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“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)
 

The Columbiad

 
 
The Columbiad Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, May 3, 2010
1. The Columbiad Marker
Inscription. In front of you stands a rifled and banded columbiad cannon mounted as a mortar (aimed upward). It is mounted like the gun being inspected by a South Carolina delegation after the evacuation of Fort Sumter by Union troops in April 1861.

The dependable columbiad, a 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 Confederate bombardment, Union troops in Fort Sumter aimed their columbiad mortars at Charleston, but never fired them.

During the Civil War many columbiads, like the one in front of you, were "rifled" (spiral grooves cut in the barrel) and "banded" (a thick, metal band wrapped around the barrel's base).
 
Erected by Fort Sumter National Monument, South Carolina - National Park Service - U.S. Department of the Interior.
 
Location. 32° 45.146′ N, 79° 52.454′ 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.
The Columbiad Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 9, 2013
2. The Columbiad Marker
At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. 6.4-Inch (100-Pounder) Parrott (a few steps from this marker); Rearming the Fort (a few steps from this marker); 8-inch (200 Pounder) Parrott (a few steps from this marker); Controlling the Harbor (within shouting distance of this marker); H.L. Hunley (within shouting distance of this marker); Blockade Runners (within shouting distance of this marker); Major Robert Anderson (within shouting distance of this marker); Fort Moultrie (within shouting distance of this marker). Click for a list of all markers in Charleston.
 
More about this marker. On the right is the photo referenced in the text, with several men examining a columbiad mounted in mortar fashion. On the lower left is a line drawing of the columbiad with the captions - Rifling caused a shell to spin, making it more accurate. Banding strengthened the barrel, allowing greater powder charges.
 
Also see . . .  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 13, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
The Columbiad and Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, May 3, 2010
3. The Columbiad and Marker
The marker is seen in front of the columbiad's muzzle.
Breech of Banded Columbiad image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, May 3, 2010
4. Breech of Banded Columbiad
This particular piece received two bands during its conversion. The work was done by Eason Brothers, a private firm in Charleston, on orders from General P.G.T. Beauregard.
The Same Columbiad? image. Click for more information.
5. The Same Columbiad?
This photo, taken at nearby Fort Johnson shortly after the evacuation of Charleston in 1865, shows a gun very similar to that on display at Fort Sumter.
Click for more information.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 723 times since then and 12 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   2. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.   3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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