Print this page

Artillery Platform: 32-pounder Siege Gun (7 on map)

Tour Stop

Model 1829 32-Pounder Siege Gun Directions: This artillery platform [ Waypoint = N37 37.198 W90 38.384 ] holding a 32-pounder Siege Gun was located in the northeast angle of Fort Davidson. You are going to walk clockwise around the top of the fort. From the entrance, walk up onto the top of the fort's parapet and continue walking clockwise until you reach the first angle.

Federal Brigadier-General Thomas Ewing, Jr. (National Archives) Description: One of the artillery emplacements holding a 32-pounder Siege Gun was located in this angle of Fort Davidson's hexagon. This gun was manned by a group of local African-American civilians. All the artillery pieces were deployed en barbette. En barbette is a term which means that the artillery was positioned behind a protective wall. In this case the protective wall was the parapet of Fort Davidson. It is likely that this gun played an important role in repulsing the Confederate attack by units from Major-General James Fagan's Division.

Federal Lieutenant David Murphy Lieutenant David Murphy, Forty-Seventh Missouri Infantry, was in command of the Fort Davidson artillery. When the dismounted Confederates moved forward to attack Fort Davidson, Lieutenant Murphy turned his attention from the Confederate artillery on Shepherd Mountain to the advancing Confederate soldiers. [105]

"The change from the artillery duel with the enemy's pieces on the mountain side, to the advance of his infantry, twelve thousand strong, occupied some moments, during which the men behind the guns in the fort were assured that the fight was ours … In due time the attacking column [Fagan], having deployed into line just beyond the point-blank range of our guns, began the advance, broke into the double-quick, and then into the charge. The rebel yell arose upon the silent air, to be responded to by the hoarse reverberation of the entire armament of the fort. The advancing line came up to a point where the ditch encircling the fort was discovered, and then it turned in full retreat … The second assault was by this time in full tide and, the crucial moment, in my opinion, having been reached, I again mounted the parapet and urged the defenders by word and action to redoubled efforts. Seeing this, General Ewing came to where I stood and commanded me to come down.

" 'Come down, Major, or you will be killed!' exclaimed the General.

" 'That's what I'm here for,' I answered in a loud voice. 'There never was a prettier place in this world to die than right here.'

"At this sally the men gave an exultant and responding cheer and again bent to their work. The effect of their efforts was soon apparent. The advancing line was met by a perfect storm of well-directed shot and shell. It wavered, hesitated, then broke in confusion."

The Muse South African