|Description and Photograph||
The extraordinary Confederate artillery chest shown here is without a doubt the best one of its kind in existence. It was made at Tredegar Iron Works in Richmond, Virginia. Tredegar was the South’s largest iron foundry. It was owned and operated by Confederate General Joseph Reid Anderson.
The Tredegar Iron Works are famous for the cannon they produced for the Confederacy, but they also made carriages, limbers, wagons, implements, harness, ammunition and ammunition chests. The wooden chests mounted on the limbers carried over 500 pounds of ammunition. It was designed to carry up to three artillerymen during times of rapid movement. On the battlefield it would have been placed close behind the battery so that shells could be readily supplied to its piece.
This particular chest was designed to carry 35, 12 pound field howitzer shells and four canister rounds. The indentions of the fuses and outlines of the canister can be easily seen on the interior of the chest. The chest was designed to be spark proof and water proof.
The Tredegar Iron Works marking is virtually perfect, but even without the marking the chest could be readily identified as Confederate by its heart pine construction, heavy iron and zinc covering over the lid. Federals used copper for the same purpose. Notice also, that due to lack of resources, the covering is made of three pieces of zinc, seamed and rolled. Confederate limber chests are extremely rare in their own right, marked ones even more so. I have talked to many people heavily involved in the War Between the States artillery collecting field and believe there to only be one other surviving example of this rare chest and it is in rather poor condition.
This chest was discovered in the mountains of western Virginia being used for storage of canned goods. It is virtually perfect; it has no restoration or touch up at all, and it remains in such extraordinarily excellent condition that it would pass Pelham’s inspection today!
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