The Gibraltar Chronicle of the 22nd Oct. gives an account ot a gun explosion while a portion of the garrison were carrying on gun practice with red hot shot. A 32 pounder, 9 feet 6 inches long, and weighing 56 cwt., charged with 10 lbs. of powder, a dry wad and a wet one, and 32 lbs. iron hot shot, having mis-fired, was reprimed and fired by percussion-hammer and tube. On the charge being ignited, the gun burst, scattering the carriage to atoms, the splinters of which knocked down six of the unfortunate gun detachment on the spot, wounding two of them. The metal part<:!d into a dozen pieces ; four immense masses of several hundred weight each, were hurled nearly a hundred feet into the air and carried to a distance of nearly 300 yards trom the platform on which the gun was standing; and the breech thrown to the rear, across the battery and public road, killed an ass on which a little boy—who miraculously escaped unhurt—was mounted. The whole battery was for an instant enveloped in smoke, and the panic which ensued during its clearing away was one of such intense anxiety as to baffle description. When we consider what a vast number of the military were at the guns, and the concourse of spectators,' among whom were some Moors of distinction, it is passing wonderful that so few were hurt; and, above all, that only two cases may be deemed dangerous.
This article was originally published with the title "Gun Explosion at Gibraltar" in Scientific American 8, 12, 91 (December 1852)