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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Charleston in Charleston County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Arming the Fort

 
 
Arming the Fort Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, May 3, 2010
1. Arming the Fort Marker
Inscription. The row of cannon in front of you dates from the Civil War, when radical advances in technology increased power, range, and accuracy.

Some large, old smoothbore cannon were "rifled and banded" to enhance firepower. Banding (heating and tightening bands of wrought iron around a cast iron barrel) strengthened a cannon to withstand increased pressure created by greater powder charges. Rifling (cutting spiral grooves in a weapon's bore) gave a stabilizing spin to a projectile, increasing accuracy.

Rifled cannon had greater range than smoothbores of similar size. Their elongated aerodynamically-shaped projectiles could be larger and heavier, and were more accurate and destructive than the old, round shot and shells. They could be either solid shot or filled with explosives.

If you look into the cannon barrels here, you can see that some are smoothbores and some are rifled.

(Sidebar):
Fort Sumter's original armament consisted of cast iron smoothbore guns which were mounted "en barbette" on the parapet and in the first tier of the casemates.

The recoil of the wooden carriages allowed the crew to service these muzzle-loading guns. A 42-pounder smoothbore cannon is located near the fort entrance.
 
Erected by Fort Sumter National Monument, South Carolina - National
Arming the Fort Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 4, 2013
2. Arming the Fort Marker
Park Service - U.S. Department of the Interior.
 
Location. 32° 45.162′ N, 79° 52.493′ W. Marker is near Charleston, South Carolina, in Charleston County. Click for map. Marker is located at Fort Sumter National Monument and only reached by boat. See links below for more information about access to the site. Marker is in this post office area: Charleston SC 29412, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. 15-Inch Rodman (here, next to this marker); 8-Inch Columbiad (a few steps from this marker); Holding the Fort (a few steps from this marker); Mining Casemate (a few steps from this marker); 10-Inch Mortar, Model 1819 (a few steps from this marker); 42-Pounder, Banded and Rifled (within shouting distance of this marker); Siege of Fort Sumter (within shouting distance of this marker); Fort Sumter Today (within shouting distance of this marker). Click for a list of all markers in Charleston.
 
More about this marker. In the upper left are line drawings of the smoothbore cannon on parapet and Smoothbore cannon in casemate.

On the lower left is a drawing captioned Union soldiers stand beside a ten-inch columbiad cannon mounted as a mortar on the parade ground of Fort Sumter in 1861. A mortar fired upward in a high
Marker inside Fort Sumter image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 4, 2013
3. Marker inside Fort Sumter
arc, while a cannon fired in a low trajectory.


In the center are line drawings of the various types of projectiles, comparing rifled and smoothbore projectiles. In the lower center is a line drawing of a 10-inch siege mortar.

In the lower right is a drawing of a budge barrel. Crewmen carried powder charges in budge barrels made of canvas and wood. Budge barrels kept powder dry and safe from sparks.
 
Also see . . .
1. Directions to Fort Sumter. The only way to reach the fort is by boat. Most visitors use the Spirit Line Cruises, although private boats are allowed. (Submitted on May 12, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 

2. The Historic Guns of Forts Sumter and Moutrie. (PDF) A 7MB download. Very detailed examination of the guns which armed the Forts at the mouth of Charleston's harbor. (Submitted on May 12, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. Forts, CastlesWar, US Civil
 
Markers and Cannons in Front of the Right Flank Casemates image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain
4. Markers and Cannons in Front of the Right Flank Casemates
42-pdr Seacoast Gun on Casemate Carriage image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, May 3, 2010
5. 42-pdr Seacoast Gun on Casemate Carriage
This 42-pdr Seacoast Gun, Model of 1845, guards the entrance to Fort Sumter. Marked with registry number 2, it was cast in 1856 by Cyrus Alger of Boston, Massachusetts. This weapon is one of the smoothbores mentioned on the marker.
42-pdr Seacoast Gun - Banded and Rifled image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, May 3, 2010
6. 42-pdr Seacoast Gun - Banded and Rifled
Confederates banded and rifled this seacoast gun, which was originally a smoothbore, during the Civil War. The work was likely done in Charleston by the firm of James Eason & Brothers. All markings have disappeared due to corrosion.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 900 times since then and 32 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   2, 3. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.   4. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   5, 6. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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