Old Abe a 6 Pound Brass Cannon

Pea Shooter

Mar 8, 2021
Fiddletown, CA.
This is a story about a cannon in the war of northern aggression, out in the gold fields of California. In the small town of Volcano, CA. gold was being mined and sent to the U.S. mint, so it was funding the union government.There was a Confederate faction of business owners in Volcano who were known as the "Knights of the Golden Circle". They were planning on disrupting the gold shipment and sending the money south to the Confederacy. The local Union militia, the "Volcano Blues", got wind of the plot and asked San Francisco for help. All that could be spared was a brass cannon from the Benicia armory. The 800 pound cannon that was called "Old Abe", was smuggled in back of a hearse, into town and used to intimidate the rebel sympathizers.
The cannon was cast by Cyrus Alger & Co. in 1837 in Boston. It was the first of two 6 pounders made on the same day to be stamped with serial number 4. The other cannon still survives the Shiloh Battlefield and is called "Shiloh Sam".
Old Abe was only fired once during the Civil War. It was fired down main street causing windows to break in all the shops not warned to open their windows - the ones sympathetic to the South.
Old Abe is the only cannon of that age in the U.S. still on its nineteenth century wooden carriage with caisson. The Cannon and Hearse both survived to this day. Vaughn





John Winn

Mar 13, 2014
State of Jefferson
Nice photos; thanks. I know that story. The guys who loaded the cannon didn't know anything about it and used mining blasting powder. They're all lucky it didn't explode. While there were a lot of southern sympathizers in both California and Oregon this is the only incident even close to an actual shootout (but a number of newspapers were shut down).


Nov 7, 2012
"war of northern aggression"? Wait who fired on who first? Nice Cannon thou. I got a Rev War swivel cannon complete with the swivel, was a fresh water find. I keep playing Lotto and maybe one day I'll hit and buy one of those CW cannon you see going at auctions for $75,000 to $150,000