John Hardman's RevMexPC Website
by John Hardman     EMail:
P.O.Box721, Warren, OH 44482-0721
Also see Link Postcards of the Mexican Revolution
Link "Soldiers of Fortune" in the Mexican Revolution
McGinty Cannon Postcards
Howitzer Firing

This webpage is a work in progress to document as much as possible about the cannon (or perhaps cannons) known as "Blue Whistler". Every time we think we have a definite handle on this subject we find conflicting (or occasionally enlightening) information. Additional and/or corrected information on this subject actively sought. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Under Construction
Cannon Left
The Blue Whistler Saga
Cannon Right
The Kidnaping of Blue Whistler
El Paso MORNING TIMES     6 June 1911
Link The kidnaping of the famous McGinty cannon - the true story of how the old Blue Whistler was "borrowed" by four insurrectos and concealed while repairs were being made and ammunition manufactured.
( Written by one of the four. )
Blue Whistler Returned To Pioneers'
El Paso TIMES     18 August 1911
Link McGinty Cannon to Be Delivered This Afternoon to Pioneers' - "Blue Whistler," the McGinty cannon, will be brought across the river at 5 oclock this evening...

Click on any photo for enlargement.

 At first things seemed pretty straight forward! 

The Blue Whistler was a Civil War era cannon that made a distinctive whistle when fired and thus its name. It saw duty, on the Union side, at the battle of
Map Val Verde in New Mexico (171 miles north of El Paso and 109 miles south of Albuquerque) during the Civil War and was captured along with a number of other artillery pieces by the Confederacy. See: Link New Mexico in the Civil War by Oliver James Stevens. An article from the New Mexico Genealogist 36:3, September 1997.
Eastwood High School Cannon
Xerox from "Old West" Magazine
The Blue Whistler Cannon - Ames No.39
at the Eastwood High School.
A short time later, when the Confederate Army was facing defeat, their 12-pounder howitzers were buried near Albuquerque, New Mexico, by the rebel commander, Captain Trevanion Teel. In 1889, Teel was reminiscing about his wartime experiences and recalled the buried cannon. He obtained permission from the city of Alburquerque to dig up the guns. The guns were given to several towns for various reasons but Teel kept No.39, the Blue Whistler.

A bronze 12-pounder M1841 howitzer has a tube length of 53 inches, a tube weight of 778 pounds, tube material of bronze, a tube bore diameter of 4.62 inches, a range at five degrees of elevation of 1100 yards, and used the following types of ammunition; Shell, Case Shot and Canister Shot.

An interesting sidebar note: "Two bronze 6-pounder field guns (Ames Nos.250&255, both dated 1846) were buried by members of the Val Verde Battery on the McCoslin Ranch outside of Fairfield, Texas and were dug up a few years ago. They are on display there by the ranch house. There are supposedly some more Val Verde cannons buried on the ranch that have not yet been located." - Wayne E. Stark

Sometime after 1889, a 6-pounder cannon came into the possession of the McGinty Club of El Paso, Texas, a musical organization. The club disbanded in the early 1900's, and the El Paso Pioneer Association acquired that cannon.

 Then things get confusing! 

Link The kidnaping of the famous McGinty cannon
On St. Patrick's Day (March 17) in 1911, the cannon was "kidnapped" by Madero sympathizers (Dr. Ira J. Bush, Ned Harper, Abraham Molina and Dr. Frank Thatcher) and was transported to Mexico (April 5), where it was used at Map Banderas (75 miles SE of El Paso near Van Horn, Texas), Map Ojinaga (April 29) (200 miles SE of El Paso near Presido, Texas), and Map Santa Rosal鷠 (SW of Chihuahua City?) The map may not show the correct Santa Rosal鷠. I have no verification on this yet. My circa 1960 Mexican Estados maps show railroads from Ojinaga to the area of Santa Rosal鷠 and then on to Ciudad Ju醨ez so perhaps the map is correct. So far I have found that the valley of Santa Rosal鷠, Chihuahua, contains four pueblos: San Francisco de Conchos, La Cruz, Camargo and Saucillo. - vrw

Long Tom and Friend
The Cannon That The Insurrectoes Stole From The Plaza In El Paso Tex And Used During The Battle At Ju醨ez Mexico May 12-11 1) And Returned After They Had Won The Battle
B&D (Baldridge & Davis View Company) No.1026, photographer

Link SUPER sized version of this photo
The Kidnapped Cannon
Unused Postcard
The Kidnapped Cannon.
unknown, photographer
1) We are looking for clear documentation that the kidnaped cannon was actually used at Ju醨ez (May 12).
So far, it would seem that the carriage was so badly damaged that the last use was at Santa Rosal鷠 but a 1985 Old West Magazine article, Link The Wars of the Blue Whistler, states (with considerable detail) that it was used at Ciudad Ju醨ez. Most likely we just haven't dug deeply enough yet. :-) Any help would be appreciated...PLEASE contact me.

 So...what's confusing about this? 
 The McGinty cannon taken was not Ol' No.39!

The kidnapped cannon was not a 12-pounder howitzer. "The kidnaped cannon is a bronze Link 6-pounder field gun and, it is difficult to tell positively from the photos, but it appears to be a Model 1841. Its weight would be about 880 pounds. It is not a U.S. 12-pounder bronze field gun as that one would be much larger and have handles over the trunnions. It is definitely a gun, not a howitzer. Also, the wheels are not original in any of the postcards." - Wayne E. Stark

The kidnaped cannon was probably the only muzzle loading cannon used in the Mexican Revolution - at least with any documentation. The world had gone to breech loaders before this conflict.

 Suddenly the world has two Blue Whistlers. 

Thanks to the journalists and photographers documenting the kidnaped cannon it apparently becomes the Blue Whistler. The following postcards mostly christen the kidnaped McGinty cannon as the Blue Whistler.
Blue Whistler
Unused Postcard
The Famous "Blue Whistler."
Jim A. Alexander, photographer
Blue Whistler with American Slim
Unused Postcard
"Blue Whistler" with American "Slim", Captain
Bulger, Colonel Villareal and Captain Lewis.
Jim A. Alexander, photographer
Colonel Prospero Villareal
Unused Postcard
Colonel Prospero Villareal, Blue Whistler,
Captian A. W. Lewis, Commanding artillery
to his right.
Also shown Colt Automatic Machine Gun.
Jim A. Alexander, photographer
Blue Whistler and Gun Crew
Unused Postcard
The "Blue Whistler"
and Part of Her Gun Crew.
Jim A. Alexander, photographer
Blue Whistler and Captain Lewis
Unused Postcard
The Blue Whistler and Captain Lewis.
Jim A. Alexander, photographer
Captain Lewis and Blue Whistler
Unused Postcard
Captain A. W. Lewis and the Blue Whistler
Before going Into Action at Ojinaga.
Jim A. Alexander, photographer
McGinty Cannon Moving Into Action
Unused Postcard
McGinty Cannon Moving Into Action, Ojinaga.
A. Lewis, photographer
McGinty Cannon in Action
Unused Postcard
McGinty Cannon In Action at Ojinaga.
A. Lewis, photographer
Blue Whistler As She Is Today
Unused Postcard
Blue Whistler As She Is Today Showing
New Trail Placed and Built by Insurrectos.
Jim A. Alexander, photographer
If you have any idea what the purpose of the "fish" punch might be PLEASE contact me.

FishPunch   FishPunch

Two superb references are:
The Civil War Artillery Page's
I also found this interesting:

Even well researched articles failed to observe that the kidnaped cannon was not the Ames No.39 howitzer. Check out this interesting article by Martin Cole.
The Wars of the Blue Whistler
Old West Magazine     Spring 1985
In 1846, the foundry workers at Springfield, Massachussets could never have forseen... Link The Wars of the Blue Whistler     by Martin Cole

For that matter... an article by the nephew of Dr. Bush, the kidnaping instigator, failed to observe that the kidnaped cannon was not the Ames No.39 howitzer. Check out this interesting article by Bill Jordan.
A Cannon For Madero
Shooting Times Magazine     November 1988
On a seemingly uneventful April night in 1911, a muzzleloading cannon mysteriously disappeared from its resting place in a plaza in El Paso, Texas. Called Link the "McGinty" cannon, this formidable piece of artillery was destined to play an important part in several bloody battles of the Mexican Revolution. The mastermind behind its hyjacking was Dr. Ira J. Bush, a bigger-than-life hero known to Bill Jordan as "Uncle Doc."     by Bill Jordan

A bronze 6-pounder M1841 field gun has a tube length of 60 inches, a tube weight of 884 pounds, tube material of bronze, a tube bore diameter of 3.67 inches, a range at five degrees of elevation of 1520 yards, and used the following types of ammunition; Shell, Case Shot and Canister Shot.

If this cannon had been manufactured at the beginning of the American Civil War it would have cost 40 cents a pound or roughly $352 ($7,040 in 1998 dollars)...of course it was manufactured some years before the war. Wonder how long a person had to work then to put aside over $350?

 Even The Broken Pieces Find A Use! 
Click on photo for enlargement.

Newspaper Advertisement
You may recall that Wayne Stark said that the wheels are not original in any of the postcards. Apparently the damaged carriage was returned to El Paso while the modified/repaired cannon was still in service in Mexico. Obviously McCullough was not one to allow any opportunity to earn a dime to pass. Home-made candies or fine silver service anyone?

 Long Tom Presented to City of El Paso. 
Click on either photo for enlargement.

Unused Postcard
Big Tom (before anything written along cannon barrel)
D.W.Hoffman No.??, photographer
"Another home made cannon also commanded by me during final two days fighting.
This one was smashed during 2nd day. Breach block blownup"

Unused Postcard
D.W.Hoffman No.12, photographer
A larger cannon, made in Chihuahua under the supervision of Guiseppi Garibaldi Second in Command in Madero's Army and generally called Long Tom, was presented to the City of El Paso (June 1) while the kidnaped cannon was still in Mexico.
Click on either photo for enlargement.

        Whole card.                                             Close-up of Long Tom.
Postally Used Postcard
Long Tom

We are looking for original postcards of the Long Tom presentation ceremony.
Any help would be appreciated...PLEASE contact me.

Military Escort
Xerox of Postcard
Military Escort - Presenting Long Tom to El Paso June 1st, 1911
Hoffman & Hecox, photographer

Bringing Long Tom to El Paso
Xerox of Postcard
( Original Postcard shown below. )
Bringing Long Tom to El Paso
Hoffman & Hecox 152, photographer

Click on photo for enlargement of upper left card.

Unused Postcards
Long Tom Collection - May2002 Acquisition

 The kidnaped cannon returns! 

The kidnaped cannon's carriage and wheels arrived in Ciudad Ju醨ez (August 13) on the Mexican National Railway but the battle scarred barrel was not there. The train crew said that the barrel was not put on the train at Santa Rosal鷠. Don Abraham Molina left to search the thieves' markets in the towns along the railroad. The barrel was found and sent on to Ju醨ez.
Cannon Barrel Nomenclature
Link McGinty Cannon to Be Delivered This Afternoon to Pioneers'
With great pomp and ceremony the kidnaped cannon was returned to El Paso personally by Gen. Pascual Orozco (August 18) at the orders of Gov. Abram Gonzales of Chihuahua.

We are looking for postcards or photos of the kidnaped cannon's return ceremony.
Any help would be appreciated...PLEASE contact me.

City Hall Plaza
Unused Postcard
City Hall Plaza, El Paso, Texas. Showing Cannons Used In Mexican Revolution. On reverse: The larger cannon is known as Long Tom: made by Insurrectos in the state of Chihuahua, under the supervision of Col. Guiseppe Garibaldi and later presented to the city of El Paso by President Madero.
H.S.B., publisher
 Where is the Blue Whistler today? 

The kidnaped Blue Whistler was displayed at various sites in El Paso until it was, again, kidnapped and given a wild ride through El Paso. The carriage was damaged beyond repair, and the barrel put into storage.

In 1961, the McGinty Ames No.39 cannon was donated to the newly opened Eastwood High School. The students raised funds to restore the carriage, and the cannon remains on display at the school.

The Eastwood High School History states that the cannon they have is the Blue Whistler which agrees with the written accounts that No.39 is the Blue Whistler.

"The cannon at Eastwood High School in El Paso is a 12-pounder bronze field howitzer, Model of 1841. It is Ames Registry No.39, was inspected by James Wolfe Ripley in 1846, and should have a marked weight of 784 [pounds] on the breech under the knob. It is definitely not the "Blue Whistler" shown in the Plaza photos and in the postcards from Ojinaga." - Wayne E. Stark


Where is the kidnaped cannon now?

Were it and Long Tom "drafted" in the WWII Scrap Metal Drives?

We finally have an answer!   EMail:John Hardman - 12 January 2002
El Paso Herald-Post

El Paso, Texas, Thursday, September 24, 1942

Click on photograph to read complete El Paso Herald-Post article.
Civil War artillery historian Wayne E. Stark, created and maintains the "National Register of Surviving Civil War Artillery" containing 5,561 known survivors. A member of the Company of Military Historians, Mr. Stark is a nationally recognized authority on Civil War era cannon. He is well known to the subscribers of The Artilleryman as the compiler of the Register, and has performed invaluable service in making his research in the ordnance records of both the Union and Confederate armies available to researchers everywhere.
The Blue Whistler Spoon

Blue Whistler Spoon
The Blue Whistler commemorated on a sterling souvenir spoon
by the Mechanics Sterling Company of Attleboro, Massachusetts.
In 1911, a series of souvenir spoons was designed and sold by the A. D. Foster Company of El Paso, Texas. The Foster Company was a jewelry and optical firm located in the El Paso HERALD building. The original cost was $2.50 each. Foster named the spoons for various personages, events and militaria connected with the Madero revolution.
Blue Whistler Spoon Closeup
The spoons' titles were:                    
1. The Madero Spoon
2. The Orozco Spoon
3. The Ju醨ez Spoon
4. The Blue Whistler Spoon
5. McGinty Cannon In Action At Ojinaga Spoon
6. Rebels In Action In Ju醨ez Spoon

Check out the U.S. Mexican Numismatic Association

Lure1 Lure2
 Consulting by... KansaSoft