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

Harbor Defense

1873 - 1898

 
 
Harbor Defense Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bill Coughlin, August 3, 2013
1. Harbor Defense Marker
Inscription.  
America’s attention turned away from warfare when the Civil War ended and seacoast defenses, including Fort Moultrie, deteriorated. But another crisis wasn’t long in coming – disputes with Great Britain in 1872 over the Alabama claims resulted in these two immense Civil War Rodman cannon being added to the fort’s armaments. They remained in service through the Spanish American War, but by then seacoast mortars and Battery Jasper’s disappearing guns provided Charleston’s best defense.

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15-inch Rodman Smoothbore

An innovation in gun-casting technology developed shortly before the Civil War by General Thomas Rodman made it possible to cast these huge guns.
A crack fifteen man gun crew could load this 15-inch Rodman with 40 pounds of black powder and a 434 pound ball, aim it, fire it once every 4 minutes. Originally, four men lifted and loaded the heavy projectile by hand.

15-inch Rodman shot
These big Rodmans were part of Charleston’s defense against major enemy ships such as Spanish Admiral Cervera’s fleet. Fortunately the Spanish fleet never appeared off Charleston;
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the Rodmans were no match for the naval rifles on the Admiral’s armored cruisers.
 
Erected by National Park Service.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Forts and Castles. A significant historical year for this entry is 1872.
 
Location. 32° 45.548′ N, 79° 51.477′ W. Marker is on Sullivans Island, South Carolina, in Charleston County. Marker can be reached from Middle Street, on the right when traveling east. Marker is located inside Fort Moultrie. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Sullivans Island SC 29482, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Move a 50,000 pound Rodman Gun (a few steps from this marker); Defending Charleston 1861-1865 (within shouting distance of this marker); Traverse c.1820 (within shouting distance of this marker); Enlisted Men's Barracks (within shouting distance of this marker); Fort Moultrie II (within shouting distance of this marker); Harbor Defense 1809-1860 (within shouting distance of this marker); Powder Magazine (within shouting distance of this marker); 1860 Flanking Caponniere (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Sullivans Island.
 
More about this marker. The left side of the marker contains a picture of a gun crew loading a 15-inch Rodman. Next to this
Harbor Defense Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bill Coughlin, August 3, 2013
2. Harbor Defense Marker
is a diagram of the positions of the gun crew, and illustrations of details of a Rodman gun These include captions of “A small friction primer ignited by a pull on a lanyard fired the Rodman” and “This U.S. Seacoast Fuse timed the explosion of the shell.”
The right side of the marker features a picture a cruiser from the Spanish fleet. The bottom of the marker contains an illustration of the firing range of a 15-inch Rodman Gun : 434 pound shot, 7730 yards (4.5 miles).
 
Also see . . .  Fort Moultrie. National Park Service website. (Submitted on August 7, 2013, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey.) 
 
Marker at Fort Moultrie image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bill Coughlin, August 3, 2013
3. Marker at Fort Moultrie
Fort Moultrie Rodmans image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bill Coughlin, August 3, 2013
4. Fort Moultrie Rodmans
These 15-inch Rodman guns are located a Fort Moultrie, next to the marker.
15-inch Rodman Guns Viewed from Outside Fort Moultrie image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bill Coughlin, August 3, 2013
5. 15-inch Rodman Guns Viewed from Outside Fort Moultrie
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on August 7, 2013, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 429 times since then and 17 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on August 7, 2013, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey.

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Apr. 22, 2024