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: Unîôri squadron arriva, drops anchorwid apaias■rianfitt.

\ard the u.s.s. . Dahlgren had cient chief of naval fleet /afive'artillery ¡rove essentia! to tfo

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

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

having been struck^ 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 fir-eon Confederate position 6a Morris Island.

/g^-'i 9.00am: Ironclads begin to concentrate fire on Fort Waener

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

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