Battle of the Ironclads: “What if” Rodman’s guns were used?

Today being the 150th anniversary of the clash between the USS Monitor and CSS Virginia, posts and articles about the battle are all over the internet.

The Civil War Navy Sesquicentennial is in full “ironclad” mode with several posts relating to the battle, including the “big buzz” about the facial reconstruction from the remains recovered from the USS MonitorAndy Hall has a good piece on the reconstructed faces, with some comparison to wartime photos, the on the Civil War Monitor (Magazine) blog page.  But look for more posts about the ironclads today and through the weekend.  With the Civil War Navy Conference running through this weekend (I’m preparing to head out as I type this), no doubt we’ll have more to post over the next few days.

The Civil War Trust has an excellent “battle page” devoted to Hampton Roads.  The maps linked on the page detail the tactical actions that took place on both March 8 and 9, 1862.  Another map provided on the battle page, of a location in the news of late, shows the details of Fort Monroe.   That brings me to a “What if?” question for today.  What if this gun was in place on March 8-9, 1862?

That is, of course, the 15-inch Rodman prototype gun which I wrote of extensively in January.  The “Lincoln Gun” along with the “Union Gun,” a 12-inch rifle prototype, were at Fort Monroe in March 1862.  But neither played into the fight.  Although the 12-inch rifle sat on a barbette carriage the time of the battle, the 15-inch remained unmounted until later that month.

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15-inch Rodman Prototype at Fort Monroe today

Speaking technically, these guns did have the capability to fire upon the CSS Virginia and the other Confederate vessels (don’t forget there were several gunboats involved) as they sortied on March 8.  The 15-inch gun’s trials indicated a 5700 yard range at 28° elevation, or just over three miles.  Although untested for range the 12-inch rifle no doubt could match that.  Indeed, both guns covered the contested waterways a month later, firing on Sewell’s Point.  So, yes these guns had the potential to engage the Confederate ships.

From a standpoint of logistics, I’m not sure there were ample supplies on hand for the guns.  However, I do find it hard to believe that in March 1862 there were no 15-inch smoothbore or 12-inch rifle projectiles at Fort Monroe.  Perhaps limited quantities at least.  After all, the guns were there for trials.  And trials mean someone is planning to shoot some targets!

Tactically speaking… well, I would raise more than a few objections.  The Army’s gun handling drills assumed target ships would remain slow moving targets attempting to bombard the shore batteries.  The rate of fire for the heavy Rodmans was measured in minutes.  There were no standards for predicting fire against fast moving targets – particularly “dueling” ships locked in their “dance.” Lastly, there were plenty of “friendly” vessels at Hampton Roads which the gunners had to fire around.

But a weapons true effectiveness is not just a simple measure of fire rates and range.  Consider also the impression on the receiving end.  The simple fact that the Rodmans “had the range” might have changed the course chosen by Captain Franklin Buchanan, if not dissuading the sortie completely.  Even with the Rodman guns out of the equation, Fort Monroe boasted several large-caliber smoothbore guns and a few rifles.  Had the CSS Virginia ventured too close, I suspect the Buchanan would have learned a lesson similar to those of Captain Foote at Fort Donelson and Admiral DuPont outside Charleston.  Ironclading didn’t equate to invulnerability.

I would submit that even if the Rodman guns at Fort Monroe had been put to good use in the Battle of Hampton Roads, their effect wouldn’t have changed the inevitable – the steam-powered, armored warship had arrived on the scene.  Naval warfare, and by extension seacoast defense, changed that day.  The Army might “consider” the heavy smoothbore guns effective (even into the 1880s!) but the technological race to the dreadnought was on.

Still I have to ask why the Army didn’t at least “make a show” with the Rodmans at Hampton Roads.

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From ’63 to ’66: The later batches of 3-inch Ordnance Rifles

In earlier posts I’ve discussed the 3-inch Ordnance Rifles produced by Phoenix Iron Company through 1862.  Early guns had “side sights” and lacked a stamp for Samuel Reeves’ patent.  Although some sources indicate the patent stamp appeared with registry number 236 in the series, I have offered a rebuttal on that point.  Regardless of the stamps, around registry number 284 the guns received an auxiliary sight between the trunnions.  Now let me turn to guns produced after March 1863.

…. Oh, and before going too far, conceded a point to a reader who wishes to remain anonymous – the Phoenix guns are properly identified as “wrought iron ordnance rifles” to set them apart from other weapons made to the ordnance pattern.  But I hope you will allow me to use the short name to reduce the word count!

As alluded to in the earlier post, the later batches of guns from Phoenix simplified the sights to a single set – pendulum hausse and muzzle blade sights.  Among the first guns to conform to that new standard is registry number 597, credited in the last week of March 1863.

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3-inch Ordnance Rifle #597 at Fort Monroe

The gun is a bit pitted, and … well… the better collection of ordnance rifles is up at Gettysburg.   So let me introduce you to registry number 616 over near the Gettysburg maintenance facility.

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Muzzle of #616

Fairly typical muzzle markings indicate Theodore Thadeus Sobieski Laidley (a name like that inspires a post!) inspected this gun in 1863. He called the weight at 816 pounds – like so many ordnance rifles.  The right trunnion stamp reiterates the vendor’s name.

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Right Trunnion of 3-inch #616

The left trunnion displays the patent date for the manufacturing process.

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Left Trunnion of 3-inch #616

But between the trunnions, only the “U.S.” acceptance mark.  No hole for the auxiliary sight.

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Trunnions of 3-inch rifle #616

This gun only retains the pendulum hausse seat and muzzle sight.

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3-inch Ordnance Rifle #616

The front sight originally stood taller than what we see today.  Handling has left them just a stub. Number 616 actually has a substantial base to the sight.  Most survivors simply have the remainder or “nubbin.” Some surviving 3-inch rifles have more substantial muzzle sights, such as the base left on 616.  Others have only the threaded hole for the sight.

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Hole for muzzle sight on #674

Again, the variations seen here (markings and sights) had no substantial effect on the use of the guns.  Or at least not that I’ve found in the veteran’s accounts.  So something must have worked!   With a few possible and minor exceptions, all remaining 3-inch Ordnance Rifles confirmed to those particulars.

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3-inch Ordnance Rifle #931

That includes registry number 931 delivered in 1866, more than a year after the last Confederate surrender.

So in conclusion, the long line of 3-inch Ordnance Rifles – over 950 of them – conformed in all practical details to the pattern set by the Ordnance Board in 1861.  There are no major variations that would affect performance of the weapon.  However for modern-day visitors, there are some subtle differences with the markings and sight arrangements.  These are in some cases clues to the story of the otherwise silent guns.

Oh, and don’t think I’m done with the Ordnance Rifles.  I fully intend to bore you readers with more minutia about these guns!

The Most Widely Produced Rodman Gun: 10-inch Rodman

If production figures are any measure, the Army felt the 10-inch Rodman was the most important element in the nation’s seacoast defenses during and immediately after the Civil War.

The first ten 10-inch Rodmans came out of Fort Pitt Foundry between September and October 1861.   Based on circumstantial evidence, these were likely cast to the original Rodman design with ratchets and preponderance on the breech.  None of these survive today.

Fort Pitt Foundry continued producing 10-inch Rodmans in the spring of 1862.  But these guns received registry numbers from a fresh sequence.  Some of those low registry numbers exist today and feature sockets on the breech for use on the new elevation system.  Without checking the balance of the guns, I think it safe to assume these have no preponderance on the breech.

Fort Pitt delivered 689 more 10-inch Rodmans before production ceased in March 1867.  Earlier I featured Fort Pitt registry numbers 156 and 182 in a comparison with a Confederate “revised pattern” Columbiad at Fort Moultrie.

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10-inch Rodman - Fort Pitt #156

I offered a pretty fair “walk around” in that post, so I will send those interested in that direction.  But I would mention one variation seen among the hundreds of Fort Pitt Rodmans – the shape of the sockets.

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Breech Face of Fort Pitt #182

The guns at Fort Moultrie have squared sockets. But look at this Rodman over at Fort Monroe, Virginia.

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Breech Face of Fort Pitt #457

However Fort Pitt number 457, produced in 1865, has rounded sockets.

The breech face to the left of the sockets is rusty.  This gun had a bronze range table fixed to the breech face, at least up until the 1950s.  The screw holes are still visible.

The gun’s muzzle has many layers of paint, but enough of the particulars show through to make a positive identification.

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Muzzle of Fort Pitt #457

In addition to Fort Pitt, three other source produced 10-inch Rodmans. West Point delivered two 10-inch Rodmans in June 1862.  These may have been experimental castings, because the registry numbers, 1 and 2, were repeated when the foundry resumed production in July 1865.  West Point continued production through March 1867 with a total of 184 cast including the duplicate numbers.

Cyrus Alger didn’t deliver its first 10-inch Rodman until late in 1863.  Over four years, the foundry delivered monthly batches, never exceeding a dozen.  All told, when production ceased in March 1867 the Boston foundry had cast a total of 176.

The Scott Foundry, operated by Seyfert, McManus & Company in Reading, Pennsylvania, delivered 242 from October 1863 through April 1867.  The company’s total deducted a handful of condemned guns.

The total number of 10-inch Rodmans produced, including the ten “prototypes” and those in post war years, tallied over 1300 guns.  That exceeds the number of 12-pdr Napoleons or 3-inch Ordnance Rifles produced in the war.  One could say the weight of metal tipped towards what the Army considered its primary mission – seacoast defense – even during the Civil War.  The 10-inch Rodman was one of the most, if not the most, widely produced American muzzle loading cannon.

One last note on Fort Pitt number 457.  Today it stands outside the old post headquarters building.

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Fort Pitt #457 - "Old Number 40"

For years after the Civil War the gun was among the armament of the Water Battery on the bay side of Fort Monroe.  The gun received the nickname “Old Number 40” many decades ago due to its position in the battery.  The gun remained there until 1906 when engineers demolished most of the Water Battery while placing new fortifications.

“Old Number 40” tells the story of a long serving, even if long obsolete, weapon system.

Rodman’s 12-inch Rifle: The Biggest American Rifle of the War

After concluding his portion of the 15-inch prototype gun proofing, Thomas J. Rodman left Fort Monroe to supervise casting a 12-inch rifle gun at Fort Pitt Foundry in Pittsburgh.   As the largest caliber rifle produced for the Army during the Civil War era, this gun deserves at least a post.

In November 1860 Knap, Rudd and Company (which operated Fort Pitt Foundry) received an order for a 12-inch rifle cannon cast using Rodman’s technique and using the block of the 15-inch Rodman smoothbore.   Instructions also called for the use of General James‘ rifling pattern.  The Army wanted this gun for comparison with the 15-inch gun at Fort Monroe.1

Compared to the experiments leading up to the 15-inch prototype, Rodman published few notes on the 12-inch rifle.  It was completed by April 1861.  Proofing records indicate a weight of 52,005 pounds.  The increase of the 15-inch gun is explained by the additional metal retained with a smaller bore.  Remarkably, in spite of the war situation the 12-inch rifle still went to Fort Monroe, which was for all intents the “front line” in the early summer of 1861.

Unproven or not, General Benjamin Butler would not let the powerful gun sit idle.  As mentioned earlier, the 12-inch rifle replaced the 15-inch prototype on a barbette carriage on the fort’s wall.  Around this time the gun received the nickname “The Union Gun.”  Later in April 1862, along with the remounted 15-inch “Lincoln Gun,” the 12-inch rifle fired in the direction of Confederates on Sewell’s Point, although mostly just ranging shots.2  Aside from that action, “the Union Gun” apparently sat unused for the rest of the war.

However, the subject of the 12-inch rifle came up during Rodman’s testimony to the Join Committee on the Conduct of the War.  Rodman mentioned an 8-inch and a 12-inch rifle at Fort Monroe, but indicated neither had undergone proof.  Probably in error, Rodman mentioned that General Butler had fired the 12-inch gun with James projectiles.  Speculating the projectile weight caused stripping of the sabot and therefore failure.  But Rodman noted shipment of new projectiles to Fort Monroe with grooves to lock into the rifling.3 Rodman did not indicate any test programs scheduled at that time.

Apparently sometime after the testimony in February 1864 the 12-inch rifle underwent proofing.  In 1872, Congress requested several documents pertaining to the big rifle.  Included in the set was a report indicating the gun fired 472 times.4  Other documents in the set include reports and letters from Rodman (which I must locate in the Ordnance Department files at the National Archives during one of my trips).

The number of fires reported matches that indicated in the annual report of Major General Alexander B. Dyer (funny how these guys get around), who was then the Chief of Ordnance.  Dyer further indicated the 12-inch gun burst after the 472nd shot.  Dyer went on to say the Army had purchased two more 12-inch guns, but neither had fired more than a few rounds. The second and third rifles, one each from Cyrus Alger & Company and Fort Pitt Foundry, were cast after the Civil War.  5, 6

These large rifles remained the object of conjecture and periodic experiments through the 1870s.  Any promise to bolster the nation’s defenses remained unrealized as technical advances eclipsed the age of cast iron guns.  None survive today, and at best the 12-inch Rodman Rifles remain but footnote to the story of American artillery of the Civil War era.

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Notes:

  1. Edwin Olmstead,  Wayne E. Stark, and Spencer C. Tucker, The Big Guns: Civil War Siege, Seacoast and Naval Cannon (Alexandria Bay, NY: Museum Restoration Service, 1997), Appendix C157, page 260.
  2. Richard P. Weinert, Jr., The Guns of Fort Monroe (Fort Monroe Casemate Museum, 1990), page 19.
  3. Rodman’s testimony is recorded in “Heavy Ordnance,”  Report of the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War at the Second Session, Thirty-Eighth Congress (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1865), pages 97-109.
  4. Letter from Major Steven V. Benet, July 17, 1872,  House documents, otherwise publ. as Executive documents: 13th congress, 2d session-49th congress, 1st session, United States Congressional Series Set, 1873, page 435.
  5. Alexander B. Dyer, Report of the Chief of Ordnance for the Year 1869 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1869), pages 10-12.
  6. Edwin Olmstead,et. al. Appendix C157, page 260.

Walk Around the Lincoln Gun: 15-inch Rodman Prototype

The last several artillery posts have focused on the gun in this wartime photo:

15-inch Rodman Prototype at Fort Monroe

The 15-inch prototype remained at Fort Monroe after trials ended, very successfully, in early 1861.  Worth noting, the gun received its first nickname around that time – “The Floyd Gun” – after Secretary of War John B. Floyd, who’d been a supporter of the project.  By April 1861 the Fort Monroe garrison mounted the big gun on a barbette carriage near the Old Point Comfort lighthouse.   I’d speculate the carriage was either the same or a similar outfit to that used during the proofing in 1860.  However, the gun didn’t sit there very long.  In July 1861 the new 12-inch Rodman Rifle arrived for testing.  Jumping the gun, so to speak, General Benjamin Butler ordered the untested rifle onto the 15-inch smoothbore mount.

After the USS Monitor-CSS Virginia duel, General John Wool ordered the 15-inch gun placed back in a barbette carriage into the fort’s defenses.   The circular traces used by one of these two guns remains today, ironically, in Jefferson Davis Park on the fort’s wall.

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Traces for Center Pivot Barbette Carrige in Jeff Davis Park

On April 15, 1862, both the 12-inch rifle and the 15-inch prototype gun fired in the direction of Sewell’s Point, more so to gain the range than against any particular target.  But with this activity one can say the prototype “fired in anger.”

It was also around this time the gun received a new nickname.  With Mr. Floyd’s resignation and subsequent commission as a Confederate general, the old name was just bad for public relations.  So Secretary of War Edwin Stanton ordered the gun’s name changed to “The Lincoln Gun” and it remains so today.

If the wartime photo’s listing data from the National Archives is correct, the 15-inch prototype remained in place through 1864.  We know it is indeed the prototype from the muzzle markings.

Close Up of Muzzle

At the top appears the registry number  “1” and at the bottom are the initials “T.J.R.” for Thomas J. Rodman.

The right side trunnion, although at an angle in the photo, clearly shows the foundry stamps.

Right Trunnion in Photo

The stamps read “F.P.F.” and “K.R. & Co.”  These stand for “Fort Pitt Foundry”
and “Knap, Rudd and Company” respectively.   That particular stamping set appeared only in 1860.

Today the Lincoln Gun rests only a few hundred yards from its wartime post, at the edge of Fort Monroe’s parade ground.

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15-inch Rodman Prototype

My photo of the muzzle markings didn’t turn out right (for which I’ve kicked myself several times).  So trust me that the “No. 1” and “T.J.R.” remain on the muzzle.  The right trunnion also still shows the manufacturer’s stamps.

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Right Trunnion of Prototype Rodman

And the left trunnion provides the year of manufacture.

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Left Trunnion of Prototype Rodman

Notice the trunnions are shorter than those of earlier Columbiads.  Rodman designed the 15-inch gun to fit iron, not wooden, carriages.  However the prototype’s trunnions are about a half-inch longer than those of production Rodmans.

The breech displays the weight, just as recorded by Rodman in May 1860.

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Weight Stamp on Breech

Compare the ratchets in the breech face to the sockets on the 15-inch guns at Fort Foote, Maryland.

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Breech Face of Production 15-inch Rodman

Less easily determined by the naked eye is the shift of the trunnion location.  Production 15-inch guns had the trunnions just 1.25 inches to the rear, eliminating preponderance.

Rarely can we trace the story of a Civil War era gun with any degree of certainty.  However in the case of the Lincoln Gun, we know every place the gun was from foundry to field site.  We even have reasonably accurate records of every time the gun fired!

The Lincoln Gun – an artifact preserved in Fort Monroe National Monument with a story to tell!

15-inch Rodman Prototype: Trials of the New Gun

Discussing the prototype 15-inch Rodman gun, I left off with the 25-ton iron form arriving at Fort Monroe for trials.  Now it’s time to talk about shootin’ that big gun.

Thus far in the discussion of Rodman guns, my articles focused on “experiments” within the scientific sense.  But prototyping takes on a different focus.  To pass trials, a prototype undergoes tests to ensure it meets requirements and expectations.  Beyond that, prototype testing ensures the system is a practical fit in the desired role.  The focus extends more to “will it work the way we intend to use it?”

Instead of placing the gun on very restrained test mount, Captain Alexander B. Dyer had a wrought iron carriage built at Fort Monroe Arsenal for the prototype.  Generally, the carriage matched that of the Columbiad barbette center pintle design – just bigger all around to fit the bigger gun.  Recall too the prototype 15-inch Rodman retained a 1200 pound preponderance at the breech along with the ratchet elevating system.

For trials in 1860, the crew at Fort Monroe placed the gun on a concrete and cut stone platform along the beach.  As with the standard service mounting in a fort, the trials mount had concentric rings to allow the carriage to traverse.  The mount allowed just over 28° elevation.

Normally any new gun undergoes proofing to verify it could withstand service charges.  However, since the 15-inch was an entirely new design proofing involved testing to see just how much load the gun could reasonably withstand.  Proofing with 0.6-inch grained powder started with 25 pound charges propelling a 330 pound shell.  After five shots this increased to 30 pounds with a 310 pound shell, which the gun fired five times.  At subsequent intervals, the powder charge increased by five pounds until reaching 40 pounds.  Rodman also fabricated several “perforated cake” charges for these tests (and those deserve treatment in a separate post). During these proofs, the greatest range was with a 40 pound charge at 28° elevation reaching 5730 yards.

After forty fires during the proof, a board of officers, representing the engineers, ordnance corps, and artillery, determined the gun was ready for evaluation.  Just to drop names, the board included General Joseph Totten, Major John Barnard, Captain Horatio Wright, Major John Symington, Captain Dyer, Captain Josiah Gorgas,  Colonel Justin Dimick, Major Robert Anderson, Captain J. H. Carlisle, and Lieutenant G. Tallmadge.   For the board, the gun fired forty-nine more times at an elevation of 6°, with a 35 pound charge and a 317 pound shell.  Ranges varied between 1873 and 2017 yards.  During these fires, the upper carriage recoiled between 68 and 77 inches.

Rodman attempted to measure muzzle velocity with a Navez device, but results were erratic.  Instead, the crew fired a few rounds at a short range target (885 feet, because “short range” is relative) and estimated velocity from the time of flight. With 35 pounds of powder, observers figured velocity at 1328 feet/second.  Using 50 pounds of perforated cake, velocity dropped to 1282 feet/second.  Interestingly, these tests used rope grommets instead of sabots.

After a few more ranged shots, the trials got down to some fun trials – ricochets on the water!  The board wanted to know the behavior of the large projectile when used in one of the favored anti-ship techniques of the time.  With elevations ranging between horizontal and 5°, using 40 pound charges and 318 pound shells, five shots fired over the open waters around Fort Monroe.  However due to rough waters, these tests were far from conclusive.  Yet the conclusion was higher elevations yielded better ricochet patterns.

At the end of all these fires, the board examined the bore of the gun.  Using a star gauge, the officers found no enlargements in the bore.  For all practical purposes, the gun stood up well to use.  However, the carriage had sustained some damage.  The original traversing wheels cracked under the strain of firing, and were replaced by a stronger set.

The trials also considered how the crew operated the gun.  Obviously with a larger projectile than any weapon then in service, handling was a consideration.  Rodman’s report noted that three men could load the gun – two carrying the projectile and one pushing it into the muzzle with the rammer.  However, a team of five was preferred.  Running the gun into battery required seven men, and an eighth used to ease the work.  Although two men could traverse the gun, the preferred number was four.

For a shot at horizontal, time required for servicing and loading the piece fell to just over a minute after practice.  Running the piece out at maximum elevation required between three and four minutes.  The crew could traverse the gun at a rate of roughly 45° per minute.  Not bad for the “first run” of the gun.  Even in the 1890s with crews intimately familiar with the carriage and gun, officers planned for one shot every four or five minutes in combat.

At the end of these trials the board gave the gun positive marks.  The gun survived the trials and performed well.  Despite the size, the gun was just as well handled as the contemporary Columbiads.  The officers believed, “… the introduction of guns of much larger caliber than any now in the service, is desirable and practical.”  They went on to say, “the efficiency of our present armament for harbor defense would be improved by the addition of a judicious portion of guns of this class.”  However, the board did express caution about the endurance of the gun, asking for additional fires.

Starting in December 1860, Dyer supervised additional tests on the 15-inch prototype.  All told, he exceeded 500 fires.  At the end of which, he reported no measurable wear in the bore.  Vent erosion was less than normal for a gun at that endurance.

While Dyer fired this big cannon, the country was falling apart.  I find interesting how members of the board were soon swept up in events.  Anderson, of course, would move from this trial to his next post at Fort Sumter.  Within a few months, Gorgas resigned his commission and became the Confederate chief of ordnance.  But Rodman left the trials and returned to Pittsburgh.  There he worked on a 12-inch rifled gun constructed in the same manner as the 15-inch gun.

One final note, perhaps bringing this story from one about “cannons” to one about people – describing the gun crew at one point, Rodman indicated the composition to be “one sergeant and six negroes.”  Such raises several questions.  Why wasn’t a detail of artillerymen used?  Were these freedmen or slaves?  Were these men trained in artillery handling before these trials?  Regardless, I find an interesting thread here.  On the eve of the Civil War the Army used African-American labor to test its most important new weapon.  And that very gun later acquired the nickname “The Lincoln Gun.”

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Thomas J. Rodman’s report of the 1860 prototype trials appears in Reports of Experiments on the Properties of Metals for Cannon, and the Qualities of Cannon Powder; with an Account of the Fabrication and Trial of a 15-inch Gun (Boston: Charles H. Crosby, 1861), pages  281-293.

Fort Monroe WILL be a National Monument

From the Virginian-Pilot:

Obama expected to make Fort Monroe a national park monument

Fort Monroe will take its place among the nation’s most revered places on Tuesday, when President Barack Obama is expected to designate much of the former Army base a national park.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said in a phone interview Saturday that Obama would use powers granted to him under the Antiquities Act to preserve the Hampton waterfront fortress and hundreds of acres of open space along the Chesapeake Bay.

Read the full story on their web site.

I’ve blogged about this a time or two before.   I’ve signed petitions and written congressmen.  Looks to become reality tomorrow.  As I’ve said before, the timing couldn’t be better, with the sesquicentennial under way.

On the down side, the Department of the Interior is not exactly overflowing with excess funding.  The taxpayer on this end of the keyboard questions if the parks service, already facing a Mount McKinley sized pile of unfunded but needed improvements, can afford another commitment.

On the up side, as the current owner – the US Army – has done a remarkable job over the years … actually decades … preserving some of the historical structures (all balanced against mission requirements on an active military base).   Furthermore, there already exists an involved, active volunteer network.  The “Friends of Fort Monroe” predates the establishment of the park.

Another plus is the varied history of the old installation.  Historians need not dig deep into the primary sources to find underlying themes and cross-currents.  Stories large and small come forward from the fort’s history.  Many of them stand at every corner of the old fort.

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The Pet Cemetery at Fort Monroe

I look forward to how the Park Service approaches the interpretation in the years to come.