Few holes in walls and/or ceilings can set my heart aflutter as does this one: It is the opening above a firing embrasure that was expected to vent the chokingly noxious powder smoke that would be an unfortunate byproduct of guns being fired from within Fort Pike's casemates.

As a person who has poked, peered at and prodded just about every major 19th-century seacoast fortification that the United States has to offer, I can tell you that every casemate dedicated to the purpose of mounting a big gun with the expectation of it being fired had one of these holes, but like the forts themselves, these venting ports seldom follow anything like a regular pattern, from fort to fort. Once again, Forts Pike and Macomb are similar in this regard (Click here to see a similar hole at Fort Macomb), but nowhere else have I seen this particular triangular arrangement.