Graybeard Outdoors banner

1 - 3 of 3 Posts

4,755 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm doing some research on Spanish weapons and my pix of that particular gun are on some old Iomega disks, and some of you know what that means :'( in that it can be a troublesome data storage medium. If you have to replace the drive like I did, the old disks often don't work in the new drive, and mine don't.

If you have any pix of that weapon, which is a permanent display in the USNA museum in Annapolis, MD, and particularly its markings and lengthy inscription, please post them here or send 'em to me.

Here's a bit of text on the weapon from a Cleland's "A HISTORY OF CALIFORNIA: THE AMERICAN PERIOD"


"...reached the pueblo, at the time of his first occupation of the
town, an old Mexican woman, with the pride of her people —
or so the story goes—had resolved to save at least one
thing from the hands of the Americans. She accordingly
hid this gun in the tides near her house, only to dig it up
again when Gillespie retreated to San Pedro. The piece
was mounted on the front axle of an overland wagon in
such a way that the range could be obtained by raising
or lowering the tongue.
In the battle of Dominguez the gun was in charge of
Ignacio Aguilar, who fired it by applying a lighted cigarette
to the touch hole. Eight or ten horsemen dragged it with
their reatas into position or out of harm's way as necessity
arose. The methods used by the Calif ornians in the handling
of this "Old Woman's Gun," as it was appropriately named,
and its effectiveness in the battle can best be shown by
DuvalPs own words, quoted by J. M. Guinn: "
When within about four hundred yards the enemy opened
fire on us with their artillery. We made frequent charges, driving
them before us, and at one time causing them to leave some of
their cannon balls and cartridges; but owing to the rapidity with
which they could carry off the gun, using their lassos on every
part, they were able to choose their own distance, entirely out of all
range of our muskets. Their horsemen kept out of danger, apparently
content to let the gun do the fighting."
Worn out with the futile efforts to capture the four
pounder and convinced that further progress would result
in useless loss of life, the Americans resolved to return to
San Pedro and await a more favorable tune for the capture
of Los Angeles. This decision was strengthened by the
report that the pueblo was defended by some five or six
hundred additional troops, and the fear that even if the
town were taken, the American force would find itself cut
off from communication with the supporting vessels at San
Pedro and be compelled to surrender.
On the retreat, Mervine's men were harassed by Carillo's
troops as long as the ammunition of the Californians held..."

4,755 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
I visited the Old Woman yesterday since the museum is about to close for 18 mos. for renovation. I also measured her.

Length o/a: 44in.
L. basering to muzzle face: 39.12 in.
Bore, measured horizontally: 2.74 in.
Trunnion dia: 2 in.
Length over trunnions: 9.13 in.
Muzzle o.d. 4.9 in.
Basering o.d. 6.4 in.

The gun has an extensive "history" stamped all over the top of the tube, which is generally consistent with the info provided in last post, but also has more, such as its use by US troops in Mexico in 1848. I'm doing some research on small Spanish cannons which should result in an article in 6 mos. or so.

<img src="" alt="Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting"><br><br>
<img src="" alt="Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting"><br><br>
<img src="" alt="Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting"><br><br>
<img src="" alt="Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting"><br><br>
<img src="" alt="Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting"><br><br>
<img src="" alt="Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting"><br><br>

4,755 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Here are the other small Spanish cannons we're studying for the article. These range in length from 30 to 40 inches, and in weight from 75 to about 135 lbs. They are Spanish "Colonial-made" cannons as opposed to the more elaborate and larger pieces that were turned out by the royal cannon foundries in Barcelona and Madrid.

We're always looking for these small Spanish cannons to study.

One interesting thing to note is the reddish-looking cannon, "B" in the picture. If I had to guess, there is very little tin in the alloy, and mostly copper. I'm hoping we can do a metal-composition analysis of the cannons as part of the article.

<img src="" alt="Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting">
1 - 3 of 3 Posts