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Medford Historical Society Papers, Volume 13. 2 2 Browse Search
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Medford Historical Society Papers, Volume 13., Ancient ammunition at an Altitude. (search)
of a cannon ball, but paid little attention thereto, and the cartload of earth into which they were thrown, was dumped somewhere in one of the new streets. Ere long, another was found, then two more thirty rods away; the former nearly three feet below the surface and all in fairly good condition. They are three and one-half inches in diameter and of six pounds weight. Various theories as to their presence have been formulated, but none seem satisfactory. Through the courtesy of Mr. Claud Allen of the owner company, one of these balls will find place among the local curios of the Medford Historical Society, and to him are due thanks for their preservation. But whence came they, is the question. Either they were brought there and buried by some one now unknown, or they were fired there from cannon; but who knows or can suggest who the artillerymen were? History records no battle nearer the spot than Bunker Hill. The British ordnance at that time had not so long range, w
e being used then. We could see the dust spouts as the shots struck the rugged slope. Evidently the merits of this locality as a safe place for artillery practice had been discovered. I have a round shot which was fired from Lord Percy's sixpounder April 19, 1775. It was ploughed up on the Rufus Merriam farm in Lexington some forty or fifty years later. It weighs five and one-half pounds, a weight at which no spherical shot was ever cast. Possibly weighing the cannon-ball which Mr. Claud Allen has given to your Society may indicate something, but I cannot tell. I know nothing of the oxidizing rates of different soils. Truly yours, Thomas M. Stetson. Son of Reverend Caleb Stetson, Pastor of First Parish. From conversation with the adjutant-general's assistant at the State House we learn that Massachusetts, in 1840, had twenty-six artillery companies and eighty-three of infantry, a much larger proportion of artillery than in later years. Each company had two six-poun