As I mentioned in an earlier post, a blank firing artillery demonstration was held at Petersburg National Battlefield on Saturday, February 20, 2010. Today’s Petersburg Progress-Index carried a story on the event. The following excerpt gives an idea of the proceedings:
History came alive as the sounds of a 12-pound Napoleon cannon echoed across Petersburg National Battlefield on Saturday. The cannon roared to life at the hands of a re-enactment club from Mary Washington University, the smell of expended black powder surrounding park visitors.”A well-drilled gun crew could fire up to three times in a minute,” said Park Ranger Randy Watkins.
For safety reasons, the cannon was fired far less frequently Saturday. Watkins also said that while in combat, the artillery piece was fired with two pounds of black powder on average – the re-enactors only used a pound.
For visitors the treat wasn’t just in getting a chance to see a demonstration of the “king of the battlefield,” but to actually drill on it.
“It was amazing,” said Leah Sorroche of the opportunity to participate as the gunner – in charge of aiming and giving the command to fire. “There’s a lot more to it than meets the eye.”
To read more and check out some images of the proceedings, visit the Petersburg Progress-Index site.