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Vicksburg History

The cannon that sank the Cincinnati



The cannon after it was unearthed in 1936.

Next to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Lower Mississippi Museum is a position tablet for a 10-inch cannon that was located there during the Siege of Vicksburg. This cannon was part of the Whig Office Battery complex, and this was one of the largest cannons in the Vicksburg defenses.

After the siege, the Union army built new fortifications to protect the city from being recaptured by Confederate forces. The cannons used by the Federals during the siege were needed elsewhere, so former Confederate cannon were used in the new fortifications.

The 10-inch cannon was moved to a fort that stood approximately where the old Coke Bottling plant was located on Washington Street. The Lum home had stood there but was torn down to make way for the Union fort.

The cannon after it was abandoned in Vicksburg. [Spiral Cannon as left at Warrenton Road within the corporate limits of the city at the surrender]; Abner L. Blanks (American, active 1870s – 1900s); about 1865 – 1870; Albumen silver; 84.XC.873.899

The cannon remained there for the rest of the war and was abandoned on the site when the war was over. For some reason, the cannon was buried there, probably because it was in the way, and a 15,400-pound cannon is not easy to move.

A letter written by Leila A. Lum was placed in the cannon barrel in a bottle. It read:

This cannon was buried August 18,1900 in the Lum Tract of ground. It was the Confederate cannon that sank the US gunboat Cincinnati while trying to run past Vicksburg during the siege. After the Yankees came it was placed in a Fort on the site where it is buried. The Lum property was owned by Mrs Ann Lum and was occupied by Genl USGrant as headquarters after Vicksburg fell. After Genl Grants removal from the city, the house was torn down and a Fort built by the US Government on this site. During the siege the gun was located at the corner of Washington and Jackson Streets. It was in that locality when it fired the fatal shot that sank the Cincinnati. The gun was buried by levee contractor, H.F. Garbish, who had the contract for grading the Lum property, was supervised by Mr.E.Bussey.

Years later, in 1936, the cannon was excavated and given to the National Park Service. The cannon now sits at Fort Donelson National Park in Dover, Tenn.

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