Man Arrested for Using Civil War Cannon in Neighbor Dispute – Like One Does

In this heavily populated world where much of the human population lives cheek by jowl in cities, it is not uncommon to find a neighbor irritating. Indeed, if we got along well with everyone on our street, or in our building, it would be nothing short of miraculous. Should someone be playing their music too loud three doors down, one would typically knock on their door to deliver a polite request.

However, in the more rural parts of the USA, neighbors might have a bit more leeway to resort to extraordinary means to register their displeasure. Sixty miles south of Buffalo in New York, close to the border with Pennsylvania, is the country town of Kiantone.

One Kiantone resident, Brian Malta, was so outraged by the conduct of one of his neighbors that he took out his replica Civil War cannon and fired it across his fence for eight days. The cannon was loaded with powder and wadding, so it was technically no more dangerous than a bird-scaring device. However, the discharge could be heard for miles around, so eventually Malta was arrested and charged.

American Civil War-era replica of Howitzer. Photo: Charles Edward – CC BY-SA 3.0
American Civil War-era replica of Howitzer. Photo: Charles Edward – CC BY-SA 3.0

While it is not illegal to own a cannon in New York State, deputies seized the weapon since it was being used maliciously. Malta was charged with harassment and was allowed home after posting $2,500 bail. He will face North Harmony Town Court on three counts of second-degree menacing and three counts of second-degree harassment.

No details of the cause of the dispute have been released by the authorities. However, should you decide that a Civil War-era cannon is the way forward regarding a problem neighbor, you would be well to consider which type and size would be most effective.

Civil war cannon at the Gettysburg Memorial Park.
Civil war cannon at the Gettysburg Memorial Park.

At the Battle of Gettysburg, there were some 653 cannons present: nearly 400 on the Union side and 281 on the Confederate side. The Union guns were said to be superior due to the better quality produced in the manufacturing centers of the North.

The Confederate generals were keen to create a bridgehead at Gettysburg and continue their invasion of the North. That may have given the southern states the international recognition they craved to legitimize their status as a sovereign entity.

General Lee and his Confederate officers in their first meeting since Appomattox, August 1869.
General Lee and his Confederate officers in their first meeting since Appomattox, August 1869.

The battle at Gettysburg cost the lives of thousands of men and was the bloodiest encounter of the American Civil War with an estimated 50,000 total casualties, including six or seven thousand killed. The effectiveness of cannon fire was pivotal to the success of the Union defense and marked the beginning of the end for the Confederate campaign.

Gettysburg Anniversary National Civil War Battle Reenactment, the single largest and one of the most pivotal military engagements ever fought on American soil. Photo: S Pakhrin from DC, USA / CC-BY-SA 2.0
Gettysburg Anniversary National Civil War Battle Reenactment, the single largest and one of the most pivotal military engagements ever fought on American soil. Photo: S Pakhrin from DC, USA / CC-BY-SA 2.0

A brand-new replica Parrot cannon barrel will cost you $499.00, but you will have to find the gun carriage yourself. The Parrot could deliver a ten-pound charge and was accurate up to 2,000 yards. However, the brittle nature of the iron barrel meant that the Parrot was vulnerable to shattering, which proved lethal to the eight-man gunnery team needed to operate it.

Read another story from us: Ironclads and Huge Cannons: Union Attack on Fort Donelson

Even so, the Parrot was popular due to its overall range and comparatively light weight, which made it an easier artillery piece to handle under fire than others. Accuracy was still reasonable even at 3,000 yards, so if your annoying neighbor is only three doors down the hall, this cannon should do the trick.