Southern, or Confederate forces constructed Fort Holmeson Bald Head Island during the Civil War. Fort Holmes consisted of a 1.7-mile long earthen wall with five batteries, or locations with cannon. This is Battery #4, the most northern battery within Fort Holmes.
Within Battery #4 were four cannons and a magazine. Three of the cannons were 24 pounders and the fourth cannon was a 32 pounder. Both names originate with the weight of the cannon ball being fired from the cannon and could fire a cannon ball just roughly one mile away. Maps depicting Fort Holmes label some 24-pounders and 32-pounders as "old." This may indicate these cannons were smoothbore. The other 24-pounder and 32-pounder cannons, without a distinction as old or new, may indicate these cannons were rifled. A rifled cannon is a cannon that has grooves cut inside the cannon's barrell that makes the cannon ball revolve while being fired. This is similar to throwing a football. A rifled cannon had greater accuracy and range than a smootbore cannon.