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Artillery Weapon

20-pounder Parrott rifled muzzleloader

20-pdr. Parrott


Manufacturer: West Point Arsenal

Where made: Cold Spring, New York

20-lb. Parrott

20-lb. Parrott


The largest rifled field artillery piece in common service, the 20-pounder Parrott was made of cast iron with wrought iron breech reenforcement. It was an accurate but not wholly reliable weapon - it gained a reputation for sometimes bursting at the breech after prolonged firing. Because of its high weight and reputation for bursting, it was largely replaced by 10-pounder Parrots and 3-in Ordnance rifles after Antietam.

Confederate versions of the Parrott Rifles were built by the Noble Brothers Foundry and the Macon Arsenal in Georgia.

Employment at Sharpsburg

There were at least 22 20-pounder Parrotts in Federal Batteries at Antietam but none known to be in Confederate service at the Battle.


Find units equipped with these.

Ammunition Used

solid bolt, case, common shell, cannister


3.67 inches

Maximum range

1900 yards

Barrel Length

84 inches


2925 pounds

Other notes

Weight figure is for gun carriage (1175 lb) + tube (1750 lb).
Max range is for 2 lb black powder charge behind a 20 pound solid shot at 5deg elevation.

More on the Web

See more about this and other Civil War artillery at the comprehensive Civil War Artillery Page, by Chuck Ten Brink or the very nice Basic Facts page from Jack W. Melton, Jr. The NPS has a fine general introduction to Civil War artillery in a 3-page presentation.

Source information

Johnson, Curt & Anderson, Richard C., Artillery Hell: Employment of Artillery at Antietam, College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, 1995.


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