A cannon that saw service in Wilmington during the Civil War will now mark the plaza in front of the North Carolina Museum of History. The Raleigh museum is unveiling the artifact later this morning, adding to its exhibits marking the sesquicentennial of the conflict.
Ken Howard is director of the museum. He says the English-made Blakely cannon was used during the Union blockade of the port. In 1863, Confederate troops were using it to protect the salvage of a blockade runner ship that had run aground.
"Sailors and marines from the USS Minnesota came ashore and attacked the battery, and the Confederates fled back to Fort Fisher and ended up leaving the cannon. And so the cannon was captured and brought aboard the USS Minnesota and it was subsequently taken up to Washington to serve as a trophy of the US Navy's military service in the blockade of Wilmington," said Howard.
Howard says the port of Wilmington was an incredibly important entry point for supplies for the Confederacy. The cannon is on loan from the Navy for 5 years. Howard says he hopes to extend the loan.