J.D.R. Hawkins

One bullet can make a man a hero… or a casualty.

England and the Confederacy

England provided many seacoast guns for the Confederate cause. One of the most formidable guns in the service of the South, as it was called by the historian William C. Davis, was the work of Sir W. G. Armstrong & Company of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.

The Big Gun was capable of firing its 150 pound shells a distance of 4 miles and was one of the most powerful weapons that served the South. The massive cannon defended Fort Fisher at Wilmington, North Carolina until January 15, 1865, when the fort fell during the attack by the Union Army. Shortly thereafter, the gun was brought to the United States Military Academy at West Point. Soon after the end of the war, it was moved to a prominent place on Trophy Point overlooking the Hudson River. There it remained until wind & weather damaged its wooden carriage beyond repair & it fell into storage.

Thanks to the donations of the Military Academy’s Class of 1932, the gun is now back in place & is supported by  a re-creation of the original carriage.

(Information from “The Big Gun,” American Heritage Civil War Chronicles, Summer 1991, Vol. 1/Number 1:38-39)

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