By chance I was looking through an old (1992-94) catalog of replica cannons from South Bend Replicas, which contains many small photos of original cannons, located here and there. One that caught my eye was a bronze 6-pounder with a very handsome droopy-winged Federal eagle in relief over the trunnions, located at Fort McHenry, on pp. 52. I'd seen that piece some 20 years before but had totally forgotten it.
The next day (yesterday) I went to Fort McHenry, only about two hours away, and spent a good while photographing and measuring the gun. Fortunately the Fort staff had at some point decided to mount this piece permanently inside the barracks building, out of the elements and more secure than before.
The gun matches my "SNY" marked piece closely in design and dimensions, with the following exceptions:
"FORT MCHENRY EAGLE PIECE".............."SNY-MARKED PIECE"
Trunnions have rimbases....................................No rimbases
Eagle in relief vice belly band.............................Bare belly band remains
Lock-mounting holes left of vent........................Lock mounting holes to right
Original copper vent bouche?............................Vent rebouched, iron
Marked "5-3-26" and "No. -39" on reinforce.......Marks: "5-3-09" on breech face and "6" on chase
I haven't yet measured the "SNY gun" as fully as I have the "Eagle" gun, but will do so this week. The basic measurements I have compared so far seem to be different only by small amounts that could be attributed to gun-to-gun manufacturing variances.
Now we have full details on the two known examples of this basic pattern, and some measurements on two tested by LT. Bell in 1827. I'd have to guess that the "SNY" example is a bit earlier than the "Eagle" gun, because rimbases were an improvement to the strength and endurance of cannon tubes which was introduced relatively late in the muzzle-loading cannon era, generally thought to have begun with the Gribeauval System in France during the 18th C.
It was mentioned in passing that Company member (Fellow?) Ray Lewis had looked at the same piece and may have studied it to some extent, so I need to make contact with him and compare notes. He's certainly one of the foremost cannon sleuths around judging from his previous Journal articles on the Savannah 24 pounder guns. I'm sure if anyone can come up with contract or acceptance documention on these pieces, he can.
The photo shows the "eagle" piece inside the barracks at Fort McHenry as of yesterday.
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