Military Terms and Equipment for the
the Presidio of St. Augustine
arquebus - Invented about 1450 a firearm with a matchlock operated by a trigger.

bomb - shell or hollow iron ball filled with explosive, detonated by a fuse, fired from a gun

bombardier - operated mortars and howitzers

breech - back part of a cannon

coehorn - small mortar for throwing grenades

fusil - a light musket or firelock (alternate) fire steel for a tinder-box

galliot - small galley with both sails and oars

grape-shot - combination of balls, put into a thick canvas-bag and corded together to form a
cylinder the size of a cannon.

gunner - worked the cannon.

gunner's ladle - copper scoop fixed to a pole for measuring powder and loading it into a gun

langrage shot - case-shot loaded with pieces of iron of irregular shap used in naval warfare to
damage the rigging and sails of the enemy..

match - wick or cord chemically prepared to fire a charge of powder.

matross - assistant to a gunner

mortar - short piece of ordnance with a large bore and trunnions on its breech for throwing shells at
high angles to break through the vaulted roofs of barracks and magazines.

musket - smooth bore developed about 1540.

muzzle - the end of a fire-arm where the shot is discharged

pale - pointed stake

piragua - canoe made of a hollowed tree trunk

powder - mixture of saltpetre, sulphur, and charcoal. (70 parts nitre, 18 parts sulphur and 16 parts
of charcoal. Musket powder had more saltpetre than cannons.

rammer - a pole with a wood head for raming the cannon ball or charge of a cannon.

swivel gun - used mostly on the gunwale of a boat that enables the gun to be turned horizontally.

tinder-box - box where tinder, flint and steel were kept to start fires

touch-hole - a small tubular hole in the breech of a fire-arm (also called vent)

trunnion - metal knobs on the breech that enable the cannon to turn on the carriage.

wormer - a double screw on the end of a pole for extracting the wad or cartridge from a
muzzle-loading gun.
Return to Dr. Bronson's St. Augustine
History