Opinion

This week in the Civil War | Confederates abandon Morris Island off Charleston, S.C.

Sporadic shelling of Confederate defenses on Morris Island, off the coast of South Carolina at the mouth of Charleston Harbor, took a toll this week 150 years ago in the Civil War.

The night of Sept. 6, 1863, the Confederate garrison at Battery Wagner on Morris Island was evacuated — leaving the Union to control the barrier island near the harbor entrance.

The battery was the object of a failed and bloody assault in July 1863 by African-American soldiers who fought courageously but were driven back by Confederate foes in fierce combat.

One far bigger prize remained elusive to Union leadership: Confederate-held Fort Sumter.

On Sept. 1, 1863, a Union frigate and other warships attempted to bombard Fort Sumter, which had been sporadically shelled for weeks from nearby vantage points.

But the fort, where the Civil War began in April 1861, remained firmly in Confederate hands even as it was being pounded to rubble. Attempts to take the fort, including an attempt in early September by hundreds of Union forces, all failed.

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