Friday, November 10, 2006

Civil War Cannon Returns Home To North Carolina

Joint Release By:
Chowan County Tourism Development Authority
Edenton Historical Commission

November 9, 2006

A Civil War cannon made in 1862 from the bell of the oldest public building in North Carolina is returning home 141 years after its surrender.

The "Edenton" will be presented to the public at a ceremony to be held on Wednesday November 29, 2006 at 3:30 PM on the green of the historic 1767 Chowan County Courthouse in Edenton, NC. The "Edenton" will then be displayed beside the "St. Paul" in Edenton’s Colonial Park on Edenton Bay.

The cannon, named the “Edenton” by the men of the Edenton Bell Battery, is one of four bronze cannons cast from bells donated by institutions and individuals of the Town of Edenton, NC during the spring of 1862. Consisting of men from Chowan, Tyrrell, and Washington Counties, the Edenton Bell Battery, led by Captain William Badham, Jr. and Lieutenants John M. Jones and Nelson McLees, saw action with the Army of Northern Virginia and in southeastern North Carolina during the War Between the States. The artillery unit also participated in the Battle of Bentonville, the largest land battle fought in North Carolina during the War. Since its surrender on April 28, 1865, the cannon has been in federal possession. Since 1901 it has been used for display purposes at Shiloh National Military Park in Shiloh, Tennessee.

The "Edenton" is a unique and rare six-pounder caliber gun made of bronze from the bell of the 1767 Chowan County Courthouse. In 2001, the other known remaining cannon from the Edenton Bell Battery, the bronze twelve-pounder “St. Paul” was returned to North Carolina from Old Fort Niagara New York where it had been discovered in storage. The return of both cannons to North Carolina has been made possible by a cooperative effort between the Edenton Historical Commission and the NC Department of Cultural Resources. The Office of NC State Senator Marc Basnight, the Office of US Senator Elizabeth Dole, and the US Department of Interior’s National Park Service were also instrumental in the return.

"This cannon represents the most thrilling part of the history of the War Between the States, the actual heritage of the small units that participated" explains Peter Rascoe, Edenton-Chowan Special Projects Officer and the person who researched and arranged for the return of both cannons. "I will be so proud when actual direct descendants of the men of the Edenton Bell Battery unveil that cannon", Rascoe added.

"The return of this historic artifact just adds to our ever increasing inventory of hands-on interpretative exhibits for the public to experience", says Chowan County Tourism Development Authority Director Nancy Nicholls.

"This is just one of the many ongoing community projects which the Edenton Historical Commission is proud to be a part of", adds John Dowd, former Edenton Mayor and current Chairman of the Edenton Historical Commission.

For more information contact: Peter Rascoe, Edenton-Chowan Special Projects Officer, (252) 482-8431


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