Does this work? Key for photos on Morris Island

About halfway through the posts on Morris Island, I realized the need to “show” the reader where I presumed the photo was taken.  After all, someone will give the high-resolution files another look and pick out details I missed.  All the more reason to start the conversation about exactly what is in frame.  So I’ve started a set of key maps to document my thoughts as to the camera locations.  Here’s my take on the second parallel photos:


The blue octagons are the locations of the camera.  Or at least by my reasoning.  The blue lines indicate the frame of view in the photo.  The links below correspond to the labels:

There are a few more photos of Battery Brown I have in the queue to discuss, so those labels will go in later.

So, what do you think?  From a presentation standpoint, does this work?  Are the graphics about the right size, or should I go with a “pinpoint” spot?  Please drop a note in the comments below.  I’ll finish up with the other key maps in turn.

Building up the fifth parallel for the final push on Battery Wagner

For August 30, 1863, Major Thomas Brooks offered a short entry in his journal:

The unfinished work of yesterday is in progress to-day. As the moon shines brightly to-night, and the enemy are firing constantly, no attempt was made to advance.

Lieutenant-Colonel Purviance, commanding Eighty-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers, was killed during this tour of duty as commander of the special guard of the advanced trenches, by one of our own shells, which exploded prematurely.

Just a few days earlier, Brooks lamented, because of the inability to advance the siege lines. Now the operation appeared to be in a rut again. Having seized the ridge and opened the fifth parallel just a few hundred yards from Battery Wagner, the engineers encountered a new problem – moonlight. A full moon phase passed during the nights after the assault on the ridge:

  • August 27-28: 98% illumination. Moon rise 5:52 p.m. Set 5:31 a.m.
  • August 28-29: 100% illumination. Moon rise 6:31 p.m. Set 6:40 a.m.
  • August 29-30: 99% illumination. Moon rise 7:09 p.m. Set 7:47 a.m.
  • August 30-31: 95% illumination. Moon rise 7:47 p.m. Set 8:52 a.m.

While this allowed the Federals to see better during night operations, the light gave the Confederates a better view of the sap and any movement along the line. On the night of August 29, a well placed shell fired from Battery Wagner killed six in the advanced trenches. The advance of the siege lines would wait until darker nights.

While the Federals waited on the moon, they improved and expanded the fifth parallel.


This parallel offered wider spaces behind tall parapets. This became both staging point and battery. On the far left of the line, upon the ridge, a redan with a Billinghurst-Requa gun covered the front of the line. Along the main line of the parallel was a bomb-proof service magazine, a splinter-proof depot for the engineers, another splinter-proof shelter, and a large bomb-proof magazine. The profile of the later was recorded as line s-s’:


This magazine supported the main armament of the fifth parallel – mortars.  Four 10-inch siege mortars went on the center of the parallel. On the far right were three (some say four) 24-pdr coehorn mortars. Later three 10-inch siege mortars went into the left of the parallel. The siege mortars used the same platforms Brooks perfected on the earlier parallels. The proximity of these mortars to the target reduced the risk of friendly fire casualties.

Behind those mortar positions, the engineers placed another parapet. This allowed the infantry to move through the parallel without disturbing the mortar crews… or another way of looking at it, allowed them to avoid the dangerous concentration of gunpowder and shells. Such a “bypass” was not built on other sections of the line and reflected the need to rapidly move troops forward in support of a final rush towards the Confederate works.

On the far right, a large fascine parapet anchored the line on the beach. The structure was ten fascines wide and initially three high. The placement of the fascines allowed crews to move out onto the beach then into position to start the next siege approach line. Eventually another Billinghurst-Requa would occupy a position in that vicinity. But for the time being, the Federals were content to simply have the opening fortified in preparation for the next phase.

While not denoting major advances of the siege lines, Brooks’ report on August 30 was not the sullen entry recorded on the 25th. The Federals were compressing a coil of men and equipment. All they needed was a few dark nights to press forward towards their objective.

(Citation from OR, Series I, Volume 28, Part I, Serial 46, page 298.)

The Swamp Angel at 150

Last Saturday (August 24), Trenton, New Jersey rededicated the “Swamp Angel” in Cadwalader Park.  From New Jersey Online:

The massive, eight-ton cannon named Swamp Angel was memorialized in celebration of its 150th anniversary and a new marble plaque was unveiled at Cadwalader Park by members of the Camp Olden Civil War Round Table and Museum, Abraham Lincoln Camp 100, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War and North Ward councilwoman Marge Caldwell-Wilson. (Full story.)

Rarely can we link a specific cannon to service with a particular unit.  In the case of the Swamp Angel, we can link it to a specific place, time, and event.  Prior posts have discussed the arrangements made for the Marsh Battery, construction of the battery, and a bit about the Swamp Angel’s use against a civilian target.  Let’s look to the damage and bursting of the gun, how it ended up in New Jersey, and give it a proper walk around.

On the night of August 23, Lieutenant Charles Sellmer, supervising a detachment of the 11th Maine Infantry, resumed the firing into Charleston.  After firing a few rounds, and experiencing some premature explosions, the crew encountered a serious problem with the gun, as recorded in the regimental history:

After the sixth shot the gunner called out, ‘I can’t get the priming wire down, sir!’ Examining the vent, it was found that the gun had moved in its jacket – the wrought-iron band shrunk around the breech of a Parrott gun! Although the priming wire would not go down, there was still sufficient space to ignite the charge with the primer.  The gun was injured beyond redemption; it might burst at any discharge.  In order to get all possible service out of it, Lieutenant Sellmer decided to fire the gun until it burst. The men were cautioned to go outside the battery at the command, ‘Ready,’ so as to be out of danger when it should burst. Number four, who discharged the gun, was given two lanyards tied together, that he might be protected by the epaulment.  In this way the service of the gun continued.  At the twentieth round fired that night, Lieutenant Sellmer desired to know the time of night, in order to calculate the rapidity of the firing.  Watch in hand, he placed himself on the left side of the gun, so as to see the time by the flash of the discharge.  He gave the command, ‘Fire.’  Instantly the whole battery was one sheet of flame.  The Parrott gun had burst.

Sellmer and three others were wounded with the bursting, but none were killed.  Sellmer received the worst of it, suffering a burst ear drum and having his hair, eyebrows, and mustache singed.  The gun burst at a point behind the vent, with the breech thrown back and the rest of the gun thrown forward, as seen in a wartime photo:

In his final report on the operations against Battery Wagner and Fort Sumter, then Major-General Quincy Gillmore included a diagram of the gun detailing the gun’s point of failure:


Just as described in the 11th Maine’s history, the break in the breech came just behind the vent.  Gillmore’s diagram indicated the band remained on the main portion of the gun, while the breech section broke out.  He also recorded the registry number and foundry number of the gun. The diagram above also compares well to a photograph – an incorrectly captioned photograph – found in the Library of Congress’ digital collection:

The photo shows the breech, to the left, with the cascabel just visible behind. The gun still has the band attached.  But before we conclude this is the Swamp Angel, I’d point out no markings are visible.  With so many burst Parrotts on Morris Island with similar failure patterns, proving this is the Swamp Angel, beyond doubt, would require more information.  But let’s just say this photo makes a good transition to the next phase of the gun’s story.

After examination by the ordnance officers and other interested parties, the Swamp Angel became just another bit of scrap metal.  The scraps were then sent north for sale. Charles Carr, of the Phoenix Iron Works of Trenton, New Jersey (no direct relation I know of to the Phoenix Iron Work of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania) purchased the Swamp Angel among other scraps. While waiting the smelter, someone working at the iron works recognized the gun.  With that, Carr preserved the gun.  Eventually the gun went to a memorial on the corners of North Clinton Avenue and Perry Street.  Lots of vintage photos on Trenton – notice the horse trough built into the original base.  The monument stood from 1877 to 1961.  At that time the city moved the gun to Cadwalader Park.

We can confirm the gun’s pedigree with a simple review of the muzzle stamps:

Trenton 14 Aug 10 373

The “No 6” is clear, as is “8 IN” for the caliber, “W.P.F.” for West Point Foundry and “A.M.” for Alfred Mordecai, the inspector.  Less clear is the weight stamp of 16,577 pounds, which is only partly seen in the damaged portion to the lower left.   The date stamp at the 2 o’clock position reads “1862.”  These are Army style stampings, ruling out this is somehow the Navy’s registry number 6.

The only other markings I noticed when visiting the gun was the inventor’s initials on the right trunnion – R.P.P. for Robert P. Parrott.

Trenton 14 Aug 10 379

The foundry number has long disappeared from the front sight base above the trunnion.

The breech was welded back on the gun in order to fit onto the monument base in 1877.

Trenton 14 Aug 10 380

But the band was removed, lost, or otherwise discarded.  Vestiges of the location the band joined the gun tube may be seen with a careful examination.

Trenton 14 Aug 10 384

And think, we know exactly the time and place that break was created.  An historical artifact, no doubt.

The cascabel lacks the block.   But otherwise it is a typical blade type used on the larger Parrotts.

Trenton 14 Aug 10 377

Looking down the line of sight, here Lieutenant Sellmer aligned the gun to a compass angle in the early hours of August 22.

Trenton 14 Aug 10 387

For comparison, this 8-inch Parrott at Fort Moultrie today is what the Swamp Angle looked like in service.

Fort Moultrie 3 May 2010 552

The missing band leaves it somewhat bare.  But it does show the underlying “ordnance shape” used by the large Parrotts.

Trenton 14 Aug 10 381

So there’s “No 6,” better known as the Swamp Angel.  Arguably one of the best documented cannons from the Civil War.  And one of the most famous guns used in the war.  Eight tons of Civil War history, immortalized in verse, sits today in a place of honor in Trenton.

(Citation from The Story of One Regiment: The Eleventh Maine Infantry Volunteers in the War of the Rebellion, Press of J. J. Little & Company, 1896, page 145.)

The demolition of Fort Sumter in graphic detail

I could say I’ve studied this Fort Sumter photo for a good number of years.

My first encounter was in one of those large collection of Civil War photos, you know like that big book which is anchoring the lower shelf in your library. It was not until recently, with access to the Library of Congress’ digital collection that I was able to really appreciate the details. The photo pairs to a second, which is a bit darker.

And I think the contrast of the second photo does not lend well to picking out the details. But a second artifact to consider none-the-less.

As mentioned in the earlier post about the photo, I’d like to nail down the exact date the photo was taken. The details of the damage and some of the other features leave a few clues. Let me offer three drawings made during the summer and fall of 1863 to accompany Brigadier-General Quincy Gillmore’s reports. Those, I think, help fix a window of dates in which the photo was taken. First a drawing of the fort as it looked on August 21, 1863:


Notice the lack of damage to the east face (right side in this view). The embrasures of the second tier were still intact for the most part. The focus of the Federal bombardment was up to that time on the gorge wall. The flagstaff was in the center of the fort’s length. The caption indicates this drawing was sketched by an observer on Craig’s Hill, a rise just behind the first parallel. Gillmore himself attested to the accuracy.

The second in the sequence, which I’ve used before, shows the damage as of August 23.


This drawing was sketched from an observer at the Beacon House. Notice the flagstaff moved to the left. Looking to the east face again, there is damage, but the interior arches are not visible. But recall the interior arches were visible in the details of the photo.

Last drawing in the sequence depicted the damage on November 10. The artist was also posted at the Beacon House when observing the fort.


Now the flagstaff is back to the right of view. And the east face is all but obliterated. Only a few vestiges of the fort’s old brick walls remained.

So if I had to pick a time that this photo was taken…


… let’s start with a window after August 23 and before November 10. And as mentioned in the earlier post, the photograph must have been taken from the north end of Morris Island. The Federals didn’t occupy that section of the island until September 7. The next couple of days were very active with a failed boat assault on the fort and a brisk fight involving a grounded ironclad. So rule out any date prior to September 9. After capturing Batteries Wagner and Gregg, Gillmore had those works rebuilt to serve as breaching batteries against Fort Sumter in a second round of bombardments. Those guns opened on October 26. At that time the photographers would have snapped a less placid view of the fort.

So those dates established, the window in which this photo narrows to about September 9 to October 25. That is if my reasoning is correct.

As with so many of the Charleston story lines, there is yet another “but wait, look at this” artifact to consider:

The angles at which Fort Sumter, Battery Gregg, and Vincent’s Creek are viewed here indicate the only place this could be taken from was Battery Wagner. Again, after the capture of the north end of Morris Island. Looking close at Fort Sumter:


The damage to Fort Sumter was similar, if not the same, as seen in the first photo above. What’s more, there were work details seen all over the north end of Morris Island. Those have to be Federal details redirecting the position to transform Battery Gregg into Fort Putnam. What would reason is the photographer took the long-range photo with Battery Gregg in view, then went forward to the area where work was being done to photograph Fort Sumter at closer range. Or maybe vice-versa. But the nature of the damage seen on Fort Sumter indicates the two photos were taken at about the same time.

So I think we have a sequence of photos and drawings here, and at least a window in which the photographs were taken.

Torpedoes gave “considerable trouble and anxiety” on Morris Island

Following the successful assault on August 26, 1863 and establishment of the fifth parallel, the Federal troops encountered different sort of weapon employed by the Confederates in defense of Battery Wagner. Major Thomas Brooks recorded this entry in his journal from August 26:

On [the fifth parallel] the first torpedoes were found. One exploded, throwing a corporal of the [Third] U.S. Colored Troops, of the fatigue detail, 25 yards, and depositing him, entirely naked, with his arm resting on the plunger of another torpedo, which facts gave rise, on his being discovered next morning, to the absurd story that the enemy had tied him to the torpedo as a decoy. I was standing 20 yards from him at the time of the explosion, and Captain Walker much nearer. Both supposed that it was a shell from the enemy until late in the night, when other torpedoes were found.

As no torpedoes were recorded during the July assaults on Battery Wagner, these devices were probably setup while the Federals prepared the early parallels in late July and early August. Brooks noted the encounter with the weapon on the grounds just in front of the battery disclosed an unappreciated Confederate defensive tactic.

The discovery of these torpedoes explains what has been, to me, one of the greatest mysteries in the defense of Wagner, i.e., the fact that no material obstacle of any amount could be discovered in front of the work, not even after our two almost successful assaults. Torpedoes were the substitute.

Brooks recorded the locations of these torpedoes, with meticulous detail, on the siege line map:


I’ve pulled part of the map legend out for ease of reference, in the red box above the compass line. Oblong red “ticks” are torpedoes made from casks. The red circles are the torpedoes made from shells.

Brooks described three types of torpedoes encountered. One arrangement used a 24-pounder shell. The shell had an enlarged fuse protruding from the fuse hole. The fuse, with a ball of explosive compound on top, sat in wooden plug which reached down into the bursting charge. On top of this shell, the Confederates placed a tin box. Any pressure on the box would trigger the fuse and explode the shell. Federals uncovered thirty of these, mostly in front of the left face of Battery Wagner (looking from the Federal perspective).

Another similar type used a 15-inch shell in a similar arrangement, but with a metal fuse (see below). Brooks recorded three of this type, and speculated the shells were unexploded naval ordnance.

The most common type of torpedo was made from a ten gallon keg. On each end was a spacer, forming a float. That feature suggested the keg torpedoes were intended for use against ships instead of on land.


The Confederates buried these keg torpedoes with only the fuse sticking above ground. They laid boards over the fuses so that any weight would trigger the torpedo.


Another arrangement for the trigger was a cap with three arms, seen in the figure below:


The metal fuse, used on both the keg and 15-inch shell torpedoes, had a hollow plug as its main body. When triggered, the plunger pressed against a paper tube filled with explosive material and thus ignited the powder in the keg. When setting the torpedo, a wire threaded into the plunger prevented premature explosions.


To keep out water, a stuffing-box nut sealed off the gap between the plunger and the tube. The hollow tube threaded into a collar in the keg, with a washer sealing the gap between.

Brooks indicated Confederates planted these keg torpedoes in the area on the right, or beach, side of the approaches. With the speed of the advance, eight torpedoes were discovered inside the Federal lines on August 27. At first the Federals tried to pull the torpedoes out of the way by use of ropes. But this often set them off in uncontrolled explosions. A second method was to have sharpshooters fire on the plungers. But this was found ineffective, leaving the plungers broken but the torpedo intact. The most practical means to disarm the torpedo was by boring a hole in the wooden casing, then pouring water to render the powder inert. Brooks noted thirty were dealt with in that manner. One such disarmed torpedo appeared in the photo of the command bombproof:

However the torpedoes were also a proverbial “two edge sword.” Recall the Confederate picket line was reluctant to retreat from their rifle pits on August 26, and surrendered instead of skipping through the torpedoes. Those same torpedoes continued to hinder both attacker and defender:

These torpedoes give us considerable trouble and anxiety, but they are an excellent obstacle to prevent a sortie by the enemy, who are very much afraid of them.

All told, the Federals triggered six torpedoes and suffered a dozen casualties from the explosions. Today we would call these “improvised explosive devices.” The modern approach would involve techniques to identify the device, neutralize it, and to mitigate its effects if triggered. I’d submit the Federals did all three of those on Morris Island in August 1863. Perhaps not with the high end technology which we use today, but none-the-less effective for that time.

(Citations from OR, Series I, Volume 28, Part I, Serial 46, pages 296-7 and 310-2.)

Overwhelming the Ridge: The fifth parallel at 240 yards from Battery Wagner

The failure to establish a line on “the ridge” did not set well among the Federals directing the siege lines on Morris Island on August 25, 1863.  On the barrier island a sand dune which might be inconsequential on any other battlefields now took on the prominence of a major mountain.  Without the ridge, the siege lines were stalled.  Again, turning to the map provided by Colonel Edward Serrell, the ridge was at a particular point where the marsh cut into the island and constricted any forward movement.


After being pushed back from the ridge on August 21, Major Thomas Brooks directed his subordinates to construct a redan on the left end of the fourth parallel, where the ruins of the McMillian house stood on a rise of sand.  The Federals began conversion of the cistern found in the ruins into a bombproof.  The redan on the left included a Billinghurst-Requa gun. That was one of three moved up to the fourth parallel.  Lieutenant J.S. Baldwin built a parapet of gabions over a dike leading to St. Vincent’s Creek, to provide some security for the exposed Federal left.  The profile of that work follows the line r-r’ on the map.


Early attempts to advance the sap roller met grapeshot and canister from Battery Wagner.  That line terminated not far from where it started near the redan.

On August 25, the Federals attempted to blast the Confederates off the ridge.  The engineers built positions for three Coehorn mortars and a bombproof and a boat howitzer, labeled a 30-pdr but likely a 24-pdr.  Ensign James Wallace of the Navy commanded the boat howitzer, giving this operation “joint” credit, for those of you operating under the Goldwater-Nichols Act.  The positions of the mortars and the howitzer actually enfiladed the ridge.  Supporting this small bombardment, compared to others on Morris Island, were four 8-inch mortars from the third parallel.


The bombardment started at 5:30 p.m. but did not deliver any significant gains.  Confederate counter-battery fire from Battery Wagner and all the way from James Island proved formidable.  A planned infantry assault to follow the barrage failed to move.  Confederate reinforcements to the ridge strengthened their hold after dusk.

After these failures, on August 26 Brigadier-General Quincy Gillmore turned to the infantry.  Over some of the same ground which the July 11 and July 18 assaults had crossed in their race for Battery Wagner, he ordered General Alfred Terry, commanding the division on Morris Island, to send in another attack.  This time the objective was closer, with limited expectations.  Preceding the infantry assault, a concentrated bombardment kept the guns in Wagner silent and the heads of Confederate sharpshooters down. Brooks recorded the results:

The general commanding ordered General Terry to take and hold the ridge, and placed the resources of the command at his disposal for that purpose. It was accomplished at 6.30 p.m., by a brilliant charge of the Twenty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteers, Col. Francis A. Osborn commanding, supported by the Third New Hampshire Volunteers, Captain Randlett commanding. Sixty-seven prisoners were captured. They were afraid to retire on account of their own torpedoes, as they informed us, and had too little time, even if there had been no torpedoes. No works, excepting rude rifle-pits in the excellent natural cover afforded by the ridge, were found. Sand-bags of a superior quality had been freely used for loop-holes and traverses.

From the Confederate perspective Colonel George Harrison, commanding Battery Wagner, related:

About the middle of this afternoon, the enemy’s fire on this place and Battery Gregg became quite warm, and about an hour before sunset they concentrated their whole fire on this work and our rifle-pits in front. This fire was not only exceedingly rapid, but very accurate, the enemy using every variety of projectiles. This fire continued about half an hour, when I discovered that my pickets had opened from the rifle-pits. This was immediately followed by volley after volley of musketry for about five minutes, when it partially ceased. As soon as it commenced, however, I ordered the night pickets, consisting of 175 men, to form immediately to march to the support of the pits (this picket generally relieves and supports the pits at dark, it was then not yet sundown). I soon discovered that the partial cessation of musketry above alluded to was owing to the fact that the enemy had overwhelmed and captured a portion of our pits to the right, being distant from theirs only about 30 yards. Our pits on the left held out but a few moments longer; in fact, in ten minutes from the fire of the first musketry the enemy were in possession of our pits. From two officers and a number of men who escaped from the rifle-pits, I ascertained that the enemy’s attacking party were at least 1,500 men, while our picket consisted of 86 men from the Sixty-first North Carolina Troops, under command of First Lieut. William Ramsey, who was among those who made their escape.

The volleys reported by Colonel Harrison were actually the Billinghurst-Requa guns opening up to cover the assault.  The action was certainly not a textbook affair.  Hardee’s Tactics, nor Scott’s for what it is worth, provided a “school” for such maneuvers.

The Federals immediately started building a trench line across the ridge to form the fifth parallel.  The line ran 140 yards from the beach to the marsh.  “In this work, the Twenty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteers proved themselves as efficient in the use of the shovel as they had in that of the bayonet a few moments before,” wrote Brooks.  Even captured Confederates were ordered to help dig out the line. Improvements started that night included Requa positions on both ends of the line.  The following day came approval to construct siege mortar positions in the fifth parallel so as to avoid needless firing over the heads of the advanced parties.  A bombproof for those mortars was recorded with profile s-s’ on Brooks’ map.


The engineers also built approaches connecting the fourth and fifth parallels using the flying sap method that night.  Much of this work, under the direction of Lieutenant Charles Wilcken, was done by the 3rd USCT.  One boyaux from started from the redan on the left of the fourth parallel.  The profile of that trench was recorded along the line of t-t’ on Brooks’ map:


Note the banquette step in the trench. Like others in the advanced works, this was a “keep.”

The other boyaux extending from the right of the fourth parallel contended with water from the tides.  It’s profile was the line of o-o’ on the map.


This trench used a ditch on the right side of the advance.  Its angle, as it approached the ridge, avoided any enfilading from both Battery Wagner or James Island.

The evening assault and night work established the last parallel the Federals would need on the approach to Battery Wagner.  Mortars now lay within easy reach of the Confederate works.  The Federal siege lines were accomplishing what two open assaults had not – push the Confederates off Morris Island.

(Citations from OR, Series I, Volume 28, Part I, Serial 46, pages 296-7 and 499-500.)

Looking at Fort Sumter: 150 years ago

Let’s take in this photo of Fort Sumter and examine a bit closer:

This is from the Library of Congress collection, reproduction number LC-DIG-cwpb-04743. The mark on the lower left indicates this is also part of the Haas & Peale set which you are by now familiar with.  Earlier I mentioned my doubt the date given in in the metadata for this photo.  If this was taken on August 23, 1863, then a lot of things had to happen for the photographers to setup… not the least of which a flag of truce for the team to walk out on the battlefield.

Let me counteract the slant to the photo to show Fort Sumter without you having to adjust the monitor.


This is looking at the fort with the gorge wall on the left and the east facing of the fort to the right.  Here’s the orientation:


Notice the north seeking arrow to the right.  If you turn that arrow around, the camera is on the north end of Morris Island.

Before we get too far, lets look close at that flag on the left.


Reminds me of a Conrad Wise Chapman’s painting of the fort:


Maybe that is the Second National “Stainless Banner” over Fort Sumter?

Looking to the left side of the view, the parapet on the barbette tier is worse for the wear, missing its crown.


Looks as if someone is standing on the fort’s footings, perhaps a sentry or an engineer reviewing the damage.  Another figure on the parapet wearing a white shirt appears to be working.

Further right are the remains of the fort’s old wharf.  By the summer of 1863 that was no longer in use, as Federal artillery made it untenable.


On the top profile of the fort is what appears to be one of the fort’s remaining watch towers along with the silhouette of a gun in barbette.


Only after the first bombardment were guns replaced on the barbette tier facing the main entrance to Charleston.  So this is one hint which may help date the photo.

Further down on the fort, there are mountains of rubble.  Large blocks were visible even at the range of the photographer from the fort.  But I think the range was too great to see projectiles.


The interior brickwork was exposed at the juncture of the gorge and east face walls.  Look closely to the lower right.


See that blurry object?


I think that is a Confederate “revised pattern” columbiad, with the breech in the center of that crop, one of the trunnions to the left of center, and muzzle pointed back towards the fort’s rubble.  Several photos from 1865 show such guns in similar positions in the rubble.

Above that blurry object, the interior arches where the two walls meet are in open air.


Further right, more breaches in the wall expose parts of the casemates of the east wall.


Some of those breaches match with descriptions of damage done after August 23.  Again, a hint as to the possible date the photo was taken.

On the far right side of the fort is the corner where the east face and northeast face meet.


The background of these photos often reveal clues as to the photograph’s location and date.  Here we see houses on Sullivan’s Island.


And… what in the name of John Ericsson is that?


I think this is a structure on the wharfs of Sullivan’s Island, perhaps a shed, which fools the eye.  I cannot imagine a monitor working that far into the channel in wartime.  Furthermore, I doubt the deep draft of the monitors would allow docking at Sullivan’s Island.

Other locations on Sullivan’s Island look to be the bomb-proofs of Battery Bee.


There are hints and pointers that lead me to conclude this photo was taken sometime after September 7, 1863.  This is, I think, the most telling.


A bayonet stuck in the sand.  Behind it is nothing but water.  If this photo were taken anywhere but Cummings Point, we’d see marsh and beach behind.  And the only way a northern photographer was going to Cummings Point was after the Federals had occupied all of Morris Island.