On Saturday, August 22, 1863, at Charlestown, South Carolina with the Union bombardment of Confederate fortifications at Sumter, Fortress Wagner, and other sites in its sixth day, Union General Q. A. Gillmore ordered Union guns on Morris Island to begin a direct bombardment of the city and civilian residents of Charlestown.
An 8 inch diameter Parrott gun, capable of propelling a 200 pound incendiary device, shelled Charlestown for the better part of a day, spreading fear, confusion, and disgust among the town’s citizens. After a brief truce to allow non-military personnel to evacuate the city, the Parrott gun—nicknamed “the Swamp Angel”—resumed its shelling.
However, firing its thirty-sixth round into Charlestown the Swamp Angel exploded, thus temporarily providing a respite for the embattled, remaining defenders and citizens of Charlestown.