Site Logo: Click to go to the Home page

[ Weapons of Antietam ]

Model 1861 3 Inch Ordnance rifled muzzloader


3 inch Ordnance Rifle
3 inch Ordnance Rifle

Common name:   3-in. Ordnance Rifle

Description:   The second most common rifled field artillery in both Armies generally, and the most common on the Maryland Campaign, the 3 inch Ordnance gun was made of hammer-welded, formed, machined iron. It was popular because of its accuracy and reliability, at least those examples built in Federal shops. Less precise machining and lower-grade iron gave their Confederate counterparts more trouble. Those built by the firm of Burton and Archer were know to be problematic.

Employment at Sharpsburg:   There were probably 93 3" Ordnance Rifles in Federal Service on the Maryland Campaign, and at least 48 in Confederate batteries. Find units equipped with these.

Ammunition Used:   solid bolt, case, common shell, cannister;

"The 3-inch rifle normally fired Hotchkiss or Schenkel shells that weighed between 8 and 9 pounds. In an emergency it could use 10-pounder Parrot ammunition. It could also be used to fire cannister but, as a rifle, was not as effective with this as howitzers or Napoleons."
(from Schwartz)

Manufacturer:   Phoenix Iron Company    Where made:   Phoenixville, Pennsylvania    Model:   1861    Year(s) made:   1861-

Maximum Range:   1830 yards     Barrel/Tube Length:   69 inches     Bore:   3 inches     Weight:   1720 pounds

Other notes:   Weight figure is for gun carriage (900 lb) + tube (820 lb).
Max range is for 1 lb black powder charge behind 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; and
Schwartz, Peter, Artillery at Gettysburg online.

«  to Weapons Index

Antietam on the Web   ::   Home | Overview | Battle Maps | Participants | ORs | Exhibits | Bibliography


© 1996 - 2018 by Brian Downey and contributors