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SEAC: The Search for Battery Halleck

The Search for Battery Halleck

Report Cover
List of Figures
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Significance of Battery Halleck
Chapter 3: 1990 Archaeological Investigations
Chapter 4: Conclusions References Cited
Appendix 1: Primary Documents
Appendix 2: Assemblage and Cataloging Data

Related web site and book:
Echoes from the Past: Archeology at Fort Pulaski

Civil War Archeology links

In the fall of 1990, employees of the National Park Service's Southeast Archeological Center and Fort Pulaski National Monument began digging archeological tests at the site of the Union's Battery Halleck on Big Tybee Island, Georgia.

One hundred and twenty-eight years earlier, on April 10 and 11, 1862, this Union Civil War battery, consisting of two mortars (see sidebar to the right), shot 220 shells at nearby Confederate-held Fort Pulaski. The bombardment ended after 30 hours with the surrender of the Confederate troops in the fort and would provide military strategists in the Western world with an innovative and reliable means of destroying masonry fortifications such as the type seen at Fort Pulaski.

The technical report describing the excavations provides archeologists, historians, and anyone else interested in the past with a resource for learning about the techniques and procedures that go along with an archeological investigation of historic significance. It provides readers with maps, diagrams, and tables from the Civil War era and from the relatively recent excavations.

Above is a photo of the "Dictator," a 13-inch mortar. Two of these huge mortars were positioned by Union forces at Battery Halleck in April 1862. Due to their large size and massive weight (more than 17,000 pounds), they were used only in instances where the demolition of fortification walls was necessary.
Mortars such as this lobbed heavy shells distances up to 2.5 miles (4.0 km) by shooting at angles higher than those of other artillery (55 degrees for the mortars used at Battery Halleck).
To find out how the Union troops transported these 8.5 ton artillery pieces through the marshes around Big Tybee Island click on the icon above to read the report.

This report also includes many of the original Union and Confederate communications regarding the siege and bombardment of Fort Pulaski in the context of the archeology done at this site (see Chapter 2: The Significance of Battery Halleck). These first hand accounts (see Appendix 1: Primary Documents ) of what the Union forces went through to begin the siege of the fort help give the reader a sense of why the archeology here is so important.

Although presently privately owned, the Battery Halleck site is within the legislative boundaries of Fort Pulaski National Monument near Savannah, Georgia. This uniquely preserved site would be a suitable future addition to lands managed by the Nationnal Park Service.