Proposal to Develop a Multiple Barrel Machine Gun, 1861

From: Governor, State Governors' Incoming Correspondence, 1857-1888, Series S 577



Tallahassee, Florida
December 13th, 1861

His Excellency
John Milton
Governor of Florida

Having invented a Gun, which, if properly arranged might, in my opinion, serve a valuable purpose in repelling the present threatened invasion of our soil, I deem it my duty as a loyal citizen of the State of Florida, to use every effort to render her defences as efficient as possible. But my means being inadequate to the undertaking, I am reduced to the necessity of asking State aid; and for the better understanding of the executive office, and herewith subjoin a description as follows:

One Hundred and twenty Eight Guns constitute a full battery: This to be subdivided into sixteen sections of eight Guns each; These, to be placed on carriages similar to Six pound cannon, to be elevated and depressed upon the same principle as cannon. but the sighting will be accomplished by means of a Tube which will occupy a central position on the carriage. By means of a rod of iron, which passes horizontally behind the breach of each Gun, and to which is attached a crank and sundry pinions, all the Guns are made to fire at the same time

and at least once per second. As there are eight balls, they will take effect 800 yards, but it is contemplated to reduce the size and increase the number as the distance is lessened. Thus 8 oz. balls shoot 800 yards;
1 oz. balls shoot 200 yards;
1/2 oz. balls shoot 100 yards.

The number of balls per minute will be as follows:
8 oz. balls, 7,680
1 oz. balls, 61,240
1/2 oz. balls, 122,880

The same amount of lead will be discharged each fire, upon the principle of solid ball, Grape and Canister for cannon Each section of battery to be protected by a plate of Boiler Iron, 3/16 of an inch thick, presenting an inclined plane of forty-five degrees from front. One hundred and Sixty men will man a full battery. Thirty-Two horses will be sufficient for transportation of the whole battery. The cost of putting them up, cannot exceed Thirty Dollars per Gun. Believing that I have completed the description of every thing materially necessary for your information.

I have the honor to be,
Very Respectfully
Your obt servant
E.B. Ridley M.D.