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Title: The Details of the Rocket System
Author: Congreve, William
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS THE PRINCE REGENT, to whose gracious patronage
the Rocket System owes its existence, having been pleased to command
the formation of a Rocket Corps, on the 1st of January, 1814, by
augmentation to the Regiment of Artillery, as proposed by his Lordship,
the EARL OF MULGRAVE, Master General of the Ordnance; I have thought
it my duty to draw up the following details of the System, for the
Instruction of the Officers of the Corps, for the information of the
General Officers of the British Army, and that of such departments as
it is important for the good of the service, to make acquainted with
the principles of this new branch of our naval and military means of
offence and defence.

I have, indeed, conceived it the more incumbent upon me to prepare such
a document for the use of the Rocket Corps, with as much expedition
as possible, that nothing might be wanting on my part towards its
completion, having been induced to decline the offer graciously
made me of commanding it, with rank in the Regiment of Artillery; a
decision, in which I trust I have sufficiently proved myself to have
been actuated by the most sincere desire of manifesting my attachment
to that Regiment; as, however flattering the offer, it was sufficient
gratification to me to have brought my labours to a consummation,
which enabled me to leave the undivided benefit of this new Corps in
their possession: and to have succeeded in putting into their hands a
weapon, which it is my greatest pride to have already seen adding to
their laurels, in the Plains of Leipsic, and on the Banks of the Adour;
a weapon, which has so early given them pledges of future and greater
successes, and which I hope the following pages will evince to have
already been brought to a state of organization and perfection, at
least commensurate with its age. I will hope, also, that the further
progress and extension of the powers of the Rocket System will be such
as not to discredit the discernment of the enlightened Prince, who
first patronized it, or that of his Lordship, the Master General, by
whose protection it is now placed on a permanent establishment. It
is almost needless to add, that this volume is intended only for the
use and instruction of such as it may concern, and not in any way for

                    WILLIAM CONGREVE.



  General Instructions.

  Formation of a Rocket Troop.

  PLATE 1.-- The Equipment of a Rocket Trooper.

  PLATE 2.-- The Equipment of a Rocket Ammunition Horse.

  PLATE 3.-- Fig. 1.--A Sub-division of Rocket Cavalry, in Line of
             Fig. 2.--A Sub-division of Rocket Cavalry, in Action.

  PLATE 4.-- Fig. 1.--Rocket Cars, in Line of March.
             Fig. 2.--Rocket Cars, in Action.

  PLATE 5.-- Fig. 1.--Rocket Infantry, in Line of March.
             Fig. 2.--Rocket Infantry, in Action.

  PLATE 6.-- Fig. 1.--The Conveyance of the Apparatus and Rocket
                        Ammunition for Bombardment.
             Fig. 2.--The Firing of Rockets, in Bombardment.

  PLATE 7.-- Fig. 1, and 2.--The Projecting of Rockets from different
                        Descriptions of Earth Works, in Bombardment.

  PLATE 8.-- Fig. 1.--A Rocket Ambuscade.
             Fig. 2.--The Use of Rockets for the Defence of a Post.

  PLATE 9.-- Fig. 1.--The Use of Rockets, in the Attack of a Fortress.
             Fig. 2.--The Use of Rockets, in the Defense of a Fortress.

  PLATE 10.--Fig. 1.--A Repulse of Cavalry by Infantry, with Rockets.
             Fig. 2.--Preparation for storming, by Means of Rockets.

  PLATE 11.--The Throwing of Rockets from Men of War’s Boats.

  PLATE 12.--Fig. 1.--The Use of Rockets in Fire Ships.
             Fig. 2, 3, and 4.--The Equipment of a Rocket Ship, with
                      Scuttles for throwing Rockets from her Broadside.

  PLATE 13.--The different Natures of Rocket Ammunition, and the
                      Implements used for fixing the Sticks.

  CONCLUSION--containing Calculations, proving the great comparative
                      Economy of the Rocket System in all its Branches.

GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS for the Use of ROCKETS, both in the FIELD and in
BOMBARDMENT, shewing the Spirit of the System, and its comparative
Powers and Facilities.

It must be laid down as a maxim, that “the very essence and spirit
of the Rocket System is the facility of firing a great number of
rounds in a short time, or even instantaneously, with small means,”
arising from this circumstance, that the Rocket is a species of fixed
ammunition which does not require ordnance to project it; and which,
where apparatus is required, admits of that apparatus being of the most
simple and portable kind.

An officer, therefore, having the use of this weapon under his
direction, must ever bear this maxim in mind--and his first
consideration must be--to make his discharges against the enemy in as
powerful vollies as he possibly can.

Thus--if the defence of a post be entrusted to him, and the ground be
at all favourable, he will, independent of the regular apparatus he
may have at his disposal, prepare what may be called Rocket Batteries,
consisting of as many embrasures as his ground will admit; these
embrasures being formed by turning up the sod, so as to give channels
of direction four or five feet long, and three feet apart: by which a
great number of Rockets in a volley may evidently be arranged to defend
any assailable point. In these embrasures, if liable to surprise, the
Rockets may be placed in readiness the vents _not_ uncovered; though
generally speaking, this is not necessary, as so short a time is
required to place them--here and there one, only being in its embrasure.

In battle also, where there is not, of course, time to prepare the
ground as above stated, but where it is tolerably level, he may, in
addition to the apparatus he possesses, add to his fire by discharging,
from the intervals of his frames or cars, Rockets merely laid on the
ground in the direction required: and, if an enemy be advancing upon
him, there is, in fact, no limit to the volley he may be prepared thus
to give, when at a proper distance, but the quantity of ammunition he
possesses, the extension of his own ground, and the importance of the
object to be fired at. Under these limits, he may chuse his volley from
50 to 500--a fire which, if judiciously laid in, must nearly annihilate
his enemy: for this purpose trains are provided. This practice also
requires the exposure of only one or two men, who are to fire the
volley, as the remainder, with the ammunition, may be under cover.
And here it should be remarked, that the length of ranges, and the
height of the curve of the recochét, in this mode of firing, depend
on the length of the stick--the stick of the full length giving the
longest range, but rising the highest from the ground; the reduced
stick giving a shorter range, but keeping closer to the ground. From
this application, therefore, where practicable, by carrying a certain
number of the 12-pounder pouches in the ammunition waggon, an officer,
even with a dismounted brigade, may always manœuvre and detach parties
to get upon the flanks of any approaching or fixed column, square, or
battalion, while he himself remains with the heavier ammunition and
cars in front.

This mode of firing from the ground of course applies only for moderate
distances; the limits of which, with the smaller natures of Rockets,
may be considered from 800 to 1,000 yards, and for the larger from
1,000 to 1,200; where therefore greater ranges are required, the
apparatus must be resorted to. And here it is proper to remark, that
in the use of the Rocket, at least in the present state of the system,
no certain increase of range can be depended upon by increasing the
elevations from the ground-ranges up to 15°, for the smaller Rockets;
and 20 to 25° for the larger; for in the intermediate angles, the
Rocket is apt to drop in going off, and graze near the frame; but at
the above angles it will always proceed in a single curve to very
greatly increased ranges from 1,500 to 2,000 yards.

In bombardment, as well as in the field, the quantity of instantaneous
fire is equally important, and the greater number of Rockets that can
be thrown, not only increase the number of fires, but, by distracting
the enemy’s attention, prevent their extinction. To this end,
therefore, an officer should always employ as many bombarding frames as
possible; and here again he will find, that in bombardment, as well as
in the field, the weapon affords him the means of extending his fire
beyond the compass of his apparatus.

Thus, he may form a Rocket Battery of any common epaulement, parallel
to the face of the town to be bombarded, by digging a trench in the
rear of it to admit the stick, so as to lay the Rocket and stick
against the slope of the epaulement, that slope being brought to the
desired elevation for projecting the Rocket, or by boring holes to
receive the stick; or he may construct a slope expressly as a Rocket
Battery; and as, in firing these vollies, his Rockets need not be
more than three feet apart, it follows, that from an epaulement or
battery of this description, fifty yards in length, he may keep up this
bombardment by a discharge of fifty Rockets in a volley, and repeat
these vollies every five minutes if desirable; a rate of firing which
must inevitably baffle all attempts of the most active and numerous
enemy to prevent its effect.

It is obvious, therefore, that in any comparison made of the powers
of the Rocket with those of common artillery, whether an officer be
called on merely to demonstrate its powers, or to carry it actually
against an enemy, the foregoing maxim must be his rule; in fact, every
thing should be demonstrated according to the spirit of its use; a
single Rocket is not to be compared with a single gun shot, by firing
it at a target. But the consideration is, whether for general service,
the power of quantity in the fire of Rockets does not _at least_
counterbalance the greater accuracy of the gun? and for this purpose
the spirit of the demonstration of the Rocket system is to shew how
few men are required to produce the most powerful vollies with this
arm. No demonstration should be made with less than twenty rounds in a
volley; to maintain which, in any fixed position, at the rate of two or
even three vollies a minute, twenty men may be said to be sufficient,
and this with Rockets projecting cohorn, or 5½-inch howitzer shells,
or even 18 and 24-pounder solid shot. The first point of comparison,
therefore, is--How many rounds of _such_ ammunition in the minute could
twenty men project by the ordinary means of artillery?--or how many in
a volley, even if they had all the means at hand?--And the next point
is--what are the comparative facilities in bringing these different
means into action, where the one system requires only the transport of
the ammunition--the other, not only that of the ammunition, but of the
most massive ordnance, without which it is entirely useless?

But independent of this comparison as to quantity, there are others
in which the Rocket has advantages exclusively its own: there are
situations where artillery cannot by any means be brought into action,
while there is no situation, no nature of ground, which is passable
to an infantry soldier with his musket in his hand, that is not
equally to be passed by the Rocketteer with _his_ arm and ammunition.
For the accomplishment of any particular service, he may dispense
entirely with wheel carriages or even horses; there is nothing which
the men themselves cannot transport and bring into action; and if any
bombardment were required by a _coup de main_, 1,000 men would not
only convey 1,000 rounds of the heaviest Carcass Rockets, a number
sufficient to destroy any place within the compass of their range, but
would perform that service in a few hours, having neither batteries or
platforms to erect, nor mortars to convey.

Such are the true principles of this new system of artillery, for
(projecting the same ammunition) so it may be called, and the greater
the scale of equipment, the greater in proportion will its powers
appear; thus, if an establishment were formed on the strength of a
cavalry regiment, if 600 mounted men were equipped on the principles of
the present detachment, they would take into action, without ammunition
horses or wheel carriages, 2,400 rounds of ammunition, and 200 abouches
a féu; and if 100 ammunition horses were attached to this corps, it
would further possess a reserve of nearly 2,000 rounds more: the whole
capable of every movement and service practicable by any other regiment
of heavy cavalry; and the same proportionate power would be found to
attach to every other mode of equipment.

In addition to this view of the powers of the weapon, it is important
to state, that the detail of the service is most extraordinarily
simple; that there are but a few points to be attended to in its
application; and those such as may be most easily acquired; the
principal ones are, that care must be taken to fix the sticks very
firmly to the Rocket, and in the true direction of the axis of the
Rocket, to prevent aberration of flight.

That, at high angles, the frame must always be elevated for the large
Rockets from 5° to 10° more than the elevation at which the Rocket is
intended to be projected, and in the small Rockets from 2½° to 5°; for,
as the Rocket leaves the frame before it has obtained its full force,
it drops a certain number of degrees in proportion to its weight at
going off. Thus the longest ranges of the 32-pounder Carcass Rockets
are obtained at about 55°, or rather more, if the Rockets have been
long made. An officer, however, being prepared for this circumstance,
will soon discover the maximum range of the Rockets he may have to

Some allowance in elevation also must be made for the direction of the
wind: if it is powerful, and blows in a contrary direction to that in
which the Rocket is projected, the frame requires _more_ elevation;
for the wind acting more on the stick than the body of the Rocket,
depresses the elevation in its rising. If, on the contrary, it blows
in the direction of the Rocket’s flight, _less_ elevation is required;
for, in this case, the Rocket mounts by the wind’s action on the
stick. So, from the same cause, if the wind be strong, and across
the range, though no difference of elevation is necessary, still an
allowance must be made to leeward; for the Rocket, contrary to the
course of ordinary projectiles, has a tendency to draw to windward: a
few rounds, however, in all these cases, will immediately point out to
the observant officer what is the required allowance. These remarks
refer only to high angles; for no effect whatever is produced by the
wind in the ground-ranges: in these the only caution necessary to be
attended to is, to chuse the most smooth and level spot for the first
100 yards in front of the point from which it is intended to discharge
these Rockets, as they generally travel in contact with the surface for
this distance, not having acquired their full force, and are therefore
more liable to deflection; but having at this point acquired a velocity
not much less than the mean velocity of a cannon ball, they are not to
be more easily deflected: at this distance also they rise a few feet
from the ground, so as to clear any ordinary obstacles that may occur;
insomuch that, if it were desired to fire Rockets at low angles into a
besieged town, from the third parallel, these Rockets, having a clear
space to acquire their velocity, in front of the parallel, would run up
the glacis, clear the ditch, and skim over the parapet into the town;
and would no doubt be of great use in a variety of cases, particularly
in discomfiting and rendering the enemy unsteady, by pouring in
vollies of some hundreds or even thousands on this principle, previous
to an assault or escalade: indeed, knowing the effect, I do not
hesitate to affirm that this manœuvre, practised _on the great scale_,
would infallibly dislodge any enemy posted for the protection of a

Sufficient has, I conceive, now been stated, to give the officer such a
general view of the power and spirit of the weapon, as may enable him
to apply it in all possible cases to the best advantage; and if he will
but constantly bear in view that maxim which I have laid down as the
fundamental principle of this system, I will confidently pledge myself
that it will never disappoint him, either as to the physical or _moral_
effect which he may calculate on producing upon his enemy; since, he
must recollect, that for this latter effect, it adds all the terrors of
_visibility_ to every species of that destructive ammunition introduced
by the use of gunpowder, but by every one admitted hitherto to have
been qualified, as to moral effect, by its _invisibility_.

_25th October, 1813._

                    W. CONGREVE.

_Note._--All the cases of service referred to in the above
instructions, will be found particularly detailed in the following


A Troop is proposed to consist of three divisions.

Each division to be divided into two sub-divisions.

Each sub-division to consist of five sections of three men each, and
two drivers leading four ammunition horses, each mounted man carrying
into action four rounds of 12-pounder Rocket ammunition, and each
ammunition horse eighteen rounds; thus:

Each section carries 12 rounds of ammunition into action, and one
bouche a feù, and, consequently, each sub-division will have five
bouches a feù, and 140 rounds of ammunition: so that the whole troop,
consisting of six of those sub-divisions, will amount to 102 mounted
men, and 24 ammunition horses, and will take into action, without any
wheel carriage, 30 bouches a feù, and 840 rounds of ammunition.

It is, however, further proposed to attach to each division two Rocket
cars, one heavy and one light, the first carrying four men with 40
rounds of 24-pounder Rockets, armed with cohorn shells, the latter
carrying two men, and 60 rounds of 12-pounder ammunition. Each of these
cars is capable of discharging two Rockets in a volley.

It is proposed, also, to attach to each sub-division a curricle
ammunition cart, or tumbril, for two horses, to carry, in line of
march, three rounds out of four of each mounted man’s Rockets, to
ease the horse: and, in action, when every man carries his full
complement of ammunition on horseback, these cars may contain a reserve
of 60 rounds more for each sub-division, making the whole amount of
ammunition, for each sub-division, 200 rounds. With this addition,
therefore, the whole strength of the Rocket troop will stand thus:

  Officers                                             5
  Non-commissioned Officers                           15
  Troopers                                            90
  Drivers                                             60
  Artificers                                           8
  Cars, heavy                                          3
  Cars, light                                          3
  Curricle ammunition carts, or tumbrils               6
  Bouches a feù                                       42
  Ammunition, heavy shell                            260
  Ammunition, light shell, or case shot             1200

       Making a total of
  Ammunition of all sorts                           1460 rounds.
  Battery of                                          42 bouches a feù.
  Cars, tumbrils, and forge cart                      13
  Officers, staff artificers, troopers, and drivers  172
  Troop, ammunition, and draft horses                164

The number of sections in a sub-division may vary according to the
actual effective strength of the troop at any time; so that the
distribution may be accommodated to the numbers, without departing from
this principle of constitution. The number of men and horses above
stated is precisely the same as that of a troop of horse artillery.

The reserve of ammunition is supposed to proceed with the park.


Plate 1st represents the mode of equipment for carrying Rockets on
horseback, as it was arranged during the course of experiments, which
were carried on, under my direction, at Bagshot, in 1811; as it was
subsequently carried into actual service, under Captain BOGUE, with the
Allied armies in Germany, in the ever memorable campaign of 1813; and
as it is at present proposed to equip the new corps of Rocket Horse
Artillery, established on the 1st of January, 1814, by Earl MULGRAVE,
Master General of the Ordnance, and composed of two troops, under the
command of Lieutenant Colonel FISHER, of the Royal Artillery.

The right hand figure represents a trooper completely armed and
equipped, in review order. The left hand figure is a delineation of
the same, with the shabracque removed, to shew the holsters in which
the Rockets are conveyed. These holsters each contain two 12-pounder
Rockets, each Rocket armed with a 6-pounder shell, or case shot; they
are connected together at top, and are supported by the pummel of the
saddle, which is made in the hussar fashion, though the saddle itself
is, in fact, formed and stuffed the same as a common English saddle.
This projection in front keeps the holsters clear of the horse’s
withers and shoulders, which, from their size, it might otherwise be
difficult to do; for the latter of these purposes, also, the flap
of the saddle comes further forward than usual. The holsters, thus
connected, slip on and off from the pummel with great facility, which
is an object of importance, as a part of the service of the Rocket
trooper is, when from some impassable obstacle, he can no longer
advance on horseback, to dismount and pass over such obstacle, with
his ammunition holsters and chamber, on foot. The sticks, which are
seven feet in length, and four in number, answering to the number of
Rockets, are collected in a bundle by means of a strap with four loops,
contrived on purpose, and are carried on the off-side, the thicker ends
being supported in a bucket, suspended from the flap of the saddle,
the strap above mentioned, as confining them together in the middle,
leading across the man’s thigh to the peak of the saddle; by this means
they fall naturally under his right arm, without at all incommoding
him, either in mounting or dismounting, or even in going through the
sword exercise. By this arrangement also, they are easily drawn from
the bundle downwards, for fixing to the Rocket, leaving any number that
may remain as securely fixed as when the whole are in the quiver.

It has already been stated, that the men are told off in sections of
threes. They are accordingly numbered 1, 2, and 3. Now numbers 1 and
3 have nothing to carry but their proportion of the ammunition, viz.
four Rockets and four sticks each, while No. 2 has in addition to
carry the chamber from which the Rockets of his section are discharged.
This chamber is a small iron plate trough, about one foot six inches
in length, capable of being fixed steadily in the ground by four iron
points at the bottom of it, so that the Rockets may be discharged
parallel to the surface and close to it. The weight of this chamber, or
bouche a feù, is about six lbs. and it is carried in a small leather
case, shewn in both these figures, just at the back of the valise.

The men are armed with a sabre, which is in action suspended to the
saddle, that they may not be incumbered in mounting and dismounting.
Each man has besides a pistol in his cross belt, and a spear head in
his holster, which may be occasionally fixed at the end of one of the
Rocket sticks, so as to give the further aid of a very formidable
lance. Instead of carrying slow match, which would be dangerous as
well as inconvenient, the portfire is lighted in action by a flash of
powder obtained from a pistol lock and pan, mounted on a small stock;
and a light portfire stick for discharging the Rocket, about three feet
in length, is constructed of a thin iron tube, which shuts up, and is
carried in the holster. The sticks are fastened in the loops on the
Rocket case, either by the gripe of a pair of pincers with points in
them, or by the stroke of a small hammer with a point in the head, or
by some equally simple tool. Every part of this equipment, except the
sticks, is so completely concealed by the shabracque, that the Rocket
trooper has the appearance merely of a lancer.

The weight of ammunition carried by the troop horse, with the full
complement going into action, is three stone six lbs.; to which the
horse is fully equal for any ordinary operation. But in long marches,
it would be not only useless but improvident to burthen him to this
extent; small tumbrils, therefore, are provided to convey three rounds
of each man’s Rockets, he still carrying one round on the near side,
and the four sticks on the off side to balance, which leaves the
horse, in travelling, only one stone four lbs. weight of ammunition to
carry; a burthen of two stone less on line of march, than that of the
heavy dragoon’s or artillery-man’s horse; allowing for the difference
of the weight of the men requisite for the respective services. The
Rocket trooper has no heavy weights to lift--no guns to spunge, or to
limber up and unlimber. He is required merely to be light and active
for mounting and dismounting, and for moving nimbly on foot with a
single Rocket, when in action: so that, whereas an artillery man cannot
average less than 13 stone, the Rocket trooper need not exceed 10
stone, a difference amounting within a few pounds to the whole weight
of ammunition carried by the men, even in action. It is needless to
add that this difference in the men must also give great facility in
recruiting for a Rocket corps.

[Illustration: _Plate 1_]


Plate 2 represents the mode of equipping the Ammunition Horses.

The left hand figure shews that the whole of the ammunition, &c. may be
completely covered and protected from the weather by a painted canvass;
and the other has this cover off, to shew the particular distribution
of the load, which consists of eighteen Rockets and Rocket sticks, and
a proportion of small stores, such as portfires, slow match, &c.

This load is carried on a bat saddle, made as small and as light
as possible, with a pad at the back part of it, extending towards
the crupper. The saddle is furnished on the top with two iron forks
to receive a leather case, in which the sticks are carried in half
lengths, of three feet six inches each, a length from which no
inconvenience arises; being contrived so that the two parts may be
united, to form the stick complete in a moment, by means of a ferule
fixed to one end and receiving the other; in which situation they are
firmly fixed and connected, either by a pair of pointed pincers, by a
hammer with a point in the head, or by a wrench. When these sticks are
taken from the Ammunition Horse, to replenish the stock of the mounted
men, they are to be joined at that time by the simple, secure, and
momentary operation just mentioned.

The Rockets are carried in a sort of saddle bags, as they may be
termed, stitched into separate compartments for each Rocket, covered
by a flap at one end, and secured by a chain, staples, and padlocks,
the Rocket lying horizontally. By this arrangement the load lies in the
most compact form possible, and close to the horse’s side, while the
Rockets, being thus separated, cannot be injured by carriage.

The load is divided into three parts, the case or bundle of eighteen
sticks, and a separate saddle bag on each side, contrived to hook on to
the saddle, carrying nine Rockets in each bag. By this means there is
no difficulty in loading and unloading the horse.

The whole weight thus carried by an Ammunition Horse is about 19 stone,
consisting of about 6½ stone for the saddle, sticks, &c. and almost
six stone in each of the saddle bags. From which it is evident, that
there is no fear of the load swagging the horse in travelling, because
the centre of gravity is very considerably below his back bone. It is
evident also, that as the weight of the Rockets diminishes by supplying
the mounted men, the weight of the sticks also is diminished, and the
centre of gravity may, if desired, be brought lower and lower, as
the load diminishes, by taking the ammunition from the upper tiers
gradually and equally on each side downwards. It is further evident,
that although spaces are provided for nine Rockets in each bag, that
number may be diminished, should the difficulty of the country, or the
length of the march, or other circumstances, render it advisable to
carry a less load.

The mode of leading these horses will be explained in the next Plate.

[Illustration: _Plate 2_]


Plate 3, Fig. 1, represents a sub-division of Rocket Cavalry, or Rocket
Horse Artillery, marching in column of threes. It consists of six
sections, of three men in each, or a less number of sections, according
to the whole strength of the troop, followed by four ammunition horses,
each pair led by a driver riding between them; on the full scale,
therefore, a sub-division will consist of 24 horses and 20 men, and
will carry into action 152 rounds of 12-pounder Shell or Case Shot
Rockets, and six bouches a feù or chambers, carried by the centre men
of each section.

Fig. 2 represents this division in action, where the division may be
supposed to have been halted in line, on the words--“_Prepare for
action in front--dismount_”--Nos. 1 and 3 having dismounted, and
given their leading reins to No. 2, who remains mounted, No. 1 runs
forward about 15 or 20 paces with the chamber, which he draws from the
leather case at the back of No. 2’s valise; and while Nos. 2 and 3 are
preparing a Rocket, drawn from any one of the holsters most convenient,
No. 1 fixes the chamber into the ground, pointing it to the desired
object, and lights his portfire ready for the first round, which No.
3 by this time will have brought to him, and laid into the chamber;
there remains, then, only for No. 1 to touch the vent of the Rocket
with his portfire, No. 3 having run back for another round, which No.
2 will have been able to prepare in the mean time. In this way the
sub-division will, without hurry, come into action with six bouches a
feù, in one minute’s time, and may continue their fire, without any
extraordinary exertion, at the rate of from two to three rounds from
each chamber in a minute, or even four with good exertion; so that the
six bouches a feù would discharge 80 rounds of 6-pounder ammunition in
three minutes. Twelve light frames for firing the 12-pounder Rockets at
high angles are further provided in addition to the ground chambers,
and each of the drivers of the ammunition horses has one in his charge,
in case of distant action.

The preparation of the Rocket for firing is merely the fixing the stick
to it, either by the pincers, pointed hammer, or wrench, provided for
joining the parts of the stick also. These modes I have lately devised,
as being more simple and economical than the screw formerly used; but
cannot at present pronounce which is the best; great care, however,
must be taken to fix the stick securely, as every thing depends on it;
the vent also must be very carefully uncovered, as, if not perfectly
so, the Rocket is liable to burst; and in firing the portfire must not
be thrust too far into the Rocket, for the same reason.

On the words “_Cease firing_,” No. 1 cuts his portfire, takes up
his chamber, runs back to his section, and replaces the chamber
immediately. No. 3 also immediately runs back; and having no other
operation to perform, replaces the leading reins, and the whole are
ready to mount again, for the performance of any further manœuvre that
may be ordered, in less than a minute from the word “_Cease firing_”
having been given.

It is obvious that the combined celerity and quantity of the discharge
of ammunition of this description of artillery cannot be equalled or
even approached, taking in view the means and nature of ammunition
employed, by any other known system; the universality also of the
operation, not being incumbered with wheel carriages, must be duly
appreciated, as, in fact, it can proceed not only wherever cavalry can
act, but even wherever infantry can get into action; it having been
already mentioned that part of the exercise of these troops, supposing
them to be stopped by walls, or ditches and morasses, impassable to
horses, is to take the holsters and sticks from the horses, and advance
on foot.

Another vast advantage is the few men required to make a complete
section, as by this means the number of points of fire is so greatly
multiplied, compared to any other system of artillery. Thus it may
be stated that the number of bouches a feù, which may comparatively
be brought into action, by equal means, on the scale of a troop of
horse artillery, would be at least six to one; and that they may
either be spread over a great extent of line, or concentrated into a
very small focus, according to the necessity of the service; indeed
the skirmishing exercise of the Rocket Cavalry, divided and spread
into separate sections, and returning by sound of bugle, forms a very
interesting part of the system, and can be well imagined from the
foregoing description and the annexed Plate.

[Illustration: _Plate 3_  Fig. 1  Fig. 2]


Plate 4, Fig. 1, represents a Rocket Car in line of march. There are
two descriptions of these cars, of similar construction--one for 32
or 24-pounder ammunition, the other for 18 or 12-pounder; and which
are, therefore, called heavy or light cars: the heavy car will carry
40 rounds of 24-pounder Rockets, armed with cohorn shells, and the
light one will convey 60 rounds of 12-pounder, or 50 of 18-pounder
ammunition, which is packed in boxes on the limber, the sticks being
carried in half lengths in the boxes on the after part of the carriage,
where the men also ride on seats fixed for the purpose, and answering
also for small store boxes; they are each supposed to be drawn by four

These cars not only convey the ammunition, but are contrived also
to discharge each two Rockets in a volley from a double iron plate
trough, which is of the same length as the boxes for the sticks, and
travels between them; but which, being moveable, may, when the car is
unlimbered, be shifted into its fighting position at any angle from the
ground ranges, or point blank up to 45°, without being detached front
the carriage.

Fig. 2 represents these Rocket Cars in action: the one on the left
hand has its trough in the position for ground firing, the trough
being merely lifted off the bed of the axle tree on which it travels,
and laid on the ground, turning by two iron stays on a centre in the
axle tree; the right hand car is elevated to a high angle, the trough
being raised and supported by the iron stays behind, and in front by
the perch of the carriage, connected to it by a joint, the whole kept
steady by bolting the stays, and by tightening a chain from the perch
to the axle tree. The limbers are always supposed to be in the rear.
The Rockets are fired with a portfire and long stick; and two men will
fight the light car, four men the heavy one.

The exercise is very simple; the men being told off, Nos. 1, 2, 3,
and 4, to the heavy carriage. On the words, “_Prepare for action, and
unlimber_,” the same process takes place as in the 6-pounder exercise.
On the words, “_Prepare for ground firing_,” Nos. 2 and 3 take hold
of the hand irons, provided on purpose, and, with the aid of No. 4,
raise the trough from its travelling position, and lower it down to
the ground under the carriage; or on the words “_Prepare to elevate_,”
raise it to the higher angles, No. 4 bolting the stays, and fixing the
chain. No. 1 having in the mean time prepared and lighted his portfire,
and given the direction of firing to the trough, Nos. 2, 3, and 4,
then run to the limber to fix the ammunition, which No. 2 brings up,
two rounds at a time, or one, as ordered, and helping No. 1 to place
them in the trough as far back as the stick will admit: this operation
is facilitated by No. 1 stepping upon the lower end of either of the
stick boxes, on which a cleat is fastened for this purpose; No. 1 then
discharges the two Rockets separately, firing that to leeward first,
while No. 2 returns for more ammunition: this being the hardest duly,
the men will, of course, relieve No. 2 in their turns. In fighting the
light frame, two men are sufficient to elevate or depress it, but they
will want aid to fix and bring up the ammunition for quick firing.

[Illustration: _Plate 4_  Fig. 1  Fig. 2]


Plate 5, Fig. 1, represents a sub-division of Rocket infantry in line
of march--Fig. 2, the same in action. The system here shewn is the use
of the Rockets by infantry--one man in ten, or any greater proportion,
carrying a frame, of very simple construction, from which the Rockets
may be discharged either for ground ranges, or at high angles, and
the rest carrying each three rounds of ammunition, which, for this
service, is proposed to be either the 12-pounder Shell Rockets, or the
12-pounder Rocket case shot, each round equal to the 6-pounder case,
and ranging 2,500 yards. So that 100 men will bring into action, in
any situation where musketry can be used, nearly 300 rounds of this
description of artillery, with ranges at 45°, double those of light
field ordnance.

The exercise and words of command are as follow:

No. 1 carries the frame, which is of very simple construction, standing
on legs like a theodolite, when spread, and which closes similarly
for carrying. This frame requires no spunging, the Rocket being fired
merely from an open cradle, from which it may be either discharged by
a lock or by a portfire, in which case. No. 1 also carries the pistol,
portfire-lighter, and tube box. No. 2 carries a small pouch, with the
requisite small stores, such as spare tubes, portfires, &c.; and a long
portfire stick.

Nos. 3, 4, and 5, &c. to 10, carry each, conveniently, on his back, a
pouch, containing three Rockets; and three sticks, secured together by
straps and buckles.

With this distribution, they advance in double files. On the word
“_Halt_,” “_Prepare for action_,” being given, No. 1 spreads his frame,
and with the assistance of No. 2, fixes it firmly into the ground,
preparing it at the desired elevation. No. 2 then hands the portfire
stick to No. 1, who prepares and lights it, while No. 2 steps back to
receive the Rocket; which has been prepared by Nos. 3, 4, &c. who have
fallen back about fifteen paces, on the word being given to “_Prepare
for action_.” These men can always supply the ammunition quicker than
it can be fired, and one or other must therefore advance towards the
frame to meet No. 2 with the round prepared. No. 2 having thus received
the Rocket, places it on the cradle, at the same instant that No. 1
puts a tube into the vent. No. 2 then points the frame, which has an
universal traverse after the legs are fixed; he then gives the word
“_Ready_,” “_Fire_,” to No. 1, who takes up his portfire and discharges
the Rocket. No. 1 now sticks his portfire stick into the ground, and
prepares another tube; while No. 2, as before, puts the Rocket into the
frame, points, and gives the word “_Ready_,” “_Fire_,” again. By this
process, from three to four Rockets a minute may, without difficulty,
be fired from one frame, until the words “_Cease firing_,” “_Prepare
to advance_,” or “_retreat_,” are given; when the frame is in a moment
taken from the ground, and the whole party may either retire or advance
immediately in press time, if required. To insure which, and at the
same time to prevent any injury to the ammunition, Nos. 3, 4, &c. must
not be allowed to take off their pouches, as they will be able to
assist one another in preparing the ammunition, by only laying down
their sticks; in taking up which again no time is lost.

If the frame is fired with a lock, the same process is used, except
that No. 1 primes and cocks, and No. 2 fires on receiving the word from
No. 1.

For ground firing, the upper part of this frame, consisting of the
chamber and elevating stem, takes off from the legs, and the bottom of
the stem being pointed like a picquet post, forms a very firm bouche a
feù when stuck into the ground; the chamber at point blank being at a
very good height for this practice, and capable of traversing in any
direction. The exercise, in this case, is, of course, in other respects
similar to that at high angles.

[Illustration: _Plate 5_  Fig. 1  Fig. 2]


Plate 6, Fig. 1, represents the mode of carrying the bombarding frame
and ammunition by men. The apparatus required is merely a light
ladder, 12 feet in length, having two iron chambers, which are fixed
on in preparing for action at the upper end of the ladder; from which
chambers the Rockets are discharged, by means of a musket lock; the
ladder being reared to any elevation, by two legs or pry-poles, as in
Fig. 2. Every thing required for this service may be carried by men;
or a Flanders-pattern ammunition waggon, with four horses, will convey
60 rounds of 32-pounder Carcasses, in ten boxes, eight of the boxes
lying cross-ways on the floor of the waggon, and two length-ways, at
top. On these the frame, complete for firing two Rockets at a flight,
with spunges, &c. is laid; and the sticks on each side, to complete
the stowage of all that is necessary, the whole being covered by the
tilt. Four men only are required to be attached to each waggon, who are
numbered 1, 2, 3, & 4.

The frame and ammunition having been brought into the battery, or to
any other place, concealed either by trees or houses (for from the
facility of taking new ground, batteries are not so indispensable as
with mortars), the words “_Prepare for bombardment_” are given; on
which the frame is prepared for rearing, Nos. 1 and 2 first fixing the
chambers on the ladder; Nos. 3 and 4 attaching the legs to the frame
as it lies on the ground. The words “_Rear frame_” are then given;
when all assist in raising it, and the proper elevation is given,
according to the words “_Elevate to 35°_” or “_45°_,” or whatever
angle the officer may judge necessary, according to the required
range, by spreading or closing the legs of the frame, agreeable to
the distances marked in degrees on a small measuring tape, which the
non-commissioned officer carries, and which is called--the Elevating
Line. The word “_Point_” is then given: which is done by means of a
plumb-line, hanging down from the vertex of the triangle, and which at
the same time shews whether the frame is upright or not. Things being
thus arranged, Nos. 1 and 2 place themselves at the foot of the ladder,
and Nos. 3 and 4 return to fix the ammunition in the rear, in readiness
for the word “_Load_.” When this is given, No. 3 brings a Rocket to the
foot of the ladder, having before hand _carefully_ taken off the circle
that covered the vent, and handing it to No. 2, runs for another. In
the mean time, No. 1 has ascended the ladder to receive the first
Rocket from No. 2, and to place it in the chamber at the top of the
ladder; by the time this is done, No. 2 is ready to give him another
Rocket, which in like manner he places in the other chamber: he then
primes the locks with a tube and powder, and, cocking the two locks,
after every thing else is done, descends from the ladder, and, when
down, gives the word “_Ready_;” on which, he and No. 2 each take one of
the trigger lines, and retire ten or twelve paces obliquely, waiting
for the word “_Fire_” from the officer or non-commissioned officer, on
which they pull, either separately or together, as previously ordered.

On the Rockets leaving the frame, No. 1 immediately runs up and
spunges out the two chambers with a very wet spunge, having for this
purpose a water bucket suspended at the top of the frame; which being
done, he receives a Rocket from No. 2, as before, No. 3 having, in
the mean time, brought up a fresh supply; in doing which, however, he
must never bring from the rear more than are wanted for each round.
In this routine, any number of rounds is tired, until the words
“_Cease firing_” are given; which, if followed by those, “_Prepare to
retreat_,” Nos. 3 and 4 run forward to the ladder; and on the words
_“Lower frame_,” they ease it down in the same order in which it was
raised, take it to pieces, and may thus retire in less than five
minutes: or if the object of ceasing to fire is merely a change of
position to no great distance, the four men may with ease carry the
frame, without taking it to pieces, the waggon following them with the
ammunition, or the ammunition being borne by men, as circumstances may
render expedient.

_The ammunition_ projected from this frame consists of 32-pounder
Rockets, armed with carcasses of the following sorts and ranges:--

1st.--_The small carcass_, containing 8 lbs. of carcass composition,
being 3 lbs. more than the present 10-inch spherical carcass.--Range
3,000 yards.

2nd.--_The medium carcass_, containing 12 lbs. of carcass composition,
being equal to the present 13-inch.--Range 2,500 yards.

3rd.--_The large carcass_, containing 18 lbs. of carcass composition,
being 6 lbs. more than the present 13-inch spherical carcass.--Range
2,000 yards.

Or 32-pounder Rockets, armed with bursting cones, made of stout iron,
filled with powder, to be exploded by fuzes, and to be used to produce
the explosive effects of shells, where such effect is preferred to the
conflagration of the carcass. These cones contain as follows:--

_Small._--Five lbs. of powder, equal to the bursting powder of a
10-inch shell.--Range 3,000 yards.

_Medium._--Eight lbs. of powder, equal to the bursting powder of a
13-inch shell.--Range 2,500 yards.

_Large._--Twelve lbs. of powder.--Range 2,000 yards.

N.B. I have lately had a successful experiment, with bombarding
Rockets, six inches diameter, and weighing 148 lbs.--and doubt not of
extending the bombarding powers of the system much further.

[Illustration: _Plate 6_  Fig. 1  Fig. 2]


Plate 7, Fig. 1, is a perspective view of a Battery, erected expressly
for throwing Rockets in bombardment, where the interior slope has the
angle of projection required, and is equal to the length of the Rocket
and stick.

The great advantage of this system is, that, as it dispenses with
apparatus: where there is time for forming a work of this sort, of
considerable length, the quantity of fire, that may be thrown in a
given time, is limited only by the length of the work: thus, as the
Rockets may be laid in embrasures cut in the bank, at every two feet, a
battery of this description, 200 feet in length, will fire 100 Rockets
in a volley, and so on; or an incessant and heavy fire may, by such
a battery, be kept up from one flank to the other, by replacing the
Rockets as fast as they are fired in succession.

The rule for forming this battery is as follows.

“The length of the interior slope of this work is half formed by the
excavation, and half by the earth thrown out; for the base therefore of
the interior slope of the part to be raised, at an angle of 55°, set
off two thirds of the intended perpendicular height--cut down the slope
to a perpendicular depth equal to the above mentioned height--then
setting off, for the breadth of the interior excavation, one third more
than the intended thickness of the work, carry down a regular ramp
from the back part of this excavation to the foot of the slope, and
the excavation will supply the quantity of earth necessary to give the
exterior face a slope of 45°.”

Fig. 2 is a perspective view of a common epaulement converted into a
Rocket battery. In this case, as the epaulement is not of sufficient
length to support the Rocket and stick, holes must be bored in the
ground, with a miner’s borer, of a sufficient depth to receive the
sticks, and at such distances, and such an angle, as it is intended
to place the Rockets for firing. The inside of the epaulement must be
pared away to correspond with this angle, say 55°. The Rockets are then
to be laid in embrasures, formed in the bank, as in the last case.
Where the ground is such as to admit of using the borer, this latter
system, of course, is the easiest operation; and for such ground as
would be likely to crumble into the holes, slight tubes are provided,
about two feet long, to preserve the opening; in fact, these tubes will
be found advantageous in all ground.

Fig. 2 also shews a powerful mode of defending a field work by means of
Rockets, in addition to the defences of the present system; merely by
cutting embrasures in the glacis, for horizontal firing.

[Illustration: _Plate 7_  Fig. 1  Fig. 2]


Plate 8, Fig. 1, represents one of the most important uses that can be
made of Rockets for field service; it is that of the Rocket Ambuscade
for the defence of a pass, or for covering the retreat of an army,
by placing any number, hundreds or thousands, of 32 or 24-pounder
shell Rockets, or of 32-pounder Rockets, armed with 18-pounder shot,
limited as to quantity only by the importance of the object, which
is to be obtained; as by this means, the most extensive destruction,
even amounting to annihilation, may be carried amongst the ranks of an
advancing enemy, and that with the exposure of scarcely an individual.

The Rockets are laid in rows or batteries of 100 or 500 in a row,
according to the extent of ground to be protected. They are to be
concealed either in high grass, or masked in any other convenient
way; and the ambuscade may be formed of any required number of these
batteries, one behind the other, each battery being prepared to be
discharged in a volley, by leaders of quick match: so that one man is,
in fact, alone sufficient to fire the whole in succession, beginning
with that nearest to the enemy, as soon as he shall have perceived
them near enough to warrant his firing. Where the batteries are very
extensive, each battery may be sub-divided into smaller parts, with
separate trains to each, so that the whole, or any particular division
of each battery, may be fired, according to the number and position of
the enemy advancing. Trains, or leaders, are provided for this service,
of a particular construction, being a sort of flannel saucissons,
with two or three threads of slow match, which will strike laterally
at all points, and are therefore very easy of application; requiring
only to be passed from Rocket to Rocket, crossing the vents, by which
arrangement the fire running along, from vent to vent, is sure to
strike every Rocket in quick succession, without their disturbing each
others’ direction in going off, which they might otherwise do, being
placed within 18 inches apart, if all were positively fired at the same

Fig. 2 is a somewhat similar application, but not so much in the nature
of an ambuscade as of an open defence. Here a very low work is thrown
up, for the defence of a post, or of a chain of posts, consisting
merely of as much earth and turf as is sufficient to form the sides of
shallow embrasures for the large Rockets, placed from two to three feet
apart, or nearer; from which the Rockets are supposed to be discharged
independently, by a certain number of artillery-men, employed to keep
up the fire, according to the necessity of the case.

It is evident, that by this mode, an incessant and tremendous fire may
be maintained, which it would be next to impossible for an advancing
enemy to pass through, not only from its quantity and the weight and
destructive nature of the ammunition, but from the closeness of its
lines and its contiguity to the ground; leaving, in fact, no space in
front which must not be passed over and ploughed up after very few

As both these operations are supposed to be employed in defensive
warfare, and therefore in fixed stations, there is no difficulty
involved in the establishment of a sufficient depôt of ammunition for
carrying them on upon the most extensive scale; though it is obviously
impossible to accomplish any thing approaching this system of defence,
by the ordinary means of artillery.

[Illustration: _Plate 8_  Fig. 1  Fig. 2]


Plate 9, Fig. 1, represents the advanced batteries and approaches in
the attack of some fortress, where an imperfect breach being supposed
to have been made in the salient angle of any bastion, large Rockets,
weighing each from two to three hundred weight or more, and being each
loaded with not less than a barrel of powder, are fired into the ruins
after the revetment is broken, in order, by continual explosions, to
render the breach practicable in the most expeditious way. To insure
every Rocket that is fired having the desired effect, they are so
heavily laden, as not to rise off the ground when fired along it; and
under these circumstances are placed in a small shallow trench, run
along to the foot of the glacis, from the nearest point of the third
parallel, and in a direct line for the breach: by this means, the
Rockets being laid in this trench will invariably pursue exactly the
same course, and every one of them will be infallibly lodged in the
breach. It is evident, that the whole of this is intended as a night
operation, and a few hours would suffice, not only for running forward
the trench, which need not be more than 18 inches deep, and about nine
inches wide, undiscovered, but also for firing a sufficient number of
Rockets to make a most complete breach before the enemy could take
means to prevent the combinations of the operation.

From the experiments I have lately made, I have reason to believe, that
Rockets much larger than those above mentioned may be formed for this
description of service--Rockets from half a ton to a ton weight; which
being driven in very strong and massive cast iron cases, may possess
such strength and force, that, being fired by a process similar to
that above described, even against the revetment of any fortress,
unimpaired by a cannonade, it shall, by its mass and form, pierce the
same; and having pierced it, shall, with one explosion of several
barrels of powder, blow such portion of the masonry into the ditch, as
shall, with very few rounds, complete a practicable breach.

It is evident, from this view of the weapon, that the Rocket System is
not only capable of a degree of portability, and facility for light
movements, which no weapon possesses, but that its ponderous parts, or
the individual masses of its ammunition, also greatly exceed those of
ordinary artillery. And yet, although this last description of Rocket
ammunition appears of an enormous mass, as ammunition, still if it be
found capable of the powers here supposed, of which _I_ have little
doubt, the whole weight to be brought in this way against any town, for
the accomplishment of a breach, will bear _no comparison_ whatever to
the weight of ammunition now required for the same service, independent
of the saving of time and expense, and the great comparative simplicity
of the approaches and works required for a siege carried on upon this
system. This class of Rockets I propose to denominate the _Belier a

Fig. 2 represents the converse of this system, or the use of these
larger Rockets for the defence of a fortress by the demolition of the
batteries erected against it. In this case, the Rockets are fired from
embrasures, in the crest of the glacis, along trenches cut a part of
the way in the direction of the works to be demolished.

[Illustration: _Plate 9_  Fig. 1  Fig. 2]


Plate 10, Fig. 1, represents an attack of cavalry against infantry,
repulsed by the use of Rockets. These Rockets are supposed to be of the
lightest nature, 12 or 9-pounders, carried on bat horses or in small
tumbrils, or with 6-pounder shell Rockets, of which one man is capable
of carrying six in a bundle, for any peculiar service; or so arranged,
that the flank companies of every regiment may be armed, each man, with
such a Rocket, in addition to his carbine or rifle, the Rocket being
contained in a small leather case, attached to his cartouch, slinging
the carbine or rifle, and carrying the stick on his shoulder, serving
him either as a spear, by being made to receive the bayonet, or as a
rest for his piece.

By this means every battalion would possess a powerful battery of
this ammunition, _in addition_ to all its ordinary means of attack
and defence, and with scarcely any additional burthen to the flank
companies, the whole weight of the Rocket and stick not exceeding six
pounds, and the difference between the weight of a rifle and that of a
musket being about equivalent. As to the mode of using them in action,
for firing at long ranges, as these Rockets are capable of a range of
2,000 yards, a few portable frames might be carried by each regiment,
without any incumbrance, the frames for this description of Rocket not
being heavier than a musket; but as the true intention of the arm, in
this distribution of it, is principally for close quarters, either
in case of a charge of cavalry, or even of infantry, it is generally
supposed to be fired in vollies, merely laid on the ground, as in
the Plate here described. And, as it is well known, how successfully
charges of cavalry are frequently sustained by infantry, even by the
fire of the musket alone, it is not presuming too much to infer, that
the repulse of cavalry would be _absolutely certain_, by masses of
infantry, possessing the additional aid of powerful vollies of these
shell Rockets. So also in charges of infantry, whether the battalion so
armed be about to charge, or to receive a charge, a well-timed volley
of one or two hundred such Rockets, judiciously thrown in by the flank
companies, must produce the most decisive effects. Neither can it be
doubted, that in advancing to an attack, the flank companies might
make the most formidable use of this arm, mixed with the fire of their
rifles or carbines, in all light infantry or tiraillieur manœuvres. In
like manner, in the passage of rivers, to protect the advanced party,
or for the establishment of a _tete-du-pont_, and generally on all such
occasions, Rockets will be found capable of the greatest service, as
shewn the other day in passing the Adour. In short, I must here remark
that the use of the Rocket, in these branches of it, is no more limited
than the use of gunpowder itself.

Fig. 2 represents the covering of the storm of a fortified place by
means of Rockets. These are supposed to be of the heavy natures, both
carcass and shell Rockets; the former fired in great quantities from
the trenches at high angles; the latter in ground ranges in front of
the third parallel. It cannot be doubted that the confusion created in
any place, by a fire of some thousand Rockets thus thrown at two or
three vollies quickly repeated, must be most favourable, either to the
storming of a particular breach, or to a general escalade.

I must here observe, that although, in all cases, I lay the greatest
stress upon the use of this arm _in great quantities_, it is not
therefore to be presumed, that the effect of an individual Rocket
carcass, the smallest of which contains as much combustible matter as
the 10-inch spherical carcass, is not at least equal to that of the
10-inch spherical carcass: or that the explosion of a shell thrown by a
Rocket, is not in its effects equal to the explosion of that same shell
thrown by any other means: but that, as the power of _instantaneously_
throwing the _most unlimited_ quantities of carcasses or shells is the
_exclusive property_ of this weapon, and as there can be no question
that an infinitely greater effect, both physical[A] as well as moral,
is produced by the instantaneous application of any quantity of
ammunition, with innumerable other advantages, than by a fire in slow
succession of that same quantity: so it would be an absolute absurdity,
and a downright waste of power, not to make this exclusive property the
general basis of every application of the weapon, limited only by a due
proportion between the expenditure and the value of the object to be
attained--a limit which I should always conceive it more advisable to
exceed than to fall short of.

    [A] For a hundred fires breaking out at once, must necessarily
        produce more destruction than when they happen in
        succession, and may therefore be extinguished as fast as
        they occur.

There is another most important use in this weapon, in the storming of
fortified places, which should here be mentioned, viz. that as it is
the only description of artillery ammunition that can ever be carried
into a place by a storming party, and as, in fact, the heaviest Rockets
may accompany an escalade, so the value of it in these operations is
infinite, and no escalade should ever be attempted without. It would
enable the attackers, the moment they have got into the place, not only
to scour the parapet most effectually, and to enfilade any street or
passage where they may be opposed, and which they may wish to force;
but even if thrown at random into the town, must distract the garrison,
while it serves as a certain index to the different storming parties as
to the situation and progress of each party.

[Illustration: _Plate 10_  Fig. 1  Fig. 2]


Plate 11 represents two men of war’s launches throwing Rockets. The
frame is the same as that used for bombardment on shore, divested of
the legs or prypoles, on which it is supported in land service; for
which, afloat, the foremast of the boat is substituted. To render,
therefore, the application of the common bombarding frame universal,
each of them is constructed with a loop or traveller, to connect it
with the mast, and guide it in lowering and raising, which is done by
the haulyards.

The leading boat in the plate represents the act of firing; where the
frame being elevated to any desired angle, the crew have retired into
the stern sheets, and a marine artillery-man is discharging a Rocket by
a trigger-line, leading aft. In the second boat, these artillery-men
are in the act of loading; for which purpose, the frame is lowered to
a convenient height; the mainmast is also standing, and the mainsail
set, but partly brailed up. This sail being kept wet, most effectually
prevents, without the least danger to the sail, any inconvenience to
the men from the smoke or small sparks of the Rocket when going off;
it should, therefore, be used where no objection exists on account of
wind. It is not, however, by any means indispensable, as I have myself
discharged some hundred Rockets from these boats, nay, even from a
six-oared cutter, without it. From this application of the sail, it is
evident, that Rockets may be thrown from these boats under sail, as
well as at anchor, or in rowing. In the launch, the ammunition may be
very securely stowed in the stern sheets, covered with tarpaulins, or
tanned hides. In the six-oared cutter, there is not room for this, and
an attending boat is therefore necessary: on which account, as well as
from its greater steadiness, the launch is preferable, where there is
no obstacle as to currents or shoal water.

Here it may be observed, with reference to its application in the
marine, that as the power of discharging this ammunition without the
burthen of ordnance, gives it _exclusive_ facilities for land service,
so also, its property of being projected without reaction upon the
point of discharge, gives it _exclusive_ facilities for sea service:
insomuch, that Rockets conveying the same quantity of combustible
matter, as by the ordinary system would be thrown from the largest
mortars, and from ships of very heavy tonnage, may be used out of the
smallest boats of the navy; and the 12-pounder and 18-pounder have been
frequently fired even from four-oared gigs.

It should here also be remarked, that the 12 and 18-pounder shell
Rockets recochét in the water remarkably well at low angles. There is
another use for Rockets in boat service also, which ought not to be
passed over--namely, their application in facilitating the capture of a
ship by boarding.

In this service 32-pounder shell Rockets are prepared with a short
stick, having a leader and short fuze fixed to the stick for firing the
Rocket. Thus prepared, every boat intended to board is provided with
10 or 12 of these Rockets; the moment of coming alongside, the fuzes
are lighted, and the whole number of Rockets immediately launched by
hand through the ports into the ship; where, being left to their own
impulse, they will scour round and round the deck until they explode,
so as very shortly to clear the way for the boarders, both by actual
destruction, and by the equally powerful operation of terror amongst
the crew; the boat lying quietly alongside for a few seconds, until, by
the explosion of the Rockets, the boarders know that the desired effect
has been produced, and that no mischief can happen to themselves when
they enter the vessel.

[Illustration: _Plate 11_]


Plate 12, Fig. 1, represents the application of Rockets in fire-ships;
by which, a great power of _distant_ conflagration is given to these
ships, in addition to the limited powers they now possess, as depending
entirely on _contact_ with the vessels they may be intended to destroy.

The application is made as follows:--Frames or racks are to be provided
in the tops of all fire-ships, to contain as many hundred carcass and
shell Rockets, as can be stowed in them, tier above tier, and nearly
close together. These racks may also be applied in the topmast and
top-gallant shrouds, to increase the number: and when the time arrives
for sending her against the enemy, the Rockets are placed in these
racks, at different angles, and in all directions, having the vents
uncovered, but requiring no leaders, or any nicety of operation, which
can be frustrated either by wind or rain; as the Rockets are discharged
merely by the progress of the flame ascending the rigging, at a
considerable lapse of time after the ship is set on fire, and abandoned.

It is evident, therefore, in the first place that no injury can happen
to the persons charged with carrying in the vessel, as they will
have returned into safety before any discharge takes place. It is
evident, also, that the most extensive destruction to the enemy may be
calculated on, as the discharge will commence about the time that the
fire-ship has drifted in amongst the enemies’ ships: when issuing in
the most tremendous vollies, the smallest ship being supposed not to
have less than 1,000 Rockets, distributed in different directions, it
is impossible but that every ship of the enemy must, with fire-ships
enough, and no stint of Rockets, be covered sooner or later with
clouds of this destructive fire; whereas, without this _distant power
of destruction_, it is ten to one if every fire-ship does not pass
harmlessly through the fleet, by the exertions of the enemies’ boats
in towing them clear--_exertions_, it must be remarked, _entirely
precluded_ in this system of fire-ships, as it is impossible that any
boat could venture to approach a vessel so equipped, and pouring forth
shell and carcass Rockets, in all directions, and at all angles. I had
an opportunity of trying this experiment in the attack of the French
Fleet in Basque Roads, and though on a very small scale indeed, it was
ascertained, that the greatest confusion and terror was created by it
in the enemy.

Figs. 2, 3, and 4, represent the mode of fitting any ship to fire
Rockets, from scuttles in her broadside; giving, thereby, to every
vessel having a between-deck, a Rocket battery, in addition to the
gun batteries on her spar deck, without the one interfering in the
smallest degree with the other, or without the least risk to the ship;
the sparks of the Rocket in going off being completely excluded, either
by iron shutters closing the scuttle from within, as practised in the
Galgo defence ship, fitted with 21 Rocket scuttles in her broadside,
as shewn in Fig. 3; or by a particular construction of scuttle and
frame which I have since devised, and applied to the Erebus sloop of
war: so that the whole of the scuttle is completely filled, in all
positions of traverse, and at all angles, by the frame; and thereby any
possibility of the entrance of fire completely prevented. In both these
ships, the Rockets may be either discharged at the highest angles, for
bombardment, or used at low angles, as an additional means of offence
or defence against other shipping in action; as the Rockets, thus used,
are capable of projecting 18-pounder shot, or 4½-inch shells, or even
24-pounder solid shot. This arrangement literally gives the description
of small vessels here mentioned, a second and most powerful deck, for
general service as well as for bombardment.

Smaller vessels, such as gun brigs, schooners, and cutters, may be
fitted to fire Rockets by frames, similar to the boat frames, described
in Plate 11, from their spar deck, and either over the broadside or
the stern; their frames being arranged to travel up and down, on a
small upright spar or boat’s mast, fixed perpendicularly to the outside
of the bulwark of the vessel. As a temporary expedient, or in small
vessels, this mode answers very well; but it has the objection of not
carrying the sparks so far from the rigging, as when fired from below:
it interferes also with the fighting the guns at the same time, and
can therefore only be applied exclusively in the case of bombardment.
All the gun brigs, however, on the Boulogne station, during Commodore
OWEN’s command there, were fitted in this manner, some with two and
some with three frames on a broadside.

[Illustration: _Plate 12_  Fig. 1  Fig. 2  Fig. 3  Fig. 4]


Plate 13 represents all the different natures of Rocket Ammunition
which have hitherto been made, from the eight-inch carcass or explosion
Rocket, weighing nearly three hundred weight, to the six-pounder shell
Rocket, and shews the comparative dimensions of the whole.

This Ammunition may be divided into three parts--the heavy, medium, and
light natures. The _heavy natures_ are those denominated by the number
of inches in their diameter; the _medium_ from the 42-pounder to the
24-pounder inclusive; and the _light natures_ from the 18-pounder to
the 6-pounder inclusive.

The ranges of the eight-inch, seven-inch, and six-inch Rockets, are
from 2,000 to 2,500 yards; and the quantities of combustible matter,
or bursting powder, from 25lbs. and upwards to 50lbs. Their sticks
are divided into four parts, secured with ferules, and carried in
the angles of the packing case, containing the Rocket, one Rocket in
each case, so that notwithstanding the length of the stick, the whole
of this heavy part of the system possesses, in proportion, the same
facility as the medium and light parts. These Rockets are fired from
bombarding frames, similar to those of the 42 and 32-pounder carcasses;
or they may be fired from a slope of earth in the same way. They may
also be fired along the ground, as explained in Plate 9, for the
purposes of explosion.

These large Rockets have from their weight, combined with less
diameter, even more penetration than the heaviest shells, and are
therefore equally efficient for the destruction of bomb proofs, or the
demolition of strong buildings; and their construction having now been
realized, it is proved that the facilities of the Rocket system are not
its only excellence, but that it actually will propel heavier masses
than can be done by any other means; that is to say, masses, to project
which, it would be scarcely possible to cast, much less to transport,
mortars of sufficient magnitude. Various modifications of the powers
of these large Rockets may be made, which it is not necessary here to

The 42 and 32-pounders are those which have hitherto been principally
used in bombardment, and which, for the general purposes of
bombardment, will be found sufficient, while their portability renders
them in that respect more easily applied. I have therefore classed them
as medium Rockets. These Rockets will convey from ten to seven pounds
of combustible matter each; have a range of upwards of 3,000 yards; and
may, where the fall of greater mass in any particular spot is required,
either for penetration or increased fire, be discharged in combinations
of three, four, or six Rockets, well lashed together, with the sticks
in the centre also strongly bound together. The great art of firing
these _fasces of Rockets_ is to arrange them, so that they may be
sure to take fire contemporaneously, which must be done either by
priming the bottoms of all thoroughly, or by firing them by a flash of
powder, which is sure to ignite the whole combination at once. The 42
and 32-pounder Rockets may also be used as explosion Rockets, and the
32-pounder armed with shot or shells: thus, a 32-pounder will range
at least 1,000 yards, laid on the ground, and armed with a 5½-inch
howitzer shell, or an 18 and even a 24-pounder solid shot.

The 32-pounder is, as it were, the mean point of the system: it is the
least Rocket used as a carcass in bombardment, and the largest armed
either with shot or shell, for field service. The 24-pounder Rocket is
very nearly equal to it in all its applications in the field; from the
saving of weight, therefore, I consider it preferable. It is perfectly
equal to propel the cohorn shell or 12-pounder shot.

The 18-pounder, which is the first of the _light_ natures of Rockets,
is armed with a 9-pounder shot or shell; the 12-pounder with a
6-pounder ditto; the 9-pounder with a grenade; and the 6-pounder
with a 3-pounder shot or shell. These shells, however, are now cast
expressly for the Rocket service, and are elliptical instead of
spherical, thereby increasing the power of the shell, and decreasing
the resistance of the air.

From the 24-pounder to the 9-pounder Rocket, inclusive, a description
of case shot Rocket is formed of each nature, armed with a quantity
of musket or carbine balls, put into the top of the cylinder of the
Rocket, and from thence discharged by a quantity of powder contained
in a chamber, by which the velocity of these balls, when in flight, is
increased beyond that of the Rocket’s motion, an effect which cannot be
given in the spherical case, where the bursting powder only liberates
the balls.

All Rockets intended for explosion, whether the powder be contained
in a wrought iron head or cone, as used in bombardment: or whether in
the shell above mentioned, for field service, or in the case shot,
are fitted with an external fuse of paper, which is ignited from
the vent at the moment when the Rocket is fired. These fuses may be
instantaneously cut to any desired length, from 25 seconds downwards,
by a pair of common scissars or nippers, and communicate to the
bursting charge, by a quickmatch, in a small tube on the outside of the
Rocket; in the shell Rocket the paper fuse communicates with a wooden
fuse in the shell, which, being cut to the shortest length that can
be necessary, is never required to be taken out of the shell, but is
regulated either by taking away the paper fuse altogether, or leaving
any part of it, which, in addition to the fixed and permanent wooden
fuse in the shell, may make up the whole time of flight required. By
this system, the arrangement of the fuse in action is attended with a
facility, security, and an expedition, not known in any other similar

All the Rocket sticks for land service are made in parts of convenient
length for carriage, and jointed by iron ferules. For sea service they
are made in the whole length.

The 24-pounder shell and case shot Rockets are those which I propose
issuing in future for the heavy field carriages; the 18-pounder shell
and case shot for the light field carriages; the 12-pounder for the
mounted ammunition of cavalry; the 9 and 6-pounders for infantry,
according to the different cases already explained.

Fig. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9, represent the different implements
used for jointing the sticks, or fixing them to the Rocket, being of
different sizes, in proportion to the different natures to which they
belong. They consist of hammers, pincers, vices, and wrenches, all to
accomplish the same object, namely, that of compressing the ferule into
the stick, by means of strong steel points in the tool, so as to fix
it immoveably. The varieties are here all shewn, because I have not
hitherto decided which is the preferable instrument.

Fig. 10, 11, 12, and 13, represent another mode of arranging the
different natures of ammunition, which is hitherto merely a matter of
speculation, but which may in certain parts of the system be hereafter
found a considerable improvement. It is the carrying the Rocket, or
projectile force, distinct from the ammunition itself, instead of
combining them in their first construction, as hitherto supposed.

Thus, Fig. 10 is the Rocket, and Fig. 11, 12, and 13, are respectively
a shell, case shot, or carcass, which may be immediately fixed to the
Rocket by a screw, according as either the one or the other nature is
required at the time. A greater variety of ammunition might thus be
carried for particular services, with a less burthen altogether.

Fig. 14 and 15 represent the light ball or floating carcass Rocket.
This is supposed to be a 42-pounder Rocket, containing in its head, as
in Fig. 12, a parachute with a light ball or carcass attached to it by
a slight chain. This Rocket being fired nearly perpendicularly into the
air, the head is burst off at its greatest altitude, by a very small
explosion, which, though it ignites the light ball, does not injure the
parachute; but by liberating it from the Rocket, leaves it suspended
in the air, as Fig. 13, in which situation, as a light ball, it will
continue to give a very brilliant light, illuminating the atmosphere
for nearly ten minutes; or as a carcass, in a tolerable breeze, will
float in the air, and convey the fire for several miles, unperceived
and unconsumed, if only the match of the carcass be ignited at the
disengagement of the parachute.

It should be observed that, with due care, the Rocket ammunition is
not only the most secure, but the most durable that can be: every
Rocket is, in fact, a charge of powder hermetically sealed in a metal
case, impervious either to the ordinary accidents by fire, or damage
from humidity. I have used Rockets that had been three years on board
of ship, without any apparent loss of power; and when after a certain
period, which, from my present experience, I cannot estimate at less
than eight or ten years, their force shall have so far suffered as to
render them unserviceable, they may again be regenerated, at the mere
expense of boring out the composition and re-driving it: the stick,
case, &c. that is to say, all the principal parts, being as serviceable
as ever.

[Illustration: _Plate 13_ Figs. 1–15]

_The Ranges of these different Natures of Rocket Ammunition are as

 |       |           ELEVATIONS (in Degrees), RANGES (in Yards)           |
 |Nature |Point   | 20  | 25  |  30   | 35  | 40  | 45  | 50  | 55  | 60  |
 |of     |Blank,  | to  | to  |  to   | to  | to  | to  | to  | to  | to  |
 |Rocket |or      | 25° | 30° |  35°  | 40° | 45° | 50° | 55° | 60° | 65° |
 |       |Ground  |     |     |       |     |     |     |     |     |     |
 |       |Practice|     |     |       |     |     |     |     |     |     |
 |6, 7,  |        |     |     |       |     |     |     |     |     |2,100|
 |and 8  |        |     |     |       |     |     |     |     |     | to  |
 |inch   |        |     |     |       |     |     |     |     |     |2,500|
 |       |        |     |     |       |     |     |     |     |     |     |
 |42-    |        |     |     |       |     |     |     |2,000|2,500|     |
 |Pounder|        |     |     |       |     |     |     | to  | to  |     |
 |       |        |     |     |       |     |     |     |2,500|3,000|     |
 |       |        |     |     |       |     |     |     |     |     |     |
 |32-    |1,000   |     |     |1,000  |1,500|2,000|2,500|3,000|     |     |
 |Pounder|  to    |     |     | to    | to  | to  | to  | to  |     |     |
 |       |1,200   |     |     |1,500  |2,000|2,500|3,000|3,200|     |     |
 |       |        |     |     |       |     |     |     |     |     |     |
 |24-    |nearly  |     |     |       |     |     |     |     |     |     |
 |Pounder|the same|     |     |       |     |     |     |     |     |     |
 |       |ranges  |     |     |       |     |     |     |     |     |     |
 |       |        |     |     |       |     |     |     |     |     |     |
 |18-    |1,000   |     |1,000|1,500  |     |2,000|     |     |     |     |
 |Pounder|        |     | to  |     to|2,000|   to|2,500|     |     |     |
 |       |        |     |1,500|       |     |     |     |     |     |     |
 |       |        |     |     |       |     |     |     |     |     |     |
 |12-    |nearly  |     |     |       |     |     |     |     |     |     |
 |Pounder|the same|     |     |       |     |     |     |     |     |     |
 |       |        |     |     |       |     |     |     |     |     |     |
 |9-     |  800   |1,000|1,500|       |2,000|     |     |     |     |     |
 |Pounder|  to    | to  |  and|upwards|   to|2,200|     |     |     |     |
 |       |1,000   |1,500|     |       |     |     |     |     |     |     |
 |       |        |     |     |       |     |     |     |     |     |     |
 |6-     |nearly  |     |     |       |     |     |     |     |     |     |
 |Pounder|the same|     |     |       |     |     |     |     |     |     |


Calculations proving the comparative Economy of the Rocket Ammunition,
both as to its Application in Bombardment and in the Field.

So much misapprehension having been entertained with regard to the
expense of the Rocket system, it is very important, for the true
understanding of the weapon, to prove, that it is by far the cheapest
mode of applying artillery ammunition, both in bombardment and in the

To begin with the expense of making the 32-pounder Rocket Carcass,
which has hitherto been principally used in bombardments, compared with
the 10-inch Carcass, which conveys even less combustible matter.

                                                 £.  _s._  _d._
                            {Case                 0   5     0
  Cost of a 32-pounder      {Cone                 0   2    11
  Rocket Carcass, complete  {Stick                0   2     6
  for firing in the present {Rocket composition   0   3     9
  mode of manufacture.      {Carcass ditto        0   2     3
                            {Labour, paint, &c.   0   5     6
                                                 £1   1    11

If the construction were more systematic, and elementary force used
instead of manual labour, the expense of driving the Rocket might be
reduced four-fifths, which would lower the amount to about 18_s._
each Rocket, complete; and if bamboo were substituted, which I am
endeavouring to accomplish, for the stick, the whole expense of each
32-pounder Carcass Rocket would be about 16_s._ each.

Now as the calculation of the expense of the Rocket includes that of
the projectile force, which conveys it 3,000 yards; to equalize the
comparison, to the cost of the spherical carcass must be added that of
the charge of powder required to convey it the same distance.

                                                         £.  _s._  _d._
  Cost of a 10-inch      { Value of a 10-inch spherical
  Spherical Carcass,     {   carcass                      0  15     7
  with a proportionate   { Ditto of charge of powder,     0   6     0
  charge of powder, &c.  {   to range it 3,000 yards
                         { Cartridge tube, &c.            0   1     0
                                                         £l   2     7

So that even with the present disadvantages of manufacture, there is an
actual saving in the 32-pounder Rocket carcass itself, which contains
more composition than the 10-inch spherical carcass, _without allowing
any thing for the difference of expense of the Rocket apparatus, and
that of the mortar, mortar beds, platforms, &c._ which, together
with the difficulty of transport, constitute the greatest expense of
throwing the common carcass; whereas, the cost of apparatus for the
use of the Rocket carcass does not originally exceed £5; and indeed,
on most occasions, the Rocket may, as has been shewn, be thrown even
without any apparatus at all: besides which, it may be stated, that
a transport of 250 tons will convey 5,000 Rocket carcasses, with
every thing required for using them, on a very extensive scale; while
on shore, a common ammunition waggon will carry 60 rounds, with the
requisites for action. The difference in all these respects, as to the
10-inch spherical carcass, its mortars, &c. is too striking to need

But the comparison as to expense is still more in favour of the Rocket,
when compared with the larger natures of carcasses. The 13-inch
spherical carcass costs £1. 17_s._ 11½_d._ to throw it 2,500 yards; the
32-pounder Rocket carcass, conveying the same quantity of combustible
matter, does not cost more than £1. 5_s._ 0_d._--so that in this case
there is a saving on the first cost of 12_s._ 11½_d._ Now the large
Rocket carcass requires no more apparatus than the small one, and the
difference of weight, as to carriage, is little more than that of the
different quantities of combustible matter contained in each, while the
difference of weight of the 13-inch and 10-inch carcasses is at least
double, as is also that of the mortars; and, consequently, all the
other comparative charges are enhanced in the same proportion.

In like manner, the 42-pounder Carcass Rocket, which contains from 15
to 18 lbs. of combustible matter, will be found considerably cheaper in
the first cost than the 13-inch spherical carcass: and a proportionate
economy, including the ratio of increased effect, will attach also to
the still larger natures of Rockets which I have now made. Thus the
first cost of the 6-inch Rocket, weighing 150 lbs. and containing 40
lbs. of combustible matter, is not more than £3. 10_s._ that is to
say, less than double the first cost of the 13-inch spherical carcass,
though its conflagrating powers, or the quantity of combustible matter
conveyed by it, are three times as great, and its mass and penetration
are half as much again as that of the 10-inch shell or carcass. It is
evident, therefore, that however extended the magnitude of Rockets
may be, and I am now endeavouring to construct some, the falling
mass of which will be considerably more than that of the 13-inch
shell or carcass, and whose powers, therefore, either of explosion or
conflagration, will rise even in a higher ratio, still, although the
first cost may exceed that of any projectile at present thrown, on a
comparison of effects, there will be a great saving in favour of the
Rocket System.

It is difficult to make a precise calculation as to the average
expense of every common shell or carcass, actually thrown against the
enemy; but it is generally supposed and admitted, that, on a moderate
estimate, these missiles, one with another, cannot cost government
less than £5 each; nor can this be doubted, when, in addition to the
first cost of the ammunition, that of the _ordnance_, and _the charges
incidental to its application_, are considered. But as to the Rocket
and its apparatus, it has been seen, that the _principal expense_ is
that of the first construction, an expense, which it must be fairly
stated, that the charges of conveyance cannot more than double under
any circumstances; so that where the mode of throwing carcasses by
32-pounder Rockets is adopted, there is, at least, an average saving
of £3 on every carcass so thrown, and proportionally for the larger
natures; especially as not only the conflagrating powers of the
spherical carcass are equalled even by the 32-pounder Rocket, but
greatly exceeded by the larger Rockets; and the more especially indeed,
as the difference of accuracy, for the purposes of bombardment, is not
worthy to be mentioned, since it is no uncommon thing for shells fired
from a mortar at long ranges, to spread to the right and left of each
other, upwards of 500 or even 600 yards, as was lately proved by a
series of experiments, where the mortar bed was actually fixed in the
ground; an aberration which the Rocket will never equal, unless some
accident happens to the stick in firing; and this, I may venture to
say, does not occur oftener than the failure of the fuze in the firing
of shells. The fact is, that whatever aberration does exist in the
Rocket, it is distinctly seen; whereas, in ordinary projectiles it is
scarcely to be traced--and hence has arisen a very exaggerated notion
of the inaccuracy of the former.

But to recur to the economy of the Rocket carcass; how much is not the
saving of this system of bombardment enhanced, when considered with
reference to naval bombardment, when the expensive construction of the
large mortar vessel is viewed, together with the charge of their whole
establishment, compared with the few occasions of their use, and their
unfitness for general service? Whereas, by means of the Rocket, every
vessel, nay, every boat, has the power of throwing carcasses without
any alteration in her construction, or any impediment whatever to her
general services.

So much for the comparison required as to the application of the Rocket
in bombardment; I shall now proceed to the calculation of the expense
of this ammunition for field service, compared with that of common
artillery ammunition. In the first place, it should be stated that the
Rocket will project every species of shot or shell which can be fired
from field guns, and indeed, even heavier ammunition than is ordinarily
used by artillery in the field. But it will be a fair criterion to make
the calculation, with reference to the six and nine-pounder common
ammunition; these two natures of shot or shell are projected by a small
Rocket, which I have denominated the 12-pounder, and which will give
horizontally, and _without apparatus_, the same range as that of the
gun, and _with apparatus_, considerably more. The calculation may be
stated as follows:--

                                           £.  _s._  _d._
                      {Case and stick      0    5     6
  12-pounder Rocket   {Rocket composition  0    1    10½
                      {Labour, &c.         0    2     0
                                          £0    9     4½

But this sum is capable of the following reduction, by substituting
elementary force for manual labour, and by employing bamboo in lieu of
the stick.

                                    £.  _s._  _d._
                    {Case and stick  0   4     0
  [B]Reduced Price  {Composition     0   1    10½
                    {Driving         0   0     6
                                    £0   6     4½

    [B] And this is the sum that, ought to be taken in a general
        calculation of the advantages of which the system is
        _capable_, because to this it _may_ be brought.

Now the cost of the shot or spherical case is the same whether
projected from a gun or thrown by the Rocket; and the fixing it to the
Rocket costs about the same as strapping the shot to the wooden bottom.

This 6_s._ 4½_d._ therefore is to be set against the value of the
gunpowder, cartridge, &c. required for the gun, which may be estimated
as follows:--

                                                         £.  _s._  _d._
  6-pounder Amm’n.  {Charge of powder for the 6-pounder   0   2     0
                    {Cartridge, 3½_d._ wooden bottom,     0   0     7¼
                    {  2½_d._ and tube, 1¼_d._
                                                         £0   2     7¼

                                                         £.  _s._  _d._
  9-pounder Amm’n.  {For the 9-pounder charge of powder   0   3     0
                    {Cartridge, 4½_d._ wooden bottom,     0   0     8¼
                    {  2½_d._ and tube, 1¼_d._
                                                         £0   3     8¼

Taking the average, therefore, of the six and nine-pounder ammunition,
the Rocket ammunition costs 3_s._ 2¾_d._ a round more than the common

Now we must compare the simplicity of the use of the Rocket, with the
expensive apparatus of artillery, to see what this trifling difference
of first cost in the Rocket has to weigh against it. In the first
place, we have seen, that in many situations the Rocket requires no
apparatus at all to use it, and that, where it does require any, it
is of the simplest kind: we have seen also, that both infantry and
cavalry can, in a variety of instances, combine this weapon with their
other powers; so that it is not, in such cases, _even to be charged
with the pay of the men_. These, however, are circumstances that can
_in no case_ happen with respect to ordinary artillery ammunition; the
use of which never can be divested of the expense of the construction,
transport, and maintenance of the necessary ordnance to project it,
or of the men _exclusively_ required to work that ordnance. What
proportion, therefore, will the trifling difference of first cost, and
the average facile and unexpensive application of the Rocket bear to
the heavy contingent charges involved in the use of field artillery? It
is a fact, that, in the famous Egyptian campaign, those charges did not
amount to less than £20 per round, one with another, _exclusive_ of the
pay of the men; nor can they for any campaign be put at less than from
£2 to £3 per round. It must be obvious, therefore, although it is not
perhaps practicable actually to clothe the calculation in figures, that
the saving must be very great indeed in favour of the Rocket, in the
field as well as in bombardment.

Thus far, however, the calculation is limited merely as to the bare
question of expense; but on the score of general advantage, how is not
the balance augmented in favour of the Rocket, when all the _exclusive_
facilities of its use are taken into the account--the _universality_
of the application, the _unlimited_ quantity of instantaneous fire
to be produced by it for particular occasions--of fire not to be by
any possibility approached in quantity by means of ordnance? Now to
all these points of excellence one only drawback is attempted to be
stated--this is, the difference of accuracy: but the value of the
objection vanishes when fairly considered; for in the first place, it
must be admitted, that the general business of action is not that of
target-firing; and the more especially with a weapon like the Rocket,
which possesses the facility of bringing such quantities of fire on any
point: thus, if the difference of accuracy were as ten to one against
the Rocket, as the facility of using it is at least as ten to one in
its favour, the ratio would be that of equality. The truth is, however,
that the difference of accuracy, for actual application against troops,
instead of ten to one, cannot be stated even as two to one; and,
consequently, the compound ratio as to effect, the same shot or shell
being projected, would be, even with this admission of comparative
inaccuracy, greatly in favour of the Rocket System. But it must still
further be borne in mind, that this system is yet in its infancy, that
much has been accomplished in a short time, and that there is every
reason to believe, that the accuracy of the Rocket may be actually
brought upon a par with that of other artillery ammunition for all the
important purposes of field service.

                    W. CONGREVE.

Transcriber’s Notes

Punctuation and spelling were made consistent when a predominant
preference was found in this book; otherwise they were not changed.

Simple typographical errors were corrected.

Ambiguous hyphens at the ends of lines were retained; occurrences of
inconsistent hyphenation have not been changed.

In the table of Ranges:

  Transcriber rearranged parts of the column headings, but “as
  follow” (singular) in the table’s title was printed that way in
  the original.

  The column heading “55 to 60°” was misprinted as “55 to 66°”;
  corrected here.

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