There will be lots of local dignitaries at the Northville area’s Independence Day celebration, but one gun will be bigger then them all.
The big gun -- a replica Civil War cannon -- will come courtesy of the American Civil War Shooting Association, whose members will camp out in the city’s historic .
“We should have at least 10 people camping out, maybe more,” said Northville resident Jim Bone, who will take part.
Known for their expertise in all aspects of Civil War weaponry, group members will provide displays, answer questions from the public and offer a shooting demonstration or two.
But the big draw is expected to be the canon, an exact replica of an 1863 10 Pounder Parrott Rifle cannon, a weapon favored by both Blue and Gray.
“We won’t be firing it, of course, we’re too close to houses,” Bone said. “But people will be able to see it and learn about it.”
Named for the size of cannon ball it fired, the cannon’s inner barrel was rifled, increasing its range and accuracy.
“That (the cannon’s firing range) is probably the biggest thing people want to know about,” said Norman Gibson of Richmond, Mich. who is bringing the cannon to the local encampment.
The big gun has a range of more than one mile, but Gibson acknowledges its accuracy at that distance is somewhat less than pinpoint.
“It’s maximum firing range is about 2,000 yards but to hit something that far it has to be a pretty big target,” he noted.
Nonetheless, the weapon was highly prized by artillerymen from the North and South.
“It was made in the North, but Southern soldiers captured a few and, of course, the South began building their own models,” Gibson said.
Organization members say they’re preserving a unique part of Civil War history.
“We’re not really re-enactors but we do hold competitions once or twice every month to show off our skills in firing Civil War-era muskets and rifles,” Bone said.
In addition to showing off those skills, members will show how soldiers lived in the field.
“We’ll build a fire pit and offer a demonstration of how soldiers cooked,” Bone said.
Members will start setting up Sunday in time for Monday’s parade and celebration.
It’s the second year ACWSA members have camped in Northville over the July 4 holiday.
Mill Race Village, on Griswold Street just north of downtown, includes a collection of historic buildings highlighting Northville’s past.
The Northville Independence Day parade begins 10 a.m. Monday at Griswold and Main.
Addition information on the Wisconsin-based ACWSA is available at its Web site, www.acwsa.org.