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Gentleman George, Defender of Easton in the War of 1812 by James Dawson

George Cannon is our oldest veteran, but you probably have never heard of him. Even more astonishing is that George is a veteran of the War of 1812. To be more specific, George is an unusual type of cannon called a carronade. Carronades were sort of a short, sawed-off shotgun of a cannon that got their name because they were developed by the Carron Foundry in Scotland about 1780. Some carronades, like the one in Easton, had an under loop cast at the bottom for a trunnion pin to pass through to fix it to a gun carriage or other mount. On the later types, the trunnion pins were cast in at the sides to reduce the center of gravity. The ring at the rear was used for lifting, and the elevation was adjusted by using wedges called quoins. Newer carronades used a screw jack for adjustments. Carronades, also called smashers, were designed for nautical use. Their short, smooth bored barrels were much lighter than a full-sized cannon, but still threw a large cannon ball with great effect at close quarters, say from ship to ship, but were too inaccurate for long dis-

The carronade was originally designed for use on ships. tance aiming. Carronades reached their peak popularity during the American Revolutionary War period, but were gradually replaced by newer cannons with rifled bores, which were much more accurate. The carronade was obsolete by the Civil War. Although George is only three feet long, his 5 inch (5 caliber) bore packs quite a punch - imagine an 18-pound solid iron cannon ball propelled by about 2 pounds of black powder coming at you at 250 miles an hour. 49

Tidewater Times December 2012  

December 2012 Tidewater Times

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