© 2017-2018  by Michael C. Meek Jr.

Your Country Calls




Are Wanted



Morris Island,

Quite warm. Heavy firing still kept up.

Moved from Folly Island up here this afternoon.

August 21st was a difficult day for the men in the saps on Morris Island. Reports from General Gillmore and his subordinates suggest an increased fury from the defending guns supporting Fort Sumter, owing to the desperation caused by the deterioration of it's walls. 


While Sumter's guns were, by this time, nearly all dismounted and out of action, Confederate batteries on James Island opened up early in the morning and kept up a brisk fire throughout the day. Battery Wagner, the object of federal sappers, added to the chorus with grape and canister fired into the ever-approaching head of the sap. Confederate marksmen, from cover in the dunes and rifle pits, picked off exposed Federal laborers with enough effect to retard the day's work. Dispatches from the front indicate 26 Federal casualties were sustained on Morris Island that week (including the two from the 75th Ohio mentioned on August 19th). By all accounts, there was much respect for the abilities of Confederate sharpshooters by those on the receiving end of their fire.


Confederate gunners at Battery Simkins, James Island, in action against Federals on Morris Island.



Stubborn Confederate defense aside, General Gillmore was confident in his ultimate victory. To avoid unnecessary loss, a letter was sent through the lines from his Headquarters to that of his counterpart in Charleston, General P.G.T. Beauregard, demanding the surrender of the garrisons within Fort Sumter and on Morris Island. Failure to comply, Gillmore warned, would result in the shelling of the City of Charleston. No response was received within the given time.


That night, as J.W. Meek and the 75th Ohio stood their watch, the "Swamp Angel", an 8-inch Parrot Rifle positioned on a firing platform built in the marsh between Morris and James Islands, opened fire on the city. Before dawn, sixteen explosive and incendiary shells had been sent across the harbor and into the sleeping city.



An 8-inch Parrot Rifle in battery, possibly the "Swamp Angel."


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