One of Parker’s cranks, 119 years later

Colt Model 1895, serial number 1040. It was one of four Gatling’s under the command of Lieutenant John Parker during the Battle of San Juan Hill, where it was fitted to a rolling carriage.

Via the National Firearms Museum:

In the late 1890s, the Gatling gun was still considered a relatively new innovation in firearms technology. By the time America entered into war with Spain in 1898, Gatling guns had only seen limited use during the American Civil War. Their practicality in battle was considered equivocal to the United States Army.

It was the suggestion of West Point graduate John H. Parker , a 1st lieutenant of the 13th US infantry, that troops preparing for the invasion of Cuba would benefit from a mobile Gatling gun unit. It was an experimental notion, yet Parker’s idea for a Gatling gun detachment caught the interest of a few commanding officers and his proposal was approved. Parker’s intentions were to create an artillery unit capable of providing infantry with heavy cover fire when engaging the enemy in the field.

The Gatling Guns by Charles Johnson Post.

On July 1, 1898, US troops in Cuba were advancing on the Spanish occupied port of Santiago. It was here that Parker’s famed artillery unit would finally be put to the test. Just after noon, United States Expeditionary Forces were ordered to assault a 4,000 yard ridgeline known as San Juan Heights. The hill was heavily fortified with hostile Spanish forces. As the troops charged the ascent, Parker’s Gatling gun detachment swept the summit with over 6,000 rounds of continuous .45-70 fire. The barrage adequately suppressed the enemy and allowed US troops to successfully take the hill.

In the days that followed, reports of the battle traveled back to the American home front. News of Theodore Roosevelt and the Rough Riders’ “charge” would forever be immortalized in public memory. The Gatling guns of Parker’s artillery unit played a pivotal role in the skirmish and preserved here today is a Colt model 1895, serial number 1040. It was one of four Gatling’s under the command of Lieutenant John Parker during the Battle of San Juan Hill.

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About laststandonzombieisland

Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as, University of Guns, Outdoor Hub, Tac-44, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the U.S. federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

5 responses to “One of Parker’s cranks, 119 years later”

  1. Comrade Misfit says : National Firearms Museum, unfortunately, is quite wrong about the caliber of the guns.
    From John Parker’s book:
    The guns used by the Gatling Gun Detachment, Fifth Army Corps, were built by the Colt’s Arms Co., were the latest improved model, long ten-barrel gun, and fired the Krag-Jorgenson ammunition used by the Regular Army.
    The book, in companion with Roosevelt’s book on the Rough Riders, is well worth the read. Both are available at Project Gutenberg.

  2. Sam L. says :

    I’d never heard of these before, only the Charge up the hill. Thanks!

  3. Gunner Gordon says :

    Parker’s unit was Infantry, not Artillery, the gun in the photograph is missing the six threaded mounting holes for the missing round shield.

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