Fort Donelson’s sesquicentennial is just around the corner… or is it bend? Thinking ahead to the “guns” on display at the fort, let me offer up this curious piece for review.
This iron cannon stands along the inner defensive line of Fort Donelson (in other words the land-facing side behind the river side batteries). I’ve seen this gun identified as a Confederate 12-pdr siege gun, tentatively attributed to Quinby & Robinson of Memphis, Tennessee.
But I’m a little skeptical. The cascabel is at least unfinished, and would provide a slippery purchase for crews handling the gun. The oversized ring at the end of the reinforce seems out of place for a 1860’s era gun. Is this a reproduction acquired to fill the gaps in the park’s inventory of cannon collection?
And there is twin nearby.
Two guns of a rare type found at the same battlefield? Well it does happen frequently enough. Guns tend to travel about in battery sets – from the field to storage and thence back out to the battlefield as monuments.
Some observers report markings. But in my visits, the shade of the trees prevents optimum lighting to detect markings.
The two guns along with an 8-inch siege howitzer (which is certainly authentic and traced by registry number to Mexican War use) represent Lt. P.K. Stankiewicz’s Battery. During the battle of Fort Henry, Stankiewicz’s gunners manned two 9-pdr iron guns and an 8-inch siege howitzer. The 9-pdrs at Fort Donelson was a very rare employment of a caliber seldom used by American artillerists.