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Friday, December 30, 2011

Civil War Photo Friday: A Floating Battery

Over at the fine blog Seven Score and Ten, there's a reprint of a report by General Grant about moving a floating battery to New Madrid, Missouri. this would make sense as that town is on the Mississippi River, and a battery there would help reinforce Union control of the all-important waterway.

But what was a floating battery? Basically a floating platform for several cannon that could be towed to a strategic position where there wasn't any convenient land. They weren't warships per se, not being very navigable and often not having any locomotive power of their own.

Perhaps the most famous floating battery of the Civil War was the first, built by the rebels and used in the bombardment of fort Sumter. As you can see from these Wikipedia images, it was a barnlike structure with only three walls, yet it gave good service during the bombardment. made of thick wood sheathed in iron, it took several direct hits from the fort with the loss of only one man wounded.


  1. Fantastic pictures! I love seeing these long-forgotten images of historic inventiveness.

  2. Dianne: I love old pictures too!

    Alex: The residetns of Charleston dubbed it "The Barn"!


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