Boys being boys, the part that my sons loved the most about Fort Sumter was the collection of cannons and mortars on display. This was better than looking at pictures or seeing them in movies. They could actually touch them and examine them up close – every boy’s dream. There was also a guide on site who gave a talk at the beginning to give an overview and stuck around afterwards for any questions that we had.
This first photo, a 10-inch mortar (Model 1819), unearthed during the excavations in 1959, is similar to the one which fired the signal shot from Fort Johnson on April 12, 1861. Later in the war, the Confederate defenders of Fort Sumter mounted several of these weapons near this spot as added defence against the anticipated assaults of the Union Army and Navy. Its range was 2225 yards.
Next we saw a rifled and banded columbiad cannon which would be mounted as a mortar (aimed upward). This heavy-barreled seacoast gun introduced in 1811, was used throughout the Civil War. Columbiads were not designed as mortars, but Federals mounted five of them here for that purpose in 1861. This 10-inch columbiad could fire a 128-pound shell on a high arc. During the Civil War many columbiads were “rifled” (spiral grooves cut in the barrel) and “banded” (a thick, metal band wrapped around the barrel’s base). Rifling caused the shell to spin, making it more accurate. Banding strengthened the barrel, allowing greater powder charges.
The 6.4 inch (100 pounder) Parrott, discovered during the excavations of Fort Sumter, were rifled guns that were installed by Federal troops during the 1870’s modernization program. Their maximum range was 6800 yards.
I’ll end off with a few more photos of the fire power on display, with the third photo also showing what I have to endure living with three men!! LMAO You gotta love the craziness of my family! 🙂