I've been trying, on and off, to determine the maker of this bronze swivel howitzer for some years. I recently stumbled onto what may or may not be useful information in the form of an entry regarding Augusta Arsenal for 1840, contained on an unnumbered page listing "class I ordnance" reported at that place for the 3rd. quarter (?) of 1840. Citation: RG 156, Entry 99, volume containing 3rd. qtr 1840. I'm including a photo but you will have to use a zoom control to read the entry I'm discussing.
The left-hand page, 3rd. line down contains entries for Augusta arsenal, as indicated on previous index page (not shown.) The columns are marked "brass swivels." The number "3" below "3 3/4" indicates a report was received stating that there were 3 each, 3 3/4 inch brass swivels at Augusta in 3rd qtr, 1840.
I've only seen one "brass swivel" with a 3 3/4 inch bore, and that's the one I've been researching. The 10 min. video linked below shows more detail than you probably want to see of this piece, and there is text showing its measurements, which briefly, are:
Bore: 3 3/4 in. (chambered howitzer)=95.2 mm
Total length: 28 in.=71.1 cm
Length without knob: 22 in.=55.9 cm
Features unusual cast-in, wrought-iron tiller
Marks: Largely illegible, but seems to bear scratch engraving including "LA TOUR" and a date of Avril 11, 1756?
The only reason I'd even suggest a connection between the 3 pieces inventoried at Augusta in 1840 is that 3 3/4-inch brass swivels just don't exist, for the most part, mine is the only one I know of. The Archives document cited does not specify "howitzer" but the format used for specifying the caliber, "3 3/4" indicates that to me. The only other "brass" swivel howitzer anywhere similar I'm aware of is the 1771-dated Danish example in the Tower Armouries, with 3.4 inch bore, attached tiller, but low trunnions (Tower no. XIX.181.)
Wild speculation might include something to the effect that the three pieces listed at Augusta were brought by the French for use in the Siege of Savannah in 1779, and since many Haitian troops were involved, perhaps they brought these pieces from home, which would explain their French language markings and nonstandard design.
One other thing to note about it is that it was cast with the breech UP, as opposed to the usual practice. That's why the breech has many small gas bubbles visible in it. Therefore I'd suggest the founder of this piece was not experienced in casting cannons, or he was working with minimal equipment and just trying to cast cannons by whatever means was available.
Can anyone help with where this swivel howitzer was cast, or provide any information at all?
If anyone knows how to get hold of Ray Lewis, he's one of the few people I can think of who might be able to shed some light on this. I have misplaced his contact information.
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