An unlikely lawn ornament

While in Columbia, South Carolina last week, filming an episode of Select Fire at FN (much more on that, later) I visited the South Carolina State House

While it looks nice, it was 95 degrees, with 95 gnats to match!

In the woods and shade just off to the side of the building, while walking down Gervais Street to Trinity Cathedral– which is breathtaking– I spied this small 6-pounder (57mm) gun on a naval mount almost hidden in the brush.

Why, hello there…

On closer look, it was indeed historic, one of the battery of six such anti-torpedo-boat-guns carried by the ill-fated armored cruiser USS Maine (ACR-1). The vessel sank in Havana Harbor in February 1898, an event that led to the outbreak of the Spanish–American War that April.

The gun was salvaged after the conflict and installed in 1931 at its current location.

While South Carolina raised over 1,000 volunteers in two regiments for the short conflict that in the end saw little of it, the city of Columbia acquired the gun in 1910 as a monument to the effort and installed it in Irwin Park, near the Gervais Street Bridge, in 1913. The city moved the gun to its current location and unveiled it on 22 October 1931.

While a Driggs-Schroeder type 57mm/40cal, the tube markings have worn away over time.

The brass mount is an 1894 Mark III. Notably, the largest battery of remaining Driggs 6-pdrs is preserved on SpanAm War veteran USS Olympia (C-6).

While relics from USS Maine are scattered from Havanna to New England and the West Coast, including several of her guns, from what I can tell, this is her only 6-pdr on display.

One comment

  • I ran across a Nordenfelt gun in a park in Portland,I think,can’t find photos there was also another piece in same area.PC creeps are getting rid of things like this in many areas.

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