PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — French and Indian War re-enactors heed commands from their “captain,” Andrew Gaerte of the Fort Pitt Museum as they prepare to fire a replica of an 18th century cannon.

“A cannon of this size can shoot a six-pound cannonball almost two miles,” says the education director. “And artillerists are very good at that range.”

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Which came in handy, centuries ago.

“You can’t tell the story of Pittsburgh without telling the story of what happened here in the 18th century,” Gaerte continues. “This is where Pittsburgh was born, and the Point is where that happened.”

Heinz History Center President Andy Masich says the museum commissioned America’s most accurate replica of a cannon that once guarded Fort Pitt. And it’s homemade.

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“US Bronze up in Meadville cast the gun,” Masich says. “Jim Hoffman, who’s a blacksmith in Ambridge, did all the ironwork on the wheels and the carriage. And then the Mooney family in Ligonier did all the assembly and the tooling on the barrel.

The fuse is lit, and the cannon fires, with an ear splitting roar. No cannonball, but the smoke is very real.

The cannon will be on display at the Fort Pitt Museum, right next to the colonial blockhouse built nearly 250 years ago.

The next firing at the Point will kick off the fireworks on the Fourth of July.

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