From the Herald of Rock Hill, South Carolina:
Cannoneer’s blast a long tradition at Fort Mill Fourth of July celebration
Mike Short inherited the role of cannoneer from his father and uncle who, legend has it, dared each other they could get the Civil War cannons in Fort Mill’s Confederate Park to fire.
“They found out you couldn’t destroy a five-ton cannon with a pound of powder,” Short said.
A tradition was born and has been ongoing for close to 40 years. Short, who lives in Fort Mill, has been helping since the early 1980s and took over in the mid-1990s.
“So far, we haven’t blown anything up,” Short said while preparing for yet another cannon firing.
The cannon firing followed the annual Fourth of July celebration event at First Baptist Church in Fort Mill, one of many holiday festivities taking place across York County.
The story ran on July 4, but I’m catching up late….
The guns in question are a couple of 6.4-inch Parrott rifles. In other words, some rather big guns. If I recall, I’ve mentioned those guns before. The folks in Fort Mill like to dress them up for Christmas, as seen on a photo from the marker entry for Confederate Park. As the article mentions, the guns were purchased by a local industrialist and transported to Fort Mill sometime in the 1890s (though I suspect right after the Spanish-American War).
Guess what worries me is the idea of shooting, even with blanks, from a genuine Parrott rifle. Even back in the day those guns had a tendency to go up in pieces. However the gunner, Mr. Short, is a certified cannoneer. The article details the safety precautions taken before shooting even a light loaded blank round.
But I do wish the folks there in Fort Mill would stop stringing Christmas lights on the cannons.