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The Little Things

Subdeacon Joe

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It turns out that artillery companies leave a lot of stuff on the battlefield after an engagement. For most units, commanders report soldiers killed and wounded. In artillery companies they also report their losses of horses. This is logical as artillery horses are the prime movers for an artillery battery. But the artillery even goes beyond that. We get a good idea of the kinds of equipment necessary to keep the artillery running from the reports of two Federal artillery commanders at Antietam.
After detailing the movements of the battery for the month and the losses of men and horses, Stewart continues: “All axle strips of battery more or less broken occasioned by rapid firing and the uneven nature of the ground not having cannoneers sufficient to run the guns to more favorable positions. One limber disabled by cannon shot; 24 horses killed and 12 wounded; Required for use in the battery: 46 horses and 12 water buckets, 2 tar buckets, 1 sponge bucket, 60 blankets 50 curry combs, 50 horse brushes, 3 spare poles, 1 spare wheel and 6 to be exchanged; 6 picks and [illegible] 6 shovels, caisson, 4 hand spikes, trail, 4 sets lead harnesses, artillery, 2 near & 2 off; 15 wheel traces, 24 whips, 6 saddler's awls, and handlers, [illegible] lbs. square and flat iron, 25 head stalls and 4 bridles.”


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Come on guys. Here finished a leisurely breakfast, read the paper and then here comes this thread. Yeah I was an Artillery man but that's a far cry from horse drawn.

Everything on the list makes sense but the tar.

I dunno?

A thought. Maybe they used the tar to waterproof the fuse?

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I thought, during the Big Fuss, the Yankees used friction igniters.



For the most part, for discharging the piece, yes. At sea I believe fuse and linstock were the rule - you didn't want that hot primer tube bouncing around on the lower gun decks.


For exploding shells here were also timed plug fuses, contact fuses, various types of screwed in fuse (e.g. Borman fuse), both time and contact, even combination fuses that utilized a time fuse and a contact fuse in the same fuse body.


The Tables of Fire that were on the inside of the lids of limber chests gave ranges, elevations, and time in flight.





That way the boys at the limber chest (loading table) knew how to cut the fuse for timed fuses - couldn't very well use a contact fuse for the round shells from s smoothbore.

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