Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Search for Secrets of A Sunken Cannon - 51

Benjamin Franklin would say that the "Christian Warrior" militia group and "Black Widows" of Chechnya of Russia were guilty of an "act of violent injustice." These groups sought revenge against American and Russian government authorities March 30th. The score 1-1. Who became the winners or losers depends on participants, not necessarily the witnesses? None of this solves anything, but does perpetuate fear. The lunatics, fringe elements, hatemongers, racists, radicals, paranoids are weaker or stronger depending on who is watching and learning.

Before the American Revolutionary War started Franklin told those responsible for the Boston Tea Party they should repay the East India Company for the tea they destroyed. It wasn't long until he changed his mind and he and Alexander Hamilton were considered terrorists against England with huge bounties on their "treasonous" heads. Search for secrets of a sunken cannon continues here, but we had to figure out what kind of cannons came to America and Ben Franklin and Alexander Hamilton could put holes in why Bob Alcumbrack was searching for the wrong cannon.

Hamilton's guerrilla fighters at night stole English cannons and at morning light his minutemen used them against them. Ben Franklin's militiamen layed at anchor in rowboats in harbors and when British sails appeared their only duty was to shoot holes in the sails. They weren't allowed to shoot at sailors. Odd, you might say, but Ben lured the ship into his trap that could kill all onboard. Years before war broke out he lived in London and was known for his "nudist" mentality of stepping outside his apartment stark naked to get the morning paper.

He literally shocked strangers when they put their hands on his electrified metal fence when staring at his moon bare body. Where and what they saw he didn't care. Franklin was very comfortable walking around inside his apartment naked and "fart proudly." He wrote an essay under that title. He proposed to "Discover some Drug wholesome & not disagreeable, to be mixed with our common Food, or Sauces, that shall render the natural Discharge of Wind from our Bodies, not only offensive, but agreeable as Perfume." Somebody did it is called "Beano" and made by GlaxoSmithKline in Moon Township, PA. Destiny rides again.

One prerequisite of all cannon or treasure hunters is to know what you are looking for before you spend fortunes and labor extensively to achieve nothing. Bob hadn't done enough research to warrant mounting such an expendition based upon scant evidence. The giant cannon he perceived to resurrect was a ghost of his own imagination.

"Awesome blast" and "small cannon" and the fact it had been repeatedly fired for 38 years without incidence didn't mean it was an American cannon. What Bob really needed was hard evidence, such as a cannonball or tool, but that didn't surface until two years later, but during those years he found lots of white brass objects. What he did know was that the cannon pre-dated the Civil War, but more likely came from the War of 1812 or American Revolutionary War. Surely Le Grand Cannon wouldn't give a small cannon to the town elders that had already outlived its usefulness in 1848. Maggie McCarthy and John Downes thought Bob was searching for the wrong size cannon prior to July 4, 1986. Like they, I felt it was more likely a cannon of English, French or Spanish origin. Standing in front of a six-pound cannon would have shot Walter Tompsett in the chest, not the knee. It would have cut him in two pieces.

Using some info from the historical archives of Alexander Hamilton in the Library of Congress I'm giving you a sneak peak of the British ordnances landing in Boston during the Revolutionary War. This might explain why the Federal government was warning so many villages and town's to discard the old cannons.

Alexander Hamilton was an opportunist. He was fascinated watching American militiamen firing artillery; the awesome blasts, the noise and belching smoke of captured British artillery. He dreamed of joining their ranks so he volunteered. His rank "private" but became one of America's first "commando." He and his fellow soldiers would become America's first future artillerymen and he'd use his skills as such to infiltrate and raid British garrisons by night and steal cannons. Hamilton's day and nights would be consumed with cannons. He ate and dreamed about cannons, like Bob Alcumbrack's obsession of digging up his wildest dream cannon.

One dark night Hamilton placed his rifle against a wall near an old cannon. When he started rolling the cannon away he returned for his rifle. The aged and rickety wheels squeaked loudly so Hamilton gave a small oil can to each soldier and they began oiling wheels before the carriage was moved. Silently the cannon and carriage were wheeled away. Waiting outside of town were the non-militia contractors, who were the only men to move the relics for the minutemen. Immediately they would strip the guns from old carriages and replace them on new carriages and returned them to the militia minutemen who put them back into service the same night stolen. They were used against the British, but only private contractors moved military cannons, not the militia minutemen. One branch knows not what the other knows.

Another night Hamilton left his rifle in Boston during a cannon raid and when walking into camp without his rifle George Washington, the Commander in Chief of the Continental Army asked Hamilton where was his rifle? Hamilton replied, "Oh-my-gosh, Sir it's against a wall in Boston." Washington replied, 'Soldier go get that rifle or I'll dock your wages for six months' for punishment. Sounds similiar to GI's that lose or sell gear today.

Hamilton returned to Boston and retrieved his rifle and Washington was so impressed with Hamilton's courage he ordered Hamilton to command America's first artillery unit. Hamilton trained his men to be expert artillerymen through repeated tactical drills, which was what the Cannonsburg seven lacked - no training.

Washington promoted Hamilton to Captain and his artillerymen helped George Washington force the British out of Boston. But that wasn't before Washington and Ben Franklin forced the British out of New York. Hamilton became a staunch Federalist who later became President Washington's secretary and aide-de-camp (1777-1781) and Secretary of The Treasury 1789-95. Hamilton proposed and created the National Debt and Federal Bank, both opposed by President Thomas Jefferson.

When the Revolutionary War broke out during the Boston Tea Party, the venerable Ben Franklin was in London and seen "streaking" outside his apartment. In wasn't long and he was disillusioned by English politics and the dominence rule in America and left England returning to New York. Within months Franklin's guerrilla fighters were raiding British garrisons to steal their ancient 3-4 pound cannons. Most were so old the carriages could hadly move over dry land; they squealed and clanked. Ben had his militiamen harvest the bigger naval cannons off sunken British ships using his Franklin diving bells.

Men sat inside large bells on planks, the sailors lowered into the water trapping air inside like a glass placed upside down in a sink full of water. The bottom ordnances were wrapped with ropes and raised after the bell housing, the cannon's lifted and placed inside a ship's pinnance and floated to distant underwater cribs filled with rocks. The crib was an underwater square log frame blockhouse filled with jagged stones with cannon's nested into the rocks, the cannon placed at a precise angel with the cannon muzzle just below the surface.

Franklin said, "the harvested cannons were so old and dangerous for firing he used them as small harpoons that were driven through British ship bottoms entering New York harbor." Several militiamen sat at anchor tethered to the below surface cannon and the men had strict orders not to shoot sailors, but sails. Although they were like shooting ducks in a barrel, Ben told them to "shoot holes in sails" because they can't catch the wind. This tactic infuriated British captains so they heaved to and tried to run down the militiamen sitting at anchor over the cribs. No sailors were to be shot even though the sailors had orders to shoot them. This was a suicide mission.

As the vessels approached the men kept firing at British sails. With collision imminent one man released the anchor rope and they rowed out of the way and since British ships can't turn or avoid split second decisions, the British ship would strike the crib, the cannons puncturing holes in the vessel's bottom. Submerged cannons were harpoons and often as the vessel moved forward it struck another precise placed crib and the second jolt a harpoon cannon was thrust into the ship's powder magazines. The entire ship exploded killing up to 110 sailors. Fourth, fifth an sixth rate British warship had soft pine bottoms. These were made in Canada and towed across the North Atlantic for rigging and weapons in England. The extinction of the giant White Pines in England was due to overharvesting for larger Man of Warships. First class ships were held in reserve or sent to France and fought against Napoleon. These ships had bows 3 feet thick and sheethed in copper plating making it more difficult to puncture bottoms.

The monarchy in England declared Franklin a war criminal for his militiamen's deadly attacks against the British in New York harbor. A 10,000 pound ($) reward was offered for his capture and conviction. Ben Franklin's men could kill hundreds of sailors before they set foot on American soil. Franklin helped negotiate an end to the war in 1783. England had lost the war in America because it thought the continental army was too weak with inexperienced fighters so it sent the worst of ancient 3rd and 4th class ships to fight us.

Losing the war made England's King George III very unpopular with his countrymen who complained 'we lost because he shouldn't have concentrated so much on Napoleon.' The King had to protect England, protection of homeland was most important. It didn't have the resources to fight both wars on equal footing. The ancient cannon were sent to America. They were extremely dangerous to fire, let alone move far on such rickety hardware. These were thorns to the British also so why send good cannons to America. Many in England thought America was a lost cause. They couldn't move the cannons fast either, but so to the king thought they'd be a hinderance to any American's who captured them as "trophies" of war. Although American's didn't have or could manufacture cannons, what they did possess were excellent woodworking craftsmen who could refurbish the cannons with new carriages.

Hamiliton's field militiamen had astounding success using ancient cannons against the British and it was enough resolve to force them out of America. The Le Grand Cannon, Hamilton, Washington and British ordnance connection shows us the true age of pre-Civil War cannons that was not exposed until after the conclusion of Bob's first big dig failed. Bob had hoped to shine July 4, 1986 in a treasure hunters limelight before media TV broadcasts with the resurrection of the missing Cannonsburg cannon, but such was not his destiny until.... more next time. Have a nice day.

1 comment:

  1. Since their inception the Teaparty crowd (not a movement since they do have the numbers or clout) have been “haters not debaters”. In my opinion this is what the small portions of the republican party of “birthers, baggers and blowhards” have brought you. They are good at “Follow the Leader” of their dullard leaders, they listen to Beck, Hedgecock, Hannity, O’Reilly, Rush and Savage and the rest of the Blowhards. Are you surprise at what they do when you know what they think? The world is complicated and most republicans (Hamiliton, Lincoln, Roosevelt) believe that we should use government a little to increase social mobility, now its about dancing around the claim of government is the problem. The sainted Reagan passed the biggest tax increase in American history and as a result federal employment increased, but facts are lost when mired in mysticism and superstition. Although some republicans are trying to distant themselves from this fringe most of them are just going along and fanning the flames. Lets face it the Republicans had 8 years to deal with health care, immigration and financial oversight and governance and they failed. They could not even win one of the two wars they started, the body bags are still coming in. The Republicans wanted to give Obama his Waterloo defeat over healthcare but instead they gave themselves their own Waterloo defeat by not participating in the debate of ideas and by becoming the party of obstructionist. But they now claim they have changed, come on, what sucker is going to believe that?