The process of stealing the cannon began by gathering the necessary equipment needed, which included two teams of horses and wagons borrowed from a farmer who lived north of town. Because the students feared being caught, they removed the rifle section from the carriage and loaded it in one wagon and attached the carriage to the other wagon. The male students ended up dropping the rifle into the mud when attempting to load the cannon into the carriage because they did not account for the weight (816 pounds) of the rifle. After an hour of struggling to remove the cannon from the mud, the students were able to place the cannon into the bed of the wagon. While, transporting the carriage and the rifle to Cedar Creek, the students decided to take two separate routes to avoid being caught. Once reaching Cedar Creek, they burnt the carriage to lessen the difficulty of hiding the cannon. The students dropped the cannon into the creek by pushing it off of the bridge. Unfortunate for the nine students, the rifle end of the cannon was above the surface of the water; therefore, they had to drag the cannon fifty feet down stream into deeper water. By the time they had dragged the cannon downstream, it was dawn. They knew they had to hurry back to town to avoid being caught.
Andrew Wallace Barnes, The Truth about the Cannon of 1903: Barnes Reveals Details of Mystery, Monmouth College Bulletin, Monmouth College Archives C-5 Box 3:Civil War, http://library.monmouthcollege.edu/content.php?pid=316809&sid=3422984