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
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.
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.
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 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.