Sunday, July 24, 2011

Savannah's Siege Mortar History Discovered

The year was 1929 and the Los Angeles Times newspaper headline read:


EL MONTE, July 2, 1929 – Patriotic exercises featured by the placing of a seven-inch trench siege mortar, obtained from Benicia Arsenal by the United Veterans of the Republic, in El Monte Cemetery in tribute to the war veterans buried there will be held here on Thursday.

Arrangements have been made by Charles A. King, adjutant of the Veterans of the Republic, and a chamber of commerce committee, Roy C. Addelman and Neil R. Murray to make this an historic occasion in this city.

State Senator Frank Merriam of Long Beach will be the principal speaker and Mayor C. A. Baker will be the chairman of the day. Rev. Bob Schuler will give the benediction. The procession to the cemetery will be headed by Grand Marshal T. H. Lambert, who will have a county motor patrol escort. Included in the line of march will be the City Council, Mayor Baker, United Veterans of the Republic, Civil War veterans, Spanish-American War veterans, El Monte Legion Post, Daughters of the American Revolution, El Monte and Rosemead Women’s Clubs, Lions’ Club of El Monte, Business and Professional Woman’s Club, Lexington Masonic Lodge No.104, Odd Fellows, Boy Scout troops of El Monte and Rosemead, and a section including the surviving pioneers of this city. Adjutant King has made special arrangements to have the naval band from the U.S.S. Colorado present. 
Source: Los Angeles Times – July 2, 1929

El Monte Cemetery Association board member Walter White, researcher and descendant of early settlers to the El Monte area came up with some additional and interesting facts about the 'little cannon' that makes it home at the Savannah Memorial Park.

Specifics of the mortar:

Siege Mortar, small seven inch bore                                      
Weight: 1689 lbs                                                                     
Serial No. 20
Inspector: G.W.B. 
Year of Mfg.: 1898 
Manufacturer: Watervliet Arsenal  - New York                                        

Researcher Walter White, writes: the trench siege mortar was manufactured in 1898 at the Watervliet Arsenal in New York. This arsenal was established in 1813 to support the War of 1812 and is still making weaponry in 2010. The cannon was made the same year as the beginning and end of the short Spanish‐American War.

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