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Encyclopedia of the War of Call Number: Ref. H46 Encyclopedia of the Alamo and the Texas Revolution U66 E55 The problem seems to have been the fusing; the shells either burst in air or buried themselves in the soft earth before exploding without major effect. The Confederates responded by sending fire rafts down the river at night, but Union boat crews grappled these and towed them off without damage.

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Although the Union shells did dismount some of the guns in Fort Jackson, most of the Confederate crews bravely kept to their positions, and the defenders were able to remount most of the guns. Indeed, Rebel counterbattery fire on 19 April sank the mortar schooner Maria J. Carlton , killing and wounding some Union sailors.


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Although inch sea mortars failed to turn any Civil War battles, there can be no doubt that the sight and sound of their glowing shells arcing high across a dark sky and then exploding was awesome and had a strong psychological effect on Confederate garrison troops as well as Union attackers. Union officers and men on board one of the 20 mortar schooners that bombarded Fort Jackson on the lower Mississippi stand behind their vessel's mighty inch gun.

The mortars rained shells on and around the fort for six days, but it was still able to contest the passage upriver of Flag Officer David G.

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Farragut's squadron. Media Inquiries. View Issue. Gerdes of the U.

Coast Survey wrote of the damage wrought by Union inch sea mortars at Fort Jackson on the lower Mississippi in April The holes are from 3 to 8 feet deep and are very close together, sometimes within a couple of feet. All that was wood in the fort is completely consumed by fire; the brickwork is knocked down, the arches stove, guns are dismounted, gun carriages broken and the whole presents a dreadful scene of destruction.

Close Union officers and men on board one of the 20 mortar schooners that bombarded Fort Jackson on the lower Mississippi stand behind their vessel's mighty inch gun. Close Early in the Civil War, specially built boats mounting inch mortars were active on the upper Mississippi. But numerous problems with the raft-like craft led their commander to report in August that their "services have not been near equal to their cost.

Close An overhead view of a inch sea mortar depicts the weapon while being trained.