In the early days of August 1863 Union forces continued preparations for an attack against Charlestown, South Carolina and its stubborn Confederate defenses. On Morris Island near Charlestown Harbor Federal troops worked around the clock constructing approaches to Fortress Wagner.
Union soldiers even labored at night, utilizing calcium lights for illumination, while the Confederates also strengthened their defenses at both Fort Sumter and Fortress Wagner. President Jefferson Davis wrote to assure South Carolina Governor M. L. Bonham that he would do whatever he could to provide for the safety and relief of Charlestown so that city “will never be polluted by the footsteps of a lustful, relentless, inhuman foe.”
Given that the war had started at Charlestown, both sides recognized the real and psychological impact of controlling that important Southern city.