At the 1965 Annual Meeting of The Company, Member Robert Mulligan provided some interesting addenda to the article on the 2 3/4 inch U. S. (King) Howitzer, which appeared in the MC&H XIII, pp. 1-7. In reading Catharina V. R. Bonney's A Legacy of Historical Gleanings, he noted an account by Colonel Solomon Van Rensselaer of the New York Volunteers, and a veteran of Wayne's 1794 campaign, who had seen two guns which almost certainly must have been "King" howitzers. In early October of 1812, Van Renssalaer was permitted to make several visits to the British headquarters at Fort George, opposite Fort Niagara on Lake Ontario, to attend to the wants of American prisoners of war. Of this experience, he wrote the following:

On my last visit there, the very day before the action, while returning to my boat, accompanied by Col. McDonald, Major Evans and other officers, attracted by the appearance of a body of Indians a short distance to our left, I expressed a desire to obtain a nearer view, as I might know some of them. This gallant and accomplished officer immediately led the way. On our route we passed two beautiful brass grasshoppers, or howitzers, of a small size calculated to be carried on packhorses, the wheels about as large as those of a wheelbarrow. I remarked, "these at all events are old acquaintances of mine." They had formerly belonged to Wayne's army, and were used against the Indians, in 1794, in which battle he was engaged. After the defeat of the Indians, these pieces had been left at Detroit, where as Col. McDonald stated, they were taken by Gen. Brock and brought down, with a view of being sent to England, as a curiosity. I observed in a jocular manner that I felt partial to those pieces, and we must try to take them back. He replied in the same pleasant humor, that they must try to defend them. Little did he suspect that every thing was arranged to make that trial, or that the next day, he and his chivalrous chief were doomed to fall, and I to be grievously wounded. These brass howitzers were among the British trophies of victory at Detroit on Hull's surrender.1

How accurately Van Rensselaer observed in comparing the wheel size to wheelbarrow wheels is uncertain, but some of the older type wheels, which turned on gudgeons, have been measured and found to be from 20 to 22 inches in diameter. This is about nine inches smaller than the wheels on the replica carriages, although the total weight of the latter compares favorably with the original weight given by Wayne. It should be remembered that much of the weight in my carriage is in the wheels.

Don H. Berkebile

1  Catharina V. R. Bonney, A Legacy of Historical Gleanings, Albany, 1875, I, p. 252

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