7-inch Triple-Banded Brooke
10-inch Parrott Rifle
8-inch Parrott Rifle
10-inch Confederate Columbiad
*While fourteen 10-inch Columbiads remain,this cannon is the only one with this unique modification.
Fort Sumter National Monument has one of the greatest collections of seacoast or siege Civil War artillery in the country. Representing some of the rarest cannon in the world, this collection illustrates the expanding
technological warfare of the Civil War. The cannon that make up Cannon Row are some of the largest and most unique within the park's collection.
Some of the cannon in front of you were used during the Civil War near where you stand today. Others were brought to Sullivan's Island after the war to rebuild Charleston Harbor's defenses. All were produced before or during the Civil War by Union (US Army) or the Confederacy (CS Army).
A New Era of Artillery
The Civil War Era represents a period when radical advances in cannon technology increased power, range, and accuracy. Brigadier General Thomas Rodman's process for hollow casting cannon allowed for larger cannon and bigger powder charges. Mr. Robert P. Parrott's rifled cannon, among others, provided greater range and accuracy. With few foundaries, the Confederacy was forced to use existing weapons, often "rifling and banding" older smoothbore cannon to increase firepower and range. The cannon in front of you represent some of the best examples of cannon produced and modified using these processes.
Banding a cannon increased its firepower. A band of wrought iron, expanded by heat, was slipped over the cast iron barrel. The band cooled, shrinking tightly in place, strengthening the breech to withstand the pressure of a greater
powder charge. For more strength, additional bands were added. Highlighted in red below are the three bands that gave the 7-inch Triple Banded Brooke it's name.
Rifling (cutting spiral grooves in a weapon's bore) gave a stabilizing spin to a projectile. Rifled cannon had greater range than smoothbores of similar size, and their new projectiles were usually more accurate and destructive than the old, round shot and shell.