Where did the Americans' cannon come from?

Discussion in 'Cannon' started by Gene L, Jun 8, 2016.

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  1. Jun 8, 2016 #1

    Gene L

    Gene L

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    The Revolution, AWI, the Americans seemed like they had a fair amount of cannon. I assume some came from France, and others were captured from the British.

    Still, they had a surprising number of cannon. Not a lot of powder, but apparently enough to win the war. Can't figure that out.
     
  2. Jun 8, 2016 #2

    Artificer

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    Some of the guns came from Britain and had been in the hands of Colonial Governors since before or during the FIW. Some were captured from the French in that war and parceled out to Colonies.

    However, the MAJOR amount of large guns around Boston in the early part of the war came from the efforts of Henry Knox. He had been a bookseller prior to the war and had studied extensively on Artillery, BUT he had never worked with the real thing until the war began.

    Here is a link that is a start to find out more about how Knox got the great guns down from Fort Ticonderoga to Boston.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noble_train_of_artillery

    Gus
     
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  3. Jun 8, 2016 #3

    tenngun

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    Cannon casting was a productive art at that time. Few ships sailed without guns on board. Most were in the 2,4,6 lbs range common in the army then. Washington complained several times to congress that guns he was expecting to get got diverted to privateers instead.
    The dutch and Spanish sent lots of guns in to the caribian that ended up in American bottoms, then on to American fields.
     
  4. Jun 8, 2016 #4

    Artificer

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    Some field guns were also privately purchased by affluent civilians to show off their wealth and gain influence. Buy a gun, get an Artillery Commission in the Militia, no problem. No need to go running about or exerting oneself like the Infantry, you remained at your gun when you drilled.

    Also, though Artillery Officers in the period often did not gain the glory that Infantry Officers did, it was well known one had to be of higher intellect to be a competent Artillery Officer.

    I don't know how far back the following quote goes, but it goes back quite a ways.

    "Artillery lends dignity to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl"

    Gus
     
  5. Jun 8, 2016 #5

    Artificer

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    Ok, seems the quote above came from Frederick the Great of Germany, 1740 to 1786. So it is indeed, period correct.

    Gus
     
  6. Jun 13, 2016 #6

    thehorn

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    The significant haul of Ticonderoga cannon were sent overland to buttress the colonial positions at Dorchester Heights in March 1776. Later, a significant seizure of British cannon at Saratoga (Sept 1777) were transported south to Washington's army in Pennsylvania.
     
  7. Jun 13, 2016 #7

    tenngun

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    And cannon were all over. Most trading post had cannon, many plantation owners owned a gun.
     
  8. Jun 14, 2016 #8

    zimmerstutzen

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    Whether true or not, I can't say, but I grew up in the shadow of the Cornwall ore mine in central Pennsylvania and during tours, the guides said cannon were cast there for the Rev War. A high school class mate lived a half mile from the furnace and several cannon balls were found during excavation for his house.
     
  9. Jun 14, 2016 #9

    tenngun

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    I've never seen numbers on guns cast in America at that time. We were casting bells and bronze can serve for a gun. I have not seen it mentioned at for this place but the Spanish were using 'leather guns', small bore light guns of a thin iron tube bound in heat shrunk iron bands then covered with multi layers of raw hide shrunk on and effective as a light artillery piece/ swivel gun type although mounted on a light carriage.
     
  10. Jun 14, 2016 #10

    zimmerstutzen

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    The Cornwall operation was producing iron in the 1730's. It remained active until about 1979.
     
  11. Jun 14, 2016 #11

    cynthialee

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    that is brilliant!
    I would love to see a recreation.
     
  12. Jun 15, 2016 #12

    Gene L

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    Squire Boone had a wooden cannon reinforced with iron bands fashioned at the Siege of Boonesboro and fired a couple of rounds with it before it broke. What if any good it did isn't clear.
     
  13. Jun 15, 2016 #13

    R.C.BINGAMAN

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    All though I currently have no documentation to assert the following perhaps loyalist Dave a poster is knowledgeable on the following. Mt Etna MD.on CRYSTAL FALLS DRIVE at the current site of the Mt.Etna fire hall at south mountain there was a iron smelter that was used during the A.W.I. supposedly cannons were cast at this site.
     
  14. Jun 18, 2016 #14

    Okie Hog

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    Most of the cannons used by rebels in the Revolutionary War were made right here in the future USA. Virtually all were made of cast iron. Salisbury Forge made iron cannon as did Thomas Hughe's furnace in MD.

    The Bridgewater Foundry in MA pioneered the casting of solid cannon that were then bored out.

    Read: American Iron; 1607-1900 by Robert B. Gordon.
     
  15. Jun 19, 2016 #15

    SamTex1949

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    I would just like to see the process of casting and finishing any of these cannon ! :thumbsup:
     
  16. Jun 21, 2016 #16

    zimmerstutzen

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    About 30 yrs ago, there was a backyard foundry in southern Lancaster County pa. The owner was quite elderly and he sand cast bronze and iron cannons from small to 3 inch tubes. I still have a 1.25 inch bronze tube he made. I tried to negotiate a deal to trade labor for an iron tube. He wanted 120 hours, which at the time I would have done just to learn and do the process. His son called me and accused me of trying to take advantage of the guy and before I was up to 10 hours, he put the guy in a nursing home
    .
     
  17. Jun 22, 2016 #17

    Mort Scott

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    years ago the trade of foundry was a trade secret. only to be passed on to family. i taught foundry for 34 yesrs through a university in the art dept. had to find out alot through reading an lots of tryal and error, i did cast two bronze cannons before i left and retired, love em.
     
  18. Jul 14, 2016 #18

    Odentheviking

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    Not to say this is not true....... But one of the things Americans were revolting about was the Pig Iron Act. That basically said all iron ore from North America could be refined to pig iron but no further. It was then sent to England then sent back as iron items, trade goods, etc.... How would these rebels get the skills to forge cannon? Americans were fighting a war of movement, how would they protect a forge? Each town and county had an armory with cannon and many were raided and arms or all kinds captured by the Rebels! As stated before, there was a large number of British cannon taken from the Saratoga battle. I would think that shot and ball may have been made locally. I have never seen any cannon tubes from the AWI period that did not have English, Spanish, French, etc.... Markings.
     
  19. Jul 14, 2016 #19

    Odentheviking

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    Reenacting ACW back in the late 70's around Va. And Md. There was a crew that placed a steel tube core into a turned wooden tube. 12 pnd Napoleon I think, we affectionately referred to it as " The Green Weenie"! As it was painted this odd green color to look like an original tube never polished.
    Good times!
     
  20. Jul 22, 2016 #20

    valen

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