Battery Wagner or Fort Wagner

adiralph

Cadet
Joined
Mar 16, 2005
Location
Pennsville
Why the difference in the names? This has been some discussion in my middle school classes. The book says Fort Wagner however some of my students who came from the south learned Fort Wagner.
 

gary

Captain
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
The Corn-feds always called it Battery Wagner.
The Union always called it Fort Wagner.

Wagner was named after 1st South Carolina Artillery Lt. Col. Thomas M. Wagner. He was a Charlestonian and a planter and began the war as a private and moved up the ranks. During an artillery practice (July 17, 1862), he was mortally wounded at Fort Moultrie on Sullivan Island.

Recommended reading:

Stephen R. Wise's, "Gate of Hell," Timothy Bradshaw's, "Battery Wagner." Also see Battle and Leaders, Vol. IV for Union General Quincy Gillmore's account of the Siege as well as Confederate General Pierre Beauregard's account of the defense of the same.
 

gary

Captain
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
You're welcome.

If you can get the Official Records, then you'd want to look up the report of Maj. Thomas Brooks, the chief engineering officer for the Union on Morris Island. There are also interesting entries by Col. Lawrence Keitt who was one of the garrison commanders on Morris Island (because of the fatigue associated with the siege, the Confederates rotated the garrison about every three days, the commanders about every six days). Johnson Hagood's memoirs are also very useful in studying about the siege.
 

gary

Captain
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Pemberton was the initial commander who ordered the construction of Battery Wagner after the Battle of Secessionville (June 16, 1862) alerted them to the vulnerability of Battery Gregg (*******s Point, Morris Island). He was relieved by Beauregard who was the commander of the Charleston area. Like the garrison, the Confederates rotated the commanders of Battery Wagner around during the siege.

July 10-13 Graham
July 14-18 Taliferro
July 19 Hagood
July 20-21 Hagood
July 21 Taliferro
July 26 Colquitt
July 28th Clingman
Aug 1 Keitt
Aug. 6 Hagood
Aug. 10 Harrison
Aug. 15 Keitt
Aug. 21 Hagood
Aug. 25 Harrison
Aug. 27 Colquitt
Sept. 2. Keitt

The garrison was rotated every three days.
 

gary

Captain
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
The ***** is "c u m m i n g's" Must be the filter working to delete obscene words but that is what the northernmost point on Morris Island was called.
 

gary

Captain
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
After the capture of Morris Island, General Gillmore was unable to capture Sumter. Both he and Dahlgren tried amphibious assaults but as the Rebs read their signals, were well prepared. Gillmore wanted Dahlgren to sail right into Charleston Bay to attack Charleston and force its surrender. Dahlgren refused to sail past Sumter as it had not been silenced. Sumter by now ceased to be an artillery post and had all its artillery removed and placed elsewhere. Its importance was to guard the torpeodos that guarded the entrance to Charleston Bay. Stymied, Gillmore resorted to long distance artillery.

By April, 1864, Bureaugard pulled out most of his troops to protect Petersburg. While this momentarily gave Gillmore a huge advantage in numbers, Gillmore and 15,000 of his men were pulled out by Grant in May, 1864 to become part of Beast Butler's Army of the James. This left John Foster in command and he continued the siege. Foster continued shelling Sumter and Charleston. This was about the time when the Confederates placed Union officers in Charleston as hostages who were exposed to Foster's shellfire. In retaliation, the Union placed 600 Confederates on Morris Island where they would be exposed to counterfire by the Confederates. These 600 became known as the "Immortal 600." Anyway, Gillmore fell out with Butler and was relieved by Grant (initially by Butler but Grant had Butler withdraw the order and Grant issued one himself). Gillmore was allowed to return to the Department of the South where he finally, with the cooperation of Sherman's approaching army, was able to capture Charleston (which was abandoned by the Corn-feds).

BTW, this will be covered in Chapter 10 of my book about the blackpowder sharpshooter.
 

gary

Captain
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Scone, Higginson books will reprint the history of the 52nd Penn if you want. It's $32 yankee greenbacks. They don't honor script with Jeff on it and aren't interested in bartering corn meal or tobacco for it. I tried and they couldn't stop laughing. Cat #CWPA52I. http://www.higginsonbooks.com
 

Calicoboy

Corporal
Joined
May 3, 2005
Location
Wisconsin
Battery Wagner

It was not much of a fort...basically cannons behind sand. As much of a Union man as I am...I would call it Battery Wagner. Perhaps, because the Union had so much trouble subduing it, they felt better calling it a "fort". Either way, it was a tough nut to crack.

Calicoboy
 

gary

Captain
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Not much of a fort? You're right in that it was a tough nut to crack. 55 days of siege warfare (58 if you include the three days before the parallels were started). The Cornfeds always called it a battery and it was the Union that called it a fort.

However, don't underestimate its toughness because of the materials used in its construction. Read the Union reports. Whereas Sumter (and Pulaski) of brick construction was quickly reduced, Wagner's quartz crystal sand flew into the air and landed back on the ground. One evening's work and it was restored to position. Wagner caused the US Army to rethink coastal defense.

Sadly, most of it is underwater and no archaelogical digs have been made on it. It's suppose to be walkable on low tide. There's an article in the latest Smithsonian on the developer who wants to build homes on it.
 
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