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Manuscript entitled "Conférences sur le Cannonage faites à bord de l'Uranie," with numerous hand-drawn illustrations of cannons, guns, ammunition, and instruments in the margins as well as many tables in the text
157 leaves of text paginated 1-124 & 129-[317] (nothing seems lacking). Large 4to (318 x 215 mm), cont. sheep-backed black cloth (extremities slightly worn), title in gilt on spine. S.l.: [c. 1852]. A finely written and illustrated manuscript with highly technical observations on French naval artillery training and testing in the mid-19th century, which are complemented by numerous hand-drawn marginal diagrams and many tables. The present manuscript was composed by Floucaud de Fourcroy (1831-1929), a descendant of the famous chemist Antoine de Fourcroy, as a cadet aboard the Uranie, a former frigate converted into a training ship in 1851. By the end of his career, Floucaud de Fourcroy was a highly decorated admiral and commander in the Legion of Honor. The present manuscript recapitulates the curriculum of naval artillery in the middle of the 19th century. It begins with a survey of weapons classifications (artillery, rifles, swords, pikes, axes, etc.) and the situations in which to use them, different types of ammunition and their purposes, and the history of their development. There are then lengthy explanations of each weapon's size, range, reloading time, effectiveness, etc. Each of these is presented with precise measurements and dimensions. The author recounts the multitude of exercises which a cadet had to undergo and master in order to progress as a naval officer (pp. 265-90). There are also extensive notes on his lessons in ballistics, often accompanied by intricate diagrams and mathematical formulas. Pages 295-96 feature a section entitled (in trans.): "Notes on the Practical Instruction which a Sailor-Gunner must Receive." The drawings in the margins, many very complex, illustrate the composition of ships, weapons, ammunition, and instruments, the trajectory of cannons and firearms, the construction of equipment, the optimal angles of attack, the adjustments necessary to maintain accuracy while the ship is in motion, etc., etc. On page 317, Floucaud de Fourcroy has drawn detailed cross-sections of five types of cannons. The tables concern the range of various cannons, their effectiveness at specific ranges (in terms of speed and their penetration), the supply needs of cannons, the number of cannons that can fit on a ship, etc. A most interesting manuscript in fine condition that captures the state of French naval training and warfare in the middle of the 19th century. Pages 227-28, 258-64, and 315-16 are blank.
      [Bookseller: Jonathan A. Hill, Bookseller, Inc.]
Last Found On: 2018-01-12           Check availability:      Biblio    


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