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Civil War Trust

Part 1 - Artillery

The Battle for Harmony Mills

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The booming, cracking sounds of a cavalry shootout fill your ears.  Smoke hangs low over the battlefield.

A thunderclap rolls through your chest.  The Napoleon cannon next to you jumps almost a foot into the air and crashes back to the ground, then rolls backwards with smoke curling from the muzzle. 

“The girls are shootin’ nice today, Cap’n!” Bill Styrons flashes you a toothy grin.  His face is streaked with black gunpowder residue and his hair is full of sweat.  You grew up in the same town, went to school together—he’s now your second in command of a two-gun “section” of one Napoleon smoothbore cannon and one Parrott rifled cannon. 

The cavalrymen are holding their own in the field in front of you, though the battle is heating up.  The horses buck and rear as their riders blast away with shotguns, pistols, and carbines.  Some men fight dismounted.  Some hide behind dead horses, ducking and dodging as hooves pound the ground nearby. 

“Cap’n,” Bill shouts, “infantry in the woods!”  He hands you a spyglass, and now you can see them too—enemy foot soldiers deploying for battle in the cedar trees on the far side of the field.  Gunmetal flashes in the sunlight.  There must be at least five hundred of them.  Heading right for your cavalry. 

“We’ve got to put some fire on ‘em, Cap’n!  Which gun should I use?”

Hint: The Parrott gun is rifled—it has spiraling grooves cut into the barrel that spin the shot as it is fired, allowing it to fly farther and straighter.  The Napoleon cannon is an old-fashioned smoothbore gun with no rifling in the barrel, which makes it more suited to short-range combat.

A.    “Put the Parrott into action, Bill.”
B.    “Keep working the Napoleon.”

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