Load ... Ready ... Fire! A disciplined crew of five men could fire an accurate shot in less than one minute. Teamwork and timing during battle were essential to the crew of this 42-pounder smoothbore cannon, one of 27 guns that occupied these first-tier casemates.
This casemate is an 1870 reconstruction, but the cannon, which rests on a 1961 reconstruction carriage, is one of Fort Sumter's original guns.
Artillery crews drilled daily to increase speed and skill using a variety of specialized tools and implements. Cannoneers were assigned specific duties: sponging the barrel, ramming home powder and shot, sighting, and adjusting the gun's direction.
Crew members would puncture the cartridge bag (containing gunpowder) with a vent pick, place the friction primer, and attach the lanyard, which was yanked on the command "fire." Tasks varied depending on the type of gun and the projectile selected for a given target and range.