SECESH CANNON is a confederate rifled artillery piece captured by Cleveland troops early in the CIVIL WAR. At the outbreak of the Civil War in April 1861, several artillery companies from the Cleveland area were ordered into western Virginia as Battery A, 1st Regiment, Light Artillery, Ohio Volunteer Militia, as part of the 3d Brigade, 4th Div. of the Ohio Volunteer Militia. Col. JAMES BARNETT commanded Battery A.
Federal forces commanded by Mjr. Gen. George B. McClellan were successful in thwarting a Confederate invasion of western Virginia. On 13 July 1861, Battery A, with other Federal units, attacked Confederates withdrawing across the Cheat River at Carrick's Ford (also referred to as Corrick's Ford). The Confederates left behind most of their supply wagons and "one fine rifled piece of artillery," which was captured by the Cleveland Light Artillery, one of Battery A's constituent units.
Carrick's Ford marked the end of Battery A's 3-month term of service in the field. The commander of the federal force at Carrick's Ford awarded Barnett's unit the captured cannon. The cannon was brought to Cleveland during welcoming-home ceremonies on 29 July 1861. The cannon became known locally as the "old secesh cannon," or simply, the "secesh cannon." For the remainder of the Civil War, the cannon was displayed at Camp Cleveland on Univ. Hts. (see TREMONT). It was used for a variety of purposes: to fire blank rounds when troops marched from Camp Cleveland to UNION DEPOT for field service, to encourage recruiting, to announce news of Federal victories, and to celebrate other noteworthy occasions, such as the war's end in 1865.
The cannon was displayed on PUBLIC SQUARE after the war and when the Cuyahoga County SOLDIERS' AND SAILORS' MONUMENT was dedicated in 1894, it was eventually repositioned on the sidewalk near the curb facing north on the west side of the monument, but then it disappeared. CLEVELAND PRESS reporter Robert C. Stafford wrote in 1961 that the cannon "had been found in an EAST CLEVELAND garage, lost again, and found on a city dump." Cleveland attorney John Crossen had obtained title to the cannon from the City of Cleveland in 1959. A former member of the 135th Artillery, which traced its lineage to Battery A and to the CLEVELAND GRAYS, Crossen transferred the right of possession to the Cleveland Grays. In a brief ceremony on 1 Nov. 1961 at GRAYS ARMORY, Richard L. McNelly, retired brigadier general, 135th Field Artillery, Ohio Army National Guard, presented the restored cannon to James A. Gleason, president of the Grays.
The iron barrel with a 3-inch bore was manufactured in 1861 for the state of North Carolina at Joseph Reid Anderson's Tredegar Foundry in Richmond, VA, and bears the number 1151. In 1995 it was on permanent display on the ground floor in Grays Armory at 1234 Bolivar Rd. The piece may be the only surviving captured Confederate cannon in existence in any major northern city.