John Mercer Brooke


John Mercer Brooke, a Florida born Annapolis graduate, was formerly an United States Navy Officer. At the outbreak of the Civil War he resigned his commission joining the Virginia State Navy and later the Confederate States Navy as Chief of Ordnance and Hydrography.  He helped withTredegar Iron Works the reconstruction of the USS Merrimack into the ironclad vessel the CSS Virginia.  He had charge of the Confederate experiments, with submarine boats, and was one of the contributors to the development of the torpedo.
Tredegar Iron Works in Richmond and the Confederate Naval Ordnance Works at Selma, Alabama, produced the Brooke rifles used by the Confederacy. The Brooke rifle is similar to the Federal Parrott in appearance. Both the Brooke and Parrott guns are made from cast-iron with a wrought-iron reinforce band around the breech end of the rifle. Unlike the Parrott with one reinforcing band, the Brooke had several bands to strengthened the breech end. Brooke guns were rifled on the "hook-slant" system closely resembling the English Blakely's.  After the Civil War Mr. Brooke taught at the Virginia Military Institute (V.M.I.).  From 1866-1899 he occupied the chair of Physics and Astronomy at V.M.I.  To see examples of field artillery Brooke projectiles click here and heavy Brooke projectiles click here.