6-pdrs from Liège – A walk-around

Earlier I introduced this fine bronze cannon and it’s peculiar origin:

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This cannon represents the 8th Indiana Battery at Chickamauga.  Let’s do a formal walk around this Belgian cannon, noting the features and markings.  As mentioned in the earlier post, the intent was to use this cannon to test European metal within an American pattern.  So the exterior form is very much “American”:

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We see a slight muzzle swell, chase ring, a single reinforce extending just past the trunnions, a base ring, then a simple cascabel at the breech.  One could easily mistake this cannon for a 6-pdr Model 1841 Field Gun.

Looking close to the muzzle:

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From the face, there is a simple cavetto and a fillet to join with the muzzle swell.  The chase ring is a full astragal with fillets on each side.  No other adorning features.

The trunnions themselves are simple forms also.  That on the right has no markings:

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Turing to the left side, there are markings to interpret:

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“No. 1 // 369 K”  The top line indicates this was the first of the set.  The second line may indicate the weight – 369 kg = 813.5 pounds.  Perhaps?  But that would put the 6-pdr about 65 pounds lighter than a Model 1841 of the same caliber. But close to the weight of a Model 1840 6-pdr.

Or 369 K might refer to a foundry sequence number?  There’s more markings to consider.

Normally on American weapons of this period, we’d find the weight stamped on the breech face, below the knob:

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A little hard to read, but this stamp is 889.  That number, in pounds, conforms to the weight of a standard Model 1841 6-pdr.  Keep both these stampings (left trunnion and breech face) in mind when we look at the second Belgian gun.

We already discussed the nice label atop the base ring “Liège 1841”:

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This is very much European in look.  Note also the vent, which is bouched.

We also looked at the muzzle in the earlier post:

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No so much a “brag” here, as many guns would fire eight times that number during the Civil War.  “Fired.1000.Rounds. // 1842” was, I think, intended to mark this gun as the control example in testing.  After all, 1000 rounds was not a full life-cycle test.  That in mind, the bore diameter measures 93 mm, or 3.66142 inches. Giving allowances for my field measures and such, that’s very close to the standard 6-pdr bore specifications.

Moving to the other surviving example, on the north end of the Chickamauga battlefield, representing Douglas’s Texas Battery:

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Again, a familiar exterior form.

This example has no markings on the muzzle face:

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And about that muzzle, I measure it at 98 mm in diameter, or 3.85 inches.  And that is what we might expect for a cannon subjected to a great number of test fires.  The bore, however, is relatively smooth:

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Looking aside from the mud-dauber nest and the bottle seated in the chamber, there’s not a lot of scratches.  Though the stress lines give the appearance of use.

The left trunnion has markings:

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“No. 4 // 370 K”   The first, of course, indicates this was the last of the set purchased in Belgium.  And 370 kg would be 815.7 pounds.  Again, closer to the Model 1840, which would be the pattern in hand when the board was in Belgium, than the Model 1841.

But what about the breech face, is it stamped? Vacation23 035

Yes.  But it reads “1063”.   And that is NOT the weight of the piece.  So “might be” and “could be” on the stampings.

The base ring on No. 4 has the same label as the first gun:

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However, note the vent.  This vent was cleared after what appears to be a lot of wear.

I didn’t have my full field kit in hand when visiting these guns.  So I didn’t get a chance to take overall measurements.  However, conveniently sited next to No. 4 is a standard Model 1841 6-pdr, registry number 146, cast by Ames in 1844:

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The base ring sits directly atop the elevating screw.  The same as on the Belgian cannons.  These National Park Service reproduction carriages tend to be very uniform in dimensions.  So my first inclination is the Belgian guns match the Model 1841 in terms of length.  At least from the trunnions to base ring.

But if we go with the trunnion stamp as the weight in kilograms?  Hard to reconcile that with the dimensions.  One of these days I’ll return to the Belgian guns to give an exact number on the dimensions.  (Or perhaps a reader with a tape measure might save me the trip!)  And that might help discriminate the stampings.

Questions of weight and dimensions aside, there are two of the four Belgian bronze guns surviving – number 1 and number 4.   If we accept No. 1 as the “control” for experiments on endurance…. and No. 4, with all that bore wear, as subjected to substantial firings… then might we suppose No. 2 and No. 3 were destroyed in the process?

Though I’ve never run across a formal report of testing for these Belgian guns, I do know William Wade used the results in other experiments.  And for the next few years Wade would work to perfect the alloying process for bronze and other fine points of casting.  The result that played out on battlefields of the Mexican-American War.  Then later the Civil War.

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A trip to Europe, looking at foundries: The 1840 Ordnance Commission

Last week’s post about foreign 6-pdr field guns was a “resource” post, if not an outright setup posting.  Sort of a background discussion leading me up to some points about European cannons and influences upon American designs.  What I am leading up to is this cannon:

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This cannon marks the battery position for 8th Indiana Battery at Chickamauga (Viniard Field).  At first glance this looks like any old bronze 6-pdr.

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Liège…as in Belgium.

And there’s this bit of service history proudly displayed on the muzzle:

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This weapon’s history takes us back to the end of the 1830s when Joel Roberts Poinsett was Secretary of War.  Aside from introducing the poinsetta to the United States, Poinsett had a very active life as a public servant – Congressman (1821-25), Minister to Mexico (1825-29), and Secretary of War (1837-41).  And, standing apart from many of his fellow South Carolinians, was a strong unionist during the Nullification Crisis.  So Poinsett is an interesting fellow to say the least.

As Secretary of War, Poinsett was a reformer.  In brief, Poinsett proposed many changes to the system of regular and militia forces, aiming for more formality and standardization.  At the low end of reforms, Poinsett pressed for new manuals and better weapons.  But at the high end, Poinsett wanted concentrated Army garrisons, summer training maneuvers that incorporated the militias, and expanded weapon manufacturing facilities.  Some of these reforms got through Congress.  But those on the high end didn’t.

Looking specifically at artillery, the Poinsett years are marked by a series of model numbers for field artillery, easily traced with the history of the 6-pdr guns – Models 1838 and 1840 along with the Model 1841.  And in-between were many experimental types.  Much debate among ordnance officers, and with Poinsett himself, in those days as the Army struggled to find a suitable field piece (arguably, much of that because the Army wanted the “perfect” field piece).

This came to a head in March 5, 1840, when Poinsett wrote the Ordnance Board that he was “…not satisfied that the corps, collectively or individually, posses that practical knowledge which the importance of the subject, both to the country and the reputation of the corps, would seem to require.” Very damning assessment from the boss.  But Poinsett didn’t just call out a problem, he also brought a remedy.  On March 16, Poinsett sent a letter instructing the Ordnance Department to detail a commission of three officers, and one civilian, on a trip to Europe with the mission of gaining the said practical knowledge.  In his letter of instruction, Poinsett wrote:

In the first place, it will be the duty of the board to acquire, as far as may be practicable, all practical knowledge which actual observation may afford upon the following objects, viz:

  1. The process of moulding and casting iron and brass cannon.

  2. The nature of the iron ores and pig metals used, and the treatment of the metal before and during the casting.

  3. The kinds of copper and tin used, and the proportions composing the metal for guns.

  4. The description of furnaces, and the kinds of fuel used in them.

  5. The modes and regulations for the inspection and proof of iron and brass cannon.

These broad objectives meant the board needed to gather information about the process of cannon production from the mines up to the foundry and out to the field.  Continuing with the instructions, Poinsett also authorized the purchase of samples:

The board will likewise obtain, by purchase, iron and brass guns, according to patterns which they are authorized to establish, in numbers sufficient to form a few field batteries; and they will give as much of their personal attention to their fabrication as time will allow, taking specimens of the metals in proof bars, of suitable dimensions for the necessary experiments and tests.

It is that paragraph which authorized the purchase of the cannon pictured above.

The commission consisted of Major Rufus Lathrop Baker, Captain Alfred Mordecai, Captain Benjamin Huger, and former ordnance officer, William Wade (who maintained partnership in a foundry in Pittsburgh, which later became Fort Pitt Foundry).   After spending the summer and much of the fall in Europe, the board returned to provide a very lengthy, detailed report. No doubt, that detail served to impress upon Poinsett that the desired “practical knowledge” was indeed obtained and retained.

In the report, the board provided a full accounting of all purchases.  Specific to the 6-pdr types, there were:

  • Two 6-pdr American pattern field guns, of iron, from Gospel Oak works, Birmingham, England.
  • Four 6-pdr American pattern field guns, of iron, from foundries in Sweden.
  • Two 6-pdr American pattern field guns, of iron, from the Liège, Belgium foundry.
  • Four 6-pdr American pattern field guns, of bronze, from the Liège, Belgium foundry.

Of that last quartet, two were cast in clay.  The other two cast in sand molds.  As you can see, the secretary’s intent was carried out.  There were sufficient 6-pdrs to outfit three batteries.  And that’s just the light field guns, not counting the heavier 12-pdr field guns and howitzers also purchased at the same time.

These weapons were, as alluded to in the letter, not intended for service use.  Rather these were earmarked for testing.  Most of that, tests to determine the weapon’s breaking point.  Destructive testing.

In a report from March 1844, on the extreme proof of a 6-pdr iron cannon cast at South Boston Foundry (Cyrus Alger & Company),  William Wade mentioned the foreign iron guns.  He compared the performance of the 1844 South Boston gun to tests of at least some of the foreign 6-pdr iron guns between 1841 and 1842 at Fort Monroe:

Of the six guns tried, three were cast in at different furnaces in Sweden, one in England, one in Belgium, and one in the United States.  Two of these burst with the charge of 3 pounds of powder and two balls; one at the 38th, and the other at the 39th fire of the series.  Three of them burst with the charge of 3 pounds and 3 balls; two at the 47th and one at the 49th fire.  The other, one of the Swedish guns, endured once the charge of 6 pounds and 7 balls, and burst at the second, being the 52d fire of the series.  The force of the charge last mentioned, under which the Swedish gun failed at the second fire, is computed to be less than that endured by all the [1844 guns]; the weakest of which, endured that force a greater number of times than the Swedish gun.

So that accounts for five of the eight foreign purchased iron guns.  It also indicates American cannon manufacture progressed smartly in just three short years. Some of that due to Wade’s “practical knowledge” and further experiments.

But what of the bronze guns?  I have not found any details of the tests.  But one of the other Belgian guns survives and is also on display at Chickamauga on the north end of the battlefield, at Douglas’ Texas Battery:

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This one is marked as registry number 4.  That at the 8th Indiana Battery is registry number 1.  In my next post, I’ll provide a walk around of these two historic pieces.  For closing now, let us consider these as “artifacts” which speak to a time of reform within the US Army.  These were “samples” used to derive “practical knowledge” in the art of cannon production.

(Citations from Report of Select Committee, to Inquire Into the Propriety of Establishing a National Foundry for the Purpose of Fabricating Ordnance, Report No. 229, 27th Congress, 3rd Session, US House of Representatives, 1843, pages 242-6; “Report of the Manufacture and Proof of 6 Pdr Iron Cannon Cast at the South Boston Foundry: 1844,” by William Wade, from Reports of Experiments of the Strength and Other Properties of Metals for Cannon, US Ordnance Department, Philadelphia: Henry Carey Baird, 1856, pages 16-17.)

Comparison: US and Foreign 6-pdr Guns

Those of us with Cold War experience may fondly recall the old ASCC reporting names for aircraft and missiles.  For those who were not gifted with such experiences, in short the NATO countries, along with allied nations around the world, standardized an artificial set of names for Soviet hardware.  Those artificial names served as a framework when discussing the perceived capabilities of the aircraft or missiles.  But not knowing with precision exactly what the Soviets called their weapons lead to a lot of misidentification and incorrect perceptions.  For the historian dealing with such things, we have to work from a perspective of “what did they know at that time?”… furthermore we must ensure that knowledge, or lack thereof, is used as the context when interpreting the sources.

In the 19th century, armies “looked over the shoulder” of their potential adversaries – and allies – just the same as today.  While perhaps not cloaked an air of “James Bond” and all, there was indeed some technical intelligence gathering going on.  With respect to field artillery, we find that manifested in a section within the US Army’s Ordnance Manuals with a title something like “Cannon of Foreign Countries.”

From the 1841 edition:

The materials for the following table have been collected, with few exceptions, from the latest manuals of artillery in England, France, Prussia, and Austria, and from memoranda obtained in Russia and Sweden.

The dimensions and weights are given in our own measures.

The column of exterior length shows the length from the rear of the base ring to the face of the piece, and the length of bore includes the chamber, when not otherwise mentioned.

In England, France, and Sweden, howitzers and mortars take their denominations, as with us, from the diameter of the bore, or from the caliber of a gun of corresponding bore; in Austria and Prussia, from the weight of a stone ball of the caliber of the bore; in Russia, from the true weight of the shell.

This introduction identifies the sources used, to which I would add some data was undoubtedly derived from examination of cannon – particular those captured from the British during the Revolution or War of 1812.  And that point is one good reason to have data on the cannon of other countries – should the situation arise that American officers need to use captured or otherwise acquired weapons.

The introduction also lets us know the data was converted to American standards.  Though at the same time we see just settling on “the name of a thing” was as difficult then as it is today.

In the past, I’ve used the tables to compare foreign and American 24-pdr howitzers.  There we were focused more on weapons imported during the Civil War.  If we switch over to the 6-pdrs, there were certainly some imports to consider.  But also we might use those tables to compare US weapon development to that of Europe.  Much of the American’s research, development, and test programs focused on the 6-pdr caliber between 1815 and 1855.  And some of the data, which made its way onto those Ordnance Manual tables, was used to assess American work.  That in mind, let us consider the data:

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Please note the color coding here.  Green lines are field guns (many, even heavy types, specifically labeled field gun in the tables).  Rose colored lines are siege, garrison, seacoast, or naval guns.  And that one yellow line is for a mountain gun, included simply because the caliber rating in the manual. Entries from England, France (only the earliest manuals), Spain, Belgium, Austria, Prussia, Saxony, Russia, and Sweden.  To that I added listings for US models from 1919 up to the Civil War.  And for good measure, the experimental Griffen wrought iron gun.

As alluded to in the manual’s introduction, the table included bore diameter, exterior length (minus the knob), bore length, and weight.  There were also columns that rated the windage allowed.  While that was an important factor with field artillery, a lot of variables played in there. Worth discussion at a later time perhaps.

The columns for focus in our discussion today are those detailing the length and weight.  And to narrow that focus more, I’ve added a column to show the ratio between the length of bore (in inches) to the weight of the gun (in pounds).  In other words, how much metal was allocated against the length of travel down the bore?

Why that?  Well, length of bore factors into the interior ballistics of the weapon.  And interior ballistics in turn begets exterior ballistic performance.  Guns have longer bores than howitzers, of course.  But beyond that, when comparing a gun of shorter bore to one with longer bore, there are performance differences to keep in mind. And there are limitations that govern the practical length of the bore.  One of those is the weight of the weapon.  In a simple equation, one would desire the longest bore possible within a given weight.  But… we are reminded the thinner the metal, the more susceptible the gun to bursting or other metal performance problems.  All this said… and again, running the risk of over simplification for sake of brevity… the optimum 6-pdr gun would be one with the longest bore, yet with just enough metal thickness (around the breech, mostly) to ensure good performance and reliability.  But not one pound of metal more!  (lest we start discussing the ratio of horse power to pound of gun…)

But not all metals are the same, you say!  Correct.  In the scope of mid-19th century conversations, there was cast iron and bronze (steel, wrought iron, and other options, we’ve discussed before… were more novelties at that time).  Furthermore, prior to the 1840s, copper, the necessary base for bronze, was mined in only small quantities (Vermont was the leading producer, BTW).  But the early United States had plenty of iron!  Later, after the big Michigan copper rush, the War Department realized the US was gifted with plenty of both metals.

All that background in mind, what do we see with the ratio of bore length to weight?  Well, the Model 1819 “Walking Stick” cannon, of cast iron, had a lower ratio than many European bronze weapons.  In fact, it was almost as low, in ratio, to the British light bronze 6-pdr (which the Americans were very familiar with).   A longer bore, and with a much denser metal, yet the Americans left it relatively thin around the breech.  Only 75 pounds heavier and with about five inches more bore.  Would have been interesting to see range trials between those weapons.

On the other end of the time line, the last mass produced American 6-pdr, the Model 1841, was much heavier, by ratio, than the Model 1819 iron gun.  Nearly four pounds per inch of bore heavier!  This made the Model 1841 heavier, again by ratio, than the Napoleonoic era British and French guns.  (And that is a fine point that I lack space to fully develop here – the French and British move to 12-pdr guns as the century progressed.. topic for another day.)  Yet, the Model 1841 does not stand out as overly heavy compared to the other European powers. Particularly when considering the Belgian guns.

The thumb I’d put on the scales here is with respect to the model numbers.  We have documented efforts by the Americans to develop an acceptable (Secretary of War Joel R. Poinsett might say “perfect” in the sense of perfection being the enemy of good in this case) field gun.  Acceptable in 1819 was a cast iron gun of relatively light weight.  By 1841, even a bronze gun needed more mass of metal – more than a third more, by ratio of bore to overall weight.

Why?  One word – gunpowder.  Despite having few wars during that first half of the Pax Britannica period, the technology of warfare did not sit still.  By 1861, there was nearly a half century of innovation and refinement to apply towards the grim task of warfighting.

Fredericksburg’s Iron Gun to get some TLC?

From Fredericksburg.com’s city beat:

Cannon in front of fire station could be restored

City Councilman Matt Kelly will discuss with the council a proposal at Tuesday’s meeting to work with the National Guard Association on a project to restore the cannon that sits in front of the fire station on Princess Anne Street.

Kelly said he believes the cannon is a “Model 1841 six pounder” and was turned over to the city by the state Adjutant General in June 1852.

He said the cannon is unique because it is cast iron and few were made because of durability problems during testing.

He said he thinks it is one of six pieces imported from Sweden.

The city only used the cannon in Fourth of July celebrations and was housed in the City Armory (which is now the Circuit Courthouse).

The National Guard Association restores guns like these and has taken an interest in the one here, Kelly said. They’ve offered to raise the money needed and have a proper gun carriage made and restore the barrel.

Kelly is proposing that he and a member of the city staff “enter into discussions with representatives of the National Guard Association to set out the conditions for the guns restoration and placement.”

I mentioned this gun when tracing the history of the 6-pdr weapons in American service.

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The does resemble the Model 1841 bronze 6-pdr, but of course is of iron. But I would suggest the proper title to be “Pattern of 1840 Test Gun.” But then again, I get all proper when it comes to titles of cannons.

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The gun has a long affiliation with Fredericksburg and its local militia. The story I’ve heard is it was part of the town militia prior to the Civil War. Somehow the gun escaped any Confederate service, capture by the occupying blue-coats, and heaven knows how many 4th of July firings for patriotic crowds.

I do hope any restoration includes careful stripping of old paint and a survey of any possible trace markings. Would be nice to have something to positively identify the gun.

That Confederate 6-pdr in the Belle Isle photo: An attempted identification

Likely you’ve seen this photo before:

The view overlooks Belle Isle with Richmond, Virginia in the background. Naturally what I’m drawn to is the cannon. The size leads me to identify the field piece as a 6-pdr gun.

But several details indicate this is no regulation 6-pdr. The breech face has a ring, or perhaps an oversize base for the neck of the knob. Just beyond the base ring is a vent astragal, or ring. Hard to be sure, but there don’t appear to be rimbases between the trunnions and barrel. There’s a gap between the cap square and the trunnion. The gun seems too small for the carriage. A non-regulation gun on a carriage for regulation guns.

The gun in the photo reminds me of the weapons produced by Columbia Foundry and John Clarke (predecessor of Bellona Foundry) prior to 1820. But the angle of the gun prevents any direct comparison. Nor are any markings visible.

However, there are two iron guns at Fort Branch, North Carolina which resemble that gun at Belle Isle.

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6-pdr Field Gun recovered from the Roanoke River

Neither this gun or its partner piece have any useful markings to aid with identification. But the form has several features matching that of the Belle Isle gun – wide ring at the base of the knob’s neck, vent astragal, and lack of rimbases.

Archaeologists recovered the guns at Fort Branch with their carriages. Neither exhibit the size problem between the cap square and trunnions.

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Trunnions of 6-pdr gun at Fort Branch

The other gun was dismounted from its original carriage and placed on a reproduction carriage for display.

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6-pdr Iron Field Gun on reproduction carriage

In external form, there are several features in common with the 6-pdr bronze militia guns on display at the National Guard Museum, which I discussed in an earlier post. Again, wide ring at the neck of the knob, astragal ring, and no rimbases. But of course bronze instead of iron.

Restricting the conversation to iron guns, another surviving 6-pdr, this one at in Sunbury, Pennsylvania, also resembles the Belle Isle gun.  The Sunbury gun, however, has rimbases.  I mentioned it in a post last year.

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Iron 6-pdr gun at Sunbury

Regardless of any similarities or dissimilarities that I might suggest, the exterior form of all guns mentioned above had fallen out of favor by 1861.   Odds are those guns were cast well before the secession crisis.

I can offer nothing conclusive about the Belle Isle gun. Perhaps that gun  was from a pre-war militia battery. Or perhaps some old weapon purchased on the market in those hasty early days of the war.  All I can say with certainty is that a handful of very similar guns saw service in the Confederacy.

6-pdr Field Guns for the Militia

Yesterday I mentioned the pair of 6-pdr bronze field guns on display at the National Guard Memorial Museum.

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Militia 6-pdr at the National Guard Memorial Museum

The two guns were employed by the Massachusetts state militia between 1790 and 1810.  The plaque beside the guns suggests a connection with Revere Copper, of Boston, Massachusetts.

The breech of the guns resembles that of the Revolutionary War period bronze guns.  Multiple moldings support a raised base ring.  Notice the cut through the top of the ring, likely used to align sighting.

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Breech and Vent Field

The vent is an inset hole instead of the keyhole shape of some other weapons of the period.  In front of the vent is an astragal ring.  The number in front of the vent appears to be post-casting and is probably an administrative tracking mark.

The trunnions lack any markings.  Typical for American guns of this period, it also lacks rimbases.

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Trunnion and Reinforce

The reinforce ends with a stepped ring just past the trunnions.

The muzzle profile looks familiar in many respects to later bronze 6-pdrs.  The muzzle swell flares a bit more, however.  The chase ring astragal separates the muzzle from the chase.

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Muzzle Profile

The muzzle face has no markings to aid identification of the gun.

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Muzzle Face

Indeed the only identification of this piece is between the trunnions – an Algonquian figure similar to that incorporated with the state seal.

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Figure Between the Trunnions

Overall, these two 6-pdrs are smaller than most Army regulation patterns.  Dimensions are closer to that of the Cadet Guns cast a half century later.

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6-pdr Militia Gun

These guns were not employed during the Civil War, save perhaps administrative or ornamental tasks.  However the two guns are examples of early American 6-pdrs.  These also provide examples of the various non-standard guns used by local and state militias in the first half of the 19th century.

Sunbury’s Confederate Iron Guns

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.

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Northumberland 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.

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6-pdr Iron Field gun - Tredegar #1486

The muzzle on this gun displays the familiar Tredegar foundry number mark.  In this case #1486.

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Muzzle of Tredegar #1486

On the breech, just in front of the vent, is the weight stamp of “918”.

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Breech of #1486

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.

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Shiny 6-pdr Field Gun, Presumed Tredegar

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.

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Breech of Unmarked 6-pdr

The last of the three displays scars and scuffs under the otherwise good paint.  It also lacks any front sight fixtures.

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Unmarked 6-pdr at Sunbury, Presumed Tredegar

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!

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8-inch Siege Mortar Model 1861

However there is one more 6-pdr at Sunbury, also an iron gun.  But this piece was likely cast well before the Civil War.

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Unknown 6-pdr at Sunbury

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:

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77mm FK16 German Field Gun

This gun, a German 77mm FK16, came home with World War I veterans and speaks to another time and another place in history.