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Trenton in Mercer County, New Jersey — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Swamp Angel

 
 
The Swamp Angel Marker image. Click for full size.
By Gary Nigh, December 2007
1. The Swamp Angel Marker
Inscription. The first gun an eight inch Parrott Rifle or 200 pounder, fired from the Marsh Battery, on Morris Island, S.C. at the City of Charleston, 7,000 yards distance. Weight of gun 16,500 pounds, weight of charge of powder 16 pounds, and weight of projectile 150 pounds, greatest elevation used 35 degrees.

Bombardment opened August 12, 1863 – gun burst at 36th round.

Erected February 1871 at corner of No. Clinton Avenue and Perry Street, Trenton. Rededicated at Cadwalader Park on 100th anniversary of start of American Civil War April 12, 1961.
 
Erected 1961.
 
Location. 40° 14.243′ N, 74° 47.277′ W. Marker is in Trenton, New Jersey, in Mercer County. Marker is on Drive through Cadwalader Park, on the right. Touch for map. This marker is inside Cadwalader Park near the main entrance from Parkside Avenue. Marker is in this post office area: Trenton NJ 08618, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Briar Patch ( within shouting distance of this marker); Mercer County Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument ( within shouting distance of this marker); Cadwalader Park ( about 300 feet away, measured
Marker in Cadwalader Park image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, February 27, 2010
2. Marker in Cadwalader Park
in a direct line); Ellarslie ( about 600 feet away); John A. Roebling ( approx. 0.2 miles away); The Hermitage ( approx. ¾ mile away); Dorothea Dix (was approx. one mile away but has been reported missing. ); Emlen House ( approx. 1.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Trenton.
 
Also see . . .
1. The Swamp Angel. excerpted from the award winning book, Gate of Hell, Campaign for Charleston Harbour, 1863, By Stephen R. Wise. (Submitted on December 9, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 

2. Photo of the Swamp Angel Debris. In the photo displayed here, the breech portion, which is currently attached to the gun on the pedestal, and the band are laying side by side. The story goes that the remains of the Swamp Angel were headed for the scrap yard when identified and preserved in Trenton. (Submitted on December 9, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 

3. Additional Photos of the Swamp Angel Today. Note the muzzle markings and profile of the crack at the breech. (Submitted on December 10, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
 
Additional comments.
The Swamp Angel Marker image. Click for full size.
By Gary Nigh, December 2007
3. The Swamp Angel Marker
1. Swamp Angel Particulars

General Quincy A. Gilmore, commanding the operations outside Charleston, SC when the Swamp Angel was employed, was rather detailed in his notations concerning this weapon. From his notes, it is known the weapon had the registry #6. From that, based on proofing and foundry records, the weapon was made at West Point Foundry, NY in 1863 and weighted 16,577 pounds when delivered (before the bursting). The distinctive breech band, seen on Parrott rifles of all sizes, was misplaced in transit and only the barrel and the breech fragment exist today.

In his book, Artillery and Ammunition of the Civil War(1973), Warren Ripley raised some doubt this piece is the original Swamp Angel. At the time of his writing, paint obscured the muzzle markings on the cannon. Without definitive marks to indicate, Ripley pointed out that no less than four 8-inch Parrott rifles had burst around Charleston in a similar manner (at the breech) to the Swamp Angel, and either could have been confused with the famous weapon when the remains were culled from other scraps.

Since Ripley's writing, some restoration of the piece has exposed a few bits of the muzzle markings. In The Big Guns-Civil War Siege, Seacoast, and Naval Cannon(1997), by Edwin Olmstead, Wayne E. Stark, and Spencer C. Tucker, the markings are recorded as "No. 6/ 1xxx /W.P.F. / 8
The Swamp Angel in Action image. Click for full size.
4. The Swamp Angel in Action
From a wartime photo, this shows the platform with sandbag parapet built to support the "Swamp Angel" in the marshes south of Charleston, SC. Ripley cites engineering records stating 13,000 sandbags were used along with 123 pieces of 15- to 18-inch timbers for the pilings sunk into the marsh and 9,156 feet of 3-inch planking.
(Civil War photographs, 1861-1865, Washington, D.C. : Library of Congress, 1977. Call No. LC-B811- 3601[P&P])
IN." This conforms with notations for the registry number (6), year produced (with all but the first digit blurred), the foundry (West Point Foundry) and the bore size of 8 inch (8 IN).
    — Submitted December 9, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.

 
Categories. Notable EventsWar, US Civil
 
Swamp Angel after Bursting image. Click for full size.
5. Swamp Angel after Bursting
The same platform after the bursting of the gun. Note the weapon laying across the sandbags. In this view the reinforcing band is still attached to the weapon. Apparently in shipping the band was wedged off.
(Civil War photographs, 1861-1865, Washington, D.C. : Library of Congress, 1977. Call No. LC-B8156- 35[P&P])
An 8 inch or 200-pdr Parrott Rifle image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, circa June 15, 1993
6. An 8 inch or 200-pdr Parrott Rifle
Before bursting, the Swamp Angel resembled this weapon currently on display at Fort Sumter, SC. Of the 91 produced during the war, only eight have survived the years.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on December 9, 2007, by Gary Nigh of Trenton, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 2,224 times since then and 54 times this year. Last updated on December 11, 2007, by Gary Nigh of Trenton, New Jersey. Photos:   1. submitted on December 9, 2007, by Gary Nigh of Trenton, New Jersey.   2. submitted on March 26, 2010, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.   3. submitted on December 9, 2007, by Gary Nigh of Trenton, New Jersey.   4, 5, 6. submitted on December 9, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page.
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