VII In. Brooke Rifle - Selma, AL
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member xptwo
N 32° 24.583 W 087° 01.247
16S E 498045 N 3585851
Quick Description: This marker tells the story of the canon ("rifle") displayed in front of Selma City Hall. It was cast at the Confederate Selma Ordnance and Naval Foundry in 1863.
Location: Alabama, United States
Date Posted: 4/28/2013 1:56:02 PM
Waymark Code: WMGZJ5
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Sprinterman
Views: 6

Long Description:
The foundry was located in another part of the town, but this 7 inch Brooke Rifle is displayed in the yard in front of Selma City Hall. It is located on Broad Street (U.S. Highway 80) near the intersection with Dallas Avenue.

The following information about the Foundry comes from the Encyclopedia of Alabama:

"The Selma Ordnance and Naval Foundry, also known as the Selma Naval Foundry and Ironworks and the Selma Arsenal and Gun Works, was a leading manufacturing center for the South during the Civil War. The facility, located on the Alabama River in Dallas County, produced finished war materials for the Confederate armed forces from pig-iron ingots from the state's blast furnaces. At its peak around 1863-64, this manufacturing center employed as many as 10,000 workers in approximately 100 buildings and was second only to the Tredegar Ironworks in Richmond, Virginia, in the production of war materials.

In 1861, Colin J. McRae, a former Mississippi legislator, secured a contract with the Confederate government to cast cannon and erected a foundry at Selma. McRae's foundry joined a large number of private enterprises that were producing items such as shovels, uniforms, swords, and buttons. Selma's manufacturing center received another major addition in 1862, when Gen. Josiah Gorgas, chief of the Confederate Bureau of Ordnance, moved the former Federal Arsenal located at Mt. Vernon near Mobile to Selma. This relocation was necessitated by the fall of New Orleans and the increasing vulnerability of Alabama's coast to Union naval forces. McRae sold the foundry to the government for $450,000 when he left for Europe in 1863 to serve as a Confederate purchasing agent. The government then appointed Commander Catesby ap Roger Jones to supervise the production of cannon for coastal defense and naval bombardment. Under Jones, the Selma foundry became the only site within the Lower South capable of manufacturing the Brooke rifle for the Confederate Navy as well as other large-caliber artillery. The most common pieces produced at Selma were the 6.4-inch Brooke, which was just over 11 feet and weighed more than 10,000 pounds, and the 7-inch, 12-plus foot piece, weighing as much as 15,000 pounds. Selma is also believed to have cast 11 of the 11-inch Brooke smoothbore guns that weighed in excess of 20,000 pounds, but completed and shipped only eight. (Some of these pieces still exist and grace cemeteries, schoolyards, and museums, including one at the National Civil War Museum in Port Columbus, Georgia, which is fired periodically.)

The equipment at Selma included gun lathes and molds situated in a gun foundry, along with machine shops, a puddling furnace, and blacksmith shops. The facility cast its first cannon, a 7-inch Brooke rifle, in July 1863. Generally, a large gun such as a Brooke took six to seven weeks to complete from initial casting, through the cooling process, and then lathing the bore and cutting the barrel grooves to exact dimensions for accommodating the shot or shell. A lathe that is said to have been recovered from Selma sits on the campus of Auburn University next to Samford Hall. Some sources state that the last Brooke was cast in December 1864, although others place the date at March 21, 1865, just before Selma's fall. In all, more than 70 Brooke guns were manufactured at Selma, most of which were shipped to Mobile; others were mounted on naval vessels or employed in coastal defenses."

source: (visit link)

The text of the marker reads:

VII In. Brooke Rifle
# S-5

Cast Aug 24, 1863 in Selma at the Confederate Naval Gun Foundry under direction of Commander Catesby ap R. Jones. Was first gun shipped from the Selma Foundry. Served as stern pivot gun on the Selma-built ironclad ram CSS Tennessee. During the Battle of Mobile Bay the wounding of Admiral Franklin Buchanan and the deaths of both men killed aboard the Tennessee occurred at this gun. This is the only surviving naval gun from the Battle of Mobile Bay located in what was the Confederate States of America.

(Continued on other side)

VII In. Brooke Rifle
# S-5

(Continued from other side)

Designed by Lt. John M. Brooke CSN "to be used against Iron-Clads."
Weight: 15,300 lbs
Length: 12 feet, 3 ½ inches
Range: 7900 yards (4 ½ miles)
Brooke Rifles were reported accurate enough to "hit a barrel at a mile every pop."
Captured by the Federal Navy August 5, 1864 and taken to US Navy Yard in Washington, DC. Returned on loan in 1981 to the Selma-Dallas County Museum of History and Archives from the Naval Historical Center.

Alabama Historical Association
Marker Name: VII In. Brooke Rifle

Marker Type: Urban

Addtional Information::
Commander Catesby ap R. Jones is buried in Live Oak Cemetery in Selma.

Date Dedicated / Placed: 2008

Marker Number: None

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