This photo was taken from the location FJ9, as indicated on the diagram below:
We can pinpoint that location by referencing the tent, which is seen in several other photos:
As pointed out in earlier photo analysis posts, this tent has amenities to comfort those stationed at the fort.
The canvas sits snugly over the brick chimney. And there is a platform to give the dwellers a proper floor above the sand.
And there is a railing to each side of the tent, providing an anchor point for the lines. We’ve seen those railings on several other photos. All providing us a three-dimensional appreciation for this tent.
And notice the stack of 7-inch Brooke bolts, which we examined from another perspective in FJ6.
Looking behind the tent, we see the crib and the bombproof entrance mentioned in FJ8.
Speaking of that previous post, I highlighted the line of the parapet of the fort. Again we see that in play in FJ9:
Also notice here the “cuts” for the entrance to the galleries where the guns are mounted. The number of entrances helps place this photo’s perspective for the diagram. The photographer was standing directly behind the first 10-inch columbiad’s entrance, looking towards the second columbiad position and then to the Brooke Rifle’s beyond.
Speaking of the columbiads, we see several piles of ammunition for those big weapons, all at the ready.
Nothing extraordinary about these. I’m pressed to say if these are shells or shot. We don’t see holes for the fuse or other external features. But then again, the shells, if empty, would have been stacked with the holes down to reduce moisture accumulation. On the other hand, Fort Johnson’s big guns needed solid shot should the Federal monitors gain the harbor.
What we can see in these photos are fine surface details of these projectiles:
Notice the casting seam running the circumference of some. Also the spotty or streaked exterior:
Colorize those in your mind. A mix of black paint and rust, perhaps?
One of the pyramids has fallen down. It’s the one that lacks wood rails or braces, second from the camera:
We’ve seen this from another perspective in FJ8:
Not enough change in the stack to determine “before or after” in this case. But as you can tell, those projectiles made a handy seat.
Beyond the columbiad projectiles, there is a stack of ammunition crates:
The resolution of the digital scan allows us to zoom down and read what is on those crates. So what are they?
Each apparently contains (or did contain) “1 42-pdr Rifle Bolt”. The hand painted marking below that stencil is worth considering. I think it indicates the weight of the projectile, packing material, and box. It looks like a “Wt. 116lbs.”
The next box up in the stack also has marking to consider:
I cannot make anything worthwhile out of these markings, except for what appears to be “Bolt” and “Wt. 115lbs.”
And where did these come from? Next crate up tells us that:
From Charleston Arsenal in 1864.
OK, want some more? The crate on top tells us who was responsible for these bolts:
The stencil was applied over a seam in the wood…
But I read that as “Cpt. Ingraham.”
Captain H. Laurens Ingrahm was an ordnance officer assigned to the Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. He spent most of the war in Charleston, at the depot. And there are ample receipts indicting Ingraham handled projectiles of this caliber:
Or in some cases, annotated as 7-inch rifle shells or bolts:
Always nice to get a positive name match.
There’s a lot more to the story of Ingraham and his war-time service. But I’ll save that for another day.
For the moment, let me bring this installment to a close, looking up at at the flag over the fort:
Tomorrow we will celebrate American Independence Day. It will be the 239th anniversary of the event. This photo takes us back 150 years to a time when Americans were looking forward to the first such Independence Day after four years of Civil War. Those four years were in many ways the most destructive the United States has ever seen. The flag, and thus the photo, speak to me today as a symbol of both the country’s independence but also wisdom in reconciliation following that war.