CMH Forum

[Weapons] General H. Burbeck, Henry Foxall, fact or fiction?

Here are excerpts from Haskin, Bvt. Major W.L., "The Organization and Material of Field Artillery in the United States before the Civil War" in "Journal of the Military Service Institution of the United States," vol. III, No. 12 (1882), pp. 406-7. I put it the numbers for easy reference.

The information is intriguing but based on other sources, or lack of them as the case may be, I can't verify significant parts of it. Specifically, I question the validity of what Haskin states in numbers (4) and (8) through (13) below. Photos of the entire article are at the links provided.

Specifically, I can find no link between Henry Foxall and the Keeptryst furnace (West Virginia.) I can find no record of a foundry purchased by the governement, associated with Foxall.

Foxall is known to have been in partnership with Robert Morris Jr., in the Eagle Ironworks of Philadelphia, until dissolution about 1800. Foxall moved to Georgetown, DC., about 1798, and started the Columbia Foundry, which he ran until he sold it to John Mason in 1815.

Can anyone shed any light on these apparent errors? Are the basic facts correct but the names or dates wrong, or what? Is Haskin talking about a different "Foxall?"

(1) The Lieutenant-Colonel Commandant of the Corps was "Chief of Engineers, Ordnance, and Artillery,"

(2) and all constructions of ordnance and artillery were under his exclusive direction.

(3) General Henry Burbeck became head of the Corps in 1798,

(4) and in 1799 an effort was made to cast a few cannons for ourselves.

(5) The old brass and iron pieces which we had accumulated with so much difficulty and with so great an expenditure of life and money, were either consigned to the

scrap heap or were set up here and there over the country as trophies-monuments of the past.

(6) A certain Mr. Foxall seems to have been indispensable at this time.

(7) He was a skillful worker in metals,

(8) and the government purchased the Keeptryst furnace and placed him in charge,

(9) where he proceeded to cast a large number of iron 3,6, and 12-pounder field pieces.

(10) Then he turned his attention to brass founding and cast 3,6, 12, 18, and 24 pounders,

(11) which were carefully stored at the Washington Arsenal, certainly till after the next war, and how much longer is not known,

(12) As near as can be ascertained now, the brass castings appear to have been experimental

(13) and not to have met with a great amount of favor upon trial.

(14) General Burbeck was the chief all this time, and it was under his directions that the guns were cast,

(15) while such as were mounted were mounted on carriages perhaps devised-certainly approved of by him.

Messages In This Thread

[Weapons] General H. Burbeck, Henry Foxall, fact or fiction?
Re: [Weapons] General H. Burbeck, Henry Foxall, fa
CMH Minuteman

To Join the Company of Military Historians click here

CMH Minuteman