Cannon Firing

What does it feel like to fire a Civil War era cannon?

It was terribly loud, and pulling the "trigger" required quite a bit of force. One holds a wooden handle attached to a leather cord connected to the firing pin. The correct procedure is to pull the cord by twisting one's body away from the cannon rather than to use arm strength alone. I was filmed for a television program about gravity shown on the History Channel. For the purpose of the film, I was a corporal supervising the gunnery sergeant (who held the gunpowder) and two soldiers (who cleaned the barrel and loaded the cannon ball.) I was responsible for seeing that everything is in order and for firing the cannon. I tried to visualize what it would be like to be hit by one of those cannon balls.....

Although the filming was in a relatively deserted area east of Los Angeles, it was quite cold. The director ordered many takes and it took almost all day. In the lower right corner of the last picture you could see the head of one of the camera guys.