Invoicing those Iron 6-pdrs

Earlier I introduced the 6-pdr iron field guns produced by Tredegar.  The guns allude to either knowledge of the “Ordnance Shape” used on Federal artillery… or perhaps at a minimum similar solutions to the problem with cannon durability.  Of the three guns on the Brawner Farm at Manassas, two have legible foundry numbers.  Those are number 1450:

Manassas 083
Muzzle and Measure of Tredegar #1450

And number 1466:

Manassas 8 Feb 156
Muzzle of Tredegar #1466

Notice while #1450 has the muzzle swell, #1466 has a straight muzzle.

According to the foundry’s “Gun Book” (transcribed in Confederate Cannon Foundries by Larry Daniel and Riley Gunter), Tredegar cast #1450 on March 23, 1862.  The foundry poured #1466 on April 2.

Continuing the paper trail, an invoice dated May 12, 1862 references both guns.

Yes… another long Tredegar invoice.  But this does tell a few things about the administrative aspects of Confederate gun purchases.  First off, looking about half the way down, there is the line for #1450.  The gun weighed 900 pounds when delivered on April 28th.

A bit further down is a line indicating delivery of 6-pdr smoothbores numbers 1465, 1466, and 1467 on April 30.

Those three guns weighed 903, 900 and 900 pounds respectively.  Tredegar charged $190 each for the guns, regardless of weight.  Examination of other lines indicates Tredegar charged the same price for 3-inch rifled iron guns, likely of similar patterns.

From casting to delivery, the guns remained under Tredegar’s control between three and four weeks.  Keep in mind this was during April 1862, when some fellow named McClellan was making much noise around Yorktown.  And the invoice was not filed until mid-May when all sorts of activity was going on in front of Richmond.  So this invoice speaks to administrative work done with a “foreclosure” looming in the background.

There’s also the question of the gun patterns.  That #1450 and #1466 cast just over a week apart, but to different exterior forms, indicates the rapid introduction of the new pattern without muzzle swell.  Or perhaps raises the possibility the two patterns were used concurrently for at least a short period.  The deciding vote may be cast by a surviving Tredegar gun on Ruggles Line at Shiloh.

Ruggles bty 376
6-pdr Iron Field Gun at Shiloh

This gun has Tredegar markings and may be 1452 or 1472 depending on how one reads a blurred number.  Either number would conform to both Tredegar foundry records and invoices for 6-pdr iron guns.  The “Gun Book” indicates #1452 was cast the same day as #1450.  So the straight muzzle on this piece may be physical evidence of the mixing of patterns.  Or more conformation that production switched to the straight muzzle at the end of April 1862.

There’s one other thing I’d highlight from this invoice.  Something perhaps more important that the trivial pattern variations, time spent preparing the guns, or the administrative processing of invoices.  Consider the lines at the bottom of the invoice.

Charges on those lines are for “hauling 30 guns, caissons, and battery forges” and “changing position of elevating screws on 2 24 pdr siege carriages.”

Yes, J.R. Anderson & Company billed the government for EVERYTHING.  You know how these defense contractors are!  Fully expect to see a $1,000 hammer thrown in there for good measure….

Published by Craig Swain

"Historical marker hunter" and Civil War enthusiast.

6 thoughts on “Invoicing those Iron 6-pdrs

  1. I’m doing some Civil War research for one of my boys, as my english is better than his. I have bought some books (Ripley and Hazlett as the most important) but I’s like to be able to study the original sources.
    Being danish and living in Denmark it’s not easy and definately expensive to study US sources.
    Do you know if those Tredegar Foundry books and invoices are available online?
    Thanks in advance.

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