Almost scrapped during WWII, Civil War treasures in a small Kansas town

SWMODave

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Both photos courtesy Waymarking​

Back in 1986, while visiting relatives in Hutchinson, Kansas, I was taken to visit their Soldiers and Sailors Monument, which is located in the center of their town. The monument is beautiful, with soldiers on the four corners depicting infantry, artillery, cavalry, and a sailor, topped with Abraham Lincoln. As part of Wilson’s Creek artillery demonstration crew at the time, it was the two bronze cannons behind the monument, that caught my eye. I wasn’t knowledgeable enough on the piece’s to know anything about them, beyond they appeared to be similar to the 6 pounder I fired at Wilson’s Creek, but I did know they were valuable enough to be more secure. None of the trunnion plates or wheels were secure. Not something a few teenagers could haul off in the back of a pickup, but still… I let my relative know of this concern, and as he was an employee with the city, this lack of security was somewhat rectified, shortly thereafter. In 2004, the carriages were replaced with iron carriages. I recently did some research (gotta love the internet and all that information now immediately available) to see what the story on these two cannon were. Apparently, a few years after I had visited the pieces, word began to spread on what jewels Hutchinson had sitting in its downtown area.

According to the 2004 edition of ‘Field Artillery Weapons of the Civil War’ by James C. Hazlett, Edwin Olmstead, M. Hume Parks, these are the two guns Hutchinson, KS has pictured above.

#1 Quinby and Robinson, Bronze and Iron 6-pounder guns - Quinby and Robinson, also known as Western Foundry, in Memphis, Tennessee, produced thirteen 6-pounder guns by June 1862, all but one of them of bronze. The first of these to be found, reported in Hutchinson, Kansas, is said to resemble a Federal Model of 1841. Because of a fire which destroyed the machine shop, some rough castings were shipped elsewhere for machining. One 6-pounder casting was tallied as finished by A.B. Reading and Brother, and two others by A.M. Paxton and Co., both of Vicksburg, Mississippi.

#2 A. B. Reading and Bro., Bronze 6-pounder Guns - A. B. Reading and Brother of Vicksburg, Mississippi, cast 35 and completed 32 bronze 6-pounder guns similar to the Federal Model 1841(appendix 8D). They are represented by only four survivors with marks, two of which, numbers 10 and 11, were last reported in Southfield, Michigan. Both dated 1862, are 65.75 inches long overall. Data for the third, at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York, are unavailable except for its number, "35." The fourth has recently been found in Hutchinson, Kansas. Two other pieces were recorded in Atlanta in I864, No. 14, dated 1862, was received at Atlanta Armory on 19 April 1864 and sent the same day, presumably for remelting, to Colonel George Washington Rains of the Government Foundry and Machine Works in Augusta. On 15 June, 1864 “6-pdr bronze gun, A.B.R.&B. Vicksburg No 9” was issued to Colonel Claghorn in Augusta.

In the September 15, 1942 edition of the Hutchinson News, Mayor Willis N Kelly announced the two bronze cannons, would probably be donated to the war effort as part of a state wide scrap drive. They were saved, thanks to the efforts of the ladies auxiliary, and in 2001, the city was offered $90,000 for the cannon barrels, with replica replacements supplied as part of the offer. That offer, as had all former offers, was rejected.

Each barrel has been appraised at $100,000 each and they both sit in downtown 'Hutch' to this day. They do appear, at least in the photo, to be a little more secure than they were 30+ years ago.

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byron ed

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Mar 22, 2017
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Midwest
...In 2004, the carriages were replaced with iron carriages...

I would hope that they are instead the wood-grained and painted aluminum carriages of the National Park Service pattern. More weather-stable than iron, and more replaceable (as NPS die) in the event of intentional or disaster damage. At least it's typical for ACW guns displayed at civic monuments all over the country.

Next time you're there try a magnet on one.
 
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Story

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Aug 5, 2011
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SE PA
Far too often, this was the fate of those "old relics".

One cookie re-ward to whoever can identify the gun.

CLINTON — Memorial Day makes local historian Robert Betsinger think of a Civil War cannon that used to sit in Springdale Cemetery.
Betsinger’s father told him the gun was fired every Memorial Day. “He used to go up there with his grandmother,” Betsinger said. Both of his father’s grandfathers were in the Civil War.

The cannon sat near the Springdale Civil War memorial until the 1940s when it was dismantled for a scrap drive during World War II. Betsinger remembers a photo in the Clinton Herald showing people trying to cut it with a blow torch. You can’t cut cast iron with torch, Betsinger said.

The cannon sat on a base that said “American Defender 1861-1865. The cannon looks large, Betsinger said. “It wasn’t as big as you think it was.” The barrel was about five feet long and had a 2 1/2- or 3-inch bore, Betsinger said.

https://www.clintonherald.com/news/...cle_b50358d2-b821-11eb-9d16-e35a94947566.html
 
Joined
May 12, 2018
I wonder if the scrap drives in WW2 actually did any good, or were just propaganda? I’ve never seen any data that talks about how much scrap collected was actually useful... but based on what I know of the Great Leap Forward (which was fueled by a similar scrap drive) I doubt much of it was. So much of our history was lost in those drives.
 
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