Spotlight... Civil War...

5fish

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I found that limelight was used in the civil war at the siege of Ft Wagner by the US Navy... It became an important part of the navy later in peacetime nickname "spotlight"...

link:https://markerhunter.wordpress.com/2013/09/05/calcium-light-battery-wag

Snip...

Recording the activities on the night of September 5-6, 1863, Colonel Lawrence M. Keitt, of the 20th South Carolina, commanding the Morris Island garrison, wrote, “Throughout the night, the enemy’s calcium light threw its bright, silvery rays upon our front.” The employment of this artificial light greatly aided Federal efforts in the closing days of the siege of Battery Wagner.

Snip...

The idea of turning night into day came up again as the Federals contemplated operations on Morris Island in July 1863. Early on, Brigadier-General Quincy Gillmore and Rear-Admiral John Dahlgren hoped the lights would illuminate targets at night or give the engineers greater visibility while constructing the works. The lights proved less than perfect for these tasks. But with the siege lines closing on the battery in late August, the Federals turned on the calcium lights again. And this time, the intent was to place the Confederates directly in the limelight!

S
nip... Ft Wagner

The covering to the bomb-proof and magazine also need repair. We have been thus far able not only to repair damages at night, but to add from day to day to the strength of the battery; but now that the enemy’s sap is in such close proximity to the battery, and he has contrived to throw a calcium light upon the parapets at night, it is impossible to do so without a heavy loss of men. In the efforts last night to repair damages, the commanding officer of the fort reports a loss in killed and wounded of 60 to 80 men of the working party alone. Without our ability to repair damages at night, the battery would become, under the incessant fire of the enemy’s land batteries and fleet, untenable, say, in two days. (Emphasis added)


The operation in Charleston was bigger more to the story...

Another link: http://hamptonroadsnavalmuseum.blogspot.com/2016/09/in-limelight-civil-war-military.html

Snip...

In addition to focusing on Battery Wagner, the calcium lights also illuminated the ironclads anchored offshore and to aid detection of spar torpedo craft. Against Battery Wagner, the desired effect of the brilliant light was to hinder operations. Any movement on the parapets, or even openings in bunkers to fire, was visible from Union lines. Not only did this hinder defensive fire, but also repairs to the battery

Snip...

During the siege of Charleston, the Union Navy also focused “limelights” on Fort Sumter while they pummeled it into rubble. In a dispatch to Captain Stephen Rowan, commanding USS New Ironsides, Rear Adm. Dahlgren wrote from Morris Island, “I have just received your signal dispatch in reference to the use of my calcium light on the New Ironsides. I placed at your disposal with great pleasure, and have little doubt that it will aid you in keeping the torpedo vessel.”


Snip...

These calcium floodlights were later used as searchlights to spot Confederate warships and blockade runners. In early 1865, a Union light even helped detect a Confederate ironclad fleet as it tried to move along the James River under cover of darkness. A Southern officer later noted that a planned sneak attack was made impossible in part because of the Union’s “powerful calcium light.”

Equipped with calcium lights, the Union Navy was able to continue, even on the darkest nights, the bombardment of Fort Sumter and Battery Wagner, ushering in a decades-long period in which the “Spotlight” was an important and well-used tool for peacetime, and war, aboard naval vessels.


I hope you all read the two links and learn more...
 

5fish

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Either this was common knowledge or no one realizes the advantage it gave the union in the dark of night...

I did find another thread with little response... https://civilwartalk.com/threads/civil-war-drummond-light.144276/

Limelight was also called Drummond Lights after is English inventory

https://www.history.com/news/8-unusual-civil-war-weapons

During an 1863 operation to retake Charleston Harbor, General Quincy Adams Gillmore laid siege to the Confederate stronghold at Fort Wagner. Gillmore’s Union guns bombarded the fort day and night with the help of a strange invention: the calcium light. Better known as “limelights,” these chemical lamps used superheated balls of lime, or calcium oxide, to create an incandescent glow. The lights had been used in lighthouses and theaters since the 1830s, but Gillmore’s engineers were the first to adapt them for combat. By shining calcium lights on Fort Wagner, Union forces were able to illuminate their artillery target while simultaneously blinding Confederate gunners and riflemen.

Also called “Drummond lights,” these calcium floodlights
were later used as searchlights to spot Confederate warships and blockade runners. In early 1865, a Union light even helped detect a Confederate ironclad fleet as it tried to move along the James River under cover of darkness. A Southern officer later noted that a planned sneak attack was made impossible in part because of the Union’s “powerful calcium light.”


Here is this... Thomas Drummond (1797–1840)

Limelight, first theatrical spotlight, also a popular term for the incandescent calcium oxide light invented by Thomas Drummondin 1816. Drummond’s light, which consisted of a block of calcium oxide heated to incandescence in jets of burning oxygen and hydrogen, provided a soft, very brilliant light that could be directed and focused. It was first employed in a theatre in 1837 and was in wide use by the 1860s. Its intensity made it useful for spotlighting and for the realistic simulation of effects such as sunlight and moonlight. Limelights placed at the front of the balcony could also be used for general stage illumination, providing a more natural light than footlights. The expression “in the limelight” originally referred to the most desirable acting area on the stage, the front and centre, which was brilliantly illuminatedby limelights.

The greatest disadvantage of limelight was that each light required the almost constant attention of an individual operator, who had to keep adjusting the block of calcium oxide as it burned and to tend to the two cylinders of gas that fueled it. Electric lighting in general and the electric arc spotlight replaced the limelight late in the 19th century.


Here is a detail early history of the limelight ... it burned down a few theaters...

https://static1.squarespace.com/sta...56835592272/Pierre+Lauginie+December+2015.pdf
 

5fish

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Here I found where it was tried... The link explains a man name Grant pushed the limelight idea on the military...

Link:https://www.historynet.com/rebels-in-the-limelight.htm

Snip...

After the Confederate capture of Fort Sumter in April 1861, Grant envisioned a new opportunity to capitalize on his decades of toil, although he was destined for further frustration. He hoped to install his light in Fortress Monroe, at the tip of Virginia’s Peninsula, so Union Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler’s garrison there could keep an eye on Rebel shipping during the night. That project failed, however, because the trials of Professor Grant’s calcium light were, according to The New York Times, “a little twisted up with red tape

Snip...

Undaunted, and backed by such notables as Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, Grant returned to New York City to form the Calcium Light Sharpshooters, a unit created especially for night action. The original plan was for the Sharpshooters to use calcium lights to reveal and target enemy positions and movements in the dark. The federal government eventually decided it needed a more conventional troop allotment and incorporated the unit into the 102nd New York as Company E. Grant’s struggle to find acceptance and application for his light continued for two more years; his luck finally changed in the summer of 1863, thanks to continued Union frustration in conquering the port of Charleston
 

5fish

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The was a conflict over lamps...

Unfortunately for the Federals, marginal relations between Dahlgren and Gillmore prevented cooperative use of Grant’s light. On July 30, Dahlgren wrote to Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles: “There are many little things that would aid me here. For instance, the electric light which Professor Way exhibited here, and which Professor Henry knows of; it would either illuminate at night, if needed, or would serve to signal.”

Professor Henry” was Joseph Henry, a scientist and prewar friend of Dahlgren’s, who served on a three-member Permanent Commission to review technologies for the Navy and Army. In August Henry began testing lights, as he later claimed, “to prevent the falling of the matter into the hands of charlatans.” Henry considered Grant a “quack,” and favored Professor John Thomas Way’s electromechanical mercury lamp, which rivaled calcium lights in brightness but did not require the use of explosive oxygen and hydrogen fuels. After weeks of work, however, the Navy refused to reimburse Henry for his efforts, and he canceled his tests. Dahlgren would not get the mercury lamps, and perhaps out of spite he did not mount calcium lights on his ships.


link: https://www.historynet.com/rebels-in-the-limelight.htm

The Professor Way here his Way lamp... this article mention it but it oblivious he when and showed his lamp to our military... it let mercury vapors out... I bet the navy cancel the testing of his lamp over the mercury vapor issue...

http://acshist.scs.illinois.edu/bulletin_open_access/v35-2/v35-2 p105-110.pdf

These devices quietly faded into obscurity, but the lamp of J. T. Way caused much excitement in its time. A long article in the London Times of Aug. 3, 1860 (12) ecstatically described a night time boat trip in the English channel illuminated by a Way lamp and including a run by the Queen’s channel residence (Osborne House), so that she could see the new marvel. Quoting the Times: “The strongest and purest light in the known world, and the nearest approach to sunlight…” For a discussion of the ignition of Way’s lamp, see the later section on lamp ignition. The lamp itself was not closed to the atmosphere; and Monasch reported (14) that because of the exposure to mercury vapor, Way paid with his life for the experiments with his lamp. This was an exaggeration, since he continued an active career in agricultural and environmental science into his later years and died in 1883 at age 63. In any event, nothing was heard of his lamp after 1860; nor was it mentioned in his obituary (15) in the Journal of the Chemical Society.
 

5fish

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MY idea would have worked for they did it in WW2... The CDL enter the war late to limited use...


The Canal Defence Light (CDL) was a British "secret weapon" of the Second World War, based upon the use of a powerful carbon-arc searchlight mounted on a tank. It was intended to be used during night-time attacks, when the light would allow enemy positions to be targeted. A secondary use of the light would be to dazzle and disorient enemy troops, making it harder for them to return fire accurately. The name Canal Defence Light was used to conceal the device's true purpose. For the same reason, in US service they were designated T10 Shop Tractor.
 
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