Around Civil War Tails: Installing Gun #3’s Limber

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Today on our trip around Civil War Tails, we visit the newly-installed limber on “The Boys Are Still There” (Little Round Top). It’s surprising how much one new addition can refresh the diorama-under-construction and inspire us to do more!

Gun #3 is the only cannon of Lt. Hazlett’s battery to make it up the slope of Little Round Top under horse power instead of by hand. Wheel pair driver Pvt. Quinlan Sullivan is credited with the success.

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Pvt. Quinlan Sullivan

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Rebecca has had the horses and limber made for quite a while, but she finally got around to assembling them. Gluing thread to Sculpey horses as harness traces reminds us of accounts of artillery teams when under fire. While some horses stood quietly and ignored the exploding shells, others understandably panicked and ended up in tangled messes as horses turned completely around and traces ended up crossed and jumbled. Adding to the chaos, wounded horses would be thrashing as well, endangering the drivers as they worked to cut the harnesses off the dead and wounded and untangle the living, and all without being kicked by an iron-shod hoof.

2021-08-21 06 20210820_090302Before installing the limber on the diorama, Rebecca had to measure out the location. A photo from the early 20th Century shows a memorial gun tube near a particular boulder along the path to the castle-like New York monument, indicating the placement of one of Hazlett’s guns. The cannon in the background of this photo is located at that rock. Artillery pieces were typically placed 14 yards apart, so Rebecca measured the distance for a 1:96 scale (3/4” tall cat) from that cannon and boulder. Then, it was just a matter of placing the limber and gun #3 (the latter is not installed yet) where the rocks would allow for wheels and horses.


Gluing down the limber took more time than we expected. To avoid mayhem as horses with wet glue fell and flopped left and right, and the limber bounced all over, Rebecca first glued the limber itself—held down by a ruler—and the wheel pair of horses. Once their glue was dry, she moved on to the swing pair, and then finally the lead pair. When all were securely fastened down, she glued the reins to the drivers’ paws, and the limber team was finished!

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