The American Civil War which was fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865 is often considered one of the bloodiest wars in their history. It is truly the last of the medieval wars and the first of the modern wars. Among the wide range of weapons used one prominent one is the Civil War Cannon. Cannon is basically any mechanism or artillery that used gunpowder or similar explosive compounds for energy to launch projectiles that may have destructive impacts. With their damage, range and accuracy improved they were widely used during the American Civil War. They played a critical role in the destruction of fortifications. Cannons were also introduced in warships and naval forces.
Here are 10 facts about these Cannons which the common man would not have known before.
1 : Weight and range
The range of the civil war cannons was tremendous considering their weight. Few models had a range as large as 1.2 kilometers and many had a range of about 800 meters. That was pretty huge for destructive attacking from a comfortable distance, especially while attacking a fortress.
2 : Iron Filled ones
The cannon balls used in these cannons are made of cast iron filled in with explosive powder. In fact, many of them can still be found in backyards and also may be found upon digging at various places that have been previously used as a battlefield.
3 : Not just one model
The Civil War cannon weren’t just one model. Several types of it were used whose names aren’t known to many people. These include the 6 pounder gun, M1857, 12 pounders “Napoleon”, 20 pounder Parrot Rifle and many others. There are actually many parameters which are used to categorize them. Some of these parameters are weight, barrel length, Altitude, and range and also based on the type of objects fired.
4 : The Collectible Items
The Civil War Cannon balls and cannon are currently considered as a collectible item. One in possession of any can auction them and make some quick money. A cannon ball can be sold for about $15 to as high as $50.
5 : Corrosion resistant
Most of the cannon equipment was made of bronze, an alloy of copper and tin. However, there were a few exceptions. Naturally, they were corrosion resistant and strong.
6 : Mobility factor
The most useful feature of the Cannons made during those times was their mobility. Many models were constructed upon wheels. Hence soldiers could move them around in a battlefield and change the direction of fire quickly and efficiently although they weighed a lot.
7 : Four major types
On a broad basis, there are four major types of cannons. Historians may name them as Field (the ones that can be easily moved around), Mountain (The ones that can be swiftly dismantled and mounted on a horse and transported), Siege and Garrison (these are heavy and difficult to transport) and finally the Seacoast (These are huge and generally fixed usually at fortifications and seacoast).
8 : Swamp Angel
There is one famous artillery weapon, called ‘The Swamp Angel’. A Siege weapon was used to fire explosive shells into the city. It was fired continuously for 2 days until it finally self-exploded causing damage to its users.
9 : Double Barrel Cannon
Although not a new innovation, during this time a special Double Barrel cannon was made. However, it did not work as expected. It was designed to fire multiple cannons at the same time but the test and prototypes have failed miserably and there was no synchronization of firing. Nevertheless, this weapon was kept in the city as a defensive weapon just in case but was never properly used.
10 : The first Cannon
The very first Cannon which is the root of all these cannons was invented in China. Soon the technology developed and spread to Europe in the middle Ages and later spread across faraway lands of North America.