Counterfeit Parrotts: Confederate 10-pdr Production (Part 2)

I left yesterday’s post noting some Tredegar 10-pdr Parrots with significant external form variations and different rifling patterns.  We’ve been working up to an example of that type, which is the fourth gun in line when walking to the Henry House from the visitor center at Manassas.

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3-inch Confederate Parrott on Henry Hill

And I would add, for those who pay attention to such, this gun are only tentatively linked with Tredegar.  The trunnions are deeply pitted and no markings are legible.  The only marking that associate it with the Richmond foundry is the number “1701” on the breech band.  That number matches a gun foundry book entry for a 20-pdr Parrott produced in November 1862.  But Tredegar’s book is known for discrepancies.

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Profile of 3-inch Confederate Parrott

The first thing sharp eyed cannon hunters will note is the muzzle.  No other “Parrotts” use this profile.

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Muzzle of Confederate 3-inch Parrott

The breech band, as I’ve discussed at length in an earlier post, conforms to Tredegar practice.

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Band of Confederate 3-in Parrott

But notice that small hole on the upper part of the breech.

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Tapped Hole for Rear Sight Socket

This appears to be a hole for mounting a rear sight socket, much like those seen on Federal 3-inch Parrott rifles.  Reinforcing the identification of the sight socket mount, a tapped hole for a front sight blade is on the right rimbase.

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Right Trunnion of Confederate 3-inch Parrott

The bore of this Parrott shows a different rifling pattern.

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12-groove Rifling of 3-inch Parrott

The twelve grooves of this Parrott turn to the left.  Several unbanded (or “ordnance shape”) iron 3-inch rifles from Tredegar use this same pattern.

Manassas boasts another 3-inch Confederate Parrott, but this one over on the Brawner Farm representing Confederate batteries for the Second Manassas.

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Confederate 3-inch Parrott at Brawner Farm

Years ago, this gun was on Chinn Ridge representing a Federal battery.  But it was moved after the railroad cut tree clearing.

The breech band matches the Tredegar style, but the knob is missing.

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Breech Band of 3-inch Parrott

The muzzle is the same form as the Henry Hill gun.  But notice the tapped hole on the top of the swell for a sight.   Lacking the breech socket or rimbase sights, likely this Parrott used a centerline sight system.

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Muzzle of Confederate 3-inch Parrott

Perhaps the Brawner Farm 3-inch Parrott came from an earlier batch than the Henry Hill gun.

And a look down the bore reveals a worn, but twelve groove rifling pattern….

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Wasps Nest in Confederate Parrott

… and a wasps’ nest!

The pedigree of these Confederate Parrots is harder to establish than those mentioned in the earlier post.  Several Confederate documents carry particulars for both 2.9-inch and 3-inch Parrotts.  And some of those documents precede the Federal switch to the later caliber.  So at least some of the Confederate vendors delivered 3-inch Parrotts before the Federal switch.

The rifling pattern further links these guns to a Confederate origin.  But also calls into question the technical designation of the gun.  With a “Brooke” band and Tredegar pattern rifling, were these guns really “Parrotts”?  Perhaps “3-inch Brooke/Tredegar Banded Rifles”?   However, the designation “3-inch Confederate Parrott” makes the grouping of these examples convenient for cataloging.  With only minor differences, which likely did not significantly affect the gun’s use in the field, there’s no reason to deviate from the established nomenclature.

In closing, I ask readers to take some time when on the next trip to Manassas to examine and consider the Parrott rifles on display there.  These guns have stories to tell.


Aside from on site notes and links provided above, sources consulted for this post were:

Daniel, Larry J., and Riley W. Gunter.  Confederate Cannon Foundries.  Union City, Tennessee: Pioneer Press, 1977

Hazlett, James C., Edwin Olmstead, and M. Hume Parks. Field Artillery Weapons of the Civil War, Revised Edition. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2004.

Olmstead, Edwin, Wayne E. Stark, and Spencer C. Tucker. The Big Guns: Civil War Siege, Seacoast and Naval Cannon. Alexandria Bay, NY: Museum Restoration Service, 1997.

Published by Craig Swain

"Historical marker hunter" and Civil War enthusiast.

2 thoughts on “Counterfeit Parrotts: Confederate 10-pdr Production (Part 2)

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