Photo Analysis from Morris Island: Another view of Battery Brown and the Burst Parrott

Let me “catch up” this morning with another photo analysis post from the siege lines against Battery Wagner on Morris Island.  Today’s subject is a photo of Battery Brown from the Hagley Museum and Library, Haas & Peale collection:


I’ve marked the location from which the photo was taken as “2H” on the key map of the second parallel. The Hagley caption reads, “Captain Strahan’s 3rd Regiment, two 200 pound Parrotts, one dismounted, 2nd parallel.” Captain Charles G. Strahan of Company I, 3rd Rhode Island Heavy Artillery commanded Battery Brown’s two 8-inch Parrotts during the siege of Battery Wagner.

Earlier I featured this photo when discussing Battery Brown:

That burst Parrott appears in the same location in the wider angle photo featured in this post:


The rammer, accouterments, and coats seen on the sandbag wall also appear in the second photo.


Clearly the two photos were taken the same day as the photographer captured the scene of a burst Parrott within the battery.  And for good comparison, the wider-angle photo offers the view of a similar Parrott being readied for action.


But what we see here are three 8-inch Parrotts.  There’s one mounted and being manhandled. There’s the burst Parrott, and a third, also burst, laying at the back of the battery.


Note the socket on the left for the rear sight.  That socket appears on the other two Parrotts in this photo, confirming this is indeed a third Parrott and not part of the bust gun.  There was a pile of elevating screws inside the burst gun.

The interior wall of Battery Brown used “upright stakes connected by wire.”  Those appear in this photo:


A musket lay across a stack of boxes on the right of the photo. Perhaps one from the infantry supporting the battery; or perhaps from the crew’s personal armament.

The resolution is just not good enough to make out the stencils on the boxes.


On the other side of the battery was a pile of projectiles, waiting for delivery.


Notice the accumulation of sand around these.  One of the problems often reported in the remarks of artillery and ordnance officers was the danger of sand in the gun barrels.  Yet, here are these projectiles laying in the beach sand (and you know how hard that is to clean off).

Although the boxes were a little out of focus, the gun carriage was dialed in.


The lens captured the seams between parts of the carriage, bolt heads, and the nuts used to attach the steps.

The crew of the gun have the handling bar in place on the upper carriage wheel and are moving the gun, either into or out of battery.


A gimlet, or maybe priming wire, sat in the vent while the crew worked.


This was standard practice for the heavier guns.

One of the crew appears to be waiting for his turn in the drill.  The valise on his left hip probably holds primers along with the tools of the gunner.


And behind him is the Lieutenant.


Four button sack coat with shoulderboards fixed, unbent.  The hat, the scruffy facial hair, and the pose – reenactors, there’s a fine impression to model.

One other detail I’d call out in this photograph.  Look at the traversing wheels:


The chalk marks, I think, indicate the training point around the traverse trace where the gun was on azimuth for particular targets.  Again, wonderful details in these wartime photos.

Photo credits: Hagley Museum and Library collection of Haas & Peale photographs, ID Number 71MSS918_012.tif. Library of Congress, reproduction number LC-DIG-cwpb-04740.


One thought on “Photo Analysis from Morris Island: Another view of Battery Brown and the Burst Parrott

  1. Craig,

    Enjoy your blog .Keep up the good work. Hope all your effort/research winds up a detailed book.


    Bob Hubbard

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