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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Sandy Hook in Washington County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

100 - Pounder Battery - Heaviest and Highest

 
 
100 - Pounder Battery - Heaviest and Highest Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 22, 2007
1. 100 - Pounder Battery - Heaviest and Highest Marker
Inscription. During an inspection in late April 1863, Brig. Gen. John G. Barnard recommended that a gun be placed at a high point on this crest, "surrounded by a wall of sandbags, and arranged to fire not only on Loudoun Heights [across the Potomac] but into either of the valleys east and west of Maryland Heights." To comply with Barnard's recommendation, Union soldiers mounted a 100-pounder Parrott rifle on this manmade platform. With the mountain cleared of trees, the gun easily covered a 360 target range.

Men from the 1st Massachusetts Heavy Artillery hauled this 9,700-pound gun tube up 1,200 vertical feet to this platform. From "200-500 men were required to haul one of these guns up the mountain."

The 100-pounder's supporting platform was the highest and widest manmade gun platform on the mountain. The gun's weight and elevation on the mountain probably made it the heaviest gun at the highest elevation east of the Mississippi during the Civil War.
 
Location. 39° 20.02′ N, 77° 43.314′ W. Marker is near Sandy Hook, Maryland, in Washington County. Marker can be reached from Sandy Hook Road, on the right when traveling west. Click for map. Located on the Stone Fort Trail loop of Maryland Heights in Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. Marker is in this post office area: Knoxville MD 21758, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers.
Trailstop and Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 22, 2007
2. Trailstop and Marker
At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Charcoal Making on Maryland Heights (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Making a Mountain Citadel (approx. 0.2 miles away); 30-Pounder Battery (approx. 0.2 miles away); Civil War Campgrounds (approx. 0.3 miles away); Hiking Maryland Heights (approx. 0.3 miles away); Naval Battery (approx. 0.4 miles away); Maryland Heights - Mountain Fortress of Harpers Ferry (approx. half a mile away); Exterior Fort (approx. half a mile away). Click for a list of all markers in Sandy Hook.
 
More about this marker. On the right side of the marker is a sketch of the gun, mounted on its pintle carriage, when fully emplaced. "The projectile for this model of Parrott rifle weighed 100 pounds - hence the name for the gun and the battery."
 
Regarding 100 - Pounder Battery - Heaviest and Highest. This marker is one of a set along the National Park Service's trail to the top of Maryland Heights. You can see the other markers in this set through the Maryland Heights Virtual Tour by Markers link below.
 
Also see . . .  Maryland Heights Virtual Tour by Markers. A set of markers relating the history of Maryland Heights in Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. (Submitted on February 2, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
General Location of the Platform image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 22, 2007
3. General Location of the Platform
The site is marked by a stake labeled "100 Pounder Battery."
 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Projectile for 100-Pounder Parrott Rifle image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 22, 2007
4. Projectile for 100-Pounder Parrott Rifle
In the Harpers Ferry Museum a 100-pdr projectile is displayed. Imagine moving several hundred of these in addition to the weapon itself up to the top of Maryland Heights!
East Field of View from the Battery image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 22, 2007
5. East Field of View from the Battery
The Potomac threads it way through the mountains in the center. On the right side is Short Hill Mountain. The bridge over the Potomac in the far distance is at Brunswick, Maryland, nearly five miles away, where a pontoon bridge crossed the Potomac in 1863. The trees around the platform were cleared when the battery was active, giving a similar field of view to other sides of the heights.

The gun fired a 6.4 inch diameter projectile to ranges approaching five miles. So the Parrott gun here could have theoretically ranged forces crossing at that point. Interestingly the gun's range falls just short of Boteler's Ford to the west and upstream on the Potomac, where the Confederates crossed into Maryland on several occasions.
Powder Magazine image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 22, 2007
6. Powder Magazine
Located to the rear of the battery location.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,464 times since then and 19 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   6. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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