Today in History:

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


artillery, was constructed, fronting the Stono River, with its left resting on the village of Secessionville, and its right on James Island Creek, while Fort Pemberton, a strong and heavily armed earthwork, located at the junction of Wapoo Cut and Stono River, controlled the approach in that direction.

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16. In rear of the city of Charleston, formidable defenses were also erected, covering the approach down the Peninsula, but no very reliable information as to their extent and strength had been obtained by us prior to the siege of Fort Sumter, which commenced early in July, 1863.

17. A line of heavily armed entrenchments was also constructed northeast of the city, on the main land, extending from Wando River to Copahee Sound, to guard the approach from Bull's Bay.

18. The strength of the James Island works was teased by a bold but unsuccessful attack upon them by our forces, under Brigadier-General Benham, on the 16th day of June, 1862.

19. A gallant attack upon Fort Sumter, by our iron-clad fleet, under Admiral DuPont, on the 7th of April, 1863, was likewise unsuccessful. One of the iron-clads, the Keokuk, was so much injured on that occasion that she sank some hours after the attack, and her armament fell into the hands of the enemy, while the others, withdrew, after an engagement of forty minutes, most of them being considerably disable.


Hilton Head, S. C., February 28, 1864.

GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following report of operations conducted by the forces under my command against the defenses of Charleston City during the summer and autumn of the past year:

These operations comprise, principally-

21. First. The descent upon and capture of the enemy's fortified positions on the south end of Morris Island, July 10, 1863.

22. Second. Two unsuccessful assaults upon Fort Wagner, on July 11 and 18, respectively.

23. Third. The demolition of Fort Sumter by two bombardments, viz, from the 17th to the 23rd of August, and from the 27th of October to the 9th of November.

24. Fourth. The siege and reduction of Forts Wagner and Gregg, terminating September 7.

25. Toward the close of last May, I received orders to repair to Washington. I there learned that it was the wish of the Navy Department to make another trial of the iron-clad gunboats against the defenses of Charleston Harbor. My views in regard to the part which could be efficiently taken in such an operations by the small land force available for the purpose were requested.

26. I had entertained the opinion, which I freely expressed in my interviews with the Secretary of War, the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, and the General-in-Chief, during which the subject was fully discussed, that Fort Sumter could be reached and reduced, or its offensive power practically destroyed, without any material augmentation of the land and naval forces then serving in the Department of the South; that a cordial and energetic co-operation between the two branches of service was essential to a full and entire success, and that the naval commander should be an officer who had confidence