A Civil War-era replica weapon that will be used in demonstrations at Fort Pickens is the first of its kind for the National Park Service.
The 10-pound Parrott rifle arrived at the fort from Steen Cannons, based out of Ashland, Kentucky, in early March and will be on permanent display at the fort.
“No other park has one like it,” said Park Ranger Brent Everitt while showing off the wheel-mounted rifle on a recent morning. The name of the rifle refers to the weight of the munition, not the actual rifle.
Fort Pulaski in Tybee Island, Georgia, has a replica of the larger, 30-pound Parrott rifle, but Fort Pickens is the first to use the lighter-weight model in firing demonstrations, Everitt said.
The smaller gun, which weighed close to 1,000 pounds, required six people to operate and horses to pull it from battlefield to battlefield. During the Civil War, the 10-pound Parrott rifle was more lightweight and mobile than other weapons.
“It absolutely helped to turn the tide of the war,” said Everitt, the park’s munitions expert.
The muzzle-loaded Parrott rifle, designed by Union Army Capt. Robert Parker Parrott and patented in 1861, was a major advancement in Civil War artillery because it allowed for greater accuracy at farther distances than ever before.
Parrott’s rifle would have been one of the weapons used during the Battle of Santa Rosa in October 1861 and in the November 1861 bombardment of Confederate forces in Fort Barrancas by Union forces at Fort Pickens, Everitt said.
Will Steen is vice president of Steen Cannons. Steen said his father, Marshall Steen, was a…