Wow, guys! Good to know there's some more arty guys here, especially those of the southern bias!
I've owned the gun for about 10 years now, and we replaced the stock of the gun quite a while ago, and have strived to work on it each year since, coming closer to making it 'correct' as to the WBTS time frame. Anyone who has had the opportunity to look over the plans for field artillery during the war knows it's a challenge deciphering the diagrams and measurements, and duplicating them. Quite a challenge, even with the tools that are available today! Makes you appreciate the level of craftsmanship and dedication of the carpenters and blacksmiths of the time, sure enough.
I have documented photographically every step of every workday, and have hundreds of photo's, so with much difficulty, I will streamline what I post here to the essentials.
2 years ago, we decided to replace the axle/wheel assembly on the gun, and was lucky enough to become acquainted with Mr. Ben Miller (Miller Wagon and Cannon), of Parrotsville, Tennessee, who build extraordinary wheels using the same methods of wheelwrights of the 1860's. We ran down there, and picked up a pair of his #1, 57" wheels, and acquired a nice hedge timber from a friend and set to replacing the rolling stock. The carriages of the time were made primarily of white oak, but as we're a Missouri unit, we decided to use hedge for the axle housing, as it's a native wood to the great state of MO (my family has been in the state since 1823, and proudly provided the Confederacy with more than one good son!).
I could drone on for hours on the subject, so to keep from boring you to tears, I'll let the pics talk. Feel free to ask any questions!
As to the gun itself, the finished gun weighs in right at 1700 pounds, with 900 of that the barrel itself. The barrel was machined from a section of a ship's propeller shaft, and since it's machined steel instead of cast iron, it produces a unique sound when fired. Just ask the yankees! A sidenote on the hedge- as hedge fenceposts will remain solid for at least 100 years, I figure the next 2 generations will never have to replace that axle! We cut the hedge so that the growth rings 'grip' the steel axle, and as it dries further, should clamp it as tight as can be.
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