Fort Johnson Photo Analysis, Part VII: The interior through the camera lens, preserved on glass plate

Thus far, we’ve looked at photos taken of the exterior of Fort Johnson, specifically the water battery.  But those were not the only places the photographer, George Barnard, visited in the spring of 1865.  In fact, Barnard spent considerable time inside Fort Johnson.  From that, we can “virtually” tour the fort, 150 years later, by way of those photographs.

Summarizing what we’ve seen thus far, here is the diagram depicting the location of the camera and perspective of the first five photos in this study… er … tour:


At the end of our examination of FJ5, I called attention to the Brooke Rifle and the barrel out in front of the gun.


The rifle and the barrel are key reference points as we step into the interior.  Both appear in the photo that I’ll label, for our purposes, FJ6:

Up close:


I’ll examine the other details of this photo in a dedicated post, but the Brooke establishes that we are looking down the back of the second gallery from the right on Fort Johnson.  Notice the pyramid of bolts to the right of the crop above.  Note the letters “A.C” on the top three. You see them again in another photo of the fort’s interior:

I’ll call this one FJ7.  And aiding the effort to establish the camera’s perspective is that pyramid of bolts, in the distant center:


See the letters?

The centerpiece of FJ7 are the debris and ruins inside the fort. Those appear on the surveys.  And that further establishes the perspective of the camera.  The ruins also appear in another photo of the interior, but from a different angle:

I’ll call this one FJ8.  Up close, here’s the ruins… which don’t see too badly ruined… if all you want is a pavilion.


Panning to the left, looking beyond the sling cart, we see the tent, with chimney:


That tent appeared in FJ7.  To the right of the tent is a platform with a bucket on top. That coincides with the location of the fort’s cistern on surveys.  Beyond (above) the platform is a log crib.  The crib and tent also appear from another perspective of Fort Johnson:

This photo, FJ9 for my labeling, looks across the interior wall of the fort.  Stacked pyramids of shot and shell stand along that wall.  Some of those were seen in FJ8.  As are the tent and crib:


Those sequences are fine, but only show the “small” particulars of the fort.  What we would like is a wide angle view of the fort’s interior.  Well we have one:


Unfortunately I cannot find this photo, which I’ll call FJ10, from a digitized glass plate.  Only a scan from a printed copy.  But in this view we see, from left to right, the ruins, pyramids of shot and shell, the cistern, and the tent.  There are other points of reference to mention here (notably the sling cart beyond the fort, which was seen in the exterior photographs).

That is sufficient to start plotting the camera locations of the five photos against the fort surveys:


The green lines demonstrate the angle of the camera view.

Considering the first five “stops” made in front of Fort Johnson:


You can see, hardly an inch of the Confederate water battery escaped the camera lens.  How many places of note from the Civil War can we say that about?

Published by Craig Swain

"Historical marker hunter" and Civil War enthusiast.

4 thoughts on “Fort Johnson Photo Analysis, Part VII: The interior through the camera lens, preserved on glass plate

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