A couple years back when discussing the Regarded Parrott rifles, I mentioned Macon Arsenal as another source for Confederate Parrotts. As I said then, I’ve never seen a “confirmed” Macon 10-pdr. But every visit to Chancellorsville I give one particular gun extra scrutiny hoping it might give away some clues.
Recall Macon Arsenal was among the facilities built by the Confederate government during the war. In that case, the nucleus of the arsenal was a rented shop. Although Macon’s biggest production runs were 12-pdr Napoleons, the cannon foundry produced at least a dozen 10-pdr Parrotts. Of that lot, the registry of surviving guns lists two that are around today. One is in private hands. The other is tentatively identified as the gun pictured above.
The Parrott rifle in question appears a closer match to early Federal 10-pdrs (2.9-inch) than the Tredegar guns. There is a noticeable “step” in front of the trunnions, much like early Federal guns.
Notice the casting seams running dorsally down the gun. As I’ve mentioned before, this is often seen on Confederate guns where the foundry kept machining to a minimum.
The rimbases are squared, as was the fashion with both early Federal and Tredegar Parrotts.
The trunnions themselves are badly weathered.
There’s little hope gathering markings off those trunnion faces. Nor from the breech face.
Damage flattened the underside of the knob. Certainly something to be expected from a century and a half of handling.
The band exhibits lateral lines, suggesting but welding as was done with the Tredegar Parrotts.
However, the band is shorter than those seen on Tredegar Parrotts, by nearly two inches. There’s no bevel at the front of the band. However there is a raised section at the front of the band, which seems to indicate the surface under the band is likewise raised.
The muzzle has a swell, again not unlike Federal Parrotts.
Of course early Tredegar Parrotts had similar muzzle swells.
But what about the muzzle face? Any markings that might suggest the origin of this piece?
I’ve looked this muzzle face over in different lighting conditions, always looking for traces or hints of stamps or markings. The most I’ve ever seen clearly is a “2″ at the top of the muzzle face.
That photo was taken in the early morning light, with the dew providing moisture to highlight the dents, dings, and number.
Notice also the three groove rifling. That rifling extends into the bore but is worn down.
The best I can offer is that “2″ is similar in font and size to that used on Macon 12-pdr Napoleons. For example number 28 at Gettysburg.
Of course, all that might prove is that a couple of foundries used the same type of dies when stamping the guns.
Several factors, particularly the lack of machining, point to a Confederate origin. The “2″ is the only other clue there. Much smaller than those seen on Federal Parrotts. Still, pending a readable marking or some paper trail on the gun, I’ll still say “maybe” from Macon.