The Guns at Stones River

Happy New Year to all!

Let me kick off 2013 in good order with what has become my practice on sesquicentennials – a virtual tour of Stones River battlefield by way of the artillery.

Included in this set are original guns at field displays, replica guns, memorials in the cemetery, and museum displays.  You’ll want to click on “view larger map” to see the full set.  One replica gun at Fortress Rosecrans is outside the map seen above.

This map depicts the locations of artillery displays as of “now”.  After spending the last few days on the battlefield enjoying sesquicentennial events, I can proudly say “that is where the guns are located.”  Well as of now at least.  I have noticed several changes to the arrangement since my last visit in 2010.  In fact, the whole park has changed, with a new entrance at the south end and an improved tour route.  Several sections of the old tour road are now walking trails.  All good for those of us who like to get out and experience the field instead of just speeding through.

One notable change to the cannon placement.   One of the more popular displays was the Wiards on broken carriages at the Slaughter Pen.

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A pair of rare guns in a rather unique display.

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I noticed, with some misgivings, these guns are not in place among the rocks.  At least not during the sesquicentennial events.  Instead, two Wiards stood at displays around the Slaughter Pen, but not actually among the rocks.

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True cannon aficionados will note the form of the carriage.  Yes, proper replica carriage as designed by the inventor of the gun – Norman Wiard.  There are several interesting features of the carriage, which is the fodder for future blog post.

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I suspect, but was not able to confirm, that the two guns on display currently are different from the “broken carriage” set.  The park has two each of the 2.9-inch and 3.67-inch calibers, or at least did at one time in the past.  Perhaps we’ll see the broken carriage set returned at some future date.  Although pointed in the wrong direction, the arrangement brought many a visitor to a pause for contemplation.

So please take a moment on this first day of the year to think back 150 years.  January 1, 1863 was a day marked by many important events.  The battle of Stones River was one of them.  If you can’t visit the battlefield, then I’d invite you to take a virtual stroll by way of the cannons.

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