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easier than the castings. CC projecting the cover R in advance. The same canister is also adapted to smooth bore guns.
THE CARRIAGES. The following figure represents my field gun mounted on my carriage,
when limbered up and the locking shoe adjusted as, prepared to descend a hill. This cut is a cross section on the line SS of the trail. The stock is made in the form represented, and attached to the under side of the axle by means of the bolts connected with a strong saddle resting on the top of the axle, as shown in the figure. By this
means I am enabled to cununni
give a greater degree of elevation to the piece, and, at the same time, maintain the proper strength in the carriage to sustain the recoil when fired at such high elevation, and the carriages of a battery thus constructed occupy but about two-thirds of the space occupied by the common United States carriage, when packed for transportation on cars or ships. It gives room, also, to fix sponge and rammer, as seen in the figure, on top of the trail, where they are not exposed to being torn off or broken, as if below the trail. The cheeks embrace the upper portion of axle,
and are bolted to the stock or upper end of the trail. They are also connected by a rondelle in front of the axle. The form of the cheeks is peculiar, presenting no salient angles, and so rounded as to each receive a strap extending entirely around it and the axle. By means of a nut arranged as represented, and aided by bolts and corresponding nuts, this strap may be taken up, as the wood which it incloses shrinks, and may be caused to maintain a tight condition upon the checks at all times.
It was at first objected that the trail of my carriage was too low, and liable to come in contact with stumps or obstructions on bad roads; this objection did hold to some extent as against the 12-pounder carriage which I at first offered, but it will be observed, by examining the carriage "limbered up,” that the forward end of the trail is nearest the ground, and at that point it is higher than that of any standard United States field carriage. In addition, I have now:placed the implements on the top of the trail, while in the standard carriage they are below, giving carriage an advantage on that acoount. In this carriage the elevating screw never projects below the trail to strike an obstruction-another advantage.
In gun carriages, as ordinarily constructed, the violent recoil of the gun tends to twist off the fastenings, which are all on the top of the axle, by which the axis is secured. In this construction, there is no such tendency.
The trail is of the usual form, except where it rests upon the ground. The ordinary trail is rounded at this latter point, so as to form a portion of a cylinder, with the axis at right angles to the plane of the trail. form allowed only a small surface of the trail to rest upon the ground, and the pressure thereon at the instant of recoil was so great as to cause it to dig into the ground and partially bury itself therein. While this action diminished the amount of the recoil, and was so far an advantage, it so altered the condition of the ground on which it rested and moved that another shot could not be fired from the same position, without a readjustment of the elevation of the gun, and also of the trail, which would sometimes slip, after the gun was carefully sighted. In this improved carriage I form'a pláne surface under the trail, where it rests upon the ground, which surface is gradually rounded into the inclined surface of the trail, as shown. This plane portion presents so broad a surface to the ground on which it rests as to prevent the trail from digging a hole in the ground, and to avoid the consequent necessity of a frequent change in the position of the carriage, or a corresponding change in the elevation of the gun, relatively to the carriage. This feature is of great importance in carriages constructed to admit of so great an elevation as my improved form, for the strain on the carriage is greatly increased at such elevations, and would be liable to break the carriage, unless it were at liberty to recoil readily. And if the trail was so pressed into the earth as to seriously retard the recoil, the liability of damage to the carriage would be greatly increased.
To the flat surface I affix a flange or keel, as shown by the small cross section. This is a narrow and sharp piece of metal, adapted to cut into the earth and act as a keel to cause the recoil to be in a straight line; if there is an obstruction behind one wheel the shot may be diverted slightly by the slewing of the carriage.
In transporting guns, when descending declivities, it is necessary to lock the wheels. This has heretofore usually been done by locking a wheel, which could be done on one side only, by means of a chain attached to the trail. This method tends to rapidly wear out the tire of one wheel, and requires that the carriage be stopped long enough to lock and again to unlock the wheel, which in rapid movements is sometimes a serious matter, and if a whole column were delayed the evil might be disastrous. I employ a shoe, so peculiarly constructed and attached that it may be dropped in front of either wheel at pleasure, and the wheel caused to run upon it, and to ride down the declivity upon the shoe, and then the latter may be
again released from the wheel with-
the line TT of the trail, and the right figure is a plan view of the shoe and its connection.
The shoe is made to fit the periphery of either of the wheels. To ears on one side a traverse is fixed, as represented, carrying a ring which is free to slide to either end of the shoe, whereby the shoe is adapted for use under either wheel at pleasure, by simply shifting ends. A chain extends from the ring to a traverse hung beneath the trail, as represented in the right hand cross section of the trail above; this chain being of just sufficient length to allow the shoe to pass under the center of the wheel. The traverse under the trail and the one on the shoe allow the chain and shoe to extend to either wheel as desired, as shown.
In the chain I make one of the links longer than the rest, and provide a slip-link and ring, so arranged that by sliding the ring off the end of the chain it will be parted, as is obvious from the drawing. Another chain is attached to the two parts in the manner represented, and is of such length that when the toggle is parted by means of the slip-link, the combined length of the two chains is sufficient to allow the wheel to roll off the shoe, which shoe still remains attached to the carriage by means of the united chains. When the shoe is not in use, the slip-link is fastened by the ring, and the shoe hung upon a hook attached to one of the cheeks. When it is desired to lock one of the wheels for the purpose before indicated, the shoe is taken from the hook and dropped in such a position that one of the wheels will run upon, or rather into it. As soon as the chain becomes tight, the shoe is dragged along thereby, and the wheel rides upon it and ceases to rotate. When it is desired to release the wheel, the ring is slipped off the end of the toggle and the wheel rolls off, to run again upon the ground in the ordinary manner; the shoe, being trailed along freely behind by the chains, may then be taken up and hung again upon the hook; and the slip-link may be again set as before, so that the parts shall be ready for use, without delay, when occasion shall again require.
The condition of the parts, when the ring is slipped off the toggle, is indicated by dotted outlines in figure of the carriage.
In constructing the guns, the trunnions are attached to a band which is shrunk on to the body of the gun, a section of which, showing the seat of steps, is indicated on the drawings of the gun, so that the body of the gun may be hammered uniformly in forging. The elevating serew passes
through the knob of the cascabel, like the screw on the naval boat-howitzer, and in dismounting the gun it is necessary to depress the muzzle until the foot of the screw slides back to the enlargement of the slot, shown on this
plan view of the piece bolted on the top of the trail,
into which the foot of the elevating screw. works, and during which it moves as the gun is elevated or depressed, until the button on the bottom end will rise through the enlargement of the slot. Either gun can be mounted on the same carriage, and can be elevated 350 for any service requiring it. Each gun weighs 725 pounds. The gun and carriage weigh 1,850 pounds, and the recoil is but twenty inches.
By the great elevation that can be attained on the guns, shot can be projected along a high trajectory, falling nearly perpendicularly. With one ounce of powder in the rifled gun with 35o elevation, the range is 800 yards; with two ounces, 1,200 yards. Fuse shells can thus be dropped into otherwise inaccessible places-inside earth-works or forts--or shot can be projected over a mountain with either gun, so elevated, and take effect in a valley beyond. With a full charge of powder at this elevation, a shell can be projected more than four miles, to burn barracks or buildings, bridges, etc., or to annoy an enemy. The range of shell from the smoothbore gun is also considerable, with the great elevation at which, if necessary, it can be used. The guns are no less effective at short range from these modifications.
The slotted and curved piece which supports the elevating screw allows it to be tapped through the cascabel of the gun, so as to prevent the gun from jolting and hammering upon the elevating screw.
THE SIGHTS. The cuts exhibit the sights employed to facilitate the directing of the gun, and may be applied to both forms of the guns. The side figures are a
front view and a cross section of the front sight, and mode of mounting the
The middle figure is a side elevation of a portion of a gun with sights. A is the breech and B the cascabel of the gun., C is the elevating screw, and D is a rear sight, which is mounted in ways E, to be traversed right, and left by turning the screw F. The ways E and their attachments are supported by a rod G, which is adapted to slide vertically through the neck K. H is a piece of metal fixed upon the breech A, at the point represented, and provided with a hole, exactly in line with the hole in the
neck K of the cascabel, so as to allow the vertical rod G, which supports the sight, to slide up and down therein. I is a horizontal slot formed
therein, and J is a wedge provided with a stop j, and a suitable kaob or handle Ji. This wedge is adapted to release or tightly to confine the vertical rod G, according as it is moved from the right to the left; and in case it should, by any accident, be lost or deranged, a piece of tapering metal, or wood of any
kind, may be temporarily inserted to supply its place. This is important, because the usual way of fastening with thumb-screw runs the risk of the thread being stripped, and in such case a thumb-screw is not easily replaced. The vertical rod G is graduated so as to indicate the elevations of sight in seconds and parts of seconds, and thus to indicate the time in seconds which a projectile will fly at that 'elevation, and descend to the line of sight. My graduations are adapted for service charges, and when less or more powder is used, or slower or quicker burning powder is employed, allowance must be made therefor; but with service charges of the proper powder the graduations may be relied upon as giving, very accurately, the elevation required for the rear sight in order to hit the object aimed at, provided the time of the fight of the projectile is determined with accuracy. By this method, the operation of adjusting the sights and the fuses, so as to explode shells at given varying points, is very much simplified. The wedge J and its connections allow the sight to be adjusted very delicately, and to be secured firmly and quickly. For higher elevations than the light rod G admits, wooden sights are supplied, as shown, which are inserted in the elevating screw, which latter is hollow in the line of its axis; the wooden rods being nicely fitted, will be held in their respective positions by friction.
The front sights are denoted by M; they are shielded by a small ring N, ag represented, and are mounted by a very finely threaded screw 0, on a thin ring P. This ring may be applied and removed from the muzzle of the gun by turning the set screw Q, and it may be applied very accurately to the muzzle of the gun, by the use of proper marks on each. This insures that the front sights shall be always correctly in line. The ring P with its attachments may be removed with great facility in case a gun is likely to be lost, and be again quickly applied if the gun is retaken.
THE WHEELS.. The purpose of this portion of my plan has been, to provide for the shrinking of the wood and the stretching of the tire, by changing the position of the parts of the wheel, so as to maintain a firm and rigid wheel under all conditions; and, also, to allow of the easy removal and replacing of all parts of a wheel without delay, and without removing the wheels from the carriage.