Monday, August 19, 2013

August 20, 1863 (Saturday): Battered Fort Sumter

Fort Sumter

SUMTER, August 20, 1863.
    MAJOR: Since 1 p. m. yesterday the eastern half of gorge scarp has been falling away from arches. Three are now partially uncovered; before noon there will be four with their loading above and filling below. The rubbish in falling is piled up to level of window sills second story, or about 15 feet high; we may count upon its covering, when all down, to a height of 20 feet, upon which I can drop sand-bags from ramparts at night, and make lower story of this, as well as western half, secure from battering. The demolition of these rampart arches and piers, with filling of rooms, will occupy at least one week longer. The gorge arches to west of and over sally-port are now nearly covered from fire by mass of sand-bags and rubbish. I think we may count on the prolonged stability of these, together with their loading above and filling below, thus securing, longer than I can estimate, the safety of western magazine. East magazine can stand battering also a week, but as no sand-bag revetment can be used there, it will have to be given up. Last night worked on hospital traversing, filling tightly between sand and under side of arches, in two most exposed rooms of east half gorge, and enlarging re-enforce of west magazine.
     Respectfully, &c.,

     First Lieutenant of Engineers.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 28, Part 1, Page 663.

Ironically, the battering taken by Fort Sumter was making it all the more formidable, as debris was used to reenforce the walls which remained standing.  Originally a two story structure, by the end of the war it was down to one level with debris used to build up somewhat beyond that in certain portions.

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