Limber Chests
Including Limbers and Caissons

AMMUNITION CHEST(S): Wooden chests used to store ammunition for use in the field. When being transported, the chests were attached to the artillery limber and served as a seat for the cannoneers. Large metal handles on each end served to lift the chest and as a hand support for the cannoneers seated on the chest. The weight of an empty chest was 185 pounds, a fully-loaded chest could weigh as much as 560 pounds depending upon the type of ammunition. Limbers could hold one chest and caissons usually held two. Chests are placed on field-limbers and caissons for the transportation and safe-keeping of the ammunition. The limber has one and the caisson has three such chests, which will seat twelve cannoneers if necessary. The interior compartments of the ammunition-chests vary according to the nature of the ammunition with which they are loaded.
LIMBER: A two-wheeled carriage which was used to transport the cannon and its carriage. The iron ring (lunette) on the cannon trail was attached to an iron pintle at the rear of the limber to form a four-wheeled unit. The limber also carried an ammunition chest, tar bucket, leather or canvass water buckets, and a tarpaulin. Six horses were usually required to pull the limber and cannon.


CAISSON: A two-wheel cart carrying two ammunition chests and attached to a limber by a long pole. The limber also carried an ammunition chest and the entire unit was pulled by a six-horse team. Ammunition expended from the limber chest was replaced from the caisson chest. The specified number of rounds carried by each caisson and its limber was: for 6-pounder guns - 150 rounds; for 12-pounder guns - 96 rounds; for 12-pounder howitzers - 117 rounds; for 24-pounder howitzers - 69 rounds; and for 32-pounder howitzers - 45 rounds. When the limber chest was emptied, a replacement was carried forward from the caisson, which was usually parked to the rear of the battery. Caissons also carried a spare limber pole and wheel, pick axes, shovel, axe, and some miscellaneous tools. The number of caissons assigned to field batteries were: with a battery of 12-pounders - eight caissons for guns and four for howitzers; with a battery of 6-pounders - four caissons for guns and two for howitzers.