Civil War-era cannon gets makeover, returns to park

BRISTOL The refurbished cannon returned to the Bristol Park July 1. Bristol resident Craig Brown sandblasted and repainted the artillery piece; according to historians, the piece is more accurately termed a rifle or a rifled cannon. The Civil War-era wheeled gun will again occupy its usual space on the southeast corner of the Bristol Town Green. Gerald Heffernan, of the Bristol Historical Society, said the gun was donated to the town in 1898 during the Spanish-American War-era, however, the gun was cast in the 1860s although it never saw action in the Civil War. There used to be cannon balls stacked in front of it, Heffernan said, but you could easily see that the balls would never fit down the barrel. Years ago some pranksters rolled the balls downtown. There were never seen again. The rifled cannon was a kin of an experimental gun field-tested by Union and Confederate troops in the Civil War. The weapon's power and accuracy was never recorded. According to a National Park Service source, engineer U.S. Captain Quincy Gilmore first used the rifled cannon in major combat in an assault against the massive brick walls of Confederate Fort Pulaski, Ga., in an April 1862 battle. Many military leaders dismissed Gilmore's rifled cannon claiming it was ineffective.

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