Who was firing artillery at Devils Den?

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Ethan S.

Sergeant
Joined
Aug 19, 2019
Location
Carter County Kentucky
After the main attack at Devils Den was completed, Union guns fired a the rebels inside the massive boulder fortress. What artillery batteries were shooting at them? What kind of guns did they have, and what rounds were they shooting? I'm asking because I have a fragment that I believe is from a Hotchkiss shell, found by Iva Rosensteel close to Devils Den.
 

Ethan S.

Sergeant
Joined
Aug 19, 2019
Location
Carter County Kentucky
10# Parrotts and/or 3" Ordnance Rifles, either one of which could fire a Hotchkiss round.

I have O'Donnels book of Gettysburg relics, and I never noticed any Parrot shells at Devils Den.. Of course the book doesn't showcase everything though.

The frag I have looks like a Hotchkiss piece. It has no screw threads from what I see though.
 
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Tom Elmore

2nd Lieutenant
Member of the Year
Joined
Jan 16, 2015
The principal candidate would of course be the four 10-pounder Parrotts of Battery D, 5th U.S. Artillery on the summit of Little Round Top, successively commanded by Lieutenants Charles E. Hazlett (killed) and Benjamin F. Rittenhouse. Two of the six guns of this battery were reportedly taken back down from the summit and I figure that occurred before the Confederates took full control of the Den area, which occurred about 6 p.m. on July 2 by my calculations. This section probably rejoined the battery on the summit early on July 3.

A section of Smith's 4th New York, two 10-pounder Parrotts, was firing southward down Plum Run valley, but they could not fire directly into the Den area because of friendly troops (Ward's brigade) posted there. Ward's men retreated right through this section, which then had to quickly limber up. It then briefly joined Battery D, 1st New York in the Wheatfield before it had to abandon that position as well. We cannot entirely exclude these guns as candidates, since some of their earlier rounds may have dropped just east and southeast of the Den.

Six 12-pounder Napoleons from Battery L, 1st Ohio took position around 7 p.m., including a section on the north slope of Little Round Top, that may have fired into the Den for a few minutes before their attention was diverted to their immediate front as Confederates advanced through the Wheatfield.

Capt. James Reilly's Confederate battery included two 3-inch Ordnance Rifles that apparently fired into the Devil's Den area before it was captured by friendly infantry. One of these Rifles burst and was put out of commission on July 2.
 
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Saint Jude

First Sergeant
Joined
Oct 15, 2018
Location
Heaven
For more on these kinds of questions, you might want to consult Naisawald's Grape and Canister: The Story of the Field Artillery of the Army of the Potomac, 1861-1865, in this case chapter 13.
 
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