Documenting and replicating Fort Henry'sSix-Pounder Armstrong RBL field gun limbers

 Horses are good at pulling, and can carry heavy loads, but they don't like to lift and pull at the same time.  Field gun carriages have a very heavy hardwood and wrought-iron "trail" on them to give them the mass to resist the recoil of the gun being fired.  The trail is much too heavy to hitch up to a horse.  The solution is a limber.

The familiar expression "limber up" originally meant to lift up the heavy trail on your field gun carriage and drop the iron lunette ring on the end over the pintle hook on the back of your limber carriage.  This turns your two carriages into one four-wheeled carriage that horses will happily pull to the next battlefield.  The ammunition chests balance the limber so that the weight of the pole that the horses pull is almost neutral.

Fort Henry's six-pounder RBL (rifled, breech-loading) Armstrong field gun limbers get a lot of use in the summers and wear out.  They had us take one over the winter, document its construction with a measured drawing, and then build two complete replicas, identical in every detail.  

Here's how it was done:

The frame is 3" white oak.  Some well-seasoned stock left over from a keel replacement job.

The ammunition chests are white ash with dovetailed corners

The pintle was shaped out of 2" diameter steel bar using a coal forge and anvil

More hardware hand-forged to match the originals


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