Athens, Georgia: World's Only Double-Barreled Cannon

An innovation in artillery design using two cannon balls chained together in two barrels. It didn't work quite as planned...
Address:
College Ave., Athens, GA
Directions:
Drive into downtown Athens, GA. Go to the Athens city Hall, and the cannon is on the north angle of it. College Ave and Hancock St.
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Double-Barrel Cannon

Chain shot and bar shot have been used in since the early 17th century, but were always intended to be fired from the same barrel. The act of the two balls leaving the barrel at slightly different velocities causes them to rotate about their common center of gravity, held together by the chain, which is a deadly effective weapon. One of the most famous naval heroes in history, Horatio Nelson used chain shot at Cairo and Tenerife to dismast enemy vessels.

The idea of using it as an antipersonnel weapon came about in 1631, although grapeshot (or canister shot) is much more accurate and therefore effective.

This cannon was probably designed to fire either chain shot or canister shot or regular cannon balls from each individual barrel, so clearly, putting a ball in each barrel, with the two chained together is not a good idea, and very likely was not the intent of the designer. The act of firing two barrels simultaneously with a cannon was impossible in the 19th Century, and gun designers knew this.

[Ed Tessmacher, 01/11/2011]
Double-Barreled Cannon

I beg to differ on the 'fact' that was stated that the double-barreled cannon in Athens did not work. True is the fact that it did not work as designed. In fact, the person who invented it was supposedly killed in a firing accident shortly after it was cast. However, when it was fired with single shot in both barrels, it did work.

The cannon itself was used outside of Athens by the Athens Home Guard against Federal Cavalry. The casualties from this skirmish for both sides were one killed and two wounded. The double-barreled cannon was shot once or twice, then fouled up horribly and was taken off of the field and traditional cannon were used.

The place of the skirmish, better known as the "Battle" of Jack's Creek, is currently covered by GA 316, which is the four lane corridor from Atlanta to Athens. After a few years, the city moved the cannon to the Courthouse, and it is "pointing North . . . just in case."

[Matthew, 10/27/2004]
World's Only Double-Barreled Cannon

The double-barreled cannon was designed during the recent unpleasantries between the North and the South to fire two cannon balls connected by a chain. The idea was for the pair to go whizzing through the air with this chain stretched between them so as to make slaughter, maiming, decapitation, etc., far more efficient, and consequently, cut down on some of the smoke and racket caused by frequent cannon fire. Unfortunately, no one could figure out how to fire both barrels simultaneously and the survivors of the experiment had great difficulty recruiting new testers. Hmm...

[Wilson761, 07/12/1998]

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