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Cannon welcome addition to fort

February 24, 2012
The Herald-Star

The uniqueness of Historic Fort Steuben continues to grow, and the most recent donation to Steubenville's gem of a tourist attraction could be considered priceless.

A Civil War-era cannon used by Union troops, perhaps in the Battle of Gettysburg, has found a home at the Historic Fort Steuben Visitors Center thanks to city resident James Ludewig, who donated the mountain howitzer.

After some restoration work, the cannon is now on display in the Fort's Exhibition Hall.

The cannon that Ludewig bought some time ago from a Union Drummer Boy dealer in Gettysburg had to be dismantled and then sent to be restored.

The cannon's metal parts were powder coated and its wooden wheels and wooden carriage had to be sanded and then painted.

According to Ludewig, the cannon was built a little smaller so mules could pull it up onto mountains where the soldiers could fire it at Confederate troops below them.

Ludewig said he also plans to donate a manequin wearing a Union soldier's uniform to the cannon display.

We appreciate Ludewig's donation and thank him for adding to Fort Steuben's and ultimately, Steubenville's, historic displays.

We've always been proud of our fair city and Historic Fort Steuben built in 1786 by the First American Regiment to protect surveyors sent by the Continental Congress to map the Northwest Territory.

At that time the site was selected as most desirable for a military defense since it was bounded on the east by the Ohio River and was located on a slope with hills to the west, which formed a natural amphitheater. Ohio Valley residents know the rest of the history, where Capt. John Francis Hamtramck of the Regiment built a small blockhouse for the protection of his provisions while the fort was constructed.

Today we continue to appreciate the efforts of the Old Fort Steuben Project Inc., a nonprofit group charged with reproducing the fort on its original site and to offer exemplary historical and educational programs.

The newly added mountain howitzer is just one reason to stop by the fort, and we encourage area residents who have not been to the fort recently, or at all, to visit the Visitors Center and Museum Shop, which is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays.

Also, during the warmer months, specifically, May through October, we strongly recommend a tour of the reconstructed fort and its blockhouses for enlisted men, officers' quarters, the guardhouse, hospital and commissary, among other buildings. There's also the Veterans Memorial Fountain and the Louis Berkman Amphitheater at the fort park, which, along with the newly redone Market Street Bridge and the backdrop of the West Virginia hills, are very pleasing to the eye.

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