Battery Reynolds and Mortars on Morris Island

When the sesquicentennial moment was proper for the discussion of Battery Reynolds, I lacked the right photo.  Well since it is Fortification Friday, I’ll throw this one in. (I’ll post a proper Fortification Friday later, gotta get the graphics right!)

As first built, Battery Reynolds contained mix of field and siege guns, facing Battery Wagner at a range of 1,335 yards. On July 14, 1863, Colonel Edward Serrell turned over this diagram showing Battery Reynolds and other works that would be come the First Parallel.


The mix of two 30-pdr Parrotts, six 10-pdr Parrotts, four 3-inch Ordnance Rifles, two 3.67-inch Wiard Rifles, and five 8-inch siege mortars in that version of Battery Reynolds supported the July 18 assault on Battery Wagner.  No photos, to my knowledge, exist of Battery Reynolds in that configuration.

In late July, as engineers transformed that original line into siege batteries to engage both Battery Wagner and Fort Sumter, the trace of the works changed.


The Navy Battery took over some space on the First Parallel.  However, five field gun platforms remained on the right side of the battery close to the beach (and were used early in the siege operations). And the five mortar positions remained on what became the left side of Battery Reynolds. Earlier, I discussed the operations of these mortar batteries along with those in Battery Weed.

We have a photograph showing four of those five mortars in Battery Reynolds:


The mortar on the right has a crew about to load a shell.


I think the fifth mortar in the battery is actually to the right of this one, and blocked by one of the three traverses in this section of the line.

The crew on the center two mortars seems to stand awkwardly… yes staged awkward.


Notice the line draped off the breech of the mortar on the right.  We’ll come back to that.  Also notice the platforms here.  These do not look like Major Thomas Brooks’ improved platforms.  Rather those appear to be the standard type described in the Army manuals.  The mortar on the far left also has a standard type bed.


I bet those guys are getting tired holding that shell by the thongs.

Going back to the line mentioned earlier. The other end of that line extends up the parapet to an aiming post.


Looking back to the right, the traverse on that side has a splinter-proof for the crews.


Boxes, muskets, and accouterments stacked somewhat orderly against the sandbags.  These were men of Companies H and D, Seventh Connecticut Infantry, commanded by Captain Benjamin F. Skinner.

At each position are regulation type baskets, with gunners quadrants and other required items.


To pinpoint this photo’s location in the Key Maps, I referenced something in the background:


That’s one of the Whitworth Rifles in the Navy Battery.

And what is that setting on the far side of the gun?


Looks like a pair of boots to me.  Maybe these boots?


This photo also shows the wide array of headgear in use on Morris Island.  There’s this rather skinny fellow holding his end of the shell and wearing what appears to be a Hardee Hat made for someone with a much larger head than his.


Most of the hats are kepis.  To the front of the mortar, this fellow’s kepi has a complete set of hat brass.


Personally, if I were stationed on a hot, sandy Morris Island in the summer, I’d want a slouch hat.  Sort of like what these fellows on the left are sporting.


There you have it – The Battery Reynolds photograph, mortars and fashion show.

[Photo Credit: Hagley Museum and Library collection of Haas & Peale photographs, ID Number 71MSS918_026.tif ]


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