The 10 pound Parrot

A disciplined battery could come into action and fire in under one minute. At the command “Commence firing,” the gunner order “Load.” The tube (barrel) was sponged to extinguish smoldering embers, and then a round placed in the muzzle and rammed home. The gunner sighted the piece, adjusting for elevation and direction, and then stepped clear of it to observe the effect of fire, and gave the command “Ready.” The powder charge was then punctured, a lanyard attached to a friction primer, and the primer inserted in the tube’s vent. Upon the gunner’s command “Fire,” the lanyard was yanked in a downward jerking motion. Hopefully, the piece fired. The gunner then ordered the piece run back up and the process was repeated until the command “Cease firing” was received.


Battery C’s ordnance consists of a reproduction Model 1863 10-pounder Parrott Field Rifle. The Parrott rifle was patented and cast in 1861 by Robert P. Parrott, superintendent of the West Point Foundry in Cold Spring, New York.  Easily identifiable by the reinforcing wrought iron band around its breech, the Parrot was accurate and inexpensive, making it one of the most common artillery pieces found in the Federal arsenal.

The Model 1863 10-pounder Parrott sported an 890 pound, 78” long, iron tube with a 3.0” diameter rifled bore. With a one pound powder charge, the Model 1863 enjoyed a maximum range of 2,000 yards at 5° elevation. The Model 1863 10-pounder Parrott rifle fired bolt, case, and canister shots. The solid iron bolt shot was employed to knock down structures, such as walls. Case shot, timed with a paper fuse to explode at a certain distance and elevation, spread shrapnel across the field. Canister shot, consisting of approximately 75 one-inch iron balls packed in a sawdust matrix, rendered the piece a massive shotgun, and was employed against advancing infantry and cavalry at close range. However, due to its rifled tube, which set the canister balls into an erratic spiraling motion, the Parrott was not as effective in this capacity as the smooth-bored Napoleon or howitzer.


A good gun crew could clear and load a cannon in under 1 minute.

The 10 pd. Parrot shared the same ammunition size as the 3 inch ordinance rifle.

The bore hole of the 10 pd. Parrot is 2.9 inches.


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The Roberts Handbook of Artillery 1863
This is the official artillery handbook made available online.

Captain Robert Parker Parrott
The gun was invented by Captain Robert Parker Parrott a West Point graduate. He created the first Parrott Rifle (and corresponding projectile) in 1860 and patented it in 1861.

The Artillerist's Manual
This manual is an official military cadets manual compiled into a pdf format. Download at your leisure.