1809 - Original Layout by Maj. Alexander Macomb
Diagrams and cutaway views of the third version of Fort Moultrie, “Copied from the Plan by Major A. Macomb of the Engineers, by Lt. W. Williams.” Although undated, Macomb’s original drawing of the finished fort was presumably submitted to Washington sometime prior to February 1811, when Macomb was promoted from the rank of Major.
Note: the smaller barracks and storehouses clustered at the rear of this new fort’s compound, plus the double-ramp originally erected at its Southwest Angle. This fort was intended to be encircled by a ditch approximately 30 feet wide and six feet deep, although it would soon prove impossible to keep such a trench free from the constantly-encroaching sand-dunes. This resurrected Moultrie furthermore boasted a waterline-battery of seven guns, emplaced on the outer rim of its protective ditch.
Source: U. S. National Archives, Record Group 77 (Office of the Chief of Engineers), Cartographic Branch, College Park, Maryland, Drawer 65, Sheets 3 and 4.
1821 - Survey by Capt. William Poussin
Plan of Fort Moultrie as drawn in February 1821 by the French-born brevet Capt. William T. Poussin, an Assistant Topographical Engineer on the staff of Brig. Gen. Simon Bernard, during their joint stopover at Charleston on an inspection-tour of America’s coastal defenses.
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Note: how the fort’s original buildings have been expanded since its construction a dozen years previously, with a protective traverse added in front of its Magazine, as well as a hot-shot furnace at the foot of its Southwest Angle ramp. Moultrie’s original small waterline-battery has vanished, however, and the fort’s ramparts are no longer protected by an encircling ditch.
Source: U.S. National Archives, Record Group 77 (Office of the Chief of Engineers), Cartographic Branch, College Park, Maryland, Drawer 65, Sheet 5.
1822 - Shoreline Position Guarding Harbor Entrance, by William Hooker
Crude and inaccurate depiction of Fort Moultrie, included on a much larger map of Charleston Harbor sketched by William Hooker, for publication in the tenth edition of Edmund M. Blunt’s American Coast Pilot, printed in New York City by J. Seymour in 1822.
Note: how the suggested landmarks to be used as navigational aids in avoiding Rattlesnake Shoal, during the process of cautiously working a ship into this harbor, do not include or even mention low-lying Fort Moultrie — the only sight-lines provided being the church spires in the distant City of Charleston itself.
Source: Original woodcut-engraving published so as to “Face Page 234” of the 1822 edition of the American Coast Pilot, a rare book available online from among the holdings of such institutions as the University of Michigan or University of California at Berkeley, as well as the Penobscot Marine Museum and other sources.
1825 - Detail from Capt. Hartman Bache’s Survey-Map
Detailed close-up showing Fort Moultrie and its Reservation’s position on Sullivan’s Island, surrounded on both sides by the civilian dwellings of Moultrieville, taken from a much larger printed map of “Charleston Harbour and the Adjacent Coast and Country, South Carolina, Surveyed at Intervals in 1823, 1824, and 1825” by Capt. Hartman Bache of the U.S. Topographical Engineers; Lt. James D. Graham of the 3rd U.S. Artillery Regiment; Second Lt. Constantine M. Eakin of the 2nd Artillery; and Second Lt. William M. Boyce of the 1st Infantry.
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Note: the irregular shape of the Reservation; the clearly-marked, unpaved streets and individual buildings; and the lengthy jetty extending out from behind the fort, so as to reach the deeper waters of the Cove.
Source: Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division, Call Number G3912.C4 1825 .C4, plus other repositories
1830 - Detailed Study by Lt. Joseph Mansfield
Highly-detailed plan of Fort Moultrie, as well as diagrams of several of its major buildings and defensive features, submitted on September 25, 1830 by Lt. Joseph K. F. Mansfield to the Chief of the U.S. Corps of Engineers, Brevet Brig. Gen. Charles Gratiot, as an accompaniment to an assessment of this stronghold’s material condition after suffering heavy gale and surf-damage.
Note: the small size of the fort’s initial Guardhouse, which would not be expanded until more than a dozen years later.
Source: U.S. National Archives, Record Group 77 (Office of the Chief of Engineers), Cartographic Branch, College Park, Maryland, Drawer 65, Sheet 6.
1833 - Reinforcement Plan by Capt. William Eliason
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Plan and diagram of the reinforcement for wave-threatened Moultrie and its shoreline during 1832-1833, carried out under the direction of Capt. William A. Eliason; submitted to the Chief Engineer, Brevet Brigadier Gratiot, on September 3, 1833.
Note: the additional eight-foot palisade temporarily erected all around the fort’s three land-fronts, due to fears of a possible assault by South Carolina militiamen during the so-called “Nullification Crisis.” A large wooden storage-shed is also now featured atop the fort’s western rampart.
Source: U.S. National Archives, Record Group 77 (Office of the Chief of Engineers), Cartographic Branch, College Park, Maryland, Drawer 65, Sheet 9.
1835 - Follow-Up Plan by Lt. Thompson Brown
Plan and diagrams of Fort Moultrie’s new shore-side breakwater, designed as a result of the follow-up inspection conducted during 1834-1835 by Lt. Thompson S. Brown, on Major-General Macomb’s orders; submitted to Washington on January 22, 1835.
Note: how Brown has suggested the erection of a pair of hot-shot furnaces, directly at the foot of each of Moultrie’s two seaside ramps, plus several other defensive enhancements.
Source: U.S. National Archives, Record Group 77 (Office of the Chief of Engineers), Cartographic Branch, College Park, Maryland, Drawer 65, Sheet 10.
1842 - Reconstructed Fort by Capt. Alexander Bowman
Plan and various diagrams of Fort Moultrie, after its major reconstruction during 1839-1842 by Capt. Alexander H. Bowman. Having successfully built a more permanent and effective shoreline breakwater founded on a porous “grillage” design, Bowman was able to hand the refurbished fort over to the 3rd U.S. Artillery Regiment by June 1842, submitting this — his final report — to Washington more than three years later, in mid-October 1845.
Note: how this map only includes a single flight of stairs in front of the Officers’ Quarters, not the two additional staircases subsequently added to its enlisted men’s barracks, or any other enhancements made in 1843 in the wake of yet another damaging hurricane.
Source: U.S. National Archives, Record Group 77 (Office of the Chief of Engineers), Cartographic Branch, College Park, Maryland, Drawer 65, Sheet 14.
1849 (Late January) - Woodcut by Benson Lossing
Woodcut depicting the Southeast Angle of Fort Moultrie, based upon a sketch made during Benson J. Lossing’s visit to Sullivan’s Island on January 29, 1849. The half-dozen guns of the fort’s Maffitt Channel Battery can be seen tilted downward atop Moultrie’s rampart, with a portion of the Officers’ Quarters, flagstaff, and two West Barrack chimneys protruding beyond them.
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Note: how in his published book, Lossing described Moultrie as “not a large, but a well-constructed fortification,” and added regarding this particular perspective view:
The small building toward the left marks the center of the old Palmetto Fort. In the distance is seen Fort Sumter, and in the extreme distance, close by the angle of the fort, is seen the village upon the site of old Fort Johnson.
Source: This engraving was originally included as a small inset on Page 551 of the second volume of Lossing’s “Pictorial Field-Book of the Revolution, or Illustrations by Pen and Pencil of the History, Biography, Scenery, Relics, and Traditions of the War for Independence”, published in New York City by Harper Brothers in 1852
1849 (April-May) – Detail from Prof. Alexander D. Bache’s Original North-Harbor Survey
Finely-detailed diagram of Fort Moultrie, its Reservation, jetty and immediate civilian surroundings, taken from one of the original hand-drawn drafts of the “North Side of Charleston Harbor” as surveyed in April and May 1849 under the supervision of Prof. Alexander D. Bache by his assistant, Samuel A. Gilbert; north is toward upper right. Although a brilliant student who had graduated first in his class from West Point in 1825, Bache had resigned his military commission in the U.S. Corps of Engineers only three years afterward, in order to accept an appointment as Professor of Natural Philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania. And as of 1843, he had furthermore become the second Superintendent of the U.S. Coast Survey.
Note: how a handwritten notation on this original map, indicates that the “additions in red” of a new breakwater, jetty, tram-line, and buildings on Sullivan’s Island, were made “by W. S. Edwards in 1858.”
Source: this hand-drawn draft of Bache’s original survey of the north shore of Charleston Harbor, is today preserved in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s “Historic Coast & Geodetic Survey (C&GS) Collection”, with Image Identification Number cgs05066 or T00262-00-1849.
1849 - Detail Based Upon Prof. A. D. Bache’s Original Trigonometrical Survey
Close-up detail showing Fort Moultrie, its Reservation, and Moultrieville at the western end of Sullivan’s Island, taken from a much larger map — reworked and reissued in 1867 — of “Charleston Harbor and its Approaches from a Trigonometrical Survey” originally conducted under the direction of A. D. Bache, Superintendent of the Survey of the Coast of the United States, with the assistance of C. O. Boutelle, S. A. Gilbert, and others. Although this particular version of Bache’s earlier map was not published until after the Civil War had ended, a notation indicates that it still included topographical features dating back as far as 1849.
Note: the accurate outlines of the fort, its Reservation, and the unpaved streets of Moultrieville, as well as the lone beacon standing far to their east, which would be replaced during the 1850s by an aligned pair of beacons erected immediately beside the fort itself.
Source: copies of the 1867 version are today held by the Central Library of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), plus numerous other institutions.
1853-1855 - Barrack-Room Assignments
Two undated plans of room allocations in the upper and lower floors, or “tiers” of Fort Moultrie, most likely assigned during 1853-1855, as the names “Capt. Seymour” and “Lt. Slocum” are both given. The former had served as art instructor at West Point until 1853, while 2nd Lt. Henry W. Slocum reached Moultrie from Florida in December of that same year, receiving a furlough shortly thereafter to return to his native New York and wed his fiancé Clara on February 9, 1854. Resuming garrison duty at Moultrie, Slocum resigned his commission eleven days after the death of his infant daughter Caroline at Charleston on October 20, 1856, taking his wife home to instead begin practicing law in Syracuse, N.Y. He later commanded a Union corps in Sherman’s “march to the sea.”
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Note: how many of peacetime Moultrie’s rooms were deemed “not assignable” or left vacant because of their small size, lack of a fireplace, etc.
Source: U.S. National Archives.
1853-1855 - Assigned Reservation Quarters
Plan of the building-layout in the U.S. Army compound behind Moultrie, commonly called the Reservation, ca. 1853-1855. It included storerooms, a smithy, and the hospital. The fort itself was to the right of this diagram, on the far side of the intervening street, while the Cove and its jetty lay off to this map’s left.
Note: the number of cabins designated for “laundresses,” often the common-law wives of the garrison’s soldiers.
Source: U.S. National Archives.
1855 - Engraved Four-Dollar Banknote, by Evans & Cogswell
Currency-note worth four dollars, issued by the Bank of the State of South Carolina on May 4, 1855, over the signatures of its cashier D. L. DeSaussure and president Charles J. Shannon. [The man portrayed at lower left is Judge Charles J. Colcock, former President of this Bank, until his death in 1839.] Identical bills would be reissued by this institution, both prior to and throughout the ensuing Civil War years, which featured this same lithographic view of peacetime Fort Moultrie.
The engraving itself had originally been created by the Charlestonian printers Benjamin F. Evans and Harvey Cogswell, showing the fort’s Southeast Angle and groups of civilians strolling along the adjacent sandy shoreline of Sullivan’s Island.
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This engraving had originally been created by the Charlestonian printers Benjamin F. Evans and Harvey Cogswell, showing the fort’s Southeast Angle and groups of civilians strolling along the adjacent sandy shoreline.
Note: the gun pent-covers or pent-houses which can faintly be seen, placed over the peacetime fort’s seldom-used cannon, as well as the buildings visibly protruding above its low ramparts in the open U.S. Army compound to its rear, commonly called the Reservation.
Source: originals of these assorted bills are held by the South Carolina Department of Archives and History, plus numerous private numismatic collections.
1856 - Detail from A. D. Bache’s Trigonometrical Survey-Map
Close-up detail showing Fort Moultrie, its adjacent U.S. Army Reservation, and surrounding town of Moultrieville on Sullivan’s Island, taken from a much larger map of “Charleston Harbor and its Approaches from a Trigonometrical Survey under the direction of A. D. Bache, Superintendent of the Survey of the Coast of the United States”, conducted with the assistance of C. O. Boutelle, S. A. Gilbert, and John N. Maffitt, and published in 1856.
Note: the accurate depiction of the fort, its Guardhouse and barracks, as well as the buildings on the Reservation, the positioning of the North and South Channel Beacons, etc. — although there is no indication of the large and prominent Moultrie House Hotel, which had been erected six years previously, suggesting that the fort’s surroundings recorded on this map might still reflect details from the 1849 survey.
Source: copies of this entire map are today held by the Harvard University Library, plus numerous other institutions.
1858 - Drawing of Sullivan’s Island by the US Coast Survey
Detail from a larger panoramic drawing of the approaches into Charleston Harbor as seen from out at sea, which included the relative positions of numerous navigational beacons and other landmarks on Sullivan’s Island — among other stretches of coastline — in 1858.
Note: that this supplementary illustration for a U.S. Coast Guard nautical chart, apparently also served as the model for the crude depiction of Fort Moultrie and its shoreline published by Leslie’s two years later.
Source: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s “Historic Coast & Geodetic Survey Collection”, National Archives and Records Administration image id-number cgs05160.
1860 (ca. July) - “Five Indians” Palmettos Photo by Osborn & Durbec
Peacetime photograph of a distinctive cluster of five palmetto trees, commonly known as the “Five Indians” on antebellum Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina, which stood amid the summer homes and villas of that 19th-Century seaside resort. Fort Moultrie lay just out of sight beyond the buildings at left.
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In October 1860, the Charleston Mercury newspaper reported how “for the past four months” the photographers James M. Osborn and Frederick E. Durbec had “been steadily engaged in obtaining the most accurate stereoscopic views of places in and around Charleston,” including this and the next few scenes on Sullivan’s Island.
Note: how the sign atop the distant rooftop reads “Family Grocery” store, as well as the wooden tracks for a horse-drawn trolley running down the center of the sandy street.
Source: Original negative lost; a surviving print appears on Page 53 of Volume 15 of Thomas Butler Gunn’s Diaries, held by the Missouri History Museum, and other copies exist in public institutions such as the Library of Congress (LC-DIG-stereo-1s03928), as well as in private collections.
1860 (ca. July) - Palmettos on Sullivan’s Island Photo by Osborn & Durbec
Close-up view of some other palmetto trees, these standing amid the wooden summer homes and sandy gardens at an undisclosed spot on Sullivan’s Island, part of the same series of “most accurate stereoscopic views of places in and around Charleston” taken during the summer of 1860 by Osborn and Durbec.
Note: the sturdy shutters and wind-worn appearance of this wooden house, indicative of being exposed year-round to ocean breezes and direct sunlight.
Source: Original negative lost; one surviving print appears on Page 30 in Volume 3 of James E. Taylor’s scrapbooks held by the Huntington Library, another on Page 101 of Volume 15 of Thomas Butlers Gunn’s Diaries held by the Missouri History Museum, while a very few other copies exist in public institutions or private collections.
1860 (ca. August) – Initial Parade-Ground Photo by Osborn & Durbec
As part of these efforts to record “the most accurate stereoscopic views of places in and around Charleston” during the summer of 1860, the photographer James M. Osborn visited Fort Moultrie — whose dawn flag-ritual was obligingly recreated for him, even though this image’s shadows would suggest that it was actually taken around noon (possibly staged thanks to the participation of Capt. Abner Doubleday, senior officer resident within the fort). Two soldiers and two officers can be faintly discerned recreating this ceremony, presumably at its usual spot at the top of the Main Stairs — although since the flapping 33-star flag has been partly cut off at left as a result, it seems that a second scene was subsequently staged, as can be seen in the next entry here below.
Note: the three 32-pounder guns mounted on front-pintle barbette-carriages standing directly behind the four soldiers, as well as the three center-pintle mounted 8-inch Columbiads emplaced farther off to their right, at Moultrie’s Southwest Angle.
Source: Original negative lost, while prints of this unsatisfactory view also remain very rare today, one of its few surviving stereoscopic cards being held by the Library of Congress with call number LC-DIG-stereo-1s03941.
1860 (ca. August) – Better Parade-Ground Photo by Osborn & Durbec
A second flag-raising ceremony staged at antebellum Moultrie, its participants having shifted over to the right from its Main Stairs so as to be re-photographed by the visiting James M. Osborn. Two soldiers in forage caps can be seen standing at attention, the one at left grasping the tail of the extended and gently flapping 33-star flag, while an officer — believed to be Capt. Abner Doubleday, later of baseball fame — and a sergeant-major in Hardee hats draw at its lines.
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A civilian in a top-hat is furthermore posing behind them, atop one of the 32-pounder barbette-carriages. The shadows would seem to suggest that this particular picture was snapped sometime around 2:00 p.m. on a hazy afternoon.
Note: the tidy Parade Ground and four-and-a-half-year old hot-shot furnace at center, so long unused that its aperture had been bricked up.
Source: Original negative lost; prints of this more widely-circulated view are today held by numerous public institutions and private collections.
1860 (ca. August) - Columbiads Photo by Osborn & Durbec
Although undated, this photograph was almost certainly taken during the same August 1860 visit to Fort Moultrie by Osborn and Durbec, given the still-shiny finish and orderly arrangement of these 8-inch Columbiads, ten of which had been divided equally between its Southwest and Southeast Angles only ten months previously. The English-born correspondent Thomas Butler Gunn would record on page 74 of Volume 14 of his personal diaries, how during their stay as observers in Charleston, he and his colleague Will Waud had gone on January 18, 1861 “to King Street together, to a photographer’s or two,” and purchased this particular picture along with several others. Osborn and Durbec’s gallery was at that date located at 223 King Street.
Note: the levers resting atop each Columbiad’s carriage-runner, ready to be thrust into the wheel-holes so as to move and adjust each gun’s aim, plus the protective vent-covers perched over the touch-holes to help keep them clear and dry.
Source: Original negative lost; stereoscopic prints are today held in various historical collections, such as the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History in New York City, with call number GLC04509.22. This photograph was also duplicated as an engraving entitled “The Great Cannon in Fort Moultrie—From a Sketch by Our Special Artist Now in Charleston,” and published in the February 2, 1861 edition of Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper.
1860 (ca. August) – Fort Moultrie, plus Sumter Insert by Osborn & Durbec
A third version of Osborn and Durbec’s August 1860 photograph of the flag-raising ceremony at peacetime Moultrie, this time including an enlarged insert of distant Fort Sumter — shown larger and closer than in reality, presumably so as to illustrate its orientation from Moultrie, for customers unfamiliar with its true position, yet interested in this subject as secessionist tensions mounted.
Note: the much darker sky and shoreline in the upper right-hand corner of this photograph, part of the enlarged insert of Fort Sumter.
Source: Original negative lost; prints held by various public institutions and private collections.
1860 (September) - Fort Moultrie Diagram by Dr. Wylie Crawford
“Sectional view of Fort Moultrie,” included in Dr. Samuel Wylie Crawford’s account of his service as an Army surgeon at this beleaguered Federal outpost from September 7th through December 26, 1860, prior to the evacuation of its entire garrison across the harbor into much larger Fort Sumter. Despite the simplicity of this squared-off diagram, Moultrie’s details are nonetheless quite accurately rendered.
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Note: the intricate detail provided by Crawford’s personal recollections of the fort’s hedge-lined and grassy inner Parade-ground, as well as the exact layout of this compound’s brick-paved pathways.
Source: Original published on page 63 of Maj.-Gen. Samuel Wylie Crawford’s book “The Genesis of the Civil War: The Story of Sumter, 1860-1861” (New York: Charles L. Webster & Company, 1887), which is widely available online from numerous libraries and through other institutions, as well as in modern republications which can be purchased through Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
1860 (Autumn) - Peacetime Fort Moultrie View, Published by Harper’s Weekly
Engraving of antebellum Fort Moultrie as it appeared in 1860, apparently based upon a sketch or photograph taken from atop the nearby Front-Range harbor beacon, which stood 45 feet high and thus afforded a partial glimpse down into the fort’s interior. Moultrie’s southern rampart and barracks are shown darkening with shadows, as the sun had already dipped into mid-afternoon. The fashionable civilians depicted in the foreground, were typical of the well-to-do summertime residents and visitors to Sullivan’s Island, who were allowed to freely stroll the fort’s ramparts so as to enjoy the view and refreshing sea-breezes. Some visitors can even be discerned ascending and crossing over a small wooden foot-bridge, which connected Moultrie’s outer scarp-wall to an adjacent sand-dune.
Note: how most of the undermanned fort’s guns stand enclosed within wooden pent-covers, with their tompions inserted, as long-term preservation against the elements.
Source: Published on Page 724 of the November 17, 1860 edition of “Harper’s Weekly” (Volume IV, Number 203); special handed-tinted off-prints were also sold separately. Numerous originals held today by public institutions and in private collections.
1860 (Autumn) - Peacetime Fort Moultrie View, Published by Leslie’s
Wood engraving of Moultrie’s southern rampart, barracks, and inner parade-ground as seen from atop the nearby harbor-beacon, with the City of Charleston hazily visible in the far distance. Although originally published in the January 5, 1861 issue of Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper in New York City — by which date Fort Moultrie had already undergone significant alterations, and been strengthened through erection of additional defenses by its beleaguered Federal garrison, before being abandoned to South Carolinian forces — this peaceful scene depicts the antebellum fort as it had appeared prior to the Secession Crisis and threat of war.
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Note: the civilian gentleman strolling Moultrie’s rampart unconcernedly under a parasol, while two women gaze out to sea in the company of a waiting officer — one of these ladies seated comfortably atop the muzzle of a cannon-barrel. All the fort’s artillery have their tompions inserted, and only a half-dozen or so of these pieces are not further encased in wooden gun-covers, as protection against the elements. The large sand-dune so prominently featured in Harper’s Weekly contemporaneous engraving [see preceding entry], is not shown here at all. Instead, two fishermen can be discerned on the beach at left, returning from the Grillage — the rocky shore-side breakwater erected twenty years previously by the U.S. military engineer, Captain Alexander H. Bowman, a spot still well-known today as abounding in flounder, sheephead, and feeding porpoises.
Source: Published atop Page 104 of the January 5, 1861 issue of “Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper” (Volume XI, Number 267); special handed-tinted off-prints were also sold separately. Numerous originals held today by public institutions and in private collections.
1860 (late November) - Sullivan’s Island Panorama by Hugo Bosse
Wood engraving showing the “Position of Fort Moultrie on Sullivan’s Island … from a sketch by Hugo Bosse,” reputedly drawn a few days after Maj. Robert Anderson had assumed command over its beleaguered Federal garrison on November 21, 1860. This newspaper insert offers a unique perspective, looking across the summer homes on Sullivan’s Island out of the southeast, directly toward the low silhouette of the fort itself at center, with the City of Charleston visible several miles beyond it in the far distance.
Note: that this admittedly sketchy bird’s-eye view was not accurate in every detail, the Front Range harbor-beacon standing to the left of Moultrie being entirely omitted, for example, while the cluster of palmettos known as the “Five Indians” has been rather indifferently rendered and placed.
Source: Published atop Pages 120-121 of the December 29, 1860 edition of the New York Illustrated News, copies being held today by such public institutions as the Chicago Historical Society; the Huntington Library; the Helen Ganser Library at Millersville University in Pennsylvania; the Newberry Library; the New York Public Library; the South Caroliniana Library; Trinity College at Hartford, Connecticut; and the University of Chicago, as well as in numerous private collections
1860 (early December) - Sullivan’s Island Shoreline by Leslie’s
Crude, hand-tinted engraving of Fort Moultrie and the shoreline of Sullivan’s Island, as seen from aboard a vessel in Maffitt’s Channel, printed by Frank Leslie’s weekly newspaper and issued in New York City on December 1, 1860, based upon “sketches by our special artist.”
Note: the crudity and many inaccuracies of this depiction, little attempt having been made to render accurate representations of such well-known landmarks as the Moultrie House Hotel at right.
Source: Original woodcut engraving published on the cover of the December 1, 1860 edition of “Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper” (Volume XI, Number 262), as well as being issued separately as a hand-tinted off-print — copies of both versions being held today in numerous public and private historical collections, such as the Charleston Museum Digital Collection with call number 2010.9.17.
1860 (mid-December) - Sketches of Beleaguered Fort Moultrie in Harper’s Weekly
“Sketches of Fort Moultrie by an officer of Major Anderson’s Command,” published in the January 12, 1861 edition of Harper’s Weekly. These five illustrations constitute the only visual representation of the defensive measures which were adopted by Moultrie’s besieged Federal garrison, prior to their stealthy evacuation in favor of the greater safety afforded by Fort Sumter on the night of December 26, 1860, in order to avoid any possible take-over by South Carolinian forces.
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Note: the gun pent-covers being used as sentry-boxes in the upper left-hand corner of this multi-panel print, as well as an additional defensive screen atop the Guardhouse curtain at upper-right; plus the sheer size of the dig needed to produce the wet ditch and glacis around the eastern and southern faces of the fort, as can be seen in the lower-left and lower-right panels; etc.
Source: Copies of this print can be found on Page 24 of the January 12, 1861 edition of Harper’s Weekly (Volume V, Number 211), available through numerous university and municipal libraries. Special hand-tinted off-prints were also produced and sold separately in 1861, which today can be found in both public and private collections.
1860 (December 26) - Evacuation of Fort Moultrie, As Envisioned by Will Waud
Imagined scene of the evacuation of Fort Moultrie by Anderson’s two U.S. Artillery companies on the evening of December 26, 1860, as depicted more than three weeks later in Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper — from a sketch forwarded by the “special artist” which its publisher had subsequently dispatched to report from Charleston, William Waud.
However, Waud’s English colleague Thomas Butler Gunn would note on Page 28 of Volume 14 of his personal Diaries, how Waud did not actually reach Charleston until ten days after this particular event, so of course did not personally witness the evacuation. And in fact, all historical accounts coincide on that Moultrie’s Federal garrison had not exited their fort by descending the peacetime staircase on its western rampart — as illustrated here by Waud — but rather had simply marched out of its main Guardhouse gates on the north side, which were then shut behind them by the small sapper-party which was to remain inside overnight to complete various acts of sabotage. Capt. Abner Doubleday, for example, would record fifteen years later on Pages 64-65 of his 1876 Reminiscences how:
Everything being in readiness, we passed out of the main gates, and silently made our way for about a quarter of a mile to a spot where the boats were hidden behind an irregular pile of rocks, which originally formed part of the sea-wall. There was not a single human being in sight as we marched to the rendezvous, and we had the extraordinary good luck to be wholly unobserved.
Note: that the peacetime staircase pictured by Waud had in all likelihood been removed during the outnumbered Federal garrison’s efforts to strengthen their defenses, and only restored to the fort’s western rampart once South Carolinian forces had occupied Moultrie — which is how Waud saw and recorded its appearance in January 1861.
Source: Original woodcut published across the top of Pages 136-137 of the January 19, 1861 edition of “Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper” (Volume XI, Number 269), copies of which can be found preserved in numerous public and private collections. Hand-tinted off-prints of this engraving were also run off in 1861 to be sold separately, very few of which survive today.
1860 (December 27) - Spiking of Moultrie’s Guns, As Depicted in Leslie’s
This fanciful woodcut-engraving was originally published on the title-page of the January 5, 1861 edition of Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper (Volume XI, Number 267) and also republished decades after the war, above a caption which read: “Spiking the Guns of Fort Moultrie by Major Anderson, Before its Evacuation, December 26th, 1860” — although in fact, this act of sabotage had not been carried out until early that following morning, December 27th, after Anderson’s departure with the bulk of his force, by a small sapper-party left behind in the fort under the direction of Captain John G. Foster.
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Note: that unlike the sixteen figures represented here, busily hammering nails into touch-holes while others gather wood and flammables to set the wooden gun-carriages ablaze, Foster only had four noncoms and seven gunners with him to complete this and many other tasks.
Source: In addition to its original publication as the title-page of the January 5, 1861 edition of “Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper” (Volume XI, Number 267), this engraving was also reprinted three decades afterward in “Scenes and Portraits of the Civil War: The Most Important Events of the Conflict Between the States, Graphically Pictured” (New York: Mrs. Frank Leslie, 1894), as well as on page 55 of “Frank Leslie’s Illustrated History of the Civil War” (New York: Mrs. Frank Leslie, 1895).
1860 (December 27) - Felling Fort Moultrie’s Flagstaff, As Reported in Leslie’s
Another imagined scene, this one representing the “Cutting down [of] the U.S. flagstaff, under the direction of Major Anderson at Fort Moultrie, Charleston Harbor, S.C., on Christmas Night, 1860.” Although the Major himself is depicted as the officer wearing a kepi, sheathed sword, and epaulettes at the lower right-hand corner of this engraving, Moultrie’s flagpole was in reality not cut down until the day after he had evacuated the fort with its main garrison. Instead, this work was done by the engineer Capt. John G. Foster early on the morning of December 27, 1860 — who moreover felled the flagstaff in the opposite direction to that shown here, toppling it outward over the southern parapet so as to crack or “spring” its length of wood, thus rendering it unusable for reinstallation by the South Carolinian forces.
Note: also that while the fort’s West Barracks behind the toiling artillerymen are accurately rendered, the flagstaff itself stood atop the terreplein above Moultrie’s main flight of stairs — not lower down at its Parade-Ground level, as depicted here.
Source: The original woodcut was featured on page 129 of the January 19, 1861 edition of “Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper” (Volume XI, Number 269), which can be found today in various university and public libraries, as well as in private collections.
1860 (December 27) - Moultrie’s Gun-Carriages Ablaze by Leslie’s
Yet another imaginary scene, showing all of Moultrie’s wooden artillery-carriages ablaze and smoking heavily on the morning of December 27, 1860, after being set alight by the departing sapper-party under the command of engineer Capt. John G. Foster. However, the engravers in New York City were not to know that only eleven guns around the fort’s Southwest Angle which bore directly upon distant Fort Sumter, had been spiked and their carriages set on fire — not the entire armament all around Moultrie’s other battlements, as erroneously depicted here.
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Note: that this wood-engraving has furthermore been based upon a peaceful antebellum illustration published six weeks earlier in Harper’s [see “Autumn 1860” above], so that it shows the flagstaff still standing instead of having been cut down, and does not include the many defensive enhancements which had been erected atop its ramparts, nor the deep ditch dug around its outer perimeter during the months-long isolation of its beleaguered Federal garrison.
Source: Woodcut engraving originally featured on page 105 of the January 5, 1861 edition of “Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper” (Volume XI, Number 267), available today through many university and public libraries, as well as in private collections.
1860 (December 27) - Moultrie’s Gun-Carriages Ablaze, by l’Illustration
Fanciful hand-tinted engraving in the French journal l’Illustration, of Moultrie’s artillery-carriages ablaze on the morning of December 27, 1860 — which although attributed to a croquis or “sketch” by one “M. W.S.”, is clearly derived from the woodcut originally published in the January 5, 1861 edition of Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper in New York (see previous entry).Virtually all of the same errors regarding Moultrie’s appearance are included in this copied French version.
Note: that this hand-tinted engraving has further been falsely embellished by the inclusion of a cheering crowd of South Carolinian onlookers at lower left, while the departing Federal garrison are using a pack-mule, neither of which details are correct.
Source: Wooden engraving published in Volume 37 of “l’Illustration, journal universel” of Paris, with hand-tinted off-prints sold separately.
1860 (December 27) – Sabotaging Fort Moultrie’s Guns, by Le Monde Illustré
An even more embellished and inaccurate engraving, recreated by Dumont and Riou for publication in the French journal Le Monde Illustré, supposedly depicting the crippling of Moultrie’s artillery by its departing Federal garrison on the morning of December 27, 1860. Like other copied versions, this work is also clearly derived from the woodcut originally published in the January 5, 1861 edition of Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper in New York (see entry above), repeating all of its same errors regarding Moultrie’s appearance — plus even adding in a few more, such as showing only three guns emplaced along the fort’s Main Channel battery, ten short of the correct number of thirteen heavy pieces.
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Note: that an exaggerated total of 36 artillerymen — instead of the mere twelve soldiers who were present in reality — are shown spiking Moultrie’s guns, mostly along its immediate Southeast Angle, whose weapons were never touched that day. The flagstaff is shown cut in half and dangling downward, instead of toppled over the southern rampart at left. Furthermore, the civilian homes beyond the fort’s barracks are falsely shown erupting in flames as well, instead of only the eleven wooden barbette-carriages located at the Southwest Angle.
Source: Woodcut-engraving originally published in Paris on Page 64 of the January 27, 1861 edition of “Le Monde Illustré” (Volume 8, Number 198), which today can be consulted online through Gallica: Bibliothèque nationale de France.
1860 (December 27) - Dismounted Southwest Angle Guns by Harper’s Weekly
Crude woodcut depicting the guns lining Moultrie’s Southwest Angle — those which could most easily be fired at Fort Sumter — lying dismounted amid the charred remnants of their burnt barbette-carriages, after these had been torched by a detachment of the departing Federal garrison under Capt. John G. Foster. This particular engraving was based upon an eyewitness sketch “drawn by an officer” of Major Anderson’s command — possibly the surgeon Capt. Samuel Wylie Crawford, who himself participated in this act of sabotage.
Note: the few loose cannonballs strewn about on Moultrie’s overgrown terreplein, as well as the antebellum sentry-box standing at right, with a shovel propped up against it.
Source: Original woodcut engraving printed atop page 53 of the January 26, 1861 edition of “Harper’s Weekly” (Volume V, Number 213), available in many university and public libraries, as well as in private collections.
1861 (January 1) - Sketch of Fort Moultrie’s Weaknesses by James Simons
Diagram of recently-occupied Fort Moultrie, as sketched by Brig. Gen. James Simons of the 4th South Carolina Militia Brigade to accompany his report of January 1, 1861 to Governor Francis Pickens, pessimistically assessing the prospects of holding Moultrie while investing Sumter.
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Note: how this diagram has been hastily drawn and contains several minor errors, yet also includes the little-known detail of a flight of stairs between the Officers’ Quarters and North Barracks.
Source: Accompaniment to a six-page letter later published in the book The Record of Fort Sumter (Columbia, S. C., 1862), Pages 14-17; original document currently held by Boston Rare Maps.
1861 (January 9) – SE Battery Firing on the Star of the West, by Harper’s Weekly
Although erroneously captioned as “Battery at Fort Moultrie, bearing on Fort Sumter,” this crude woodcut actually depicts the Columbiads at Moultrie’s Southeast rather than its Southwest Angle. As the guns on this particular face did not bear on Sumter, their carriages had not been burnt upon the Federal garrison’s recent withdrawal, so that they are shown here being fired against the distant relief-steamer Star of the West on the morning of January 9, 1861. This vessel was in fact far out of range, but Maj. Roswell S. Ripley nonetheless allowed his eager young gunners to fire off a few salvoes.
Note: the traverses of sand-filled barrels and sandbags which had been erected by Captain Foster at the top of the southeast ramp prior to the Union garrison’s evacuation, as protection against any potential sniper-fire. The small replacement flagstaff raised by the South Carolinian garrison can be seen flying a Palmetto flag from the terre-plein at left, while the beacon-tower is plainly visible beyond.
Source: Woodcut engraving printed in the middle of page 53 of the January 26, 1861 edition of “Harper’s Weekly” (Volume V, Number 213), copies being preserved today in numerous university and municipal libraries, as well as in private collections.
1861 (early January) - South Carolina Militia Officers’ Group-Photo
Impromptu group-portrait of various South Carolinian officers assembled in front of a shuttered, clapboard building on sandy Sullivan’s Island, presumably sometime early in 1861, as all are still wearing their blue-colored antebellum militia uniforms. The third figure from left has been identified as Wilmot G. DeSaussure, the young Lieutenant-Colonel who first reached evacuated Fort Moultrie on the evening of December 27, 1860.
Note: that at least five of these officers are visibly wearing crossed-gun badges on their kepis, representative of an artillery company.
Source: Original negative lost; print reproduced from page 103 of Volume 1 of “The Photographic History of the Civil War” (New York: The Review of Reviews Co., 1911), edited by Francis T. Miller and Robert S. Lanier.
1861 (January 21) - Diagram of Ft. Moultrie’s Gun-Dispositions by Capt. John Foster
Reproduction of a diagram sketched by the U.S. engineer Capt. John G. Foster, of the changes initiated by Moultrie’s South Carolinian occupiers once this fort’s Federal garrison had shifted across the harbor into Sumter — submitted on January 21, 1861, as an accompaniment to Foster’s general report to his Corps of Engineers’ superiors in Washington, on the ongoing Confederate military preparations for an investment and possible attack against the continued Federal presence in Charleston Harbor.
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In this diagram, Foster showed the original distribution of Fort Moultrie’s artillery upon the withdrawal of its Union garrison four weeks previously, as well as the approximate placement of two new large traverses along its Main Channel battery, shown by hash-marked boxes.
Note: that because of his distant view of Moultrie, Foster had erroneously believed that these new traverses were installed a little farther west than they actually were, the 32-pounders at Gun Positions 23 and 24 having been removed so as to accommodate the largest and foremost of these additions. He himself admitted that his “sketch shows pretty nearly the present arrangement of the fronts, that I can see.”
Source: Original copied engraving published in “The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies” (Washington, 1880), Series I, Volume 1, Page 146.
1861 (January 25) - Steamer Columbia Aground, Sketched by Will Waud
Sketch by William Waud of Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, depicting the steamer “Columbia ashore on Sullivan’s Island,” after having run aground while attempting to exit Charleston Harbor via Maffitt’s Channel on the morning of Friday, January 25, 1861. One of this vessel’s passengers was John De Forest, who would write an interesting account of his subsequent visit to Fort Moultrie, after everyone aboard the steamer had been obliged to disembark next day and walk back toward the Moultrieville ferry-terminal. Waud sketched this scene of the still-stranded vessel on Sunday, January 27, 1861, as described in Volume 17 of Thomas Butler Gunn’s personal diaries.
Note: the depiction of an undamaged Fort Sumter at left, as well as the low silhouette of Fort Moultrie at right. The original sketch was executed in pencil on olive-colored paper, with a few highlights added in watercolors.
Source: The original sketch is today held in the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C., reproduction number LC-DIG-ppmsca-21366, although erroneously attributed to Will Waud’s older brother Alfred R. Waud and dated January 13, 1863. An engraved version was published in the February 16, 1861 issue of Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, an edition which can be found in numerous public and private historical collections such as the Charleston Museum Digital Collection, call number AZ 2198a, etc.
1861 (January 27) - Sketch of Secessionist-Occupied Fort Moultrie by Thomas Butler Gunn
The English-born correspondent Thomas Butler Gunn, representing himself as a reporter for the Illustrated London News (although he was also secretly filing stories with the New York Tribune and New York Evening Post), gained admission into occupied Fort Moultrie on January 27, 1861 — unlike his friend and colleague William Waud, who was widely known throughout Charleston as being employed by the anti-secessionist Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper. Gunn subsequently drew a crude, error-filled sketch of Moultrie’s interior, which he dispatched to London to be featured in the March 2, 1861 edition of the Illustrated London News.
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Note: how Gunn’s poor depiction includes a complete misidentification of the fort’s hot-shot furnace in the foreground, as a small building — with soldiers even apparently about to enter into its “door” — while the ramp immediately behind this structure soars up impossibly beyond the level of Moultrie’s Southwest Angle, rather than realistically leveling off at its terreplein.
Source: Original woodcut published at the bottom of Page 194 of the March 2, 1861 issue of the Illustrated London News (Volume 38, Number 1077); a sample is today preserved on Page 216 of Volume 17 of Gunn’s personal diaries, and includes his handwritten annotation “T. B. G. del.” for “Thomas Butler Gunn delineavit” — the Latin expression meaning “drawn by”. Other unannotated copies of this publication are held by libraries such as at Durham University, Emory University, etc., as well as in many private collections
1861 (January 27) - Watercolor Copy of Gunn’s Original by Vizetelly
Crude watercolor of secessionist-occupied Fort Moultrie, dated “1861” and curiously signed at lower left by one “A. Vizetelly” (not “F.” for Frank Vizetelly, the man who actually visited South Carolina as a war-correspondent) — yet most likely copied from a version previously submitted to the Illustrated London News by another of its correspondents, Thomas Butler Gunn, to be featured on page 194 of the March 2, 1861, edition of that English weekly [see preceding entry]. The red Palmetto Flag had been particularly singled out in that issue’s caption, with the words: “The Secession Flag Flying.”
Note: the identical repetition of such glaring errors as mistaking the hot-shot furnace in the foreground for a small building, complete with its own doorway, or the ramp behind — which here also incorrectly soars well past the rampart’s terreplein level.
Source:Watercolor held by the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C., reproduction number LC-DIG-ppmsca-22981.
1861 (February 13) - Occupied Fort Moultrie as Seen from Sumter, by Capt. Truman Seymour
Brevet Capt. Truman Seymour not only commanded Company H of the 1st U.S. Artillery Regiment within beleaguered Fort Sumter, but he had also taught as Assistant Professor of Drawing at West Point from 1850-1853.
Therefore, after studying Moultrie from a mile away “through a spy-glass” set atop Sumter’s ramparts, he was able to produce this beautifully-detailed sketch of the enhancements being made to that evacuated fort by its new Confederate occupiers, which Maj. Robert Anderson then forwarded (along with a couple of Seymour’s other sketches) to the U.S. Army’s Adjutant-General in Washington on February 13, 1861, believing that the War Department “would be interested in them.”
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Note: the new merlons which had been added along Moultrie’s Southwest Angle and western battlements, constructed out of sandbags set within forms or “cribs” made from interlocking palmetto logs.
Source: This sketch was not published until 1895, when it finally appeared as the uppermost illustration of Plate I in Volume One of the “Official Military Atlas of the Civil War” or “War of the Rebellion Atlas,” an illustrated companion to the “Official Records of the American Civil War.”
1861 (April 17) - Damage at North End of West Barracks, by James M. Osborn
Another photograph taken from atop Moultrie’s northern parapet, so as to record the visible impact-marks left on its West Barracks from Fort Sumter’s counter-fire. Almost all the slate shingles around this building’s chimney have slid off its roof, presumably as a result of a round or rounds striking near the peak. Three more impact-marks are also clearly visible on the thick stuccoed walls, one of which has pierced entirely through the building so as to punch out a circle-hole of bricks at its rear. Laborers pause below, in the act of cleaning up strewn debris.
Note: how the merlons erected along Moultrie’s Southwest Angle have been cropped out of the upper right-hand corner of this photograph, leaving only the outline of a gun, so as to instead feature a clearer view of Fort Sumter in the distance (which would otherwise have been obscured by the bulk of the merlons). The edge of the brick Traverse in front of the Magazine entrance, can be glimpsed at lower right, while a “ghost” image of stacked sandbags and shingles has been inadvertently superimposed over the North Barracks’ corner at left.
Source: The original glass-negative is lost, but a 4” x 2.4” carte-de-visite print of this rare view is today held as part of “Osborn’s Gallery” by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History in New York City, with the call-number GLC04509.11, as well as existing in a few private collections.
1861 (Late April) – Vacated Dahlgren Battery, West of Fort Moultrie
Image by an unattributed photographer (possibly James M. Osborn) featured on a mauve-colored stereographic card measuring 3.1 inches in height by 6.7 inches in width, offering a rear-view of the empty “Dahlgren Battery” at the western end of Sullivan’s Island in mid-April 1861, a few days after it had been engaged in the bombardment of Fort Sumter. Shortly before this action commenced, a powerful IX-inch Dahlgren gun had been strategically emplaced at this position, behind the double protection afforded by Moultrieville’s stone breakwater and a sandbagged epaulement, near where the Floating Battery was riding at anchor — both of these Confederate enfilading batteries being jointly commanded by naval Lt. John R. Hamilton.
The very day after Sumter’s surrender, Confederate Gen. W. H. C. Whiting — concerned about a possible U.S. Navy retaliatory strike against Morris Island — had written to Beauregard in Charleston on April 15, 1861, requesting that reinforcements be hastened out to Morris Island, specifically mentioning: “I would like also to have the Dahlgren (used by Hamilton in the late action) immediately, for placing at Light-house Hill (Battery Huger). These movements should be commenced, if decided upon, at once.” Judging from this stereoscopic photograph, it would appear as if the Dahlgren gun had indeed been removed from its position west of Fort Moultrie on Sullivan’s Island shortly thereafter.
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Note: how the Dahlgren’s embedded pintle still remains in place, along with the lumber employed in this heavy gun’s removal. The open doorway in the sandbags at right, presumably led down into a half-buried service magazine, where live ammunition had been prepared for firing. Sumter is visible in the haze, a little more than a mile beyond the stone breakwater protecting Moultrieville’s shoreline.
Source: The only known publicly-accessible copy of this stereoscopic card is helf among the “Civil War and Reconstruction” Collections of the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, with Source Number 55-FF Box 23, Object 3A16879.
1861 (Late April) – Damaged Civilian Dwelling on Sullivan’s Island, Within Sight of Fort Sumter
Picture taken by an unattributed photographer (possibly James M. Osborn) and featured on a light-green stereographic card measuring 3.2 inches in height by 6.7 inches in width, recording the condition of an empty wooden house on Sullivan’s Island — which bears shrapnel-scars from the recent gun-duel sustained against the Federal garrison in distant Fort Sumter, only a few days previously in mid-April 1861.
The photographer has deliberately aligned and framed his shot, so as to include the silhouette of Sumter in its lower right-hand corner, lying more than a mile away across the harbor-waters. Jagged holes in the roof-shingles and wooden siding of this civilian dwelling, must have been caused by the bursting of stray Union shells during the two days of artillery exchanges.
Note: how the wooden structure itself is built on stilts, with an elevated crawl-space underneath so as to avoid any direct contact with the sandy soil, and reduce the dangers from flooding during stormy weather.
Source: The only known publicly-accessible copy of this stereoscopic card is held today held among the “Civil War and Reconstruction” Collections of the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, with Source Number 55-FF Box 23, Object 3A16839.
1861 (ca. October) – Modern Depiction by Don Troiani
Print from an original 1991 painting by the renowned artist Don Troiani, representing an officer of the 1st South Carolina Rifle Regiment — more commonly known as “Orr’s Rifles” in honor of its first commander (and ex-U.S. Speaker of the House), Col. James L. Orr — who is permitting a lady visitor to peer through his telescope from the eastern rampart of Fort Moultrie, looking toward the distant City of Charleston. The fort’s Main Channel battery behind them is accurately rendered, with a pair of barbette-mounted 8-inch Columbiads, although its sandbag merlons and Moultrie’s major interior buildings have all been omitted — which would have still been present during this particular regiment’s deployment on Sullivan’s Island from September 1861 to April 1862.
Note: that this volunteer formation (sometimes derisively called the “Pound Cake Regiment”) is not to be confused with Col. J. Johnston Pettigrew’s earlier 1st Regiment of Rifles, South Carolina Militia, which had been organized in Charleston as of December 1860 and had occupied Fort Moultrie until after the bombardment of Sumter in April 1861, when it was disbanded during a general reorganization of Confederate forces.
Source: Originally issued as a series of 950 prints, signed and numbered by the artist, individual copies of Troiani’s depiction are today available through various outlets such as Amazon and other reputable art dealerships.
1863 (September 8) – Distant View of Moultrie’s Bombardment, by Theodore R. Davis
Hand-tinted offprint from a woodcut-engraving originally published in Harper’s Weekly, based upon an eyewitness sketch done by Theodore R. Davis, depicting the gun-duel fought on the morning of September 8, 1863, between Union Rear Adm. John A. Dahlgren’s squadron of ironclads against the Confederate batteries on Sullivan’s Island, in support of the grounded U.S. monitor Weehawken.
Note: that Davis, who could only observe this action from a distance of more than a mile on Morris Island, includes the faintest glimpse of Fort Moultrie’s flagstaff still flying at the center of his drawing, with the brown bulk of the abandoned Moultrie House Hotel furthermore visible off to its right.
Source: Original published on Page 620 of the Saturday, September 26, 1863 edition of Harper’s Weekly [Volume 7, Number 352], from which offprints were subsequently hand-colored for special sales.
1863 (September 16) - Interior of Fort Moultrie by Conrad Wise Chapman
Small [14.25” x 10.25”] oil-on-board painting entitled “Fort Moultrie Interior,” the first in a series of 31 views recording the siege of Charleston as painted by the 21-year-old Confederate soldier and artist, Conrad Wise Chapman. This scene, sketched on September 16, 1863 from atop the fort’s buried western battlements, captured a broad panoramic view stretching from the derelict Moultrie House Hotel and harbor-beacon at far left, past the Federal blockaders to shell-pocked Fort Sumter in the hazy distance at right. Battery Marion with its distinctive palmettos, can also be seen at lower right, emplaced only a few hundred yards to the west outside of Moultrie.
Note: how Moultrie’s interior buildings had all been entirely removed by this date, and its ramparts lay buried under a thick layer of sand as additional protection against the high-explosive Union shells. Three live oaks still remained miraculously alive in the fort’s compound, though, providing a bit of shade for the tents which appear clustered underneath. The original small service-magazines, inset into Moultrie’s ramparts decades earlier, had by now been expanded and converted into bomb-proof shelters. Chapman would later recall how he had depicted a certain Lieutenant Martin in the foreground, seated astride “a horse belonging to Col. Tabb of the 59th Virginia Regiment.”
Source: Original held by the Museum of the Confederacy, Richmond, Virginia, with Catalog Number: 0985.14.00037w.
1863 (late September) – Distant View of Fort Moultrie, by Otto Enz
Woodcut-engraving of Moultrie and its surroundings, published in the October 31, 1863 issue of Harper’s Weekly — from a sketch drawn by an observer named Otto Enz, who was serving on Morris Island opposite, as an artist on the staff of Union General Gillmore. For this particular panorama, Enz had studied the distant Confederate fort and its shoreline through a telescope set up on “the beach near Fort Wagner” — almost two miles away on the far side of Charleston’s harbor-mouth, amid the Union siege-works. His submission to Harper’s furthermore included the following written report, which was published on Page 695 of this same issue:
The representation of Fort Moultrie shows the effects of the last bombardments by the Ironsides and Monitors. The effect of the shots is visible on the house standing in the centre of the fort [sic, Moultrie’s Guardhouse, actually perched atop of its rear rampart]; also on the outside of the ramparts or banks, where you see men at work to mend the damages. Those square white patches resting on the embankment are piles of sand-bags to protect the gunners, and have been erected since the last fight, giving to the fort a different appearance from what it had three weeks ago.
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Upon signing his sketches, Enz identified himself as a member of an “Independent Battalion, N. Y. V. [New York Volunteers]”, apparently referring to an incomplete regiment of German-American recruits who had been raised in New York City in April 1862 and became known as the Enfants Perdus or “Lost Children,” before being transferred onto Morris Island in August 1863 and disbanded early next year, so as to be absorbed among the 1st New York Engineers, plus 47th and 48th Infantry.
Note: how Moultrie’s Guardhouse was by this date, the only original pre-war building (besides its main Magazine) still left standing inside of its compound, and would soon be leveled by further Union shelling.
Source: Enz’s original sketches were seemingly auctioned off in 1920 by the Anderson Galleries of New York City as part of the library of Dr. Frank P. O’Brien, having been published as woodcut-engravings in the October 31, 1863 issue of Harper’s Weekly (Volume VII, Number 357), Page 701.
1863 (November 10) – Sumter As Seen from Fort Moultrie, by Conrad Wise Chapman
Small [11.5” x 15.5”] oil-on-board panoramic view of distant Fort Sumter, as seen from atop Moultrie’s southern rampart and sketched early during this afternoon by Conrad, while looking southwest through the haze across the intervening mile of water toward that battered Confederate stronghold.
Decades later, Conrad would recollect that throughout this period, “he never looked in the direction of Fort Sumter that he did not see a shell bursting over it,” and so he has included just such a puff of smoke above the fort. However, official Confederate records noted only a “slow fire” totaling 65 shots being fired this particular day against Sumter by the Federal batteries on Morris Island, joined in the afternoon by another 30 rounds from one or two monitors, to which the defenders’ batteries scarcely bothered making reply..
Note: that a wooden-plank footbridge has also been reproduced in the immediate foreground, a temporary means of spanning Moultrie’s defensive ditch, which could be easily withdrawn in the event of a Union disembarkation onto Sullivan’s Island. And along the water’s edge, a few off-duty Confederate soldiers can be seen fishing from the rocks of Bowman’s Jetty.
Source: Original held by the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia, with Catalog Number: 0985.14.00037v.
1863 (November 11) – Fort Moultrie's SW Corner, by Conrad Wise Chapman
Small [11.5” x 15.5”] oil-on-board painting by Conrad Wise Chapman, looking up toward Moultrie’s buried Southwest Angle from the seashore near Bowman’s Jetty, during a lull in the Union artillery’s shelling on the afternoon of November 11, 1863. (Records indicate that while Sumter was fired upon more than 200 times by Federal guns during this day, and Fort Johnson was also shelled for two hours in the afternoon, the Confederate positions in Moultrie and on Sullivan’s Island were completely ignored.)
Three soldiers can be seen in the foreground returning from fishing off Bowman’s Jetty, while parties of slaves continue to fill sandbags along the beach and carry them up over the plank walkways that spanned Moultrie’s defensive ditch, through a couple of embrasures into the fort’s interior to effect repairs and reinforcements.
Note: the white Confederate ensign, adopted only a few months earlier, streaming from its flagstaff in a stiff northerly wind, plus the wooden beacon-tower still standing on the shoreline beyond. In the very far distance at right, warships of the Union blockading fleet can be faintly seen on the horizon, maintaining their ceaseless watch over Charleston’s harbor-entrance.
Source: Original held by the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia, with the Catalog Number: 0985.14.00037r.
1863 (November 12) - Inner View of Fort Moultrie’s Southeast Angle, Sketched by Conrad Wise Chapman
Watercolor sketch on 9.25” x 12” paper, depicting Moultrie’s Southeast Angle as seen from the fort’s western rampart opposite, looking across its empty Parade. This work is signed faintly in pencil toward its bottom left-hand corner: “CW Chapman Fort Moultrie Nov. 12th 1863.” Seven members of Moultrie’s Confederate garrison from the 1st South Carolina (Regular) Infantry can be seen relaxing in the sunshine, while their laundry dries on a line nearby. This tranquil scene must have occurred during a lull prior to or after some action, as the heavy Federal guns on Cummings’ Point are known to have fired 21 shells at Moultrie on this particular day, to which its garrison had replied with 41 shots of their own. Union blockaders can also be glimpsed on the far horizon, beyond the empty wooden harbor-beacon standing just outside the fort.
Note: how the upper-storey observatory of the Moultrie House Hotel at extreme left, has been completely stripped bare of its wooden and glass enclosures, leaving only its support-columns exposed to the elements. Ten days later, this gutted building would be entirely disassembled and torn down, as can be seen in the “1863 (November 22)” entry here below.
Source: Original posted for sale by the Charlton Hall Galleries, Inc., of West Columbia, South Carolina.
1863 (November 16) - Bombardment of Fort Moultrie, by Conrad Wise Chapman
Large and very beautiful oil-painting on canvas measuring 30 7/8” high x 75 3/8” wide, completed by Conrad Wise Chapman during the second half of 1864 in Rome, Italy, entitled the “Bombardment of Fort Moultrie, November 16, 1863.” Seen from a vantage-point atop its northwestern bastion, he shows its sand-covered ramparts and its artillery pieces dueling against four distant Union monitors, with Sumter faintly visible at right, plus the old Moultrie House and harbor-beacon at far left. This exchange had been prompted when three Federal ironclads had advanced to rescue the stranded USS Lehigh, resulting in a morning-long round of salvoes during which one of Moultrie’s guns was dismounted, and four casualties inflicted — one of whom is shown being carried into the bomb-proof shelter at right.
Note: how the three live-oak trees in Moultrie’s compound have been omitted from this painting, perhaps deliberately by the artist, among the sun-bleached tents clustered around the hot-shot furnace in the center foreground.
Source: Original held by Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, South Carolina, accession number 1981.012.
1863 (November 22) – Distant View of Fort Moultrie, by Conrad Wise Chapman
Small oil-on-board painting featuring a mid-distance view of Battery Beauregard [also known as Fort Beauregard], whose low sandy ramparts topped by its flagstaff can be seen at center-right, while looking westward along the beach of Sullivan’s Island. A second tall flagstaff and swirling gun-smoke indicate where Fort Moultrie lies beyond, faintly visible at left-center beside the derelict harbor-beacon. The rocky breakwater known as Bowman’s Jetty can also be discerned extending out from Moultrie into the water, with Fort Sumter a shape far out in the harbor.
Note: that the last vestiges of the old, empty Moultrie House Hotel were being torn down on this date, November 22, 1863, “while the artist was making his sketch.” Years afterward, Chapman would explain that he had also included a “number of Yankee prisoners” in the foreground, with “the Corporal in charge of them giving an explanation to the Confederate officer.”
Source: Original held by the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia.
More to come ...
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