Butte wants its historic cannon; Fort Sill won't surrender it





BUTTE, Mont. -- A cannon used in the country's bloodiest war in now at the center of another fight...

Norman DeNeal of Butte wants a Civil War cannon that spent nearly 60 years in the Columbia Gardens returned to [Butte], but an artillery museum at Fort Sill, Okla., won't release the artifact...

In 1903, the cannon was given to Lincoln Post No. 2, a Civil War veterans group, at the behest of copper king and former U.S. Sen. William A. Clark...Clark owned the Columbia Gardens until his death in 1925 when ownership of the park went to the Anaconda Co., DeNeal said. The Anaconda Co. donated the cannon to the museum at Fort Sill on March 7, 1960, when Butte's Civil War veterans were deceased.

DeNeal believes the cannon didn't belong to the company..."There's nothing that says the government can take this back," he said.

The U.S. Army sees it differently. Kelley said military artifacts such as cannons will always belong to the government...

The cannon was built for coastline defense and was used on Angel Island near San Francisco. During the Civil War, the Union Army put the cannon on a barge that patrolled the Mississippi River, DeNeal said.

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