Having been requested by the Naval Institute to contribute an article under the above title, I have compiled such data and records as may be of interest to its readers. It has been my intention to avoid, as far as possible, drawing any comparisons between this and any other special system. As this publication circulates mainly among men familiar with the results obtained from other guns of this class, comparisons can be easily made from the data here given.
It may fairly be said that the rapid-fire gun is a new improvement in ordnance, as the guns ordered for the Chicago, Boston, Atlanta, and Dolphin were the first ordered by any government. Other nations soon followed, and some had guns of this class actually in service before the United States, owing to the fact that these ships were not ready to receive them for some time after the order was placed. From that day to this the importance of this class of ordnance has gradually increased, and is likely to increase still further. From being present only in the secondary batteries it has found its way into the main battery, and its caliber has been expanded from that of the 6-pounder to that of the 100-pounder.