Sitting peacefully under a canopy just east of City Hall, the Washington Guns are a quiet reminder to the explosive conflicts facing our country during the Revolutionary War. The cannons, mounted on oak carriages on a platform, were captured from the British in the Battle of Yorktown. George Washington gifted them to the Chatham Artillery militia company of Savannah in 1791 after he visited the city. Some believe that Washington gave the guns to the Artillery because of the fact that they were responsible for providing a proper funeral for Nathaniel Greene, who was Washington’s commanding general and very close friend. In 1936, the Washington Guns were fired in a salute for the anniversary of the Chatham Artillery; and in 1961, the breech was blown off the gun during a practice firing.
The gun was later repaired and neither has been fired since. In early 1980, the guns and carriages were restored by the Chatham Artillery and today visitors from around the world can get a close look at the amazing pieces that were an important part of our country’s past.