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Robert Parker Parrott

Robert Parker Parrott



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Parrott rifle

Parrott rifle

West Point Foundry

West Point Foundry

Parrott rifle shell

Parrott rifle shell

Parrott rifled cannon

Parrott rifled cannon


Sylvanus Thayer (1785–1872)
CLASS OF 1824

Parrott received an artillery commission upon graduation, but spent his first five years after graduation teaching physics at West Point. Promoted to captain in 1836, he was assigned as inspector of ordnance at the new West Point Foundry, a civilian enterprise. Its owner, Gouverneur Kemble, persuaded Parrott to leave the army and become the foundry’s superintendent.

In 1839 Parrott married Kemble’s sister, Mary, and leased the foundry from his brother-in-law. He bought 7,000 forested acres to assure his charcoal supply and acquired the Greenwood Iron Furnace for a steady source of pig iron.

Parrott also experimented with gun and shell designs. In 1861 he patented a rifled cannon, strengthened by a wrought-iron hoop around the rear of the barrel, and an expanding explosive shell. Offered at cost to the government, Parrott guns equipped Union land and naval forces throughout the Civil War.


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Joseph Reid Anderson




Key Figures






William Gibbs McNeill
William Gibbs McNeill
1801–1853
Class of 1817


George Washington Whistler
George Washington Whistler
1800–1849
Class of 1819



George Bomford
George Bomford
1782–1848
Class of 1805



Robert Parker Parrott
Robert Parker Parrott
1804–1877
Class of 1824


Joseph Reid Anderson
Joseph Reid Anderson
1813–1892
Class of 1836





Smithsonian National Museum of American History


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West Point in History Introduction 1802–1860 1861–1870 1866–1914 1914–1918 Epilogue Introduction 1802–1860 1861–1870 1866–1914 1914–1918 Epilogue The Western Reconnaissance Engineering for a New Nation Wars of Expansion