Mountain Howitzer returned to wartime station at Fort Sumter

Likely you’ve seen this wartime photo a time or two before.

The cannon is a 12-pdr mountain howitzer.  Location is Fort Sumter.  The Confederates used several weapons of this type during the long siege of the fort, employing them for close defense against landing parties.

For many years Fort Sumter National Monument featured a similar 12-pdr mountain howitzer on a wooden carriage overlooking the corner of the fort nearest to Morris Island.  The howitzer was a good point along the fort tour for interpretation about the Confederate garrison, the threats they faced, and the failed September 1863 naval landing assault on the fort.  But in recent years the howitzer sat inside the park’s museum awaiting a new carriage.

Fort Sumter 4 Aug 11 1565

That left the location somewhat “bare”.

Ft Sumter 3 May 2010 256

But now the fort has a new steel carriage for the howitzer.  From Columbia, South Carolina’s The State:

Mountain howitzer back on rampart at Fort Sumter

A gun like those used by Confederates in the final months defending Fort Sumter is back on the ramparts of the Charleston fort.

A mountain howitzer cast in 1863 was put back this week after six years. It had been removed after its original wooden carriage deteriorated from spending years in the elements.

The 120-pound howitzer was kept in the museum but has a new protective coating and is mounted on a $12,000 steel carriage. Rick Dorrance, the fort’s chief of resource management, said Civil War sites nationwide are increasingly replacing wooden gun carriages with steel.

During the final months of the defense of Sumter, the wheeled howitzers were in bombproof areas in the daytime and rolled to the walls at night.

I’m glad to see the howitzer back out to the assigned position.  It’s the little things that set the scenery and make the stage more meaningful.

(Last photo above is from Bruce Smith /AP.)


7 thoughts on “Mountain Howitzer returned to wartime station at Fort Sumter

  1. This is a nice touch. There are two CW-era Napoleons (I think) on the grounds of the Texas Capitol in Austin, also on steel field carriages. But you have to get close enough to touch them to realize they’re metal, and not timber. Definitely the way to go for pieces that have to be left out in the elements.

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