Battles & Leaders of the Civil War
THE ARMY BEFORE CHARLESTON IN 1863.
THIRTY-POUNDER PARROTT RIFLES IN BATTERY HAYS, ON THE UNION LINE, FACING BATTERY WAGNER.
CHARLESTON HARBOR somewhat resembles the harbor of New York in general outline and is about half its size. The city itself , occupying the lower end of a narrow peninsula between two navigable rivers, is distant about seven miles from a bar which obstructs the entrance from the sea, stretching bow-shaped from Sullivan's Island on the north side to Morris Island on the south side of this approach. These islands and others adjacent to them are separated from the main-land by soft alluvial marshes that range in width from one to three miles, and in depth from about fifteen to eighteen feet, and are cut up by numerous creeks and deep bayous, and are submerged by all tides higher than an ordinary flood. The width of the throat of the harbor between Sullivan's and Morris islands is 2700 yards, which is practically narrowed to about one mile by a shoal that makes out from the south side, on the northern edge of which stands Fort Sumter.
The position in its general features seemed to invite an assault by water, and to present a peculiarly attractive field for naval heroism and prowess ; while its approaches by land from the sea islands which we occupied were practically closed by impassable swarnps to any but a greatly superior force.
The defenses which had been constructed hy the United States for the harbor and city of Charleston were designed to resist a naval attack only.
They comprised :
(1) Fort Sumter, a strong brick work, as strength was reckoned in those days, mounting two tiers of guns in casemates and one tier en. barbette. It stands on the southern edge of the channel, distant three and one-third miles from the nearest point of the city. It was planned for 135 guns, but never received its full armament. The embrasures or ports of the second tier, not having been finished when the war began, were bricked up by