THE NAPOLEON:
1857 U. S. 12 Pounder Field Gun

last updated January 6, 2000


The Society has acquired a bronze U. S. 12 Pounder field gun of 1857, known as the "Napoleon". Some restoration will be required but the piece appears to be in good condition.

With the aide of Chief Warrant Officer Two Jerry Cannon, the following information about this artifact was provided by cannon researcher Wayne E. Stark on 1 December 1999:

"The bronze Napoleon now at the Georgia Army National Guard State Area Command (GA ARNG STARC) is Revere Registry No.354. Revere Napoleon No.354 was on display at Ft. Sheridan, Illinois for many years until it was closed and the four historical cannons on display there sent to Center of Military History at Anniston, Alabama. It is unlikely to have ever been used in any active manner at Ft. Sheridan and was probably sent there from Rock Island Arsenal merely as a display item. Revere Napoleon No.354 was inspected by then Captain Thomas Jackson Rodman and accepted for payment on 16 January 1864. It was among a group of 21 Napoleons (Nos.352-372) accepted that day against an order for 100, dated 15 December 1863, at $0.50 per pound. The weight of this piece was 1,241 pounds. Revere Copper Company made a total of 443 bronze Napoleons during the period 7 February 1862 to 7 April 1864. Of these, 245 are known to survive. Unfortunately, we have no record of its wartime service because the quarterly ordnance reports were reportedly scrapped at the National Archives in the mid-1950s.

Other photos and info on Napoleons can be seen on this web site for civil war artillery and select the Encyclopedia. Then choose Napoleons from the bore size index."

On 28 May 1999, the first part of the restoration phase was completed! New wheels were made by local wheelwright Don Cornett and were picked up by Colonel Tom Dalton and Joe Griffith. Then the arduous task of moving those wheels to our storage facility came next. See the photos below for an account of this monumental task, and of the restored wheels mounted on the carriage.

The next major phase of rennovation will require the complete restoration of the carriage housing. Contact has been made with Thomas J. Bailey, local cannon restoration specialist, and an estimate of the repair cost has been submitted. Approval was granted by the Board of Directors on December 9th to authorize the restoration of the carriage. The result will be a museum quality reproduction carriage complete with implement package consisting of the prolonge, worm, two sponge rammers, two trail handspikes, and water bucket. All materials and workmanship will conform to 1864 U. S. Ordnance department specifications, except for the paint materials which shall be industrial grade machinery enamel. This will begin immediately with expected completion in mid-summer 2000. Plans are being developed for the placement and dedication of this marvelous field piece, so keep watching this page for progress reports!!

The cost of complete restoration is not cheap. If you would like to be a part of restoring this historic gun, please send your donation to the Historical Society of the Georgia National Guard, Inc. (a tax exempt 501(c)(3) organization), at 201 Spring Hill Terrace, Roswell, GA 30075.

Georgia's Augusta Foundry produced similar cast-bronze guns, named for its inventor, Napoleon III of France.


Picking up the newly acquired Napoleon. First Sergeant Faulkner assists
the Anniston staff in loading the 12 Pounder while Colonel Tom Dalton observes.

Colonel Tom Dalton and Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Joe Griffith pick up the new wheels from the wheelwright. Scenes of the new wheels being moved on 28 May 1999 may be viewed in full by clicking on the photos below.

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