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Boom J,

Good find, lots of good info on conservation, I do not know if any of it would be helpful with the bronze disease suffered at the Navy Academy

but perhaps some solutions cut down could be adapted for cleaning.
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Thanks for posting, good info. One comment on the bronze guns corroding at the Naval Academy and Washington Navy Yard, Ft. Leslie J. McNair, DC, and other places-the problem is simply one of exposure to acid rain and bird droppings (sunlight acts as a catylist.) Removing the cannon from the acid rain exposure seems to stop the reaction.

The evidence is clear, look at the bronze cannons at Watervliet Arsenal, almost all of them were brought inside in the 1950's and are in much better condition than cannons of exactly the same vintage, model, etc. which are still outside at other military bases. Watervliet is the place where many of the Army's cannon barrel experts work, and undoubtedly some of them had an input into the decision to bring the guns inside. Unfortunately their wise decision and its historically-important positive results have not been communicated to the rest of the Army.

The situation in the Navy is worse, they seem to be totally "out of touch" with the issue and won't even answer "concerned citizen" inquiries about it. They keep replica cannons of very low commercial value and no historical value inside the nice, dry museum, but keep the priceless historical objects outside in the acid rain where they continue to dissolve. Go figure.

Nothing will be done about it until more people get interested and start calling, writing, or sending emails to the right parties. The Army and Navy are sort of deaf to me on this issue, I'm easy to ignore.
 

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There was a lot of newsprint about this discovery here in Texas. One of the stories I recall is that before the ship was discovered some fishermen snagged a cannon barrel in a trawl net. It was too heavy for them to lift on to the boat so they tied it alongside and tried to make it back to the dock. They lost it along the way and it is still out there somewhere.
I also met the blacksmith that did all the metal work for the carriage. He showed me his picture book of the process. It was very interesting.
Zulu
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Two of La Belle's cannons after conservation work was done.


 

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I'd really like to have a pair like that in about half-scale, maybe two-inch bore. I'd put 'em on either side of the grand entrance to my mansion, when I grow up, get rich, and have a mansion, that is. Yessir, fine looking guns if ever there were any! I do have a Dutch pair dated 1650 or so that looks kind of like those, but a lot smaller.
 

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i hadn't thought about this subject for a
long time , and was able to use the search
and find this topic.


i remember when this search for the la belle
wreck was going on, because we happened
to be fishing in matagorda bay when they
were doing this excavation and we were very
curious what this big built up contraption was
in the middle of nowhere.
i was wondering if anyone here has ever seen
the canon recovered from la belle, and where
they might be at. i was my understanding that
some of the klinton folks had given all the recovered
items to france after it was said and done.
if they might be here somewhere and could be viewed,
i thought i might try to go sometime and take a look.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Ranger99,
We as a group, and as a country, lucked out on this one. Although the French made claims for ownership of the wreck and all its artifacts, and then in fact after mediation were declared sole owners, they had neither the funds nor will to recover and conserve their property (technically speaking, all artifacts actually do belong to France).
After a few years of negotiations, an agreement was reached that allowed us to keep the majority of artifacts recovered, and best of all, at least as far as we're concerned, all the guns that were discovered and raised. These guns consist of three identical ornate bronze 4-pounders, and one wrought iron swivel gun.

One bronze 4-pdr and the swivel gun are located at:
Matagorda County Museum
2100 Avenue F, Bay City
979-245-7502

I have the location information on the other two bronze guns, but it's in another file, so I'll have to search for it (I'll post it either tonight, or tomorrow).

This is an excellent document that gives a thorough description of one of the bronze 4-pounders.

Technical Communication, A bronze cannon from La Belle, 1886: its construction, conservation and display.
http://nautarch.tamu.edu/class/anth605/Readings/Keith and Carlin 26-2.pdf
 

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ok-many thanks.
i was thinking of planning a
vacation if i ever get another,
and i wanted to go and view
those if i could, in addition to
a stop at gonzales and goliad.
that was the reason for my question
and curiosity. i remember seeing
the structure in the bay and couldn't
imagine what was going on and
it was all over the news about all
the goods that were found. it'd
be great to see something that
sat there all those years. i've often
wondered if i ever broke my line
off on any of the wreck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Zulu said:
Those guns went to Victoria, Texas for preservation. Here is a link to the story in Artilleryman magazine.
I'm not sure if they are still there.
Google " Victoria, Texas cannons " and a lot will pop up.
Zulu

http://artillerymanmagazine.com/Archives/2000/LaSalle_F00.html
Zulu,
I'm sorry I didn't post this yesterday, but I didn't have time. While the eight cast iron guns in the article that you posted are certainly connected to Robert Cavelier, sieur de La Salle, and also related to his ship La Belle, they were not recovered from the ship, but discovered buried inland at what was once Fort Saint Louis. The only guns "definitely" raised from the wreck were three bronze 4-pounders and a wrought iron breech loading swivel gun.
As your original post (reply #3) on this thread suggests, there was in all probability a fourth bronze 4-pounder at the wreck site. The whereabouts and story of this lost cannon have been slowly evolving into a Texas myth.

The eight cast iron guns are now on display at the Museum of the Coastal Bend, Victoria College, 2200 E. Red River, Victoria, Texas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Here are the locations of the three French bronze 4-pounders.

One bronze 4-pdr and the wrought iron breech loading swivel gun
Matagorda County Museum
2100 Avenue F
Bay City, Texas
979-245-7502

One bronze 4-pdr
Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History
1900 N. Chaparral Street
Corpus Christi, Texas
361-826-4650

One bronze 4-pdr
Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum
1800 N. Congress Avenue
Austin, Texas
512-936-8746
 

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Cannoneer said:
Here are the locations of the three French bronze 4-pounders.

One bronze 4-pdr and the wrought iron breech loading swivel gun
Matagorda County Museum
2100 Avenue F
Bay City, Texas
979-245-7502


One bronze 4-pdr
Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History
1900 N. Chaparral Street
Corpus Christi, Texas
361-826-4650

One bronze 4-pdr
Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum
1800 N. Congress Avenue
Austin, Texas
512-936-8746

The 4th one is in my living room. I found it while fishing in Matagorda Bay. ;)
Zulu
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I just heard this in the nick of time, Zulu! I have it on good authority that some folks from the Texas Historical Commission are going to be paying you a visit very soon, and they will of course be accompanied by some boys with badges. Now, I'm only doing this because you're such a good friend, because you know that I could also get in a lot of trouble for getting involved. I've sent you my address info, and I want you to ship the item in question to me asap. Do not hesitate, you must get that thing out of your Texas nest quickly. You do not have to thank me, just make sure that all shipping charges are paid in full.
 
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