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Confederate Revolving Cannon

Discussion in 'Civil War Weapons and Ammunition' started by Barrycdog, Feb 7, 2014.

  1. Barrycdog

    Barrycdog Major

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    [​IMG]

    The Confederate Revolving Cannon was a weapon developed and used during the War Between The States. The weapon was designed somewhat like a revolver pistol, scaled up to the size of a cannon.

    Henry Clay Pate was a former attorney who, during the U.S. Civil War, organized a mounted company that was called Pate's Rangers or the Petersburg Rangers. The innovative Pate designed the revolving cannon, which he had cast at the Petersburg foundry in Petersburg, Va. This cannon was then made available to Pate's unit.

    The cannon saw use in the siege of Petersburg, Va. It was captured by Union troops at Danville, Va, on April 27, 1865. While innovative, the weapon did not play a significant role on the battlefield. After its capture, the cannon was sent to the Ordnance Laboratory, United States Military Academy, West Point, New York.
    Design and Features

    The revolving cannon was designed with the goal of increasing the fire rate of a cannon. The design was somewhat similar to that of a revolving pistol of the time, consisting of a cylinder which contained the rounds to be fired, with the rotation of the cylinder used to bring the round into position at the breech of a single barrel. The barrel had a two inch bore, and the cylinder held five rounds.

    The cylinders of the revolving cannon were fired using percussion caps. The cap was struck by a large spring-actuated striker.

    The cannon employed a screw mechanism which would push the cylinder forward when it was in position. This reduced the gap between the cylinder and the barrel, which significantly reduced gas leakage during firing.

    A lever attached to a ratcheting mechanism was used to rotate the cylinder. A spring loaded dog would slip into recesses in the cylinder, holding it in the correct position for firing.

    Note: William Austin Leyden of the 9th Battalion Georgia Artillery had a patentent for a revolving cannon too.
     

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  3. Dave Wilma

    Dave Wilma 2nd Lieutenant

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    I saw this basic principle in a modern naval gun, Swedish design I think. The big limitation is the endurance of the barrel which would be prone to overheating and extreme wear.
     
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  4. gary

    gary 1st Lieutenant

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    That cannon is now at the Siege Museum in Petersburg.
     
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  5. Southron

    Southron Sergeant

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    I would LOVE to show up at a Nationals at Fort Shenandoah with a replica of that cannon. Bet the Artillery Inspection Committee would do a "double take" at it!!!
     
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  6. RobertP

    RobertP Captain

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    How long would it take to reload that thing?
     
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  7. 7th Mississippi Infantry

    7th Mississippi Infantry Major Forum Host

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  8. Story

    Story Sergeant

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  9. William G Hendry

    William G Hendry Corporal

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    How many were made or is it a proto type , it would be a real killer.
     

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