Extremely rare communication detailing "a plan for making a new kind of [Confederate] gun that we will call a packet cannon!"
2 pages, 7 3/8 x 9 1/2, in ink, written by J. Henry Hammond, (12th Georgia Artillery) to Georgia Governor Joseph E. Brown, with a diagram of the gun at the center of page 1.
Camp Jackson, Savannah, [Ga.], Feb. 24th, 1862
To his Excellency
Jos. E. Brown
Below find a plan for making a new kind of gun that we will call a "Packet Cannon." It suggested itself to my mind as the best weapon that can be used against our foe among the mountains of our northern borders. If it meets your approval, let me hear from you. My aims would be satisfied if I had a battery of 20 pieces & 100 men & was allowed to meet the vandals on the north with them. Take the plan for what it is worth. [there is a diagram of the gun at the center of page 1 of the letter].
a= The gun, 36 inches long, 3 inches in diameter at the muzzle with the proper proportion of increase for the first- "reinforce," 1 inch or 1 ¼ inches in caliber, rifled & shooting the minie balls & having 2 good sights, without trunnions; to lay in the trunnion irons- f- f- weighing 150 or 200 pounds.
b= A universal joint- made to adjust the piece & give facility in firing ability.
c= The arms of the gun, like the tripod of a common transit, the front arms about 3 ½ feet & the rear arms 5 feet in length, stout enough to support the piece & stand the firing.
d= A bolt fastened in the rear arms & placed in notches in the gun to brace it- & prevent a rebound in firing. These braces would give the piece sufficient solidity- & prevent its kicking over.
e= The frame of the universal joint of iron, 16 inches long & the pieces at the end of the frame 2 inches high.
f= Trunnion irons, or bed for the gun. Any alteration founded upon judgment & preserving the intention of the weapon would be allowed.
Designed to be manned by 5 gunners- 2 to carry the piece on their shoulders any short distance with speed during the engagement & to perform the flank movements easily & to mask without trouble, 1 to transport to "pads," 1 the powder & rammer & 1 to carry the balls.
Let me hear from [you].
J. Henry Hammond
Written at the right edge of page 1 is: Address- J. Henry Hammond, Savannah, Care of Col. W.F. Wright.
Written at the left edge of page 2 is: J. Henry Hammond, and cross written below that is Plan of Gun, Feby. 25/62.
Light age toning and edge wear. There are 4 small pieces of old tape repairs at the top of page 2. Extremely rare content written to the war governor of Georgia discussing detailed plans for the invention of a new Confederate gun! These types of letters are rarely found.
The author of this letter, J. Henry Hammond, was born in 1836 in South Carolina. By 1860, he was a resident of Newnan, Georgia, in Coweta County, and lists his occupation as a mechanic. At the time of his letter, it appears he was working at Camp Jackson in Savannah, and on May 1, 1862, he enlisted in Company A, 12th Georgia Artillery at Newnan.
Colonel W.F. Wright was a local political figure, also of Newnan, Georgia. It is believed his military title was honorary. In January 1865 he was elected to the Georgia Assembly, and during reconstruction he was a leading figure in the re-building of Newnan.