• Fort Parade Ground and Officers Quarters as seen from Guardhouse

    Fort Scott

    National Historic Site Kansas

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • Heat Warning

    For the next few days, predicted highs in the afternoon will be in the upper 90s to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. While visiting the site, drink plenty of water and stay indoors as much as possible.

  • Exhibits Closed

    Beginning Monday August 25, the infantry barracks museum will be closed for remodeling and to prepare for a new theater and exhibits. Work is expected to be completed by spring of 2015. The site's movie will be played in the visitor center upon request.

Artillery - Tools of the Trade

Worm, Sponge Rammer, Trail Spike

Tools or props which are used to fire artillery are:

Sponge-Rammer - One end contains a lambs wool sponge which is inserted by Cannoneer #1 for putting out embers from previous firings. The other end contains a wooden rammer which is used to place the artillery round all the way to the breech of the barrel.

Worm-A clawlike tool that was used to extract a faulty round if needed. It could also be used to remove fragments of the powder bag after firing, although this was not part of the routine drill.

Hand Spike - A wooden spike attached to the trail for moving the gun horizontally.

Gauntlets - Worn by Cannoneers #1 and #2

for safety while handling the artillery round

Gunner's Haversack - Worn by Cannoneer #5 to carry the artillery round from the limber to Cannoneer #2.

Sponge Bucket - Contains water which is used to dampen the sponge prior to inserting it in the barrel by #1.

Thumbstall - Worn by Cannoneer #3 for plugging the vent hole to create a vacuum for #1 while sponging out the gun and ramming home the charge.

Priming Wire - Used by Cannoneer #3 for opening up the black powder charge thus exposing it to the detonating device.

 
Artillery Tools 1 ThuimbstallVent Wire or Priming WireGunner's HaversackGauntlets
 

Tube pouch - Worn by Cannoneer #4, it contains the lanyard and friction primers.

Lanyard - Hook, rope, and wooden handle which is used to pull the friction primer to ignite the charge.

Friction primer - A copper tube with a serrated wire running through it at a right angle. Inside the tube is gunpowder which is held in place with beeswax at the bottom of the tube. Where the wire contacts the tube historically contained fulminate of mercury, similar to a match head. When the wire is pulled, friction ignites the gunpowder which shoots down to the main charge of blackpowder in the artillery tube which sends the round propelling
through the barrel.

Prolong - A heavy rope which is held on the trail of the gun which could be used to pull the cannon.

 
Artillery Tools 2 LanyardProlongFriction PrimerTube Pouch
 
 
Cannon at Fort Scott
Next Page

Did You Know?

Captain Thomas Swords

Captain Thomas Swords, the quartermaster in charge of building Fort Scott, said that the other officers were of no assistance in planning and designing the fort and that "none of them can draw a straight line even with the assistance of a ruler".