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[ Weapons of Antietam ]

12-pounder James Rifled Gun


James Rifled gun
James Rifled gun

Common name:   12-pdr. James

Description:   These weapons were an attempt by the Federals to convert existing smoothbores to rifled guns. As compared to the true James 14-pounders, these were originally bronze-tubed Model 1841 6-pounders, bored out and lined with rifled iron or brass sleeves in the James pattern. These would throw a shell farther and with more accuracy, but were prone to bursting at the breech, and the liners quickly wore down, reducing the effectiveness of the rifling. Most of these were retired from service fairly early in the War.

Employment at Sharpsburg:   There may have been only four of these guns at Antietam, all in Federal service. Find units equipped with these.

Ammunition Used:   James-pattern shell, equivalent bolts & shells, solid shot

Manufacturer:   various Armories    Where made:   various    Year(s) made:   1861-

Maximum Range:   1700 yards     Barrel/Tube Length:   60 inches     Bore:   3.67 inches     Weight:   1700 pounds

Other notes:   Total weight = bronze tube (800 lb) + carriage (900 lb). Maximum range for 3/4-lb powder charge behind a 12 pound solid shot at 5 degrees elevation.

Photograph above is from the Mill Springs, KY battlefield, by Geoffrey R. Walden - the carriage is probably a modern replacement.

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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