When showcasing the Confederate iron 6-pdr field guns from Tredegar I featured the guns at the Brawner Farm on the Second Manassas battlefield. Another place to view a set of these iron smoothbores is Sunbury, Pennsylvania at the foot of the Northumberland County Civil War memorial.
Because the iron fence prevents “walk around” I’ll still suggest Manassas for students who wish to examine the guns closely. But Sunbury is a good side trip for those traveling down Highway 15 (on the way to… say… Gettysburg?).
Of the three guns, only one has visible markings to speak of.
The muzzle on this gun displays the familiar Tredegar foundry number mark. In this case #1486.
On the breech, just in front of the vent, is the weight stamp of “918”.
Records show that Tredegar cast #1486 on April 9, 1862. The gun is among four others sold to the Confederate Army on May 10. The others being #1485, #1487, and #1477. These appear on the same invoice as the 3-inch Rifled Field Gun #1464. Certainly the smoothbore #1486 at Sunbury and the rifled #1464 at Gettysburg share the same outward appearance from the flattened knob to the straight muzzle.
However the other two 6-pdrs at Sunbury have the older style knobs and muzzle swells. While there are no markings to confirm these as Tredegar guns, the form matches that of the earlier 6-pdr iron guns (and 3-inch rifles for that matter). Good coats of paint hide the years of weathering.
One of these has a tall, and relatively undamaged, muzzle sight post. The neck of the knob has cut-outs similar to those seen on Tredegar rifled guns. Another indication of the connection between 6-pdr and 3-inch iron gun patterns.
The last of the three displays scars and scuffs under the otherwise good paint. It also lacks any front sight fixtures.
There are other guns at Sunbury’s monument. Two 8-inch Siege Mortars of Model 1861 sit in between the field guns. While stopped with tampons, the markings are easy to read. No doubt the subjects for a future post!
However there is one more 6-pdr at Sunbury, also an iron gun. But this piece was likely cast well before the Civil War.
The external form resembles guns cast in the first decades of the 19th century. While this gun has rimbases for the trunnions, it also has a key-hole vent. Certainly fodder for speculation and perhaps another post.
But as nice as these American iron cannons are, I must admit the highlight of Sunbury’s downtown display is this piece:
This gun, a German 77mm FK16, came home with World War I veterans and speaks to another time and another place in history.