Looking at an old-time cannon, most people are sure of just one thing: the shot came out of the front end. For that reason these pages are written; people are curious about the fascinating weapon that so prodigiously and powerfully lengthened the warrior's arm. And theirs is a justifiable curiosity, because the gunner and his
ty, carriages were still cumbrous. To move a heavy English cannon, even over good ground, it took 23 horses; a culverin needed nine beasts. Ammunition--mainly cast-iron round shot, the bomb (an iron shell filled with gunpowder), canister (a can filled with small projectiles), and grape shot (a cluster of iron balls)--was carried the primitive way, in wheelbarrows and carts or on a man's back. The gunner's pace was the measure of field artillery's speed: the gunner walked beside his gun! Furthermore, some of these experts were getting along in years. During Elizabeth's reign several of the gunners at the Tower of London were over 90 years old.
Lacking mobility, guns were captured and recaptured with every changing sweep of the battle; so for the artillerist generally, this was a difficult period. The actual commander of artillery was usually a soldier; but transport and drivers were still hired, and the drivers naturally had a layman's attitude toward battle. Even the gunners, those civilian ar