Today I learned about the cannon here at Jacksonport. The cannon barrel is an original 1861 Union barrel that was used in the Civil War. TTSL, No. 349 PIC are some of the markings still on the cannon. The PIC and the No. 349 markings show that the barrel was made by Phoenix Irion Company which is in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania and the cannon was number 349. The TTSL marking stands for the initials of the Union Army Inspector Major Theodore T. S. Laidley.
The cannon was moved to Newport to in the late 1890’s to be used by the Tom Hindman Camp of the United Confederate Veterans. It was used in reunion battles every summer during the years of 1894-1900. At the town Elizabeth, the old cannon was used and fired during the mock battles. The Confederates would charge out of the woods toward the make believe Union Soldiers along the bank of the White River. People from all over Jackson County would show up for this event. Once the event was over the cannon was moved back to the Newport Courthouse where it would stay until next year’s battle.
In 1978 the cannon was moved from the Newport Courthouse to Jacksonport State Park in order to add to the park’s Civil War Heritage. In 1996 the cannon was temporality removed and stored since the carriage had deteriorated some much that it was unsafe for visitors. It wasn’t until July 2001 that the cannon was finally restored and brought back to Jacksonport.
The pictures show the cannon at Jacksonport State Park. There is also a picture of the park interpreter and myself standing by a panel that shows the history of the cannon as well as how to fire one. The park interpreter explained that an artillery crew each had a specific task that must be done properly. If one person failed to complete their individual task, it could prove unsafe for everyone. Overall I really enjoyed learning about the Civil War cannon and its different uses.