Fawcett, Preston & Company of Liverpool, England, cast this 4-inch, 18-pounder rifled cannon in 1862 and sold it to the Confederacy. It was part of a "flying battery" of field artillery stationed at Fort Fisher that protected Confederate commerce vessels, called blockade-runners, that traded at Wilmington, North Carolina. This cannon participated in the fight for the blockade-runner Hebe, which ran aground near Fort Fisher on August 18, 1863. As the USS Minnesota and other Union gunboats shelled the Hebe five days later, a party of sailors landed and captured the Confederates' flying battery, including the Blakely cannon. Rear Admiral S. Philips Lee, commander of the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, later sent the Blakely to Washington, D.C., as a trophy of the U.S. Navy's service on the blockade of Wilmington.
Fawcett, Preston & Company cast many Blakely patent cannons. This specific example, however, does not bear the "Blakely's Patent" stamp. The gun actually resembles a Federal 3-inch ordnance rifle more than a Blakely, even though it is indeed a Blakely model.
The N.C. Museum of History would like to thank the Naval Historical Center, Washington Naval Yard, Washington D.C., for the loan of the Blakely cannon; Joe Schwarzer and Dennis Schurr for locating the gun; and East Carolina's Constructors, and William Prentice for their assistance in conserving the cannon. Special thanks also go to Ken and Martha Howard for funding the conservation.