AN IRON MODEL 1827 6-POUNDER ON CONFEDERATE NAVAL CARRIAGE
On 12 December 1827, McClurg & Company (later Fort Pitt Foundry) of Pittsburgh accepted a U.S. Army contract for 100 6pdr iron cannon at $70 each" for which the first 20 were delivered in 1828 and a second batch of 22, averaging 776 pounds weight per gun, were delivered in 1829. The proof sheets kept by LT John Symington survive for these two years and in the second, dated 22 September 1829, we find the entry for inspections of guns number 21-48. In 1987, the consignor discovered and purchased this cannon in upstate New York. The gun was recovered from a sunk Confederate gunboat in the Mississippi River by troops of the 26th Massachusetts Volunteers under Colonel Edward F. Jones during the 1862 campaign. Until the appearance of this gun, the Model 1827 was known from archival records, but a definitive identification had never been made. Unlike the handful of other survivors which are largely unmarked, this Model 1827 still had a number of discernable markings, despite pitting to the barrel surface. From it, positive identification of not only the pattern, but the specific gun, could readily be made. On the top of the barrel, directly between the trunnions, a large 'US' can be seen. The left trunnion is marked 'McC & Co.(with double-struck M) for its maker, while the right trunnion bears '1829', the year of its manufacture. On the upper face of the muzzle is 'IS' for John Symington, Inspector, while on the lower face is 'No. 30', per the 1829 proof sheet noted earlier. On the cascabel of the breech '786' is engraved, which matches the weight entry in the same sheet, and '786 Pds' is stamped on the breech base below the cascabel. The barrel length is 57 inches, more than a foot shorter that the Model 1819 'Walking Stick' 6-pounder it was designed to replace, but approximately 24 pounds heavier. Of equal importance to the superb condition of the tube itself, is its rather unique naval sliding carriage, which according to ordnance expert, the late Edwin Olmstead, "The well conceived and built marine slide is a skillful improvisation for shipboard use." The cap squares, the cheek pieces for the trunnion and rear slider are brass alloy or bronze, while the light section T-rails forming the slide are wrought iron. The capscrew utilizes compression to influence recoil. A rare gun on an even rarer and most handsome sliding carriage.
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