Saturday, October 14, 2017

Hidden Fort Sumter: History comes alive in Charleston Harbor

This weighty chunk of a Civil War cannonball was spotted  on rocks outside Fort Sumter.
(CLICK ON ALL IMAGES TO ENLARGE.)
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Probably washed ashore recently by Hurricane Irma, a huge chunk of iron amazed history geeks at Fort Sumter on a clear-blue sky Saturday afternoon. The weighty piece of Civil War cannonball was discovered by an eagle-eyed Center For Civil War Photography member among seashells and large rocks outside the walls of the fort in Charleston Harbor, which still may hold tons of ordnance.  (It's against Federal law to remove the relics from the park.)

Thanks to Fort Sumter historian emeritus Richard W. Hatcher III, CCWP president Bob Zeller and vice  president Garry Adelman, who led an epic tour, history came alive at the massive fortification where the Civil War erupted on April 12, 1861. On a special day, the old, brick fort gave up some of its secrets.

           PANORAMA: Exterior of the fort. The huge cannonball chunk was found just
             beyond the sign (pan right). Click at upper right for full-screen experience.

'THE BEST SHELL CRATER'


                           Fort Sumter historian emeritus Richard Hatcher III explains.

THREE UNEXPLODED PARROTT SHELLS


Fired by Union artillery, this Parrott shell is buried deep in a thick wall.
Probably fired from nearby Morris Island, this shell juts from a wall.
The unexploded Parrott shells in Fort Sumter's walls are not believed to be a danger to detonate. 

Hatcher III talks about the most exposed Parrott shell.


ORIGINAL BRICKS, ANYONE?


At water's edge, original bricks appear among thousands of seashells outside the fort. Fort Sumter 
suffered great destruction during the Civil War. In a clean-up effort after the war, these bricks
 were dumped into the harbor.

REMNANTS OF THE ORIGINAL WHARF


Ships once docked here at the fort's original wharf, which extended about 140 feet into the harbor.

A CANNONBALL IN A MOST UNLIKELY PLACE


A massive cannonball peeks through a ventilator shaft at the site of the fort's magazine.

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