The Campaign Against Charleston

april 7 - september 24 1863

On January 6, Rear Admiral Samuel F. du Pont was ordered to capture Charleston, South Carolina.

By early April du Pont was off Charleston. Shortly before the attack, he moved his command to New Ironsides, an ironclad built like a conventional steamer, with heavy iron plating and guns mounted in broadside, the only non-monitor in the force. Altogether, nine vessels would pass in line up the main channel, and close to within about 700 yards of Fort Sumter.

Aware the Confederates had placed torpedoes m the channel, du Pont ordered the ship Weehawken to take the lead. Fitted with a clumsy raft-like device on her bow, she was expected to sweep the "infernal machines" aside. On April 7, du Pont's line began to move, but was delayed some minutes by Weebawken's raft fouling her anchor

When Weehawken resumed her course, she struck one of the torpedoes. An explosion shook her, but did no damage. However, while trying to avoid the torpedoes, New Ironsides ran aground. As she struggled to free herself, she twice collided with neighboring monitors.

Hampered by their awkwardness and slow rate of fire, the monitors were hit repeatedly by Confederate shore batteries, the shot dislodging plates and damaging turrets. In the face of such effective fire, du Pont withdrew. Having failed to capture Charleston, he was replaced by Rear Admiral John Dahlgren.

Dahlgren launched a combined attack on Morris Island and Battery Wagner on July

10. The army supplied 5,000 troops, led by Brigadier General Quincy Gillmore. During the day, Dahlgren's monitors hurled shot and shells at Wagner, but with few discernible results; after many seaborne attacks on their positions, the Confederates had learned how to protect themselves. When the ships lifted their fire, Gillmore attacked, but was repulsed with heavy losses.

Undaunted, Dahlgren tried again. On July 18, Battery Wagner was bombarded for over eleven hours. The Confederates retreated to their bomb proofs, but when Federal troops attacked, they were again repulsed.

On September 4, Dahlgren attacked for

April 6s ant: Uniöri squadron .-'arrives, drops anchor und apakis■rianfitt.

\ard the U.S.S. . Dahlgren had cient chief of naval fleet votive' artillery-trove essential to tfo

Sl ¿April 7, c. LI 5pm: Torpedo detonates "/ near Weekaiaiteti. No damage. M'^ftcftfei/i signalsline of torpedoes stretching from Fort Moijltm ty Fan Sumter lacbelk

April 7,2.50pm: Gün/from flk/ <Mou3tne, Ibllawed^V guns frçfrC*3 'Sevan's J^änd.f^oms Istáiu and (FortMatci, opéfi on Wiátamn

/wïmtfiî&jioL a ¡3c. to pass | obstructions. ^mxa^suo^

cai^^^yrnoiuiors d


'"j Fifri'Jtifins/Mi

Gumming's Pt;


April 7,4.30pm: Continuous heavy'"" fire from Confederate batteries forces Unioj* squadron to'withdraw All Federal vessels ^'struck repeatedly, Weehdwken 53 times in 40 minutes \ f

having been struck-by 90 confederate shells \

Marsh. Battay lnng now

Far annotations 7-12 see map tigkb

July 10,4am: Dahlgren's ironclads and Gillmore's artillers" cjperr fire on Confederate position on Morris Island.

9.00am: Ironclads begin to concentrate fire on Fort Warner ironclads break off action at 6

Dàhlgmi f] q) My Dawn: Gillmore's troops assault Fort Wagner and are repulsed

July 18: Ironclads again bombard Fort Wagner. Land attack repulsed

September 6: Having endured 60 ^^ days of near constant bombardment, Confederate forces evacuate Morris Island under cover of darkness

2 miles

As an experiment with heavy guns, . to test their endurance under the severest trial to which they could possibly be subjected in actual service, the results were ... highly interesting and novel."

Gen. Q. Gillmore commenting on the operation of the "Swamp Angel.

Fort Wagner

July 10- September 6, 1863

Cumiiiin^'s Ptj

Brig. Gen. Quincy Gillmore, commander of the Union land forces, who ordered the construction of the

Swamp Angel" in an attempt to compel the surrender of Fort Wagner (below).

the third time, bombarding the Confederates for nearly two full days. Realizing their position was hopeless, the Confederates retired under cover of darkness, leaving the Federals to occupy the fort. Despite this Fed -eral victory, Charleston continued to hold out.

Marsh battery (nicknamed "The Swamp Angel"), the Union battery designed and constructed by Col. E. W. Sewell of the New York Engineers, which fired 35 missiles into Charleston. On the thirty sixth round the-eight-inch 200-pound Parrott rifle gun exploded (above).

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