The Wiard Guns on Morris Island: More field guns on the second parallel

In the earlier post, I pointed out that looking at the details in this photo showing Napoleon guns on the second parallel on Morris Island:

Napoleon_Battery

We see this:

Napoleon_Battery1D

And this (full size so you can pick out the details):

Napoleon_Battery1E

Notice the maneuvering handspike on the lower left. Those details show up on the right hand side of this photo:

Wiard_Battery

Here’s another view of that ammunition chest:

Wiard_Battery1A

The accouterments hanging on the earthworks in front of the wheel:

Wiard_Battery1B

Having established the Wiards position on the second parallel as just to the left of the Napoleons, let’s look at the guns themselves. A great study of the Wiard Guns and their advanced, if non-standard, carriages.

Wiard_Battery1C

For those unfamiliar, the trail of the carriage meets the axle below and not on top as with a standard Army field carriage. The placement of the trunnions on a high, arching cheek allowed for greater elevation – up to 35°. The rear sight hangs from a seat on the back of the breech.

The crew is loading the other gun in the pair. From this angle, we also see the wedges, a feature that counteracted shrinkage of the wooden wheel.

Wiard_Battery1D

The gun crew wears an assortment of hats. According to the photo caption, these fellows were part of Lieutenant Paul Berchmire’s Battery F, 3rd New York Light Artillery. Aside from the hats, there’s a bit of contrast among those men.

Wiard_Battery1E

Some look like they have yet to shave for the first time. Others seem to have avoided razors for years.

However, I’d point out my placement of these two photographs stands at odds with this photograph:

Battery_B_four_12_pound_Howitzers_Lieutenant_Guy_V_Henry_2nd_parallel

The right pair of howitzers seen here occupy positions used by those Wiard guns in the photo above. See, again, the cut from Major Thomas Brooks’ map, focusing on the “How. Battery” in front of Battery Brown:

BatteriesRight2ndParallel

But I think we are looking at the same section of the second parallel, but at different times. Brooks’ journal entry for August 6, 1863 provides a clue:

Made repairs in defensive howitzer battery on the right of second parallel. Two Wiard field guns now in position there have proven very destructive to platforms and embrasures; more so than any field guns which have come under my observation.

Perhaps some of the debris seen in the howitzer battery photo was the result of those “destructive” Wiards.

HowitzerBattery1G

At any rate, if my figuring is correct, when the engineers first established the second parallel, two Napoleons and two Wiards anchored the line on the right. Later the Napoleons went to positions further to the left, as indicated on Brooks’ map. The Wiards likewise moved to the left, with one going on the far side of Battery Kearny. That Wiard gun position had embrasures for firing on both Battery Wagner and Battery Gregg – an arrangement not seen in the Wiard gun photo above.

So three photos. Two taken early in the siege. One taken later. All of the same general area.

Photo credits: Hagley Museum and Library collection of Haas & Peale photographs, ID Number 71MSS918_021.tif, 71MSS918_014.tif, and 71MSS918_020.tif.

(Citation from OR Series I, Volume 28, Part I, Serial 46, page 282.)

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2 responses to “The Wiard Guns on Morris Island: More field guns on the second parallel

  1. Pingback: Does this work? Key for photos on Morris Island | To the Sound of the Guns

  2. Pingback: The Artilleryman Magazine Summer 2013 Issue | To the Sound of the Guns

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