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HolidayBuyer's Guide

20-pounder Parrott rifle

4.5-inch siege rifles

Napoleons

8-inch Parrot rifle

200- and 500-pounder rifled guns

Muzzle burst

Federal ordnance

Ordnance and wagon wheels

The 'Dictator'

Battery Rodgers

Union volunteer

Soldier in Union uniform

Soldier in Confederate uniform

Battery Rosecrans

Parrott gun and Rodman gun

Dahlgren gun aboard USS Pawnee

Blakely guns and ammunition

Fort Totten

The 'Lincoln Gun'

The 'Beauregard' gun

Battery of 100-pounder Parrott guns

12-pounder howitzer gun

Light Brooke rifle

From July 1-3, 1863, the Confederate army's advance northward, led by Robert E. Lee, ended in the bloody Battle of Gettysburg in eastern Pennsylvania. Often described as the turning point of the American Civil War, the battle 150 years ago this week resulted in the largest number of casualties in a devastating conflict that all told, in its four-year span, spelled death for 750,000 men in the Union and Confederate forces combined.

The weapons of the time were brutal, and the elementary understanding of medicine and surgical techniques meant that the conditions of the injured frequently deteriorated rapidly.

The 20-pounder Parrott rifle was one of the heaviest field artillery pieces of the American Civil War and a staple of battles. Widely used by both sides, it was highly accurate, cheap to make, and easy to operate.But there was a costly trade-off: the cast-iron Parrotts were prone to bursting and killing and injuring the artillerymen using them.
Caption by / Photo by Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division
The 4.5-inch siege rifles were another effective siege and garrison gun, used widely in Union artillery batteries. Many commanders considered these easy-to-transport guns superior to the 20-pounder Parrott because of their even greater range and accuracy.

Here we see three 4.5-inch siege rifles of the 1st Connecticut Battery at Stafford Heights, on the banks of the Rappahannock River overlooking the town of Fredericksburg, Va. These rifles are pictured in their traveling positions, with implements loaded.
Caption by / Photo by Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division
Here, a soldier guards a row of Napoleon gun-howitzers, one of the most common and deadly field pieces of the American Civil War. Developed under the auspices of Louis Napoleon of France, it first appeared in the American artillery in 1857. The smooth-bore Napoleon fired a 12.3-pound projectile and had a maximum effective range of about 1,600 yards.
Caption by / Photo by Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division
At Battery Hays on Morris Island, S.C., an 8-inch Parrot rifle is seen dismounted from its position.
Caption by / Photo by Haas & Peale
This is Federal Battery No. 1 at Farenhold house, York River, Va., where we see the 200-pounder and 500-pounder rifled guns.
Caption by / Photo by Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division
This 300-pounder Parrot Rifle was damaged by a muzzle burst during firing.
Caption by / Photo by Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division
This photograph shows Federal ordnance and guns at the depot in Broadway Landing, Va., during the siege of Petersburg in 1865.
Caption by / Photo by Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division
Another view of the Federal ordnance stockpiled at the depot in Broadway Landing.
Caption by / Photo by Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division
The "Dictator,", a seige weapon, weighed in at 17,120 lbs., and was made portable for limited field use during the siege of Petersburg, Va., by being mounted on a railroad car.
Caption by / Photo by David Knox/Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division
In the vicinity of Alexandria, Va., Battery Rodgers was erected in 1863, overlooking the Potomac River near Jones Point. A 15-inch Rodman gun is seen on the left, and a 200-pounder Parrott rifle is mounted on the right in this doubled image for a stereoscope viewer.
Caption by / Photo by Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division
An unidentified Union volunteer is seen here in a photographer's studio with his shouldered rifle with fixed bayonet.
Caption by / Photo by Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division
An unidentified soldier in Union uniform poses with three Remington revolvers, two Bowie knives, and a Springfield rifle musket, one of the most reliable infantry weapons of the war.
Caption by / Photo by Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division
An unidentified soldier in Confederate uniform poses with his D-Guard Bowie knife and Colt revolving rifle.
Caption by / Photo by Library of Congress
This photograph shows Battery Rosecrans at Morris Island, S.C., where three 100-pounder Parrot rifles are mounted.
Caption by / Photo by Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division
An 8-inch Parrott gun is seen here in the foreground with a Rodman gun beyond in the Alexandria, Va., Battery Rodgers at Hunting Creek and the Potomac.
Caption by / Photo by Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division
Rear Admiral John A. Dahlgren standing by a Dahlgren gun on deck of USS Pawnee in Charleston Harbor, S.C.
Caption by / Photo by Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division
Blakely guns and ammunition in the arsenal yard in Charleston, S.C.
Caption by / Photo by Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division
Officers of Companies A and B, 3d Massachusetts Heavy Artillery, and crew of a 100-pounder Parrott gun on the iron barbette carriage, which helped to reduce recoil force, at Fort Totten in Washington, D.C.
Caption by / Photo by William Morris Smith, Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division
The "Lincoln Gun," a 15-inch Rodman Columbiad at Fort Monroe, Va. The gun's barrel alone weighed 49,000 pounds. Two types of ammunition were fired from this weapon -- a 450-pound solid shot, and a 330-pound explosive shell carrying a 17-pound bursting charge.
Caption by / Photo by Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division
The "Beauregard" gun, named for General Pierre G.T. Beauregard, is seen here mounted at Fort Pulaski, Ga.
Caption by / Photo by Timothy H. O'Sullivan/ Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division
A battery of 100-pounder Parrott guns inside Fort Putnam at Morris Island, S.C.
Caption by / Photo by Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division
At the Peninsula in Virginia, a 12-pounder howitzer gun is seen after being captured by Butterfield's Brigade near Hanover Court House on May 27, 1862.
Caption by / Photo by Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division
A light Brooke rifle, a 3-inch gun, is seen here in Richmond, Va.
Caption by / Photo by Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division
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