Federal forces spent four years trying to silence Confederate guns on Fort Moultrie, but the massive iron weapons face just as formidable a foe today: the environment.
To protect the 10 historic siege and garrison guns still located at the Sullivans Island fortification, preservationists have turned to technology, including computer sensors, in a bid to defend them from the salt and humidity omnipresent along the South Carolina coast.
The guns of Fort Moultrie are of particular historical significance because they were among the weapons that were used to fire on Fort Sumter April 12-13, 1861, officially beginning the War Between the States.
“The last of the guns, a 7-ton Union rifled Parrott gun suspended in a yellow sling held by a crane, was slowly jockeyed into place onto a new concrete base last week,” according to The Associated Press. “It completes what the fort refers to as Cannon Row, where seven of the heavy guns are lined up next to each other.”
The conservation work, which included coating nearly all the guns in rust-retarding epoxy, is being done through a collaborative effort between the National Park Service and Clemson University’s Restoration Institute.
The price tag for the multi-year conservation effort is $900,000.