From the Richmond Times-Dispatch, 7/19/1929, p. 10, c. 6
DOUBTS WHETHER OLD STATE BELL WAS TURNED INTO CANNON
To the Editor of the Times-Dispatch:
Sir, - In the article in your today’s paper, on page 9, entitled “D. A. R. to Aid Restoration of Old Bell Tower,” in the Capitol Square at Franklin and Ninth Streets, you state that “the new bell, which will replace the original one, taken down during the Civil War to be made into cannon,” etc.
According to my memory, I am absolutely sure that you are mistaken as to the old bell having ever been so removed for such a purpose; although several of our city churches did thus give their bells to the Confederate government, but not the old Bell Tower one. The old “State Public Guard,” commanded by that fine old gentleman, Captain Edward S. Gay, who were barracked at the old “armory” on the south side of the canal, near to the Tredegar Iron Works, used that old Bell Tower building as a distributing base until the company was disbanded, at the close of the War Between the States, or very soon thereafter. Its members handled that old bell, tolling the hours of the day and night, for fire alarms, and for alarms when Yankee raiders were approaching the city; and it was certainly in that Belle Tower during the entire time of the said war.
Some time later on it was removed to the fire engine house, on Broad Street, near Tenth, and I think again removed to the regimental armory, on Marshall Street, though I may be mistaken as to the latter two names.
I was a boy of 13 years of age at the close of the war, went to school near the Capitol Square, and attended St. Paul’s Church and Sunday school and was quite familiar with the sight and sound of that old bell.
W. C. BENTLEY.