Tag Archives: Petersburg National Battlefield

Advanced notice on Petersburg 150th Schedule

Petersburg National Battlefield posted advanced notice about their schedule of sesquicentennial events this year.  Some of those listed are:

June 14 -15, 2014 – 150th Anniversary: Opening Assaults Weekend.  Living history programs, ranger guided walks, artillery demonstrations and a bus tour all covering the stories of the opening actions of the Siege of Petersburg.

July 30, 2014 – 150th Anniversary: Battle of the Crater.  A commemorative program will take place at the time of the explosion, a keynote address will be given at mid-day, and ranger tours will be provided in the morning and afternoon.

August 1, 2014 – 150th Anniversary: Battle of the Crater – Panel Presentations.

  • Morning Panel Discussion – Gillfield Baptist Church, 209 Perry Street, Petersburg 10 – 12 pm.
  • Afternoon Panel Discussion – St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 10 Union Street, Petersburg 1 – 3 pm

In the morning and afternoon two panel discussions, with three speakers each and a Q&A session, will be held in downtown Petersburg. One will address the battle and the other impacts of the siege on those living in the city.

August 2, 2014 – 150th Anniversary: Battle of the Crater – Living History Program. Living history programs on the battle, the soldiers and their weapons, and field medicine throughout the day. Watch Union & Confederate artillery in action and “meet” Generals Grant & Lee to hear their thoughts on this battle. The Virginia Civil War History mobile will be on hand and family activities will be available.

August 9-10, 2014 – 150th Anniversary: Grant’s Headquarter’s City Point, VA. Ranger programs and living history events will bring to life and explore the role of this village as it was transformed into one of the world’s busiest ports and one of the largest field supply bases of the Civil War.

August 23-24, 2014 – 150th Anniversary: Battles of Weldon Railroad & Reams Station. Rangers and living historians at stops along these two battlefields will provide insight to Gen. Grant’s Fourth Offensive of the siege and the impact it had on the struggle over Petersburg’s fate.

September 27-28, 2014 – 150th Anniversary: Battle of Peeble’s Farm. Rangers and living historians at stops along this battlefield will present tours and demonstrations on the Grant’s Fifth offensive of the siege. Gen. Lee thwarts this effort at great cost to his hold on Petersburg and Richmond.

Look for more details (and maybe some additions) as we proceed into the “campaign” season.  There’s no shortage of topics to consider on the Petersburg Campaign.

More Overland Campaign / Petersburg-Richmond Siege 150th events

The Richmond National Battlefield Park alerts us to “mark the dates” for events covering the Overland Campaign and the Petersburg-Richmond Siege:

In the coming weeks, we will begin posting schedules and details of the park’s 1864 / 2014 programs. In the meantime, we invite you to mark these key dates on your calendar:

  • May 24, 2014: Reverberations – Commemorating the Overland Campaign (in partnership with Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park and Petersburg National Battlefield)
  • May 29-31, 2014: Commemoration of the Battle of Totopotomoy Creek
  • May 31, June 1, June 3, and June 7, 2014: Commemoration of the Battle of Cold Harbor
  • September 27 – 30, 2014: Commemoration of the battles of Fort Harrison and New Market Heights Additional events and dates will be added for programs still in development.

In addition, the park notes the following programs outside the NPS, but related to the campaign (and the later Petersburg-Richmond Campaign):

Bermuda Hundred Campaign 150th Anniversary

  • April 25-27, 2014
  • Chesterfield County
  • Website

North Anna Battlefield Trail Dedication

  • May 24, 2014
  • Hanover County Parks and Recreation
  • Website (more details promised after April 1)

Reenactment of the Battle of New Market Heights / Campaign Before Richmond 1864

  • September 27-28, 2014
  • Henrico County Recreation and Parks
  • Website

Looks like 2014 is picking up to be just like 2013 – a busy year for sesquicentennialists.

Memphis Rifles: 3-inch bronze guns from Quinby & Robinson

In February 1862, Major William Richardson Hunt approved receipt of over $2500 of ordnance from the Memphis firm of Quinby & Robinson.

The third item listed on the receipt records “1 6 pdr 3 in Rifle Gun” received on February 6 at a cost of $687.43.  (Recall the nomenclature used for other Confederate 3-inch rifles incorporated similar references to the base 6-pdr caliber.)  The 3-inch rifle was one of only a handful, perhaps only three, produced by Quinby & Robinson before the fall of Memphis that spring.  Remarkably two of the guns survive today in Petersburg National Battlefield.

One is on display near the visitor center.

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3-inch Q&R Rifle #33 at the Petersburg Visitor Center

The other is located at Colquitt’s Salient opposite Fort Steadman.

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3-inch Q & R Rifle #34 at Colquitt’s Salient

At first glance the gun presents a clean appearance, with minimal moldings confined to the base ring and knob.  The cylindrical rimbases attach directly to the gradually tapering barrel.  Small numbers on top of the breech (#33 on the piece in front of the visitor center and #34 on the gun in the field) should correspond to a foundry numbers. The stamps on the right trunnion indicate the guns are indeed from Quinby & Robinson.

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Right Trunnion of #34

The year stamped on the left trunnion of each piece, 1862, puts the guns  are in the range corresponding to the receipt shown above.

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Left Trunnion of #34

The thickness of metal at the muzzle suggests the original casting pattern was intended for a larger caliber weapon.

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Muzzle face of #34

The bore features twelve left-handed twist lands and grooves.  Remarkably, neither gun exhibits significant wear of the rifling.

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Bore of #34

The bore measures out at the prescribed 3-inches.

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Bore measure of #33

The breech profile incorporated a base ring, rounded breech face, and a rounded knob with rather thick fillet connecting to the breech.

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Breech profile of #34

The gun sight mounts are no longer attached.  But the fittings indicate the use of a standard hausse seat in the rear and a spike front sight above the muzzle.

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Muzzle of #33

Of the pair, #33 definitely has more “character.”

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Scar on #33

The divot under the lower left of the barrel looks like a battle scar.  But it could also be the result of mishandling.  But it sounds so much more exciting to say some Yankee solid shot ricocheted off the barrel in the heat of some artillery duel.  The damage deformed the interior of the gun and actually warped the bore.

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Bore of #33

Needless to say, #33 won’t be firing any more rounds.

Up until the recent refurbishment of the Petersburg artillery display, #33 sat on the rails between a James Type 2 14-pdr rifle and a Wiard 2.6-inch rifle, allowing for convenient comparison.

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Three field rifles in the old artillery display. #33 in the middle.

The Confederate rifle measures 61 inches long, compared to 74 inches for the James rifle and 52.5 inches for the Wiard.

The external appearance of these two Quinby & Robinson rifles, even if breaking with established patterns, is not unique.  Another pair of 3-inch rifles at Petersburg, produced by A.B. Reading and Brother, from Vicksburg, Mississippi.  I will examine them next.