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70-pounder Whitworth gun
Gun from Princess Royal, in Willard Park at the Washington Navy Yard
Type Naval gun
Place of origin United Kingdom
Service history
In service 1863–
Used by Confederate States, United States, Brazil
Wars American Civil War, Paraguayan War
Production history
Designer Joseph Whitworth
Manufacturer Joseph Whitworth
Unit cost £3500
Produced 1863?–
Weight 8,582 pounds (3,892.7 kg)
Length 118 inches (2.997 m)

Shell Solid shot
Explosive shell
Shell weight 81 pounds (36.7 kg)
Calibre 5.5-inch (140 mm)
Maximum range 5,540 yards (5,070 m)
Filling Black powder
Filling weight 3 pounds 12 ounces (1.7 kg)[1]

The 70-pounder Whitworth naval gun was designed by Joseph Whitworth during the 1860s. It was a rifled muzzle loader and used his hexagonal rifled bore design.


Four guns were captured by the United States Navy on the blockade-runner Princess Royal on 29 January 1863. Two were sent to Morris Island, Charleston, South Carolina to bombard Fort Sumter during the summer of 1863. One gun had a premature detonation that killed four of its crew when trying to ram a projectile home. Another gun was disabled after 111 shots when its inner tube moved back far enough to block the vent.[2]

A number of 70-pounders were bought by the Brazilian Navy and used to arm some of its ironclads during the Paraguayan War in the late 1860s.[3]


  1. Holley, p. 34
  2. Olmstead, p. 141
  3. Gratz, pp. 141, 144, 153


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