Civil War Re-enactment Cannon Demo
by Norris Graser (the Tick)
For five years, a civil war cannon reenactment has been presented at the school located across the street from where I live. I missed the first time around, but I sure did hear and feel it as I watched the windows rattle in office. Every year thereafter, I have grabbed my camera and walked across the street to listen to a little history and take pictures of the several groups of students brought outside for this enactment.
In addition to some history, they explain the way the cannon works including how it is loaded and fired including the interaction and function of the four man crew. There are several trial runs concluding with a student volunteer to command the firing and pull the chain that fires the cannon. It’s righteously loud and belches an impressive amount of smoke as it recoils from the firing. Everyone is impressed but the students who actually command and fire must be thrilled the most. This demonstration occurs three times with a new audience each time.
After the late morning demo, I called Lee Lygiros to offer up some high end Peat Whiskey I picked up in Ireland a week before. Turned out, he was on his way home and when I mentioned the cannon he decided he would also like to see demo.
After the final firing, we talked to the gun crew a bit. We found out all four are (no surprise) serous civil war historians. I noted how ironic it was that in this day, with all of the political correctness and no tolerance policy about firearms – especially in a school environment, that this event was allowed to occur at all, let alone annually. That thought wasn’t lost on them as it was related that the first year they visited the school, there was a lot of concern and security and police were present. However, they haven’t been back since. Now the crew just show up, place the cannon, talk to the kids and set it off.
This 3” cannon was cast some 23 years ago, in Wisconsin. They told me there is one canon in use that is over 100 years old.