July 21, 2020, Alissa Kane, Community Volunteer Ambassador, Stones River National Battlefield
“Last summer I was an intern for the Friends of Stones River National Battlefield. Some of my duties as an intern were to work the visitor center front desk, help organize the Friend’s archival collection, and give programs to the public. It will come as no surprise that one of my favorite memories working at Stones River was my first day firing artillery.
That first day of firing was a HOT August day. It was in the 90’s, humid, and we were all suffering in our thick wool uniforms. Before the programs were set to begin, we all stood in the shade and chugged water from our canteens in between drilling. It takes at least six people to fire a cannon. Each position has a number and it’s own duties in safely discharging the cannon. On my first day, I fired in positions No.3 and No. 1 (pictured here).
As we were walking into our places I remember being very nervous, with a lot of adrenaline flowing through me. Once the program started, we went through our motions, and I kept up just fine. I braced myself for the gunner’s command: “FIRE!” The black powder ignited and exploded with a big BOOM, sending a flurry of smoke across the field. I will never forget that feeling.