Our Confederate Ancestors: Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest and His Men in Action

A Series on the Daring Exploits of Our Confederate Ancestors in the War Between the States.

Laying down the body, Forrest spread his handkerchief over his dead brother's face and, calling on a member of his escort to remain with the corpse, he mounted his horse and said to those who were present: "Follow me." Then turning to his bugler he said, "Garis, sound the charge," and away he dashed, followed by those present, with the fury of a hurricane. They galloped into the enemy as some of them were mounting to retreat, and the spirit and animation of the spectacle so enthused the other Confederates that they rushed forward like a mighty storm and trampled down everything in their front, driving the enemy in the wildest confusion and capturing all his artillery, wagons, and a thousand prisoners besides a great quantity of supplies and several hundred negroes who were running away with the Yankees. The pursuit was kept up until night. . . .

Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest and His Men in Action

From Forrest's Wonderful Achievements by Capt. James Dinkins of New Orleans, Confederate Veteran, Vol. XXXV, No. 1, January, 1927.


[Publisher's Note, by Gene Kizer, Jr. : Every son and daughter of the South can gain ENORMOUS inspiration from Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest just as his own men did. They achieved so much because of the dynamism of their leader.

The entries for Forrest in Broadfoot's Confederate Veteran index go on for pages. It's like the Shakespeare section in the library.

All you have to do is absorb Forrest into your brain then go win EVERY heritage fight one way or another, like Forrest did. If a monument comes down, put up 10 and write 10 books, construct 10 more highway battle flag memorials in the area.

Campaign against the dogs who vote to remove century old monuments to war dead and throw them out of office. Sue them if possible as individuals.

Read all the inspiring accounts of Forrest you can lay your hands on then read Gen. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and all the others. The blood coursing through their veins during the great battles of the War Between the States is the same blood coursing through ours today.

Capt. Dinkins' title way understates the extreme excitement in his article on the exploits of Forrest and his men. It is riveting. I could not put it down and neither will you.]

From Forrest's Wonderful Achievements
by Capt. James Dinkins of New Orleans

AFTER THE BATTLE of Chickamauga, Forrest tendered to Gen. Bragg his resignation as brigadier general. He felt so depressed on account of the delay and the inaction in following up a great victory, and, furthermore, was dissatisfied with various conditions which seemed to indicate that he was not appreciated by the commander in chief.

For some time previously, Forrest had received urgent requests from prominent people in North Mississippi to come to that section and organize the scattered bands and defend their country from the frequent raids by the Federal forces at Memphis and along the Memphis and Charleston Railroad. That may also have had its influence upon Forrest's decision.

It happened that Mr. Davis was at General Bragg's headquarters when Forrest's resignation reached him, and he at once wrote Forrest in graceful language saying he could not accept his resignation nor dispense with his services, and requested that he meet him in Montgomery a few days later.

At the time designated, Forrest met the President, who promised to give him an independent command in the department of West Tennessee and North Mississippi, and also stated that Forrest should carry with him such regiments as General Bragg could spare.

However, when Forrest took his departure, he did so with McDonald's Battalion and Morton's Battery, besides his escort company, all told three hundred men and four guns.

He reached the Mobile and Ohio Railroad at Okolona, Miss. on the 15th of November, 1863. He decided soon afterwards to move into West Tennessee and use his influence and prestige in bringing together numbers of men who had been furloughed on account of wounds and other causes and having recovered were not willing to go back to the infantry service.

He, therefore, crossed the Memphis and Charleston Railroad at Saulsbury and moved to Jackson with 250 men and two rifle guns of Morton's battery. He reached Jackson on the 6th of December, 1863, and went into camp with as much composure and confidence as if he had a division instead of a few squadrons.

Major General Hurlbut, commanding the Federal forces at Memphis and West Tennessee also set to work at once to prevent Forrest's escape. He sent a force from Memphis, one from Corinth, and one from Fort Pillow, in all, about 20,000 men, well-equipped, to accomplish that object.

Think of it! Forrest with but those few hundred men surrounded by twenty thousand veteran troops. No other man on earth so situated could have marched away. Forrest soon had assembled about three thousand men, who, however, had no arms, and to protect those men from capture with the aid of only three hundred men seemed impossible---but that word was not in Forrest's vocabulary.

About this time it began to rain and bad weather lasted several days causing all the rivers and creeks to overflow their banks; but on December 22, Forrest put his column in motion and crossed the Forked Deer River, going in the direction of Bolivar. His scouts reported large Federal forces moving on him from all sides, but, with about five hundred armed men and three thousand men without guns, he set out to reach the Confederate lines. Arriving at Bolivar, he was met by Col. D. M. Wisdom with one hundred and fifty men, which made his fighting force nearly seven hundred strong.

Ascertaining that a Federal column was encamped just south of the Hatchie River and directly in the line of his intended march, Forrest constructed a bridge over the river during the night, and crossed over, and while the enemy were wrapped in slumber just before day, he dashed into their camp, creating the wildest confusion and stampeded the entire force, which left behind a large number of wagons and several hundred head of beef cattle.

Forrest then moved rapidly in the direction of Somerville, where he learned that the whole country was swarming with infantry, cavalry, and artillery, ready to pounce on him. Forrest, with the additional responsibility of protecting his captured beef cattle and wagons, was in a hopeless position it would seem.

Halting a few hours before reaching Somerville, he sent some three hundred armed men and about a thousand without arms to get in the Federal rear, and, moving boldly with the remainder of his command until he met the enemy's pickets, he drove them in.

About the same time the detached force charged into the federals on the other side, Forrest sent forward a flag of truce demanding the unconditional surrender of the enemy, consisting of 5,000 infantry and 2,000 cavalry, and the Federal commander, believing that he was surrounded by a large force, began a hurried retreat in the direction of Memphis.

Taking advantage of the fright, Forrest led his escort company and McDonald's Battalion upon their retreating columns, riding them down and scattering them in all directions.

The victory was so complete that the unarmed men joined in the pursuit and captured several hundred prisoners from whom they secured arms, etc.

Leaving the Federal command scattered and in great disorder, Forrest marched toward Memphis, creating the impression that he would attack the place, which caused the Federal commander, General Hurlbut, to hurry all the troops along the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, from Corinth westward to Memphis, and also recall the forces he had sent from Fort Pillow.

The heavy rains had in the meantime caused the Forked Deer, the Hatchie, and the Wolf rivers to overflow their banks, so that they could not be crossed at all, which left the Federal forces in Forrest's rear utterly harmless.

While the enemy was hurrying to Memphis, Forrest suddenly changed his course to the south, and crossed the Memphis and Charleston Railroad at Mount Pleasant into the Confederate lines, with a thousand head of cattle and a large number of wagons and stores of different sorts. The cattle were sent to feed the Army of Tennessee.

Many amusing incidents occurred during the stampede of the Federal forces at Somerville. In the pursuit of a column of these fugitives, a Confederate officer, Lieutenant Livingston, received orders to turn back with his company. He shouted after them: "Get out of our country, you worthless rascals."

In the rear of the Federals, on a horse somewhat slower than the rest, was a trooper, who, turning his head, exclaimed in unmistakable brogue and with the ready wit of his countrymen: "Faith, ain't it thot same we're trying to do jist as fast as we can?"

Forrest had them reach safe ground, and we can but wonder how it was possible for him to escape with his wagons, cattle, and unarmed men in the face of the manifold dangers which environed him.

Leaving Jackson, Tenn., on a march of one hundred and fifty miles with three thousand unarmed men, a large wagon train, and hundreds of cattle, thoroughly surrounded by more than 20,000 of the enemy (which General Hurlbut admits in his official report), having to cross three overflowed rivers, with the loss of less than thirty men, seems marvelous. And almost any other man to have thought of such a possibility, would have been regarded as foolishly rash and perilously vain.

A correspondent of the Cincinnati Commercial, writing from Memphis on January 12, 1864, in summing up Forrest's operations, said: "With less than 4,000 men, Forrest moved right through the Sixteenth Army Corps, passed within nine miles of Memphis, carried off one hundred wagons of provisions, seven hundred head of beef cattle, and innumerable stores; tore up railroad track, cut telegraph wires, ran over our pickets with a single Derringer pistol, and all in the face of 20,000 men, and without the loss of a man that can be accounted for."

Arriving at Holly Springs, Forrest found that the almost incessant rain for a week was giving way to clear, cold weather.


On December 28 the command moved toward Como, Panola County, Miss. Forrest reached Sucotobia late Wednesday evening, December 30, and remained there until Friday morning, January 1, 1864, thence to Como.

Between Como and Senatobia runs the Hickahala River, which the entire command crossed, including the artillery and wagons, on the ice. It was the coldest day known to the oldest inhabitants, and will never be forgotten during the life of those who encountered its horrors.

The writer was ordered to move with a small squad of men as rapidly as possible ahead and press into service every able-bodied negro to be found and put them to work chopping down timber and building fires.

Arriving at Como, there was not a member of the little party able to dismount without assistance, but the few citizens and negroes of the town set to work to throw us out, and within a half hour or so we were able to begin the work. The men were scantily clad, and, with less than a blanket each, their suffering was fearful, so much so that numbers of the young recruits which followed out of West Tennessee left their commands to return home.

In the meantime, Forrest had been appointed a major general and put in command of all the forces in North Mississippi and West Tennessee. He set to work to organized his force into regiments and brigades. Four brigades were formed, the first under Brig. Gen. R. V. Richardson; the second under Col. Robert McCullough, composed of the 2nd Missouri, Willis's Texas Battalion, Faulkner's Kentucky Regiment, Kinzer's Battalion, the 18th Mississippi, and a fragment of the 2nd Arkansas, commanded by Capt. F. M. Cochran.

The third brigade was under Col. T. H. Bell, and the fourth was commanded by Col. J. E. Forrest, a brother of the General.

In all, there were about 6,000 men, rank and file. The brigades commanded by Cols. McCullough and J. E. Forrest composed the first division, and it was commanded by Brig. Gen. James R. Chalmers. The other division was commanded by Brigadier General Richardson for a short time, but finally by Brig. Gen. A. Buford.

These details having been accomplished, Forrest moved his headquarters to Oxford and left General Chalmers at Panola.

While at Oxford, the squads which had been sent after the deserters returned with nineteen of them, whom they delivered to General Forrest. He gave orders that in consequence of this desertion and disgraceful conduct, the whole lot should be shot, and instructions were issued that the executions would take place at an early date.

The news spread like a cyclone, and very soon prominent citizens and ladies, also every clergyman in Oxford, waited on General Forrest with urgent appeals to forgive the boys and spare their lives. Some of the officers advised Forrest that they had intimations of meetings among the soldiers.

But he was unmoved, and apparently determined on the executions. All preparations were carried out and one a bright morning, the 20th of January, 1864, the procession of wagons containing the deserters, sitting on their coffins, moved through the streets to a skirt of woods just west of the university buildings, where the graves had been dug. The men were made to get out, and the coffins placed alongside the graves. Then all were blindfolded and seated each on his coffin.

The company detailed for the purpose marched in front and loaded their guns and came to a ready. There was but a moment between these men and eternity. The next instant the commands "Aim" and "Fire" would be given. But while they were standing at the ready, Captain Anderson of General Forrest's staff, announced that the men were pardoned and would return to their commands.

The lesson was not lost and will never been forgotten by anyone who was a witness to the spectacle. As a matter of fact, I do not know of more than a dozen men living who were present at that time. The news scattered broadcast that Forrest had shot a lot of boys who went home, etc., and many people believed to the day of their death that the boys were shot. The writer was present and the statement is true in every particular as given above.

A short time after the occurrence just mentioned, General Polk, who was department commander, notified Forrest that Sherman was moving from Vicksburg toward Jackson with a large force; also that a force had moved at the same time up the Yazoo River. This information was quicky followed by news that a column had moved from Memphis toward Panola, and another from Collinville toward Holly Springs.

Jeffrey Forrest was sent to Grenada to watch the column moving by the Yazoo River, while General Chalmers posted McCullouch at Panola, Bell at Belmont, and Richardson at Wyatt, all on the Tallahatchie River. Forrest soon learned, however, that a large cavalry force was arranging to leave Memphis, and he at once decided that it was intended to participate in a cooperative movement with Sherman, and that the columns sent toward Panola and Holly Springs were feints.

Sure enough, on the 11th of February, Capt. Thomas Henderson, Chief of Scouts, reported that a force of cavalry about eight thousand strong and four batteries of artillery were moving rapidly in the direction of Germantown. Forrest ordered Chalmers to move with his division to Oxford, leaving one regiment (Faulkner's) to guard the river at Wyatt and Abbeville.

Reaching Oxford on the 14th, Chalmers received orders to march with all dispatch toward Okolona, as the enemy, under Maj. Gen. W. S. Smith, about ten thousand strong, seemed headed for the rich prairies south of Okolona, which facts confirmed Forrest's opinions.

It was raining almost constantly, and the roads were next to impassable, but we outmarched General Smith's force and reached West Point, Miss., on the 17th. Forrest established his headquarters at Starkville and sent Col. Jeffrey Forrest with his brigade to meet the Federal column in the neighborhood of Aberdeen.

Colonel Forrest had a number of light skirmishes while General Smith pressed his small brigade back to West Point. Anticipating that General Smith might cross the Tombigbee at Aberdeen, Bell's Brigade was sent to Columbus, where he crossed the river and moved along the east bank toward Aberdeen, but finding that Smith was moving his entire force toward West Point, he took up a position at Waverly. In the meantime, Forrest, with Chalmers, marched with McCullouch's Brigade and two regiments of Richardson's Brigade, to the relief of Col. Jeffrey Forrest.

The situation at this time was critical on both sides. The rivers in front and behind both the Federal and Confederate forces were badly swollen and there could be no retreat for either. The Tombigbee on the east the Sooh-a-Toucha on the south, and the Okatibbyha on the west were all in flood.

Gen. Stephen D. Lee notified Forrest that he was marching to his support with a brigade of infantry from Meridian and Forrest hoped to avoid a general engagement until his arrival. Forrest, therefore, went into camp about four miles west of West Point, from whence, we could see the eastern horizon lighted up by burning houses, barns, gin houses, fences and everything which the enemy could set on fire.

The sight so infuriated Forrest that he determined to put a stop to further devastation.

The following morning he led McCulloch's Brigade to a crossing on a little river called Siloam, about four miles east, and resolved to do all in his power to stop such an uncivilized kind of warfare. He expected to strike the Federal left flank but found that the force consisted of but one brigade, which he quickly put to flight. He ordered all his force forward from West Point and found the enemy in position in a woods four miles from that little city.

Chalmers quickly dismounted his men and moved to the attack. The men went rushing and yelling at the Federal line with as little concern for their lives, apparently, as they would have shown in a skirmish drill. The effect was instantaneous and the Federals, after firing a round, mounted their horses and galloped away.

In the meantime, McCulloch had sent the force at Siloam helter-skelter. The fugitives, on reaching Smith's main column, added tenfold to the demoralization. The whole force began a hurried retreat. Having the swollen river at their backs, the audacious onslaught of the Confederates made the victory a stampede.

The Federals could not be halted. The scene was indescribable. The roads were knee deep in mud and the fields were boggy. Wagons and caissons were left behind and our men could barely keep in sight of the fleeing house burners. Stop a moment and think of the disparity of the two forces.

General Smith's command numbered ten thousand men and twenty-four cannon. Men who had been selected from the Army of the Cumberland, seasoned and tried troops, with the best equipment, while Forrest's force did not exceed 4,000 men and eight cannon.

Bell's Brigade of 2,000 men at Waverly, ten miles distant when the fight began, did not reach the field until after the route began.

The roads and the whole country were soaked from the continued rain, and the passage of the Federal artillery and wagons left the roads impassable.

Forrest made every effort to overhaul the enemy by sending detachments through the fields, but the ground was so rotten it could not be done, although the enemy was encumbered with plunder and hundred of negroes.

However, Forrest was after them and with unsurpassed impetuosity succeeded in overtaking the Federal rear guard, several times during the day, with his escort company, and had two or three sharp brushes, but was not able to bring them to a stand.

Night coming on, the command went into camp, but the following morning, February 22, 1864, McCulloch's and Jeffrey Forrest's brigades were in hot pursuit.

Nine miles out of Okolona, Jeffrey Forrest was ordered to take a left-hand road and cut off the retreat if possible. In the meantime Barteau, with Bell's Brigade, had reached the Federal right flank, which forced the enemy to make a stand at Okolona.

Forrest, at the same time, had been dogging the rear of the Federal column with his escort company so savagely there was no alternative but to fight. General Smith, therefore, posted his force in a very favorable position across the Pontotoc road, in a skirt of woods. Barteau, with Bell's Brigade, dismounted, charged across a field and met strong resistance and suffered great loss but just at that moment Jeffrey Forrest struck the Federals in the rear and caused another stampede.

Barteau's men quickly recovered their setback and joined in pursuit. McCulloch reached the field about this time and his presence added to the confusion of the Federals, and the rout became general.

The Confederates, however, in the excitement, lost organization for a time and did not follow up the chase as well as could have been done.

In the meantime, General Smith had found a most favorable position eight miles distant from Okolona, and posted his line on a ridge of post oak timber.

Forrest soon got his men in hand and sent McCullock to the left and Jeffrey Forrest to the right, with orders to drive into them.

Jeffrey Forrest, at the head of his brigade accompanied by Col. D. M. Wisdom, made the attack with great vigor. The Federals fired a volley into his ranks as he approached and Colonel Forrest fell, mortally wounded, about fifty yards from the enemy's line.

The enemy was pushed back and soon, General Forrest, hearing of the wounding of his young brother, galloped to the spot where he lay, dismounted, raised his head, and with passionate tenderness begged Jeffrey to speak. He died in his arms. They were throughout life devoted. The General was the oldest and Jeffrey was the youngest of the family. The General had been unwearied in his efforts to give his brother an education, and he felt his untimely loss. The flower of his life had been snatched from him.

Laying down the body, Forrest spread his handkerchief over his dead brother's face and, calling on a member of his escort to remain with the corpse, he mounted his horse and said to those who were present: "Follow me." Then turning to his bugler he said, "Garis, sound the charge," and away he dashed, followed by those present, with the fury of a hurricane. They galloped into the enemy as some of them were mounting to retreat, and the spirit and animation of the spectacle so enthused the other Confederates that they rushed forward like a mighty storm and trampled down everything in their front, driving the enemy in the wildest confusion and capturing all his artillery, wagons, and a thousand prisoners besides a great quantity of supplies and several hundred negroes who were running away with the Yankees. The pursuit was kept up until night. It was a wonderful achievement.

I was induced to write this story because of a remark made to me by an old comrade I met during the reunion of the Louisiana Division, U. C. V., held at Alexandria, November 25-26.

He said: "Forrest's Cavalry was the greatest body of soldiers ever assembled."

I answered: "They were made so by Forrest's example."

The Farewell Address of Nathan Bedford Forrest to Forrest’s Cavalry Corps, May 9, 1865, from Michael R. Bradley’s The Last Words

The Farewell Address of Nathan Bedford Forrest to Forrest's Cavalry Corps, May 9, 1865
from Michael R. Bradley's
The Last Words, The Farewell Addresses of Union and Confederate Commanders to Their Men at the End of the War Between the States
Lt. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, Forrest's Cavalry Corps, CSA.
Lt. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, Forrest's Cavalry Corps, CSA.

[Publisher's Note, by Gene Kizer, Jr. : Michael R. Bradley probably knows more about Nathan Bedford Forrest than anybody in the country. His highly acclaimed Nathan Bedford Forrest's Escort and Staff and They Rode with Forrest, along with other books, articles and talks, attest to that.

I am extremely proud to publish, by Charleston Athenaeum Press, his outstanding new book, The Last Words, The Farewell Addresses of Union and Confederate Commanders to Their Men at the End of the War Between the States. It will be out in the next few weeks.

Dr. Bradley's research and writing are extraordinary. He has drawn wide praise over the years as an historian. The Last Words is a masterful bit of original research where he dug out all the extant farewell addresses he could find of Union and Confederate commanders. Lee had surrendered but units were still in the field and had not yet broken up and gone home. Not all commanders gave farewell addresses but Bradley found 17 who did, nine Union, and eight Confederate. These are the last words commanders would say to the men they had led for years through bloody hell, death, grief, enormous privations, victories and defeats.

As primary sources originating from the battlefield with no opportunity for anything to influence them - no political influence, no sentimentality, no years of fading memories - these words are straight from the hearts of the men who fought in the war and spoke them except for, perhaps, Gen. Grant's address, which was not signed and appears to have been issued by somebody in the government.

Bradley's unit histories and vivid descriptions of their battles during the war make the reading of the various farewell addresses incredibly meaningful. The biographies of commanders are outstanding too.

The book opens with Gen. Lee's "General Orders, Number 9" and more or less alternates with a Union address and a Confederate address, which adds contrast.

This is an important book and you will love reading every word of it.

Below is Dr. Bradley's bio followed by Chapter Three of The Last Words, Nathan Bedford Forrest's address and Dr. Bradley's excellent historical narrative.]

Dr. Bradley's Bio:

Michael R. Bradley is professor emeritus of History at Motlow State Community College in Tullahoma, Tennessee where he taught for 36 years. He is a native of the Tennessee-Alabama state line region near Fayetteville, Tennessee. He attended Samford University for his B.A., took a Master of Divinity at New Orleans Seminary, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in 1970. He has been pastor of two Presbyterian churches in Middle Tennessee. He served as interim Pastor of two others.

Dr. Bradley is the author of several books on the War Between the States including Tullahoma: The 1863 Campaign; With Blood and Fire: Life Behind Union Lines in Middle Tennessee; Nathan Bedford Forrest's Escort and Staff ; It Happened in the Civil War; Forrest's Fighting Preacher, David Campbell Kelley of Tennessee; The Raiding Winter; Civil War Myths and Legends; They Rode with Forrest, and others including a lifetime of articles and talks. In 1994 he was awarded the Jefferson Davis Medal in Southern History. In 2006 he was elected commander of the Tennessee Division SCV and is a Life Member. He served on Tennessee's Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission.

The Farewell Address of Nathan Bedford Forrest to Forrest's Cavalry Corps, May 9, 1865


By an agreement made between Liet.-Gen. Taylor, com manding the Department of Alabama. Mississippi, and East Louisiana, and Major-Gen. Canby, commanding United States forces, the troops of this department have been surrendered.

I do not think it proper or necessary at this time to refer to causes which have reduced us to this extremity; nor is it now a matter of material consequence to us how such results were brought about. That we are BEATEN is a self-evident fact, and any further resistance on our part would justly be regarded as the very height of folly and rashness.

The armies of Generals LEE and JOHNSTON having surrendered. You are the last of all the troops of the Confederate States Army east of the Mississippi River to lay down your arms.

The Cause for which you have so long and so manfully struggled, and for which you have braved dangers, endured privations, and sufferings, and made so many sacrifices, is today hopeless. The government which we sought to establish and perpetuate, is at an end. Reason dictates and humanity demands that no more blood be shed. Fully realizing and feeling that such is the case, it is your duty and mine to lay down our arms -- submit to the “powers that be” -- and to aid in restoring peace and establishing law and order throughout the land.

The terms upon which you were surrendered are favorable, and should be satisfactory and acceptable to all. They manifest a spirit of magnanimity and liberality, on the part of the Federal authorities, which should be met, on our part, by a faithful compliance with all the stipulations and conditions therein expressed. As your Commander, I sincerely hope that every officer and soldier of my command will cheerfully obey the orders given, and carry out in good faith all the terms of the cartel.

Those who neglect the terms and refuse to be paroled, may assuredly expect, when arrested, to be sent North and imprisoned. Let those who are absent from their commands, from whatever cause, report at once to this place, or to Jackson, Miss.; or, if too remote from either, to the nearest United States post or garrison, for parole.

Civil war, such as you have just passed through naturally engenders feelings of animosity, hatred, and revenge. It is our duty to divest ourselves of all such feelings; and as far as it is in our power to do so, to cultivate friendly feelings towards those with whom we have so long contended, and heretofore so widely, but honestly, differed. Neighborhood feuds, personal animosities, and private differences should be blotted out; and, when you return home, a manly, straightforward course of conduct will secure the respect of your enemies. Whatever your responsibilities may be to Government, to society, or to individuals meet them like men.

The attempt made to establish a separate and independent Confederation has failed; but the consciousness of having done your duty faithfully, and to the end, will, in some measure, repay for the hardships you have undergone.

In bidding you farewell, rest assured that you carry with you my best wishes for your future welfare and happiness. Without, in any way, referring to the merits of the Cause in which we have been engaged, your courage and determination, as exhibited on many hard-fought fields, has elicited the respect and admiration of friend and foe. And I now cheerfully and gratefully acknowledge my indebtedness to the officers and men of my command whose zeal, fidelity and unflinching bravery have been the great source of my past success in arms.

I have never, on the field of battle, sent you where I was unwilling to go myself; nor would I now advise you to a course which I felt myself unwilling to pursue. You have been good soldiers, you can be good citizens. Obey the laws, preserve your honor, and the Government to which you have surrendered can afford to be, and will be, magnanimous.

N.B. Forrest, Lieut.-General
Headquarters, Forrest's Cavalry Corps
Gainesville, Alabama
May 9, 1865
General Orders No. 221


Nathan Bedford Forrest is the most controversial, and the most misrepresented, general officer of the entire war. He is the man liberal historians love to hate and the man Civil War buffs adore. Forrest is celebrated for his military genius and his intuitive grasp of psychological warfare (keep the scare on 'em) and damned for his supposed approval of a massacre of African American and white Tennessee Unionists at Fort Pillow and for his presumptive post-war leadership of the Ku Klux Klan. William T. Sherman said, in 1864, “there will never be peace in Tennessee until Forrest is dead.” Since controversy and argument still swirl around Forrest it appears he is not deceased!

Forrest grew up on a small farm in Bedford County, Tennessee (his birthplace is now in Marshal County thanks to a redrawing of boundaries) and became “the man of the family” in his early teens when his father died. Later he took the family to Mississippi where he became a successful farmer, businessman, and political leader. He moved to Memphis, engaged in the slave trade, and was elected alderman. By 1860, still in his thirties, he was worth over a million dollars.

Forrest enlisted as a private, was made a lieutenant colonel almost immediately and was instructed to raise a regiment of cavalry. As head of a cavalry force he rose quickly through the ranks to become a lieutenant general before the end of the war. Forrest also established a reputation for hard fighting, beginning with his first encounter of any importance at Sacramento, Kentucky and continuing to his last battle at Selma, Alabama. He also perfected the technique of striking deep behind the Union front line to disrupt lines of supply. The first attempt by Forrest at such raiding came in July 1862 at Murfreesboro, Tennessee on his forty-first birthday. He repeated the tactic in December 1862 by raiding for two weeks into West Tennessee, thoroughly destroying the Mobile & Ohio Railroad which brought supplies to the army of Ulysses S. Grant. By 1864 Forrest had been given an independent command in Mississippi and West Tennessee and there he won some of his most brilliant victories such as Brice's Cross Roads. Two other raids into Middle Tennessee and West Tennessee in 1864 cemented his grasp of raiding.

Forrest spent most of his military career doing traditional cavalry service, scouting and screening the infantry force of the Army of Tennessee. It was in this traditional capacity that he served at Fort Donelson, at Shiloh, and throughout 1863 during the Tullahoma and Chickamauga campaigns.

By the end of the war Forrest was the most feared opponent the Union had in the west and the most celebrated leader in the Confederate ranks. His campaigns are still studied today as early examples of mobile warfare.

Fort Pillow, April 9, 1864, casts a dark shadow over the memory of Forrest. Something happened there which has been exploited but never explained. After an all-day engagement Confederate forces got close enough to the fortifications at Fort Pillow to capture them by storm, doing so only after the Union commander had refused to surrender. In the ensuing chaos of a position captured by direct assault some Union soldiers were killed in a manner which violated the rules of war. The crucial questions of how many such deaths occurred and who is responsible have never been answered, though Forrest, as commanding officer, bears responsibility for the conduct of his troops.

The Fort Pillow affair was immediately exploited by the North. A congressional committee investigated the matter and published a report of which 40,000 copies were distributed, in which survivors gave graphic reports of men being shot after surrendering. One very obvious problem is that none of these witnesses gave the name of a single person who they saw killed. The men of these units had served together for more than a year, yet no-one recognized a friend, mess mate, or non-commissioned officer who was killed unlawfully. The more serious problem is that the Congressional Report has all the markings of a propaganda piece. The Union cause, militarily and politically, was at a low ebb. The Confederates had taken serious blows in 1863 but they still appeared full of fight. Recruitment in the North was difficult and very large bounties were being offered to lure recruits. The Democratic Party, with its call for peace, appeared to be in good position for the 1864 elections at all levels---state, congressional, and presidential. Something was needed to arouse public opinion in support of the war. Fort Pillow was used to provide that stimulus.

Post-war, the name of Bedford Forrest came to be associated with the Ku Klux Klan. The assertion that Forrest was head of the Klan has been repeated in so many books as to be beyond counting. The problem with this assertion is that no historian has ever produced any primary source document which proves Forrest held that position. Writers of secondary sources cite each other but none cite a document from the 1860—70's to prove their case. In short, there is no valid historical evidence to support the claim that Forrest was head of the Klan.

Eric Foner is considered by many to be the leading contemporary historian of the Reconstruction Era. His book, Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, discusses the Klan in great detail over a number of chapters. The name of Bedford Forrest is never mentioned. A growing number of academic historians admit that there is no evidence linking Forrest to the Klan, yet still the folklore is repeated whenever the name of Forrest is mentioned.2

The historical fact is that a congressional investigating committee cleared Forrest of any involvement with the Klan and commended him for his opposition to the group. Forrest also became an advocate for African Americans exercising the right to vote. Historians who condemn Forrest for his supposed affiliation with the Klan either ignore these facts or make great efforts to dismiss them but in doing so they violate the duty of an historian to deal with facts and not to substitute personal opinions or folklore for primary sources.

Forrest was a fierce fighter. His force held out until May 9, 1865, a month after the fighting had ended in Virginia and several days after it had ended in North Carolina. Forrest accepted the inevitable with good grace and advised his men to do likewise. The farewell address he issued to his command at Gainesville, Alabama is a model of calmness and reconciliation.

There were no U.S. forces present to accept the surrender of Forrest's command. On the morning of their departure the men fell in for roll call and Forrest's final order was read aloud. The men then marched by their own ordinance sergeants and turned in their weapons, the artillery was parked in a grove of trees, and the men then reported to their regimental adjutant to received previously printed and signed paroles. Then they went home.

What does Forrest's final address tell us about his ideas concerning the cause of the war? The order states that, for Forrest, the causes of the war were irrelevant but that the result of the war was obvious, the South had lost and the Confederacy was no more. The only thing for sensible people to do was accept the results and get on with their lives. This statement reflects the same pragmatic attitude with which he had fought during the war. It should be noted that Forrest had opposed secession and had voted against it in February 1861 when Tennessee took its first vote on the issue. Forrest stood by the Union as long as the Union stood by the existing laws. Once respect for law was abandoned Forrest moved to protect his home.

Forrest's Escort Company and Staff formed an association even before the United Confederate Veterans were formed and they regularly read aloud the Farewell Address. The sound advice it contained stood them in good stead during the hard economic times that followed the war. The words do much to disprove the common public impression that Forrest was a monster.


1 Thomas Jordan and J.P. Pryor, The Campaigns of General Nathan Bedford Forrest and of Forrest's Cavalry (New York: Da Capo Press, 1996), 680-82. Originally published 1886.

2 See Eric Foner, Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877 (New York: Harper Perennial, 2014). Originally published, 1988.

CRT Transformation of the American Military – Guest Post by Leonard M. “Mike” Scruggs

CRT Transformation of the American Military
Neo-Marxist Subversion and Its Washington Allies
Guest post by Leonard M. "Mike" Scruggs
Eye-opening book about Marxism in our military by U. S. Space Force Lt. Col. Matthew Lohmeier.
Eye-opening book about Marxism in our military by U. S. Space Force Lt. Col. Matthew Lohmeier.

[Publisher's Note, by Gene Kizer, Jr. : United States Space Force Lt. Col. Matthew Lohmeier has done our country a HUGE HUGE favor by publishing his excellent book, Irresistible Revolution, Marxism's Goal of Conquest & the Unmaking of the American Military. This extremely important book should be read by everybody who cares about our country and military, and people need to start RAISING HOLY HELL about all this.

It seems that every institution in our country is under attack by Marxists in the Democrat Party and their "long march through the institutions." People had better wake up and start fighting back.

Where is the Republican Party?

I am a Republican but without Trump the Republican Party is the most worthless cowardly party in history. They allow this stuff to go on when there should be universal outrage about all of it. This is not business as usual. Critical Race Theory has got to be destroyed and those promoting it, discredited.

People should demand that academia, where all this hatred and Marxism come from, be defunded. Academia gave us CRT and this racist hatred of white people, who I might remind them still make up 62% of the country. Academia does not deserve one penny of taxpayer money.

I know there are good people in academia but they damn well better stand up and take their institutions back from the Marxists or they can go down with them. But don't hold your breath.

Academia is sick. Real debate is impossible because it is 100% liberal. I know the actual number is only 90% but the other 10% will not say a word and risk the mob showing up at their office, or having their tenure denied.

It is hard to believe that anybody would accept CRT when 62% of the country is white and only 12% is black. Why would 62% of the country allow their precious children to be labeled racists and oppressors so the Democrat Party can use the 12% of blacks to their political advantage?

Black people don't like Critical Race Theory either! They don't want their precious children labeled losers and the oppressed, because they are not.

Face it. The Democrat Party does not care a damn about black people or they would solve problems like 70 blacks being shot every weekend in Chicago. Defunding the police will make that worse.

Democrats divide everybody into racial groups because that's what today's Marxists do. They couldn't take over with class struggle because American capitalism obliterated Socialism and Communism and provides so much opportunity and wealth, there is no class struggle. Everybody has opportunity in America.

So racist American Marxists seek to destroy our country with racial hate and division.

They think they can control the future by open borders, and they might. We are on track for over 3,000,000 people from all over the world, many who are COVID positive, to cross our southern border this year and be taken by the federal government to states where they can one day make the difference in national elections. This is treason. It is certainly not democracy.

Also, those 3,000,000 illegal immigrants prove that the Democrat Party and Marxists in academia are frauds who are lying about systemic racism and America being so horrible. Nobody would risk all to come to a horrible, racist country.

The Democrat Party and Marxists in academia have convinced a generation of young people to hate their own country when the evidence is in plain sight that America is the greatest nation in history, while the Democrat Party and Marxists in academia are the biggest frauds in history.

See my article on this blog: "Woke Liberals in Academia, and the Marxist Communists They love." There is a link below. It quotes extensively from the definitive work about Communism, The Black Book of Communism, Crimes, Terror, Repression. It labels Communism, which academia loves, as a "tragedy of planetary dimensions" that has murdered over a hundred million people.

And academia is supposed to be about knowledge, learning, enlightenment? Yet they choose Marxism and racism over America? Academia has taught a generation of young Americans to hate their country. There is nothing wrong with America but there is a lot wrong with the unimpressive people in academia.

Republicans and Independents believe in Martin Luther King's colorblind meritocracy, where people are judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. Critical Race Theory rejects Martin Luther King as a dupe and tool of the white man.

The Democrat Party believes skin color is the most important thing about a person and they don't care a damn about the content of one's character as long as they vote democrat.

Contact your representatives and other leaders and tell them you are fed up with what's happening in the country. Contact veterans and veteran groups, especially high-ranking retired military personnel with political connections. Write letters. File law suits. Speak at school board and city council meetings. Band with neighbors and make yourselves heard. Run for office. Set up a website and blog. We should fight these traitorous Marxists everywhere they pop their ugly heads up.

Fly the American flag. I put one on my house this past Fourth of July and I love looking at it every day, several times a day. Love it! I draw power from it!

Push for laws which forbid American Olympic athletes from dishonoring the American flag or the national anthem by kneeling while representing the United States on the world stage. They can hate America all they want but if they have to dishonor the flag or kneel for the national anthem, they can not be on the American Olympic team. Period. There should be stiff fines for disobeying this rule, and a lifetime ban on ever representing the United States in the Olympic Games again. Many athletes from Communist countries have made the point that if a Communist athlete dishonors their country's flag, they are executed.

Lt. Col. Lohneier's book was just published in May and as of July 27, 2021 had 1,241 reviews on Amazon and a 4.9 out of 5 overall rating. The book is self-published, which makes him one of the greatest American patriots of all time for taking the initiative to warn our country of this dire Marxist threat.

It is 230 pages and out in hardback and paper. It has an Amazon ranking of #2 under Military Policy, and #11 under Communism and Socialism. Buy it on Amazon and other places, and on Lohmeier's website where there is more information including videos of several national TV interviews with people like Tucker Carlson. There is a link below.

This article, by Mike Scruggs, is eye-opening. Mike is an historian, author and columnist for The Times Examiner out of Greenville, South Carolina. He goes into detail on Lt. Col. Lohmeier's book, points out acts of blatant insubordination in the ranks, and takes apart Critical Race Theory, which threatens to destroy the United States Military. CRT is well embedded already in the military, apparently starting under Obama.

Our military has always been one of the greatest institutions in the history of the world, a true colorblind meritocracy, until now. Like the Democrat Party, they are becoming anti-white racists who are super-aware of skin color and politics, which will degrade and destroy the greatest military ever. We must stop CRT now.

Following Mike's bio and article are links to The Times Examiner website, Mike's outstanding columns, and to his books.]

Mike Scruggs is the author of two books - The Un-Civil War, Shattering the Historical Myths; and Lessons from the Vietnam War, Truths the Media Never Told You - and over 600 articles on military history, national security, intelligent design, genealogical genetics, immigration, current political affairs, Islam, and the Middle East.

The abridged version of The Un-Civil War sold over 40,000 copies and won the prestigious D. T. Smithwick Award by the North Carolina Society of Historians, for excellence.

Mike holds a BS degree from the University of Georgia and an MBA from Stanford University. A former USAF intelligence officer and Air Commando, he is a decorated combat veteran of the Vietnam War and holds the Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart, and Air Medal. He is a retired First Vice President for a major national financial services firm and former Chairman of the Board of a classical Christian school.

CRT Transformation of the American Military

By Mike Scruggs

(First published in The Times Examiner, 26 July 2021)

Neo-Marxist Subversion and Its Washington Allies

The greatest threat to American security is not China, Russia, or Iran. It is the Critical Race Theory (CRT) transformation of our military. CRT is also our greatest threat to freedom.

According to U.S. Space Force Lt. Col. Matthew Lohmeier, during the first month he was assigned as commander of the 11th Space Warning Squadron at a Colorado Air Force and Space base in July 2020, he was asked by base leadership to watch two videos in preparation for training and discussion on race and inclusion. This was in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd and rioting, looting, and burning in Minneapolis. Trained facilitators would mediate discussion sessions for base personnel.

The first video portrayed American history as 400 years of racist white supremacy beginning in 1619.  The film taught that the U.S. Constitution codified a racist social order that intended to keep whites in power and subjugate and oppress blacks and that this racist foundation remained strong. The video narrator claimed that upon ratification of the Constitution, “white supremacy” was now the “official policy of the United States of America.” It also made reference to then Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel and asserted that because the mentality of white supremacy has become engrained in our nation’s psyche, he and others like him, do not want blacks to “get too far.” The narrator stated that the racism of these white people is true whether they recognize it or not, and they cannot help it.

The second video portrayed Republican politicians as racist and claimed that George Bush 2 won his election by causing Americans to fear black people and showed clips of Donald Trump before the 2016 election that cast him in a negative light, insinuating that he had fueled systemic racism in America. The video also portrayed President Trump, who was still President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces at the time this video was created and shown to base personnel, in a terrible out-of-context light directly implying that he enjoys oppressing blacks and keeping minorities in an inferior status. However, the video portrayed Democratic politicians as aiding the black community. The video included favorable clips of Barack Obama, and Bill and Hillary Clinton, depicting them as having undoubtedly made great contributions to the eradication of anti-black racism and systemic oppression of the black community at large. The video also contained clips of an interview with Marxist activist Melina Abdullah, who organized the Los Angeles Black Lives Matter chapter. According to Lt. Col. Lohmeier, Abdullah’s comments were intended to build a suitably unfavorable narrative of American history to justify and demonstrate sympathy for violent riots in the United States. Throughout the video, the United States in referred to as a “system of oppression.”

According to discussions Lohmeier had with a base chaplain, many of the chaplains were pushing the CRT concept of “systemic racism” and the belief that “basically all whites are racists” All this divisive and slanderous nonsense was being done in the name of “racial healing.”  In my opinion, CRT is completely incompatible with Scripture-based Christianity or Judaism.

Note again that Donald Trump was President and Commander-in-Chief at the time these videos were authorized by base commanders and shown to military personnel.  Moreover, the President was in the midst of the 2020 election campaign.

President Trump did not become fully aware of this insubordinate treachery until the summer months of 2020. Under the guise of Diversity and Inclusion training, the Defense Department and several other Federal agencies had been spreading Critical Race Theory (CRT). On September 4, 2020, the Trump Administration took swift action to intervene. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB), under Director Russ Vought, issued a memorandum (M20-34) to cease and desist this radical anti-American training and materials distribution. Below are some excerpts from the memorandum:

It has come to the President’s attention that Executive Branch agencies have spent millions of taxpayer dollars to date “training” government workers to believe divisive, anti-American propaganda.

For example…employees across the Executive Branch have been required to attend trainings where they are told that ‘virtually all White people contribute to racism.’ Or where they are required to say they “benefit from racism.

These types of trainings not only run counter to the fundamental beliefs for which our Nation has stood since its inception, but they also engender division and resentment within the Federal workforce…. We cannot accept our employees receiving training that seeks to undercut our core values as Americans and drive division within our workforce.

The President has directed me to ensure that Federal agencies cease and desist from using taxpayer dollars to fund these divisive , un-American propaganda training sessions….All agencies are directed to begin to identify all contracts or other agency spending related to any training on ‘critical race theory,’ ‘white privilege,’ or any other training or propaganda effort that teaches or suggests either (1) that the United States is inherently evil or racist or (2) that any race or ethnicity is inherently racist or evil…

The memorandum went on to assure all personnel that President Trump continued to be fully committed to fair and equal treatment of all individuals regardless of race, religion, or creed and ended with this statement:

The divisive, false, and demeaning propaganda of the critical race theory movement is contrary to all we stand for as Americans and should have no place in the Federal government.

On September 22, 2020 President Trump issued Executive Order 13950 restating much of the OMB memorandum of September 4 to be effective immediately.  It further contrasted the ideals of America’s founding documents and its historical progress of freedom with the lies, malign ideology, and distorted anti-American propaganda taught in CRT training. It included this statement:

Today, however, many people are pushing a different vision of America that is grounded in hierarchies based on collective social and political identities rather than in the inherent and equal dignity of every person as an individual.

The EO also cited several inappropriate training materials from various agencies, including the Smithsonian Institution, which included such statements as “virtually all White people, regardless of how ‘woke’ they are, contribute to racism,” and that racism is “interwoven into every fabric of America.” “White males” are criticized as placing an unhealthy emphasis on “rationality over emotionality.” Many non-minority participants were asked to “acknowledge their privilege.”  It also asserted that the policy of the United States does not permit promotion of stereotyping or scapegoating in the Federal workforce and Uniformed Services.

On September 28, the OMB issued another memorandum (M-20-37) on training forbidding divisive training that undermined the “Principle of Fair and Equal Treatment of All.”

On October 16, Defense Secretary Mark Esper directed the immediate suspension of diversity and inclusion training for all military and civilian personnel.

However, according to Lt. Col. Lohmeier, promotion of CRT did not stop, except for postponements (until after the November Election?) of larger training sessions. Less visible and smaller sessions on CRT issues continued, at least on his base.

In late October 2020, he attended a “book study” led by a polite but CRT-promoting officer. The book was So You Want to Talk about Race by CRT activist Ieoma Oluo.

The book teaches that the United States is a “white supremacist society” that must be “dismantled piece by piece.” The book covered the usual range of CRT subjects including “privilege,” “intersectionality,” “cultural appropriation,” “police brutality,” and “microaggressions.”

All these were specifically prohibited by Secretary Defense Esper on October 16 and the previous memorandums of OMB and President Trump’s Executive orders. Obviously, President Trump was being outrageously and secretly betrayed and undermined by senior military officers and deep state federal bureaucrats who opposed his agenda. This was also a monstruous outrage of Constitutional government and a betrayal of the American people.

According to Elaine Donnelly, President of the Center for Military Readiness, the Obama Administration began increased efforts in 2011 to shift the Department of Defense away from the principles of non-discrimination and individual merit to increased emphasis on quotas. The driving agency for this was the Pentagon’s new Military Leadership Diversity Commission (MLDC), which was composed largely of diversity consultants and leftist academics. Their reports closely resembled CRT promotions of “diversity,” “inclusion,” and the Marxist equal outcome philosophy of “equity.”

Besides the wild-eyed but clueless CRT enthusiast President Joe Biden and his radical but almost invisible VP Kamala Harris, David Horowitz recently named several top military and Defense Department officials, who are deeply involved in pushing CRT in the military. They are Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mark Milley, Chief of Naval Operations Michael Gilday, Air Force Chief of Staff Charles Q. Brown, Jr, the leading candidate to replace Milley as CJCOS, and Bishop Garrison, of the National Security Institute, and Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Defense on Human Capital, Diversity, “Equity,” and Inclusion, who according to Horowitz in leading the charge to purge conservatives and Trump supporters from the military.

It is my opinion that there are abundant signals that the Obama/Biden Administration plans to transform the military into an environment where conservatives are unwelcome and have little chance of advancement. Morale is already plummeting, and our military readiness and preparedness will soon be showing those stresses and losses in highly trained and skilled personnel, which are essential to national security, especially when confronting increasingly aggressive hostile or potentially hostile powers. Dumping the fanatical and poisonous chalice of Marxist CRT is urgent to preserve national security and American freedom.


Link to The Times Examiner website: www.timesexaminer.com

Link to Mike Scruggs's columns at The Times Examiner:


Link to Mike's book website:

https://www.universalmediainc.org/books/. His books are also available on Amazon and other places.


Lt. Col. Matthew Lohmeier's website where you can buy  his excellent book:



My article about Marxism and Communism quoting extensively from The Black Book of Communism, Crimes, Terror, Repression showing how Communists have murdered a hundred million people in their utopian idiocy:

"Woke Liberals in Academia, and the Marxist Communists They Love", by Gene Kizer, Jr.

Our Confederate Ancestors: Part Four, Conclusion, of The Daring Exploits of H. D. D. Twiggs and His Confederate Compatriots in the War Between the States: The Union Assault on Battery Wagner, July 18, 1863

A Series on the Daring Exploits of Our Confederate Ancestors in the War Between the States.

Then came a few stirring words, addressed by the Federal officers to the troops; they responded with loud and prolonged huzzas and breaking into a full run they rushed gallantly upon the fort.

Wagner, which up to that moment seemed to the Federals to be almost without life, was suddenly lit up with a sheet of flame from bastion to bastion. The deepening twilight was illumined by the irruptive flashes of the small arms and the dark parapet of Wagner was decorated by a glowing ring of fire. The rattle and crash of thirteen hundred rifles was deafening and the guns of the gallant Simkins, the light battery of De Pass on the left, and a howitzer outside and on the right flank of the fort added to the roar and clamor.

Part Four, Conclusion, of
The Daring Exploits of H. D. D. Twiggs and His Confederate Compatriots in the War Between the States
The Union Assault on Battery Wagner, July 18, 1863

[Publisher's Note, by Gene Kizer, Jr. : This is the second half of Lieut. Col. H. D. D. Twiggs' Address on the Battle of Battery Wagner delivered before the Confederate Survivors' Association in Augusta, Georgia April 26, 1892.

This is incredibly fascinating reading since most people's knowledge of the Battle of Battery Wagner comes from the movie Glory. Around 1,300 Confederates endured 11 hours of non-stop bombardment in bombproofs as hot as ovens in mid-July with no water, then, when the order was given, sprang out onto the parade of the fort and to their places on the parapet to face an attack by 6,000 Union troops.

The numbers engaged are not much different from the Battle of Secessionville 13 months earlier, on June 16, 1862, when 6,600 Union troops attacked 500 Confederates at Tower Battery on James Island, which was soon reinforced by 750 Confederates via a mile-long footbridge across the marsh.

Once again, brilliant planning and strategy, with valor unsurpassed in the history of the world, enabled Southerners to defeat, thoroughly, far larger numbers of well-equipped, well-fed, vastly-better-armed Yankees from the most powerful army in the world.]

from Lieut. Col. H. D. D. Twiggs

. . . Anticipating that the smaller guns and the light battery would be destroyed or disabled by the bombardment, General Taliaferro had directed them to be dismounted from their carriages and covered with sand-bags, and the sequel proved the wisdom and foresight which suggested it.

Again, in order to avoid delay, particular sections of the parapet had been assigned to the respective commands so that they could assemble there, without first forming in the parade of the fort, and thus ensure prompt resistance to the rush upon it which was expected.

The enemy believing Wagner to be practically demolished, and its garrison too crippled and demoralized to make other than a feeble resistance, were rapidly forming to make their grand assault.

As soon as the firing had ceased, the buried guns were hastily exhumed and remounted. The Charleston Battalion, which had all day nestled under the parapet, were already in their places and when the order was given to man the ramparts, one regiment alone failed to respond.

The bombardment of eleven hours had served to utterly demoralize the 31st North Carolina Regiment and all the efforts of General Taliaferro and his staff to persuade or drive this command from the shelter of the bomb-proofs was unavailing; therefore the south-east bastion and sea front to which it had been assigned was left unguarded.

While a faithful narration of facts requires me to note this incident, it gives me pleasure to state that this regiment fully redeemed itself the following year by gallant conduct on the field of battle in Virginia.

When the order to man the ramparts ran like a bugle from the stern lips of Gen. Taliaferro, all the other commands, officers and men, leapt to their feet and rushed out into the parade of the fort. Seeing the dark masses of the Federal infantry rapidly advancing, these veteran Confederates, still undaunted by the experience of that dreadful day defiantly rending the air with enthusiastic cheers, sprang to their places on the parapet.


The Roncevalle's Pass, where fell before the opposing lance the harnessed chivalry of Spain, looked not upon a braver, a better, or a truer band. It was a sight once seen never forgotten.

Dropping on their knees, crouching low, their keen eyes glancing along the barrels of their leveled rifles, the whole face of the fort was suddenly transformed into a line of bristling steel upon which the sinister red glow of the setting sun was falling.

The Federal columns, 6,000 strong, under the immediate command of Brigadier-General Truman Seymour, were steadily approaching the fort manned by a little more than 1,300 troops.

This division of the enemy consisted of three fine brigades: The first, commanded by Brigadier-General Strong, was composed of the 48th New York, the 66th Pennsylvania, the 3d New Hampshire, the 6th Connecticut, the 9th Maine, and the 54th Massachusetts.

The second brigade, commanded by Col. Putnam, consisted of the 7th New Hampshire, the 100th New York, and the 62nd and 67th Ohio.

The third brigade, led by Brigadier-General Stevenson, consisted of four excellent regiments. These troops were from the 10th and 13th Army Corps, and were the very flower of the Federal army.

The first brigade, commanded by Gen. Strong, led the assault in column of regiments, the 54th Massachusetts, negro regiment recruited in that state, leading the brigade. On they came with a steady tramp until within easy rifle shot of the fort; they had been instructed to use the bayonet only.

Not a single shot had yet been fired from the parapet of Wagner and only the mournful cadence of the waves was heard breaking upon the beach. The stillness was ominous and oppressive.

Then came a few stirring words, addressed by the Federal officers to the troops; they responded with loud and prolonged huzzas and breaking into a full run they rushed gallantly upon the fort.

Wagner, which up to that moment seemed to the Federals to be almost without life, was suddenly lit up with a sheet of flame from bastion to bastion. The deepening twilight was illumined by the irruptive flashes of the small arms and the dark parapet of Wagner was decorated by a glowing ring of fire. The rattle and crash of thirteen hundred rifles was deafening and the guns of the gallant Simkins, the light battery of De Pass on the left, and a howitzer outside and on the right flank of the fort added to the roar and clamor.

Union attack on Battery Wagner in Harper's Weekly, Aug. 8, 1863.
Union attack on Battery Wagner in Harper's Weekly, Aug. 8, 1863.

These guns, heavily charged with canister and grape, poured at short range a withering and destructive fire upon the crowded masses of the enemy. The carnage was frightful; yet with unsurpassed gallantry, splendid to behold, the intrepid assailants, breasting the storm, rushed on to the glacis of the fort like the waves of the sea which broke upon the shore.

Oh ! the sickening harvest of death then reaped. Like the ripe grain that falls beneath the sickle, the Federal infantry reeled and sank to the earth by hundreds; yet the survivors pressed on over the dead and dying. Many crossed the ditch, and some leaping upon the parapet met death at the very muzzles of the Confederate rifles.

The Federal commander either did not remember the existence of the creek upon the right flank of the fort, or did not estimate the short distance between it and the sea at this point; therefore, as the assaulting columns pressed forward, they became crowded into masses which created confusion and greatly augmented the loss of life.

Human courage could no longer withstand the frightful blasts of the artillery, which, handled by Simkins with consummate skill and rapidity, well nigh blew them to pieces.

The 54th Massachusetts, leaving half their number killed and wounded on the field, broke and fled in confusion, and falling upon and forcing their way through the ranks of the advancing column threw it into confusion, and the entire brigade rushed to the rear completely routed.

The loss of life was terrible; the brigade commander, Gen. Strong, and Col. Chatfield of the 6th Connecticut, were mortally wounded; Col. Shaw, of the 54th Massachusetts was killed outright besides large numbers of other officers killed and wounded.

In the meantime the Confederate fire was incessant and destructive and a general repulse seemed so imminent that General Seymour saw the necessity of immediate support and he accordingly dispatched Maj. Plympton of his staff to order up Putnam with his supporting brigade.

To his amazement Putnam positively refused to advance, claiming that he had been directed by Gen. Gilmore to remain where he was.

Finally, after a disastrous delay, and without orders, says Gen. Seymour, this gallant young officer, who could not stand idly by and see his class mates and intimate friends cut to pieces, led forward his brigade and fiercely assaulted the southeast angle of the Fort.

He was received with a galling fire, for the first brigade having been repulsed, his approach was enfiladed by the centre and both flanks of the Fort, which swept the glacis and ditch in front of that angle with terrible effect.

It will be remembered that this south-east bastion had been left unguarded by the failure of the 31st North Carolina to man the ramparts there.

Notwithstanding the withering fire with which he was received, this intrepid officer cross the ditch, which had become filled with sand, and several hundred of his brigade poured into the sout-east bastion.

Heavily traversed on three sides this salient secured to these troops a safe lodgment for a time. Seeing the advantage gained by Putnam, Gen. Seymour had just sent an order to Gen. Stevenson to advance with his brigade to his support when he also was shot down.

While being carried from the field he repeated the order to Gen. Stevenson, but for some reason it was not obeyed.

Meanwhile Col. Putnam had leapt upon the parapet, and, surrounded by his chief officers, Col. Dandy, of the 100th New York, Capt. Klein of the 67th Connecticut and others, was waving his sword and urging his men to hold their ground, as they would soon be re-inforced, when he was shot dead upon the parapet.

In the language of his division commander, "There fell as brave a soldier, as courteous a gentleman, as true a man as ever walked beneath the Stars and Stripes."

An officer of his staff, Lieut. Cate, of the 7th New Hampshire, seeing his chief fall sprang to his side to aid him when a bullet pierced his heart and he too feel dead across his prostrate body.

Putnam's brigade now having also been repulsed with great slaughter, the enemy abandoned all further effort to carry the fort and thus ended this memorable bombardment and bloody assault.

The enemy's columns, shattered and torn, retreated as rapidly as possible until they gained the shelter of their works.

There was no cessation, however, of the Confederate fire during this rush to the rear, and Sumter and Gregg also threw their shells over Wagner into the crowded masses of the discomfited enemy.

In the meantime the Federal troops in the south-east bastion of the Fort were hopelessly cut off from retreat.

In the language of Gen. Taliaferro, "it was certain death" to pass the line of concentrated fire which still swept the faces of the work behind them, and they did not attempt it.

Still, these resolute men would not surrender and poured a concentrated fire into the Confederate ranks. Volunteers were called for to dislodge them, and this summons was responded to by Maj. McDonald of the 51st North Carolina, Capt. Rion of the Charleston Battalion, and Capt. Tatem of the 1st South Carolina, followed by many of their men."

Rion and Tatem were shot dead by these desperate refugees who seemed to invite immolation.

Being securely sheltered in the bastion of the Fort by heavy traverses, the effort to dislodge them failed and for hours they held their position.

Finally, Brigadier-General Johnson Hagood, of South Carolina, late Governor of that State and one of the most heroic soldiers that she ever sent to battle, landed at Cumming's Point at the head of Harrison's splendid regiment, the 32nd Georgia, for the purpose of reinforcing the garrison.

Hurrying to the Fort he found the assault repulsed, but he arrived at an opportune moment to compel the surrender of the obstinate men in the salient, who, seeing themselves outnumbered and with no hope of escape, laid down their arms.

The engagement had ended in a bloody and disastrous repulse to the assailants, and the ground in front of Wagner was literally strewn with the dead and dying. The cries of anguish and the piteous calls for water will never be forgotten by those who heard them.

The Federal loss, considering the numbers engaged, was almost unprecedented. Gen. Beauregard, in his official report, estimates it at three thousand as eight hundred dead bodies were buried by the Confederates in front of Wagner the following morning.

If this is a correct estimate, it will be seen that the Federals lost twice as many men as there were troops in the Confederate garrison.

Among their killed were Col. R. G. Shaw, of the 54th Massachusetts, Col. H. S. Putnam, and Lieut.-Colonel Greene of the 7th New Hampshire. Brigadier-General G. C. Strong and Colonel J. L. Chatfield, of the 6th Connecticut, were mortally wounded; Brigadier-General Seymour, commanding, Cols. W. B. Barton, A. C. Voris, J. H. Jackson and S. Emory were among the wounded. Lieut.-Colonel Bedell, 3d New Hampshire, and Maj. Filler, 55th Pennsylvania, were among the prisoners.

The Confederate loss in killed and wounded was only one hundred and seventy-four, but the loss on both sides was unusually heavy in commissioned officers. Among the Confederate officers killed were Lieut.-Colonel John C. Simkins, 1st South Carolina Infantry, Capt. W. H. Rion, Charleston Battalion, Capt. W. T. Tatem, 1st South Carolina Infantry, and Lieut. G. W. Thomson, 51st North Carolina.

The gallant Maj. Ramsey of the Charleston Battalion was mortally wounded. Among the wounded were Captains De Pass, Twiggs, and Lieutenant Stoney of the Staff.

It is said that "the bravest are the gentlest and the loving are the daring." This was eminently true of that accomplished gentleman and splendid soldier, Lieut.-Colonel J. C. Simkins of Edgefield, South Carolina. As Chief of Artillery, he had directed its operations with conspicuous skill and coolness, and he frequently mounted the parapet during the assault to encourage the infantry. He fell pierced through the right lung with a minnie ball, and died by my side with his hand clasped in mine. To me he gave his dying message to his wife, and long afterwards I found an opportunity to discharge this sad duty in person. Mrs. Simkins was the accomplished daughter of Judge Wardlaw of South Carolina, and not long since she joined her heroic husband in rest eternal beyond the stars.

The limit of this address would be far exceeded to give any account of the operations which for forty-eight days were incessantly prosecuted for the reduction of this indomitable Battery.

Suffice it to say that it was never reduced by artillery or captured by assault and was finally evacuated on the night of the 6th of September, 1863, after the Federals, resorting to the science of engineering, had pushed their sap to its counterscarp and were about to blow up the work with gun-powder.

In alluding to the defence of Charleston the Rev. John Johnson of that city, who was a gallant officer and the distinguished Chief of Engineers at Fort Sumter, in the conclusion of his admirable work entitled "The Defence of Charleston Harbor," from which I have drawn much valuable data in the preparation of this address, says: "It did not end in triumph, but it has left behind a setting glory as of the western skies, a blazonry of heroism where gold and purple serve to tell of valor and endurance, and the crimson hue is emblem of self-sacrifice in a cause believed to be just."

No sting is left in the soldier heart of the South for the brave men who fought us. The great Captain and Lord of Hosts, who guides the destiny of men and nations, directed the result of the struggle and made the Union of the North and the South indissoluble. Thus united, this great country which, in its marvelous development of progress, power, and wealth, has startled the world, is yet destined to compass inconceivable possibilities of achievement in its onward march in the race of nations.

Let us therefore accept, like a brave and patriotic people, the result of this great war between the States.

Let us bow with reverence to that Divinity which shaped it. Let us rejoice in the peace and prosperity which has followed it. Let us give our hands and hearts in cordial friendship and greeting to the gallant boys who once wore the blue. Let us forgive them more freely because time has made them like ourselves at last---the wearers of the gray.

But Comrades, let us never cease to honor and revere the martyred heroes who died in a cause they believed to be just.

"Forgive and forget?" Yes, be it so
From the hills to the broad sea waves;
But mournful and low are the winds that blow
By the slopes of a thousand graves.

We may scourge from the spirit all thought of ill
In the midnight of grief held fast,
And yet, oh Brothers, be loyal still
To the sacred and stainless Past.

She is glancing now from the vapor and cloud,
From the waning mansion of Mars,
And the pride of her beauty if wanly bowed,
And her eyes are misted stars.

And she speaks in a voice that is sad as death,
There is duty still to be done,
Tho' the trumpet of onset has spent its breath,
And the battle been lost and won.

And she points with a trembling hand below,
To the wasted and worn array
Of the heroes who strove in the morning glow
For the grandeur that crowned 'the Grey.'

Oh God ! they come not as once they came
In the magical years of yore;
For the trenchant sword and soul of flame
Shall quiver and flash no more.

Alas ! for the broken and battered hosts:
Frail wrecks from a gory sea;
Though pale as a band in the real of ghosts,
Salute them. They fought with Lee.

Our Confederate Ancestors: Part Three of The Daring Exploits of H. D. D. Twiggs and His Confederate Compatriots in the War Between the States

A Series on the Daring Exploits of Our Confederate Ancestors in the War Between the States.

But, my friends, I may not detain you. An eloquent member of this Association has consented, on this occasion, to revive the memory of a siege illustrious in the annals of war; a siege, the brave traditions of which will live with the recollections of Leyden and Malta, Crema and Saragossa. Himself an actor in the grand drama, he will speak with the thunders of the guns still ringing in his ears, with the incidents of the strife indelibly stamped upon his retentive memory, and with the fervor of one who bared his breast in the heroic defence of Battery Wagner. I have the honor and the pleasure of presenting our friend and comrade, Lieutenant Colonel H. D. D. Twiggs, of the Georgia Regulars.

Introduction by Col. Charles C. Jones, Jr., President of the Confederate Survivors Association in 1892, 29 years after the Battle of Battery Wagner.

Part Three of

The Daring Exploits of H. D. D. Twiggs and His Confederate Compatriots in the War Between the States

Address of Hon. Lieut. Col. H. D. D. Twiggs on the Battle of Battery Wagner, July 18th, 1863, Delivered Before the Confederate Survivor's Association, Augusta, Georgia, at Its Fourteenth Annual Reunion, Memorial Day, April 26th, 1892.

[Publisher's Note, by Gene Kizer, Jr. : This is an UNBELIEVABLY detailed and exciting account of the second Battle of Battery Wagner, July 18, 1863, by a then-young officer who was there in the thick of it. What the movie Glory did for the Union side in 1989, Twiggs did for the Confederate 103 years earlier with this address.]

Mr. President and Comrades:

My theme for this occasion is the defence of Battery Wagner, in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, against the combined attack of the land and naval forces of the United States, which occurred on the 18th of July, 1863.

The defence of Charleston harbor and of Fort Sumter, which commanded the channel approach to that city, is familiar to the civilized world. The memories of that heroic struggle have been preserved by history, and embalmed in story and in song; and while incidental reference will be made to these defences during a long and memorable siege, my remarks will be confined chiefly to the military operations against Wagner on the 18th July.

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The almost unexampled magnitude of the war, involving during its four years of incessant strife an enormous sacrifice of men and material on both sides, tended to obscure and obliterate the details and incidents of any particular military event---yet the heroic defence of this outpost battery located upon an isolated island, against the powerful military and naval forces which assailed it, "is worthy in itself of the dignity of a great epic" even in the drama which in its gigantic proportions required a continent for its theatre of action.

History fails to furnish example more heroic, conflict more sanguinary, tenacity and endurance more determined and courageous than were displayed in the defence of this historic little stronghold.

From the time of its construction to the 18th of July, 1863, it was known and designed as Battery Wagner; after that memorable day the enemy called it Fort Wagner. A brave and appreciative foe thus christened it in a baptism of blood, but that earlier name was known only to the heroic dead who fell defending it upon its ramparts, and my unhallowed hand shall not disturb it.

Twenty years and more have elapsed since that bloody day, but the lesson then enforced is as important as ever, and no richer inheritance of emprise and valor will ever be transmitted to posterity.

In speaking of the defence of Charleston a prominent writer in "the French Journal of Military Science" states that prodigies of talent, audacity, intrepidity and perseverance are exhibited in the attack as in the defence of this city which will assign to the siege of Charleston an exceptional place in military annals.

Viscount Wolseley, Adjutant-General of the British Army, in reviewing some of the military records of the war in the "North American Review" of Nov. 1889, uses the following language: "Were I bound to select out of all four volumes the set of papers which appears of most importance at the present moment not only from an American, but also from a European point of view, I should certainly name those which describe the operations around Charleston."

For the instruction of those who are unfamiliar with the topography of Charleston and its surroundings, I shall give a short introductory description of the harbor defences of this city in order to convey a better appreciation of the location and relative importance of Battery Wagner.

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Charleston, as you know, is situated on a narrow peninsula at the confluence of the Ashley and Cooper rivers.

These rivers in flowing together form a broad, picturesque, and beautiful bay, lying to the South-east of the city, which has for its Northern boundary the mainland, and for its Southern, James Island.

Fort Sumter is constructed upon its own little island of artificial rock, and is situated within the entrance to the harbor. It is nearly equi-distant between James and Sullivan's Islands, and is three and a half miles from East Bay battery of the city.

Fort Johnson on James Island is situated to the right of Sumter as you look from the battery towards the sea, and is one mile and a quarter from the Fort.

Fort Moultrie, on Sullivan's Island, is to the left of Sumter and about one mile distant from it.

Morris Island, upon which Battery Wagner was built, is a long, low, sandy sea island, denuded of growth, save here and there a solitary palmetto, and was considered practically the key to Charleston. Its Northern end nearest the city, known as Cummings Point, is the seaward limit of the harbor on the South, as Sullivan's Island is the seaward limit on the North, and these two points determine the entrance to the harbor and are about twenty-seven hundred yards apart.

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Morris Island is separated from James Island by wide and impenetrable marshes. On Cumming's Point was Battery Gregg, named in honor of Brig. General Maxey Gregg of South Carolina, killed at Fredericksburg, Va.

Nearly a mile South of Gregg, on the island, was located Battery Wagner. This famous work was erected to prevent the Federal occupation of the island and the erection of batteries for the destruction of Fort Sumter, which disputed the passage of the enemy's fleet to the city.

Battery Wagner was one and a half miles from Sumter and five miles from Charleston. Between Sumter and the shores of Morris and James Island is only shallow water, unfit for navigation.

The main channel, which is very deep between Sumter and Sullivan's Island, takes an abrupt turn to the South about one thousand yards East of Sumter and flows in a Southerly direction along the shores of Morris Island so that a fleet before entering the harbor would be compelled to run the gauntlet of Battery Wagner and Gregg before reaching Sumter and the city.

The importance therefore of these auxiliary defences against naval attack will be readily appreciated, and the necessity for their reduction by the Federals is equally manifest.

Situated to the South of Morris Island is Folly Island, separated from it by Light House Inlet, about five hundred yards wide.

After the memorable repulse of the Iron Clad Fleet under Real Admiral DuPont by Fort Sumter on the 7th of April, 1863, the enemy changed his plan of attack and the Union Commander, Genl. Q. A. Gilmore, who had relieved Maj. Genl. Hunter, concentrated upon Folly Island, 10,000 Infantry, 350 Artillery, and 600 Engineer Troops. In the meantime, Rear Admiral DuPont had been relieved and Rear Admiral Dahlgren placed in command of the naval squadron.

Concealed from the view of the Confederates by dense brushwood, the Federal Commander with remarkable skill and celerity had erected formidable batteries within easy range of the weak and imperfect works of the Confederates on the Southern end of the island. The presence of these works, armed with guns of heavy calibre, was unknown to the Confederates and was a complete surprise to them.

On the morning of the 10th of July these batteries were unmasked and a furious cannonade, supplemented by the guns of the fleet in Light-house Inlet, was opened upon the Confederate batteries, and under cover of this bombardment the Federal troops succeeded in effecting a landing and lodgment on Morris Island.

They were gallantly met by the Confederate troops under Col. Robert Graham of the First South Carolina Regiment; but, after a sharp and severe engagement, they were forced to yield to the superior numbers of the enemy, and being rapidly driven back sought shelter and refuge in Battery Wagner.

Following up rapidly this success, and anticipating an easy capture of the latter, which now alone seriously disputed their full occupation of the island, on July the 11th they made their first assault upon it.

During the night, however, Wagner had been re-inforced by 550 Georgia troops under Col. Charles H. Olmstead (the distinguished and heroic defender of Fort Pulaski) and Nelson 's South Carolina Battalion.

This assault lasted less than half an hour and resulted in a complete repulse of the assailants who retired to the Sand hills of the island out of the range of the Confederate battery.

General Gilmore then commenced the erection of heavy batteries on the island varying in distance from about 1300 to 1900 yards in front of Wagner, and thus were commenced the formidable preparations for the great attack upon it by land and sea on the 18th of July, 1863, which is the subject of this address.

Battery Wagner

was named after Lieut. Col. Thomas M. Wagner of the 1st Regiment of South Carolina Regular Artillery, who was killed by the bursting of a gun at Fort Moultrie in July, 1863.

It was a large bastioned earth work enclosed on all sides and was situated at a very narrow neck of the island extending across its full width at that point from the sea on one side to Vincent Creek on the other, so that its flanks were protected by these natural barriers from assault.

Its sea line, which faced the ship channel, was 300 feet long and its land faces extended about 250 yards across the island.

Its magazine was protected by a roofing of heavy timbers which were compactly covered over with ten feet of sodded earth. It was also provided with a bomb-proof, similarly constructed for the protection of the troops, thirty feet wide by one hundred feet long.

There was also a gallery of a similar character about twelve feet wide by thirty feet long through which the bomb proof was entered from the parade of the Fort.

The work was constructed with heavy traverses, and its gorge on the North face provided with a parapet for Infantry fire. The embrasures were revetted with palmetto logs and turf, and around the work was a wide, deep, but dry ditch.

In the parade of the Fort on its West side was a row of wooden tenements, roughly built for officers' quarters and medical stores.

Brigadier General Taliaferro, who had been stationed with his command on James Island, was ordered by General Beauregard to take command of Battery Wagner and, on the morning of the 14th July, he relieved Col. Robert Graham of that charge. This gallant officer, who was a native of Virginia and who is still living and practicing law in that State, had served with the immortal Stonewall Jackson in many of his brilliant campaigns in the valley.

While at home in Georgia convalescing from a wound received while serving with my Regiment in Virginia, I was ordered to report to Gen. Beauregard at Charleston and was assigned to duty with Gen. Taliaferro, who placed me temporarily on his personal staff as Assistant Inspector General.

I trust that you will pardon this reference to myself. I make it, because I claim for this narrative some degree of accuracy acquired largely from personal observation in the drama afterwards enacted.

Between the 12th and 18th of July the enemy was steadily and rapidly constructing and equipping his batteries designed to co-operate with the fleet in the bombardment which followed.


While this work was in progress, the monitors of the fleet would daily leave their anchorage and engage in a desultory shelling of the fort. The huge projectiles, fired from their 15 inch guns, weighing 440 pounds and visible at every point of their trajectories, made it very uncomfortable for the garrison.

They practiced firing ricochet shots which would skip and bound upon the water, each impingement making sounds similar to the discharge of the gun itself. Indeed, until this curious phenomenon was noted, the multiplication of detonations was regarded as separate discharges of different guns.

Some of these enormous shells would roll into the fort, bury themselves in the earth, and, with deafening explosions, would make huge craters in the sand, lifting it in great columns, which falling in showers like the scoriae and ashes from a volcanic eruption, would fill the eyes, ears, and clothing, mingling the dirt of the fort with the original dust from which we sprung.

Some would burst in the air; others passing over the fort with a rush and roar which has aptly been likened to the noise of an express train, would explode in the marsh beyond.

Of course our guns replied, but they were so inferior in calibre compared to those of the monitors, that they did little harm at such long range to the iron armor of their turrets eleven inches in thickness.


consisted of one 10 inch Columbiad, one 32 pound rifle, one 42 pounder Carronade, two 32 pounder Carronade, two naval shell guns, one 8 inch sea coast howitzer, four smooth bore 32 pounders, and one 10 inch sea coast mortar; in all thirteen guns, besides one light battery. Of these only the 10 inch Columbiad, which carried a projectile weighing 128 pounds, was of much effect against the monitors.


of Gen. Taliaferro consisted of W. T. Taliaferro, Assistant Adjutant General, Lieutenants Henry C. Cunningham and Mazyek, ordnance officers, Captain Burke, Quartermaster, Lieutenants Meade and Stoney, aides, Dr. J. C. Habersham, Surgeon in Chief, and Captain H. D. D. Twiggs, Inspector General.


was composed of the 51st North Carolina, Col. H. McKethan; the 31st North Carolina, Lieut. Col. Charles W. Knight; the Charleston Battalion, Lieut. Col. P. C. Gaillard; the Artillery Companies of Captains J. T. Buckner and W. J. Dixon, of the 63d Georgia Regiment, and two field howitzer details of Lieut. T. D. Waties of the 1st South Carolina Regular Artillery.

All the Artillery was under the immediate command of Lieut. Col. John C. Simkins of the 1st South Carolina Regular Infantry.

Let it be borne in mind that the entire garrison, according to official reports, numbered on the 18th of July thirteen hundred men only. These troops had relieved, a few days before, Olmstead's Georgia Regiment, Capers', Hanvey's and Basinger's Georgia Battalions, Nelson's South Carolina Battalion, and the Artillery Companies of Mathews and Chichester under Lieut. Col. Yates of South Carolina. They had participated gallantly in repelling the assault of the 11th of July and needed relief from the heavy work and details to which they had constantly been subjected.


opposed to this artillery and infantry force of Wagner consisted of four heavy batteries on the island mounting 42 siege guns of heavy calibre, and the naval squadron of iron clads and gun-boats carrying an armament of 23 of the most formidable guns ever before used in the reduction of a fortification, making an aggregate of 64 guns.

In addition there were 6,000 veteran infantry within the batteries on the island, ready for the assault. To say that the outlook to the garrison of Wagner was appalling, but feebly expresses the situation.


On the morning of the 18th I was invited to breakfast with Dr. Harford Cumming of Augusta, Ga., an Assistant Surgeon in the Fort. Our repast consisted of some hard crackers and a tin bucket of fresh butter sent the Doctor from home; a most tempting meal in those times of gastronomic privation.

We were sitting in the little Medical Dispensary over which the Doctor presided, by the side of an open window which looked out upon the parade, with a small table between us upon which our breakfast was laid.

Just as we had begun our meal, a 200 pounder Parrott shell was heard screaming through the air above us and descending it buried itself in the earth just outside the window. It exploded with terrific report, shattering into fragments the glass and filling our bucket, about half full of butter, with sand to the very top. The frail tenement reeled with the shock.

This shell was followed by another and another in rapid succession, which exploded in the parade of the Fort and were fired from the land batteries of the enemy.

This was the beginning of the bombardment long anticipated and our first intimation of it. We no longer felt the pangs of hunger and hurriedly left the building for a safer place.

Upon reaching the open air the shot and shell began to fall by scores and we saw the infantry streaming to the bomb-proof.

For a considerable time the firing of the enemy was conducted by the land batteries alone.

Finally the enemy's entire squadron, iron clads and gunboats, left their moorings and bore down steadily and majestically upon the Fort. The heavy artillerists sprang to their guns and, with anxious but resolute faces, awaited coolly the terrible onset.

It was now apparent that the entire force of the enemy, land and naval, was about to be hurled against Wagner alone, but the dauntless little Garrison, lifting their hearts to the God of battles in this hour of fearful peril, with their flag floating defiantly above them, resolved to die if need be for their altars, their firesides and their homes.

The day broke bright and beautiful. A gentle breeze toyed with the folds of the garrison flag as it streamed forth with undulating grace, or lazily curved about the tall staff. The God of day rising in the splendor of his midsummer glory, flung his red flame upon the swelling sea, and again performed the miracle or turning the water into wine.

Rising still higher he bathed the earth and sea in his own radiant and voluptuous light, and burnished with purple and gold the tall spires of the beleaguered and devoted old city.

What a strange contrast between the profound calm of nature and the gathering tempest of war, whose consuming lightnings and thunders were so soon to burst forth with a fury unsurpassed!

On came the fleet, straight for the Fort; Admiral Dahlgren's flag ship, the Monitor Montauk, Commander Fairfax, in the lead.

It was followed by the New Ironsides, Captain Rowan; the Monitors, Catskill, Commander Rogers; Patapsco, Lieut. Commander Badger; Nantucket, Commander Beaumont, and Weehawken, Commander Calhoun.

There were besides five gunboats, the Paul Jones, Commander Rhind; Ottawa, Commander Whiting; the Seneca, Commander Gibson; the Chippewa, Commander Harris, and the Wissahickon, Commander Davis.

Swiftly and noiselessly the Monitors approached, the white spray breaking from their sharp prows, their long dark hull lines scarcely showing above the water, and their coal black drum-like turrets glistening in the morning's sun.

Approaching still nearer they formed the arc of a circle around Wagner, the nearest being about three hundred yards distant from it.

With deliberate precision they halted and waited the word of command to sweep the embrasures of the Fort where our intrepid cannoniers stood coolly by their guns.

As the flagship Montauk wheeled into action at close quarters, a long puff of white smoke rolled from the mouth of the 10 inch Columbiad on the sea face of the Fort, and the iron plated turret of the Monitor reeled and quivered beneath the crashing blow.

Then the pent up thunders of the brewing storm of death burst forth in all their fury and poured upon the undaunted Wagner a remorseless stream of nine, eleven, and fifteen inch shells monitor after monitor, ship after ship, battery after battery, and then altogether hurled a tempest of iron hail upon the Fort.

About seventy guns were now concentrating a terrific fire upon it, while the guns of Wagner, aided at long range by the batteries of Sumter and Gregg, and those on Sullivan's and James Islands replied.

Words fail to convey an adequate idea of the fury of this bombardment. "It transcended all exhibitions of like character encountered during the war."

It seemed impossible that anything could withstand it.

More than one hundred guns of the heaviest calibre were roaring, flashing and thundering together. Before the Federal batteries had gotten the exact range of the work, the smoke of the bursting shells, brightened by the sun, was converted into smoke wreathes and spirals which curved and eddyed in every direction; then as the fire was delivered with greater precision, the scene was appalling and awe inspiring beyond expression and the spectacle to the lookers on was one of surpassing sublimity and grandeur.

In the language of Gen. Gilmore, "the whole island smoked like a furnace and shook as from an earthquake."

For eleven long hours the air was filled with every description of shot and shell that the magazines of war could supply. The light of day was almost obscured by the now darkening and sulphurous smoke which hung over the island like a funeral pall.

Still later in the afternoon as the darkness gathered and deepened did the lightnings of war increase in the vividness of their lurid and intolerable crimson which flashed through the rolling clouds of smoke and illumined the Fort from bastion to bastion with a scorching glare; clouds of sand were constantly blown into the air from bursting shells; the waters of the sea were lashed into white foam and thrown upwards in glistening columns by exploding bombs while side sheets of spray inundated the parapet, and Wagner" dripping with salt water, shook like a ship in the grasp of the storm.

By this time all the heavy guns were dismounted, disabled, or silenced, and only a few gun detachments were at their posts.

Passive endurance now only remained for the garrison while the storm lasted. The troops generally sheltered themselves, as best they could, in the bomb proofs and behind the traverses. But for such protection as was thus afforded, the loss of life would have been appalling and the garrison practically annihilated.

There was one command only which preferred the open air to the almost insufferable heat of the bomb proof, and sheltered itself only under the parapet and traverses on the land face of the Fort during that frightful day. Not one member of that heroic band, officer or man, sought other shelter. In all the flight of time and the records of valor, no example ever transcended their splendid heroism. All honor to the glorious name and deathless fame of "Gaillard's Charleston Battalion."

A little after two o'clock, two deeds of heroism were enacted which will never be forgotten by the lookers on. The halliards were cut by a shot or shell, and the large garrison flag released from the lofty staff fell into the parade.

Instantly, and without hesitation, there were a score of men racing for the prostrate colors. Out into the open area, they rushed regardless of the storm of death falling around them. Maj. Ramsay, Sergeant Shelton, and Private Flynn of the Charleston Battalion, and Lieutenant Reddick of the 63rd Georgia Regiment, bore it back in triumph to the staff and deliberately adjusted it. Up it went again, and amid the cheers of the garrison the Confederate banner again floated defiantly in the smoke of battle.

Some little delay occurred in adjusting the flag, and some few moments elapsed during which Wagner showed no colors to the enemy. Supposing that the Fort had struck its flag in token of surrender, exultant cheers burst forth from the crew of the Ironsides.

At that moment Captain Robert Barnwell of the Engineers seized a Regimental battle flag and recklessly leaping upon the exposed ramparts, he drove its staff into the sand and held it there until the garrison flag had been hoisted in its place.

There was one Jasper at Moultrie.

There were a score of them at Wagner.

In the meantime the City of Charleston was aflame with excitement; the battery, house-tops and steeples were crowded with anxious spectators. Hundreds of fair women were there with hands clasped in silent prayer for the success of their gallant defenders; strong men looked on with throbbing hearts and broke forth into exclamations which expressed their hopes and fears.

How can the Fort hold out much longer? It has ceased firing altogether! Its battery has been silenced!

Yes but see the colors streaming still amid the battle smoke!

Suddenly the flag is seen to droop, then rapidly descend.

Oh God! was the agonized cry, Wagner has at last struck her colors and surrendered. Oh! the unspeakable suspense of that moment.

Then tumultuous cheers arose from hundreds of throats amid the waving of snowy handkerchiefs.

No ! no ! they shouted, look ! Look! It has gone up again, and its crimson cross flashes once more amid shot and shell and battle smoke.

What a wonderful power there is in the flag of one's country. How mysterious the influence by which it sways and moves the hearts of men.

A distinguished general in the Confederate army, who had been an officer in the old army, was so strongly imbued with the power of this influence over the will of men that he expressed the belief that if the Confederate Government had adhered to the stars and stripes thousands in the North, who, early in the war were Southern sympathizers, would have rallied around it, and thousands, who were actually arrayed against us, would have refused to fire upon it.

The colors of an army have carried more strongholds than the bayonet, and battered down more fortresses than artillery.

Even in Holy Writ we find the expression "As terrible as an army with banners."

'Twas the flag that floated again over Wagner which restored confidence in Charleston, and the exultant cry which broke from the lips of these lookers on, was the echo of that hoarser shout in the battle scarred Fort in the  midst of the roar of cannon.

The banner of the stars and stripes is again the flag of our united country, and long may it wave over the land and the sea, for it is the symbol and the emblem of a union never again to be sundered.

The Southern heart is true and loyal to that flag but base is the soul and craven is the heart of him who marched and fought beneath the starry cross of Dixie which will cease to love and honor it.

It waved its conquering folds in the smoke of battle at Manassas and Shiloh. It stirred the souls of men with thrilling power in the wild assault upon Cemetery Hill. It floated triumphant amid the roar of cannon at Spottsylvania's bloody salient, and was borne resistless at the head of  conquering hosts on an hundred bloody fields.

Though furled forever and no longer existing as the emblem of a brave and heroic people, still we salute thee with love and reverence oh ! phantom banner of that great army underground, which died beneath thy crimson cross.

"For though conquered, we adore it,
Love the cold dead hands that bore it."

But I return to the raging battle at Wagner.

All day did the furious bombardment continue without intermission. The long midsummer day seemed endless and the fierce July sun seemed commanded by another Joshua to stand still---would it never set?

The wooden tenements in the fort were literally torn into splinters, and the ground bore little trace of where they stood.

The fort itself was pounded into an almost shapeless mass; the parapet, traverses, scarp, and counter scarp, were well nigh obliterated, and the ditch was filled with sand.

The covering of the bomb--proof had, to a large extend, been torn away, and now the magazine containing a large quantity of powder was in imminent danger of being breached by the heavy projectiles hurled incessantly against it, and the immense shells from the Cohorn mortars which, thrown to an incredible altitude, would descend with terrific force now almost upon the yielding and dislocated timbers.

The magazine once pierced, Wagner would have been blown to atoms, with not a man surviving to tell the story of its demolition. The reports constantly made to the commanding officer by the ordinance sergeant in charge justified the gravest fears of such a catastrophe.

Once, after a report of its condition had been made, this stern old veteran, addressing a member of his staff sitting beside him, quietly asked him if he was a married man.

Upon being answered in the affirmative, he shrugged his shoulders and said with a grim smile, "I'm sorry, sir, for we shall soon be blown into the marsh."

Indeed this result was but the question of a little time when suddenly, to the infinite relief of the harassed and weary garrison, the blazing circle of the enemy's fleet and batteries ceased to glow with flame.

In the language of Gen. Taliaferro, "the ominous pause was understood---the supreme moment of that awful day had come."

Wagner, which could not be conquered by shot and shell, must now be carried by assault. . . .

Part Two, the Conclusion, of Hon. Lieut. Col. H. D. D. Twiggs' Address will be published next week, July 22, 2021 in Part IV, Conclusion, of The Daring Exploits of H. D. D. Twiggs and His Confederate Compatriots in the War Between the States.

Lt. Col. H. D. D. Twiggs' Address comes from "Anonymous, British Library, Historical Print Editions, Jones, Charles Colcock, 1892" from the BiblioLife Network under title: Defence of Battery Wagner, July 18th, 1863. Addresses delivered before the Confederate Survivors' Association ... by Col: C. C. Jones ... Hon: Lieut: Col: H. D. D. Twiggs ... and by Captain F. E. Eve.

The title page states: DEFENCE OF BATTERY WAGNER, JULY 18TH, 1863. / ADDRESSES / Delivered Before the / Confederate Survivors Association / in / Augusta, Georgia, / On the Occasion of Its Fourteenth Annual Reunion / on / Memorial Day, April 26th, 1892, / by / COL. CHARLES C. JONES, Jr., LL. D., / President of the Association / by / HON: LIEUT: COL: H. D. D. TWIGGS, / Member of the Association, / and by / CAPTAIN F. EDGEWORTH EVE, / First Vice President of the Association. / Printed by Order of the Association. / Augusta, Georgia. / Chronicle Publishing Company. / 1892.

[Publisher's Note, by Gene Kizer, Jr. : This article is verbatim from the original including with the original spelling and most of the punctuation. Long paragraphs were broken up, here and there, for easier online reading.]

Our Confederate Ancestors: Part Two of The Daring Exploits of H. D. D. Twiggs and His Confederate Compatriots in the War Between the States

A Series on the Daring Exploits of Our Confederate Ancestors in the War Between the States.

We were enjoying, as only ravenous soldiers could, the delicious viands which tender hands at home had stored away in this precious box, and had nearly finished our meal, when one of Tutt's men came in hurriedly and reported, with a voice quivering with emotion, that a well-known comrade of his command (whose name the writer has forgotten) had just been shot dead in the open fort by one of the enemy's sharpshooters from the house referred to.

Tutt sprang from his seat, his dark eyes flashing fire, with a strange light gleaming from their depths, and, looking into our faces said, with his own set hard with determination and with fury written in every line: "Boys, let us get a rifle apiece and drive the d____d rascals from that house and burn it, or perish in the attempt."

Part Two of
The Daring Exploits of H. D. D. Twiggs and His Confederate Compatriots in the War Between the States
Perilous Adventure at Battery Wagner

by Judge H. D. D. Twiggs from Confederate Veteran, Volume XII, No. 3, March, 1904

[Publisher's Note, by Gene Kizer, Jr. : This is one of the most exciting stories I have ever read. The unbelievable daring of this handful of Confederates is so typical, which is why we celebrate them as the truest heroes of American history. Their cause of Southern independence in 1861 was identical to the cause of the Patriots of 1776, which is why George Washington in military uniform on his horse is front and center on the great seal of the Confederacy.

It is also why the most widely quoted phrase in the secession debate in the South the year before the Cotton States seceded came from the Declaration of Independence:

Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

This article is dedicated, with great love and respect, to Lieut. Thomas Tutt, of Augusta, Georgia, and Sergt. Hopps, of Missouri, two of the five Confederates who carried out this daring raid but were killed later in the war.]

Perilous Adventure at Battery Wagner
by Judge H. D. D. Twiggs

The incident above referred to took place during the siege of Battery Wagner, S. C. , a short time prior to the bombardment and assault upon that historic fortress, which occurred on the 18th of July, 1863 resulting in the complete repulse of the Federal forces and one of the most signal defeats of the war, the numbers engaged considered.

Although the writer has heretofore given a very full account of this great siege, bombardment, and assault in several addresses which have been printed, no reference was made to the episode hereinafter described, for the reason that he was one of the participants in the same. At the special request, however, of some of his comrades in arms, he has consented to send it to the Confederate Veteran, being largely induced to do this because of the pleasure it gives him to make public the conduct of his gallant associates upon the occasion referred to.

Battery Wagner was situated on Morris Island about six miles from Charleston. Its guns commanded the channel approach to that city and the possession of the island was considered the key to the city. The enemy had affected a landing on the southern end of the island, and, moving up their forces, had erected heavy batteries about sixteen hundred yards in front of Wagner.

Harper's Weekly, Sept. 26, 1863, caption: ". . . View from the sea-face of Fort Wagner. . ."
Harper's Weekly, Sept. 26, 1863, caption: ". . . View from the sea-face of Fort Wagner. . ."

The latter, which was occupied by our troops, was a large bastioned earthwork inclosed (sic) on all sides and situated upon a neck of the island, so narrow that the battery (more properly fort) extended across its full width two hundred and fifty yards at that point from the sea or ship channel on one side to Vincent Creek, a deep and narrow salt water creek, on the other. This island was a long, low, sandy, sea island, almost denuded of growth, save a few palmetto trees, a number of which grew along the banks of Vincent Creek.

There was situated near the banks of this creek an abandoned two-story wooden house, much nearer the enemy's works than ours, of which a small body of the enemy took possession; in fact, it was the headquarters of their night outpost picket.

From the upper windows of this house a band of sharpshooters had been constantly harassing the garrison at Wagner by firing plunging shots in their elevated positions from their long-range rifles, and scarcely a day passed without some soldier in the open parade of the fort being killed or wounded. Of course, the troops could not perpetually remain under cover in the stifling bomb proofs, and they were necessarily exposed to the rifle fire of this unseen, pitiless foe, who were dealing death day after day in their ranks.

They could not be dislodged by infantry, as they had the near support of ten thousand troops in their own works (our force in the fort being less than fifteen hundred men). They could not be shelled by artillery, because we were day and night strengthening our works, and any artillery demonstrations from our fort would have resulted in drawing upon us the concentrated fire of all the enemy's siege guns, which were of the heaviest caliber.

In the daytime the enemy's pickets were withdrawn from the house, leaving only the sharpshooters to do their daily, deadly work. No feasible expedient could be adopted to burn this house and abate this intolerable nuisance, and night only brought relief to the harassed garrison.

It was possible for a very few men, under the shelter of the creek bank in places, and the scant growth of shrubbery, to approach the house in the daytime, but no considerable number could do so without being seen at once, and it was, of course, impracticable to do so at night.

At the time mentioned I was a captain of infantry, but detached from my regiment in Virginia, and was temporarily assigned to staff duty as inspector general with Gen. William B. Taliaferro, who commanded Fort Wagner.

Judge Twiggs, 1904, 41 years after destroying a nest of Yankee sharpshooters with four others.
Judge Twiggs, 1904, 41 years after destroying a nest of Yankee sharpshooters with four others.

One morning in July, 1863, about a week or ten days before the bombardment and assault on the 18th of July, described in my address, Lieut. J. J. Doughty, of Augusta, Ga., who is still living in that city, received a box of eatables from home, and invited the writer, Lieut. W. M. Hitt, and Lieut. Thomas Tutt, also of Augusta at that time, and Sergt. Hopps, from Missouri, to dine with him in his quarters in the fort.

Around 1904.
Around 1904.
Around 1904.
Around 1904.

We were enjoying, as only ravenous soldiers could, the delicious viands which tender hands at home had stored away in this precious box, and had nearly finished our meal, when one of Tutt's men came in hurriedly and reported, with a voice quivering with emotion, that a well-known comrade of his command (whose name the writer has forgotten) had just been shot dead in the open fort by one of the enemy's sharpshooters from the house referred to.

Tutt sprang from his seat, his dark eyes flashing fire, with a strange light gleaming from their depths, and, looking into our faces said, with his own set hard with determination and with fury written in every line: "Boys, let us get a rifle apiece and drive the d____d rascals from that house and burn it, or perish in the attempt."

There were five of us present---Tutt, Doughty, Hitt, Hopps, and myself in the party. We were all quite young, and the strange magnetism of Tutt, who was our senior by several years, and his determined bearing immediately fired us all with an enthusiasm which I will never forget, and, without taking time to reflect upon the peril or the consequences of the enterprise, we agreed, and at once formed our plan of action. Gen. Taliaferro had gone that day to the city of Charleston, and, in his absence, the command of the fort devolved upon Col. Charles H. Olmstead, formerly of this city, but now living in New York.

We quickly made our plans, and, each procuring a rifle and ammunition, we secretly left the fort about 3 p.m. on the perilous expedition. Being a staff officer, I was enabled to pass the party out at the sally port, and, crouching low and stealthily, in Indian file, Tutt being in the lead, we glided slowly up the creek, taking advantage of its banks, the palmetto trees, and occasional sand dunes to hide us from view (which we found it to be a very difficult matter to do).

The house was about fifty yards from the creek, and, when we had reached a point about one hundred yards from it, we halted, and, lying down together behind some stunted shrubbery, held a council of war. It was impossible to retreat then, because the sharpshooters had evidently seen some movement, and, with their rifles in hand, we could see them at the windows, looking intently in our direction.

The space between us and the house was a perfectly open sand area, without the slightest shelter or protection. There was not a moment to lose, as the enemy was growing more and more suspicious. There were eight sharpshooters in the house, but at the time we did not know the number. There were only five of us.

We at once concluded to make a dash for the house. The enemy were at the windows on the side of the house looking toward our fort. We had crept to a point nearly opposite the end, so that they could only get a few oblique shots at us from the windows before we could pass the line of fire, the end of the house interposing its friendly shelter after passing this line.

At a signal from Tutt (who, by common consent, became our leader), and on the full run we rushed for the building, a scattering volley being fired at us, providentially without effect. Meeting together on the opposite side of the house, we ran pellmell into the building through the open door in the back of the same.

The enemy seemed stunned by the suddenness of the attack, and we were fairly in the hall before they were enabled to start down the narrow stairway to meet us. A general fusillade followed. The vivid flashes of the rifles lighting up the hall, which was soon filled with dense smoke, caused them to retreat to their former position, and Tutt, raving like a demon, started upstairs alone, but we pulled him back.

He then, in a loud voice, ordered the house set on fire, which we at once did, retiring to the open area in the rear after the fire had made considerable headway, which we started immediately under the stairsteps. The building was old and dry, and burnt like tinder, and it was a case of the enemy being cremated or leaving the house. Some of them ran out of the doors, and others jumped from the windows. We stood around with our rifles cocked, firing at them as they appeared. They made a feeble resistance, shooting wildly, and the survivors took to their heels. Several of them were shot and the others made good their escape.

By this time the musketry and the burning building had aroused the respective garrisons of the two forts, which swarmed in masses on their parapets; we were at easy rifle range of the Yankee garrison, and if we attempted to retreat across the open area of sand, death to us would have been the inevitable result. The only way back by the creek margin was already swept by a hurricane of bullets, the enemy evidently supposing that there was a large body of us concealed in the shrubbery near the now consumed house. We realized too late that we were caught like rats in a trap.

In front of us, two hundred yards nearer the enemy's works, was a little hillock or sand dune on this open area of sand, and, although it brought us much nearer the Federal works, we made a dash for it in order to shelter ourselves from the terrific fire which was now concentrated upon us by the thoroughly aroused Yankee garrison. With only a slight wound received by Hopps, though some of us had our clothing torn by bullets, we providentially gained the sand hill, which was only a few feet higher than the surrounding plane, and each of us sank down at full length behind it, and for the time being were comparatively safe from the enemy's leaden missiles, which sung around us, intermixed with that ominous sound of the bullet----s---t, s---t, s---t----familiar to all soldiers who saw service in that war.

It was our purpose in seeking this shelter to remain there until night had set in then slip back to Wagner under cover of darkness, but it was not so ordered. After lying in the position described, under the pitiless rays of a scorching July sun for some little time, the enemy's fire greatly slackened and I stealthily peeped over the sand dune to take an observation, when, to my horror, I saw a full company of Yankee infantry, which had silently moved out of their works, rapidly approaching us, the sunlight flashing from their bright bayonets as they marched.

Turning to my companions, I said: "Boys, look yonder; it's all up with us now." Certain death or capture indeed seemed inevitable, and we each realized it.

The invincible Tutt, however, swore that he would not be taken alive and seemed inexorable in this determination, although we assured him that any resistance we might then make would be unavailing against such a body of men, numbering thirty of forty rifles, and would end in our butchery by an exasperated foe.

Tutt persisted, however, and, indignantly scorning the idea of surrender, without further parley discharged his rifle full at the approaching enemy. This, of course, settled the question, as nothing was then left to us but to stand by our reckless and intrepid comrade, which we did for all we were worth.

With elbow touching elbow, and our heads alone visible above the sand bank, we kept up a steady fire upon the line of blue rapidly nearing us. At the first volley they halted, returned the fire, and then with huzzas came for us on the full run. The situation was appalling, but we continued to pour our fire into them.

Occupying a position prone on the sand, and our vision obscured by the smoke of the guns, we did not see the effect of our shots, and did not know until afterwards informed by Col. Olmstead, who watched the scene closely with his field glass, that several of the enemy were carried off by their comrades.

What was it, then, that shook the island from center to circumference? Turning our heads in the direction of the sound, we witnessed a sight which sent the blood tingling in our veins. The entire face of Wagner were suddenly opened upon the approaching Federal infantry. Charlie Olmstead, my old schoolmate, who was commanding in the absence of Gen. Taliaferro, had come to the rescue.

The artillery fire, conducted by that accomplished and gallant soldier, Lieut. Col. J. C. Simpkins, of South Carolina, and chief of artillery, was directed with wonderful precision, and the shells passing over our heads and bursting beyond us uncomfortably close, in the very face of the enemy, scattered them like chaff before the wind.

But something we had not counted on followed. The Yankee fort immediately opened their batteries of heavy guns upon Wagner, and one of the most terrific artillery duels I ever witnessed during the war was thus precipitated between the respective forts, and all stirred up by our little band.

The scene was grand and awe-inspiring, both sides shelling furiously over our heads at each other. Of course all the infantry on both sides were driven from the parapets by this terrific artillery fire. It was plain that this demonstration on the part of Col. Olmstead was made to safely cover our retreat, and we rapidly raced for our works through the heavy sand and under the rays of the hottest sun I ever felt. We arrived safely, completely winded and exhausted.

Once in the fort we separated, and silently crept to our respective quarters. Col. Olmstead soon made his appearance and placed the writer under arrest. The Colonel had, without orders, assumed a grave responsibility in the prompt and gallant action he had taken to save us, and save us he did, as but for his conduct not one of us would have been left to tell the tale.

The heavy firing on the island had greatly excited the people in Charleston, and Gen. Taliaferro hurried back to the fort, reaching it a little after dark. Olmstead met him at this boat landing at Cummings Point and related to this grim old soldier all that had passed. They then came together into my quarters (also the quarters of the General), and, feigning sleep, I overheard their conversation.

"Well," said the General, "the boys destroyed that infernal nuisance, the house, did they?"

"Yes," responded Olmstead.

"Good," grunted the old General. Then, nodding toward me as I lay on the floor, "Release him from arrest when he wakes up," which Charlie was only too glad, of course, to do.

Tutt and Hopps not long afterwards joined the ranks of that great army underground---they were spared the great sorrow of the final disaster, when the sun of the Confederacy went down at Appomattox. They were both killed. Three of us survive---J. J. Doughty, of Augusta, Ga.; William M. Hitt, now of Atlanta, Ga.; and the writer. "May both these boys be spared for many years to come, for truer soldiers and more gallant men never faced a foe!"

Our Confederate Ancestors: Part One of The Daring Exploits of H. D. D. Twiggs and His Confederate Compatriots in the War Between the States

A Series on the Daring Exploits of Our Confederate Ancestors in the War Between the States.

A small redbird was found at the close of the bombardment with a wing torn from its body as it flew across the terreplein of the fort, and again three men who volunteered to draw a bucket of water from a shallow well, not more than twenty feet distance from the entrance of the bombproof of the fort, were all killed before they reached the well.

Part One of
The Daring Exploits of H. D. D. Twiggs and His Confederate Compatriots in the War Between the States
Maj. H. D. D. Twiggs at Battery Wagner

by Col. Henry D. Capers, Twelfth Battalion Georgia Artillery from Confederate Veteran, Vol. X, No. 1, January, 1902.

Confederate Battery Wagner on Morris Island, next to Folly Island and James Island.
Confederate Battery Wagner on Morris Island, next to Folly Island and James Island.

[From] Col. Henry D. Capers, who commanded the Twelfth Battalion Georgia Artillery:

The memorable siege and defense of Charleston, S. C. , from its commencement in June, 1863, to the evacuation of that city by the Confederate forces in February, 1865, presents one of the most interesting records in the annals of war. In all the details of this heroic defense, in all that fully illustrates the devotion of the patriot garrison, in the many incidents of superb courage, heroic discharge of duty, manly endurance, and personal gallantry, there can be found no record superior to that made in the defense of Forts Wagner and Sumter, the outposts of the devoted city.

Permit me to describe a single incident which will, in a measure, give some idea of the endurance, courage, and soldierly bearing which made every day and every hour of the siege of Fort Wagner one of the most brilliant, as it certainly was one of the most terrific, experiences of the "war between the States."

In the month of August I received orders at my camp, near Savannah, Ga., to report without delay to Gen. Beauregard at Charleston with my gallant comrades of the Twelfth Georgia Battalion of Artillery. On reaching the city we were ordered to report to the officer commanding at Fort Wagner, on Morris Island, the extreme outpost on the sea front of the city and six miles therefrom.

The incident referred to will illustrate the ordeal the garrison at Fort Wagner passed through and endured for more than a year. At the time of this occurrence the fort was in command of Brig. Gen. W. B. Taliaferro, a typical Virginia knight "Sans peur et sans reproche."

July 18, 1863, will long be remembered as one of the most noted and terrible bombardments known to history. It was followed by an assault at sunset, unsurpassed for its gallantry and fury.

With the first dawn of day the large fleet of the enemy's monitors, battle ships, and their Ajax of floating batteries, the renowned Ironsides, steamed close in and took position in the sea front of Wagner. Before the sun had sent one cheering beam to brighten the gloom of this foggy morning, there came an eleven-inch shell from the Ironsides, the signal shot for the terrific bombardments referred to.

Think of the guns from five monitors, guns of the heaviest caliber, whose  fifteen-inch shells were exploding every few seconds over, against, and within the parapet walls of a bastioned earthwork that did not occupy the area of two acres; add to this the steady fire of the Ironsides, with her immense batteries of eleven-inch guns, six on each side, and one each in the bow and stern; to this add the accurate fire from two sloops, carrying batteries of two hundred pound rifle guns, and of five land batteries constructed on the island, with the heaviest modern armaments, within seventeen hundred yards of Wagner, and the reader may have some idea of the infernal rain of death-dealing shot and shell that fell upon the fort on that long and memorable day.

Bombardment of Battery Wagner by Monitors and ships off shore.
Bombardment of Battery Wagner by Monitors and ships off shore.

There were some vivid illustrations. A small redbird was found at the close of the bombardment with  a wing torn from its body as it flew across the terreplein of the fort, and again three men who volunteered to draw a bucket of water from a shallow well, not more than  twenty feet distance from the entrance of the bombproof of the fort, were all killed before they reached the well.

Late in the afternoon, in the midst of this terrific fire, it became necessary to ascertain the movement of the Federal troops in front of the fort and within the enemy's fortifications. A large body of their infantry, who were known to be formed behind the hills, had been ordered to assault Wagner as soon as the bombardment ceased, and, as the Federal general supposed, the fort would be practically dismantled, and what was left of the garrison demoralized by the bombardment.

As it was growing late, and the critical time approaching for the deadly assault, which was afterwards made, it became necessary (for the safety of the garrison) to learn whether the forward movement on the part of the assaulting column had commenced. Gen. Taliaferro communicated his anxiety to the members of his staff grouped about him in the bombproof, but hesitated to designate an officer to discharge this perilous duty.

Maj. H. D. D. Twiggs, then attached to the general's staff as inspector general (afterwards lieutenant colonel of his regiment, and now Judge Twiggs, of Savannah), a handsome and gallant representative of a chivalrous family, quietly stepped in front of his chief, volunteered to leave the bombproof, to ascend the parapet, and make the necessary observation.

I saw him when he left us, and I felt then, as did others, that it would be the last service that Twiggs would render for his country. I noticed Gen. Taliaferro standing near the entrance of the bombproof with the greatest solicitude depicted on his face, and could see from the movement of his lips that he was asking the intervention of Divine Providence in behalf of his gallant staff officer.

With the utmost coolness Maj. Twiggs passed out into the exposed and open area, heedless of the storm of death falling all around him, reached the parapet of the fort, ascended it to its very summit, and standing there midst the bursting shells, flashing and thundering above and around him, he deliberately raised his field glasses and surveyed the enemy's batteries and surrounding sand hills, with apparently as much self-possession as if he were in an opera house and looking at the form and features of a prima donna.

He had not remained in that position more than one minute when a fifteen-inch shell descended almost vertically, striking the parapet within two feet in front of him, and, burying itself in the earth, exploded with terrific force. Instantly, with a great cloud of earth and sand, Maj. Twiggs was thrown up into the air six or eight feet, and fell back from the parapet down upon the terreplein of the fort, completely covered with sand, and to all appearances dead.

Several of us watching him immediately rushed to where he was lying, and bore his apparently lifeless body into the bombproof. To our surprise he opened his eyes and made his report to Gen. Taliaferro. "General," he said, "the enemy are moving to the assault." He then became unconscious, but after the application of such restoratives as were at command the surgeon exclaimed: "He is not dead, General!"

The next day Maj. Twiggs was fast recovering from a severe concussion of the brain, and in a short time rejoined his regiment in Virginia, from which he had been temporarily detached for staff duty.

While I was an eyewitness to many "close calls" during the civil war, and had a few myself, I have always regarded the heroism of Maj. Twiggs as not only unsurpassed during the war, but his escape from death at Fort Wagner was most remarkable.

The Real Jim Crow, How Northern Jim Crow Laws Moved South – Guest post by Leonard M. “Mike” Scruggs

The Real Jim Crow
How Northern Jim Crow Laws Moved South
Guest post by Leonard M. "Mike" Scruggs
Thomas D. Rice, the original Jim Crow, in costume.
Thomas D. Rice, the original Jim Crow, in costume.

[Publisher's Note, by Gene Kizer, Jr. : I am delighted to publish this article by Mike Scruggs, historian, author, columnist for The Times Examiner out of Greenville, South Carolina. I have Mike's 359 page illustrated book, The Un-Civil War, Shattering the Historical Myths, which promises to be outstanding. I look forward to reviewing it in the next few weeks.

This article contains much historical detail and makes it clear why Southern states, after the horrors of Reconstruction, felt an imperative to copy the Jim Crow laws of the Northern states. Before Reconstruction, the South was integrated, by necessity, according to C. Vann Woodward in The Strange Career of Jim Crow, which produced an intimacy between blacks and whites not found anywhere else in the country. That's not to say that race relations were always great, but they were far better in the South than in the North and the West. Blacks and whites in the South did not recoil from each other as did the white Yankee women at the end of Gone with the Wind with the thought of Mammy touching their children. Scarlett O'Hara found that absurd. That is a good case of fiction perfectly illustrating reality.

The North and West were the opposite of the South. Blacks and whites were rigidly segregated, by custom, law, or both.

There are links to The Times Examiner website, Mike's columns, and to Mike's books, below, after his bio and article.

You will love Mike's other columns. They are outstanding just like this one. To give you a sampling, go to The Times Examiner website and check out: "Social Justice Gone Mad, The Poisoned Chalice of Critical Race Theory"; "States Rights and the Future of Liberty, Remembering John C. Calhoun"; "The Civil War and Just War Doctrine, Beneath the Virtue-signaling Propaganda of Total War"; and "The Legacies of Reconstruction, How "White Supremacy" Was Born and Repainted".]

Mike Scruggs is the author of two books - The Un-Civil War: Shattering the Historical Myths; and Lessons from the Vietnam War: Truths the Media Never Told You - and over 600 articles on military history, national security, intelligent design, genealogical genetics, immigration, current political affairs, Islam, and the Middle East.

He holds a BS degree from the University of Georgia and an MBA from Stanford University. A former USAF intelligence officer and Air Commando, he is a decorated combat veteran of the Vietnam War and holds the Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart, and Air Medal. He is a retired First Vice President for a major national financial services firm and former Chairman of the Board of a classical Christian school.

The Real Jim Crow
By Mike Scruggs

(First published in The Times Examiner, 24 May 2021; bold emphasis, below, is from the author)

How Northern Jim Crow Laws Moved South

“Jim Crow” was the stage name of New York actor Thomas D. Rice (1808-1860), who made a career of minstrel performances in blackface and thus popularized that form of entertainment. The name “Jim Crow” came from a popular 1832 song, “Jump Jim Crow,” written and sung by Rice and became a common term referring to African-Americans.  Later it became a nickname for legislation restricting the rights of African-Americans.

Thomas Dartmouth "Daddy" Rice, who put the term "Jim Crow" into our lexicon.
Thomas Dartmouth "Daddy" Rice, who put the term "Jim Crow" into our lexicon.

Blackface is not necessarily demeaning. Rice may have based his character on slave folk tales about a clever trickster.

Al Jolson (1886-1950), a Russian Jewish immigrant, and the most popular and beloved American entertainer beginning with the movie The Jazz Singer in 1927 and lasting for many decades, was said to be the “king of blackface.”  Jolson’s personal feelings and many of his songs were certainly sympathetic to African-Americans.

What most people do not know is that Jim Crow laws first originated in Northern States.  Northern Jim Crow Laws were the model for Southern States following the ruin, corruption, and oppression of Reconstruction. As author C. Vann Woodward has stated, “Jim Crow has had a strange career.”

In Alexis de Toqueville’s 1835 book,  Democracy in America, he wrote that "the prejudice of race appears to be stronger in the States that have abolished slavery than in those where it still exists; and nowhere is it so intolerant as in those States where servitude has never been known."

Before the “Civil” War, most Northern States had discriminatory laws against blacks. In 1847, Ohioans prohibited the settlement of the 518 emancipated slaves of the Virginia statesman John Randolph.  An Ohio congressman threatened armed force to stop any emancipated blacks who tried to cross the border into Ohio.  In 1860, only Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine allowed blacks to vote.

In the 1840s, New Jersey and Connecticut amended their constitutions to prohibit black suffrage. Most Northern States did not want blacks within their borders. Indiana, Ohio, Oregon, and Illinois were among the most restrictive.

In an 1854 speech on Kansas and Nebraska becoming states, Abraham Lincoln said that it was about “preserving these states for the homes of free white people.”   Illinois Senator Lyman Trumbull explained that "there is a great aversion in the West---I know it to be so in my State---against having free Negroes come among us. Our people want nothing to do with the Negro."

Illinois had some of the strongest anti-black laws. The 1854 Illinois Black Laws prohibited blacks from entering the state for more than 10 days under penalty of arrest and required posting of a $1,000 bond to assure their good behavior. Anyone who hired a black could be fined $500, which was a considerable sum at the time. In a September 1858 debate with Stephen Douglas, in Ottawa, Illinois, Lincoln insisted vigorously:

I will say that I am not…in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office…

Lincoln was for gradual slave-owner compensated emancipation of slaves, a common sentiment in both North and South, but he was pessimistic about blacks and whites coexisting in the same country. He favored their peaceful deportation to the Caribbean, Central America, or Africa.

In an 1852 eulogy of Henry Clay, he quoted Clay’s words on colonization of blacks back to Africa approvingly:

There is a moral fitness in the idea of returning to Africa her children…they will carry back to their native soil the rich fruits of religion, civilization, law, and liberty.

In his February 27, 1860, Cooper Union speech, he advocated the peaceful deportation of blacks so that their places could be filled by “free white laborers.”

After the War, in late 1865, Connecticut and Michigan voters rejected black voting rights. In 1867 and 1868, voters in Ohio, Minnesota, and Kansas also refused to extend the right to vote to blacks. In 1868, 12 Northern and Midwestern states still either prohibited or sharply limited black voting rights.

Yet Reconstruction architect, Republican House Chairman of the Rules Committee,  Thaddeus Stephens,  had managed to get 700,000 blacks registered  in the South, while disenfranchising at least 250,000 Confederate veterans. This was the means of maintaining Republican carpetbagger control of 11 Southern states and preserving a Radical Republican majority in the U.S. House.

The years of military occupation and Radical Republican control in the South were sometimes spoken of as the years of “Negro Rule," or “Negro Supremacy,” although the real power rested with corrupt Federal politicians and their agents along with carpetbagger opportunists and local scalawags.  These were years of extremely exploitive, corrupt, and irresponsible state and local governments, where most of the native whites felt they had no rights or recourse to justice. Reconstruction was no Marshall Plan to rebuild the South’s economy. It was all about plunder and building Radical Republican political power in the South and the nation. Stirring up black resentment and hatred against their former Democrat masters was the key political strategy.

This high-handed exploitation and tyranny resulted in colossal, bankrupting, tax-wild misgovernment, which kept the South in poverty until its extraordinarily exploitive tariff burden was relieved by President Woodrow Wilson’s Underwood Tariff Act in 1913. The racial tensions built up during Reconstruction, however, are still exploited by politicians. Only now it is the Democrats applying the maxims of social Marxism that are destroying the whole country by stirring racial resentment and hatred.

Although the highest levels of tyranny and misgovernment came from the Federal Government through the Reconstruction Act of 1867 and subsequent acts and policies, local Reconstruction policies were usually enforced by the Union League. Federal Army forces were constantly being reduced, so Union League militias became the main armed force supporting the carpetbagger governments.

The Union League was founded in 1862 to support the Union war effort. After the War, the Union League (or Loyal League) was established in the occupied territories to help the carpetbagger governments stay in power.  Loyalist whites soon dropped out of the League except for the carpetbagger politicians and Federal Army officers who formed its key leadership.

Union League militias numbered about 250,000 troops in 10 Southern States. North Carolina Governor William Holden controlled 80,000 of them.  The vast majority of the enlisted force were former slaves, and about 100,000 had served in the Union Army. Most Union League militiamen, both Union veterans and ex-slaves, wore the Union Army uniform.

Most people today know something about the Ku Klux Klan but nothing about the Union League. Yet the Union League perpetrated far more violence against both blacks and whites in the post Civil War Reconstruction years of 1865 to 1877 than the Klan ever has. The birth of the Klan was in fact a response to Union League bullying, violence, and murder. Why have these black militias virtually disappeared from history?  The memory of such is just too embarrassing not to hide.

Union League meetings were conducted as a mystical secret society with secret rituals. Meetings were especially devoted to stirring up enmity between blacks and whites.  A catechism written by Radical Republicans in Congress was used in Union League meetings to create an unreasonable sense of entitlement, grievance, and resentment. They were taught that Northern Republican whites were their friends and allies and that white Southerners and Democrats were enemies to be hated and despised.

Burning the barns and sometimes houses of whites were typical Union League activities. There were Union League barn burnings and other destruction in every North Carolina county. During a single week of 1869 in Gaston County, nine barns were burned.  In two months of the same year in Edgecombe County, two churches, several cotton gins, a cotton factory, and many barns and homes were burned.  The Raleigh Sentinel reported on August 29 that year that ten Union League companies had terrorized the Goldsboro area and committed violent depredations of all sorts. It reported the actions of the troops “so violent that it was unsafe for women to leave their homes.” This was all part of the Reconstruction mandate to remake the South.

Former Confederate General John B. Gordon, later U.S. Senator and Governor of Georgia, testified in 1871 to the Joint Congressional Committee on Affairs in the Insurrectionary States that:

The first and main reason (for the Klan) was the organization of the Union League….[It] was therefore necessary to protect our families from outrage and preserve our own lives, to have something that we could regard as a brotherhood---a combination of the best men of the country to act purely in self defense.

A minority report from the Congressional Committee that investigated the Klan in 1871 is a good summary of why many white Southerners turned to the Klan for protection. The majority report had simply condemned the Klan, which was the electioneering purpose of the committee in the first place. But the minority report of eight Northern Democrats, which had some conservative Republican support, gave a more useful and fairer appraisal.  Here is an excerpt of their report:

…when the courts were closed and Federal officers, who were by Congress absolute rulers and dispensers of what they called justice, ignored, insulted and trampled upon the rights of the ostracized and disenfranchised white men while officials pandered to the enfranchised negro on whose vote they rallied, in short, when people saw that they had no rights which were respected, no protection from insult, no security, even for their wives and children, and that what little they had saved from the ravages of war was being confiscated by taxation…many of them took the law into their own hands and did deeds of violence which we neither justify or excuse.  But all history shows that bad government will make bad citizens.

As Reconstruction ended, Southern legislatures wanted to end the corruption and misrule they had suffered. They believed the solution was to copy the example of Jim Crow laws in 12 Northern States.


Link to The Times Examiner website: www.timesexaminer.com

Link to Mike's columns at The Times Examiner: https://www.timesexaminer.com/mike-scruggs

Link to Mike's book website: https://www.universalmediainc.org/books/. His books are also available on Amazon and other places.

Secessionville, Assault on Charleston by Patrick Brennan – Review by Gene Kizer, Jr.

A Review of

Secessionville, Assault on Charleston by Patrick Brennan

De Capo Press, second edition, (Campbell, CA: Savas Publishing Company), 1996, 408 pages, hardback, numerous maps and pictures, Order of Battle, interview with the author, detailed explanatory endnotes, comprehensive bibliography, index. Cover states that this is: "The second title in our acclaimed 'Battles & Campaigns of the Carolinas' series."

by Gene Kizer, Jr.


Patrick Brennan's Secessionville, Assault on Charleston, is an exceptional, exciting and thorough book that all people who are interested in the War Between the States should own.

It will also appeal greatly to those who love a good fight in which the underdog, outnumbered 6,600 to 500 at the beginning of the battle, outthinks his enemy and defeats him with ingenuity as well as guts.

The Battle of Secessionville was of major significance to the entire War Between the States. If the Confederates had lost, Charleston might have been lost in 1862 thus changing the course of history. The Southern victory kept the Yankees out of the city they wanted to capture or destroy worst than any other place in the country.

Charleston was symbolic to the North, but critical and symbolic to the South. Gen. Lee had said that Charleston was "to be fought street by street and house by house as long as we have a foot of ground to stand upon."

A resolution stated the same thing:

Resolved, That the governor and Executive Council concur in opinion with the people of South Carolina, assembled in Convention, that Charleston should be defended at any cost of life or property, and that in their deliberate judgment they would prefer a repulse of the enemy with the entire city in ruins to an evacuation or surrender on any terms whatever.

The battle began around 4:30 a.m. (would be 5:30 a.m. today) Monday, June 16, 1862 in light rain but because of the many units involved and the terrain of saltwater creeks and pluff mud, plus the brilliant Confederate defenses and the staggered Union attack, there is a lot to understand.

Excellent accounts of the battle have been written by many in more ranging works such as E. Milby Burton in The Siege of Charleston, 1861-1865; John Johnson in The Defense of Charleston Harbor, 1863-1865; and former Confederate Major-General Samuel Jones in The Siege of Charleston, and the Operations on the South Atlantic Coast in the War Among the States.

And there have been vivid accounts of the battle by participants focusing on their units and experiences, as well as newspaper accounts and other primary sources, but all this wonderful material was widely scattered until the Northerner Patrick Brennan, with his love of Charleston and his Charleston connection, came along and gathered most of it up, organized it and put it in his book.

Brennan is a musician as well as a lover of history and the War Between the States. He was playing at Myskyn's on Market Street in downtown Charleston (nice place but I liked Cap't Harry's better!). Brennan writes:

I trace my interest in the Battle of Secessionville to a visit I made to Charleston in January 1990. I'm a musician by trade, and my band had been booked into Myskyn's, a music club in downtown Charleston. On the day I hit town, armed with Blue and Gray Magazine's tour of Civil War Charleston, I found Secessionville and the remains of Fort Lamar. Hurricane Hugo had recently devastated the area, and the fields looked like I had just missed the fight. Needless to say, I was tremendously moved. Standing on the right flank of the fort, I resolved to write something about the battle. So, as odd as it may seem, it was that performance of Dick Holliday and the Bamboo Gang at a club only five miles from the Secessionville battlefield that started the journey that ends here.1

When the book arrived at my house a week ago, I thumbed through it then turned to June 16, 1862 and could not put it down for 65 carefully read pages, until I had to leave to meet a friend.

The beauty of Brennan's book is that, inasmuch as any author can cover a complicated subject in a single work, he has everything in this book. He knows it is complicated so he strives to make it all understandable by using maps and a device often used in fiction: the use of informal sections within a chapter. One section might present Confederate action, and the next, Union action going on at the same time.

It keeps the material organized and clear.

Most of the maps are adequate though a couple are confusing, but that does not affect Brennan's excellent narrative. This is a well-written, clearly-written, well-organized book that took Brennan six years to write.

He gives the background in the Prologue, with the Union navy's victory at Port Royal, and Fort Pulaski at the mouth of the Savannah River. He then focuses on Charleston.

There is a lot of behind-the-scenes tension, intrigue, jealously and rivalry among officers in both armies, some of whom are talented and do their jobs well, and some are not, just as in any human endeavor. Brennan explains all of this well.

There are 22 pictures of various commanders on both sides which greatly enhance the narrative. Most of the pictures are poorly reproduced. They are too dark and some a little blurry, but, again, this takes nothing from Brennan's outstanding writing. His short biographies and histories of the main participants along with the pictures tell the story well.

When he gets closer to the battle, Brennan gives us a daily account of all action starting with June 4, 1862, and running past the battle to June 21, 1862.

The battle date, June 16, 1862, covers 104 pages.

The "Cartography" includes 23 maps and Brennan has done a brilliant thing by having a full-page map every 10 minutes throughout the entire battle showing the positions of the various units engaged. You can see how the battle developed and who was in action and where. He starts at 4:30 a.m. with the first map, and the penultimate covers 5:50 - 6:00 a.m., then the last one is 6:00 - 8:30 a.m.

In Chapter Seven, "Positions, Places," under the heading Monday, June 16, 1862, Brennan writes:

With a lusty cheer the Michigan line charged forward, passing over a combination ditch and hedge that some of the men mistook for rifle pits. As the Federals drove forward, the front face of the Confederate battery erupted in a serious of fiery explosions. A deafening roar rent the air, then another, then a third. In one terrifying moment, the center of the Michigan line melted before a hissing spray of Confederate shell and canister. Broken and bleeding bodies shivered by the blasts littered the patchy cotton rows, while those still standing pressed forward into the metal storm. 'Every discharge of their old churn (as we called it) would pass through the ranks of our brave boys and  mow them down like grass before a scythe,' recalled one veteran, 'but with dogged persistence they closed ranks and pushed on with the federal yell.' But even as the main line of the 8th Michigan was rocked by the artillery blasts, elements of the 'forlorn hope'---companies C and H---were covering the final yards fronting the battery.2

The section the above paragraph is in includes the following full-page map of the unit positions at 4:30 a.m., 16 June 1862.

Secessionville-Review-MAP-p170 52K

In the next section comes the Confederate action. Three paragraphs into it, Brennan writes:

The sentinel roused the slumbering Colonel Lamar, who rose to see the distant blue formations gelling before his eyes. Already, the 150 cannoneers of the two companies that had slept along the parapet were being awakened by the shouts of excited orderlies. The colonel turned to a waiting aid and issued firm orders: Get Gaillard's and Smith's battalions from their Secessionville camps up to support the battery immediately, then find General Evans and inform him of the attack. Lamar then turned to Lt. J. W. Moseley at the Columbiad and ordered him to load the 8-inch gun with canister (a metal container holding dozens of small round iron balls). Lamar himself sprang onto the chassis and aimed the piece, setting the sights on the center of the surging Federal line. To the left of the Columbiad, Sgt. James Baggott swung his 24-lb. artillery piece into action, aimed it, and blasted off the fort's first response to the attack. Lamar, beaten to the draw by Baggott by just a few seconds, tugged the Columbiad's lanyard and sent a storm of canister screeching into the enemy's line. The battle was joined.3

After the battle, there were scenes of carnage everywhere. Brennan writes:

Similar scenes marked the fields north of the marsh. Once the Federals disappeared from that sector, small Confederate parties moved out from the slashing to investigate the ground that the enemy had held. Benjamin Sheppard from the Eutaw Battalion wrote his mother that although the battle was bad, 'The scene after the battle is worse than all. . . I saw men laying  in all kinds of postures, some looked as though they were praying after they were wounded and died.' Augustine Smyth accompanied a squad that was detailed to gather arms from the Washington Light Infantry's front. 'Such a scene I wish never again to witness,' he wrote:

Twenty or thirty men lay stretched out on a small field, wounded, dying, & dead. One must have been in the Act of loading his gun when a grapeshot took out the whole of his back, for he lay dead with his hands raised, just as if he were even then loading. Another one lay close by with his leg entirely shot away, & only a piece of skin connecting his knee and his thigh. Many were in the water, dead, in a small creek between them and Secessionvillle, one poor fellow, wounded in his back and throat, lay in the water close to the bank, but unable to get out, while tide was up to his shoulders and continually rising. We helped him up and gave him water, & left him on the field for the litters to carry off.4

Later, when Union prisoners were taken into Charleston, Brennan writes:

A large crowd gathered at the Charleston wharf on the afternoon of the 16th to meet a tugboat bearing news of the morning battle that was waged just five miles away. Making a line from Fort Johnson, the tug docked around 2 p.m. Soon, a group of bedraggled Federals filed off the boat, greeted by 'shouts and the use of hard names,' remembered one. The Confederate guards moved forward to control the rowdy civilians, such was the passion of the moment. One not particularly charitable Charlestonian counted 30 prisoners and noted 'Nearly all of them have the appearance of veritable cut-throats, and they are, evidently, the scum of the communities from which they were recruited.' Someone recognized one captured Federal as Napoleon Mayo, an entertainer who had appeared in Charleston as member of 'Matt Peel's strolling Negro troupe.' With catcalls echoing in their ears, the Northerners marched down East Bay to Broad Street where they entered the Guard House to spend their first night in captivity.5

There were two brothers in the battle, one Confederate, one Union. Brennan writes about Union troops when they were back in their camp:

Most of the Union troops were too spent to record their thoughts immediately, but within a few hours, one Northerner fought off his exhaustion to write a letter to his wife. The Highlanders' flag bearer, Alexander Campbell, began, 'I am all safe. . . we are very tired,' then went on to describe in some detail his role in the battle. In mid-letter he revealed a startling bit of news: 'Brither James was in the fort.' Campbell spoke of a wounded Confederate who told him that his brother was a lieutenant in the Union Light Infantry of the Charleston Battalion, a unit that had fought on the fort's right flank. Campbell concluded, '[P]erhaps he is Killed for our guns shelled them terrebly (sic),' but he determined to find out his brother's fate. . . . 6

I take issue with one thing Brennan said. In the Prologue, page XII, he said: "Abraham Lincoln's November election provoked Carolinian leaders into elucidating a uniquely Southern view of states' rights. In December of 1860, they invoked what they saw as their constitutional prerogative and voted to secede from the Federal union."

Seceding from the Union is not a "uniquely Southern view of states' rights." New England states threatened to secede five times in the antebellum era over the War of 1812 (treasonous Hartford Convention), the Louisiana Purchase, the admission of Texas, and at other times when they felt their political power was being diluted. Nobody questioned the right of secession back then, and it was certainly a right.

Before acceding to the Constitution, three states specifically reserved the right of secession: New York, Rhode Island, and Virginia. Because all the other states accepted the reserved right of secession of New York, Rhode Island, and Virginia, the other states had it too because all states entered the Union as exact equals.

For ten years the North used hate against the South to rally votes so they could use their larger population to take over the government. Their goal was to continue their economic rape of the rest of the country with their bounties, subsidies, monopolies and tariffs that resulted in the South paying around 85% of the country's taxes while 75% of the tax money was being spent in the North.7 Southerners were fed up.

The main thing that triggered secession was that Northern hate. Southerners saw Northerners promote terrorism against them by financing John Brown who hacked pro-South settlers to death in front of their families in Kansas, then be martyred in the North when he was brought to justice. Southerners were not about to accept as their rulers, people who hated them.

They had the right to secede and they exercised it property. Like the Declaration of Independence says, governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and there was no consent in the South in 1860-61 to continue in the Federal Union.

I take issue with another point Brennan made. He said that Brig. Gen. Isaac I. Stevens had been slandered by a William Lilly: "Old charges that Stevens was questionable on the slavery issue, a charge that most Democrats had to face at one time or another, combined with Lilley's fabrications to hold up Stevens' confirmation."

That's an odd point for Brennan to make because the one thing you can prove beyond the shadow of a doubt is that the North did not go to war to end slavery. Brennan did not footnote his comment so there is no way to know exactly what he was talking about.

The War Aims Resolution of the Northern Congress (the war is about Union, not slavery), and the Corwin Amendment (leave blacks in slavery forever, even beyond the reach of Congress, where slavery already exists), passed overwhelmingly in the Northern Congress and was ratified by several states before the war made it moot. They prove the North's true feeling about slavery.

There is other irrefutable proof such as the six slave states that fought for the Union the entire war, three of which had slavery months after the war, until the second Thirteenth Amendment finally freed them. The first Thirteenth Amendment was the Corwin Amendment.

The North was interested in its money and power, not ending slavery. They brought most of the slaves here. They damn sure did not want them to move North and be job competition. That's why so many Northern and Western states had laws on the books forbidding free blacks from even visiting, much less living there, including Lincoln's Illinois.

Lincoln's Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation of September 22, 1862 states clearly "hereafter, as theretofore, the war will be prosecuted for the object of practically restoring the constitutional relation" between the U.S. and seceded states i.e., the Union (emphasis added). There is no mention of slavery.

Lincoln also states in the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation that efforts would continue to find a place to send blacks to in the future such as back to Africa or into a place they could survive. That was Lincoln's view his whole life. See Colonization After Emancipation, Lincoln and the Movement for Black Resettlement, by Phillip W. Magness and Sebastian N. Page (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2011).

The actual Emancipation Proclamation of January 1863 deliberately did not free any of the thousands of slaves in Confederate territory already captured by the Union. They were specifically exempt from the Emancipation Proclamation and were left in slavery as were all the slaves in the six Union slave states of Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and West Virginia. West Virginia had come into the Union as a slave state, ironically, within weeks of the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Lincoln's own secretary of state, William H. Seward, and others such as Charles Dickens made fun of Lincoln for issuing such a ridiculous document that freed slaves where he had no control, but left them in slavery where he could have freed them easily.

Another excellent review on this book was done by Brett Schulte and can be found at: Review: Secessionville: Assault on Charleston by Patrick Brennan — TOCWOC - A Civil War Blog (brettschulte.net)

The famous drawings of the Battle of Secessionville that are used for the cover of Secessionville, Assault on Charleston, come from Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, the July 12, 1862 edition. It can be viewed here with the original captions: The battle of Secessionville, James Island, S.C., bayonet charge of union troops, commanded by Brigadier-General Stevens; Repulse of the rebels at James Island, near Charleston, S.C. - South Carolina and the Civil War - UofSC Digital Collections.

Those drawings were made by Frank Leslie's artists from sketches sent to Leslie by a Union officer in the battle. They are from the Northern perspective and are not completely accurate.

We need some Southern artists like Bob Graham of Bob Graham Fine Art here in Charleston to do some great artwork of the Battle of Secessionville from the Confederate perspective! Bob's gallery includes several beautiful works from the war as well as western subjects and American Indians: http://bobgrahamfineart.com/.

Patrick Brennan's Secessionville, Assault on Charleston, is an exceptional, enjoyable, valuable book about an important battle.

As distinguished historian John Lukacs said, the best history in the future will be written by independent historians like Brennan. It certainly will not come from politicized academia, which cares nothing for truth.


1 Patrick Brennan, Secessionville, Assault on Charleston, Acknowledgments, II.

2 See Note 30, page 346, for the primary sources listed for this paragraph. It comes from Brennan, Secessionville, Assault on Charleston, 171.

3 Brennan, Secessionville, Assault on Charleston, 172.

4 For the primary sources quoted here, see Chapter 9, Note 40 in Brennan, Secessionville, Assault on Charleston. Both paragraphs come from page 260.

5 For primary sources, see Chapter 9, Note 52. This comes from Brennan, Secessionville, Assault on Charleston, 265.

6 For the primary sources, see Chapter 9, Note 54. This comes from Brennan, Secessionville, Assault on Charleston, 266.

7 Samuel W. Mitcham, Jr., It Wasn't About Slavery, Exposing the Great Lie of the Civil War (Washington, DC: Regnery History, 2020), 103.

Battle of Secessionville, June 16, 1862, 158th Anniversary Commemoration Address by Gene Kizer, Jr.

Battle of Secessionville, June 16, 1862
158th Anniversary Commemoration Address by Gene Kizer, Jr.
Historic Marker Secessionville 62K

[Publisher's Note: It is a great honor to give the address for the Battle of Secessionville Commemoration each year on the battle site at Fort Lamar Heritage Preserve on James Island, between Folly Beach and Charleston, South Carolina. In 2020, because of COVID, the Commemoration was held November 21st rather than in June, close to the battle date, and this worked out well.

What is so impressive about our Confederate ancestors in this battle is that they were greatly outnumbered and outgunned, as they were throughout the War Between the States, so to win, they had to outthink and outsmart the enemy, and they did, regularly.

Fort Lamar, initially called Tower Battery, was built in a strategic location on James Island on the narrowest part of a peninsula that is shaped like an oblong hourglass. Tower Battery itself was only 125 yards across, with saltwater creeks and pluff mud on both sides. WE knew Yankees would not be able to walk through any pluff mud, but they didn't. So we were able to concentrate our strengths where we needed them.

Tower Battery. Observation tower and footbridge not on this map.
Tower Battery. Observation tower and footbridge not on this map.

There were two separate, small batteries, one, a mile away, and both laid down an enfilading fire on the front of the fort that was devastating to the attacking enemy in the battle.

Even the defense of Charleston, which had been set up by Gen. Robert E. Lee when he was in charge down here, is something to be greatly admired in the annals of war. The Charleston and Savannah Railroad ran 100 miles between Charleston and Savannah, and whichever city needed troops, the other was to send them on the Charleston and Savannah Railroad. Confederates successfully defended 100 miles of railroad the entire war.

A footbridge capable of men and horses was built a mile across the marsh and over that footbridge came the reinforcements including the Fourth Louisiana that turned the tide in the Battle of Secessionville.

Rough but excellent sketch of Tower Battery showing the critical footbridge.
Rough but excellent sketch of Tower Battery showing the critical footbridge.

Of course, a huge ditch out in the field in front of the fort that forced attacking Yankees to bunch up together, where they were then wiped out by grape and canister from the fort, was unquestionably a strategic move that worked brilliantly.

As I said, Confederates were greatly outnumbered and outgunned, so they had to outsmart the enemy to win, and they did, regularly.

The bottom line is that Confederates in Charleston were never beaten in the War Between the States. Yankees wanted to destroy Charleston worst than any other city yet on the day in early 1865 that Confederates were ordered to evacuate in order to continue the war elsewhere, Yankees were denied a military surrender such as Union Maj. Robert Anderson had done four years earlier at Fort Sumter. Charleston was, instead, turned over to the enemy by a city alderman, unbeaten and unbowed, with much of the city in smoldering ruins after one of the longest sieges in military history.

This is the copy I spoke from so I did not add footnotes but people I quoted are noted in the text and all statements by anybody else have quotation marks around them.

A short, select bibliography includes: E. Milby Burton, The Siege of Charleston, 1861-1865 (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1970); W. Chris Phelps, Charlestonians in War, The Charleston Battalion (Gretna, Louisiana: Pelican Publishing Company, 2004); Warren Ripley, ed., Siege Train, The Journal of a Confederate Artilleryman in the Defense of Charleston (Published for the Charleston Library Society by the University of South Carolina Press, Columbia, 1986); John Johnson, The Defense of Charleston Harbor, 1863-1865 (Charleston: Walker, Evans & Cogswell Co., Publishers, 1890; reprint, Germantown, Tennessee: Guild Bindery Press, 1994); Samuel Jones, Formerly Major-General C.S.A., The Siege of Charleston, and the Operations on the South Atlantic Coast in the War Among the States (New York: The Neale Publishing Company, 1911); numerous maps, and articles by veterans of the Battle of Secessionville such as "In the Battle of Secessionville" by R. De T. Lawrence, Marietta, Georgia, in Confederate Veteran, Vol. XXX, Nov., 1922; also by R. De T. Lawrence, "Signal Corps in Defense of Charleston" in Confederate Veteran, Vol. XXVIII, July, 1920; "The Fourth Louisiana Battalion at the Battle of Secessionville, S.C." by H. J. Lea, Winnsboro, Louisiana, in Confederate Veteran, Vol. XXXI, January, 1923; "The Battle of Secessionville" in Confederate Veteran, Vol. XXX, Oct., 1922; and "Three Vital Episodes in the Attacks on Charleston" by Robert W. Barnwell, Sr., Florence, S.C. in Confederate Veteran, Vol. XXXVIII, Dec., 1930.]


I was introduced by Gene Patrick, President of Confederate Heritage Trust.

Thank you, Gene.

Good Morning.

It is a tremendous honor to stand on this sacred ground and speak to you this morning as we commemorate one of the most important battles of the War Between the States: the Battle of Secessionville.

There had not been that much immigration into the South in the antebellum days. The Confederates of 1861 were largely the same blood as the patriots who fought the British in 1776.

They had the same strong feelings about liberty and self-government.

Indeed, the most widely quoted phrase of the secession debate in the South during the year leading up to South Carolina's secession came from the Declaration of Independence:

Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

The country was not centralized in those days. Each state was sovereign and independent, like the countries of Europe. King George III agreed to the Treaty of Paris, September 3, 1783 which listed EACH American state then proclaimed them all QUOTE "to be free, sovereign and independent states . . . ".

No state ever rescinded its sovereignty or gave up its independence.

In fact, three states INSISTED, before they would join the new Union, that they could secede from it if it became tyrannical in their eyes. Those states were New York, Rhode Island and Virginia.

Because all the states were admitted to the Union as equals, the acceptance of the right of secession demanded by New York, Rhode Island and Virginia, gave that right to all the other states as well.

The Battle of Secessionville took place one hundred and fifty eight years and five months ago---on Monday, June 16, 1862---before dawn on a dark, drizzly morning fourteen months into the war.

If this battle had been lost, Charleston would have been lost, then soon, the war.

Charleston was a HUGE symbol for both sides.

Charleston is where the Confederacy began when South Carolinians met here December 20, 1860 in a convention of the people and voted unanimously, 169 to 0, to secede from the Union.

Charleston is where the war began 16 weeks later, on April 12, 1861, after Abraham Lincoln refused to remove his troops from sovereign South Carolina soil.

Instead, he lied to the Southerners. He promised to remove the Fort Sumter garrison, but secretly ordered it reinforced.

He knew full well that would start the war.

When Major Anderson, Union commander inside Fort Sumter, received notification that he would be resupplied and possibly reinforced, Anderson responded with a letter on April 8th that stated in part:

. . . a movement made now when the South has been erroneously informed that none such will be attempted, would produce most disastrous results throughout our country. . . . We shall strive to do our duty, though I frankly say that my heart is not in the war which I see is to be thus commenced . . .

Major Anderson SEES that the war is to be "Thus commenced" by Abraham Lincoln.

The importance of holding Charleston can not be overstated.

Gen. Robert E. Lee wrote to Gen. Pemberton and said: "The loss of Charleston would cut us off almost entirely from communications with the rest of the world and close the only channel through which we can expect to get supplies from abroad, now almost our only dependence."

Gen. Lee added that Charleston was "to be fought street by street and house by house as long as we have a foot of ground to stand upon."

A resolution stated the same thing:

Resolved, That the governor and Executive Council concur in opinion with the people of South Carolina, assembled in Convention, that Charleston should be defended at any cost of life or property, and that in their deliberate judgment they would prefer a repulse of the enemy with the entire city in ruins to an evacuation or surrender on any terms whatever.

The North wanted to destroy Charleston as badly as we wanted to protect her.

Horace Greeley's New York Tribune on June 9, 1862, one week before the Battle of Secessionville, stated:

'Doom' hangs over wicked Charleston. That viper's nest and breeding place of rebellion is, ere this time, invested by Union Armsperhaps already in our hands. If there is any city deserving of holocaustic infamy, it is Charleston. . . .

This is the same Horace Greeley who believed in the right of secession and stated it proudly---let our erring sisters go---until he realized it would affect his money. Then he wanted war as did the whole North.

Southern secession had triggered the beginning of an economic collapse in the North. Northerners had not realized that their economy was largely based on manufacturing for the South and shipping Southern cotton. Cotton alone was 60% of US exports in 1860.

Each year, tens of millions of dollars flowed out of the South and into the North because of tariffs, bounties, subsidies, and monopolies for Northern businesses.

Southerners were producing the wealth of the nation as the most esteemed economist of the time, Thomas Prentice Kettle, wrote in his famous book: Southern Wealth and Northern Profits.

Southerners were paying most of the nation's taxes, yet, outrageously, three-fourths of the tax money was being spent in the North.

Georgia Senator Robert Toombs called it a suction pump sucking wealth out of the South and depositing it in the North.

Henry L. Benning, one of Gen. Lee's most able brigadier generals and for whom Fort Benning, Georgia is named, said $85,000,000, a gargantuan sum in those days, was the amount flowing CONTINUALLY through Robert Toombs's suction pump.

The prescient Benning also said:

The North cut off from Southern cotton, rice, tobacco, and other Southern products would lose three fourths of her commerce, and a very large proportion of her manufactures. And thus those great fountains of finance would sink very low. . . . Would the North in such a condition as that declare war against the South?

Without the North, the South was in great shape with 100% control of the most demanded commodity on the planet: cotton.

Without the South, the North was DEAD.

Both sides realized that James Island was the key to taking Charleston and despite problems, . . . the defenses of Charleston were BRILLIANT. The Confederates defenders, most of whom were native Charlestonians, were fearless, and they knew the terrain.

A member of the 1st South Carolina Regiment who was in action in Charleston, B. A. O. Norris, of Graham Texas, stated after the war:

I think I am right when I state that this was the only place besieged that did not yield to the forces besieging it. It was stronger and abler to repel any attack on the day that it was evacuated than ever before.

The defensive perimeter around Charleston extended from Christ Church parish in Mt. Pleasant, to the Wando River then across Charleston Neck to the Ashley River, through St. Andrew's parish to the Stono, and on across James Island to Secessionville.

Because Charleston had been taken by the British in the Revolutionary War from the neck area, "A strong line of fortifications was built across the peninsula from river to river . . . the whole system could be flanked by fire from gunboats" in either the Ashley or Cooper River. . . .

A strong cremalliere line [JAGGED] was constructed across James Island from Fort Pemberton on Wappoo Creek in Riverland Terrace to right here where we are standing. That line was a mile in advance of the regular Confederate line. This was done January to February, 1862, nine months into the war.

If you look at an aerial map of the Secessionville peninsula, it is shaped like an oblong hourglass and right here is the narrowest part across the peninsula.

It was Col. L. M. Hatch's idea. He constructed the priest-cap work across the neck, built a strong bridge a mile long to connect Secessionville with the main island, and erected an observatory which commanded an extensive view of the approaches to Charleston.

The priest-cap design was two reDANS, side by side, so, together, they looked like the letter M. That design allowed troops inside to shoot an enfilading fire on anybody attacking the front. The whole front was approximately 125 yards across.

The footbridge was capable of men AND horses so Tower Battery could be reinforced.

The tower was 75 feet high and a lookout with field glasses could see all over James Island including the Yankee positions at the mouth of the Stono in the area where Folly Beach County Park is today.

They also built two small flanking batteries, each a mile away, to lay down enfilading fire on anybody attacking the front of the fort.

Milby Burton, in The Siege of Charleston, 1861-1865, writes that "On June 2, 1862, General Pemberton wired Jefferson Davis that there were 20 vessels in the Stono Inlet."

"On June 8, Pemberton informed W. J. Magrath, president of the Charleston and Savannah Railroad, that 'the enemy in large force is preparing to attack Charleston---Probably through James and John's Island.' He requested Magrath have several trains ready to move at a moment's notice."

On June 9, Union General Wright's division crossed the Stono "and took position on Thomas Grimble's plantation. The Confederates immediately opened fire of solid shot and shell, which fell into, around, and over General Wright's camp and among the gunboats in the Stono. This quickly convinced Union commander General Benham that their main camps and landings were untenable while exposed to Confederate fire. He would have to abandon James Island or silence the Confederate batteries."

"On June 10, Pemberton ordered the Confederate lines to advance in order to establish a battery of heavy guns on the edge of Grimball's plantation with a view to driving the gunboats from the immediate area and make landing hazardous." There was sharp fighting and Confederates lost 60 to 70 men.

On June 14, Emma Holmes in her diary wrote "Skirmishes of almost daily occurrences on James Island."

On June 15, "General Pemberton wrote Governor Pickens that he had on James Island only 6,500 effective men."

Sunrise on Monday, June 16, 1862, was 5:14 a.m. but three hours earlier, at 2 a.m., 35 hundred Federal troops formed the first of two columns, and 31 hundred formed the second.

Milby Burton writes that "The assaulting group was to advance in silence and make the attack at 'first light' with the bayonet. The large number of Federal troops should have been more than sufficient to surprise and crush a garrison of 500 men.

"In spite of feverish activity, the breastwork was incomplete at the time of the attack. Col. Thomas G. Lamar, who was in command, had pushed his men to the point of exhaustion. Finally, at 3 a.m. on the morning of June 16, he allowed his worn-out men to sleep."

One of the things they had been doing was transferring guns from an old gunboat into Tower Battery.

The Southerners were barely asleep when the assault began. Burton writes: "Lamar rushed to one of the big guns, already loaded with grape, and pulled the lanyard. The roar of the gun aroused the troops, and grape tore into the oncoming ranks."

This was around 4:30 a.m., and the Battle of Secessionville was on.

"Confederate troops rushed to the aid of Colonel Lamar's defenders as they were aroused. Those of the assaulting troops who had reached the parapet were either killed or repulsed. The Eighth Michigan fell back and re-formed; around 5:10 with the aid of the Second Brigade they charged under fire for 1000 yards, assaulted the works, and again gained a foothold. After more fierce hand-to-hand fighting, they were again pushed back."

The Yankee perspective tells us a lot about the effectiveness of our Confederate boys. Gen. Samuel Jones, in his book, The Siege of Charleston, quotes a Union officer:

It had been reported to General Benham some days before that from the masthead of a naval vessel in the Stono, several long trains of cars loaded with troops had been seen pouring into Charleston over the road which Colonel Christ's expedition had failed to break.

Colonel Christ's expedition was an attack on the Charleston and Savannah Railroad, a critical part of coastal defenses. Whichever city needed troops, the other was to send them on the Charleston and Savannah Railroad. It's defenses were put in place by Gen. Robert E. Lee who had his headquarters along the railroad line at Coosawhatchie, SC, half way between Charleston and Savannah, from November, 1861, to March, 1862, when he was in charge down here. There were numerous attacks by Union troops to break the railroad but they were always defeated by tenacious Confederates. Our West Ashley Greenway that you can access from South Windermere Shopping Center was where the tracks of the Charleston and Savannah Railroad ran.

The West Ashley Greenway, former location of Charleston and Savannah RR tracks.
The West Ashley Greenway, former location of Charleston and Savannah RR tracks.

"The regiments of the leading Union brigade went forward into line in double-quick time when a storm of grape and canister from the Confederate guns crashed through the center of the line and continued tearing through the ranks with great rapidity, severing the line, one part crowding toward the right, the other to the left."

"They kept moving fast leaving the ground in their rear strewn with their dead and wounded. They did not stop until they gained the parapet and delivered their fire upon the enemy in his works. But being entirely unsupported for a considerable time, they fell back slowly, contesting every inch of ground . . . .".

"When within two or three hundred yards of the Confederate works the Seventh Connecticut 'came obliquely upon an unforeseen ditch and morass,' crowding and doubling up the regiment toward the center. At this moment a terrific fire of grape and musketry swept through the ranks. 'The line was inevitably broken.'"

I'll guarantee you that ditch was planned.

While the First Brigade was being cut up, the Seventy-ninth Highlanders, leading the Second Brigade, was ordered to attack, and they made it to the parapet.

Union Lt. Colonel Morrison said "'As I mounted the parapet, I received a wound in the head, which, though slight, stunned me for the time being; but still I was able to retain command. With me, many mounted the works, but only to fall or to receive their wounds from the enemy posted in rifle-pits in rear of the fort . . . . From the ramparts I had a full view of their works. They were entrenched in a position well selected for defensive purposes and upon which our artillery seemed to have little effect, save driving them into their retreats, and in attempting to dislodge them we were met with a fierce and determined opposition, . . . ".

"The Seventy-Ninth continued their attack and when about three hundred yards from the Confederate works 'We entered the range of a perfect storm of grape, canister, nails, broken glass, and pieces of chains, fired from three very large pieces on the fort, which completely swept every foot of ground within the range and either cut the men down or drove them to the shelter of the ravine on the left. I now turned to see the One Hundredth Pennsylvania Regiment just entering the fatal line of fire which completely cut it in two. Some reached the foot of the embankment and a few climbed it . . .".

Around 5:25 across the creek "The Third New Hampshire and Third Rhode Island approached to within forty yards of the fort and opened fire. Colonel Jackson, commanding the regiment, reports that he found no artillery on that part of the Confederate works and that he could easily have gone into the fort."

"'IF,' he adds, 'I could have crossed a stream between me and the earthworks about twenty yards in width with apparently four or five feet of water, and the mud very soft; the men therefore could not cross. The enemy soon opened on me from a battery about two hundred yards in our rear, throwing grape in to the ranks, from which we suffered severely. In a short time they opened fire with rifles and infantry. At the same time a battery about a mile north of us opened on us with shot and shell.'"

The Third Rhode Island penetrated the brushwood to dislodge the Confederate sharpshooters, but did not succeed. They withdrew.

Here's what the Charleston Battalion had to say about it from Charlestonians in War:

One hundred and twenty-five yards across the marsh that was protecting the Confederate right flank, the rattle of musketry was heard followed in a split second by a shower of bullets and booming artillery fire from an undetected Federal force. . . . These fresh Union troops, namely the Third New Hampshire Infantry and Third Rhode Island Heavy Artillery, were pouring a 'continuous and deadly fire. Many of our men fell at the guns and along the line.' These New Englanders had managed to reach a point behind the Confederate right flank where they could fire into the unprotected rear of the battery and resultantly the few remaining Confederate artillerists were compelled to abandon their guns and take cover while the infantry desperately returned the enemy fire.

"Due to loss of blood from his neck wound, Lieutenant Colonel Lamar now passed command of the entire battery to Lieutenant Colonel Gaillard, who himself was soon severely wounded in the knee. Without hesitation, Gaillard moved some of his men down the bank of the marsh, where they stood opposite their foe and exchanged rifle shot for rifle shot in a slugging match of endurance. . . . On the field arrived the Fourth Louisiana Battalion . . . " and "Twenty-fourth South Carolina Infantry and Eutaw Battalion, who both had rapidly advanced from their camps several miles to the battlefield." This was around 5:30.

After Lieutenant Colonel Gaillard was wounded in the knee, he turned command over to Lt. Col. T. M. Wagner, for whom Battery Wagner on Morris Island was named a month later, after Wagner was killed at Fort Moultrie.

To sum it up:

It was 66 hundred Federals against 500 Confederates who were reinforced by around 750 more Confederates, so 66 hundred against 12 hundred and fifty.

The Yankees had almost 700 casualties with 107 dead.

"Confederates lost 204 with 52 dead, most of them the troops who defended the Secessionville batteries. The struggle for the parapet had been fierce. Muskets were clubbed and Lieutenant Campbell and Mr. Tennant, of the Charleston Battalion, in default of better weapons, seized handspikes and wielded them with effect."

Yankees learned their lesson and left James Island.

Milby Burton writes:

"Two things helped turn the battle in the battery's favor." One was "two small field guns at two different locations, one manned by Lieutenant Jeter, the other by Lt. Col. Ellison Capers" later known as Battery Reed, whose purpose was to enfilade an enemy attack on the breastwork at Secessionville from a mile away." . . . . "Both men fired their guns with excellent effect into the Third New Hampshire and helped to hasten their withdrawal" as the hand-to-hand fighting had continued until the "assaulting troops were again repulsed."

Another major factor was "Lt. Col. J. McEnery, commanding a battalion of Louisiana troops, that had been aroused by Col. Hagood and sent to Secessionville. McEnery and his men "advanced to Secessionville over the bridge, nearly a mile long. They arrived on the run . . . and gave considerable assistance in repulsing the Third New Hampshire, which was pouring a deadly fire into the rear of the battery."

Here is an account by a soldier IN that Louisiana battalion, H. J. Lea of Winnsboro, Louisiana:

I was a member of Capt. J. W. Walker's company, which enlisted and went out from Monroe, Louisiana March 2, 1862. We went to Savannah, Ga. and there were attached to and made part of the 4th Louisiana Battalion, commanded by Col. John McEnery.

At the break of day on the morning of the 16th, firing was heard up in the front of the fort, the alarm given and the LONG ROLL BEAT. The line was quickly formed with orders to march in double-quick time. . . .  Just before the head of our line reached the fort, the Yankee regiment, having formed on the opposite side of Lighthouse Creek, about one hundred yards distant, opened fire on us. We were ordered to halt, face to the right, and fire. This continued but a short time; the storming party in front was crowding in and we were ordered to face to the left and rush to the fort, where the Yankees were scrambling for the top of the parapets crowding forward in great numbers with a desperate determination to capture the fort. We arrived just at the critical moment; a few minutes later would have been too late. They were repulsed, routed, and fled in the same quick time that they came, with our rifles and artillery playing on them to the extreme range.

It seemed that every man there in defense of the fort felt as though the whole responsibility of holding the fort rested on him for it would have been impossible for any force of the same size to have done more. As soon as the storming party in front gave way and fled, the flanking party across the creek also fled hurriedly, for had they remained, even for a short time, they would have been cut off and captured or killed.

Another Confederate in the battle, R. De T. Lawrence of Marietta, Georgia, wrote:

Many years after, I met at the Confederate Home of Georgia, a Mr. Jordan, who had been in the engagement in the battery, and subsequently in a number of battles in Virginia, and he told me that the one at Secessionville was the closest and hardest fought of any.

Warren Ripley writes in the Introduction of Siege Train:

. . . just as the Southerners had discovered the power of the U.S. Navy at Port Royal, Fort Lamar taught the Yankees a valuable lesson --- don't tangle with the Confederate Army beyond protective range of the warships' guns. These two principles were to color military thinking in the Charleston area for the remainder of the war.

Mary Boykin Chesnut in her famous diary wrote:

At Secessionville, . . . Henry King was killed. He died as a brave man would like to die. From all accounts, they say he had not found this world a bed of roses. . . . Dr. Tennent proved himself a crack shot. They handed him rifles, ready loaded, in rapid succession; and at the point he aimed were found thirty dead men. Scotchmen in a regiment of Federals at Secessionville were madly intoxicated. They had poured out whiskey for them like water.

Milby Burton writes:

"After the battle, Tower Battery was named Battery Lamar in honor of Confederate commander Col. Thomas G. Lamar."

"When the news of the repulse of the Federal forces reached Charleston, the citizens were elated, but when the casualty list arrived including the names of many Charlestonians, one commentator wrote: 'a Gloom has been cast over our City by the death of many fine young men.'"

"After the valiant defense of the battery, the Confederate Congress passed the following resolution: 'That the thanks of Congress are due and are hereby tendered to Colonel Thomas G. Lamar and the officers and men engaged in the gallant and successful defense of Secessionville against the greatly superior numbers of the enemy on the 16th day of June, 1862.'"

Charleston was never conquered militarily or surrendered. When Confederate forces were ordered to evacuate at the end of the war to continue the fight elsewhere, the city was turned over to the Union Army by an alderman.

Confederate soldier R. De T. Lawrence also said after the battle:

The troops which had reinforced the command of General Gist on James Island were returned to their former stations on the coast and at Savannah, and the heroes of Secessionville were toasted on every hand.

Thank you.