Mystery Photo 41 Revealed: Caught in a Casement

Artillery shell embedded in Fort Sumter's left face wall. Bob Janiskee photo.

Mystery Photo 41 was taken at Fort Sumter National Monument. The photo shows a large artillery shell embedded in one of the fort's left face casements. This shell struck the inside of the wall.

Three readers correctly identified this mystery photo, a task made difficult by the fact that the photo was cropped to show only half of the projectile. Viewmtn was first to ID it, and then RoadRanger and Eric Nelson honored his point. All three readers are eligible for our monthly prize drawing.

There are actually three large projectiles embedded in the interior surface of Fort Sumter's left face. This photo shows one of two that can be seen in front of the parade ground artillery exhibit. A third one is lodged in the wall a bit further to the right.

These projectiles were not fired by Confederates who attacked the fort in April 1861, nor by Union warships. Rather, they were fired by Union rifled guns situated on Morris Island during the 1863-1865 siege of the fort. The big guns on Morris Island -- three of which fired shells weighing 300 pounds -- were located to the south of the fort and therefore able to destroy the left face casements of the Confederate-held fort by hitting them from their unprotected rear.

Fort Sumter was bombarded with more than 47,000 projectiles during the course of the Civil War. Though the fort was reduced to rubble during the Union siege, Confederate forces held it until just a few months before the end of the war, abandoning it when Union forces finally captured Charleston in February 1865.