Gun from the USS Maine1100 Gervais Street
Although the state of South Carolina sent fewer than 1,000 soldiers to the Spanish-American War, it is second only to the Civil War as the most-memorialized military conflict on the State House grounds. Spain and the United States fought in the Caribbean and Pacific over ten weeks in 1898, resulting in an American victory and the acquisition of the territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippine Islands. The war was the first military action in which southerners and northerners had fought together since before the Civil War, and white South Carolinians used these monuments to celebrate it as a moment of national reconciliation.
This gun was rescued off the USS Maine, an American battleship that was blown up and then sunk in Havana Harbor, Cuba in 1898. This event prompted the United States to enter the Spanish-American War. The city of Columbia acquired the gun in 1910 as a monument to the U.S. victory and installed it in Irwin Park, near the Gervais Street Bridge, in 1913. The city mounted the gun at its current location and unveiled it on October 22, 1931.