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About this artifact

General William Shepard was determined to protect the Supreme Judicial Court at Springfield in September 1786 from the hundreds of Regulators who were equally determined to stop it. Although he lacked permission from the United States government, Shepard of the Massachusetts militia commandeered ammunition, muskets and artillery from the stores of the nearby United States Arsenal. The Regulators who marched on the courthouse referred contemptuously to the light artillery piece Shepard positioned in front of the building as the "government's puppy." Three months later, Regulators would falter and flee when three-pound, iron cannon balls like this one slammed into their ranks as they advanced on the Arsenal.

Richard Colton