Defending Port Royal Sound: Garrisons at Hilton Head, Beaufort, Fort Pulaski, and St. Helena Island

As Major-General Quincy Gillmore departed the Department of the South in late April 1864, he left behind an assessment of the garrisons along the coast addressed to Brigadier-General John Hatch, his replacement.  In that assessment, Gillmore included a paragraph describing the needs to defend the vital anchorage at Port Royal Sound: The district around PortContinue reading “Defending Port Royal Sound: Garrisons at Hilton Head, Beaufort, Fort Pulaski, and St. Helena Island”

Federal Forts and Batteries on Morris Island, Spring 1864

After the fall of Battery Wagner in September 1863, records of Federal works on Morris Island lack the superb documentation seen throughout the summer siege operations.  In stark contrast to the detailed engineering reports and diagrams, far fewer maps, profiles, or descriptions exist for the fortifications re-purposed for the longer operations from October 1863 toContinue reading “Federal Forts and Batteries on Morris Island, Spring 1864”

“The vessel is a complete wreck”: The end of the Presto on the beach of Sullivan’s Island

Let me pick up where I left off about the demise of the blockade-runner Presto.  Bound in from Nassau on the morning of February 2, 1864, she’d managed to elude the blockaders by working in from the northeast approaches to Charleston harbor.  All that was left was a fast run along the beach through Maffitt’sContinue reading ““The vessel is a complete wreck”: The end of the Presto on the beach of Sullivan’s Island”