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Old June 19, 2000, 09:28 AM   #1
nralife
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I have been thinking about getting into Civil War reenacting and skirmishing and there are no forums here that cover that sort of thing. As I surf a around the 'net I see a lot of interest in talking about the big guns like the 1857 12 pound Napoleon and reenacting in general.




I would like to share a story about someone who used a Napoleon cannon like the one above to great affect in the battle of Fredricksburg.

The Gallant John Pelham at Fredricksburg, Dec. 13, 1862

"On the morning or December 13 lifting fog revealed William B. Franklin's Left Grand Division preparing to advance. Jackson's Corps, hidden in the woods at Hamilton's Crossing below Fredricksburg, was the objective. Dashing into the open (some thousands of yards in advance of Confederate positions) with just two field pieces (A 12 pounder Napoleon which was allegedly Pelham's personal pet, and a 10 pounder Parrot Rifle ), impetuous John Pelham of Alabama held off" Franklin's advance for over two hours. Pelham held his ground in spite of heavy counter battery fire (by 24 Union Field guns) that dismantled the Parrot Gun and decimated the gun crew. Pelham continued to bombard Franklin's Grand Division in spite of repeated orders from both Stuart and Jackson to withdraw. At one point JEB Stuart sent a messenger to order, "Get back from destruction you infernal, gallant fool!" According to legend, Pelham replied, "Give my compliments to General Stuart and inform him that I shall most certainly retire as soon as I have expended my ammunition."

General Robert E. Lee said of Pelham's exploit at Hamilton's Crossing, "It is glorious to see such courage in one so young."

At the end of somewhat over two hours, Pelham withdrew. He had lost one gun dismantled, five dead, and six wounded. In return, he had knocked the whole Union left flank's advance into turmoil. He had held the advance of over 15,000 Union troops at a stand still and inflicted hundreds, and perhaps even a thousand or more casualties. Pelham's gallant stand enabled Jackson to organize a warm reception that managed to repulse the assault by superior union forces and thus assured a Confederate victory at Fredricksburg.

Pelham was the youngest Major in the Confederate Army. He resigned from West Point at the beginning of the War and joined Stuart's cavalry corps. His skill, courage, and dash quickly lead to his appointment as Stuart's Chief of Artillery. Pelham was killed at a skirmish at Kelly's Ford Virginia in 1863. He was 24 at the time of his death.

The city of Pelham, a suburb or Birmingham, Alabama, was named for him and there is a historical society dedicated to his memory. Major Pelham is buried near his boyhood home in Jacksonville, Alabama."

Here is a link to a great site that is about the best I have seen a reenactment group have. It has lots of good information about the true racial makeup of parts of the Confederate Army, as well as lots of pictures and many songs from the South to listen to. It is a very good site.
http://www.37thtexas.org


I wish I could afford one of those Napoleon cannons myself. They range in price from 10 to 30 thousand dollars. A bronze model like the on in the picture runs well over 20 thousand dollars. I will probably get one one of these days anyway. You see, it is simply a matter of priorities.


If you like I could make a post on the general forum to see how much support there would be for this sort of thing?

Thanks,
Joe

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[This message has been edited by nralife (edited June 19, 2000).]
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Old June 19, 2000, 10:16 AM   #2
Skyhawk
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Having always been a BIG bore fan, that Napoleon cannon is a beaut! IWANT ONE!

Skyhawk

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Old June 19, 2000, 10:31 AM   #3
nralife
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Skyhawk,

I'm right there with ya!

Here is another great story of an 1857 Napoleon in action:

"At Fredericksburg a Confederate Napoleon recorded the most accurate use of the gun.

Attempting to take out the Union flag bearer, the Napoleon was fired at 1600 yards. The first shot killed the man next to the flag bearer and the second shot struck the flag bearer directly."

Joe

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Old June 19, 2000, 12:06 PM   #4
Coinneach
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"...the second shot struck the flag bearer directly."

My first reaction is a wince... but then, I spoze that wouldn't hurt for more than about 1/10 second...
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Old June 19, 2000, 12:12 PM   #5
Gunslinger
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I have been looking at (lusting after) a few cannons at the gun shows of late. I need one for the front yard. Of course I can't afford anything in that price range but something smaller and maybe a litte less fancy would make me happy.
Actually the Cowboy Forum here would probably generate a lot of discussion on cannons if it were posted there.

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Old June 19, 2000, 12:30 PM   #6
nralife
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Gunslinger,

Dixie Gun works has a cool little half scale cannon that would work for your front yard.


http://www.dixiegun.com


Other somewhat inexpensive cannon makers are at...

http://www.specialtymile.com/southbendreplicas/

http://www.ironhorsecannons.com/


http://www.hernironworks.com

Your top of the line full scale cannons can be found at...

http://www.florentine.com/cannonLTD/index2.html

http://www.wwd.net/steen


I volunteer to administer a cannon/reenactment/black powder forum!

Joe

[This message has been edited by nralife (edited June 19, 2000).]
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Old June 19, 2000, 12:33 PM   #7
George Hill
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Old June 19, 2000, 12:44 PM   #8
Gunslinger
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Thanks NRA. I'll check 'em out.
George. LOL

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Old June 19, 2000, 05:56 PM   #9
nralife
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George,

What you rolling your eyeballs for, huh? LOL

Joe d)
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Old June 19, 2000, 06:45 PM   #10
Rich Lucibella
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Sorry, nralife. It doesn't appaer on the face of it that it'll be well attended.
Rich
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Old June 19, 2000, 07:06 PM   #11
George Hill
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I must admit - thats a mighty fine cannon.
problem is that I dont know of a leather maker that could make a shoulder rig for it.

Not as big as my cannon... at least thats what Mrs Kodiac said...
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Old June 19, 2000, 07:25 PM   #12
Ed Brunner
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Major Pelham also has had Camp Pelham named after him. It is a U S Army post in South Korea and was the home of the 2d Howitzer Battalion (105-155) 19th Artillery, 1st Cavalry Division.

"Cannon" is a word like "deer". The plural is the same as the singular.

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Old June 19, 2000, 10:01 PM   #13
nralife
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Rich,

Well, I figured you would say something like that. That's okay...

I respect your decision.


Ed,

Hey thanks for letting me know about Camp Pelham in Korea!


Thanks,
Joe

[This message has been edited by nralife (edited June 19, 2000).]
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Old June 20, 2000, 05:11 PM   #14
Daniel Watters
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One of my assistant principals in high school seriously lusted for a 75mm pack/mountain howitzer. He became very animated when I had told him about one still in use at a ski resort for avalanche prevention. Whenever they thought that the snow pack was getting too large and loose, they'd fire a HE round into it.
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Old June 20, 2000, 10:18 PM   #15
4V50 Gary
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Here's my cannon story.

As a child in 3rd grade, I worked for the school janitor and collected trash from the classrooms at lunch time. I also did janitorial work for my aunts. Thus, it came to pass that I spied a 9 or 12 pounder cannon in the window of an antique shop. It appeared to be as new as the day it came from the foundry. Best of all, the asking price was a mere $119. Through my efforts, I had amassed more than enough to buy the cannon.

So, one day when I, my brother, sister, Uncle and father passed by, we collectively looked at the cannon. I then asked my father in the presence of my siblings and uncle if I could buy it. He looked at me and in his fatherly way said, "No, why do you want that thing and where are you going to keep it?"

No logic could persuade him to let me buy that gun. Now, many many many years later, I still regret my father's decision.

BTW Rich, since I have a Beer Can Mortar (check out my report in the Live Fire Exercise Forum), I claim first dibs over NRAlife on this one.
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