SULLIVANS ISLAND, S.C. (AP) — A nonprofit group is urging people to lend a hand to help conserve pieces of history: the guns at the South Carolina forts where the Civil War began.
Jim Thompson of the Fort Sumter-Fort Moultrie Trust said Friday that the group has started an Adopt-A-Cannon drive to help the National Park Service conserve the guns at Sumter, which is in Charleston Harbor, and at Moultrie, on nearby Sullivans Island.
The trust assists the National Park Service in its work by helping with education, preservation and staging commemorations.
"This will appeal to people who have the history bug like I do," Thompson said. "People love stories, and when people come in and touch the guns when they are conserved, they'll say that's great, I want to be part of the next one," he said.
The group has a goal of $30,000, but Thompson said the group would really like to raise $50,000. That money would help conserve a total of nine guns in a year's time.
Earlier this year, the park service finished conserving 10 large siege and garrison guns, some of which were used by Confederates to lob shells from Moultrie into Sumter in Charleston Harbor in 1861 when the war erupted. Union forces surrendered 34 hours after the bombardment started as the nation plunged into a bloody war.
That conservation work was done under a multiyear, $900,000 agreement between the National Park Service and the Clemson University Restoration Institute.