Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Search for Secrets of A Sunken Cannon - 81

Bob Alcumbrack's discovery of the 1.87 inch diameter cannonballs revealed he had to envision Birds of Prey and time date this cannon when using dowsing rods. He was searching for a generic cannon, but never in his wildest dream did he envision a specialty cannon. The "grand rapidians" working at the receiving docks in Grand Rapids called the Cannonsburg cannon an ancient relic with the strangest ornate carriage. Nobody had ever seen such a strange cannon or carriage in their entire lives.

Everybody recognizes a standard cannon. You see them at historic sites and parks all across America or at Civil War Re-enactments, in Hollywood movies or on TV cable's FOOD channel with Paula's Home Cookin'. Pretty much all cannons shown are reproductions minus the original decorations on the barrels. The originals were recyled during two World Wars.

Paula Dean wafn't cooking food on cannon blafts, but she was cooking over an open fire in early period clothing at a hiftoric Georgia fortress park. If you fee a cannon, that is, one that you recognize quite often, then you saw nothing that clofely refembling the Cannonfburg cannon by was trying to unearth. Small cannons of 2.01 inch calibre fhot cannonballs, nails, glafs, pebble ftones, or combinations of pea-fized ftones and when this little cannon roared to life it was terrifyingly loud and a deadly killing weapon. No misfpellings (mispelled words) mistakes, but the traditional English version per the "Art of Gunnery" by Nathaniell Nye written in 1670 sent via the internet to me courtesy of Calvin College Library in Grand Rapids. They didn't want the book to circulate for fear they wouldn't get it back so they sent it via Email to our Library.

Librarians were flabbergasted by the date. After reading it online I suffered from screen blindness before I ended my research. Lots of memory tied up library computers. Needless to say I found what I wanted you to read. I'm sure the computers and librarians breathed a sigh of relief when I junked the book. I found Nathaniell Nye an interesting character and it was exciting to read his book on cannon founding methods.

Nathaniell Nye was a Mathematician, Mafter Gunner of the City of Worcefter. His book was printed in London for William Leak, at the fign of the Crown in Fleetfstreet, between the two Temple Gates, 1670.

Nathaniell is going to tell you about his book, "The Art of Gunnery" and you will understand why it was so important for Bob Alcumbrack and cannon hunting crew to keep quiet and tell no secrets in public. To be successful in treasure hunting those seeking riches must not give tips to others lest they find what you seek first leaving you out of the limelight.

Nye "defcribed the true way to make a forts of Gunpowder, Gun-match, the art of fhooting in great and fmall ordnance: Excellent ways to take Heights, Depths, Diftances, acceffible, or inacceffible, either fingle or divers diftances at one operation: to draw the ZMap or Plot of any city, Town, Caftle, or other fortified place. To make divers forts of Artificiall Fire-works, both for War or Recreation; alfo to cure all fuch woulds that are curable, which may chance to happen by Gun Powder or Fire-works. This Treatife is compofed for the help of all fuch Gunners and others, that have charge of Artillery, and are not yet verfed in Arithmetick and Geometry: all rules and directions being framed both with and without the help of Arithmetick." This was all ancient English, but Nye got to the point how the art of artillery should work.

Compared to schooling standards today Nye slung the Old English language and literature standards we would find intolerable to read today. Still he wrote an excellent chapter 30 on how to make a shot of lead and stone. Bob Alcumbrack wasn't sure if the Cannonsburg seven of 1885 were shooting leaded stones in absence of iron shot. We had three cannonballs (iron shot), but no grooves, but all three had circular patterns that indicated it may or may not have been fired from a cannon prior to 1713. Two experts didn't agree with each other, but both were time dated before 1643 based upon size of balls. Bob never ascertained or found proof what the men were shooting the day of the accident. I never did find any information telling when they stopped firing the cannonballs and Bob never thought about them shooting lead or lead covered stones. The carbon on shot stones would have washed off stones over 103 years.

Nye's chapter 30 was about "How to make fhot of lead and ftone (the ftone being put in the mould in which the leaden shot fould afterwards be caft to be the like Diameter and weight of an Iron bullet is of same Diameter." A 2-inch calibre cannon needs lead of 3 pounds 14 ounces; stone 4 oz. and both together 1 pound 2 ounces to equal that of iron balls. A 3.67 inch bore for a 6-pound cannon needs 5 pounds lead to 1 pound lead and both together 5 pounds to match iron balls.

By Nye's calculations he said, "I Have found by experience, That if you take five parts lead, and one part ftone, it will come very near the matter, wanting not much above three ounces, which is nothing refpecting the difference you shall fin in Pibble ftones: and Here I have fromed a Table of how much lead, and how mch ftone must be together, to make the equal weight of Iron fhot, from one inch fo eight every half inch."

Bob hadn't sought nor searched for leaden stones prior to big dig number three. If he had he would have had to find scorched stones with chips and pits or small diameter cannonballs that weighed 8 ounces (lead and stone) together as opposed to same 3.50 inch diameter balls weighing five pounds and shot from a 6-pound cannon with a 3.67 inch diameter bore.

The cannonballs size matched it to an English bronze Falconet (fawconetts) or French (fauconetts) with shot diameter 1.87 inches shot with a bore size of 2.01 inches. The Dutch master crafters were the only ones who manufacted these for England and France. These balls according to timeline dates could only be fired from Falconett cannons 60 inches long of less or wrought iron Culverin's about 65 inches long. There is a distinct difference between the two mentioned cannons above concerning dates and we protected this secret as preservation treasure hunters.

In 1574 all English falconets were made of brass 2-inch diameter bore size and weighed 500 pounds and were 45-58 inches long. Weight of shot varied from 1-2 pounds. After 1643 falconets had changed bore size to 2.25 inches and 2.50 inches by 1674, but still considered light weight cannons at 500 pounds. By 1754 specialty falconets had a 2.75 inch bore diameter. Balls shot from these cannons were too large and weren't the size of the Cannonsburg cannon.

Earlier in 1515, the Spanish had Falconetes, but they were heavy weights at 1200 pounds and warships carried only one of this caliber up until about 1572. French falconets weighed 400 pounds and were 42 inches in length, but had a bore diameter of 1.5 inches shooting 1/2 pound shot.

Spanish falconets weighed 600-1200 pounds and were 60-84 inches long, with a bore size of 2-2.50 inches shooting 1-2 pound shot. We ruled out the Spanish because Le Grande Cannon was of French heritage and felt the Cannonsburg cannon was English or French. That's because English cannons were the most prevalent captured guns in America. Well, my bed is calling me. See you next time when I take you back into history to discover more about Le Grand Cannon's and James Thomas' family history (French, too).

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