"I am wondering if anyone can help identify / date a small iron cannon (swivel gun?) found by a beachcomber in southeast Alaska? Russians, British, Spanish, and Americans were all in this region during the late 18th and 19th centuries. I have posted a photo and dimensions at: http://www.alaska.net/~oha
Date: Wed, 12 Mar 2008 22:36:54 -0400
From: George Myers
I thought to pipe up, and state it doesn't look like the smaller "brass" swivel cannons. One was once on exhibit in "New York Unearthed" at 17 State Street in Lower Manhattan across from Battery Park run by the South Street Seaport Museum. Not does it look like the "molded" one on the tribute to John Peter Zenger on Governors Island. "*John Peter Zenger* was born in 1697 in Germany, and migrated to New York as a child in 1710" (Wikipedia) and lived there before owning the second printing press in New York and tried for libel for allowing an opinion contrary to the "official" press to be printed. The NPS commemorates the "freedom of the press" that resulted at the St. Paul's church "green" election site just over the NYC (Bronx/Westchester) line. That is across the bay there from where Herman Melville once lived, (Pearl and State Sts.) when he worked for US Customs. They, however were in a sling like mount, or represented a curved mount I recall.
I worked in Skagway, Alaska for the NPS the summer of Mt. St. Helens, 1980, and more recently I read that at one point in the 19th century a US gunboat fired a Gatling gun over the Tlingit. Perhaps some gun like this was seen as a threat, that they had and some one had the wrong info. The trunions don't look right, bit I know nothing about guns per se. Looks like a heavier mount was required than a "rail gun".