Midpoint of the War: May to July 1863

Verdict of the Newspapers

What enabled the Confederates to hold on to Battery Wagner and the forts around Charleston?

Sheer ornery desperation. Day after day, the forts were pounded by relentless barrages by federal artillery, but the defenders held on. Jefferson Davis made a special trip to Charleston in the autumn of 1863 and gave his view that the city and its defenders would never give up, but that if they someday had to let go of Charleston, they should leave it a smoking ruin.

Very likely, this courageous desperation derived from the fact that South Carolina had been the first state to secede, in 1861. Even so, when one counts the odds against the city’s defenders, one can only marvel at their willpower to continue the fight.


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