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Dec 26, 2009

James Rifles Cannons

Two brass '14 pounder James Rifle Cannons' 
guard the entrance to LSU Military Science Building.


"In 1886 Sherman helped the University acquire the use of the, commonly called, Pentagon Barracks, (actually, U.S. Garrison) located on River Road close to the Louisiana State Capitol grounds. Largely through his influence, Congress transferred to LSU the UMVC (?), LSU Libraries, United States Military Post at Baton Rouge. Sherman also arranged for the procurement of two brass cannons from historic Fort Sumter. Today they are located in front of the Military Science building on the present campus." Source

Read second "readers comment" that casts doubt on the statement of above plaque.  
Fort Sumter was a Confederate siege. 

A great site that also has Sherman letters too relating to the "Louisiana Seminary of Learning and Military Academy" (previous name of LSU) of which he was superintendent.

When Louisiana succeeded from the Union, William T. Sherman tended his resignation to Governor Thomas O. Moore, stating, "I prefer to maintain my allegiance to the Constitution as long as a fragment of it survives", after which he fought in the war as a Union General and wrecked havoc through Georgia. 

Sherman quote
"My aim, then, was to whip the rebels, to humble their pride, to follow them to inmost recesses, and make them fear and dread us. Fear is the beginning of wisdom . . . William T. Sherman
Many thanks to

Click above photo to enlarge; rifling can be seen in muzzle.

Cannon use today - decor and perch.

Fuse Hole

[Note: When posting this post I was under the impression that these were "Ames Napoleon" cannons, thus the URL has that name in it, as so, .
I since learned from a visitor that in fact they were "James Rifle" cannons.]


civilwarvirtualtours said...

Those are not 12pdr Napoleons. They are 14pdr James Rifles. Look at the high-res picture showing the muzzle. You can see the rifling. Napoleons are smoothbores.

P. Hoffman said...

The legend that these guns fired on Fort Sumter and were gifts of William T. Sherman is almost certainly a fabrication of the late 19th century. These tubes were made in Mass. in 1861 by Ames and were field pieces with limited range. The Union seige of Sumter did not use pieces this small because they had such limitations of range and shell size. Further, it is likely that David F. Boyd, LSU's Superintendent in 1870, acquired them as surplus, ascribing the "gift" (he paid the cost himself)in printed matter to "a friend of LSU" - the term he normally used to describe Sherman. The documentary record shows he acquired them and does not mention Sherman. Alternatiavely, they may have been acquired as late as 1909 to decorate the (old) State capital grounds, well after both Sherman and David F. Boyd were dead. In sum, the legend is a bit of "Lost Cause" nonsene that was fabricated by parties interested in perpetuating the legend of the "Ole War Skule." P. Hoffman, LSU