On Sunday, November 15, 2015, at 3:00 p.m., the Museum and Library of Confederate History, located at 15 Boyce Avenue, Greenville, SC 29601, held a dedication ceremony for its newly installed 1857 12-pound Napoleon Cannon. The 16th SC Color Guard of Honor posted the colors. 16th Regiment, SC Volunteers, SCV Greenville Camp 36 Chaplain Mark Evans gave the invocation. Museum Director Michael Couch welcomed everyone and told of some of the events surrounding the acquisition and installation of the cannon.
The main speaker for the dedication was Dr. Terry Lee Rude, Chairman of the Museum’s Board of Directors. In his message Dr. Rude first identified the cannon as a 12-Pound Napoleon and explained that he was wearing a Confederate Artilleryman’s uniform, appropriate for the occasion. He then went on to explain that this new cannon replaced Charley Crenshaw’s, which had been on loan to the Museum from the Crenshaw family for the last six years. Charley’s Napoleon was well-known and very popular around Greenville, and, after his death, the Museum was proud to display it. However, its forty-year-old wooden carriage was in constant need of repair and was deteriorating rapidly. The Crenshaw family thought it best to repossess the cannon, and, in its absence, the Museum immediately discovered that it had become the “Signature of the Museum.” Dr. Rude explained, “The many questions and comments about the missing Napoleon made us realize that it tended to be people’s favorite thing about the Museum.” The Museum, therefore, determined to obtain another 12 pounder, and, after many months, it finally arrived from Stafford Wheel and Carriage in Coatesville, PA. Dr. Rude seemed moved as he told how the tremendous cost of the cannon was absorbed by “a very few of our Board members who were especially sacrificial because of their great love for the Museum and for the Confederate Cause. They literally bought the cannon for us,” he exclaimed. He told the story of the Rockbridge Artillery in Virginia, whose many Christians and theological students had named their four guns Matthew, Mark, Luke and John because, as the soldiers said, “They speak a very POWERFUL MESSAGE!” He then dedicated the new Napoleon to speak a different kind of message—the powerful message of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and of the Museum.
Dr. Rude closed by addressing the Napoleon. He stepped back, gestured toward the cannon and said, “Cannon, oh, Cannon, stand here in front of the Museum in your stateliness and speak forth your POWERFUL MESSAGE. Proclaim to Greenville and to the world that the Confederate soldier did not fight to preserve the institution of slavery! Tell them that he fought for the sacred right of the people to govern themselves, that is, States’ Rights. He fought in defense of his home and his fireside, to repel the invader and to resist a war of subjugation. Tell them that he fought for freedom from a tyrannical Federal government.”
Following Dr. Rude’s dedication of the cannon, the attendees sang "Dixie." Chaplain Evans gave the benediction. All the assembled guests were invited to stay for a reception provided by the ladies of Varina Howell Davis Chapter 1, Order of Confederate Rose; Hunley Chapter 2667 UDC; and Oliver Thompson 1850 UDC.
The Cannon and Carriage were constructed by Stafford Wheel and Carriage Company in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, owned by Jeff Stafford. The cannon is a Model 1857 12-pound Napoleon. Its bore size is 4.62 inches, and its barrel weight is 1,220 pounds. The Carriage is a #2 gun carriage with a wheel size of 57 inch diameter, 250 pounds per wheel. The total weight is 2,380 pounds. Its maximum range is 1800 yards. The load is 2.5 pounds of black powder and the types of ammunition for this cannon are: (1) solid shot, (2) exploding shell, (3) exploding case shot, (4) grape shot [27 round iron balls], (5) canister [169 lead and clay balls, .69 caliber], and (6) double canister [two of the canister rounds at once].
In attendance at the ceremony were members of 16th Regiment, SC Volunteers Sons of Confederate Veterans Greenville Camp 36; the 16th SC Color Guard of Honor; Varina Howell Davis Chapter 1, Order of Confederate Rose; Hunley Chapter 2667 UDC; Oliver Thompson 1850 UDC; Caroline S. Coleman 537, Children of the Confederacy; and others from the community.
The Museum looks forward to sharing this outstanding new acquisition with the local community and with those who are visiting Greenville. Make plans to visit soon. Hours for the Museum are:
Mondays 10 AM - 3 PM
Wednesdays 10 AM - 3 PM
Fridays 1 PM - 9 PM
Saturdays 10 AM - 5 PM
Sundays 1 PM - 5 PM
Other hours by appointment