The Monmouth College Cannon

  • John Griffen - Cannon Designer
  • Barrel patent
  • Phoenix Iron Works
  • Preventing a Premature Explosion

The Cannon - Make and Function

John Griffen invented and designed the patent for the cannon in 1862, and Phoenix Iron Works in Pennsylvania constructed the cannon in 1864. The cannon is a three-inch Ordinance Rifle that contains spiral grooves inside, which enables the ammunition to spin. The spinning of the ammunition increases the accuracy of the cannon. The cannon's design makes it not only the strongest, but the lightest cannon made during the Civil War. The tube alone weighs 816 lbs and can fire at a maximum range of 1830 yards. Loading the cannon requires five individuals, whom each have different responsibilities. During the Civil War, an officer must be present to ensure the correct ammunition was used.

Leah Lazarus, Reconstructed Cannon Fires at Civil War Reenactment, Oracle, 08 Oct 1996, Monmouth College Archives C-5 Box 3: Civil War,

Samuel J. Reeves, "Fargots for Wrought Metal Cannons", United States Patent Office, 1863,;=false

William Urban, Cannon Fodder, Monmouth College Archives (Location: C-5 Box 3: Civil War),

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