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"“Serial numbers” on artillery tubes?" Topic


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Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP12 Jun 2021 12:47 p.m. PST

I have read here that the Hesse Hanau artillery contingent in Burgoyne's army took French artillery captured at Quebec in 1759. Of course new carriages had to be made. Only the tubes were kept. After the guns were captured by Gates, the guns were distributed throughout the American army. I will venture a guess that original pattern French carriages would be used, simply because they were made for each other, but painted British Grey. Or maybe Hessian grayish blue.

Ditto the guns Ethan Allen and/or Benedict Arnold captured at Ticonderoga. The heavier guns were taken to Boston by Knox in the dead of a New England winter. The whole arsenal saw American service. If carriages had to be made, I would guess they would be painted linseed oil mixed with iron oxide, very dark red.

The Hessian 4 pdr battalion guns captured at Trenton were immediately pressed into service. They were so well built that Knox rebooted them into 6 pdrs. Fife and Drum makes the "Swedish 4 pdr in 28mm (Jim calls it 1/56) scale. Since nothing changed in appearance, I would keep the guns in Hessian blue grey.

As one can imagine, many were recaptured by the British in various early war mishaps, recaptured by Americans…
So when anyone asks me what color to paint the various carriages, my answer is "Yes".

I imagine many of these guns had an interesting non-judgemental turncoat.
I asked facetiously if they were kept track of by serial numbers. I was immediately answered in the positive, which amazed me. We moderns often arrogantly assume that we invented everything, but bureaucracy and record keeping does not need computers.

Anyway, I have an idea what to do if I "need" to get specific artillery for a specific use.
Fife and Drum/Minden can satisfy your Hessian and French needs. And if you ask Jim nicely he might be able to supply you with different carriages.

This is not a "weighty" topic. We don't need Locke or the Philisophes here.
I'm just wondering if we have any documentation, traceable through serial numbers of any artillery pieces that had magical adventures up to Yorktown.
It's one of those things that the owner and painter goes through a bunch of research and speculation about, and puts out a final product that only he cares about. ("Hey John! I use the 6pdr line for these guns? OK.")

So, who can give us stories about the adventures of a lowly 6pdr captured at Yorktown?

14Bore12 Jun 2021 1:20 p.m. PST

Have seen serial numbers on Civil War cannon, so only questions did they use them earlier?

Ferd4523112 Jun 2021 1:42 p.m. PST

There is a gun at the Kentucky Military museum (well worth a visit) that was captured by Kentucky troops at the battle of the Thames. It had been taken from the Americans at the battle of Detroit. According to the museum it was originally taken from the British at the battles of Saratoga. H

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP12 Jun 2021 6:04 p.m. PST

The Spanish were sequentially numbering and dating cannon at least a century before the ACW. A cannon manufactured in Seville would have the production number, production date, and the Seville designation on each cannon.

Not Spanish, but interesting nonetheless.

link

miniMo13 Jun 2021 7:09 a.m. PST

British naval cannon had inventory numbers etched in them. So Vermonters know that a cannon they hauled out of Lake Champlain came from the HMS Essex:
PDF link

AICUSV27 Jun 2021 10:46 p.m. PST

The guns taken at Saratoga appear to have been engraved with a notation of their being captured. I can't remember where or when I read about this, but it was a narrative by a British officer describing gun captured during the War of 1812.

I have an article from the "Philadelphia Ledger" from the per Revolution days. It describes a parade of the City's militia companies. They make reference to the "gayly painted gun carriages" of the artillery.

US guns during the ACW did have serial numbers, but it appears they were used more by the manufacturer (tracking shipments) than by the Government.

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