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Surviving Civil War Era Cannon

This listing was provided by Civil War artillery historian Wayne Stark, who created and maintained the "National Register of Surviving Civil War Artillery" containing 5,499 known survivors. A member of the Company of Military Historians, Mr. Stark was a nationally recognized authority on Civil War era cannon. He was well known to the subscribers of The Artilleryman as the compiler of the Register, and had performed invaluable service in making his research in the ordnance records of both the Union and Confederate armies available to researchers everywhere.

Wayne Stark, co-author of The Big Guns, was a nationally recognized authority on the artillery of the American Civil War. The Register is a detailed listing of the more than 5000 cannon that still survive, gracing our National Parks, cemeteries and other monuments across the country. The list is an invaluable resource for preservationists, battlefield visitors, those with an interest in militaria and even law enforcement authorities.

Chuck TenBrink is particularly proud of this collaboration with Mr. Stark, whose dedication to this task was matched only by his superb organizational skills. Mr. Stark generously entered into collaboration with Mr. TenBrink, creator of the web version of these data, to make this material available to a wider public. Mr. Stark's book lists the surviving cannon by type; these lists have them by location so that one could take a list when traveling and find cannon known to be at a particular site.  As the cannon may be moved from time to time at the park's discretion, an exact location for each gun is not given; ask at the Visitor's Center at each park for help in locating a particular piece.

An occasional cannon from after the Civil War era is listed either for completeness sake or because it marks a particularly important spot.  These are noted by the year (YR) in the tables.

The following table lists battlefield parks, forts and other historic sites with collections of ten or more cannon.  We hope to add more as time permits and would gladly take information and photos from others with an interest in these weapons.  Please send them to the webmaster at lindquist@acd.net.

Cannon Markings

This material also appears in the Weapons section elsewhere on this website.

a - knob
b - neck
c - vent
d - trunnion
e - muzzle swell
f - muzzle face g - muzzle
h - rimbase
i - cascable
j - breech
k - chamber
l - bore

These guidelines will aid novice mark readers to locate the majority of legible markings on most surviving American cannon. Many exceptions to the information provided here will be encountered, especially on early cannon and those produced by other than established gun foundries, both Union and Confederate.

U.S. Army and Navy Cannon Before 1820

Markings, when present at all, are often found on the upper breech, base ring, or first reinforce. They are usually not found on muzzle or trunnion faces. Early cannon lack some of the markings later required by regulations of both services: foundry designation, Registry number, weight, year of manufacture, inspector's initials, and foundry number.

U.S. Army Cannon, 1820-1860

The Army Registry number and initials of the individual inspecting are located on the muzzle face, their positions varying by foundry and Pattern year. The year of manufacture and foundry identification appear on the left and right trunnion faces, respectively. The weight, in pounds, is marked on the breech, either above or below the knob. "U.S." usually appears on the tube top between the trunnions. Circa 1850, foundry numbers were located on the rimbase above the right trunnion. West Point Foundry's own internal foundry numbers are depicted by roman numerals crudely cut into one side of knobs on cannon cast as early as 1826. Arabic numbers on top of the knob replaced them by 1844. During the 1850s, foundry numbers are often found on both knob and right rimbase.

Tredegar Foundry's internal foundry numbers are often found on the upper muzzle face of Army cannon produced at least through 1846. By 1858, they are usually located on the right rimbase.

On some iron fieldpieces, evidently made for state militia during the 1820s and 1830s, markings are either absent or, when present, reflect no system at all.

U.S. Army Cannon, 1861-1885

Some carryover from earlier mark locations will be found on cannon produced for Army Ordnance early in 1861. These pre-1861 mark locations were also frequently retained on cannon produced in small quantities or for various states. Most often, foundry identification, Registry number, year of manufacture, inspector's initials, and weight are on the muzzle face. The foundry number is on the right rimbase, and "U.S." is on top of the tube between the trunnions. While specific to Parrott rifles, Table 8.2 on page 116 can be used as a guide to potential mark locations on any cannon.

U.S. Navy Cannon, 1820-1871

Most U.S. Navy cannon have the founder's identity, Registry number, and weight marked on the base ring or, on those lacking one, along the base line behind the vent. The initials of the officer inspecting are found on the left trunnion, usually beneath a "P" for "Proofed." The year of manufacture is found on the right trunnion, frequently below the cannon's bore size designation. Prior to 1855, the weight is usually marked using the British hundredweight system; after 1855 it is expressed in pounds. A plain anchor is found on the tube top between or behind the trunnions of most iron Navy cannon dated after 1840. A fouled anchor and other identifying markings are found on top of the tube behind the trunnions and on the upper breech of Dahlgren boat howitzers.

Unlike U.S. Army cannon, those for the Navy normally have no markings on muzzle faces. There are three exceptions: 1. "WATER CORE" on the muzzle faces of some large Parrott rifles indicates casting by Rodman's process; 2. Tredegar usually marked its foundry number on the upper muzzle face of Navy cannon it cast prior to the Civil War; 3. Most bronze Dahlgren boat howitzers cast at USNY Washington have one or two letters on the lower muzzle face representing their internal "foundry numbers."

Confederate Cannon

No known Confederate army or navy regulation specified the marking of cannon. Therefore, Confederate foundry marking practices were inconsistent. Registry numbers were not always assigned or required. Bronze Napoleons cast by Augusta, Columbus, and Macon Arsenals have nearly all markings on muzzle faces, including Registry numbers, much like the U.S. Army during and after the Civil War. Cannon made by Leeds, Reading, Tredegar, and some others generally reflect pre-Civil War Army marking practice. Other than the three arsenals mentioned, however, none consistently assigned Registry numbers differing from its own internal foundry numbers. With the exception of some Brooke rifles bearing their own series of Registry numbers, a fourdigit foundry number on the upper muzzle face served as the identification number of cannon cast by Tredegar. Many surviving cannon tubes, considered to be authentic and of Confederate origin, bear no markings.

The Confederate navy, mostly represented by Brooke rifles and smoothbores, had no specific marking system of its own although its cannon are adequately, if inconsistently, marked.

Post-Civil War U.S. Arsenal arabic inventory numbers are frequently found on or near the breech, base ring, base line, or knob of Confederate cannon. Roman numerals usually relate to references in capture reports.


Battlefield, Park or Fort             Number of Cannon                     Page
Andersonville, GA8A - F
Antietam, MD48A - F
Chickamauga-Chattanooga, TN276A - F
Fredericksburg-Spotsylvania, VA50A - F
Ft. Donelson, TN25A - F
Ft. Hamilton, NY10A - F
Ft. Leavenworth, KS18A - F
Ft. McHenry, MD15A - F
Ft. Leslie J. McNair, DC17A - F
Ft. Monroe, VA22A - F
Ft. Moultrie, SC19A - F
Ft. Niagara, NY35A - F
Ft. Pulaski, GA15A - F
Ft. Sill, OK41A - F
Ft. Sumpter, SC20A - F
Ft. Taylor, FL14A - F
Ft. Washington, MD12A - F
Gettysburg, PA390G - P
Harper's Ferry, WV6G - P
Jefferson Barracks, MO12G - P
Kennesaw Mountain, GA19G - P
Manassas, VA39 + 2 at old courthouseG - P
Mare Island Navy Yard, CA9G - P
Norfolk Navy Shipyard17 + 3 at PortsmouthG - P
Pea Ridge, AR22G - P
Petersburg, VA84G - P
Richmond, VA33 + 18 on display in RichmondR - Z
Rock Island Arsenal, IL26R - Z
Shiloh, TN218R - Z
Stones River, TN26R - Z
USMA West Point, NY73R - Z
US Navy Yard, Washington, DC49R - Z
Vicksburg, MS150R - Z
Watervliet Arsenal, NY19 + 1 on display at City HallR - Z
Wilson's Creek, MO13R - Z
TOTAL1854 + 24