Fort Sumter – 2nd Major Bombardment

Events around Charleston South Carolina during the period of the 2nd Major Bombardment of Fort Sumter (October 26 to December 7, 1863), with other activities out to the end of that year.

The Bombardment of Fort Sumter

October 26 – Start of the bombardment

October 27-28 – The heaviest days of the bombardment

October 29-30 – The rain of projectiles continues and Confederates fire on a Yankee pile driver

October 31 – Buried alive at Fort Sumter on Halloween

Photo analysis – Battery Wagner transformed into Fort Strong: Part 1 and Part 2

Through the early weeks of November – “The usual firing was renewed”

November 15 – Confederate counter-fire targets the calcium lights

November 20 – Federal boat “reconnaissance” on Fort Sumter

Federal use of captured Confederate columbiads

Analyzing the data – trends and patterns to the Federal bombardment

Late November  – activity evolves into daily artillery duels

Photo analysis – Ordnance Yard on Morris Island

December 11 – Fire in the small arms magazine of Fort Sumter, prompts “minor bombardment.”

Through December – attention shifts away from Fort Sumter as both sides skirmish with heavy guns

Recovery of Confederate field pieces on Morris Island

December 27 – Confederate mortar volley attempts to extinguish the calcium lights on Morris Island and offer a “little” bombardment of Morris Island

December 31 – End of Year summary from the 3rd Rhode Island Heavy Artillery

Naval Operations

November 2 – Parrott rifle explosion on the USS Patapsco

Ericsson Obstruction Remover considered for clearing torpedoes

Common problem – monitors running aground in front of Fort Sumter

November 16 – the grounding and rescue of the USS Lehigh

Reconnaissance around Hilton Head through Skull Creek and later fears the Confederates might sortie an ironclad by that route

Repair work on the monitors at Hilton Head

December 5 – Mistakes, failures, and accusations at Murell’s Inlet

December 6 – the loss of the USS Weehawken

December 20 – USS Huron captures the blockade runner Chatham in Doboy Sound out of Darien, Georgia

Dahlgren plans a raid against Confederate interests at Murell’s Inlet

But that raid is only partially successful

USS Nipsic is well received for blockade duty

Bombardment of Charleston

November 17 – Bombardment of Charleston resumes

Use of “fire shells” against Charleston

Christmas Day bombardment of Charleston


November 26 – Federals build obstructions on the Stono River at Legareville

Beauregard plans an ambush of US gunboats at Legareville

Confederate preparations for action at Legareville

Christmas day – an ambush done badly

Robert Blake – Medal of Honor awarded for action at Legareville

US Navy recovered the Confederate howitzers from Legareville

Federal plans and procrastinations

Seymour’s plan to break Confederate railroad infrastructure

Secretary Wells urged action… but not so rash as to prompt a disaster

Gillmore orders that USCT be assigned work equal to white troops

Seymour’s Cape Fear plan

A raid on the Pocotaligo River

Thanksgiving Day in the Department of the South

Gillmore summarizes the attitudes towards USCT in the Department of the South

Gillmore’s plans for winter operations

Confederate Responses and Reorganization

Confederate military districts in South Carolina – evolution of the districts and boundaries through 1863

President Davis visits Charleston

Problems with desertion in the Department

Repairing and rebuilding Fort Sumter – Chevaux-de-frise and mountain howitzers on the parapets

Building the first of Fort Sumter’s Three Gun Batteries

Decline of Charleston as a blockade runner port of entry

Delays improving defenses on Sullivan’s Island and a review of those defenses as they stood in November-December 1863

African-American labor used to build the defenses around Charleston

Captain Magee scouts the Federal communication lines along the coast

Archibald McLeish’s Vulcan Iron Works in Charleston

10-inch Columbiads of Model 1844, Rifled and Banded by Confederates

Execution of Private Elisha Clarke

Loss of the Floating Battery

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