Military Review

"The parrot gun." Man and his instrument

36

Parrotte's 100-pound cannon at one of the forts of the American Civil War. Photo from the Library of Congress Library


But flashes and explosions are getting closer and closer,
There is no salvation there, nor here
There are walls settling down the roar
There is a flame of fierce howl
And the city, quarter after quarter,
Forever overgrown with grass.
Herman Melville. Swamp angel. Translation by D. Schneerson


Weapon from museums. Exit to the "IN" article "A gun with a faceted bore" caused not only a positive reaction from its readers, but also requests to continue the story about the tools of the Civil War in the United States. Well, well, this topic is really very interesting. Therefore, today it will be continued. Well, the story in our material will go about the tools of Robert Parker Parrott (Robert Parker Parrott), or simply “parrots”, as they were called Yankee soldiers, because the word parrot is translated into Russian as “parrot”.

"The parrot gun." Man and his instrument
10-pound parrot on the battlefield in Chicamauga

Let's start with his biography, since it is also very instructive. The future creator of the guns of his name was born on October 5, 1804 in the town of Lee, the county of Strafford, New Hampshire (USA). He was the eldest son of a famous shipowner from Portsmouth and Senator John Fabian Parrott. His mother, Hannah Skilling (Parker) Parrott, was the daughter of Robert Parker of Kittery, Maine, a shipbuilder and caper commander during the Revolutionary War.


6,4-inch Wyoming Parrot

After graduating from school in Portsmouth, young Parrott July 1, 1820 entered the US Military Academy at West Point, which he graduated in 1824, the third in performance from thirty-one cadets in the class. He received the rank of 2nd lieutenant, but was left at the Military Academy, where he served for five years as an assistant professor of the Department of Natural Sciences. Then two years of garrison service at one of the forts near Portsmouth followed, he received the rank of first lieutenant, after which he was appointed to the rank of captain in 1836 to Washington as an assistant chief of the ammunition bureau. Soon, his abilities and knowledge attracted the attention of Kemble, the president of the West Point Foundry Association, who invited Parrot to leave the army and become the manager (superintendent) of the foundry at his enterprise.


Young Robert Parker Parrott

And just three years later, he replaced Kemble at his post, bought a 7-acre site in Orange County, New York State and, together with his brother Peter, organized the most modern foundry of the time, which he managed for almost forty years. In 000, he learned about the secret production of the Krupp rifled gun in Germany and focused his attention precisely on rifled guns and their ammunition.


10-inch (300-pound) parrot in a fort on Sullivan Island in South Carolina

For more than ten years, he continued his experiments with the goal of creating an effective rifled gun, which would be simple in design and cheap in cost. October 1, 1861, he patented the design of the gun, which had a wrought iron bandage worn on its breech. A unique feature of the invention was also a barrel of wrought iron bar of rectangular cross section, which was folded into a spiral and welded into a single unit. He also developed and patented a projectile for rifled guns on August 20, 1861, which had a brass ring superimposed on the shell and attached to it, but under the influence of powder gases it could expand and press into the rifling of the barrel. Parrott proposed his development to the government at cost, and with the outbreak of the Civil War he received large orders for both guns and shells. Under wartime laws, he was exempted from income tax, but ... he paid it and only laughed when asked why he did it. Parrotte’s guns participated in the first battle of Bull Run, and later in almost every important battle, both on land and at sea. They were available in different calibers, from 10 to 300 pounds, and it is believed that the 200-pound and 300-pound Parrott guns were the most formidable rifled guns ever existing at that time. In addition, their strength was significantly higher than that of rifled cannons in Europe.


Parrott 300 pound gun at Fort Chatfield, Morris Island

With the cessation of hostilities, Parrott also stopped the production of weapons. In 1867, he entrusted business management to his brother, and in the spring of 1877 he completely sold his share to him, retired, but continued to do experimental work and even patented several new advanced shells and fuses. After retiring, Parrott remained an active member of the community, serving as first judge of the Putnam County General Court of Justice in New York State: a position which he undoubtedly owed his well-known honesty and insight. He died on December 24, 1877.


The battery of Fort Chatfield (Morris Island), on which the Parrotte gun was mounted, 1864

Parrott’s steel cannons were good construction, but their barrels were laborious to manufacture. Therefore, he decided to simplify it. Now the standard “parrott” was an integral cast-iron barrel, on which a hot bandage in the form of a steel pipe was put on with an interference fit. In this case, the barrel was intensively cooled with cold water, so that the bandage tightly pressed the breech of the gun. Rifling inside the barrel used a variety of, including polygonal. The drawback of Parrott's cannons was that the shell, accelerating in the barrel along spiral cuts, happened to tear off the muzzle from it. This was unpleasant, but still better than if the gun burst in the breech. Many army officials did not like this feature of Parrott guns. Even attempts were made to ban them in the army, but it turned out that due to their cheapness, replacing them with something of equal value would be very difficult. It so happened that the gunners continued to shoot from guns with a detached muzzle, without paying any particular attention to this. Well, except that they tried to grind the jagged part!


Parrotte's 100-pound gun

As already noted, Parrott guns were available from the popular 10-pound caliber to the rare 300-pound caliber. Field 10- and 20-pound guns were used by both armies, both northerners and southerners. The 20-pound gun was the largest field gun used during the war, with its barrel alone weighing more than 1800 pounds. 10-pound guns were available in two calibers: 2,9 inches (74 mm) and 3,0 inches (76 mm). This made it difficult to supply batteries with ammunition, and the Confederates were particularly affected. At the same time, the firing range of both guns practically did not differ and amounted to 2000 yards (1800 m). The projectile also had the same weight - 4,5 kg, but the flight time to the maximum range was slightly different. The calculation of both guns consisted of six people.


Parrotte's 30-pound field gun at Fort Macon State Park

Union naval forces also used the naval versions of Parrott cannons of 20, 30, 60 and 100 pound caliber. A 100-pound naval “Parrot” could reach a range of 6900 yards (6300 meters) with an elevation angle of 25 degrees, and an 80-pound projectile 7810 yards (7,140 m) with an elevation angle of 30 degrees.


Charger box for the Parrotte gun. Loomis Battery Memorial in Coldwater, MI

Parrotte's large-caliber guns (100 pieces or more) were used in the US coastal defense from 1863 to 1900, when they were replaced by more modern models. Along with Rodman's cannons, they were put on alert during the Spanish-American War in 1898, as the US military was afraid that the Spanish fleet would bombard the east coast of the United States.


Washington, 1862-1865, view of the Roger battery equipped with Rodman Columbiads and Parrot cannons

In the summer of 1863, Union forces again attempted to take Fort Sumter, which was bombarded with two 80-pound Whitworth cannons, nine 100-pound parrots, six 200-pound parrots and one 300-pound gun. It was believed that the penetration of a 10-inch shell into the brickwork would be from six to seven feet, that is, the southerners would not be knocked down. However, despite intensive shelling, the fort surrendered only in February 1865.


Photo of a 300 pound Parrott gun with a torn barrel. Morris Island, South Carolina, 1863

At the same time, federal brigadier general Quincy Adams Gillmore used a 300-pound Parrott gun to bombard the city of Charleston from the island of Morris captured by the northerners. From August 22 to 23, 1863, a gun called the “Swamp Angel” fired 36 shots at the city; on the 36th shot, his muzzle was torn off. This episode was even immortalized in poems - a poem by Herman Melville, which was called: "Swamp angel".


Parrott Memorial at Courthouse Square, Frankfort, Clinton, Indiana

After the war, this damaged gun was transported to the city of Trenton, New Jersey, where it is today stored as a monument in Cadualader Park.
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Articles from this series:
Faceted bore gun
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  1. Sergey_G_M
    Sergey_G_M 28 June 2020 05: 21 New
    +2
    It seems that already rifled guns and accuracy should already be good, but there are no sights like that. As I understand it, they shot by eye somewhere towards the enemy.
    1. Kote Pan Kokhanka
      Kote Pan Kokhanka 28 June 2020 06: 07 New
      10
      And the most interesting sometimes hit! The biggest drawback of 20 pounds of Parrott was her weight. After a dozen shots, the gun was buried in such a way that it was banally thrown upon retreat. So the Parrotte guns, in both armies, were a traditional “rolling prize" !!!
    2. Bormanxnumx
      Bormanxnumx 28 June 2020 09: 52 New
      +9
      Sighting "as it is")
      Mushka

      And the pillar, according to the then fashion, could be made in the form of a folding or removable structure.
      Well, the shell in the appendage (far left)
  2. Kote Pan Kokhanka
    Kote Pan Kokhanka 28 June 2020 06: 02 New
    +5
    Vyacheslav Olegovich thanks! Two articles on Sunday, just awesome !!!
    I’ll add from myself. Still, North Americans were distrustful of Parrotte's rifled guns. So in the Navy they tried to equip their famous monitors with smoothbore monsters of Rodian! By the way, unlike the southerners, who did not disdain with rifled artillery.
  3. The leader of the Redskins
    The leader of the Redskins 28 June 2020 07: 40 New
    +6
    Thank you, Vyacheslav Olegovich. I did not know that there were times when the Krupp guns were not considered the best)))
  4. Mountain shooter
    Mountain shooter 28 June 2020 07: 54 New
    +7
    Thanks to the author. That's an amazing design. So to say, transitional ... muzzle-loading - but rifled! It shoots at 2 km - and aiming - by eye. The shells were supposed to be oblong ... with belts. Sorry, the author did not show them. And the charging technology of such guns is not very clear. When firing the barrel warmed up, how did they throw gunpowder there? And then a shell, yes from a muzzle! Brave people were, gunners! wassat
    1. Reviews
      Reviews 28 June 2020 08: 23 New
      +9
      Quote: Mountain Shooter
      , The barrel warmed up when shooting, how did they throw gunpowder there? And then a shell, yes from a muzzle! Brave people were, gunners! wassat

      Apparently, Jules Verne wrote his "Cannon Club" from life. :)
      1. Kote Pan Kokhanka
        Kote Pan Kokhanka 28 June 2020 16: 15 New
        +2
        . Apparently, Jules Verne wrote his "Cannon Club" from life. :)

        Jules Verne described the Columbiad, the closest to the description during the Civil War - Rodmand's smooth-bore, muzzle-loading gun.
    2. kalibr
      28 June 2020 13: 42 New
      +4
      Quote: Mountain Shooter
      The shells were supposed to be oblong ... with belts.

      It will be about shells separately!
    3. Narak-zempo
      Narak-zempo 28 June 2020 14: 50 New
      +8
      Quote: Mountain Shooter
      muzzle-loading - but rifled!

      It was a trend that persisted until the early 1880s, at least in naval artillery. Here, for example, is the loading scheme for guns on Italian battleships of the Duilio type:

      Or here's an animation of the installation of the Armstrong gun in Gibraltar. This is truly a miracle of technology of those years. By the way, pay attention that the barrel channel is washed with a stream of water from a special nozzle after a shot:
      1. Kote Pan Kokhanka
        Kote Pan Kokhanka 28 June 2020 16: 09 New
        +2
        With North Americans, the guns on the monitors were loaded easier, although they were also mostly muzzle-loading and smooth-bore!
        1. Narak-zempo
          Narak-zempo 28 June 2020 16: 58 New
          +1
          Quote: Kote Pan Kokhanka
          although they were also mostly muzzle-loading and smooth-bore

          Smooth-bore, with a relatively short barrel, but rifled here. Just like that, several hundred kilograms of gunpowder with a shell cannot be pushed into a rifled barrel.
        2. Catfish
          Catfish 28 June 2020 17: 38 New
          +3
          Vlad, welcome! hi
          I didn’t find it on the monitors, in Parrot’s 300-pound gun it was charged in the usual way for that time.
          1. Kote Pan Kokhanka
            Kote Pan Kokhanka 28 June 2020 18: 02 New
            +4
            In short!
            The barrel of the gun after the shot rolled back to its extreme rear position. After that, a cap with gunpowder was hammered into a hand, wad and using a tray on a chain rolled up the core. After driving a wad. The gun barrel was rolled out to the front position and fired.
  5. 27091965
    27091965 28 June 2020 12: 16 New
    +8
    Interesting article, thanks.
    Not a big addition, I hope the author will not mind.

    10-pound guns were available in two calibers: 2,9 inches (74 mm) and 3,0 inches (76 mm). This made it difficult to supply batteries with ammunition, and the Confederates were particularly affected.


    The Confederates did not experience big problems with the shells for these guns, since they produced them themselves, the common name for these shells was "Confederate Read" among the northerners, they were called "Union Parrott". They differed in the applied processing method.

    1. Kote Pan Kokhanka
      Kote Pan Kokhanka 28 June 2020 14: 21 New
      +3
      Regarding the "lack of shell hunger for the Parrott guns," I am ready to clarify a little!
      The problem of shells for Parrot’s guns was at the initial and final stage of the Civil War. For example, during the defense of Rind at the time of the counteroffensive, the southerners had only 20 shells per gun for the Trophy 10 pounds Parrotta
      1. 27091965
        27091965 28 June 2020 14: 59 New
        +3
        Quote: Kote Pan Kokhanka
        For example, during the defense of Rind at the time of the counterattack, the southerners had only 20 shells per gun for the Trophy 10 pounds Parrotta.


        Dear Vladislav. All this depends on the intensity of the conduct of hostilities, the preparation of military personnel, the organization of replenishment of the b / c, and of course on the industrial capabilities of the warring parties.
        1. Kote Pan Kokhanka
          Kote Pan Kokhanka 28 June 2020 16: 04 New
          +3
          Southerners just had "bad opportunities." Given how they riveted their armadillos, rifles and guns, alas, they could not boast of industrial superiority over the North. Here we can say one thing: “a ruse for the invention of cunning” !!! By the way, trophies in the Confederate Army miles are of serious importance and a significant share! I forgot the name of the operation of General Lee (At the station in Massachusetts it seems). So the southerners' soldiers seizing the warehouses, the first thing they started to look for boots and brew coffee !!!
          Well, the last. My example refers to the first defense of Rind !!! After all, the capital of the Confederation !!! However, the main metallurgical center and arsenal of southerners !!!
          Yours!
          1. 27091965
            27091965 28 June 2020 19: 02 New
            +2
            Quote: Kote Pan Kokhanka
            Southerners just had “bad opportunities”


            This is not someone who is not trying to refute.


            Quote: Kote Pan Kokhanka
            However, the main metallurgical center and arsenal of southerners !!!


            In this matter, we can turn to the report of the commissaries of the northerners about the amount of ammunition from the surrendered southerners. There were 75 rounds per infantryman and 93 shells per gun. This is taking into account the fact that they (southerners) did not manage to get on time to two trains with ammunition and ammunition that were captured by the northerners' cavalry.

            Respectfully !
            1. Kote Pan Kokhanka
              Kote Pan Kokhanka 28 June 2020 20: 11 New
              +5
              We are talking about Parrott guns. The Confederates did not have a shortage of smooth-bore “Napolionics”. The trophy Parrottes were worse. However, this was also traceable by small arms. For the "smoothbore guns" there were no problems with ammunition, but with various types of rifled rifles and carbines there were constantly. So, despite the casting of shells for trophy Parrottes at the Rinda arsenal, the latter had problems with their supply due to the large number of calibers. In addition, towards the end of the Civil War, Rind fell, so the southerners could only rely on trophies.
              Regards, Vlad!
              1. 27091965
                27091965 28 June 2020 20: 47 New
                +2
                Quote: Kote Pan Kokhanka
                We are talking about Parrott guns.


                Indeed, we have moved away from the topic. But in any case, thanks for the interesting discussion.
                1. Kote Pan Kokhanka
                  Kote Pan Kokhanka 28 June 2020 21: 01 New
                  +4
                  And thank you!
          2. kalibr
            28 June 2020 21: 37 New
            +1
            Quote: Kote Pan Kokhanka
            metallurgical center and arsenal of southerners !!!

            About it will be!
    2. Saxahorse
      Saxahorse 28 June 2020 19: 07 New
      +2
      Quote: 27091965i
      Not a big addition, I hope the author will not mind.

      Unfortunately, the Supplement is not as informative as the author’s article itself. How exactly was the rifle barrel firing realized in Parrot’s guns? I do not see rifling on the projectile. How did they spin the shell?
      1. Mooh
        Mooh 29 June 2020 00: 52 New
        +1
        It’s written directly in the article that the projectile had brass belts invented by Parrot. So with twisting it is all the more less clear, but with charging it is not really.
        1. Saxahorse
          Saxahorse 30 June 2020 00: 36 New
          +1
          Quote: MooH
          It is written directly in the article that the shell had brass belts invented by Parrot.

          Just belts on the projectile is not visible. And do not hammer a shell with a classic belt through the barrel. But here is some kind of skirt in the rear of the projectile, maybe even brass, suggests that Parrot tried to use the Mignet bullet scheme for obturation and twisting. Then the reasons for the frequent ruptures of the trunk are understood.

          Lancaster with his oval-screw thread cannons stepped on the same rake. He also tried to use a lead skirt for obturation. However, it turned out that when fired, this skirt was pulled forward by powder gases and shoved its pieces in front of the projectile, jamming it tightly. Then all the guns of Lancaster tore into the Crimean War when trying to shell Sveaborg for example.
          1. Mooh
            Mooh 30 June 2020 14: 18 New
            +1
            Approximately the same thoughts visited me when looking at the photo of the shell, but the respected author wrote about the belts. It is unlikely that he invented it himself.
            It is hardly possible to hammer a projectile with belts, but you can probably screw it in.
  6. Narak-zempo
    Narak-zempo 28 June 2020 14: 33 New
    +3
    Robert Parker Parrott

    Parrotta, actually.
    For some reason, we have a habit that the name of the friend of Sherlock Holmes is Watson, and Watson and Crick discovered the DNA structure, although we are talking about the same Watson surname.
    More thoroughly necessary.
    1. Nikolaevich I
      Nikolaevich I 28 June 2020 15: 03 New
      +1
      So who, tormenting, someone else's grief? How many of these Watson-Witsons? Do not count! In some cases, settled down in the Russian language-Watson .... in others .... Witson ....!
      1. Narak-zempo
        Narak-zempo 28 June 2020 15: 06 New
        +2
        Quote: Nikolaevich I
        So who, tormenting, someone else's grief? How many of these Watson-Witsons? Do not count! In some cases, settled down in the Russian language-Watson .... in others .... Witson ....!

        And rightly so, what is the difference, Babel or Bebel, is still a Freemason.
        1. Kote Pan Kokhanka
          Kote Pan Kokhanka 28 June 2020 16: 07 New
          +4
          In Russian historiography, it was a rule to write a surname through "a", Parrott.
          1. Nikolaevich I
            Nikolaevich I 28 June 2020 19: 59 New
            +1
            If you delve into the rules of pronunciation of Aglitsky ..., then Aglitsky (A) is not pronounced like Russian (a) or (e) ... here your sound ... is something between (a) and (e) ... although , I hear that it’s closer to (e) .. In some cases, in the Russian language, they’re legalized, pronunciation (a) ... in others, (e) ... and in the third case they say who is what! So they go for a walk in Russian translation literature, one sandwich, one sandwich, sparrow, or sparrow!
            1. Kote Pan Kokhanka
              Kote Pan Kokhanka 28 June 2020 20: 28 New
              +6
              Then why bother Nikolayevich! On the foreign is read not - a computer, but a computer !!!
              To the correct English, this is definitely not for me. According to the questionnaire - I read with a dictionary! But this is a profile !!! To be honest, I still wonder why they did not expel me from my institute in my second year for my “English”! And how I passed the candidate minimum - this is generally a song !!!
              He raised all the books about Sherlock Homs and about the artillery of the Civil War in the USA - Watson and Parrott are everywhere! I think you should not be confused !!!
              This is how to write Hyundai or Hyundai !!! Here you can have time to fix !!!
  7. Narak-zempo
    Narak-zempo 28 June 2020 14: 39 New
    +2
    Under wartime laws, he was exempted from income tax, but ... he paid it and only laughed when asked why he did it.

    Here is a dark man! I did not know that taxes strangled business, preventing Atlanteans from straightening their shoulders.
  8. Reviews
    Reviews 30 June 2020 09: 40 New
    0
    Quote: Kote Pan Kokhanka
    . Apparently, Jules Verne wrote his "Cannon Club" from life. :)

    Jules Verne described the Columbiad, the closest to the description during the Civil War - Rodmand's smooth-bore, muzzle-loading gun.

    What columbiad? I'm talking about the "Cannon Club".
  9. saygon66
    saygon66 30 June 2020 17: 47 New
    0
    - And wasn’t it possible for trunks of later guns to be made using this technology, where successively reinforcing elements were "pulled" onto the main barrel?