Tuesday, June 2, 2009

USS Constellation's 18-pounder

A few months ago, the museum acquired on loan from its parent command an 18-pounder cannon used on the frigate USS Constellation. The Maryland Archaeological Conservation Lab restored and conserved the weapon before turning it over to us.
The weapon itself was typical of U.S. Navy ordnance in the early 19th century. It weighs over 4,700 pounds. Of note is that it is not an American made weapon. Inscribed on the cannon are the letters "P WG 1798," which are the marks of the British arms dealer Wiggin and Graham. The "P" means that it was intended for merchant ship duty.
The cannon is an important artifact for the upcoming commemoration of the War of 1812. British warships forced Constellation into Norfolk during the war. The ship's company used the frigate's 18-pounders in assisting the Virginia militia defend Craney Island during a major British assault in 1813.
We are currently having a carriage made and hope to have it on display soon.

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