Some exciting historical information came our way recently regarding the lost cannon. It was even more exciting since ABCI has agreed to raise funds for a replica cannon to be placed in front of the Museum as a memorial to Rad Rich. Thanks to my friends, Andy and Patricia Smith of Eastover, the mystery of the “Cannon of Silver Run Mill Pond” may be solved. Andy recently received an e-mail with a detailed account of the “Star of the West” cannon taken from Fayetteville by Sherman’s troops on their trek to Averasboro and Bentonville. The following is from Andy’s friend, Robert Milburn, who provided the information and the citation for the validity of the information:
“The extract from The Seventieth Indiana, by Samuel Merrill 1900 explains it all…’near Averasborough our corps came upon the rebel army strongly fortified, and we had a hard fight. Our brigade charged a battery, killed or captured all the horses, took fifty-six prisoners and seized one twelve-pounder gun and one twelve-pounder howitzer. My squad of foragers while passing through a heavy piece of pine timber, found a wagonload of white corn. We took possession, and going to a small mill, started it and ground our corn into meal. One bushel per hour was the capacity of that mill. While engaged in the slow work we saw something in the water that excited our curiosity. It proved to be a fine small brass cannon, named the Star of the West. One wheel had gotten out of order, and in their haste to get away the rebels had thrown the Star of the West into the mill pond. While foraging we asked a young people where his people had hidden their meat. “Lah, Massa, up in the woods.” He led the way to the place, and we resurrected sixty-four hams, six for each company, and four for the field and staff.
“After the Averasborough battle we had a good many sick and wounded to care for, and I was detailed with ten others to forage for the hospital. While we were in discharge of our duty, one of the boys got into an old shuckpen and found eighty seven dollars in fifty cent pieces. The sick and wounded could not eat these, so we thought the best use we could make of them was to divide them equally among ourselves.”