Sporadic shelling of Confederate defenses on Morris Island, at the mouth of Charleston Harbor, S.C., have their effect this week 150 years ago in the Civil War. The night of Sept. 6-7, 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 remains elusive to Union leadership: Confederate-held Fort Sumter. On Sept. 1, 1863, a Union frigate and other warships attempt to bombard Fort Sumter, which has been sporadically shelled for weeks from nearby vantage points.
But Fort Sumter, 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, have all failed.