Confederate Siege Guns or Just Crude Replicas?

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.

Fort Donelson 309
Confederate (?) 12-pdr Siege Gun

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.

Fort Donelson 308
Back of Siege Gun

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.

Fort Donelson 327
12-pdr Siege Gun

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.

Published by Craig Swain

"Historical marker hunter" and Civil War enthusiast.

3 thoughts on “Confederate Siege Guns or Just Crude Replicas?

  1. There are two more guns like these (I think) at the Rock Island Arsenal in Rock Island, IL. I don’t know about the cascabel finishing because the guns are buried muzzle up and I don’t think the people at the arsenal would appreciate my digging.

    Do you have the measurements of the trunions (length and diameter)? Again I hate to start digging.

    I have seen the two at Rock Island and Wayne Stark reported them as the same as those at Fort Donelson (Big Guns – Olmstead, Stark and Tucker).

    Any information would be appreciated.


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