On September 1 and 2, 1863 at Charlestown, South Carolina the Federal bombardment of Confederate defenses resumed with a total of 627 shot fired against Fortress Wagner on Morris Island and against Fort Sumter in Charlestown’s harbor.
As September 1863 dawned, Abraham Lincoln seemed assured of ultimate Union victory, while Jefferson Davis focused on rallying the Southern masses to avoid defeat. On their respective homefronts, the public responded in differing ways.
In the North, many realized that despite Gettysburg and Vicksburg the war was not about to end; stopping Lee’s invasion of the North constituted a defensive, rather than offensive, victory. Vicksburg was a strategic victory, disrupting internal commerce within the Confederacy but not necessarily blunting Confederate military activity.
By the last days of August 1863 President Abraham Lincoln believed that the North had gained the upper hand against the Confederacy. In July, Vicksburg in the West and Gettysburg in southern Pennsylvania had been clear Northern victories.
On Wednesday, August 26, 1863 President Jefferson Davis contacted South Carolina’s commander, General Pierre Beauregard. Davis was justifiably concerned about the Union assault against Charlestown’s defenses and constantly questioned Beauregard about his troop strength, possible reinforcements, and potential strategies for defending the city.
On Wednesday, August 26, 1863 at Abingdon, Virginia the controversial, former United States Secretary of War and Confederate general John B. Floyd died. Born in 1783, Floyd graduated from South Carolina College and eventually entered the legal profession and politics.
Elected Virginia governor in 1849, Floyd joined the James Buchanan administration in 1857 as Secretary of War. He left the administration after Lincoln’s election, surrounded by rumors that he had transferred large stores of government arms into the South in the anticipation of the Civil War.
In an effort to curb guerilla warfare in Missouri and Kansas, Union General Thomas Ewing who commanded at Kansas City, on Tuesday, August 25, 1863 issued General Order No. 11. All persons in Jackson, Cass, and Bates counties, Missouri, plus parts of Vernon County, were immediately to evacuate their homes.
On Sunday, August 23, 1863 Union General Q.A. Gillmore ended his week-long bombardment of Charlestown’s Confederate defenses and civilian population.
Over five thousand artillery shells had been fired against the city’s defenders; Fort Sumter’s entire garrison had but one functional piece of artillery left. Gillmore became one of the first generals to bombard a civilian center in the hope of achieving a military end. In truth, the shelling of Charleston only fueled the defenders’ hatred for their enemies.
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.
On Friday, August 21, 1863 armed gunmen lead by the notorious William Clark Quantrill attacked Lawrence, Kansas, killing approximately 150 men and boys and destroying over a half million dollars of property. Only women and children were spared, with few men escaping.
Quantrill’s Raiders targeted Lawrence because of the town's long support of abolition and its reputation as a center for Jayhawkers and Redlegs, who were free-state militia and vigilante groups known for attacking and destroying farms and plantations in Missouri's pro-slavery western counties.
On August 20, 1863 in the far American West Union Colonel Christopher “Kit” Carson’s command took to the field to operate against the Navajo Indians. Carson’s superiors hated the Navajo and believed that Navajo lands contained gold which could be exploited, if that tribe was subdued.
For the next four months Carson operated in the area of Canon de Chelly, using a scorched earth policy designed to force the Navajo to move to a government reservation at Bosque Redondo on the Pecos River near Fort Sumner, New Mexico.