The sweetgum is a common forest and backyard tree throughout Georgia. This valuable tree provides us with striking fall color, is a host plant for 30 species of butterflies and moths, produces food for a broad spectrum of wildlife ranging from American goldfinches and wood ducks to white tailed deer, and is also used to make medicine, plywood, furniture, and veneer.

However, would you believe that sweetgum logs were once employed as cannons during the Civil War?



Cannon barrels fashioned from sweetgum logs were not widely used. However, historians have reported that in 1865 the thirty-third Missouri Volunteers manned a battery of seven sweetgum log cannons at Spanish Fort, Alabama; they were nicknamed The Sweetgum Battery.  Six of the cannons fired six-pound shells. The other cannon shot a twelve-pounder.  It has been said that these cannons could accurately strike targets 500-600 yards away.

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