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Hamilton's Floating Battery Moored at the End of Sullivan's Island the Night Before They Opened Fire upon Fort Sumter

Artist:
Attributed to Alma A. Pelot (American, active Charleston, South Carolina, 1850s–1860s)
Artist:
Attributed to Jesse H. Bolles (American, active Charleston, South Corlina, 1850s–1860s)
Publisher:
Edward Anthony (American, 1818–1888)
Date:
April 1861
Medium:
Albumen silver print from glass negative
Dimensions:
Image: 5.3 × 8.3 cm (2 1/16 × 3 1/4 in.)
Classification:
Photographs
Credit Line:
Gilman Collection, Museum Purchase, 2005
Accession Number:
2005.100.1174.4
Not on view
In January 1861, prior to the outbreak of war, James Randolph Hamilton began the construction of the ironclad floating battery to be used by the Confederate government to attack Fort Sumter and other Federal positions or naval vessels in Charleston, South Carolina. Built in clear view of the Union forces stationed at Sumter, the floating battery was one hundred feet long, twenty-five-feet wide, and sheathed in two layers of iron plate. It flies the first Confederate flag. Towed into the harbor close to Fort Sumter, Hamilton’s Battery fired on the fort intermittently for thirty-four hours beginning on the morning of April 12. It survived the intense counterattack sustaining little damage; by 1863, however, its protective skin had been stripped off and reused by the Confederacy for the construction of navigable ironclad ships. Southern troops would occupy Fort Sumter until February 17, 1865, when Union General William Tecumseh Sherman’s forces cut off supplies to Charleston and the city itself was evacuated.
Paul Katz, 10/24/84; Gilman Paper Company Collection

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