View Single Post
Old November 8, 2006, 07:28 AM   #172
4V50 Gary
Join Date: November 2, 1998
Location: Colorado
Posts: 19,297
Wood cannon (or kids, don't try this at home)

Definitely do not try this at home. Taken from the History of Muhlenberg County (pages 295-296). Muhlenberg County is in Kentucky. Some background first. Earlier some (pro-Union) youngsters staged several fake raids as if they were members of (Confederate) Nathan Bedford Forrest's cavalry. They chased "shot" down or captured the fleeing Unionists (their buddies) who previously warned the locals of Forrest's approach. This caused much alarm and left many timid folks shivering. So, along that line, another group of enterprising youths decided to have their share of fun:

There were some youngsters who thought if the bogus cavalry could play "Forrest," they could play "Buckner." When Geneal Buckner passed through the county he had several little brass cannons with him, that were greatly admired by all the young fellows who saw them. These boys concluded that they wanted a cannon to shoot and scare the timid natives. Three or four of the youngsters got together and called on Edward O. Pace, then a blacksmith near the Pisgah neighborhood, and asked him if he could help get up a cannon. He said that he could. Pace was then a young man, and although he had been married a few years he nevertheless enjoyed the fun and prank of boys. So he told the youngsters to go to the woods and cut out a black gum log eight or ten inches in diameter and about three feet long and bring it to his shop, and he would manufacture a cannon for them.

A log was procured, taken to Pace's shop at night, and the work on the cannon was commenced at once. The bark was shaved off nicely. Pace had a two-inch auger with a long shank, and with this he bored a hole in the endo fhte log down to a depth of fifteen or sixteen inches; he then had a half-inch auger with a long shank, and with this he bored a hole through the log to the bottom end of a touch hole. He had a lot of old wagon-tires in his shop, and out of these he made a number of bands and drove them on the wooden cannon as close as he could conveniently get them. He then loaded the big gun with some powder and made a trial shot to test its strength. It stood the test and was pronounced ready for "warfare."

The youngsters carried the cannon to a field near Pisgah Church. They procured all the powder they could get, and one night commenced a regular cannonading. They put in heavy charges of powder and the report fairly shook the earth; the noise rolled and reverberated in the distance like thunder. The whole neighborhood became alarmed. Some of the people were badly scared, for they thought Buckner or some other army was right in their midst. James Jones, of Long Creek, who happened to be visiting the nearby house of W. C. Martin, became so frightened at the first shot that he crawled under the bed and remained there for some time. The whole neighborhood was dumfounded a the loud shooting. The roaring of this cannon was heard in Greenville, over on Pond River, and near the Christian County line. The next day there was a considerable stir among the natives, for most of them inquired about the shooting. No one seemed to know who had kept up such a cannonading. In the meantime the boys were reaping the pleasure of having played "Buckner" so well.

After the cannon had rested a while it was taken over on the upper Hopkinsville Road, where some repairs were made on it at the James Rice blacksmith shop, then run by W. H. and E. Rice. E. Rice did the work for the boys, and a few nights later the cannonading was carried on inthat neighborhood, where it caused considerable alarm.

The cannon was next carried near to the house in which Billy D. Rice then lived. There it was again put into service, but before discharging it, E. Rice loaded it with a shop-hammer for a ball and aimed the barrel at a nearby tree. The cannon went off with a tremendous roar and sent the shop-hammer deep into the trunk of the tree, where I presume it has remained buried ever since.
Vigilantibus et non dormientibus jura subveniunt. Molon Labe!
4V50 Gary is online now  
Page generated in 0.05259 seconds with 7 queries