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Letter from Col. W. Lamb to Gov. Zebulon Vance, August 21, 1863


Letter from Col. W. Lamb to Gov. Zebulon Vance, August 21, 1863


Col. Lamb writes to Gov. Vance so that the Governor might use his influence to acquire for Fort Fisher one of two enormous Blakely cannons that had come through the blockade into Wilmington. The Colonel believes that the guns could be invaluable in protecting the port, the importance of which he justifies by stating the frequency with which the Confederate States government-run blockade-runners had put in at Wilmington. An endorsement by Vance, forwarded presumably to Seddon, also makes a request for one of the cannons.


Colonel W. Lamb


The War of Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume 52, Series 1, 0757.




York, Robert




Wilmington, North Carolina

Original Format



Fort Fisher, August 21, 1863.


DEAR SIR: The steamer Gibraltar, which arrived here this week, brought the two largest guns that I know of in the world. They weigh, independent of everything, twenty-three tons each, and throw a bolt weighing 700 pounds. It is said these two monster guns are to be sent to Charleston. I write to you to beg you for the sake of North Carolina, as well as the Confederate States, to secure from the War Department one of these guns for the defense of Wilmington. This place is of vital importance to our cause; it is the pathway to the outer world, and when New Inlet is closed the tons of bacon, powder, arms, and clothing now flowing freely into our country will be stopped, and we will then feel the terrible privations by which our enemy hopes to conquer us. But I need not tell you of the great necessity of holding Wilmington. One of these guns in worth fifty ordinary guns. No iron-clad could stand one of its bolts; 700 pounds of solid iron thrown by forty pounds of powder will crush anything that now floats or will ever float under the Yankee flag. One of these guns is enough for one place. When there are but two in the South, Wilmington is entitled to one. Her inlet gave them a safe entrance, and North Carolina troops defended the vessel that brought them in. The same night that the Gibraltar came in three more C. S. steamers came in - the Lady Davis, the Eugenie, and Venus - a fact which shows how important our inlet has become. Do use your influence to get us one of these guns for Wilmington, and if you do, and we are fortunate enough to get it at Fort Fisher, I promise you in behalf of 1,000 brave North Carolinians that no Yankee ship will get into New Inlet while enough remain alive to load and fire her.

Yours, very truly and respectfully,



To give you an idea of the size of these guns, I would state our largest gun, the 10-inch columbiad, weighs seven and a half tons, and throws a 128-pound ball.



Raleigh, August 24, 1863.

Respectfully referred to the honorable Secretary of War.

If the situation of Charleston would justify it, I would earnestly join in the request, believing it eminently proper and due to the State.



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Colonel W. Lamb, Letter from Col. W. Lamb to Gov. Zebulon Vance, August 21, 1863, Civil War Era NC, accessed May 21, 2024,