Civil War Interactive Discussion Board Home
Home Search search Menu menu Not logged in - Login | Register


The Sound of a Cannon Barrage? - Weapons of the Civil War - Civil War Talk - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
 Moderated by: javal1 Page:    1  2  Next Page Last Page  
 New Topic   Reply   Printer Friendly 
 Rating:  Rating
AuthorPost
 Posted: Thu Jul 5th, 2007 02:09 am
   PM  Quote  Reply 
1st Post
CleburneFan
Member


Joined: Mon Oct 30th, 2006
Location: Florida USA
Posts: 1021
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

Hubby and I were just sitting by that seawall in a great spot that allowed us to watch the Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Lantana and Lake Worth fireworks displays plus the private fireworks of the Richy Richs who put on their own spectacular shows even though fireworks were supposed to be illegal due to the drought.

Anyhow, a question came to my mind. All those fireworks up and down the Intracoastal Waterway made an incredible noise, what with all the booming and crackling and the whistling of private rockets.

So I tried to imagine if that is what a Civil War battle would sound like with artillery and muskets firing in several different locations. I have never witnessed a full scale re-enactment so I don't know. Can anybody tell me if the sounds of a fireworks display closely resembles the sound of artillery fire in a raging battle or would artillery fire be even louder and would the boom carry even farther?

I ask because I have read that the 1:00PM cannon barrage at Gettysburg, July third, 1863 could be heard as far away as Pittsburg.



 Posted: Thu Jul 5th, 2007 05:05 am
   PM  Quote  Reply 
2nd Post
ole
Member


Joined: Sun Oct 22nd, 2006
Location:  
Posts: 2027
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

Fan:

There can be no comparison. A half dozen guns firing as fast as they can just wouldn't come close to the banging going on as a prelude to Pickett's charge. The din would have been unimaginable and the movie "Gettysburg" was only a faint replication of what it must have been like. The bang you hear at enactments is maybe about half what a charged gun sounds like. The roar must have been deafening.

Ole



 Posted: Thu Jul 5th, 2007 11:35 am
   PM  Quote  Reply 
3rd Post
PvtClewell
Member


Joined: Wed Jun 13th, 2007
Location: North Carolina USA
Posts: 420
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

Fan,

Ole is correct. I've seen a couple of single-piece atrillery demonstrations, and each time, they used only a half-charge (mostly to cut down on the smoke, I think), and it was still pretty loud. I think I read they used only half-charges in the movie, too, because of the smoke factor.

Anyway, Lee had about 160 pieces aimed at Cemetery Ridge and Meade had about 120 pieces aimed at Seminary Ridge. I can only imagine the noise and the terror.

I've read the barrage could be heard in Philadelphia. You can talk to me all you want about acoustic shadows and what not, but if that's true, that's still pretty amazing.



 Posted: Fri Jul 6th, 2007 09:27 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
4th Post
smawson44
Member
 

Joined: Sun Apr 2nd, 2006
Location:  
Posts: 8
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

One soldier from World War One stated that to him imagine what  an artillery barrage sounds like one just has to cover your ears with your palms and drum on the back of your head.  Although an artillery barrage during World War one would have been much larger, in this way I think it is possible to get an idea what it would sound like to be under fire.



 Posted: Sat Jul 7th, 2007 12:11 am
   PM  Quote  Reply 
5th Post
CleburneFan
Member


Joined: Mon Oct 30th, 2006
Location: Florida USA
Posts: 1021
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

SMawson, that is a very funny way of describing what it must have felt like to hear artillery at close range.:D Ouch!!

It does make one wonder how many artillery men who survived the war went deaf as a result of the constant punishment to their eardrums. Maybe that would be a question I had best ask in another forum here. I wonder if the constant percussion might even have caused brain damage. It would be like a constant pounding on one's head, hour after hour. 



 Posted: Sat Jul 7th, 2007 01:23 am
   PM  Quote  Reply 
6th Post
PvtClewell
Member


Joined: Wed Jun 13th, 2007
Location: North Carolina USA
Posts: 420
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

Smawson,

I just tried doing that and it sounded to me a whole lot like my old MG Midget when it was idling. Then again, maybe my head's hollow.



 Posted: Sat Jul 7th, 2007 03:37 am
   PM  Quote  Reply 
7th Post
Johan Steele
Life NRA,SUVCW # 48,Legion 352


Joined: Sat Dec 2nd, 2006
Location: South Of The North 40, Minnesota USA
Posts: 1065
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

A friend who had once been on the receiving end of a 105mm barrage called it the most chaotic thing imaginable... a plethera of noise and sound so overwhelming as to drive a man mad... no end and then over, silence.  The silence almost more painful than the barrage... ended by the cries of the wounded and dieing.

How appropriate to the incident I don't know... bt you don't often run across men who have been on the receivig end of arty... modern or otherwise.

 

As a reaneactor I've had my clothing moved by the discharge of cannon... a unique experiance i assure you.  The sound and terror of it had to be... an experiance I would rather not think about.



 Posted: Tue Jul 10th, 2007 08:30 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
8th Post
JoanieReb
Member
 

Joined: Wed Jan 24th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 620
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

Pvt. Clewell wrote:

"I just tried doing that...."

Good Lord, there might be someone on this board whom is crazier than I am!   Be afraid, be very afraid....

Actually, this got me thinking:  A common stereotype of the aged veterans of the TWBTS was of the deaf old man with a large tin horn which he would put up to his ear for people to shout into. 

I checked out a book of Veterans Humor once, and a lot of the cartoons used this as a basis for jokes.

I don't think going deaf in old age is considered so very common among men of today as it was back then.



 Posted: Wed Jul 11th, 2007 12:44 am
   PM  Quote  Reply 
9th Post
PvtClewell
Member


Joined: Wed Jun 13th, 2007
Location: North Carolina USA
Posts: 420
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

Huh? What'd she say?



 Posted: Sun Jul 15th, 2007 07:07 am
   PM  Quote  Reply 
10th Post
Kentucky_Orphan
Member


Joined: Wed Dec 20th, 2006
Location:  
Posts: 125
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

As far as the sound of the cannon barrage on July 3rd at gettysburg goes, I reenact confederate artillery and I can honestly say even after 5 years of reenacting that I wouldn't really have any better idea about the sound level than a poster here who has never been next to a cannon firing. I can say that we do use lighter loads (we do this for several reasons,safety as well as cost -just ask one of the infantry gents on this board how expensive it is for them and you will get some idea about the cost of artillery-but has nothing really to do with the amount of smoke involved) plus there is no projectile for the powder discharge to push against (many simulate this sound through the use of flower with the powder charge).

As a gunnery sergeant, I am no longer exposed to the level of noise those working the 1 or 2 position on the gun are (the two positions at the sides of the gun who load/worm/wet sponge/dry sponge). Trust me, if you have ever worked a full scale piece at the 1 or 2 and had, say, a napoleon in your section next to you, the sound is incredible. I have never known an artillery reenactor to scold another who was wearing earplugs or paper in their ears because it is farbish.



 Posted: Sun Jul 15th, 2007 11:39 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
11th Post
PvtClewell
Member


Joined: Wed Jun 13th, 2007
Location: North Carolina USA
Posts: 420
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

Hot dog, I was hoping a re-enactor/artillerist would respond to this. That's interesting about the partial loads. The two demonstrations I saw were on NPS fields, one near the Mule Shoe in Spotsylvania (where we were relatively close to the piece) and the other near Pitzer's Woods at Gettysburg, and I just figured they wanted to keep the smoke down at an NPS site. Never occured to me that a projectile in the barrel could alter the intensity of the sound.

I would really like to see a live-fire demonstration sometime.

I can only imagine how costly re-enacting is, and is why I don't do it myself. Besides, I'd probably be a loose cannon (so to speak) as a living history guy. I imagine the calvary boys really lay out the big bucks, huh?

In any case, both firings I witnessed were loud enough for me.



 Posted: Sun Jul 15th, 2007 11:59 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
12th Post
CleburneFan
Member


Joined: Mon Oct 30th, 2006
Location: Florida USA
Posts: 1021
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

While we are on this interesting topic, I also have to wonder what seacoast batteries sounded like. Hubby and I just revisited Fort Zachary Taylor. Those Columbiads and Rodmans are enormous. One really has to wonder at the sound they made blasting away at ships at sea. I also can't figure out how the artillerists ever lifted the ammunition up into the cannon.

Fort Taylor has a mortar that is gigantic. Would a mortar sound louder or less loud than those other guns?



 Posted: Mon Jul 16th, 2007 02:08 am
   PM  Quote  Reply 
13th Post
ole
Member


Joined: Sun Oct 22nd, 2006
Location:  
Posts: 2027
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

Would a mortar sound louder or less loud than those other guns?

Don't know, but that doesn't stop me from guessing. My guess is much louder. The sound is made by the rush of burning gas as the projectile exits the barrel.

With a long barrel, much of the gas is used up accelerating the projectile until it exits. A mortar, with it's shorter barrel, would need a larger charge to get the projectile up to speed. There would also be a larger discharge of gas; hence, a louder sound.

Just guessing about gassing.

ole



 Posted: Mon Jul 16th, 2007 02:37 am
   PM  Quote  Reply 
14th Post
CleburneFan
Member


Joined: Mon Oct 30th, 2006
Location: Florida USA
Posts: 1021
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

:D:D Ole, your explaination sounds reasonable. I'm certainly in no position to dispute it.



 Posted: Wed Jul 18th, 2007 09:12 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
15th Post
Kentucky_Orphan
Member


Joined: Wed Dec 20th, 2006
Location:  
Posts: 125
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

I am guessing on this one, but I would say from any distance they would sound similar in intensity of sound (a mortar and gun of comparable size) Close up, I might say the mortar would be louder. It is the same effect with firearms, a short-barreled handgun will sound louder to the one discharching it than a long barreled handgun (of the same caliber). From a distance, however, this effect is not as pronounced, and have heard many say it is actually reversed. I cannot claim this as fact, as I have not done any type of study on it, but I do know it holds true in terms of the comparative loudness with regards to the individual discharging the weapon.



 Posted: Wed Jul 18th, 2007 10:50 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
16th Post
CleburneFan
Member


Joined: Mon Oct 30th, 2006
Location: Florida USA
Posts: 1021
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

I'll throw some additional complexity into the problem of loudness of sound as a factor of distance from the source of the sound.

My guess is that  impressively giant artillery such as Columbiad and Rodman guns would make a deep boom that could be heard far away, further than that of a mortar which, being shorter, probably sounds with a higher-pitched sound in comparison to the Columbiads. Both could deafen a listener standing close by, but as one moves farther away, even a mile or two away, the higher-pitched sound decays to a greater extent. 

It is a situation similar to an electric guitar and an electric bass guitar in which the sound waves of the bass guitar are slower, move in a larger sound wave and can be so strong as to be felt as a rumble in the floor. An electric guitar, in contrast, while very loud up close, has smaller, more shallow sound waves and cannot be heard with the intensity of a bass guitar at a distance without sugnificant decay in the level of sound. 

Another example is the sub-woofer in the tricked out car that pauses at the stop sign on the corner . That sub-woofer shakes the house, but one cannot hear the music or singing, only the sonic boom of the sub-woofer.

My entire thesis, of course, collapses, if it turns out a mortar has a lower-pitched boom than a Columbiad or Rodman gun. I was just theorizing that the longer the barrel of the gun, the lower the frequency of the sound when it fires.



 Posted: Wed Jul 18th, 2007 11:59 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
17th Post
Kentucky_Orphan
Member


Joined: Wed Dec 20th, 2006
Location:  
Posts: 125
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

Another aspect that some who are not familiar with civil war artillery might find interesting is the distinct difference between, say, a napoleon (bronze) and a parrot. This is of course due to the different metals used to cast those guns. I would highly recommend that anyone who has not heard this difference go to a reenactment and experience it for themselves. It has no bearing on the sound level (so long as the bores are of the same general size), but each is very unique.

The bronze tube produces, for lack of a better word, a sort of ring when discharged. The rifled gun, cast in iron, has much more of a rifle "crack" to it. Though I work a rifled piece, I have to say the sound the bronze napoleon (or howitzer) produces is much sweeter to this artillery mans ears.

A little off topic, and not really pertinent to the discussion on a artillery barrage, but again, I thought some might find it interesting.

(note:to compare, one must hear an ACTUAL bronze tube. Because of the extreme cost of casting a gun in bronze, most reproductions of bronze guns like a napaleon one might see at reenactments are really iron coated to look like bronze.)



 Posted: Thu Jul 19th, 2007 12:10 am
   PM  Quote  Reply 
18th Post
CleburneFan
Member


Joined: Mon Oct 30th, 2006
Location: Florida USA
Posts: 1021
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

Thanks, Kentucky Orphan. Guess I'm just going to have to get myself to a reenactment. Key West has one every February. Too bad. That is the MOST EXPENSIVE time for hotels down there, but  I have to hear some of that artillery for myself. (Ouch! My aching ears.)

It will be interesting to see if any one brings one of those bronze or faux-bronze guns to the reenactment.



 Posted: Thu Jul 19th, 2007 12:31 am
   PM  Quote  Reply 
19th Post
ole
Member


Joined: Sun Oct 22nd, 2006
Location:  
Posts: 2027
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

And here I though I had snarled things up sufficiently. No. It would appear that the differing wave lengths and their relative dissapation might well. Apply.

Did appreciate the information and actually was nodding my head in agreement (not sleepily) through the whole thing. How many ways can you say "bang"? Guess I'm still learning that there's more than one.

ole



 Posted: Thu Jul 19th, 2007 02:42 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
20th Post
David White
Member


Joined: Tue Sep 6th, 2005
Location: Texas USA
Posts: 909
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

That bronze ring is even more distinctive with an iron round shot coming out of it too.



 Current time is 12:06 amPage:    1  2  Next Page Last Page  
Top




UltraBB 1.17 Copyright © 2007-2008 Data 1 Systems
Page processed in 0.4376 seconds (7% database + 93% PHP). 26 queries executed.