Rifled Cannon Superior to All Others
From: bernhard1848@att.net
A brilliant scientist and inventor, veteran of exploration and oceanographic studies, and quasi-diplomat to Japan before the war, John Mercer Brooke was born in 1826 at Tampa Bay to a Virginian father and New England mother, reared in the Northwest and educated in Northern schools. Nonetheless, his blood-ties to Virginia directed where his allegiance to country resided in 1861.  Brooke’s rifled cannon design proved that Northern ironclad monitors were not invincible, and was thus another reason why the American South maintained its political independence for four years.
Bernhard Thuersam, Chairman
North Carolina War Between the States Sesquicentennial Commission
"The Official Website of the North Carolina WBTS Sesquicentennial"
Rifled Cannon Superior to All Others:
“When designing the Brooke [rifled cannon, John M.] Brooke was working under pressure to produce, within the South’s limited means, the best possible cannon with the least possible delay. He had neither the time nor facilities for exhaustive experiments. What he sought to do was to devise from information available in the Confederacy a sound gun that could be put into production quickly and modified as actual experience dictated.
The tremendous power of the Brooke [rifled cannon] was demonstrated at Charleston, South Carolina, on April 7, 1863, when a major Federal attack was repulsed. The attack was made by nine armored vessels, seven of which were monitors. [Northern] Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles became convinced that monitors were capable of running past the Charleston batteries without military support, and then compelling the city to surrender. Welles proved to be mistaken.
During a period of two hours the Confederates fired an estimated 2,300 rounds at the Federal fleet at ranges between 550 and 800 yards. In the engagement, the turrets of the Nantucket and the Nahant were jammed, heavy guns on the Patapsco and the Nantucket were disabled, and the “Keokuk was hit ninety times, the turrets being penetrated in many places and the water line pierced nineteen times, putting the ship in a sinking condition as she left the scene.”
After the battle Colonel [Josiah] Gorgas showed Brooke a telegram from General [PGT] Beauregard which stated that the Brooke rifles had been “invaluable” in the defense. The general, noting that the Keokuk had been sunk by a Brooke gun, asked that more such guns be sent to Charleston.
Only a few of the guns at Charleston were Brooke rifles.…[and was considered] the most powerful and accurate gun in the Confederacy; its wrought iron bolt was specifically designed for use against ironclads. Commander James W. Cooke, who commanded the ironclad Albemarle during operations in the North Carolina sounds, wrought Brooke that he thought the Brooke gun “superior to all others.”
In 1913, a half-century after the gunfire had died away, the superintendent of the Library and Naval War Records wrote: “The Brooke rifled gun” is conceded to have been the best weapon of its kind used by either side in the Civil War; it has a record of more than 2,000 rounds without suffering deterioration. The life of the modern naval gun is about 200 rounds before having to be relined.”
(John M. Brooke, Naval Scientist and Educator, George M. Brooke, Jr., University Press of Virginia, 1980, pp.  265; 269-270)