Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 15: No 1) >> The Pen as Sword: Simms and the Beginning of the War — Rediscovered Writings from 1861 >> Page 20

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Page 20

Secondary Scholarship | 2007
Transcription It is not our intention to press at this time any of those elements of
defense which we have already so often urged, but merely to call attention to
one of them, thus far not generally considered, but of the last importance
At all the available approaches to our coast batteries have been erected;
but these have been furnished for the most part with guns of comparative
small caliber. If resolutely attacked' by large forces, provided with the
powerful arms which the United States Navy can supply, they must not
improbably succumb. We therefore wish to urge the necessity of remedying
this deficiency as soon as practicable. That it can be done, and efficiently, is
happily no longer a mater of doubt.
It is not germane to the matter in hand to descant on the red-tapism which
discouraged the Messrs. Eason in their earnest wish to re some of our
smooth-bore guns early last winter. Suffice it to say that permission was at
last granted, that the work was soon accomplished, and that the result has
proved more satisfactory than the most sanguine could have anticipated.
'Under the careful and intelligent supervision of our Chief of Ordinance, it
has been demonstrated that the Eason Gun will throw solid shot or shell,
with accuracy, further than any other cannon now in our possession. This
increased range attained without any augmentation of the charge, and with
no perceptible strain on the gun or its carriage.
Without going into injudicious details, we give the following brief table
of experiments, at high elevations, which we have ourselves witnessed:

Wt. of Ball. Ch. Of Pw'r Elev'n Range.
421bs. 5lbs. 20 deg.5530 yards
Eason 50lbs. 6lbs. 20 deg.5450 yards
Gun 501bs. 6lbs. 25degs 6098 yards
501bs. 61bs. 30degs.6297 yards

The Ordinance Manual gives, for a
10-inch Columbiad 241bs. 39degs. 5654

What range may be attained by the use of increased charges had not yet
been ascertained, but it many be mentioned , suggestively, that, at the lower
elevation, it is greater than that of the famous Armstrong gun. The tool
invented by the Messers. Eason, for rifling cannon of any caliber, is the most
simple and effective imaginable. It can be transported easily to any distance,
and the fun may be rifled in situ by a machinist of moderate skill and
The advantages gained by such a piece of ordinance are transparent. At
ranges equal, if not superior, to our largest Columbiads and Dahlgrens,
percussion shells may be used with terrible effect, which it may be handled,
and the facilities for sighting, are recommendations of the highest value.