Guns of the CSS Atlanta: Part 1 – 6.4 inch Brooke Rifles

Back when this blog was “young” I posted about the CSS Atlanta and her guns at the Washington Navy Yard.  Time to revisit that topic and provide a bit more about the rebel ironclad.

Wash NY 1 Aug 039
The CSS Atlanta’s guns – all in a row

Let me start with a walk around of the 6.4-inch Brooke guns that comprised the ship’s armament.  There are two 6.4-inch Brookes in the set.  These Brookes are singled-banded and match all the standard factors seen on Brooke Rifles. Tredegar foundry number 1610 was the starboard side gun on the CSS Atlanta:

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6.4-inch Brooke – Tredegar #1610

And Tredegar number 1587 was the port side gun:

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6.4-inch Brooke – Tredegar #1587

The foundry numbers appear on the top of the muzzle face (and can faintly be seen on the top of the breeching jaws).

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Muzzle face of 6.4-inch #1610

The rifling pattern shows seven grooves.  In a few places you can still see the ever slight lands of the Brooke-type rifling.

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Bore of 6.4-inch Brooke Rifle

Looking down the muzzle of #1587, two of the three sight arrangements come into view.  There is a hole for a muzzle sight blade.  Further back, over the trunnions, is a block for a sight.

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Front view of #1587

Note also the flared rimbases in the view above.  The trunnions are just over 7 inches long, and just over 7 inches in diameter.  Those dimensions are perhaps the left over vestige of the IX-inch Dahlgren gun pattern used in the earliest Brooke Rifles.  The trunnion marks are “J.R.A. & Co // T.F.” on the right and “1862” on the left.

Looking from the breech, there is another feature alluding to the Dahlgren design – the rear sight base.

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Band and rear sight base of Brooke 6.4-inch Rifle

The band is thirty inches long.  At the base of the band is the weight stamp – 9110 pounds in the case of #1587, 9120 pounds for #1610.

Here’s a better view of the band and breech in profile:

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Breech profile and Band

Notice the angles of the rear sight base and the hemispherical contours of the breech.  The blade type breeching jaws also come from the Dahlgren patterns.

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Breeching jaws and socket for elevating screw

These two guns are the only surviving single-banded 6.4-inch Brookes, from at least eleven produced.  These two guns were cast in June 1862.  In October they were shipped to Savannah.  They were joined by two 7-inch Brooke rifles the following month.  One of those two sits beside the 6.4-inch guns at the Washington Navy Yard’s Willard Park today.

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Four guns from the CSS Atlanta

But wait there are TWO 7-inch Brookes there.  And all four guns came from the CSS Atlanta, right?  Well there were actually three 7-inch Brookes shipped to Savannah for the ironclad.  In my next post on this subject, I’ll sort through the reason that three such guns are associated with that Confederate ironclad, though only two were captured with it.

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