Perspective View of the Rear of the Defensive Traverse opposite the Main-Sally-Port on the Line of Fortification at Hilton Head, South Carolina

Object Number: 
15 March 1863
Black ink and wash on lined paper
Overall: 8 x 12 1/2 in. ( 20.3 x 31.8 cm )
Inscribed and signed at lower right in black ink: "drawn by H. Mehles / 2nd Lieut. Comp. B. / N.Y. Vol. Engrs. / Hilton Head / March 15.63."; at upper center in black ink and wash: "Perspective View / of the Defensive Traverse opposite the Main --Sally --Port / on the line of fortification at Hilton Head, S.C."
Civil War Drawings Collection. One of several earthwork fortifications constructed during the occupation of Hilton Head, the largest and most permanent called Fort Howell, in 1864. Fort Howell was constructed by Union Forces occupying Hilton Head Island and was one of the final fortifications to be built during the war. The men of the 32nd U.S. Colored Infantry Volunteers labored to complete the fort in the fall of 1864, to protect nearby Mitchelville, a freedman's town of newly emancipated slaves. The "Traverse" was an earthwork that protected troops inside from enemy assaults on the fort's entrance. Pentagonal in shape, the earthwork measured approximately 525 by 400 feet and reached a height of 23 feet. Four magazines, protected by earth mounds, housed powder and shot for up to 27 guns. The exterior of the fort featured a moat and wooden palisades. The area was directly adjacent to the fort walls, further protected by guns mounted in bastions.
Credit Line: 
James B. Wilbur Fund
John T. Kavanaugh Collection, Rutherford, New Jersey, 1945
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.
Creative: Tronvig Group