Jonathan Williams Calls For Experimental Firing on Castle Williams
US Military Academy
EXPERIMENTAL FIRING AT CASTLE WILLIAMS
Copy of Letter to the Secretary of War
New York April 15—1812.
Having frequently heard you express a desire to have the resisting Power of Castle Williams tested by actual Experiment, I made an arrangement with Commodore Rogers for the purpose, and the following article from this morning’s Gazette will show the Result: I prefer this mode of communication, because having no knowledge or no participation with the Author of the article, it cannot be suspected of partiality.
As they (the frigates President & Essex) passed they fired seven shot at Castle Williams for the purpose of trying its strength, Five Balls bit the Castle, & two struck the Rocks forming the foundation of the Fabric. On an examination of the effect of the Balls we are happy to find that much less injury was done than was anticipated. Three 24 pound Balls entered one of the Embrasures of the lower Tier, knocked off a small part of the ornamental edges. One of the Balls hit one of the mounted Cannon of the Castle in which it made a small indentation carried away the Cap Square and Trunion plate and the fore part of the Carriage—one Ball struck the Embrasure of the second Tier directly over the one above mentioned mid one was a point blank Shot on the solid part of the Castle which penetrated only 3 Inches & did no Injury to the Wall.
The Walls of Castle Williams are nine feet thick amid we winy conclude from this experiment upon them while yet in a green state that no apprehension need be formed of their being Battered down.
Lieut. Partridge goes to Pittsburg tomorrow to meet Brig. Genl. hull & I take his orders.
I have the honor to be
with the greatest Respect
Sir Your obed Servant
Did You Know?
Henry “Hap” Arnold (1886-1950), a founding father of the modern U.S. Air Force, got the itch to fly while a second lieutenant in the infantry at Fort Jay in 1909, watching biplanes take off and land on Governors Island. His commanding officer told him that he knew of no better way to commit suicide. In 1911, he learned to fly with the Wright brothers and would go on to become the first five-star general of the Army Air Corps and the first and only five star general of the U.S. Air Force.