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20-pounder Parrott rifled muzzleloader


20-lb. Parrott
20-lb. Parrott

Common name:   20-pdr. Parrott

Description:   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

Manufacturer:   West Point Arsenal    Where made:   Cold Spring, New York    Maximum Range:   1900 yards     Barrel/Tube Length:   84 inches     Bore:   3.67 inches     Weight:   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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