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The Double-Barreled Cannon of Athens

WOW...... Is this for real?

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Owlscrying
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Unread post Fri Nov 24, 2017 3:59 pm

There are double barrel pistols, double barrel rifles, double barrel shotguns... But none of those sound as impressive as the double barrel cannon...

It was forged in the spring of 1862 in Athens, Georgia, according to the design of John Gilleland. He was a private in the Mitchel Thunderbolts, a homeguard unit for men too old for active duty. He was 53. The $350 needed to fund the manufacture of the cannon was raised via a subscription fund.

The cannon itself was roughly 13 inches wide and 4 feet 8 1/2 inches in length. It had two, three-inch barrels with a three degree divergence. It was also equipped with three touch holes. One for each barrel and one that would allow both barrels to be fired simultaneously.

Gilleland's intention was for the cannon to fire mostly chain shot. Two six pound cannon balls connected by roughly ten feet of chain. The divergence of the bores was to ensure that the shot would extend to the full length of the chain as it sped towards the target.

The cannon was then sent to the Confederate arsenal in Augusta, Georgia, for further testing. The commandant there, Col. George W. Rains, tested the weapon extensively and reported that it was not usable due to unpredictable rates of powder burn and barrel friction which led to unpredictable performance. The cannon was then sent back to Athens.

After the American Civil War ended the city of Athens sold the double barreled cannon.

At that point it disappeared until it was found, restored, and returned to the city in the 1890s.

These days it sits in downtown Athens in front of city hall.

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Owlscrying
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Unread post Fri Nov 24, 2017 4:05 pm

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While the cannon preserved at Athens is the most famous double-barreled cannon, it is not the only one. Another notable example was called Elizabeth-Henry, named after Charles I's youngest children.[2] It was used by the Cavaliers during the English Civil War, and fired 2oz charges. It could also fire grapeshot. The barrels were wrapped in leather to prevent rusting.

Multi-barreled cannons have also been built in India, and an example with 6 barrels, similar to the ribauldequins of the Middle Ages, has been preserved in the Nehru Scientific Center.

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Owlscrying
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Unread post Fri Nov 24, 2017 4:06 pm

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Polish 9-barrel and 6-barrel cannons

In Poland, cannons with as many as seven barrels were in use in the 16th century. These were similar to the volley guns and organ battery of the 19th century, but in a larger caliber.

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Owlscrying
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Joined: Mon Apr 03, 2017 3:21 am

Unread post Fri Nov 24, 2017 4:07 pm



Double Barrel Cannon in Athens, Georgia

 

phoenaxus
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Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2017 3:12 am

Unread post Wed May 23, 2018 11:10 pm

Having been in an artillery unit myself I must say that is an impressive piece of historic weaponry. Good thing though that it didn't work for the Confederates. May have possibly changed the war for them.

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