"Negroes Working on the Fortifications in Charleston Harbor", South Carolina; verso: various sketches
Graphite; graphite and gray ink
Overall: 5 3/8 x 7 1/2 in. ( 13.7 x 19 cm )
mat: 11 x 14 in. ( 27.9 x 35.6 cm )
Civil War Drawings Collection. In 1863, the Union Army began operations designed to reduce Fort Sumter, so that the U.S. Navy could enter Charleston harbor and capture the city. On July 10, Federal forces on Folly Island, South Carolina, crossed Light House Inlet and landed by boats on the southern tip of Morris Island. Two unsuccessful infantry assaults were made against Fort Wagner, the second assault being led by the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. On July 21, General Quincy Adams Gillmore began laying down batteries for the bombardment of Fort Sumter and Fort Wagner. Later a battery was created for guns to bombard the city of Charleston.
The campaign against Charleston Harbor was successful by many measurements. Morris Island was occupied, Fort Sumter was reduced, and the presence of Federal batteries sweeping the main channel into the harbor, effectively closed Charleston as a port for blockade runners. However, the long struggle on Morris Island gave the Confederates time to strengthen the harbor's other defensive works, and the U.S. Navy did not enter Charleston Harbor until after General William T. Sherman's advance through South Carolina finally forced the Confederates to evacuate the city on February 17, 1865.
James B. Wilbur Fund
Signed at lower left in graphite: "WTC"; verso inscribed at upper center: "Negroes working on the / fortifications in Charleston Harbor"
John T. Kavanaugh Collection, Rutherford, New Jersey, 1945
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.