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Old Jul 9, 2014, 12:45 PM   #1
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Default Gettysburg - 2014 Part 3

What's a Civil War reenactment without cannon? It's probably the big draw for most spectators. To be sure, these guns only fired half-charges. Their noise, while still PLENTY loud, was nowhere near a fully-charged piece. In the actual battle, there were approximately 400 cannons combined. When the cannonade started, it was reportedly so loud that it could be heard in Philadelphia (over 100 miles away). It lasted over an hour before the infantry was sent in. The Confederates did little damage to the Union lines because they overshot. The Federal batteries were more effective but still not a lot of damage to infantry. Both sides killed quite a few horses in the rear, though! So... without further ado -- CANNONS!

Some Confederate pieces waiting for placement

A Napolean 12-pounder. Note the blow-back from the touch hole.

From the actual battle field on McPherson's Ridge (day one of the battle). The large barn in the background was used as a hospital for both sides. It is the original structure.


Parrott Rifle -- Parrotts were manufactured with a combination of cast and wrought iron. The cast iron made for an accurate gun, but was brittle enough to suffer fractures. Hence, a large wrought iron reinforcing band was overlaid on the breech to give it additional strength. There were prior cannons designed this way, but the method of securing this band was the innovation that allowed the Parrott to overcome the deficiencies of these earlier models. It was applied to the gun red-hot and then the gun was turned while pouring water down the muzzle, allowing the band to attach uniformly. By the end of the Civil War, both sides were using this type of gun extensively.

A brass Napolean 12-pounder. "Although officially called the “light 12-pounder gun” in the North, this most popular smoothbore was better known as the “Napoleon”. It was named for a nephew of Napoleon I, Prince Charles Louise Napoleon Bonaparte, who became Emperor Napoleon III of France. The Napoleon was the favorite field gun of both armies. It was reasonably accurate as all ranges and was devastating when firing canister at close range. The Napoleon was robustly designed (in modern parlance it was “overengineered”) and was capable of firing large number of rounds (more than 1200 rounds for a six gun battery in a single engagement was not uncommon) without any noticeable distortion or wear on the tube. In one incident at Antietam, an enexperienced infantryman of the Iron Brigade helped man a gun of Campbell’s Battery (B, 4th U.S.) in repulse of Hood’s attack. The infantryman lithely loaded double canister and fired away-unaware the he was supposed to remove the powder charge from the second round before loading! The overcharged gun bucked violently into the air with each round, but was found to be fully serviceable at the end of the battle. WIth a propellant charge of 2.50 lbs of lback powder, the Napoleon fired a 12.30 lb. solid shot to a range of 1,619 yards at 5 degrees elevation. the muzzle velocity is 1,485 feet per second (F.P.S.)." ~~ Steen's Cannons

FIRE! Pffffffffffffffft


The "plat de résistance". A cardinal rule in this type of photography is, "Never shoot directly at the muzzle because all you'll get is smoke." I took my chances and got lucky!
Gary ---- "The best camera is the one you have with you."
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Last edited by gjtoth; Jul 9, 2014 at 3:33 PM.
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