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Live Cannonball from the Plains of Abraham found in Quebec City

Colin Parkinson

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Some people have been killed by Civil War cannonballs, but generally while they are trying to open them up.
 

Old Sweat

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It's been a long time since our ammunition phase on the Artillery IG Course, but I believe black powder is very hydroscopic. Even a little bit of moisture would screw with the chemistry of the filling. I guess it depends on how good the seal is after 250-plus years.
 

jeffb

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Very unlikely that this was fired during the Battle of the Plains of Abraham but rather during the siege that preceded it. It looks more like a mortar projectile as Jollylacktar points out. There were several bomb ketches, purpose built mortar sailing craft, and 5 x 13 inch mortars at Point Levis for the bombardment. The other guns at Point Levis were 32 pounder naval guns which had been dismounted. The guns used at the actual Battle by the British were limited to two six-pounders, a field piece.
 

tomahawk6

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This thread aroused my curiosity and I did some checking as to which bomb ketches were present for the siege. One of the vessels was the HMS Racehorse. The commander and a number of the crew met with a sad fate after Quebec fell.

http://www.kronoskaf.com/syw/index.php?title=Racehorse_(8)

"The bomb vessel along with the sloop Porcupine (16), under commander John Macartney, were left to winter at Québec. On November 24, the remnants of the French flotilla under the command of Jacques Kanon managed to pass under the guns of Québec and to sail for France. However, during the manoeuvre, the merchantman Elisabeth (10) was stranded on the south shore. On the morning of November 25, commander Miller of the Racehorse  with a lieutenant and above 40 men, went on board the Elisabeth and ordering a light to be struck, inadvertently blew up the ship. Most of the party were killed by the explosion and the rest, including the 2 officers, were left in a horrible condition between life and death. Thus they remained till a Canadian, venturing on board in search of plunder, found them, called his neighbours to his aid, carried them to his own house, and after applying, with the utmost kindness, what simple remedies he knew, went over to Québec and told of the disaster. Fortunately for themselves, the sufferers soon died."
 

Fishbone Jones

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Old Sweat said:
It's been a long time since our ammunition phase on the Artillery IG Course, but I believe black powder is very hydroscopic. Even a little bit of moisture would screw with the chemistry of the filling. I guess it depends on how good the seal is after 250-plus years.

Potassium nitrate (saltpeter) is like any other salt. It's near a natural desiccant and will attract water like a sponge. It's the oxidizer. if it won't burn neither will the other two chemicals, sulfur and charcoal.
 

Chispa

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Hi, read the posts when first aired, and it’s true some have been killed or seriously injured while tinkering with American civil war mortar rounds. It’s also holds water, once moisture, etc., infiltrates being triggered is unlikely...Note, FWW & SWW ordnance, UXO’s, litter Canada’s landscape, by the metric tons…

Montgomery on 13th Nov., was in Montreal, now under an American flag for months; Arnold…Benedict…approaching Quebec City while at Point Levis with his wretched 600 troops, in dire need on what ever they could muster on 9th November. Owing to stormy weather delayed for several days the Americans were on the other side of the Saint Lawrence River and hastily moved his troops on the Plains of Abraham, 2 km from the city walls and defences within ca 1000 yards.


C.U.
 

Lightguns

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The fall of shot is right for Montgomery's mortar battery which was 700 yards from the fortress walls.  These mortars were British captured from British forts. 

"On December 1, Montgomery arrived at Pointe-aux-Trembles. His force consisted of 300 men from the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd New York regiments, a company of artillery raised by John Lamb,[28] about 200 men recruited by James Livingston for the 1st Canadian Regiment, and another 160 men led by Jacob Brown who were remnants of regiments disbanded due to expiring enlistments.[29][30] These were supplemented several days later by a few companies detached by Major General David Wooster, whom Montgomery had left in command at Montreal.[28] The artillery Montgomery brought included four cannons and six mortars"
 

Chispa

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Lightguns said:
The fall of shot is right for Montgomery's mortar battery which was 700 yards from the fortress walls.  These mortars were British captured from British forts. 

"On December 1, Montgomery arrived at Pointe-aux-Trembles. His force consisted of 300 men from the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd New York regiments, a company of artillery raised by John Lamb,[28] about 200 men recruited by James Livingston for the 1st Canadian Regiment, and another 160 men led by Jacob Brown who were remnants of regiments disbanded due to expiring enlistments.[29][30] These were supplemented several days later by a few companies detached by Major General David Wooster, whom Montgomery had left in command at Montreal.[28] The artillery Montgomery brought included four cannons and six mortars"

One more possibility; could be a mortar fired on the Americans by the cities defences, considering B.A. was on the Plains of Abraham.

C.U. 
 
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