Thursday, July 18, 2013

This day 150 years ago in Rebel Raiders’ History

-Dedicated to Civil War episodes, battles, people and ships that also appear in my game, GMT’s Rebel Raiders on the High Seas,  

July 18, 1863 – Glory: Admiral Dahlgren & the 54th Mass. at Battery Wagner

            Historical Event:  The gallant charge of the 54th Massachusetts, so poignantly portrayed in the movie Glory, took part on this day in 1863.  Rear Admiral John Dahlgren sent his ironclads and gunboats of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron close in to support the attack on Battery Wagner on Morris Island in Charleston Harbor.  His ships  at times came as he notes in his memoirs within 300 yards of the fort.   

            To support the attack Dahlgren sent in ten ships:  six ironclads (USS Montauk, USS Ironsides, USS Kaatskill, USS Nantucket, USS Weehawken and USS Patapsco) and four gunboats (USS Paul Jones, USS Ottawa, USS Wissahickon and USS Seneca).

            Here, from his Memoirs, is Admiral Dahlgren’s account of what he witnessed that day:

            “The ironclads battered Wanger almost out of shape, and in the afternoon of that day the flag monitor ‘Montauk’ lay only three hundred yards from the sea-face of the work; not a gun was fired from it; not a head visible to my glass as I stood with other officers outside, watching the first symptom of renewed resistance.

            “Our column came up, but it was too dark to discern objects from the vessels, and after a fierce and resolute effort the column fell back with a loss of 1,500 men.

            “The assault could derive no aid from the fire of our guns, because it was impossible to distinguish our troops from the enemy.”   (Italics are Dahlgren’s).

            Game Connection:    John Dahlgren, one of the first admirals ever created for the U.S. Navy, has his own card (USN Card 31) in Rebel Raiders on the High Seas, and the revolutionary weapons he created (among them the Dahlgren gun) are also represented (USN Card 3 – Yankee Guns).  Both are important cards for a Union player who will need to send his fleets of ironclads and gunboats to destroy the batteries at Charleston to help clear the way for an assault – hopefully one that will end more fortuitously than the gallant but doomed charge made by the 54th on this day, 150 years ago.

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