Printable Version

Preparing for War
Digital History ID 292

Author:   Paul Jones Semmes


Even before a single state had seceded from the Union, the State of Georgia negotiated a contract with a New York rifleworks company to supply the state with armaments. Paul Jones Semmes (1815-1863), who signed this contract, was a Georgia banker and plantation owner who served as a brigadier general in the Confederate army. He led Georgia troops at the battle of Gettysburg, where he received a wound from which he died in the retreat to Virginia. Semmes made the contract with Robert Parrott, who invented a superior rifled cannon known as a "Parrott Gun."


This Contract made and entered into this nineteenth day of December 1860 between Paul J. Semmes, Agent for the State of Georgia...and Robert P. Parrott...That the said Robert P. Parratt hereby covenants and agrees to manufacture furnish and deliver...

(16) Sixteen rifle Cannons of 3.3 in (3 3/10 in) Calibre and of (1000) one thousand pound weight each.... Also (3500) Three thousand five hundred 'Dyer' solid shot of ten (10) pounds weight when finished. Also (4000) Four thousand 'Dyer' Cannon Shrapnel shot.... Also (500) Five hundred Canister Shot of the ordinary kind.... Also, One Hundred thousand (100,000) pounds of lead....

Source: Gilder Lehrman Institute

Additional information: Paul Jones Semmes, [Contract with Robert P. Parrott to buy 16 rifle cannons for Georgia]

Copyright 2021 Digital History