3.67-inch (20-pounder) Confederate Parrott Rifle, No. 1974 - Gettysburg, PA
N 39° 47.984 W 077° 15.355
18S E 306864 N 4407964
Quick Description: There are two Confederate 20-pounder Parrott rifles/cannons which flank the Woolfolk Ashland Artillery tablet, located at the Longstreet Observation Tower. This waymark is for the cannon to the right of the monument.
Location: Pennsylvania, United States
Date Posted: 5/5/2012 12:33:59 AM
Waymark Code: WMEC0T
There are hundreds of cannons at Gettysburg, many of them flanking monuments and markers. Such is the case with this artillery piece. The two 20-pounders and the Woolfolk's Ashland Artillery - CS Battery Marker is southwest of Gettysburg, on the left or east side of West Confederate Avenue if traveling south. Parking is quite convenient, the tablet is located at the parking lot of the Confederate Avenue observation tower. The observation tower is to the immediate left of this tablet. The lot is good for 15 cars. When visiting other monumentation and tablets, avoid parking on anything green or you will be ticketed by the park police. They almost got me. I visited this monument on Saturday, March 10, 2012 at 3:40 PM, just before the clocks were set ahead for the Spring. I was at a 643 foot ASL elevation.
The gun faces due east and the monument faces the west. The carriage, wheels and other tube carrying mechanisms all look well tended to and the tubes have been recently painted, at least as of 2008. They are both shiny and black. I saw 2008 pics on the Historical Marker database and the firing tubes looked very weathered. My usual SOURCE for cannon documentation provided me with the following line of information about this specific cannon Only the 1974 was visible on the outer muzzle.:
Tredegar - FDY #1974 - YR 63 - WT 1862 - GRVS 5RH - Longstreet Tower
Tredegar refers to the Tredegar Foundry or Tredegar Iron Works in Richmond VA and the place where this gun was manufactured. FDY #1974 is the foundry's internal registration number of the gun. I found it to be highly peculiar these guns did not have an Army or Navy registration n umber which leads me to believe these were entirely made by the Confederates separate form the Federal government. Many other rebel guns do have a registration number so I am somewhat confused on this matter. Equally confusing is the lack of an inspector. Every gun I have documented thus far at Gettysburg (as of May 4, 2011) all have inspectors initials listed on the outer muzzle. There is none here. YR 63 is the year of manufacturing and WT 1863 refers to the weight of the cannon or bronze tube which fired projectiles. Each weight of evey firing tube was unique to the weapon, like an individual's fingerprint. GRVS 5RH refers to the number of rifling grooves, right or left hand twist. I surmised this has 5 right-handed spirals or grooves within the front of the firing tube. More information about the specifics of this weapon can be found HERE.
I also found some information at the Historical Marker Database listing for the monument. Usually, there is information about accompanying cannons attached to every marker in their database. Such is the case here: The battery's pair of 20-pdr Parrott rifles were among the heaviest guns in the Confederate artillery park. The gun tubes alone weighed around 1,700 pounds, compared to 1,200 pounds for a 12-pounder Napoleon or 900 pounds for a 3-inch Rifled Cannon. However, the 20-pdr could launch a shell to a range of 4400 yards. This waymark is an example of a Confederate "copy," made by Tredegar Iron Works, of the basic Parrott rifle. Maybe this is why there is no registration number, because it is a knock-off of the real thing.
Tredegar Iron Works, in Richmond Virginia, produced a set of 20-pdr Parrott Rifles. Basically a copy of the Federal type (produced at West Point Foundry, New York), with a bore of 3.67 inches. The Tredegar guns have slightly longer and thicker reinforcing bands (over the breech). It is not recorded if the guns arming the Ashland Artillery were of U.S. or Confederate manufacture. I was unable to discover this information as well.
The nearby tablet describes the actions of McCarthy's Battery for the three days at Gettysburg, July 1-3, 1863.
Army of Northern Virginia
Longstreet's Corps Artillery Reserve
Alexander's Battalion Woolfolk's Battery
The Ashland Virginia Artillery
Two 20 pounder Parrotts and Two Napoleons
July 2 Took position here 4:30 p.m. and opened fire. Joined soon in the advance of the infantry. During remainder of the day occupied position on the crest near Peach Orchard and was actively engaged in firing upon the new line of the Union forces.
July 3 In position near N.E. corner of Spangler's Woods on left of artillery line which occupied the ridge from Peach Orchard to that point. Took part in the cannonade preceding Longstreet's assault followed and supported it. Aided then in repelling sharpshooters and withdrew at midnight.
July 4 In position near here until 4 p.m. Then withdrew to Marsh Creek on Fairfield Road.
Losses heavy but not reported in detail.