Material: Cast Iron
Remarks: Sir William Congreve designed a light and manoeuvrable infantry 3-pounder smooth bore gun in the late 18th century as a light battalion gun to support the infantry. Weighing around 500 pounds when mounted on its own special carriage, it could be pulled by just one horse, but could also be packed on mules or even physically carried by eight men if required. In a place like Gibraltar, these types of guns could easily be brought to bear upon the enemy along different points in Gibraltar’s defences usually inaccessible to the larger and heavier calibre guns. Being able to be moved about quickly and effectively, 3-pounders were referred to as ‘grasshoppers’ by the British Regiments who used them. They could fire shot, canister and grapeshot.
Towards the end of the 18th and early 19th century, large numbers of privateer and merchant vessels operated from Gibraltar. These vessels were well armed and some may well have been fitted with these light 3-pounder guns, either serving as regular deck guns or used as bow or stern chase guns. At a mere 4 feet (122 cm) such guns would have been small, yet powerful weapons aboard the large numbers of privateer vessels such as feluccas, brigantines, xebecs and polacres based in Gibraltar during the French Revolutionary War and later extended throughout the Napoleonic War period when scores of letters of marque issued.
This particular piece has had both its trunnions and cascabel cut and imbedded in the ground. The barrel is therefore greatly corroded and pitted so no visible markings can be seen.
This piece was unearthed from the Aerial Farm and removed to Hay’s Level for storage.