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  • Rodman Gun 20-inch Heavy Cannon

    The Rodman 20-Inch of 1864 was the largest muzzle-loading cannon ever forged on American soil and saw use in the Civil War.

     Updated: 5/10/2017; Authored By JR Potts, AUS 173d AB; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com

    The 20-inch Rodman was the largest muzzle loading cannon ever forged in the United States. The ability to forge cannon of that size required new technology that was developed by Thomas Jackson Rodman. This new casting process came about because of Rodman's interest in cannon advancement as acquired during his training at the U.S. Army's Military Academy at West Point New York, and a particular tragic event that occurred on the USS Princeton in 1844.

    Second Lieutenant Thomas Jackson Rodman was assigned to the Army Ordnance Department at the Allegheny Arsenal in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania after graduating seventh in his class from West Point in 1841. In 1844, the USS Princeton was one of the most advanced ships of her time - becoming the first screw steam warship fielded by the United States Navy. She was fast-equipped with a 14 foot, 6-blade screw powered by a coal burning boiler. She needed guns that projected power so the Princeton sailed for New York in January of 1844 to receive her two big cannon - named "Peacemaker" and "Oregon".

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    Rodman Gun Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 1864
    Type: 20-inch Heavy Cannon
    National Origin: United States
    Manufacturer(s): US Army / Fort Pitt Foundry - USA
    Production: 6

    Design (Crew Space, Dimensions, Weight, and Systems)

    Operating Crew: 16
    Length: 22.93 feet (6.99 meters)
    Width: 3.35 feet (1.02 meters)
    Height: 6.56 feet (2.00 meters)

    Operating Weight: 58 tons (52,255 kg; 115,203 lb)

    Nuclear / Biological / Chemical Protection: None
    Nightvision Equipment: None

    Installed Power and Standard Road Performance

    Engine(s): None.

    Engagement Range: 5 miles (8 km)

    Armament and Ammunition

    1 x 20-Bore Muzzle-Loading Gun Tube

    Dependent upon available ammunition supply; Consists of 1 x 1,080lb shot with 750lb projectile and 200lb charge.

    Global Operators / Customers

    Confederate States; Peru; United States

    Model Variants

    Rodman Gun - Base Series Designation; six examples produced.