I shall give a short introductory description of the harbor defences of this city in order to convey a better appreciation of the location and relative importance of ‘Battery Wagner.’
, as you know, is situated on a narrow peninsula at the confluence of the Ashley
and Cooper rivers
These rivers in flowing together form a broad, picturesque and beautiful bay, lying to the southeast of the city, which has for its northern boundary the mainland, and for its southern, James island
. Fort Sumter
is constructed upon its own little island of artificial rock, and is situated within the entrance to the harbor.
It is nearly equi-distant between James
and Sullivan's islands
, and is three and a half miles from East Bay battery of the city.
on James island
is situated to the right of Sumter
as you look from the battery towards the sea, and is one mile and a quarter from the Fort
, on Sullivan
's island, is to the left of Sumter
and about one mile distant from it. Morris island
, upon which Battery Wagner was built, is a long, low, sandy sea island, denuded of growth, save here and there a solitary palmetto, and was considered practically the key to Charleston
Its northern end nearest the city, known as Cumming's Point
, is the seaward limit of the harbor on the south, as Sullivan
's island is the seaward limit on the North
, and these two points determine the entrance to the harbor, and are about twenty-seven hundred yards apart.
is separated from James island
by wide and impenetrable marshes.
On ‘Cumming's Point
’ was ‘Battery Gregg,’ named in honor of Brigadier-General Maxcy Gregg
, of South Carolina
, killed at Fredericksburg, Virginia
Nearly a mile south of Gregg
, on the island was located ‘Battery Wagner.’
This famous work was erected to prevent the Federal
occupation of the island, and the erection of batteries for the destruction of Fort Sumter
, which disputed the passage of the enemy's fleet to the city.
Battery Wagner was one and a half miles from Sumter
and five miles from Charleston
and the shores of Morris
and James islands
is only shallow water, unfit for navigation.
The main channel which is very deep between Sumter
's island, takes an abrupt turn to the south about one thousand yards east of Sumter
, and flows in a southerly direction along the shores of Morris island
, so that a fleet before entering the harbor would be compelled to run the gauntlet of Battery Wagner and Gregg
before reaching Sumter
and the city.
The importance therefore of these auxiliary defences against naval attack