Secessionville: Assault On Charleston by Patrick Brennan
1. The Battle of Secessionville proper continues in the eighth chapter. More attacks were launched against the Tower Battery as both Confederate and Union reinforcements came up. After several more regiments (79th NY, 100th PA, and 46th NY) attacked and either failed or were disrupted by the swamp on their left, Stevens called off the attack of his Division. Many of Stevens’ men, especially the 79th New York “Highlanders”, were angry and wondered where Wright was. He had moved off to the left along Battery Island Road, trying to get at Tower Battery from the flank. The 3rd New Hampshire turned east off of the road and did fire into the flank of Tower Battery, but 100 yards of impassable swamp prevented them from charging the fortification. Just in time, the men of the 4th Louisiana Bn. reached Tower Battery and returned fire. At the same time, a Confederate battery off to the north fired into the 3rd New Hampshire’s flank and forced them to withdraw. As the fight over Tower Battery’s flank sputtered and died, the 3rd Rhode Island Heavy Artillery moved north as well, but they continued north and faced the 24th South Carolina and the Eutaw Battalion. After some friendly fire incidents, the South Carolinian units drove the Rhode Islanders south. Stevens and Wright had both been checked for now.
2. Brennan relates an interesting development as the 79th New York moved to assault the Tower Battery. The Scottish Highlanders had assembled along the hedge out in the middle of the cotton field fronting the battery, and as they did, they moved through the prone men of the Irish 28th Massachusetts. Apparently the Scotsmen were amused to see their natural rivals behaving poorly, and much was written about this incident.
3. Col. Johnson Hagood had received word of the fight for Tower Battery, and he thought ahead. Instead of sending everyone southeast and across the causeway to Secessionville and the Tower Battery, he sent several units south down the Battery Island Road. These men halted Wright’s advance when he moved north on the same road.
4. There another friendly fire incident in this chapter, but this one involving the 24th SC and the Eutaw Battalion contained a twist. The 24th was acting as a skirmish line in front of a hedge while the Eutaws were deployed in line of battle behind. As the 3rd Rhode Island Heavies attacked, they fired at the 24th SC. The officers of the Eutaw Battalion, thinking the 24th SC was firing into them, kept calling on their men to hold their own fire. Eventually, as men of the 24th streamed through their lines, the Eutaw officers realized who was attacking, and the battalion opened up a galling fire, driving the Rhode Islanders back. However, due to the case of mistaken identity, the South Carolinians of the Eutaw Battalion suffered heavily where they could have otherwise handily beaten back the attack.
Check out Brett’s list of the Top 10 Civil War Blogs!
Did you enjoy this blog entry? Subscribe to TOCWOC’s RSS feed today!
Please consider using the ShareThis feature below to spread the word.