Castillo de San Marcos Artillery Tour

This guide will help you learn about the artillery found on display throughout the Castillo. You will find an impressive collection of 18th century European bronze (green) and cast iron (black) weapons. Outside along the seawall rests a collection of artillery made by the United States in the 19th century. Accurately labeling artillery can be a challenge, since measurements have varied across nations and centuries.

To begin your tour of Castillo’s artillery, arrive at the top of the gundeck stairs and walk towards the flag pole (to the RIGHT.) Scroll down to the map to help guide and identify each gun.

Remember: Please do not sit or climb on the cannons.

Bronze vs. Iron

Both metals were used throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. Each metal has advantages and disadvantages, depending on where and how the gun is intended to be used. Cast iron was more commonly used because it was lighter and less expensive.* Most fortifications preferred the iron. On the other hand, iron was more vulnerable to the elements and rusted easily. Iron guns would become brittle and dangerous over a short period of time and were subject to exploding (see cannon #29). When expended, an iron cannon was scrapped.Bronze, although heavier, withstood the stress of firing much better. Also, less metal was needed to construct the weapon. A bronze cannon, once expended, could be melted down and recast into a new weapon. During colonial times, the non-rusting bronze was preferred for the damp environments of ships and seacoast forts. * The metal for a 24-pounder iron cannon cost (in U.S. Dollars) $21,614. A bronze cannon would cost $46,374.

The Art of War

Early bronze artillery could also be described as beautiful works of art. Some are basic in design while others are very ornately detailed. Today, all the bronze guns are covered in a green patina. When first made, they were bright and shiny, like a new penny. Look closely at each gun for some key features. Starting at the back, you can find the name of the maker, the city where it was made, and the date when the gun was manufactured. Moving up, you will find the royal coat of arms of the Spanish King & Queen who reigned during the making of the weapon. Next are a couple of raised handles called dolphins. Moving closer to the front of the gun, a banner bears the cannon’s name. Four cannons ( #1, #2, #13 & #28) also have a second, larger banner that reads “Violati Fulmina Regis” (Thunderbolts of an offended/angry king.) Each trunnion (the pivot bars on the sides of the gun) lists where the metal was acquired, the gun’s maintenance record, and how much the weapon weighs. Other features found on some of the cannons include capture dates stamped by the U.S. Army.

A bird's-eye map of the Castillo with numbered cannon graphics

1. 4-pounder

Bronze. Seville, 1737. Named La Sibila (The Fortune Teller). Gifted to National Park Service (NPS), 1953.

2. 16-pounder

Bronze. Barcelona, 1743. Named El Camilo (The Camillus). Transferred from West Point Military Academy, 1962. Interesting note: Made from recycled bronze.

3. 24-pounder

Cast iron. Circa 1750. Transferred to the NPS with the fort in 1935.

4. 18-pounder

Cast iron. Circa 1750. Transferred 1935. Interesting note: A Spanish 16-pounder is often described as an English 18-pounder.

5. 18-pounder

Same as above

6. 24-pounder

Cast iron. Circa 1750. Transferred to the NPS with the fort in 1935.

7. 24-pounder

Same as above.

8. 12-pounder

Cast iron. Circa 1690. Made in Sweden. Found in Savannah River, 1914. Gifted to NPS, 1955.

9. 15-inch Mortar

Bronze. Barcelona Spain, 1724. Loaned to NPS, 1971.

10. 9-inch Mortar

bronze. Seville Spain, 1784. Gifted to NPS, 1958.

11. 8-pounder

Bronze. Barcelona Spain, 1767. Named El Uenado (The Deer). Gifted to NPS, 1978. Interesting note: This Spanish cannon is modeled after French Gribeauval cannons.

12. 6-pounder

Bronze. Seville Spain, 1762. Transferred from West Point Military Academy, 1962.

13. 16-pounder

Bronze. Seville Spain, 1735. Named El Daedalo (The Daedalus). Loaned to NPS, 1971.

14. 12-pounder

Bronze. Seville Spain, 1798. Named Facheno (Braggart). Received from West Point Military Academy, 1962.

15. 4-pounder

Bronze. Seville Spain, 1795. Named Abilud (Older Brother, or Biblical name). Gifted to NPS, 1960.

16. 2-pounder

Cast iron. Circa 1702. Transferred 1935.

17. 2-pounder

Same as above

18. 9-inch Mortar

Bronze. Barcelona Spain, 1733. Named El Icaro (The Icarus). Gifted to NPS, 1960.

19. 10-inch Mortar

Bronze. Seville Spain, 1807. Named Abajado (Crouching One). Gifted to NPS, 1960.

20. 15-inch Mortar

Bronze. Barcelona Spain, 1724. Loaned to NPS, 1971. Interesting note: Has a rare Luis I crest.

21. 9-inch Mortar

Bronze. Seville Spain, 1774. Gifted to NPS, 1958.

22. 3-pounder

Cast iron. Circa 1690. Found buried in St. Augustine. Gifted to NPS, 1954.

23. 4-pounder

Cast iron. Circa 1700. Found buried in St. Augustine. Gifted to NPS, 1954.

24. 9-pounder

Cast iron. Circa 1690. Made in Sweden. Found partially buried at NE corner of St. George and King St. Gifted to NPS in 1935.

25. 9-pounder

Cast iron. Circa 1690. Made in Sweden. Possibly from the 1715 Plate fleet wreck. Found buried on beach near San Sebastian Inlet, Florida. Gifted to NPS in 1946.

26. 4-pounder

bronze. Barcelona Spain, 1768. Named El Jazmin (The Jasmine). Transferred to NPS, 1962.

27. 16-pounder

Cast iron. Circa 1750. Transferred to the NPS with the fort in 1935. Note: Heavy corrosion, compared to others

Located in Courtyard and Inside Rooms

28. 16-pounder

Bronze. Seville Spain, 1764. Named El Milanes (The one from Milan). Loaned to NPS, 1971.

29. Cannon Fragment

Cast iron. Exploded during the 1702 Siege.

Here's an excerpt from a report written from the day this cannon exploded on November 10, 1702 – Translated by Charles Arnade

"The western bastions of the fort were concentrating on the Carolinians who were on the shores of the San Sebastian River, two musket shots away from the fort. The cannon fire was continuous and men in high spirits. Suddenly the sixteen-pounder iron gun in the San Pablo [North West] bastion exploded. The explosion killed the gunner in charge of the bastion, another artilleryman, and a militiaman. Five others were seriously injured, but later recovered. An investigation found that the gun had been overloaded with round shot, bar shot, and grapeshot. The gun was also found to be slightly cracked prior to the explosion. [The governor] blamed the artillerymen for this disaster since they had…Failed to check the gun and had not detected the crack."

Located in Water Battery (Seawall)

30. 24-Pounder Howitzer

Cast Iron. Model 1815-1819. John Mason, Columbia Foundry. USA. Transferred 1935.

31. 24-Pounder Howitzer

Same as above

32. 24-Pounder Howitzer

Same as above

33. 8-Inch Siege Howitzer

Cast Iron. Model 1846. West Point Foundry, NY, USA. Transferred 1935.

34. 8-Inch Siege Howitzer

Same as above

35. 8-Inch Siege Howitzer

Same as above

36. 8-Inch Seacoast Howitzer

Cast Iron. Model 1841. John Mason, Columbia Foundry, USA. Transferred 1935.

37. 8-Inch Seacoast Howitzer

Same as above.

38. 32-pounder Seacoast Cannon

Cast iron. Model 1841. Missing left trunnion. Found in the waters off Naval Station Mayport, Jacksonville, FL. Transferred to NPS, 1978.

Last updated: July 11, 2023

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