Morris Island Campaign

Blog posts about the campaign fought over Morris Island from the summer of 1863 to the end of that year.


Federal batteries on Folly Island

Confederate defenses on Morris Island

Gillmore’s plan of action on Morris Island

The “Maneuver” Phase of the Campaign – July 10-18

Landings on Morris Island – July 10

Diversionary raid on the Edisto River – July 10

Demonstration on James Island – July 10-13

First assault on Battery Wagner – July 11

Preparations for the second assault on Battery Wagner

Battle of Grimball’s Landing – July 16

Second assault on Battery Wagner – July 18

Battery Wagner’s earthworks and armament

First phase of Siege Operations on Morris Island – July 19 to August 16

First parallel established – July 19

Confederates strengthen James Island batteries

Second parallel opened – July 23-24

Gillmore’s evolving plans – Two sieges for the price of one!

Confederate bombardment of Morris Island siege line

Reinforcements for the Department of the South

Naval bombardments of Battery Wagner, Battery Gregg, and Fort Sumter

Encounter between the blockade runner/torpedo boat Juno and a navy launch – night of August 5-6

Third parallel established on August 9-10

The Siege Batteries

First Parallel:

Battery Weed and other mortar positions on the right of the line

The Naval Battery on the First Parallel

Battery Reynolds as a mortar battery

Second Parallel:

Battery Kearny on the second parallel – July 26-27

Battery Brown (and a second look) on the second parallel – July 26-27

Batteries Rosecrans and Meade – July 28-August 1

Howitzer battery, Napoleon guns, Wiard rifles, and the Surf Battery

Left Batteries:

Battery Hays – 20- and 30-pdr Parrot batteries and 8-inch Parrott in advance position of Battery Hays

Battery Stevens and Battery Reno

Battery Strong and the 10-inch Parrott

Mortar batteries on the left – Batteries O’Rorke and Kirby

Photo looking at the first and second parallels

First Bombardment of Fort Sumter and Advancing Siege Lines – August 17-September 4

Start of the bombardment of Fort Sumter (August 17) and the practice of fire used

Confederates reduce the armament of Fort Sumter

Fourth parallel established, but short of objectives due to Dantzler’s counterattack

Effects of the bombardment of Fort SumterAnalysis of the photo taken in September 1863.

Federal siege operations hit a lull – August 23-25.

Battle for “the ridge” and establishment of fifth parallel on August 26.

Building up the fifth parallel for the final surge

Fort Sumter reduced to “infantry outpost.”

Loss of the Confederate steamer Sumter

The Marsh Battery – A.K.A. Swamp Angel

Initial reconnaissance of the marshes, including tests done by Colonel Serrell

Construction of the Marsh Battery

Reflections on the use of the Swamp Angel against Charleston

“Walk Around” of the Swamp Angel

Addition of batteries on Black Island to fire on Charleston

The final Drive on Battery Wagner – September 5-7

Federals resume advancing the siege lines on September 5

Siege lines reach Battery Wagner on September 6

Confederates evacuate Battery Wagner on September 7

Postscript – Attempts to take Fort Sumter – September 8-9

September 8 – a busy day at Charleston

Grounding of the USS Weehawken and subsequent battle (cross post on Navy Sesqui Blog)

Photo analysis – George Cook photographs the ironclads in action

Fort Sumter Boat Assault – failures with coordinationfailures in execution

150 years later – NPS flies the “Stainless Banner” over Fort Sumter

Some thoughts on the campaign

“Sidebars” on weapons, tactics, and other topics

Billinghurst-Requa Battery Gun

Confederate banded and rifled 8-inch Columbiads

7-inch Triple Banded Brooke

12.75-inch Blakely Rifles

Main Bombproof and Command Post

Improved mortar platforms on Morris Island

Iron embrasures for the batteries

Use of Calcium Lights on Morris Island

Confederate Torpedoes on Morris Island

Confederate balloon operations around Charleston

Labor arrangements for the Federals on Morris Island

Comparison of Federal white and black work parties on Morris Island

Use of USCT force policy changes in the Department of the South

3 thoughts on “Morris Island Campaign

  1. Craig, I thoroughly enjoyed your series on Morris Island–my only question or suggestion pertains to visiting the island today. I realize that there is really nothing to see and that mother nature has eroded any of the sites, but are there any landmarks/ benchmarks that a first time visitor might use in determining the location of the actions that took place. I plan on visiting Morris Island next spring, and I was curious. Thanks for your good work

    • Ken, the last time I was out there was in the 1990s. The site of the Marsh Battery and that of Payne’s Wharf are still visible, but only accessed by boat. Technically the ground on which Fort Putnam stood is still dry land. But I don’t think any of the original works survives today.

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