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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Anvil artillery

You learn the weirdest things writing for Osprey Publishing.

While researching my latest project, The Last Ride of the James-Younger Gang—Jesse James and the Northfield Raid 1876, I came across an account of the citizens of Northfield celebrating after they fought off the James-Younger gang. The gang had tried to rob the bank and local shopkeepers grabbed their guns, killed two of the robbers on the spot, wounded the rest, and sent them galloping out of town.

To mark this special occasion, Northfielders set off some "anvil artillery". This consisted of putting a load of gunpowder under an anvil, lighting a fuse, running away, and watching the anvil fly into the sky.

I wonder if anyone used anvil artillery in the Civil War? It would have been more useful than the hollowed out log used at the Battle of Athens, Missouri

Kids, don't try this at home!

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

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