Today in History:

3 Series I Volume XXVIII-I Serial 46 - Ft. Sumter - Ft. Wagner Part I


the land forces. A siege of Charleston and its defenses by land had never been contemplated, and therefore was no part of the plan.

It is now represented by the Navy Department that a second attack upon Fort Sumter and Charleston was preparing, and that its success required the military occupation of Morris Island, and the establishment of land batteries on that island to assist in the reduction of Fort Sumter. The establishment of these batteries and and the reduction of the enemy's works-Fort Wagner and Battery Gregg-being a matter of engineering skill, Brigadier General (now Major General) Q. A. Gillmore was selected to command the land forced engaged in these operations. In addition to being an educated and skillful military engineer, he had had considerable experience in the special duties required in these operations.

General Gillmore, despite the enemy's defensive works, landed his force on Morris Island on the 10th of July, and immediately commenced the slow and difficult operations of conducting the siege of Fort Wagner and establishing batteries against Fort Sumter. Without, however, waiting for the reduction of the former, he opened, on the 17th of August, his fire on the latter, and on the 23rd, after seven days' bombardment, Fort Sumter was reported "a shapeless and harmless mass of ruins." Being under the fire of other forts of the enemy and inaccessible by land, our troops could not occupy it, and a few guns have since been temporarily remounted, but they have been as often silenced.

General Gillmore now vigorously pushed forwarded his saps against Fort Wagner, and, on the morning of September 7, took possession of that place, and also of Battery Gregg, most of the garrison having made their escape in boats during the night. He captured in all thirty-six pieces of artillery and a large amount of ammunition.

General Gillmore's operations have been characterized by great professional skill and boldness. He has overcome on Morris Island constitute a new era in the science of engineering and gunnery.

Since the capture of Forts Wagner and Gregg, he has enlarged these works, and established powerful batteries, which effectually command Fort Sumter, and can render efficient aid to any naval attack upon Charleston. They also control the entrance to the harbor.

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Very respectfully, your obedient servant,



Honorable E. M. STANTON,

Secretary of War.

Numbers 2. Reports of Major General Quincy A. Gillmore, U. S. Army, commanding Department of the South, with congratulatory orders.


1. The city of Charleston, S. C., is situated at the head of Charleston Harbor, on the point of a narrow peninsula formed by Ashely and Cooper Rivers. It is distant 7 miles from the outer edge of