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Fort Moultrie

The Illustrated London News, vol. 38, no. 1077, p. 194.

March 2, 1861

FORT MOULTRIE.

There are three forts in Charleston harbour—namely, Castle Pinkney, Fort Moultrie, and Fort Sumter. The first two are in possession of the authorities of South Carolina. At the time of the outbreak Major Anderson was in command of Fort Moultrie, with a handful of men, while Fort Sumter, a much stronger post, and commanding his own, was without defence. On Christmas night last Major Anderson spiked his guns, and removed his men to Fort Sumter, thus securing himself a far stronger position.

Fort Moultrie is situated on Sullivan's Island, as shown in the Plan of Charleston Harbour given in our Number for the 9th of February last. It is an inclosed water battery, having a front on the south or water side, of about 300 feet, and a depth of about 240 feet. It is built with salient and re-entering angles on all sides, and is admirably adapted for defence, either from the attack of a storming party or by regular approaches. The outer and inner walls are of brick, capped with stone, and filled in with earth, making a solid wall fifteen or sixteen feet in thickness. The work now in progress consists in cleaning the sand from the walls; ditching it around, and erecting a glacis; closing up the postern-gates in the east and west walls; and, instead, cutting sallyports, which lead into strong outworks on the south-east and south-west angles, in which 12-pounder howitzer guns will be placed, enabling the garrison to sweep the ditch on three sides with grape and canister. The north-west angle of the fort has also been strengthened by a bastionette, to sustain the weight of a heavy gun which will command the main street of the island. The main entrance has also been better secured, and a trapdoor, two feet square, cut in the door for ingress and egress. At this time the height of wall, from the bottom of the ditch to the top of the parapet, is twenty feet. The ditch is from twelve to fifteen feet wide at the base, and fifteen feet deep. The nature of the soil would not seem to admit of this depth being increased, quicksand having been reached in many places. The work on the south side is nearly finished. The counterscarp is substantially built of plank, and spread with turf. The glacis is also finished. It is composed of sand, and covered with layers of loam and turf, all of which is firmly kept in place by the addition of sections of plank nailed to uprights sunk in the sand and crossing each other at right angles—making squares of about ten feet each. The purpose of the glacis, which is an inclined plane, is to expose an attacking party to the fire of the guns, which are so placed as to sweep it from the crest of the counterscarp to the edge of the beach. On the north side all the wooden gun-cases have been placed close together on the ramparts, apparently for the purpose of securing it against an escalade, but possibly as a screen for a battery of heavy guns. A good many men are engaged in clearing the ramparts of turf and earth, for the purpose of putting down a very ugly-looking arrangement, which consists of strips of plank four inches wide, one inch and a half thick, and six or eight feet long, sharpened at the point, and nailed down, so as to project about three feet horizontally from the top of the walls. A noticeable fact in the bastionettes is the haste in which one of them has been built. The one completed is formed of solid masonry. In constructing the other, however, a framework of plank has been substituted. Against the inside of this wooden outwork loose bricks have been placed. Both bastionettes are armed with a small carronade and a howitzer pointed internally, so as to command the whole intervening moat by a cross fire.

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