© 2017-2018  by Michael C. Meek Jr.

Your Country Calls

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Are Wanted

 

 

Sunday

Cloudy nearly all day. Rained about half the afternoon.

Moved about a mile further down the beach and pitched our tents.

Heavy firing tonight.

 

  Beachfront accommodations on Folly Island, South Carolina. Summer, 1863 

 

 

After a week of constant duty in the trenches on Morris Island, the 75th Ohio was taken off the line and returned to Folly Island for rest. Major G. Benson Fox:

 

As you have discovered we have moved back on Folly Island. The fact is they just had to bring us off Morris Island for we were about “played out”. I was confined to my tent for four days before leaving it and believe that if we should have remained there I would have been layed up for good. Over sixty out of little band were in about the same fix, but since we have gotten here, plenty of good, excellent water, decent rations and but very little duty, Camp Guard and Police duty of the regiment being all. We are about sound again.

 

By August 30th, fewer than 100 yards remained between the most advanced Federal saps and the walls of Battery Wagner. The moon was particularly bright, emboldening the increasingly desperate Confederate defenders who used the additional visibility to harass the evening work crews. What's more, the advanced Federal positions were now subject to friendly fire from their own artillery, as evident in reports from this day. Morale, as well as the men's health was ebbing away.

 

For Gillmore, the time had come to plan the final stages of the operation against Confederate forces on Morris Island. Detailed within his report from the campaign, his plan now called for one final push from his engineers and siege artillery before his infantry would be ordered to advance.

 

In this emergency, although the final result was demonstrably certain, it was determined, in order to sustain the flagging spirits of the men, to commence vigorously and simultaneously two distinct methods of attack, viz. :

 

First. To keep "Wagner" perfectly silent with an overpowering curved fire from siege and coehorn mortars, so that our engineers would only have the more distant batteries of the enemy to annoy them ; and,

 

Second . To breach the bomb-proof shelter with rifled guns, and thus deprive the enemy of their only secure cover in the work, and consequently drive them from it.

 

At pace, it would be another week before this work could be sufficiently completed. Until then, the 75th Ohio, and Gillmore's other chosen infantry formations, would have to wait for the call to mount an assault.

 

A Federal mortar battery on Morris Island in operation against Battery Wagner in August, 1863.

 

 

 

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