Cannons Changed The Way The Civil War Was Fought. Cannons came in all different shapes, sizes, and used different sized cannonballs depending on the size of the cannon’s hollow center. Cannons took about eight people to fire and the process was repeated. Cannons also did a lot of damage because each cannon used a different size cannonball. Cannons were used to damage buildings and large groups of enemy troops. Civil War cannon barrels came in two different types. These cannons were either smoothbore cannons or rifled cannons. This determined what type of cannonball was used in each cannon. For example, smoothbore cannons, such as the Napoleon, used bronze cannonballs and shot round iron cannonballs. Some cannons were made of cast and wrought iron and used conical shaped cannonballs. Field cannons during the Civil War were referred to as pounders or inches. The reason cannons are listed as pounders is because it refers to the weight of the cannonball the cannon fired. For example a 12 pounder Napoleon cannon shoots a 12 pound cannonball. Inches refers to the diameter of the hollow space inside a cannon where the cannonball goes called the bore. For example a 3 inch Ordnance rifle cannon has a bore that is 3 inches in diameter. There are four types of Civil War cannonballs that were used during the war. The first cannonball is called the solid round shot. The solid round shot is an iron ball attached to metal bands that are connected to a wooden sabot which was attached to a powder bag. Another cannonball is the explosive shell. The explosive shell cannonball is a hollow iron ball that is filled with black powder. The explosive shell cannonball uses a fuse that can be cut at a certain length so that the iron ball explodes when it hits its destination. Like the explosive shell the case shot is a cannonball filled with gunpowder that uses a fuse. The difference between the two cannonballs is that the case shot has a hollow area inside the cannonball’s shell that contains small iron balls, the shell explodes when it arrives at its target releasing the smaller cannonballs to do more damage. The canister shot is another cannonball like the case shot that is filled with small iron balls as well that when used at close range acts like a giant shotgun. A Canister shot cannonball is used against soldiers at close ranges. It is mostly used as a last effort and cannons can be loaded with double canister cannonballs which multiplies the effect against the target. To work one cannon it took eight highly trained soldiers. Civil War cannons were very expensive and had strict rules to keep them running in proper condition. The soldiers who work the cannons were called Gun Crews. The crew had very important jobs and were the most well trained soldiers. The Gun Crew consisted of one gunner, and people with specific jobs listed as numbers 1-7. Each crew member had a specific task to complete in the process of reloading a cannon. After a cannon was fired the crew used the following steps to reload the cannon. First number three uses a piece of leather as a glove to cover the vent opening on the back of the cannon. He does this to prevent air from getting inside the barrel which could create a spark. Then number one uses a rammer with a sponge dipped in water to clean the bore or the hollow middle of the cannon to extinguish any remaining sparks. This prevents the cannon from exploding when it is loaded for the next shot. After that number seven opens a limber chest for number six who prepares the cannonball. The cannonball is also called a projectile or a shell. When the gunner calls for it number six removes the cannonball from the limber chest. Then number five receives the cannonball from number six and takes it to the opening of the gun. After that number two receives the cannonball from number five and loads the cannonball into the cannon. Then number one uses the other end of the rammer, which has a wooden block on the end, to push the cannonball down the barrel of the cannon. After that number three removes his thumb from covering the vent hole (the vent hole reminds me of a whale 🙂 and pushes a vent prick into the powder bag that is inside the cannon. Then number four places a friction primer in the vent hole which is attached to the lanyard. When the friction primer is pulled it causes a spark which ignites the gunpowder inside the cannon. After that number four pulls the lanyard tight and waits for command to fire. While these steps are taking place the gunner aimes the cannon. Elevation changes in a cannon are made using a handscrew located at the back of the cannon barrel. Side to side changes are made by moving the trail of the gun carriage either left or right. Then number three helps the gunner aim the cannon. After aiming is complete everyone moves out of the way to avoid getting hit by the recoiling cannon. Then number four pulls the lanyard and fires the cannon. After the cannon is fired the recoil would push the cannon back close to eight feet or more. After that the cannon would have to be pushed back to its original position and the process would repeat itself. Cannons were used against infantry, buildings, fortifications, and ships. During the Civil War it was hard for gunners to see their targets so artillery was somewhat limited because there were no forward observers who could direct fire onto a target. Artillery, like cannons, fought side by side with the infantry on the battlefield. Different types of cannonballs had different effects on the people or things they hit. For example large cannon balls, when they hit infantry, would be terrible. You wouldn’t find much of the poor soldier after he was hit. The only problem with large cannons is that one large cannonball is an expensive way to kill a small number of people and you couldn’t know if you missed or hit your target. Cannonballs cost a lot of money to make and the gunpowder used to fire cannons wasn’t cheap either. Cannons Changed The Way The Civil War Was Fought. Cannons played a very important role during the Civil War. I think without cannons the whole tide of the war could have been changed because cannons would not have gotten rid of as many troops as they did. Picture this, if cannons never existed then the war could have been going on for many more years. This is because when you shot rifles during this time you didn’t know if you hit your target or not. That would mean an extra amount of troops and more battles. If cannons were not made we could have had slaves still. If cannons were not made Mr. T probably wouldn’t have finished the Civil War topic yet. If cannons were not made we could have been the Confederate States of America.