A Guide to New Bedford’s Many Military Tanks and Artillery
New Bedford has enough military hardware to put down a minor revolt. Seriously, the city has tanks and artillery scattered throughout various memorials, probably enough firepower to invade Acushnet or even Freetown should Mayor Jon Mitchell decide to channel his inner Napoleon.
There is only one problem: the stuff no longer works, and so it sits in tribute to one group or another in honor of past glories, no doubt forgotten by most. Some are cared for, while others have seen better days.
My son Zachary was home visiting for the Christmas holiday. As we tooled around, he remarked, only half kidding, that New Bedford appears to have more cannons than Virginia, where he now lives amongst the many Civil War battlefields and memorials. Zach asked if I knew how many cannons and tanks were in New Bedford. I didn't, but I found out.
I contacted Bob Bromley, former curator of the Fort Taber/Fort Rodman Military Museum and current chairman of the city's Veterans Advisory Board. Bromley was a wealth of knowledge and was only too willing to share with me what he knew.
New Bedford has three tanks and eight cannons positioned from Fort Taber to Mt. Pleasant Street, just north of King's Highway. Bromley said the military hardware are "artifacts of history."
"Use of the artillery and tanks as part of the city's veterans memorials shows a deep commitment that our veterans had with their military experience," he said.
Bromley said the equipment was made available at little cost to the community or the veteran's organizations.
"The feds regularly make available items for community memorialization," he said. "The general rule is you get it for free but must pay all shipping costs."
While most of the pieces are on public display, Bromley said several have gone missing over the years. Those pieces include two 12pd Napoleon cannons from Buttonwood Park, an artillery piece from Cumminsky Square at Cove Road and County Street, and two mortars with cannonball stands that disappeared from the monument at Clasky Common Park.
Check out our list of what military hardware remains and where in New Bedford it is located:
A Guide to New Bedford's Memorial Tanks and Cannons