Friday, September 6, 2013

September 6, 1863 – Rebels Evacuate Battery Wagner

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

September 6, 1863 –   Rebels Evacuate Battery Wagner

            Historical Event:   On this day in 1863 Confederate General Pierre Toussaint Beauregard bowed to the inevitable and ordered the evacuation of Battery Wagner on Morris Island, long viewed by both sides as the key to his defense of Charleston.  The final decision was made following an intense close-in 36-hour bombardment by Union naval forces under Rear Admiral John Dahlgren. The fort’s commander reported that this “terrible bombardment” had killed more than 100 of the defenders and left “nearly all guns disabled.”  He added in his report to Beauregard that “repetition of today’s fire will make the fort almost a ruin,” and in an obvious plea for permission to withdraw asked “is it desirable to sacrifice the garrison?”
            Battery Wagner had withstood numerous previous bombardments and attacks – included the famous if ill-fated charge in July led by the 54th Massachusetts, which was depicted in the movie Glory.    
            The fall of Morris Island emboldened Dahlgren to send the ironclads USS Weehawken and USS Patapsco to bombard nearby Sullivan’s Island and Fort Sumter – whose defenses had been so reduced by the Union Navy and siege batteries as it was left with but one working cannon – which was fired but once a day in salute at the morning flag raising.  On the night of September 8-9 Dahlgren sent a force of 500 sailors and marines in small boats to storm the ruins – but they were repulsed by 350 defenders.

            Game Connection:  As it was in the Civil War, Charleston is a vital port for Blockade Runners and is the lynchpin of the Confederacy’s Atlantic Coast in Rebel Raiders on the High Seas.  Confederate General Beauregard is represented in Rebel Raiders on the High Seas by CSN Card 88, and his engineering talents that proved so vital to defense of Charleston are depicted in the card’s ability to place an additional Battery free of charge on the turn the card is played.  His nemesis in 1863, Rear Admiral John Dahlgren, is represented by two cards: USN Card 31 – which bears his name, and USN Card 3 – “Yankee Guns,” homage to his talents in designing, producing and using the Union’s big guns – some of which also bore his name.

            Destroying Confederate Batteries in preparation for an Assault is one of the primary jobs of the Union Navy in the game, just as was in the war, and many of Dahlgren’s ships are represented in the game, perhaps most notable among them USN Card 26 the USS New Ironsides – first in a new class of warship, and one which historian Shelby Foote says at the time was “the most powerful battleship in the world.”

1 comment:

  1. Mark: wonderful blog. Enjoy reading it along with your periodic updates. Keep up the great work.