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Issue 10 – Easter 2022

Brass Rubbings

Sustainability Church

On an island church.


The first recorded death in the Civil War was an accident. Just two days after the Confederacy besieged Fort Sumter in the Charleston harbor, Daniel Hough, a hapless private in the Union Army, was loading the forty-seventh gun in a one-hundred gun salute to the flag. An errant spark ignited his ammunition, blew off his right arm, and instantly killed him. Union commanders, who had just surrendered the fort, cut the salute short at fifty guns. The incident was no doubt terrifying for the enlisted men manning the last three cannons. 

Hough was not even stationed at Fort Sumter when he died. He was actually garrisoned across the harbor at Fort Moultrie, on Sullivan’s Island. There he, like many of the other Irishmen in the army, was an active member of Saint John the Baptist parish, where Catholics on the island worshiped. Church records show that less than a year before the war he was a baptismal sponsor for Mary Murphy, daughter of Patrick Murphy, who was likely also stationed at Fort Moultrie. The parish, now called Stella Maris, has been at the intersection of ecclesiastical and military history throughout its existence.

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About the author

Max Bodach