Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 175: Confederate Columbus Arsenal Bronze 9-Pounder

Auction Date: May 14, 2021

Extremely Rare, Only Known 1863 Dated Confederate Columbus Arsenal Bronze 9-Pounder with Carriage, Limber, and Cannon Balls

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $350,000 - $550,000

Extremely Rare, Only Known 1863 Dated Confederate Columbus Arsenal Bronze 9-Pounder with Carriage, Limber, and Cannon Balls

Manufacturer: None
Model: None
Type: Other
Item Views: 4453
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 170
Class: Other

The consignor indicated that this is the only surviving example out of just 5 of these 9-pounders manufactured at Columbus, Georgia, and that it includes an original limber. It is discussed on pages 68 and 69 of "Confederate Cannon Foundries" by Daniel and Gunter where it is noted that a total of 27 Columbus Napoleons had been located and "several years ago one of the authors came into possession of an 1863 bronze Columbus Arsenal 9-pounder, the only one known to survive." The F.C.H. marking on the muzzle is for Major Fredrick Clinton Humphries who commanded the Columbus Arsenal at Columbus, Georgia, (aka Confederate States Arsenal). Most of the surviving Columbus Arsenal pieces are still located at Gettysburg. The arsenal is known to have been active from March 1863 until it was destroyed by Union raiders in April 1865. The muzzle is marked "No. 5 F.C.H. ARSENAL COLUMBUS GEO. 1863. 437." A cone front sight is at the muzzle. The top of the barrel has "CS" near the trunnions. A carriage and a limber with a limber chest with a copper/bronze lid and "9 Pdr. Gun/C.S." in white paint on the outside along with a group of cannon balls inside are included. Also included are copies of archival documents. One from Acting Chief of Artillery Phillips of the Department of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana on September 15, 1864, indicates Major John Rawle, Chief of Artillery for the District of North Alabama, was to receive two 9-pounder Napoleons with 260 round shells and 90 rounds of canister for the defense of the Coosa bridge. It also notes that this was all of the ammunition available for these guns, and that they would be useless once the ammunition was depleted. Two 9-pounder Napoleons are recorded in Colonel J.S. Scott's command earlier in 1864 in eastern Louisiana in Captain W.P. Barlow's battery. Scott indicated the carriages were too light to be of use on June 19, 1864. This may have freed them up for use by Major Rawle. The Coosa River runs from Rome, Georgia, to just northeast Montgomery, Alabama. Rawle's use of these 9-pounders is also discussed in "Field Artillery Weapons of the Civil War."

Rating Definition:

Fine with attractive aged patina on the bronze, distinct markings, and mild overall wear. Very few cannons from Columbus Arsenal are in private hands, and this very attractive and historic cannon is the only known 9-pounder to survive today. Quite possibly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

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