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The Swamp Angel - Civil War Cannon (see its history below)

The Swamp Angel

On Monday, August 17, 1863, a 16,500-lb. iron Parrott Rifle was wrestled by 450 men into the Union’s Marsh Battery in the spongy marshes of Morris Island, 7,000 yards away from Charleston, S.C. It was dubbed the “Swamp Angel.”  This eight-inch Parrott rifle, or 200-pounder, used 16-lb. charges, 150-lb. projectiles, had a maximum elevation of 35 degrees and set its sites an unprecedented 8,000 yards away on the steeple of St. Michael’s Church in Charleston.

On August 21st, a message was sent to Confederate commander P.G.T. Beauregard from Major General Gillmore demanding the immediate surrender of Ft. Sumter and the Charleston defenses. Before the message was acknowledged, and contrary to conventions of war then in effect, the Swamp Angel opened fire at 1:30 a.m. on August 22, 1863.

After an angry exchange between the commanders, the Swamp Angel suspended fire until midnight on August 23, when it roared to life again. About 1 a.m. on the 36th salvo, the Swamp Angel’s breech exploded directly behind the vent, dismounting the cannon from its carriage and throwing it into the parapet. Prior to the rupture, six incendiary shells had exploded prematurely in the gun, adding to the stress caused by the long-range firing.
Following the war, the cannon was purchased for scrap iron by the Phoenix Iron Works in Trenton, N.J. Before it could be melted down, it was recognized and saved.

In February of 1871, it was erected on a fieldstone plinth at the corner of North Clinton Avenue and Perry Street. Due to road changes, it was moved and re-dedicated at Cadwalader Park on April 12, 1961, the 100th anniversary of the start of the Civil War.

Following greatly needed restoration and preservation by the Camp Olden Civil War Round Table, the Swamp Angel was again rededicated on October 8, 1994.

To visit: take Route 29 north past Trenton, exit right onto Parkside Avenue exit. Go to 2nd traffic light and turn left into Cadwalader Park. The Swamp Angel is straight ahead. Also note the Soldiers and Sailors monument just to the left of the Swamp Angel. Park is open free and during daylight hours only.