"The Widow Blakely"
7.5-inch Blakely Rifle
"The Widow Blakely" was located about 1 mile north of its current position during the Siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi. It was misidentified as a 7.44-inch caliber rifle but inside micrometer measurements of the lands, nearly 1.5 inches wide, show diameters between 7.50 and 7.51 inches.
On May 22, 1863, one of "The Widow Blakely's" shells exploded in the tube while it was firing at a Union gunboat. The explosion took part of the end of the muzzle off, leaving the remainder of the tube intact. The ragged ends were cut smooth and the rifle was used as a mortar during the rest of the siege (Pemberton surrendered to Grant on July 4, 1863). It is rifled with 12 lands and grooves in the typical hook-slant Blakely fashion. After the trimming of the muzzle the overall length is about 100 inches. Originally the tube would have been about 124 inches long. It was taken to West Point Military Academy as a war trophy and remained there for ninety-six years until its return to Vicksburg.
Actual reports from the Official Records listing "The Widow Blakely" can be found by clicking here.
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