The Monthly Informer
October 1864


“The Dictator”: A Cannon to Live up to its Name
Petersburg, VA- In the fifth month of siege at Petersburg, desperate times calls for desperate measures-or weaponry that is. To better their chances at taking the city quicker, the Union has moved in a cannon that is larger in size and greater in dealing damage than the normal artillery used on the battlefield. The 13-inch mortar, “the Dictator” or “Petersburg Express”, is powerful enough to launch a 218lb cannon ball with a good 20 lbs of gun powder and can fire its ammunition up to 2 ½ miles in range. The cannon itself weighs in at 17,000 lbs. Unlike normal cannons, “the Dictator” uses longer fuses due to a longer time needed for targeting and a high trajectory. Support is provided on the cannon by iron rods and beams to withstand a powerful enough shot when it’s released from the barrel. It is required that at least two men are to operate this machine when the time comes for its use in battle.

In other recent news, President Lincoln has appointed General Ulysses S. Grant with the rank of Lieutenant General, and in doing so appoints him in charge of the Union Army. With Lieutenant General Grant in charge of the Union Army, he hopes to use more troops in the battles yet to come. In this, he hopes that the Confederacy will be deprived a large number of their own forces and will sooner end this destructive conflict. Grant’s recent achievement at Petersburg has been the capture of the Weldon Railroad.
President Lincoln will be facing up against Democratic nominee George B. McClellan in the polls as Americans vote for who will continue presidency through the war. –Michael Turner
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"The Dictator" aboard a railroad car heading to Petersburg.