The opposite shore

2015-07-18 10.01.44 So things are underway on the Swasey and the Brits just fired a few shots from their cannon.

The first one made me jiggle my coffee, It’s loud too, I thought maybe they were using a bigger load this year. Its just this new location for me, on this shore. Then I glassed them, that barrel is pointed directly at our balcony, here’s hoping for one of those lucky smoke ring shots.


Here’s wiki on cannons.

Cannon operation is described by the 1771 Encyclopædia Britannica. Each cannon would be manned by two gunners, six soldiers, and four officers of the artillery. The right gunner was to prime the piece and load it with powder, while the left gunner would fetch the powder from the magazine and keep ready to fire the cannon at the officer’s command. Three soldiers stood on each side of the cannon, to ram and sponge the cannon, and hold the ladle. The second soldier on the left was charged with providing 50 rounds.[3]

Colonial artillery crew during the American Revolutionary War – contemporaries of the 1771 Encyclopædia Britannica.

Prior to loading, the cannon would be well cleaned with a sponge to remove all sparks, filth, and dirt. The powder was added, followed by a wad of paper or hay, and the ball was thrown in. After ramming, the cannon would be aimed with the elevation set using a quadrant and a plummet. At 45 degrees the ball had the utmost range – about ten times the gun’s level range. Any angle above the horizontal line was called random-shot. The officer of artillery had to ensure the cannon was diligently served. Water was available to dip the sponges in and cool the pieces every ten or twelve rounds.[3]

In the late 1770s it was said that a 24-pounder could fire 90 to 100 shots a day in Summer, or 60 to 75 in Winter. However, French artillery officers managed to have a cannon fire 150 shots daily during siege.[3] A 16 or 12 pounder would fire a little more, because they were more easily served. The Encyclopædia Britannica mentions “some occasions where 200 shots have been fired from these pieces in the space of nine hours, and 138 in the space of five.”[3]

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