Guns of the CSS Atlanta: Part 2 – 7 inch Brooke Rifles

Moving up a caliber from yesterday’s post, now let’s look at the bow and stern guns of the CSS Atlanta.  At the time of capture, the Confederate ironclad mounted a 7-inch Single Banded Brooke Rifle in each position.  On the bow was number 1740 from Tredegar:

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7inch Single Banded Brooke – #1740

On the stern was Tredegar number 1652.

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7-inch Single Banded Brooke – Tredegar #1652

Just as with the 6.4-inch Brookes, the 7-inch rifles conformed to the Brooke form.  Tredegar stamped the foundry number on the upper muzzle face.

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Muzzle Face of #1652

The bore received seven groove Brooke style rifling.

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Bore of 7-inch Brooke.

The sight arrangements were the same as for the smaller guns.  Notice the two holes where screws fixed the front sight onto the sight mass.

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Sight Mass of 7-inch Brooke

The trunnions bear the stamp of “P” for proofed along with the initials of the inspector  – Alexander M. DeBree.

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Trunnion markings for #1740

Aside from being larger than the 6.4-inch rifle, the breech and bands have differences to mention. Notice the band fitted around the gun just in front of the start of the breech face, leaving a flat section between the band and the rear sight mass.

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Breech and band profile

Also note the radial lines on the band.  As with all Brookes, these bands are butt welded onto the gun.

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View over the Breech

Markings on the band include “T.F.” for Tredegar Foundry and “15162” for the weight. And that is the weight with the band… more on that in a minute.

After capture, the US Navy added two new sets of marks. First a trophy number stamp. In the case of number 1740, that trophy number is 4.

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Trophy number stamp

The other mark is a bragging inscription on the breech:

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Inscription on the Breech

On the left – “Brooke’s 7in Rifle (Rebel imitation of Parrott) from Rebel Ram Atlanta.”   We can dispute the inaccuracy of that statement, for sure.  And while we are at it, we might even contest that written on the other side – “Captured by US Monitor Weehawken Commodore John Rodgers.”  The USS Nahant was there too, just she didn’t fire a shot.

Now there is a small, perhaps trivial, detail with the Atlanta‘s 7-inch guns.  When first outfitted, she was issued Tredegar numbers 1641 and 1652.  As seen from the photos above, 1652 was captured with the ironclad.  But what of 1641?  Some defect prompted Commander Richard Page, in command of the Savannah naval station, to call for a replacement in May 1863.  As you might guess, the replacement was number 1740.  Correspondence between Richmond and Savannah called out the guns by foundry number. The only question is what the defect was.

A tally sheet from Tredegar indicates the sale of a 7-inch Brooke with foundry number 1740.  Notice the weight recorded – 14,425 pounds.  That is before banding.  Recall from above the total weight was 15,162 pounds.

Page 394a

A 7-inch Brooke Rifle cost $2,308 unbanded, with the cost of rifling and banding at $1,082.50.  That is in Confederate 1863 dollars.

Mr. A.W. Small escorted the 7-inch rifle to Savannah.

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The gun, and escort, arrived in Savannah on May 22.  So number 1740 went onto the CSS Atlanta, with 1641 going to the docks.  Not one to waste a cannon, no matter how defective or old, General P.G.T. Beauregard secured the weapon for use at Charleston.  At the end of the war, number 1641 was among those captured by Federal troops on Sullivan’s Island.  And today that gun is in the West Point trophy collection.

3 thoughts on “Guns of the CSS Atlanta: Part 2 – 7 inch Brooke Rifles

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