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Scratchbuilt Armstrong gun — September 2017

Posted by Mark Hembree
on Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Jim Colman

Raleigh, North Carolina

Describing a photo he took of his father’s handiwork, Jim writes: “Designed and built in 1956 by H. J. Colman, Lt. Col. U.S. Army, this model of a Civil War Armstrong gun will fire a .30-caliber ball through 1.5 inches of wood. The model is 14 inches overall; the barrel is 8.25 inches long. I believe it is constructed primarily of walnut and brass. Every piece, except for the barrel, was handmade by the builder. The barrel was turned on a lathe at a machine shop in Denver, Colo. I witnessed the first-ever firing of this cannon when I was 7. It has been in my possession since his passing in 1997, and it remains unrestored.

“H. J. Colman was a survivor of the Bataan Death March and a POW for three years during World War II. After the war, he served in Germany during the occupation. He later taught Civil War history at the University of Denver. He is buried at the POW graveyard in Andersonville, Ga.”

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