This is one of at least seven known gun positions at Fort Mulligan (note the depression in the angle), which would have dominated the crossroads at Petersburg and its ford on the South Branch of the Potomac River. Confederate General Early indicated that these works were very impressive and that a small force with artillery could have held the Fort against his larger force.
Before you is a full-scale replica ofa Napoleon 12-pounder cannon. TheNapoleon was originally developedin France in the 1850s and was named after Emperor Napoleon III.Most barrels were made of bronze and others were made of iron. This one has been cast in iron. this one has been cast in iron.
Napoleons were used by both Union and Confederate troopsduring the Civil War. The Federal tube was characterized by amuzzle swell and the Confederate tube was smooth and straight without the swell. Called the "workhorse" of Civil War artillery,the Napoleon was designed to fire shot, shell, case shot andcanister. It was capable of firing canister at short range and it could also hurl a shell 1,619 yards with devastating accuracy.
(sidebar) The Napoleon 12-Pounder Field Gun, Model 1857 · Bore Diameter: 4.62" · Tube Material: Bronze or Iron · Length of Tube: 66" · Weight of Tube: 1,227 lbs. · Powder Charge: 2.5 lbs. · Range at 5? Elevation: 1,619 yards.
(sidebar) Types of Projectiles.
Solid Shot - Round projectiles of solid iron for smoothbore guns are commonly called "cannonballs" or "shot." The weight of the projectile determined the "pounder" designation. The smashing effect of spherical shot was used against both material objects and animate targets.
Common Shell - The shell was a hollow iron projectile filled with a black powder bursting charge. It was designed to break into many ragged fragments, and was both anti-personnel and anti-material. Spherical shells were exploded by time fuses ignited by the flame of the cannon's propelling discharge.
Case Shot - Case shot or "shrapnel" had a thinner side wall than common shell and was filled with small lead or iron balls in a matrix of sulphur or asphalt. A very small bursting charge was used to merely break open the casing and scatter the contents into the air.
Canister - Canister consisted of a number of large balls, usually of iron, packed with sawdust in a tinned iron cylinder. The 12-pounder Napoleon canister had twenty-seven 1½ inch diameter iron balls. Upon discharge, the cylinder disintegrated and the balls fanned out.
From the Letters of Joshua Winters, 1863. This poem, handwritten by Private Joshua Winters, was sent in a letter to his sister, Anne.
The Song of the Shell
? ? ? ? By G. Warren Newcomb
Sullen and strong and thick and tall,
? ? ? ? Rises the bastions moated walls.
The glaces is smooth and the ditch is deep,
? ? ? ? And the weary sentry may never sleep;
Over the parapet heavy and dum,
? ? ? ? Peers the mouth of the barbette gun