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What’s the story on the large old cannon at the south end of Riverwalk?

Mike Voorheis

The cannon near the south end of Riverwalk isn't real. StarNews photo by Si Cantwell.

Q. From the south end of the Riverwalk, near the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge, at the edge of a lawn overlooking the river, you can see a large old cannon. Does anyone know where it came from, and if it has local historical connections?

A. The cannon is a piece of history. Well, sort of.

It’s not a Civil War relic, but it was a prop used in the 1999 TV movie, “The Hunley.”

Mike McCarley, owner of the Cameron-Holman House at 510 Surry St., said he had a friend working on the movie, which filmed in Charleston, S.C. He asked his friend to bring him back a cannon, and a few months later, he did.

McCarley’s cannon was a prop from the USS Housatonic, the first warship to be sunk by an enemy submarine. The cannon is made of wood and fiberglass with a metal insert, McCarley said. He said he has fired the cannon the same way it was fired in the movie, with flash paper.

“The Hunley” starred Armand Assante and Donald Sutherland.

The actual submarine was built by Horace Hunley for the Confederate armed forces. It was manually powered. After it sank the “Housatonic” with its spar torpedo, the “Hunley” sank, and its entire crew perished.


Whatever happened to the cannon by the playground at Hugh MacRae Park?

How many battles were fought in New Hanover County? How many casualties were there?

What are the region’s main Revolutionary War sites?

What are Seneca guns?

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