previous next

Chapter 17:

  • The siege of Charleston
  • -- continued bombardment of Fort Sumter -- defense maintained by the other works -- the torpedo boats -- bombardment of the city -- transfer of troops to Virginia -- prisoners under fire -- campaign on the Stono.

On August 24, 1863, General Gillmore, in a communication to the general-in-chief of the United States armies, said: ‘I have the honor to report the practical demolition of Fort Sumter as the result of our seven days bombardment of that work. Fort Sumter is to-day a shapeless and harmless mass of ruins.’ It was on this day that the garrison, under Colonel Rhett, was visited by General Ripley and the chief engineers, Colonels Gilmer and Harris, and it was determined to hold to the last extremity the fort which Gillmore had reduced to ‘a harmless mass of ruins.’ The men worked night after night transferring the contents of the magazines to safer places, preparing much of the munitions for shipment to the city, and building new works from the debris. The east magazines were not damaged.

Colonel Rhett's journal of the 25th has this entry:

Finished securing west magazine from reverse fire; began traverses on parade at entrance to passage now used for hospital sally port. Magazine and telegraph office repaired and filled up with bags. . . . Restored traverses on east barbette. Embrasures on northeast and northwest faces in process of being bricked up.

After this the fire from the Federal batteries on Sumter was comparatively light, until the 30th, when 322 shot and shell struck outside and 168 inside, doing a great deal of damage. Next day, Fort Moultrie by mistake opened [292] upon the steamer Sumter, carrying two regiments from Morris island, disabling the steamer, from which 600 officers and men belonging to the Twentieth South Carolina and Twenty-third Georgia were saved by boats from Fort Sumter and the navy. September 1st was another destructive day for Sumter, six monitors and the Ironsides aiding in the fire. On September 4th there was not a single gun en barbette, and but one smooth-bore 32-pounder next the sally port on western face that could be fired. Colonel Rhett reported:

The northeastern and northwestern terre plein have fallen in. The western wall has a crack in it extending entirely through from parapet to berme. The greater portion of the southern wall is down. The upper eastern magazine is penetrated; the lower eastern magazine wall is cracked. The eastern wall is very nearly shot away; a large portion of the wall is down, the ramparts gone, and nearly every casemate breached, and the remaining wall very thin. .... I consider it impracticable to either mount or use guns on any part of the parapet, and I deem the fort in its present condition unserviceable for offensive purposes.

The work of repair went on, however, and on September 4th the Charleston battalion arrived at the fort, under command of Major Elliott, and relieved Colonel Rhett, commanding, and Captain Fleming, Company B, detachment of First South Carolina artillery and Twentysev-enth and Twenty-eighth Georgia volunteers, who had endured the first tremendous bombardment. Colonel Rhett was put in command of the interior batteries in and about the city, with Castle Pinckney and Fort Ripley.

As soon as the Federals occupied Battery Wagner, it was opened upon by Batteries Simkins and Fort Moultrie and the works adjacent. Soon afterward a flag of truce was sent to Fort Sumter, with a demand for surrender, which was refused by Elliott, though he was utterly unable to maintain an artillery fire. Following this [293] refusal, the Ironsides and five monitors came up the channel and opened fire upon Sumter and the Sullivan's island batteries. At Battery Beauregard, Lieut. E. A. Erwin, First regulars, was killed.

On the 8th, the fight with the ironclads was renewed, and one shell did fatal work in Fort Moultrie, disabling an 8-inch columbiad, exploding a magazine, and killing 16 and wounding 12 men of Capt. R. Press Smith's company of the First regulars. Besides these casualties from the explosion there were others, including Capt. G. A. Wardlow and Lieut. D. B. De Saussure, wounded.

About 1 o'clock on the morning of the 9th, an attempt was made by the Federals to land a force at the foot of the ruins of Sumter and carry the position by storm. Major Elliott waited until the thirty or forty barges of the enemy were within a few yards of the southern and eastern faces, when he greeted them with a rattling fire of musketry, while hand-grenades and fragments of the ruins were thrown over on the advancing foe, completely demoralizing him. At the same time the gunboat Chicora, Fort Moultrie, the Sullivan's island batteries and Fort Johnson, warned by signal, swept the skirts of the ruins and the water round about with a fire that nothing could survive. Elliott captured 5 boats, 5 stand of colors, 12 officers and 109 men. Among the colors captured was a worn garrison flag, which, it was believed, was the flag lowered in 1861 by Maj. Robert Anderson, and hoped to be hoisted again by this storming party.

On the night of August 20th, Capt. J. Carlin, commanding a torpedo ram, with a guard on board under Lieut. E. S. Fickling, made an attempt to explode a torpedo against the New Ironsides. As he ranged up alongside, Carlin was hailed, and to the demand for the name of his craft, he replied, ‘The steamer Live Yankee.’ The ironclad was swinging to the ebb, so that it was impossible to do the work undertaken, and Carlin's only hope was of escape. In this he was successful, [294] although the Ironsides was soon sweeping the horizon with her guns. On October 5th, another attempt was made to blow up the Ironsides, by Lieut. W. T. Glassell, C. S. N., First Assistant Engineer J. H. Tombs, Walker Cannon, pilot, and James Sullivan, fireman, on board the propeller David, a small submerged steamer. The boat approached the ironclad at 9 p. m. at full speed, and when hailed, Glassell answered with a shot from a double-barreled gun. The boat struck fairly under the starboard quarter, and the torpedo was exploded about 6 1/2 feet below the surface, but it proved to be of too light a charge (70 pounds) to injure the heavy plates of the enemy. The David was riddled by the fire of small-arms from the Ironsides, and almost swamped by the great column of water thrown up by the explosion. Although the little craft escaped sinking, the fires were put out and the iron ballast thrown among the machinery, so that it would not work when the engine was reversed. In this critical situation, and believing the boat to be sinking, Glassell and Sullivan jumped overboard, and swimming in the direction of the enemy's vessels were made prisoners. The pilot stuck to the boat, and Tombs, after being thrown overboard, swam back to it when he saw that their cries of surrender were not heeded. The two coolly got up steam under a continuous fire and managed to make their way back up the channel, escaping two 11-inch shot sent after them, passing through the Federal fleet and within three feet of one of the monitors. Though unsuccessful, this was justly considered one of the most daring exploits of the war, and inspired Beauregard to ask for the purchase of swift torpedo boats from English builders.

On November 15th, Maj. John Jenkins, Third South Carolina cavalry, reported that the enemy had reoccupied Seabrook island (John's island) in large force. On the following day there was a considerable action between the Federal monitors and the Sullivan's island batteries, [295] Capt. Jacob Valentine commanding at Fort Moultrie, Capt. C. H. Rivers at Battery Rutledge, and Maj. W. S. Basinger at Battery Marion.

During October the Federals were busy making Batteries Wagner and Gregg formidable against the Confederate defenses, without much molestation in their work, while they maintained the bombardment of the ruins of Fort Sumter. The reports of Major Elliott show that 625 shots were fired at Sumter on the 27th, with particular attention to the gorge wall, and on the 29th, 1,039 shots. Their effect was to cut away all the arches on the sea face, and to make that and the gorge easy of access. It was evident that the enemy was preparing for another assault from boats. As many shots of all calibers struck the fort on the next day, and this destructive torrent of rifled shot and shell and mortar shells, from the batteries and the monitors, continued for several days. The casualties in the fort were comparatively few, the main loss being the burying of twelve members of the Washington light infantry, Twenty-fifth regiment, and one man of the Twelfth Georgia battalion. While they were in position for mounting the parapet in case of assault, a Parrott shot struck an iron girder of the sea wall, and the roof fell in, crushing them.

On November 1st, the southwest angle was the main object of the bombardment. The flagstaff was twice shot away, and replaced by brave men of the Georgia battalion, who were finally compelled to substitute their own flag for the riddled garrison flag. On the 4th, Major Elliott remarked, regarding the rifled shells: ‘The practice with these projectiles is very beautiful, the adjustment of the time fuses being so perfect that the occupants of the gorge wall are secure from the effects of the explosion, which rarely fails to occur during the passage of the shell over the parade.’ On the 6th the flagstaff was again shot away, and replaced by Sergeant Currie and Corporal Montgomery of the Twenty-fifth South Carolina. [296] On the 12th, again, some of the Georgians had the honor of replacing the flag under fire. Hardly a day passed without some one being killed and several more or less seriously wounded. During the week ending November 16th, over 3,000 shots were fired at Sumter, and on the night of the 19th a second attempt was made to land a force from barges and storm the ruins, but Elliott and his men were on guard, and their musketry fire prevented the barges from reaching the island. On the 24th, Capt. F. H. Harleston, having gone down the slope of the sea face to inspect the obstructions against storming parties, was mortally wounded by a Parrott shell.

On November 28th Elliott reported:

Private James Tupper, shot marker, Charleston battalion, seeing yesterday morning that the flag had been shot down, walked along the whole extent of the gorge wall, on the parapet, and endeavored to raise it. Finding that the staff was too short, he procured an additional piece of spar, and with the assistance of C. B. Foster and Corps. W. C. Buckheister and A. J. Bluett, succeeded in splicing and planting the staff, under a very heavy fire directed at them. One shot struck the flag from their hands. It was a most distinguished display of gallantry.

About this time the continuous pounding of the ruins by the enemy's projectiles had produced a steep slope on the exterior of the fort, with very insecure footing, and Colonel Elliott, after an examination, had no serious fears of an assault. On the 11th, the most fatal calamity in the history of the fort occurred—the explosion of the southwest magazine—a danger of which the heroic defenders had been in constant dread. The occupants of the adjoining rooms were killed or badly burned, and the flames, which instantly caught, spread with fierceness, filling the casemates with stifling smoke. As soon as the enemy observed the fire, he opened upon the fort with rifled shells and mortars. Colonel Elliott was slightly wounded, Capt. Edward D. Frost and 10 others [297] were killed, and 40 sustained more or less serious injuries. Capt. John Johnson, Lieut. L. A. Harper and Capt. M. H. Sellers were distinguished for bravery and coolness amid the excitement and danger. The fire was not entirely extinguished until a week later.

On the last of the year the undaunted Elliott recommended that he be provided with two iron shields for casemate batteries, which he said would render his position one of ‘comparative invulnerability.’ His report at this time showed that since August 12th nearly 27,000 projectiles had been fired at Sumter, of which 19,808 had struck. During the same time 38 men had been killed and 142 wounded.

On Christmas day an artillery attack was made upon the United States gunboat Marblehead, lying off Legareville, by Col. P. R. Page, but with the assistance of the Pawnee the vigorous efforts to capture the vessel were repelled.

During all this period Forts Moultrie, Johnson, Simkins, Cheves and other batteries, maintained an effective fire upon the enemy's works and fleet, and attempts were otherwise made to destroy the naval force of the Federals, but without success. On October 11th four floating torpedoes were set afloat from Fort Sumter with time fuses, but they exploded at too great a distance from the fleet. On the 15th the submarine boat was lost in an attempt to run under the navy receiving ship. As soon as she sunk, air bubbles were seen to come to the surface, indicating that the manhole was not properly closed. Capt. F. L. Hunley and seven men were lost.

In November, the throwing of shells into the city, which was commenced August 21st, was resumed with more frequency. Mr. T. S. Hale, the observer at St. Michael's steeple, reported his post as the enemy's principal line of fire, radiating to the northeastward as far as St. Philip's church. He counted 27 shots on August 21st and the three days following, and 3 on October 27th, but [298] the regular bombardment may be said to have begun on November 17th, after which to January 5, 1864,442 shells fell in the city. The shells first thrown were 200-pound Parrotts, but later 100-pound projectiles were mainly used. Only five deaths resulted, two ladies, two civilians, and one slave. A number of buildings were ruined, and thousands of persons compelled to leave their homes and seek refuge in the upper part of the city or in the interior of the State. The heaviest bombardment in 1863 was on Christmas day, when 150 shells were fired at the city, and a considerable fire caused in the vicinity of St. Michael's church. Several citizens, soldiers and firemen were wounded.

In December, 1863, a complete system of interior defense was perfected at Fort Sumter, by the aid of which the garrison, in the event of being driven to take refuge in the casemates and bomb-proof, could protect itself, while signaling for assistance from the surrounding Confederate batteries. Through the heroic efforts of its garrison, under eighteen months of constant fire, the stronghold was maintained as an effective part of the city's defenses. Says Major Johnson:

From having been a desolate ruin, a shapeless pile of shattered walls and casemates, showing here and there the guns disabled and half buried in splintered wrecks of carriages, its mounds of rubbish fairly reeking with the smoke and smell of powder, Fort Sumter under fire was transformed within a year into a powerful earthwork, impregnable to assault, and even supporting the other works at the entrance of Charleston harbor with six guns of the heaviest caliber.

The shelling of Charleston continued during January, 1864, on one day 273 shells being thrown, and in the latter part of the month the fire on Sumter was renewed. On the 30th the flagstaff was shot down, and replaced by Private F. Schafer, of Lucas' battalion, who at the close of his work stood on the traverse amid a cloud of smoke and dust from bursting shell, waving his hat in triumph. [299]

Early in February, General Beauregard was advised of Gillmore's expedition in Florida, threatening the capital of that State, and he immediately began forwarding troops to that almost defenseless region. Colquitt's Georgia brigade was under orders to move, when news was received of a Federal advance on John's island, doubtless undertaken to detain troops at Charleston, or to take advantage of their absence. Gen. Henry A. Wise, in command of the Sixth district, reported that the enemy landed in force on Kiowah island, the night of the 8th, crossed Seabrook island, at the Haulover to John's island, driving in the pickets of the advanced post held by Maj. John Jenkins, with part of the Sixth South Carolina cavalry. Jenkins, though outnumbered, made a gallant resistance when attacked on the morning of the 9th, and suffered considerable loss, Capt. M. B. Humphreys, commanding the cadet cavalry company, being severely wounded. Said General Wise:

With about 150 men composed of the Stono scouts, the Rebel troop, the Cadets and Sullivan's cavalry company, one section of the Marion artillery, and Captain Jennett's company of the Fifty-ninth Virginia infantry, he held the whole force of the enemy in check; fought and fell back some two or three miles only, and in turn drove them back nearly the whole distance by such repeated charges all day that he made them fear he was supported, and he held his ground manfully until night, when he was reinforced by Colonel Tabb with a battalion of the Fifty-ninth Virginia and the Marion artillery.

On the morning of the 10th, Jenkins was reinforced by Charles' South Carolina battery and a battalion of the Twenty-sixth Virginia, under Col. P. R. Page, who took command until General Wise came up and retired the forces to a more advantageous position, across the Bohicket road. Part of Colquitt's Georgia brigade soon arrived, and a strong line was formed. The enemy's advance was met by the artillery, before whose effective fire the Federals retreated from the field. General Wise [300] did not order an advance till next morning, when it was found that General Schimmelfennig, the Federal commander, had abandoned his enterprise and left the island under cover of the gunboats. In these operations about 15 men were killed or wounded in Jenkins' command. The Federal loss was about the same. Colquitt's brigade was immediately forwarded to Florida. On the morning of the 11th, all the harbor batteries bearing on Morris island opened a vigorous bombardment, as though preceding an attack by infantry, to make a diversion in favor of General Wise.

The night of February 17th was made memorable by the destruction of the United States sloop-of-war Housatonic. This was done by the submarine torpedo boat H. L. Hunley, under command of Lieut. George E. Dixon, of Alabama. This brave officer and his associates left Battery Marshall, on Sullivan's island, that night, for their daring deed, and were never again heard from. They shared the fate of the vessel they destroyed.

The usual daily round of artillery firing continued in the harbor defenses, with little activity on the part of the enemy, during the following months, when both North and South were preparing for the great struggle between the armies in Virginia and Georgia. The guns of Fort Sumter, at noon of April 13th, fired a defiant salute in honor of the surrender by Major Anderson, and provoked a fire in which J. P. Huger, of the signal corps, was killed. A day or two later Colonel Elliott was relieved in command by Capt. John C. Mitchel, of the First artillery. On May 16th, two monitors moved up and opened fire on Sumter, but were driven off, seriously injured by the Sullivan's island batteries.

Sumter's flagstaff was again shot away on June 20th, the Federal gunners at Cummings point hitting the staff at the second shot and cutting it in two. Lieut. C. H. Claibourne, First regulars, assisted by Sergt. N. F. Devereux and Corp. B. Brannon, mounted the gorge [301] wall and lashed the two pieces of staff together, under a rapid fire. The flagstaff was again struck on the 25th, and twice shot away on the 26th, the last time being replaced by Privates Walter Steele and D. E. Badger. In return, a skillful gunner at Fort Johnson brought down the Federal flag at Battery Gregg.

With the approach of the May campaigns in Virginia and Georgia, heavy drafts were made upon General Beauregard's forces. On March 17th, the First and Second cavalry were ordered to South Carolina, and the Fourth, Colonel Rutledge; Fifth, Colonel Dunovant; Sixth, Colonel Aiken; Seventh Georgia, and Millen's battalion, and the cavalry companies of Captains Tucker, Wallace, Boykin, Trenholm and Magee were ordered from General Beauregard's department to Virginia. On April 14th, General Evans' brigade, under Gen. W. S. Walker, was ordered to Wilmington, N. C. The Eleventh and Eighteenth South Carolina, Colquitt's brigade, and Company A, siege train, were ordered back from Florida. General Beauregard, on the 20th, was assigned to command of the department of Southern Virginia and North Carolina, and Maj.-Gen. Sam Jones succeeded him at Charleston. A week later Hagood's brigade was ordered to Virginia. Several Georgia regiments were sent to General Johnston at Dalton. On May 3d, both Wise's and Colquitt's brigades were ordered to Richmond. On the 4th General Jones telegraphed to Johnston, ‘I am sending off my last infantry brigade to Virginia.’ Under this pressure for troops, General Jones requested the mayor to organize the fire brigade into companies, ordered all the detailed men in his staff departments to be organized, and called on the president of the South Carolina railroad to muster in his employes for defense of the city. Commander Tucker co-operated in this effort by organizing a naval battalion. On the 24th Colonel Keitt's regiment was started for Richmond. Federal troops, also, had been sent to Virginia and General [302] Gillmore had been called to that field and replaced by General Foster.

While these troops were being ordered from the State, the ‘reserves’ were called out by the government at Richmond. In a communication to the secretary of war on this subject, Governor Bonham pointed out that in South Carolina, unlike other States, militia officers and magistrates were not exempt and were already in the field, and that the taking away of the remaining population at home, under eighteen years of age and over forty-five, would cause great suffering next year, and in view of the loss of upper Georgia, possible starvation.

At the same time there was much change in district commanders, one of the most important being the assignment of General McLaws to the Third district and Georgia.

On July 31st, the aggregate present in various commands under General Jones was as follows: First and Fourth districts, Gen. R. S. Ripley, 3,177; Seventh district, General Taliaferro, 3,742; Second and Sixth districts, Gen. B. H. Robertson, 1,280; Third district and district of Georgia, General McLaws, 3,600.

The bombardment of Charleston having continued for ten months, on June 13th General Jones addressed the following letter to the Federal commander:

Maj.-Gen. J. G. Foster, Commanding United States Forces on Coast of South Carolina, C. S.
General: Five generals and 45 field officers of the United States army, all of them prisoners of war, have been sent to this city for safekeeping. They have been turned over to Brigadier-General Ripley, commanding the First military district of this department, who will see that they are provided with commodious quarters in a part of the city occupied by non-combatants, the majority of whom are women and children. It is proper, however, that I should inform you that it is a part of the city which has been for many months exposed day and night to the fire of your guns.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Sam Jones, Major-General Commanding.


General Foster, replying, said in part:

Many months since Major-General Gillmore, United States army, notified General Beauregard, then commanding at Charleston, that the city would be bombarded. This notice was given, that non-combatants might be removed and thus women and children be spared from harm. General Beauregard, in a communication to General Gillmore, dated August 22, 1863, informed him that the noncombatant population of Charleston would be removed with all possible celerity. . . . That city is a depot for military supplies. It contains not merely arsenals, but also foundries and factories for the manufacture of munitions of war. In its shipyards several armed ironclads have already been completed, while others are still upon the stocks in course of construction. Its wharves and the banks of the rivers on both sides are lined with batteries. To destroy these means of continuing the war is therefore our object and duty. . . . . I have forwarded your communication to the President, with the request that he will place in my custody an equal number of prisoners of the like grades, to be kept by me in positions exposed to the fire of your guns as long as you continue the course stated in your communication.

General Halleck, Federal chief of staff, in a letter to Foster, June 21st, stated that the secretary of war approved his suggestion, and had ordered an equal number of Confederate generals and field officers to be forwarded to be treated precisely as the Federal prisoners were, and with proper precautions to prevent escape, ‘putting them in irons, if necessary, for that purpose.’ The first roll of Confederate prisoners of war made out for this purpose was from those confined at Fort Delaware, and included Maj.-Gens. Edward Johnson and Franklin Gardner, Brig.-Gens. J. J. Archer, G. H. Steuart and M. Jeff Thompson, and 46 colonels, lieutenant-colonels and majors.

General Jones, on July 1st, proposed to General Foster that they should exchange prisoners, if the respective governments approved, and enclosed communications from Brigadier-Generals Wessells, Seymour Scammon, [304] Heckman and Shaler, the Federal general officers in his hands, in which they declared that a prompt exchange of prisoners, if an exchange were to be made, was called for by every consideration of humanity. They also asked for the Confederate officers who had arrived at Hilton Head, ‘every kindness and courtesy that could be extended them, in acknowledgment of the fact that we at this time are as pleasantly and comfortably situated as is possible for prisoners of war, receiving from the Confederate authorities every privilege that we could desire or expect, nor are we unnecessarily exposed to fire.’

General Foster replied to General Jones that he fully reciprocated the desire for an exchange, but added: ‘Before any steps can be taken to effect it, it will be necessary to withdraw from exposure to our fire those officers now confined in Charleston. I have not yet placed your prisoners in a similar position of exposure.’ To this General Jones rejoined that a removal of the prisoners would be an implied admission that they were unduly exposed, which they had themselves denied.

The Confederate prisoners were placed on Morris island, under the fire of the Confederate batteries, the number being increased to about 600 officers of all grades, and were there held, until in October they and the prisoners at Charleston were removed.

General Foster, on June 23d, notified the Federal chief of staff that he would begin important operations soon, saying: ‘I propose, first, to destroy the Charleston & Savannah railroad, and then to make a sudden attack upon some of the defenses of Charleston or of Savannah. If I fail in one, I will try the other.’ On July 1st, he sailed from Hilton Head with a force of 5,000 infantry, 100 cavalry and two sections of artillery. Two brigades, under General Hatch, were landed on Seabrook island with orders to push to the north end, seize the ferry, cross over and destroy the railroad. Another brigade [305] was landed at White Point under General Birney, with orders to torpedo the railroad track and destroy the South Edisto and Ashepoo bridges and the trestle. At the same time General Schimmelfennig was to attack on James island, a boat expedition of 1,000 men was to assault Forts Johnson and Simkins, and the bombardment of Fort Sumter was to be renewed with the intention of leveling its walls preparatory to storming.

This combined attack was a serious one and taxed the heroism of the brave defenders of Charleston, but, as in previous emergencies, they were successful in meeting the enemy at every point. Birney, Foster said, encountered a small force of the enemy with a battery, and though Foster helped him with gunboats on Dawho creek, he retreated and fell in behind Schimmelfennig on the Stono. The latter carried a battery on James island, but was shelled out of it by the batteries from Secessionville to Fort Pringle. Hatch marched across John's island but found it too hot to fight the Confederates concentrated at the ferry. Colonel Hoyt, of the boat expedition, was compelled to surrender with 5 officers and 132 men. Such, in effect, was Foster's summing up of results on July 7th. On the 12th, he added, that having been successful in one respect, forcing the Confederates to accumulate a large force to meet him, he had reembarked to give his men a few days' rest, after a loss of 54 killed and drowned, 133 wounded and 143 missing. His rest continued until November.

Gen. W. B. Taliaferro was in command on the Secessionville line, which included Forts Johnson, Haskell and Pringle, and Batteries Simkins, Wampler, Cheves, etc., whence an active fire had been maintained at the enemy, varied at times with skirmishing against Federal demonstrations. On July 2d he observed the advance of the enemy in force, driving in the cavalry vedettes upon the infantry pickets stretching from Rivers' causeway to the Stono. There a stubborn resistance was made by Maj. [306] Edward Manigault, supported by Lieutenant De Lorme's light artillery and a detachment of the siege train serving as infantry under Lieutenant Spivey. The gallant De Lorme, fighting too long against a line of battle, at the fourth charge of the enemy lost his guns after they had occasioned great loss in the Federal ranks. The picket line was withdrawn in range of the batteries, and the enemy advanced and intrenched, Taliaferro not having force enough to attack, being compelled to weaken Fort Johnson to hold his main line. A gunboat came up the Stono to cover the Federal flank, but was driven back by Battery Pringle. The enemy made one advance in force, but met such a warm reception from the artillery that no further effort was made that day.

Next morning at daylight the enemy landed from barges at Shell point and made the attack on Battery Simkins and Fort Johnson. Both were fiercely assaulted by the Federals, but, said General Taliaferro, ‘the gallant garrison, under the command of Lieut.-Col. Joseph A. Yates, received them with heroic determination, and soon staggered and drove them back, when, with a rapid charge headed by Lieutenants Waties and Reynolds, 140 prisoners, including 5 commissioned officers, were taken.’ The participants in this brilliant affair were the companies of Lieutenant Waties, Captain Gaillard and Lieutenant Cooper, of the First artillery, and of Lieutenants Halsey and Raworth, Second artillery. These officers and Corporal Crawford were distinguished for gallantry. Five barges were captured.

The 3d was opened with an artillery battle along the line, and the enemy's monitors and gunboats were seen ascending the Stono. Legareville and other points on John's island were occupied, and Taliaferro was led to believe that the enemy was engaged in a serious movement, on the same line as that adopted by Sir Henry Clinton in March, 1780, who occupied John's island, crossed the Stono at the site of Fort Pemberton, and [307] after gaining possession of the Stono, moved from James' island to the mainland. Nevertheless the Confederate line put on a bold front and Colonel Harrison, with his Georgians, advanced and drove back the Federal pickets to their original line. For several days afterward artillery firing continued along the lines, and attacks upon Manigault's picket line. The Federal fleet opened a terrific fire on Battery Pringle, disabling several of the guns. To relieve the exhausted garrison at the latter point, Colonel Rhett was assigned and Major Blanding with two companies of the First artillery. Battery Tynes was also under fire, but ably defended by Captain Richardson, of Lucas' battalion.1

On the 8th Colonel Harrison, with his brigade, was sent to the assistance of Gen. B. H. Robertson, commanding on John's island. The latter had repulsed several assaults, Major Jenkins commanding at the front, and after the arrival of the Georgians, made an attack in turn, on the morning of the 9th, driving the enemy from his first intrenched line to the second, beyond Burden's causeway, and occupying the elevated ground necessary to the Federals to enfilade Taliaferro's [308] line on James island. The entire Confederate loss was 37 killed and 9wounded.2

While the battle was in progress on John's island, a Brooke gun, brought to Battery Pringle, drove the enemy's wooden boats down stream. An attempt of the enemy to float fire rafts with the tide against the Stono bridge was defeated by Lieutenant Smith, with a detachment of the naval battalion, who brought them to shore, and a second barge attack on Fort Johnson was repulsed, the garrison being aided by Le Gardeur's battery and a company of marines. On the 11th the enemy disappeared.

In his detailed report, Gen. Sam Jones said: ‘Officers captured concur in representing that the expedition was well and carefully considered and planned, and was confidently expected to result in the capture of Charleston. That it failed is due, under Providence, to the gallantry and good conduct of our officers and men.’ His aggregate of losses was 33 killed and 96 wounded.

The part of this campaign which fell upon Fort Sumter was a fierce bombardment by day and night, in which from July 7th to July 31st inclusive, 7,000 shot and shell took effect. On the 7th the flag was cut down three times. On the 20th Commandant Mitchel, one of the most gallant officers of the artillery service, was mortally wounded while making an observation from the highest point of the fort. Capt. John Johnson, the faithful engineer-in-chief, was severely wounded on the 28th. But in spite of this terrific bombardment, and a new sort of attack—floating powder boats to explode in its vicinity— Sumter remained invulnerable. Capt. Thomas A. Huguenin [309] succeeded Mitchel in command, and remained in charge until on the night of February 17, 1865, he went the rounds of the indomitable fortress for the last time, and abandoned it to the enemy who had never been able to enter its walls while a Confederate soldier remained on guard.

Major Jenkins, on August 20th, found it necessary to burn the village of Legareville. The Stono scouts, owners of property in the place, volunteered to aid in the work, sixteen of the members applying the torches to their own dwellings.

On October 5th, Maj.-Gen. W. J. Hardee took com-mand of the department, relieving General Jones, whom he assigned to command of the State, exclusive of General McLaws' district in the southeast. [310]

1 General Taliaferro gave his loss in the campaign at 10 killed and 25 wounded. He particularly commended the gallantry of the men on his advanced line under unremitting fire for eight days and nights from the enemy's monitors, gunboats, mortar boats and land batteries. These troops were detachments from the First and Second artillery, Company B, siege train; First cavalry, First infantry (regulars), Kirk's and Peeples' squadrons of cavalry and Harrison's and Bonaud's Georgians, the South Carolina officers commanding being Major Manigault, Major Blanding, Capts. R. P. Smith, Dickson, Warley, Rivers, Witherspoon, Burnet, Humbert, Stallings, Kennedy, Porcher Smith and Trezevant. The Stono batteries, under Majors Lucas and Blanding, were commanded by Captains Hayne, Richardson, Rhett, King, Lieutenants Ogier (specially distinguished), Martin, Reveley, Lucas, Ford and Stuart. Lieutenant-Colonel Brown at Fort Lamar, and the light batteries under Captain Wheaton, did good service, and Colonels Black, Frederick and Rhett were faithful and efficient in their duties commanding on the east and west and in reserve.

2 General Robertson specially commended, aside from the gallant Georgians who led in the charge on the 9th, the Washington, Marion, and Inglis batteries, under Colonel Kemper, Major Jenkins, Sergeant Jervais and Privates Miller and Bryan of the Stono scouts; Private A. J. White, of the Second cavalry, and a portion of the Second cavalry under Captain Clark, who defended the right of the line on the first day and lost 13 out of 21 engaged. Captain Dean, of the same regiment. with 13 men, also participated in this heroic fight.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Sam Jones (11)
Stephen Elliott (11)
Alfred Rhett (8)
John Jenkins (8)
J. G. Foster (8)
W. B. Taliaferro (7)
G. T. Beauregard (7)
Henry A. Wise (6)
Q. A. Gillmore (6)
P. H. Colquitt (5)
James Jonathan Lucas (4)
James Sullivan (3)
Schimmelfennig (3)
B. H. Robertson (3)
John C. Mitchel (3)
McLaws (3)
Edward Manigault (3)
John Johnson (3)
G. P. Harrison (3)
W. T. Glassell (3)
J. Carlin (3)
Ormsby Blanding (3)
L. D. Waties (2)
J. G. Tucker (2)
Robert Press Smith (2)
Porcher Smith (2)
Constant H. Rivers (2)
Roswell Sabine Ripley (2)
John Peter Richardson (2)
P. R. Page (2)
Joseph E. Johnston (2)
Lewis M. Hatch (2)
C. B. Foster (2)
Birney (2)
Robert Anderson (2)
Joseph A. Yates (1)
Anna S. Witherspoon (1)
A. J. White (1)
Wheaton (1)
Wessells (1)
A. F. Warley (1)
G. A. Wardlow (1)
William Henry Wallace (1)
W. S. Walker (1)
Jacob Valentine (1)
James Tupper (1)
Trezevant (1)
W. L. Trenholm (1)
J. H. Tombs (1)
M. Jeff Thompson (1)
Tabb (1)
J. E. B. Stuart (1)
G. H. Steuart (1)
Walter Steele (1)
Stallings (1)
Spivey (1)
Shaler (1)
M. H. Sellers (1)
F. Schafer (1)
Seymour Scammon (1)
D. B. Saussure (1)
B. Huger Rutledge (1)
R. S. Ripley (1)
G. W. Reynolds (1)
Raworth (1)
Alexander Peeples (1)
Thomas L. Ogier (1)
James Douglas Montgomery (1)
J. L. Miller (1)
Robert Martin (1)
J. Foster Marshall (1)
Magee (1)
Lorme (1)
M. J. Kirk (1)
John D. Kennedy (1)
Kemper (1)
Lawrence M. Keitt (1)
Edward Johnson (1)
Jervais (1)
Jennett (1)
George S. James (1)
F. L. Hunley (1)
M. B. Humphreys (1)
Joseph B. Humbert (1)
Thomas A. Huguenin (1)
J. P. Huger (1)
James A. Hoyt (1)
Heckman (1)
Isaac W. Hayne (1)
D. B. Harris (1)
L. A. Harper (1)
F. H. Harleston (1)
William J. Hardee (1)
Edwin Lindsley Halsey (1)
Halleck (1)
T. S. Hale (1)
Johnson Hagood (1)
J. F. Gilmer (1)
Franklin Gardner (1)
Le Gardeur (1)
Peter C. Gaillard (1)
Edward D. Frost (1)
A. J. Frederick (1)
John G. Foster (1)
Ford (1)
Elizabeth J. Fleming (1)
E. S. Fickling (1)
Nathan George Evans (1)
E. A. Erwin (1)
John Dunovant (1)
George E. Dixon (1)
Dickson (1)
N. F. Devereux (1)
Alvin H. Dean (1)
Currie (1)
Edward A. Crawford (1)
S. Cooper (1)
Henry Clinton (1)
T. H. Clark (1)
C. H. Claibourne (1)
Barnwell Rhett Burnet (1)
W. C. Buckheister (1)
H. Bryan (1)
J. N. Brown (1)
B. Brannon (1)
Stephen M. Boykin (1)
Milledge Luke Bonham (1)
Bonaud (1)
A. J. Bluett (1)
John L. Black (1)
W. S. Basinger (1)
D. E. Badger (1)
J. J. Archer (1)
D. Wyatt Aiken (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: