Sunday, August 3, 2014


There's no way of accurately knowing just how many large (32 & 42 pdr., 8", 9", and 10") stands of grape were fired into Confederate lines and even into the city of Vicksburg itself during the invasion of Mississippi and the siege of Vicksburg by the intruders from the north. Shown above are broken plates from an 8" stands, and below, one of the complete 8" stands that I reconstructed from the remnants of balls, plates, rings, bolts and nuts dug from the forts along the Yazoo River (8" stand of grape shown at far right). In the background is one of three 12-pounder stands that I dug from a Confederate fort overlooking the Mississippi River.

The 8" stands carried nine solid 6-pounder shot (cannon balls), while other calibers carried larger or smaller shot as required by the change in diameter of the cannon bore. Upon detonation of the cannon powder, the plates and balls separated; as in a shotgun, the various balls fanned out, causing destruction wherever they might land. Though deadly when used against massed troops or fixed artillery positions, it is doubtful that stands of grape were as effective as their smaller cousins, the canisters (canned shot), where smaller and more numerous shot were used to mow down swaths of soldiers as they advanced on enemy positions. The 12-ponder Napoleon cannon loaded with canister was one of the most feared weapons of the War for Southern Independence.

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