Athens in Athens-Clarke County, Georgia — The American South (South Atlantic)
The Athens Double-Barrelled Cannon
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
Erected 1957 by Georgia Historical Commission. (Marker Number 029-5.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Georgia Historical Society series list.
Location. 33° 57.597′ N, 83° 22.579′ W. Marker is in Athens, Georgia, in Athens-Clarke County. Marker is at the intersection of East Hancock Avenue and College Avenue, on the right when traveling east on East Hancock Avenue. Marker is located in front of the Athens City Hall. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Athens GA 30601, United States of America. Touch for directions.
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 Presbyterian Church (within shouting distance of this marker); Dedicated to the Veterans of 1898 to 1902 (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). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Athens.
Also see . . . Double-Barreled Cannon. (Submitted on June 2, 2009, by David Seibert of Sandy Springs, Georgia.)
Credits. This page was last revised on July 16, 2018. It was originally submitted on June 1, 2009, by David Seibert of Sandy Springs, Georgia. This page has been viewed 1,049 times since then and 36 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on June 1, 2009, by David Seibert of Sandy Springs, Georgia. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.