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Log of Charleston Civil War Battles

I. Fort Sumter

CWSAC Reference #: SC001

Other Names: None

Preservation Priority: III.1 (Class A)

Location: City of Charleston

Campaign: Operations in Charleston Harbor (April 1861)

Date(s): April 12-13, 1861

Principal Commanders: Maj. Robert Anderson [US]; Brig. Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard [CS]

Forces Engaged: Regiments: 580 total (US 80; CS est. 500)

Estimated Casualties: None

Description: On April 10, 1861, Brig. Gen. Beauregard, in command of the provisional Confederate forces at Charleston, South Carolina, demanded the surrender of the Union garrison of Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. Garrison commander Anderson refused. On April 12, Confederate batteries opened fire on the fort, which was unable to reply effectively. At 2:30 p.m., April 13, Major Anderson surrendered Fort Sumter, evacuating the garrison on the following day. The bombardment of Fort Sumter was the opening engagement of the American Civil War. Although there were no casualties during the bombardment, one Union artillerist was killed and three wounded (one mortally) when a cannon exploded prematurely when firing a salute during the evacuation.

Result(s): Confederate victory


II. Secessionville

CWSAC Reference #: SC002

Other Names: Ft. Lamar, James Island

Preservation Priority: I.3 (Class B)

Location: City of Charleston

Campaign: Operations against Charleston (June 1862)

Date(s): June 16, 1862

Principal Commanders: Brig. Gen. Henry Benham [US]; Brig. Gen. Nathan Evans [CS]

Forces Engaged: 8,600 total (US 6,600; CS 2,000)

Estimated Casualties: 889 total (US 685; CS 204)

Description: Early June 1862, Maj. Gen. David Hunter transported Horatio G. Wright's and Isaac I. Stevens's Union divisions under immediate direction of Brig. Gen. Henry Benham to James Island where they entrenched at Grimball's Landing near the southern flank of the Confederate defenses. On June 16, contrary to Hunter's orders, Benham launched an unsuccessful frontal assault against Fort Lamar at Secessionville. Because Benham was said to have disobeyed orders, Hunter relieved him of command. (To read an account of this battle, click here. This link will take you to an online essay by Richard Cote. To return to the Charleston Multimedia Project, click the BACK button on your browser).

Result(s): Confederate victory


III. Simmon's Bluff

CWSAC Reference #: SC003

Other Names: None

Preservation Priority: III.4 (Class D)

Location: City of Charleston

Campaign: Operations against Charleston (June 1862)

Date(s): June 21, 1862

Principal Commanders: Lt. A.C. Rhind [US]; Col. James McCullough [CS]

Forces Engaged: Regiments

Estimated Casualties: None

Description: In June, the Federals besieging Charleston mounted an amphibious expedition to cut the Charleston & Savannah Railroad. On June 21, troops of the 55th Pennsylvania landed from the gunboat Crusader and transport Planter near Simmon's Bluff on Wadmelaw Sound, surprising and burning an encampment of the 16th South Carolina Infantry. The Confederates scattered, and the Federals returned to their ships. Despite this minor victory, the Federals abandoned their raid on the railroad. Although a bloodless raid, this engagement typified scores of similar encounters that occurred along the South Carolina coastline.

Result(s): Union victory


IV. Charleston Harbor

CWSAC Reference #: SC004

Other Names: Fort Sumter

Preservation Priority: III.3 (Class C)

Location: City of Charleston

Campaign: Operations against Defenses of Charleston (1863)

Date(s): April 7, 1863

Principal Commanders: Rear Adm. S.F. Du Pont [US]; Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard [CS]

Forces Engaged: 9 warships

Estimated Casualties: 36 total (US 22; CS 14)

Description: In April, Maj. Gen. David Hunter prepared his land forces on Folly, Cole's, and North Edisto Islands to cooperate with a naval bombardment of Fort Sumter. On April 7, the South Atlantic Squadron under Rear Admiral S.F. Du Pont bombarded Fort Sumter, having little impact on the Confederate defenses of Charleston Harbor. Although several of Hunter's units had embarked on transports, the infantry were not landed, and the joint operation was abandoned. The ironclad Monitor warships Keokuk, Weehawken, Passaic, Montauk, Patapsco, New Ironsides, Catskill, Nantucket, and Nahant participated in the bombardment. Keokuk, struck more than 90 times by the accurate Confederate fire, sunk the next day.

Result(s): Confederate victory (Warships were repulsed.)


V. Fort Wagner

CWSAC Reference #: SC005

Other Names: First Assault, Morris Island

Preservation Priority: IV.2 (Class D)

Location: City of Charleston

Campaign: Operations against Defenses of Charleston (1863)

Date(s): July 10-11, 1863

Principal Commanders: Brig. Gen. Qunicy Gillmore [US]; Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard [CS]

Forces Engaged: Brigades

Estimated Casualties: 351 total (US 339; CS 12)

Description: On July 10, Union artillery on Folly Island together with Rear Adm. John Dahlgren's fleet of ironclads opened fire on Confederate defenses of Morris Island. The bombardment provided cover for Brig. Gen. George C. Strong's brigade, which crossed Light House Inlet and landed by boats on the southern tip of the island. Strong's troops advanced, capturing several batteries, to within range of Confederate Fort Wagner. At dawn, July 11, Strong attacked the fort. Soldiers of the 7th Connecticut reached the parapet but, unsupported, were thrown back.

Result(s): Confederate victory


VI. Grimball's Landing

CWSAC Reference #: SC006

Other Names: Secessionville, James Island

Preservation Priority: II.4 (Class D)

Location: City of Charleston and James Island

Campaign: Operations against Defenses of Charleston (1863)

Date(s): July 16, 1863

Principal Commanders: Brig. Gen. Alfred H. Terry [US]; Brig. Gen. Johnson Hagood [CS]

Forces Engaged: 6,800 total (US 3,800; CS 3,000)

Estimated Casualties: Total unknown (US unknown; CS 18)

Description: To divert Confederate reinforcements from a renewed attack on Fort Wagner, Gen. Gillmore designed two feints. An amphibious force ascended Stono River to threaten the Charleston & Savannah Railroad bridge. A second force, consisting of Terry's division, landed on James Island on July 8. Terry demonstrated against the Confederate defenses. On July 16, the Confederates attacked Terry's camp at Grimball's Landing. Because of incomplete reconnaissance of the difficult, marshy ground, the disorganized Confederate attack was soon aborted. Their mission accomplished, Federal troops withdrew from the island on July 17.

Result(s): Inconclusive


VII. Fort Wagner

CWSAC Reference #: SC007

Other Names: Second Assault, Morris Island

Preservation Priority: IV.2 (Class B)

Location: City of Charleston

Campaign: Operations against Defenses of Charleston (1863)

Date(s): July 18-September 7, 1863

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. Qunicy Gillmore [US]; Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard [CS]

Forces Engaged: 6,800 total (US 5,000; CS 1,800)

Estimated Casualties: 1,689 total (US 1,515; CS 174)

Description: After the July 11 assault on Fort Wagner failed, Gillmore reinforced his beachhead on Morris Island. At dusk July 18, Gillmore launched an attack spearheaded by the 54th Massachusetts Infantry, a black regiment. The unit's colonel, Robert Gould Shaw, was killed. Members of the brigade scaled the parapet but after brutal hand-to-hand combat were driven out with heavy casualties. The Federals resorted to siege operations to reduce the fort. This was the fourth time in the war that black troops played a crucial combat role, proving to skeptics that they would fight bravely if only given the chance.

Result(s): Confederate victory


VIII. Charleston Harbor

CWSAC Reference #: SC009

Other Names: Battery Gregg, Fort Wagner,

Preservation Priority: III.2 (Class B)

Morris Island, Fort Sumter

Location: City of Charleston

Campaign: Operations against Defenses of Charleston (1863)

Date(s): September 7-8, 1863

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. Quincy Gillmore [US]; Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard [CS]

Forces Engaged: Regiments: total unknown (US 413; CS unknown)

Estimated Casualties: (US 117; CS unknown)

Description: During the night of September 6-7, Confederate forces evacuated Fort Wagner and Battery Gregg pressured by advancing Federal siegeworks. Federal troops then occupied all of Morris Island. On September 8, a storming party of about 400 marines and sailors attempted to surprise Fort Sumter. The attack was repulsed.

Result(s): Confederate victory


IX. Fort Sumter

CWSAC Reference #: SC008

Other Names: Charleston Harbor, Morris Island

Preservation Priority: III.2 (Class B)

Location: City of Charleston

Campaign: Operations against Defenses of Charleston (1863)

Date(s): August 17-December 31, 1863

Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. Quincy Gillmore [US]; Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard [CS]

Forces Engaged: Morris Island Batteries [US]; Fort Sumter Garrison

Estimated Casualties: Unknown

Description: Federal batteries erected on Morris Island opened fire on August 17 and continued their bombardment of Fort Sumter and the Charleston defenses until August 23. Despite a severe pounding, Fort Sumter's garrison held out. Siege operations continued against Fort Wagner on Morris Island.

Result(s): Inconclusive