Monday, August 29, 2016

Fort Daniel Site Offers Window to Gwinnett's Early History-- Part 1

From the July 2, 2016, Gwinnett (Georgia) Daily Post by Curt Yeomans.

The Fort Daniel Foundation's President Jim D'Angelo has ideas for an architectural park at the Fort Daniel site located on Braselton Highway.

It was built by Georgia state military during the War of 1812 as a defensive position on Hog Mountain along what is today Braselton Highway near Buford in 1813.  There was no Gwinnett County back then, but the area was located right across from Indian territory at the time.

Volunteers of the foundation and the Georgia Archaeological Research Society have run the site as an education area since signing a lease with the county to run it.


Friday, August 26, 2016

David C. Chambers (Son of Joseph Chambers)

From Find-A-Grave.

Son of Joseph Gaston Chambers, born November 25, 1780 in Allentown, Pennsylvania.  Died August 8, 1864 in Zanesville, Ohio.  Buried at Greenwood Cemetery, Zanesville.

As a teenager, he was a confidential rider for George Washington during the Whiskey Rebellion.

As a young adult, he moved to Zanesville, Ohio, and began a local newspaper and became Ohio state printer

He was elected to represent Ohio to fill the seat of John C. Wright in the U.S. House of Representatives and served 1821-1823.

From Wikipedia.

David Chambers learned the art of printing from Benjamin Franklin Bache, the grandson of Benjamin Franklin.  He moved to Zanesville in 1810.  During the War of 1812, he was aide-de-camp to Major General Lewis Cass.  Member of the Ohio House of Representatives 1814-1815 and served as Zanesville's mayor.

Chambers was affiliated with the Whig Party.


The Grave of Joseph Gaston Chambers

From Find-A-Grave

Washington County, Pennsylvania.

Born 1756 in Alleghenny County, Pennsylvania.

died May 28, 1829.

Served in the American revolution as a private in the 4th Battalion, Washington County Militia.

Buried in Buffalo Cemetery, Washington County, Pennsylvania.

There was no mention of his inventions in the article.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Joseph Chambers' Diving Suit and Torpedoes

Evidently, repeating weapons weren't the only thing Joseph Chambers was interested in.

In November 1807, he wrote to Thomas Jefferson giving details for his experiments with a primitive type of diving suit and "Torpedoes."

November 17, 1807:  From West Middleton, Pennsylvania.

A proposition for examination by the government of a submarine dress for placing torpedoes and for other purposes during the war.

These torpedoes, however, would be more like mines than the powered torpedoes we know today.


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Letter From Joseph G. Chambers to Thomas Jefferson, 20 May 1801

From Founders Online.

Congratulating Thomas Jefferson on presidency.

Comment:  Joseph Chambers had written to Thomas Jefferson several times in the latter half of 1792 regarding his invention of a repeating firearm where he described the weapon and sought Jefferson's assistance with getting his idea to European governments.

Jefferson did not commit to this and suggested Chambers contact the French minister in America and get a patent for it from the U.S. Congress.

Pushing Product.  Brock-Perry

Monday, August 22, 2016

Letter from Joseph G. Chambers to George Washington, 5 August 1793

From the Founders Online site.

A letter written from Chambers in Philadelphia at the White Horse High Street.  He had handwritten the president earlier "on the subject of an improvement in firearms...."  His repeating guns.  No doubt here he was inquiring as to whether the president had seen his letter.

Joseph Gaston Chambers (1756-1829) lived in West Middleton, in the town of Hopewell, Washington County, Pennsylvania.

He received a patent for "Gunnery, repeating" on 23 March 1813.

He had written to George Washington previously, but that letter was not found.  No further correspondence between the two has been found.  he also wrote a letter to Jefferson.

Friday, August 19, 2016

So, What Was a 24-Pdr. Shifting Grenade Gun?

From the same source.

Also on the USS Constitution, besides the 4 Chambers repeating guns was one 24-pdr. shifting grenade gun.

This apparently was a British weapon captured by the United States.

The gun was a Congreve "shifting grenade."

Sixty-six shifting grenade guns were found on the British brig "Stranger" enroute from England to Kingston, Jamaica where they were to be used in arming two new frigates being built there.  The "Stranger" was captured by privateer "Fox" out of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

A prize crew took it to Salem, Massachusetts, in late September 1814 where they told the U.S. Navy about them.

Not much was known about them, but on February 20, 1815, Captain Stewart and the USS Constitution defeated the HMS Cyane and HMS Levant.  Captain Fox of the Cyane wrote that he saw two of these guns on board the American ship.

Unfortunately, a quick look produced no other information on "shifting grenade" guns.


The Armament of the USS Constitution Had Four Chambers Swivel Guns-- Part 3

On August 10, 1814, Captain Charles Stewart of the USS Constitution became aware of the experiments with the Chambers swivel guns and requested three or four of them.  It is not known if they were delivered.

But later, twenty of Chambers' guns were sent to the newly completed frigate USS Guerriere.  I could find no mention of these guns on this ship.  Wikipedia lists its armament at thirty-two 24-pdrs and twenty 42-pdr. carronades.

It is believed that 114 Chambers swivel guns were made by 1814.  Only two are known to exist today.


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Confederate Privateer Jefferson Davis Wrecked This Day in 1861

This date, the highly successful Confederate privateer during the Civil War, the Jefferson Davis, Captain Louis M. Coxetter, ran aground trying to enter St. Augustine, Florida, after having captured nine Union vessels.

You may wonder what this has to do with the War of 1812?  The August 26, 1861, Charleston Mercury compared its success to that  of the War of 1812 privateer Saucy Jack.

I have written quite a bit about the Saucy Jack in this blog.

So, That's What.  --Brock-Perry

Chambers' Swivel "Machine" Guns

From "Machine Guns: An Illustrated History of Their Impact" by James H. Willbanks.  "Battery Guns"

The invention of the percussion system by Reverend Forsyth in 1807 really had an impact on the development of machine guns.  Time passed and more technological breakthroughs were made and the development of rapid fire guns continued.

One of the earliest ones was the swivel gun developed by Joseph G. Chambers of Pennsylvania.  In 1813 he took out a patent for a system of repeating gunnery.  His gun had seven barrels, each holding 32 balls that used a Roman candle approach.

A burning fuse set off the charges, one after another, delivering an impressive number of shots in a short time.  However, the firing was impossible to stop once it began and it continued until the last shot was fired.

The U.S. government purchased several of his swivel guns and several were used against British forces on the Great Lakes in the War of 1812.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Armament of the USS Constitution Had Four Chambers Repeating Guns-- Part 2

In 1812, Joseph G. Chambers of Philadelphia produced a .75 caliber, seven barrel 7-shot repeating gun.  He received a patent for it in 1813 and that same year Secretary of the Navy Jones ordered ten for testing. Commodore William Bainbridge of the Boston Navy Yard conducted the tests and he considered them successful.

He reported this to Jones who then ordered a quantity of the new technology.  In April 1814, George Harrison of the U.S. Navy Depot in Philadelphia received instructions from Jones to send 15 of them "together with their apparatus" to Isaac Chauncey at Sackets Harbor.

Mr. Chambers and his two sons were hired to go along as instructors and trouble shooters.


The Armament of the USS Constitution Had Four Chambers Repeating Guns-- Part 1

From "USS Constitution: All Sails Up and Flying" by Olof A. Ericson.

A Listing of the armament of the USS Constitution during the War of 1812.

Under the command of Captain Isaac Hull:

Thirty 24-pdr long guns on gun deck
Twenty-four 32-pdr. carronades on spar deck
One 18-pdr. bow chaser
Twelve 3-inch Howitzer swivel guns (4 in each top)

The Constitution's armament remained the same while commanded by Commodore Bainbridge.

When Captain Stewart assumed command on February 20, 1815, it had the same armament as well as four Chambers repeating guns.


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Machine Guns in the War of 1812: Somehing I Don't Understood

I am not sure if each barrel of the swivel gun fired all shots and then it would revolve to the next barrel  Or did it fire like the Gatling Gun with each barrel firing once and then a crank turned to fire the next barrel?

Not Sure.  --Brock-Perry

Machine Guns in the War of 1812-- Part 14: Joseph Chambers' Ten-Shot Repeating Musket

A photo of Chambers' repeating musket accompanied the article as well.  

It has two flintlocks/triggers.

Here is the caption:

Chambers' ten-shot repeating musket operated on the same principle as his swivel gun.

But the final round in the barrel would not have a hole, allowing the user to save a shot.  To fire it, he would have to pull a second trigger, tripping the rear hammer.


Machine Guns in the War of 1812-- Part 13: The Bullets

A photo of one of the rounds accompanied the article.  This is its caption.

The repeating swivel gun's rounds were tightly packed in the barrels.

A tiny hole running through the projectile was filled with a slow-burning powder which allowed the explosion of the first charge to set off the one behind it.


Monday, August 15, 2016

Machine Guns in the War of 1812-- Part 12: War Ends Before Used

Benjamin W. Crowinshield succeeded William Jones as Secretary of the Navy on 16 January 1815.  A little over a month later, Congress ratified the Treaty of Ghent, ending the War of 1812.

That, in turn was followed by the decision to send naval units to the Mediterranean Sea to put down a recurring Algerine pirate problem.  The Barbary Pirates had taken advantage of the U.S. being involved in the war with England to begin attacking American ships again.

One of the ships was known to have had Chambers' machine guns on board, but nothing is recorded saying that it was ever used.

The Chambers repeating weapons had caused a brief thrill, but ended their days being imoperative weapons staffed by people completely unskilled in their use.


Friday, August 12, 2016

Machine Guns in the War of 1812-- Part 11: Never Used in Battle

But Chauncey's repeated attempts to bring his fleet to action with the British were hampered by shortages of equipment, weapons and men.  he was finally able to sail at the end of July.  The British, under Commodore Sir James Yeo had also found reasons to be inactive and the sailing season largely passed without confrontation.

Chauncey, now with the upper hand in the naval ship race on Lake Ontario, alternated his time between watching the British naval base at Kingston, Ontario, and waiting and guarding Sackets Harbor.

The season ended in the first week of November and with it, the naval war on the Great Lakes.

Chambers' marvelous repeating arms had never fired a shot in battle.


Machine Guns in the War of 1812-- Part 10: Arming the Lake Ontario Ships With Chambers' Guns

On June 9th, 1814, Chauncey responded that: "The repeating Swivels and Muskets sent by Mr. Harrison shall receive a fair trial-- I have the highest opinion of their utility and effect upon the Enemy."

His new flagship, the frigate USS Superior, had been launched on May 1st and was then completing its fitting out.

Chauncey sent four each of the swivels to the Superior, frigate Mohawk and corvette General Pike.


Machine Guns in the War of 1812-- Part 9: "A Truly Astonishing and Potent Weapon"

Joseph Chambers finally completed production of the immediate order and forwarded the arms to Sackets Harbor the next month, so that on May 27th, Secretary Jones was able to write to Commodore Chauncey that:  "Mr. Harrison has ... forwarded to you a number of repeating Swivels, Muskets and Pistols, with prepared ammunition and persons acquainted with the art of preparing the ammunition and loading the arms....

"They are a truly astonishing and potent weapon....  Two of those swivels on each Top, to be fired in succession upon the decks of your adversary, would not fail to clear to clear it entirely in five minutes."

High Praise for This New Technology.  --Bock-Perry

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Machine Guns in the War of 1812-- Part 8: A Delay in Shipment

On 20 March, Secretary of the Navy Jones wrote to Joseph Chambers telling him that when the 50 swivels and 200 muskets were ready for shipment to Isaac Chauncey, he intended to appoint Chambers' son a gunner and have him accompany the weapons to Sackets Harbor to train squadron personnel in their loading and firing.  He also added 100 repeating pistols to the order.

Chambers responded on the 26th that he probably would have 30 swivels and 150 muskets ready by 1 May, and perhaps all the pistols.  But Chauncey wrote to Jones again on 30 March asking for "a few of those Seven barrel Swivels and Muskets that are preparing in Philadelphia."

A testy Jones sent a letter to Harrison to have 15 swivels, 50 muskets, and 50 pistols "put up immediately ... and forward [ed] forthwith" to Commodore Chauncey.

A Real Interest in These Machine Guns, But, What Was the Delay?  --Brock-Perry