Charles Carr and the “Swamp Angel”

Swamp Angel, ca.1907
Postcard from author’s collection
Charles Carr (1822-1877), proprietor of the Phoenix Iron Company, and a number of his employees who were Civil War veterans noticed that one of the scrap cannon slated for melting was the “Swamp Angel,” the long-range gun with which Major General Quincy Adams Gillmore and the soldiers under his command briefly shelled the city of Charleston, South Carolina.

As The Defense of Charleston, including Fort Sumter and the Adjacent Islands, 1863-1865 (Johnson 1890) tells the story, “The Swamp Angel, so called by the Union soldiers, was purchased, with a number of other condemned cannon at the close of the war by the late Charles Carr, founder, of Trenton, N.J. It lay at his foundry several years, and, being loth to melt such a historic relic, he united with a number of public-spirited citizens and took means for the preservation of the piece.”

Gillmore was tasked with taking Charleston in 1863. He determined that a long range gunnery was needed, but the nearest safe distance was five miles distant on Morris Island. Since the island was little more than a marsh, a battery was constructed in two parts. The parapet was built on piles driven into the marsh, a grillage bolted onto the pilings, and a layer of 800 tons of sand. Once the foundation was completed, the platform was built of a layer of marsh grass, canvas, and sand onto which was placed a plank deck.

Jacob Ruopp, Trentonʼs First Fallen Police Officer

Gravemarker for
Jacob Ruopp (1819–1875)
Jacob Ruopp, born December 31, 1819, was the first of Trenton's police officers to be killed in the line of duty. At a quarter past midnight on June 6, 1875, he and fellow officer Louis Hartmann came upon two rowdy men at the corner of Broad Street and Hamilton Avenue.

The officers told them the hour was early and it was time to go home, but one of the men, James Keenan, refused and struggled with the officers when they sought to arrest him for drunk and disorderly conduct. He subsequently pulled a handgun from his pocket and fired two shots, one of which struck Ruopp in the abdomen.

Hartmann and Ruopp took the suspect to the police station where he was booked and sent to the county jail, and Ruopp was sent home to be attended by a doctor. After twice probing the wound with medical instruments, several doctors were unable to locate the bullet, leading them to express their opinion that he was not likely to recover.

Ruopp succumbed to his injuries on June 14 and was interred in Section H, Lot 54-55, on June 16. The city's common council passed a resolution recognizing the fallen officer for the "faithful discharge of his duties" and voted in favor of paying the undertaker's bill for his funeral.

Keenan was indicted for murder, but convicted of manslaughter. After serving a ten-year sentence in state prison, he moved to Philadelphia and made a living selling produce, and where he also became a temperance advocate.