Civil War Treasure Destroyed in Battle Creek……100 Years Ago!
A Civil War treasure, revered each Decoration Day, (now Memorial Day), was destroyed by the Battle Creek community and federal government. Ok, it sounds bad when you put it like that. The revered treasure was not a monument, but rather a gigantic cannon from the Civil War that resided here at Oak Hill Cemetery, from 1896 until the next big war claimed it for a scrap drive.
Frank J. Kellogg, no relation to the famous cereal Kellogg’s, was a patent medicine salesman in Battle Creek, and a Civil War veteran. Kellogg, who was known as both a very rich man and a scalawag, helped bring the cannon to Battle Creek in 1896. According to the “Daily Journal”, he received a letter on July 22nd, 1896 from the Inspector of Ordinance of the Brooklyn Navy yard saying that the cannon for Battle Creek’s GAR Post had been shipped.
This wasn’t just any cannon. It was used on the USS Minnesota during what the paper called “the late war.” The gun was fired at the “Merrimac” in the engagement off Hampton roads and fired the last shot at the ill –fated “Ironclad” prior to the appearance of the Monitor. It was also used at Fort Fisher.
The cannon was used as a war memorial in Oak Hill cemetery and was the focal point of Decoration (Memorial) Day observances for many years until World War I. It featured a plaque, which read:
“This gun was in service on the Cumberland during the battle between the Monitor and the Merrimack. Mounted here by Farragut Post No. 32, Department of Michigan, G. A. R. in commemoration of the heroic services of Union soldiers and sailors during the Civil War.”
Shortly after Frank Kellogg’s death, it was donated to a scrap metal drive.
The story goes that it was removed from cemetery grounds and loaded onto a railway truck using a 10-ton crane. But the crane and truck both overturned. All had to be donated to scrap drive