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Week of Aug. 11 - Aug. 17
Fri August 16, 2013
This Week in the Civil War - 637
On Monday, August 17, 1863 eleven guns of the Federal batteries on Morris Island, aided by naval armament, opened fire at Charlestown, South Carolina against Confederate fortifications at Fort Sumter, Fortress Wagner, and Battery Gregg.
A total of 938 shot were fired in the first major, Union bombardment of Charlestown’s defenses. Fort Sumter’s brick outer walls crumbled under the blows of the huge, Union Parrott guns. Ironically, the rubble and sand formed an even more impregnable bulwark against Federal fire, especially at Fortress Wagner and Battery Gregg.
However, from 7900 yards the Federal guns could fire directly into Charlestown, threatening both civilians and the city’s Confederate defenders. By August 21, Union General Q.A. Gilmore would threaten to bombard Charlestown, if the city continued to resist the Union’s attack.