything is possible, of course, but I don't recall ever seeing accounts of Federal batteries restocking with captured Confederate-manufactured guns - as opposed to using recaptured guns that were manufactured by Phoenix, Parrott, Ames, Alger etc that had originally been captured by the enemy.
 

Rusk County Avengers

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I don't see the Federals putting captured Confederate made guns, (which I'm sure smoothbores used the exact same ammunition as Federal pre-war patterns), into front line service, but what about behind the lines?

All your guns are going to the frontline army, and you need cannons to cover supply lines and defend towns and cities under Union control, why not use captured Confederate pieces for that? You don't lose any guns at the front and your strengthening defense of your rear.

Just a thought.
 

Belfoured

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I don't see the Federals putting captured Confederate made guns, (which I'm sure smoothbores used the exact same ammunition as Federal pre-war patterns), into front line service, but what about behind the lines?

All your guns are going to the frontline army, and you need cannons to cover supply lines and defend towns and cities under Union control, why not use captured Confederate pieces for that? You don't lose any guns at the front and your strengthening defense of your rear.

Just a thought.
Certainly possible, but, again, there were probably enough obsolete M1841 6 lb guns and M1841 field howitzers to serve as field guns in those capacities - especially as they were phased out of the front line field batteries.
 

Rusk County Avengers

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Certainly possible, but, again, there were probably enough obsolete M1841 6 lb guns and M1841 field howitzers to serve as field guns in those capacities - especially as they were phased out of the front line field batteries.

That was 1863-1864, captured batteries could have already been in place by then in places like Tennessee, where supply lines had to be guarded.

I'm sure Bragg lost a lot of guns if I were to take a guess. Plus most Confederate made fieldpieces were 6-pounders and 12-pound field howitzers. Especially in the Western Theater.
 

RochesterBill

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My favorite small engagement was the battle of Lewisburg in WV where federals under George Crook routed a much bigger force under Henry Heth.

The Union Boys captured almost all of Heths artillery due to him being stupid with it and shoving it far forward into town where, when the federals counterattacked, the Rebels couldn't turn them around in the narrow streets and had to abandon them.

One of the guns they captured was a relic. The story was that it had been captured at Yorktown when Cornwallis surrendered, and the Confederacy took ownership of it, and a lot of newer guns, when they seized Norfolk.

(It was subsequently dragged home by the 44th Ohio, where it can be seen in Dayton to this day. The mystery is that nobody can identify it or tell even what it is. There are no markings of any kind anywhere. No one can even say whether its a 6 pounder or a 10. A couple "experts" were engaged to examine it a few years ago and they concluded that it was made around 1810 but it sounds a lot like they were guessing.)

Anyway, the reason why I mention it is because all the captured guns were turned over to Crooks artillerist who was supposed to hitch them up and make them part of his battery but he took one look at the so-called Relic Gun and said he didn't think it was even safe, so he insisted on leaving it behind.

I've always gleaned from that story that turning captured guns around was considered routine since refusing one was considered out of the ordinary.

I have some pics of the gun in question but can't find them at the moment. I'd love to get opinions from some of the gun guys on this board as to just what they think it might be.
 

Rusk County Avengers

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I have some pics of the gun in question but can't find them at the moment. I'd love to get opinions from some of the gun guys on this board as to just what they think it might be.

I'd be interested in seeing those pictures.

Also thanks for the lesson on captured Confederate guns in Union hands. They may have been pre-war but it shows what could've happened with "Made in the CSA" pieces.
 

Rusk County Avengers

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It just occurred to me that most Confederate made cannons are at NPS sites came from US storage.

Is there any way of figuring out if any of those pieces had been used by the US Army? You know any records kept on the guns?

Sure they a lot could have been surrendered at the end of the war, but surely a lot were captured in battle and there's a record somewhere of happened then.
 
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