The questions everyone asks about pirates and privateers - (image : Long John Silver in Treasure Island - 1883)
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Question of iL SiGnOr (10.20.2015): Could you explain how pirates loaded the cannons with an illustration if possible? Was the way to load a cannon and flintlock guns of the era of piracy the same? Thank you.
A: Here is an illustration of handling a cannon of 32 English pounds. (click images to enlarge).

Loading an English canon - step 1 At the Clear the ship for action of battle the mantle port (opening on the ship's side to take out the cannon's mouth) is open and the cannon is dropped to the end of brague (1) using the pension hoist (2) maintained by the figure on the left. The brague is a big rope to stop the recoil of the barrel.

A powder cartridge (3) is introduced and a jack (4), the ball (5), and another valet. The valets are husks that prevent the load from moving. The man behind the breech of the cannon pierces the cartridge by inserting a pin in the light, then up a squib (primer) in this light.

Loading an English canon - step 2 The men argue the barrel to the ship's porthole (1) using the hoist side (2), while the man left to stands ready to prevent the barrel from brutal advance in the case of a stroke roll (swinging of the ship to the right or left as a result of the swell).

The fighting yawns (3) contain water to wet the swab (brush fastened to the end of a rod, which is used to clean the bore (inside the tube)) after the coup.

Loading an English canon - step 3 The cannon is pointed at the target using handspike of bars (1 - levers) and adjusted in height with the focal corners (2) in the breech of the cannon. The gunner holds the lanyard (3) while a man introduces the powder to the plate (4).

Sharply on the last trip the striker flint ignites the powder, which will escape from the squib (the primer) and the load. The cannon hand back, and we need to clean the swab with the rammer.
A well-trained team can fire a shot every 2 minutes.
Regarding the loading of cannon flint, I will respond in a few days.

© illustrations by Edward Mortelmans, "La vie d'un marin au temps des grands voiliers", published by Chat Perché Flammarion.

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