Civil War Reenactment of the Battle of Fort Wagner
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Civil War Reenactment of the Battle of Fort Wagner

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Civil War Reenactment of the Battle of Fort Wagner

Civil War Reenactment of the Battle of Fort Wagner

Civil War Reenactment of the
Battle of Fort Wagner

November 10, 11, 2013

Boone Hall Plantation
For more information call (843) 884-4371
The First Battle of Fort Wagner, occurred on July 11, 1863. Only 12 Confederate soldiers were killed, as opposed to the Union's 339 losses.

The Second Battle of Fort Wagner, a week later, is better known. This was the Union attack on July 18, 1863, led by the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, one of the first major American military units made up of black soldiers. Colonel Robert Gould Shaw led the 54th Massachusetts on foot while they charged, and was killed in the assault.

Although a tactical defeat, the publicity of the battle of Fort Wagner lead to further action for black troops in the Civil War, and it spurred additional recruitment that gave the Union Army a further numerical advantage in troops over the South.

The Union besieged the fort after the unsuccessful assault. By August 25, Union entrenchments were close enough to attempt an assault on the Advanced Rifle Pits, 240 yards in front of the Battery, but this attempt was defeated. A 2nd attempt,by the 24th Mass. Inf., on August 26 was successful. After enduring almost 60 days of heavy shelling, the Confederates abandoned it on the night of September 67, 1863. withdrawing all operable cannons and the garrison.

The main reason the fort was abandoned was fresh water. The bodies of the Union troops (54th Massachusetts and many white troops) were buried close to the fort and the decomposition of the bodies poisoned the fresh water well within the fort. Continuing bombardment and interception of food/water supplies by boat from Charleston made holding the fort difficult.

When the fort was abandoned in September 1863, the CSA forces left behind a large amount of gunpowder in the bomb proof. Two drunken Union soldiers were exploring the bomb proofs and set off the gunpowder, killing and injuring another 300 Union Soldiers stationed within the fort.

Within twenty years of the Civil War, the remnants of the fort had been washed away from erosion on Morris Island. A group of three servicemen traveled to the fort in May 1885 and reported that the entire fort and approaches to it had washed into the ocean.

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