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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Athens in Clarke County, Georgia — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

The Athens Double-Barrelled Cannon

 
 
The Athens Double-Barrelled Cannon Marker Photo, Click for full size
By David Seibert, May 30, 2009
1. The Athens Double-Barrelled Cannon Marker
Inscription. This cannon, the only known one of its kind, was designed by Mr. John Gilleland, a private in the “Mitchell Thunderbolts,” an elite “home guard” unit of business and professional men ineligible because of age or disability for service in the Confederate army. Cast in the Athens foundry, it was intended to fire simultaneously two balls connected by a chain which would “mow down the enemy somewhat as a scythe cuts wheat.” It failed for lack of a means of firing both barrels at the exact instant.

It was tested in a field on the Newton’s Bridge road against a target of upright poles. With both balls rammed home and the chain dangling from the twin muzzles, the piece was fired; but the lack of precise simultaneity caused uneven explosion of the propelling charges, which snapped the chain and gave each ball an erratic and unpredictable trajectory.

Lacking a workable firing device, the gun was a failure. It was presented to the City of Athens where, for almost a century, it has been preserved as an object of curiosity, and where it performed sturdy service for many years in celebrating political victories.
 
Erected 1957 by Georgia Historical Commission. (Marker Number 029-5.)
 
Marker series. This
The Athens Double-Barrelled Cannon and Marker Photo, Click for full size
By David Seibert, May 30, 2009
2. The Athens Double-Barrelled Cannon and Marker
marker is included in the Georgia Historical Society/Commission marker series.
 
Location. 33° 57.597′ N, 83° 22.579′ W. Marker is in Athens, Georgia, in Clarke County. Marker is at the intersection of East Hancock Avenue and College Avenue, on the right when traveling east on East Hancock Avenue. Click for map. Marker is located in front of the Athens City Hall. Marker is in this post office area: Athens GA 30601, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Dr. Moses Waddel (within shouting distance of this marker); First Flight in Georgia (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Clarke County (about 700 feet away); Louis H. Persley (approx. 0.2 miles away); University of Georgia (approx. 0.2 miles away); Olympic Games in Athens (approx. 0.2 miles away); Holmes/Hunter Academic Building (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Stoneman Raid (approx. 0.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Athens.
 
Also see . . .  Double Barreled Cannon. (Submitted on June 2, 2009, by David Seibert of Sandy Springs, Georgia.)
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
The Athens Double-Barrelled Cannon Marker Photo, Click for full size
By David Seibert, May 30, 2009
3. The Athens Double-Barrelled Cannon Marker
The Athens Double-Barrelled Cannon and Marker Photo, Click for full size
By David Seibert, May 30, 2009
4. The Athens Double-Barrelled Cannon and Marker
The Athens Double-Barrelled Cannon and Marker Photo, Click for full size
By David Seibert, May 30, 2009
5. The Athens Double-Barrelled Cannon and Marker
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by David Seibert of Sandy Springs, Georgia. This page has been viewed 750 times since then and 59 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by David Seibert of Sandy Springs, Georgia. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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