|The 9th Ohio
The James and its crew at Civil War Days, Hale Farm & Village, Bath, Ohio, August 2008.
From left to right are: Mark A. Melroy, Pete Haudenschield, Joe Young, Mick Szabo,
Jared D. Haudenschield, Whitney J. Rose, and Stephen Melroy.
Unlike most infantry units, the 121st O.V.I. offers a little bit extra with the 9th Ohio Independent Battery. The unit
owns and operates a replica 14 pound James Rifled Cannon. The "James," as the gun is affectionately known, is used for
ceremonies and school programs as well as battle reenactments.
Shortly after the company was formed, many members discussed getting a cannon. Then 1st Lieutenant Daniel Frisby
obtained a cannon barrel and then Captain Mark Melroy gathered the iron, wood and wheels to make up the carriage.
After much money, work, painting and fitting, the James was complete and ready for its successful test firing in early
1995. Since then, it's been a standard part of the company. In its beginnings, the steel barrel was painted a brass color,
since the James was a bronze piece. (No bronze paint could be found.) Finally, in about 2007, it was discovered that the
Type III was made of iron, and the James became black. It has recently returned to bronze with the discovery of a new
The method of operation, or drill, was learned from the
National Civil War Artillery Association, an organization of
several Civil War artillery reenactment groups, at their training
school at Old Fort Niagara, near Youngstown, New York.
Unit members do not have to work on the artillery if they
desire not to, but it is a fun and exciting experience. Only
members 18 years or older can serve on the actual cannon
itself, but those under can serve as ammunition carriers.
Chief of the Piece
Sergeant Jeff A. Craig
Company Number: 36
Sergeant Craig joined the company
back in early 1995. In 2002, he was
elected corporal, which he held for
two years, when he then switched to
focus on the infantry. In 2009, after
a reactivation of the James on the
battlefield, Craig was elected sergeant
in command of the piece.
Corporal Perry D.
The James Rifle was a cannon designed for a
particular type of cannon shell. Charles T. James, a
Rhode Island militia general, developed a shell, or
cannon ball for a rifled cannon, in the mid-1850's.
The James Shell has a hollowed base that allowed
the hot gases of the exploded black powder to
A James Shell
expand the ribs that surrounded
the base. These ribs fitted into
the rifled grooves in the barrel,
giving the gun increased
accuracy and range, up to 1,700
yards. (The rib design also gave
a horrible scream as it flew
through the air.) It was field
tested in 1860.
Unfortunately, the Army at the
time possessed no rifled cannon,
so James developed a procedure
to rifle smoothbore cannon.
Many 6 pounder field guns were
rifled to fit the 3.87
The James became an early rifled gun for an army
with few cannon. Many siege guns were put
through the process and were valuable in the
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reduction of Fort Pulaski in Savannah Harbor.
Many further James Rifles were made of bronze in
1861 and 1862 by the Ames Manufacturing
Company in Chicopee, Massachusetts. As the war
wound on, James Rifles of wrought iron were being
The James Shell's impact fuse worked great
121st Ohio Volunteer Infantry
Company Number: 75
Haudenschield joined the company in
2005 and has served in both
important position of Nos. 1 & 2.
He was elected corporal in 2014.
Melroy helped formed the company
in 1992 and researched and built the
James from 1993 - 1994. He has
done maintenance and repairs since
1995. He was given the title artificer
against hard masonry walls, however, in the sandysoil of the
South, it tended to bore itself into the ground without exploding.
In 1863, the U.S. Ordinance Department came up with the
design of a new 3 inch rifled cannon that could fire a more
variety of ammunition, the popular Ordinance Rifle. The last big
engagement that James Rifles took a prominent part in was the
Siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi.
Afterwards, they were slowly replaced from service.