tv The Civil War CSPAN November 30, 2014 10:00am-11:11am EST
the first time that americans realizing there was ore than one side in the vietnam story and it had a big impact, i think, in terms of growing anti-war movement. > i was asked by a radio correspondent to describe this room to a radio audience that couldn't see it. i said, you know, this room always plots a very convoluted and everybody sits around waiting for the witnesses. hack of liesis a and i can tear it apart. it is not fair to put me in the position of having my integrity questioned and not being allowed to cross-examine. the record is clear. >> during the civil war, union forces repeatedly targeted the port of charleston, south carolina, using a variety of
tactics, including new naval technology, ironclad warships. historian steven wise talks about the seize of charleston. it includes the change in leadership and federal forces, the various artillery methods used, and the role of blockade runners in keeping charleston supplied. this event was hosted by the south carolina historical society. it runs about one hour and 10 minutes. >> good evening. i'm faye jansen. on behalf of the south carolina historical society, i'd like to thank everyone for joining us. i'd also like to thank the board of managers of the society for sponsoring this event tonight. there will be refreshments afterwards and you can thank our board for those. in his war for the union series, historian alan nevin points out that the federal assault on charleston was planned for both political and military reasons. he writes that the seizure of the cradle of the confederacy,
the proud capital of secessionists, would humiliate every follower of calhoun and exalt every northern heart. we're going to hear about this important campaign tonight from two of south carolina's finest historians. dr. walter edgar is professor emeritus at the university of south carolina where he began teaching in 1972. he has written or edited more than a dozen books on the american south and south carolina, including the south carolina encyclopedia, south carolina: a history, partisans and red coats, the southern conflict that turned the tide of the american revolution, and south carolina in the modern age. he has also contributed numerous essays and reviews to professional publications and has delivered hundreds of talks
to schools, civic, and community groups. dr. edgar was the founder and first director of the university's public history program and served as the director of the institute for southern studies. since 2000, he has been the host of two popular weekly programs on south carolina e-tv radio. walter edgar's journal and southern read. from 2005 to 2008, we were fortunate to have dr. edgar serve as president of the board of managers of the south carolina historical society. in 2009, he was inducted into the south carolina hall of fame in honor of his outstanding contributions to the state. and in 2010, he was inducted into the south carolina higher education hall of fame, which recognizes individuals who have made a lasting impact on university education. joining dr. edgar is dr. stephen wise. dr. wise received his master's degree from bowling green and his ph.d.
from the university of south carolina. he is the director of the parris island museum and an instructor at the university of south carolina. a well-known civil war historian, dr. wise has authored a number of books and articles, including lifeline of the confederacy, blockade running during the civil war, and gate of hell, the campaign for charleston 1863. he is currently working on the second volume of the history of beaufort county. he is co-authoring that with dr. roland.rote win dr. wise is a popular lecturer who has appeared frequently on sce tv and the discovery channel. and fortunately for us, he also serves on the editorial board of the south carolina historical magazine. please welcome walter edgar and stephen wise.
[applause] >> steve, before we get started, faye also mentioned the books. but somebody asked me, what books would they read about the siege of charleston? and i said, well, if you want to go back, first thing you need to do is look at burton's book, which has been around for a while. and then lifeline of the confederacy and gate of hell, by steve wise. and steve, the siege of charleston, now, when it began is a matter up for discussion. i discovered maybe eight of 10 possible dates.
did it start on december 26, with the union occupation of fort sumter? did it start when the blockade was proclaimed in april? or did it start in may 1861 when the first blockade ship came? some people have dates after that, but i think it gets a little bit dicey. >> everything is confusing, yes. >> you've got three possible dates. you're the man who is the expert in naval history and particularly the blockade. so when would you -- let's settle this once and for all in charleston. when did the siege actually begin? >> boy, i can't even answer that one. i like to put the siege starting when the federals occupied port royal, november 7, 1861. that places the federal troops within 40 air miles of charleston. it allows them to increase the blockade off charleston. it also gives them a base from which they can launch both land
and sea assaults against charleston. almost immediately, when the federals occupied port royal sound -- let's remember, it's a whole new time of warfare. in order to carry out a blockade of the confederate coast, you need coaling stations. very early in the war, the united states actually set up -- you could argue -- the first chief of staff board to carry out a strategy to defeat the confederacy. one of the main things they did was come up with a concept of blockading the south and establishing coaling stations from which vessels, warships , could find refuge, be refueled , and carry out a much tighter blockade of the coast. and they chose port royal as the site to establish a naval base, guarded by an army installation, to carry out this blockade. they actually chose it before the confederates even started building their fortifications to guard port royal sound.
and on november 7, 1861, a fleet under same mill francis du samuel francis du pont, the largest fleet up to this time in u.s. history, 15 warships, will seize port royal sound. the sea islands will be abandoned by their owners. beaufort will be abandoned. army troops will be landed on hilton head. then they will spread out among all the sea islands and then they'll establish this massive base from which they can launch attacks against charleston. and the commander of this expeditionary force was thomas west sherman. this is not "the" sherman. he's sometimes called the other sherman. this poor guy, he was under direction almost immediately to capture charleston. well, here he is with only 14,000 men at port royal. yes, the naval base. he's supposed to seize jacksonville, fernandina, saint
augustine, move against savannah. but charleston was a symbol that the north won it. he almost immediately was given out instructions, carry out an attack against charlotte. >> actually, when faye quoted alan nevin, who quoted somebody else, but when he talked about charleston and the revolution, he would say, talking about the battle of sullivans island, he said the british would find charleston a tough nut to crack. >> it was. i don't think the federal government ever understood how much it would take. sherman sent out his engineers. they came up with a plan that called for landing troops on sullivans island and morris island. >> didn't they know the sullivans island thing failed once before? >> i'm sure they did. i'm sure they studied all of that. problem was, he only had about
14,000 men and the campaign called for about 30,000 men. and he wasn't going to get those 30,000 men. but it's going to be out of port royal that all attacks against charleston will come from. and, of course, the naval blockade and even the naval attacks will originate. >> some things people forget. they think about the blockade. you've actually got the ships patrolling. but in december 1861, and january 1862, they sank, what, 30 ships loaded with stone to try to block various avenues and passes into charleston? >> yes. after they seized port royal, information or directives came down to admiral dupont, at that time captain dupont, saying we're going to be sending you a stone fleet. these were old whalers that the united states government had purchased, loaded them up with granite from new england. they were to come down and dupont was supposed to sink them in the channels off of charleston. dupont hated the idea. he called them white elephants.
they didn't know really what to do with them. but he followed orders. went ahead and sank them in the main ship channel. then another group came down a little later and sank them off of sullivans island. as best as dupont could tell, the sinking of these vessels, the vessels quickly broke up, but the granite helped scour out the channels to make them even deeper. [laughter] so blockade runners could get in a little more easy. he actually kept a cup of them back in port royal and turned them into machine shops which he thought was a much better purpose for them. >> you mentioned captain admiral dupont. of course he did go into beaufort, but in 1863, he made a stab at fort sumter. >> yes. dupont, fascinating individual. he was sort of the aristocrat of the united states navy. he was on that blockade board. he's one of the ones who helped design the blockade.
he's given command of the expedition to come down and seize this area. married to his first cousin. no children. but he wrote her every day. and the letters are fascinating. you go back, and he even writes in french, if there's something he doesn't want everybody to read. but he leaves behind a tremendous amount of wonderful letters that describe it. he did not want to attack charleston. he said it's just like a porcupine hide turned inside out. you couldn't get into charleston. and he's also a man of the old navy. he was a midshipman about the age of 12 or 14. he believed in the big, tall, wooden vessels. you could stand on the deck and control your ship. he didn't like the ironclads. and he's being sent these monitors, these ironclads that are considered to be the weapon of the age. the united states naval department thought these ironclads could do anything.
and he sent down -- this is the largest ironclad fleet ever assemblied by the united states during the civil war to come against charleston. there's a great description of when he's on his flagship, the big frigate.great he's standing there watching the first monitor come in. and he said this little tiny raft comes in. it's being swept over by water. he said the crew comes out onto the deck. and they look like drowned rats. [laughter] and he said we can never use iron ships unless we can come up with iron sailors. [laughter] >> well, that leads into the whole area of naval -- the development of naval warfare and technology. and -- so let's back up a little bit, because i think we're going to talk about the monitor, if we're going to talk about that, we've got to talk about the engagement of hampton roads in virginia, when both the confederacy and the union were
coming up with ironclads. the confederacy, to break the blockade, an attempt to break the blockade, not quite as good a design as the monitors. >> no. the first battle between steam-powered ironclad vessels will be the virginia and the monitor or more popularly known as the merrimack. >> if you're from the south, it's the virginia. it is not the merrimack. if you're from new england, it's the merrimack. >> ok. yes, sir. >> for those who don't know, the merrimack was the frigate sunk at norfolk that they converted into the virginia. >> yes. >> that goes out. and she was designed as a large ram, though she didn't have very good engines, which was a problem with confederate ironclads. she fought the monitor, which was the brainchild of the swedish inventor. swedish inventor, john erickson. so you had this very unusual, huge confederate ironclad, big armored casement coming out of
the water. and this little tiny monitor with a turret that just spun around. couldn't fire straight ahead or it would take off the pilot house, but it could fire in other directions. the merrimack had a big ram but it had already broken off the day before when it attacked some wooden vessels. and they sparred for an entire day. it was a very inconclusive battle. but what it does cause is after this point, each side begins building these styled ironclads. the confederacy, smaller versions of the virginia. the north turns out between 60 and 80 of these monitors during the war. the confederacy turns out between 50 and 60 smaller versions of the virginia. and charleston is a port where they have an ironclad squadron. before the war is out, there will be four active ironclads in charleston harbor with two or three more on the stocks. >> and two of the -- >> they had two. the first two they built, one was the palmetto state.
the other was the jacora. both were vessels built in charleston. engines were taken out of other ships. they didn't have very good engines. the jacora was particularly slow, a very slow vessel. it was said that the jacora took four hours to steam from the battery to fort johnson. [laughter] one said that a log floating in the tide could outrun it. [laughter] but they were ironclads. and they will actually go out and attack the federal fleet, january 30, 1863. there were no union ironclads out there. and they had plenty of time. i think they had six hours to get from the cooper river out to the mouth of the harbor. put on a minstral stroll.
enough time to do a full troll in the palmetto state. and they attack the federal fleet. the palmetto state damages the union blockader. the jacora takes on a large steamer called the keystone state. and i have to do this. i'm sorry. i have to do this story. side-wheel vessels do not make the best warships, because you can imagine, you know -- >> i knew he was going to work it in. >> i have to do this. and like comedians, historians steal from other historians, so i have to say i'm stealing this from craig simmons. but the first warships, the united states and most nations had, were side-wheel vessels. you have these side wheels. of course, if you hit a side wheel, it was a shot. it hurts. you can't do much. the jacora damaged the keystone
state's paddle wheel. so the keystone state is coming along, loses a paddle wheel, so it's kind of going like -- [laughter] the jacora was so slow, she could not catch the one paddle of the keystone state. [laughter] but, again, they could take on wooden vessels. and if wooden vessels could get into the harbor, they would be fairly formidable. they had very good armament. called brook cannons, massive rifled guns. the confederate navy believed in rifled guns, fired like a bullet-like projectile, weighing up to 200, 300 pounds that could pierce the side of an enemy ship, hit engines, magazines and such. the north believed in firing great big round balls, weighing up to 440 pounds. they didn't care if they broke the armor of an enemy vessel. they just were going to pound it into submission. if you can imagine being inside an iron case and a 440-pound
ball hits the side of your ship, knocks out half the crew, splinters are thrown all over the interior of the ship. >> that's the main thing, because behind that iron are oak timbers. just like the danger in the navy on the wooden ships, it was not so much from the shot itself but from the splinters. you mentioned the engines which were a weakness in southern ironclads. tell us about the smokestack. >> yeah. smokestack would get riddled. then you didn't have the draw coming back in and that would slow you down greatly as well. in some battle, the smokestack would literally fall off, it had been hit so many times. >> one thing is, yes, the confederate ironclad is above water, but most of the ship is below water and all of the union ship is below water. no port holes. you've got that turret and that's it. you're off charleston harbor in the summer. just stop and think about that.
and the monitors were always wet. you could not stay dry in the monitors. always -- i mean, they were built -- erikson had this theory that rafts could ride over waves. it worked well in a wave vat. where he tested this theory. doesn't work in reality. and waves go right over them. and it just floods these vessels. and they're small crews, anywhere from 80 to a little over 100 men. they got special pay for serving on monitors, because they were constantly wet. they couldn't see down in the hulls of these vessels, as walter says. they had some dead lights, some glass on the deck that brought in some light. but it didn't do much at all. one officer who was stationed off charleston wrote his wife and said, we have some interesting times when we have our messes. we're given bowls of food. and you can't see the roaches in
them. and he said the bigger ones, you can pick out. but the smaller ones, you just eat normally as you go through. it was suggested that the navy the r navy had given up um ration. by this time, for the sailors. the officers still had their wine mess. but the sailors did not. and it was thought maybe we should bring this back for the men serving on board the monitors. the chief surgeon of the united states navy said, no, no, no, a mixture of warm oatmeal and coffee would be much better. i think they would have preferred the rum. i think they would have. >> all right. we've got port royal. we've got the blockade. we've got dupont decides to at least have a foray against fort sumter. >> what scares dupont the most and scares the men on the monitors -- and these are top officers. one thing dupont had was top
officers in the united states navy. the draiton family of charleston. one is bankhead, who took over the monitor after the commander of the monitor was wounded in the action against the virginia. but they're scared to death because these monitors have very little buoyancy. and they know the confederates -- the general comes and takes over in charleston in september of 1862. he's willing to try anything. one thing they do is place lace in the harbor and out in the main channel. mines, floating -- what they then called torpedoes. if these torpedoes hit and detonated against a monitor, you probably had less than a minute to get out. they would flip over and sink. late in the war, one hit a mine in charleston harbor, went down with 64 of her men.
i mean, it went over. it wasn't even a minute. they just flip and go down. the buoyancy is so bad. so they're very brave men. well, wait an minute. so when they come in, when dupont sends his vessels in, the lead ship, she has a -- something designed by erikson, this wild contraption on her bow to try to catch and blow up the mines, the torpedoes, as they come into the harbor. we're not quite sure exactly what happened. it seems that it hit one mine. blew up. and that was enough. nobody was going to attempt to go into charleston harbor. the commander eventually cuts loose this contraption and it floats off. and the ironclads don't even try to enter charleston harbor, because of the mines. they take up a position to bombard fort sumter. it's a very uneven match. the monitors do have these huge cannons.
and, again, if you think about world war ii and such, when we had 16-inch guns on board the new jersey and the later classes of our battleships. monitors during the civil war carried 15-inch guns. and they could fire, again, a shot weighing up to 440 pounds, which they fired against fort sumter. >> i just -- i know that, and i've read that. you've got that. but how does the crew load a 400-pound cannonball into that gun? >> the monitors are all steam-propelled, steam-operated. so they had designed inside them steam lifts that would lift up the powder and, again, the powder is quite heavy. and steam lifts to bring these shot and shells up from the hulls to the turrets. and the turrets, you had around
the turret, a block-and-tackle system that would actually snap onto these -- they had little grooves in them. they would snap onto these balls and be manhandled over and loaded into these huge guns. it took a long time, almost five minutes, to fire one of these guns. that's sort of what happened to them, when they come into charleston harbor. they get off 162 shots, about 16,000 pounds of metal against fort sumter. the confederates get off from their cannons, which are just ringing the harbor, over 2,000 rounds, 160,000 pounds of metal. and it's just raining down on these monitors. they hold up under the bombardment. but it hits their decks, rips up their decks, jams their turrets. again, as walter mentioned, the vibrations inside these vessels are knocking bolts loose.
they did not put any kind of paneling in the turrets. so bolts about this big are breaking off in the turret and whizzing around the turret, hitting the gunners. after about four, five hours of this, they withdrew. and dupont gets these reports back from his officers. the monitors have all been quite roughly handled. a couple of them dropped out of the battle. there was one vessel, she was not a monitor. she was what they call a tower ironclad. had two towers. she had much weaker armor than the monitors. she was shot through over a dozen times. she was such a -- she was a lighter draft vessel so she could get closer to fort sumter. the commander, a fellow named ryne, told his pilot, i want you to get as close to fort sumter as you can, because i want to prove this is a lousy ship. [laughter] his pilot was robert smalls.
see fellow who took the planner out of charleston harbor. she sank that night. the monitor survived. but it was a tremendous -- i mean, dupont was just so upset at this. he was very worried about it. he had a tremendous reputation for his capture of port royal. now, suddenly, he's being -- how dare you stop this attack? the navy department. the monitors cannot be turned back. what do you mean? a huge political war basically breaks out between dupont and his backers and the navy department. and in the end, dupont is relieved of command. the monitors are redesigned. the ones that attack charleston are reworked to give them more protection. but they never, ever try to run into charleston harbor. the idea of hitting the torpedoes is just --
>> do they do that refitting or -- >> they could do most of the refitting at port royal. only one vessel got sent back, because the gear -- the monitors, again, are all steam-operated. when they went into battle, they would actually rise up, to turn the turret. and one of the gears that turned the turret broke. but that they couldn't do in port royal. >> and they've established not just a -- basically a u.s. naval ship-yard at buford. >> it was fascinating. they had the hard hat divers there. they would go down to clear the underside of the vessels and in one case bushels of oysters were taken off the hull of a monitor. some of the officers were a little upset, because, what, they could just go out and grab oysters whenever they needed them. and now they cleaned them all off. and there was some nice food for them. [laughter]
couple months after the dupont and monitor fiasco, let's say six months, .ou have wagner >> again, the movement from port royal, the navy realized dupont was not the man to lead out these attacks. a fellow who is actually the inventor of these --e cannons, the dalton guns the guns that were on the monitors. he had very little experience. for the most part, he was head of the washington arsenal naval yard where he developed these cannons appeared became a very good friend of abraham lincoln. >> so he was political? >> some argue that. he was very brave. he got seasick. he was promoted over a lot of other officers, never well-liked
, kept to himself. glory and never really achieved it. he was a technician, and he was not really the first choice that the u.s. had to take over after dupont they wanted to put andrew foot, the fellow who commanded the union fleet on the mississippi river who work with grant and fort hendry, but he had been wounded at fort donelson and never really recovered from that. he was a stonewall jackson naval type of officer. but he died. >> but what about farragut? pretty good naval officer. i think that admiral was political. >> in many ways. he was a favorite of lincoln p reduce secretary of the navy did not want him.
his knowledgeat of upper and re--- weaponry and he knew more about the knowledge of the monitors. replaces general hunter at port royal, and he is going to lead the army in this attack against charleston. gilmore is probably your top engineer, artillery man in the u.s. army, the man who used rifled canyons to capture port pulaski. so there were these two technicians. they can manage to carry out a campaign that would destroy fort sumter, capture fort sumter, remove the obstructions and those torpedoes that were between fort sumter and sullivan's island, and that would allow the monitors to go
into the harbor and capture charleston. these twoht between commanders this could be done. the idea was to come down and use folly island which had been occupied earlier in the war, use that as a jumping off point to , bombardorris island fort sumter from about half a fort,way, destroy the capture the fort, remove obstructions, and then the navy could come in. >> talking about the siege of charleston, the campaign around fort wagner isn't an interclub part of that. >> oh, yes, and if you want to start your count and want to follow with your count here, a lot of the charleston newspapers and some of the charleston theners say the siege
begins july 10, 1863 when they landed on morris island. that starts the count of 587 days. union forces right on the outskirts of charleston, eventually leading to bombardment and attack. this movement from folly island to morris island starts july 10, 1863. if you look at the newspapers, ians callhat charleston the beginning of the seizure of fort charleston. you have the assault at battery wagner using african-american troops. they talk about massachusetts training, but many of those soldiers were recruited to beaufort. >> you had three black regiments
within gilmore's army. the first and second south carolina, both of which were raised at the port royal -beaufort area. there were a number of former slaves from south carolina and a little from florida and georgia, as well. later, they are joined by the third south carolina which is made up of a lot of escaped slaves from the charleston area. is a regiment that also sees a great till of service out here, as well. wagnersiege of battery -- the young men, i mean, for those of us in later wars, world war i and world war ii, they had .unkers in the sand when they were being shelled, they would go in. when it stopped, they would come out. 5, the through september
confederate soldiers are going underground for hours at a time. again, you have to think what these young men are putting up with. some talk about the way the union fleet would fire at battery wagner. they would skip the shelves in like you would skip a stone across a pond. sometimes the shelf could bring fish in. [laughter] one of the young boys talked about getting his supper that way. >> you could sit there and watch these ever in large andba discs coming at you. large discsse coming in at you. one held it up and said, thank you for my breakfast. is one of the first forts to undergo these bombardments
and attacks, and it changes strategy and military concepts. gilmore was looking along the lines of fort sumter, fort pulaski, these big ports that could be pulverized by rifled alterity -- artillery. they carried out an all-day bombardment before that july 18 assault. the northerners were just watching these shells crashing into the port. they cannot believe anybody is surviving these bombardments. bomb room inside wagner that can house when thousand men p roots of when the bombardment stops, obviously, you know the attack is coming, these guys can come out, take a position along the wall, and have plenty of time to prepare for the attack on the evening of july 8 teen p something like only 22 people were hurt in that
bombardment, leaving almost 1600 men inside wagner to stop the assault. the federalists that night would send 5000 men against wagner. brigade spearheaded by the 54th massachusetts, will hit wagner. some men will get over the wall and will be driven back. some will be inside at wagner, and they cannot go down into the interior. as welle to pull that, before the attack is over, the federal's have lost almost 1800 men in the assault. 200.onfederates lose under it shows the power of these fortifications. that starts gilmore into -- siegeout seizure up operations against wagner. digging in the sand, the beach at morris island, zigzag
trenches. cannot let the enemy fire straight down. they have to go back and forth, back and forth. it takes six weeks to get to the moat of battery wagner. actually, the confederate abandoned battery wagner. they abandoned on september 6. >> yeah, it is a remarkable if accuray should be the only lose about 12 to 20 men. they get off the island. colonel kitt, we talk about political officers, he's one of the few people that is taken to task as being the best or worst example of a political officer in the confederate army. he also had the unfortunate --
well, a unit defending the coast was only supposed to have a -- not percentage of full strength. his unit was many times over as young men. sons in his unit so they would not have to go to the theater. when they abandoned battery wagner, they go to virginia. that is when some of the sees this regiment moving forward and said, where did that division come from? it was so much larger than the regiments serving in virginia. and kitt did not realize, you are not supposed to be riding a head when engaging the enemy. if you read the history of kershaw's brigade, they did not like that he had taken command. >> he also was shot in the back. [laughter]
obviously, you can draw your own conclusions. [laughter] launching a frontal assault against a fortified position is not exactly a sensible thing to do. 1864. in most people know a lot better than to do that. >> we they grasped her the whole story of kitt and his political shenanigans, there are pages on that. >> there was a wonderful line after the heavy bombardments, a a linem was sent out asking to hold on, and they say send a little sugar, lime, and hope fori will another day. he probably thought that was a nice political campaign. >> why they are attacking battery wagner, the union sets swamp famous or infamous
angel, a large mortar to launch shells into the city. we have a very interesting letter from thomas lockwood written on august 23, the day after the swamp angel began. this is what he is writing to cousins. he said, the papers of yesterday make light of the shelling. shellst regard it so 23 into the city and the interior of several houses ruined. one house on elliott street and one opposite, two others, have been cleaned out, two of them burned. even while i write you, shelves are falling and a house is on fire. and he said, another shelf has just exploded in the crowds are pushing up town. poor people, now i feel for the
now homeless. it is one of the first accounts of how citizens were reacting to that bombardment. it is interesting, the newspapers do not think it was much, but if you are living close to the battery and the shells were falling around you, it was a little bit more -- >> yeah, you do not know they were coming either. the shells they were using were some the called terrorists reap fire, designed to start fires consideratet to homes in such. the swamp angel, and it is still seee, so you can go out and the site of the swamp angel. it is built in the marsh between morris island in james island. when gilmore sent word he wanted this built, and we do not know which engineer officer was in initially test to doing this, but supposedly this engineer officer came and i can set this
is a possible, you cannot build a battery in the marsh. it, we just can do need to come up with a way to do it at supposedly, the next day this engineer officer sent a request for 20 men 18 feet tall. [laughter] to work in the marsh. at the same time, they request them to splice together 36 foot who couldate this man work in the marsh. they did eventually build it. i wish i could explain it better . the parapet floated independent of the platform, so the platform with the carriage and the gun pushed down in the marsh and parapet orate the just this unbelievable piece of the generic. they fired into charleston and the actual swamp angel only
lasted a short amount of time before that piece of artillery cracked and had to be replaced. that it starts this tremendous exodus out of downtown charleston. >> that becomes known as the gilmore district. >> that august 22 is another date that people begin to talk about that bombardment of charleston. continuously until charleston can -- surrenders in february 18 65. several thousand rounds were fired in charleston. elope calhoun street, charleston the came a ghost town. >> people begin refugee inc. all all over theeeing state. in 18 six to five, the population of columbia goes from 8000 to 25,000, most refugees from charleston.
in front of the citadel, it becomes like a tent city for the refugees. by 1864, 16,000 people from charleston are on relief, almost half the population of the city. , notbody in charleston just charleston. columbia was considered the safest city. so people went there for safekeeping. when general sherman, february were 17 bank vaults crammed full of securities, art, books -- all of that had been shipped out of charleston and the low country to columbia. we mentioned those 25,000 people . last week when i was giving a talk in columbia on that, they said, well, where did they house
them? i said that everybody moved in with their cousins or can fold here and most of these were women, children, and the elderly. so the columbia story is another one. it all comes back to what is occurring here. the bombardments would continue until the actual evacuation. at the same time, they continuously bombard fort sumter to the begin firing on fort over allfore they take of morris island. there is this tremendous 1863,dment in august of and then another one in october. the summer of 1854, the third great department occurs. fort sumter is the most bombarded site in the western .emisphere something like 3500 tons of artillery projectiles fired into
fort sumter. broke down the walls of fort sumter. the confederates turned into a with tunnels.nker like the monitors, and miserable place to be. it was terrible to be out there. but ceased to be an artillery position but became an infantry position. as long as they help fort could note federals break or take up those obstructions. as long as those obstructions -- torpedoes were there >> they started off using beer .egs with tar around them at the battle of mobile bay, one blue up. the rest of the torpedoes, he took his fleet right through the
torpedo minefield and none of them exploded. >> they were bouncing off the ships. they had to continuously be swapping out these torpedoes because they would become waterlogged or the ignition systems do not work. they tried other things, too. -- the commander was a fascinating individual. he never had an idea he did not want to try or at least liked. he was fascinated by torpedoes. he wanted to come up with a way onattack the union command morris island. and to do that, he had to drive off the union troops. his idea was to come up with torpedo bolt.
defensive them as a weapon but use them as an offense of weapon, ram them into the side of enemy vessels and sink them. when the union fleet is gone, we can recapture morris island. lee, one ofncis d the architects of charleston, who was working to design an boat called the torch. the torch did not do very well reach you went out. unionwere bounties on vessels. if you sank the biggest union called theich was personification of ugliness, a big tower ironclad that looks like a normal sailing warship -- she had $100,000 if you sank it. >> someone did.
>> came close but not quite. flagship of the u.s. fleet, $100,000. a monitor, $50,000. and on down the line. paid in heard it was gold which was put forward by lockheed-running companies. -- by blockade-running companies. thesempany put out bounties -- >> before we get to the final bombardment and the end of the siege, we need to talk about the blockade runners. part of that siege, once battery wagner goes, what happens to read butler in all those folks? >> they move. charleston was the premier blockade-running port until the summer of 1853.
of theseroundtrips vessels coming out of nassau and bermuda would run into charleston carrying everything from handkerchiefs and wine, billiard tables, two very vital and munitions, cannons and weapons and such. and the majority of your blockade-running companies, southern companies, were formed here in charleston. one of the largest was man with anby a office in liverpool and in charleston, and they had over 40 blockade-runners. the charleston blockade-running company, andjacora importing and exporting company. george williams, very important individual who was on city council and helped run relief programs in charleston during
the war was a big backer of these companies. alwaysought in what i felt was needed to sustain the confederacy, brought in enough munitions that the troops always had uniforms, head shoes, had weapons, had powder to meet the federal adversaries, gave them a chance for victory. they also brought in items for the commercial market, anything handkerchiefs, china. if you had the money, you could order anything from great britain. it was suggested that they run in a glass greenhouse complete with a british gardener just to show what a mockery this blockade was. occurred atack battery wagner and the north seizes morris island, they could
set up batteries to fire over the channel. they could put ships into the main channel, so this blockade-running companies shipped over to wilmington for a year, there is no blockade-running business in charleston. the last year of the war, they start coming back, and they come back with a vengeance. they come up with smaller vessels that come in the channel along sullivan's island. they had ships that could sneak in. -- and toone vessel show you how audacious these commanders could be, that vessel actually ran the locate in daylight. they would usually run at night and no one could see them. there were dark and black, very low hull, very quick and fast. this one could make more money and make a quicker run. right in, right at a
monitor. monitors are slow on firing. shemonitor missed it, and ran right into charleston and made it through. the end of the war from the summer of 18 624 to the evacuation of charleston, lockheed-runners were coming back to charleston to one vessel alone brought in 400,000 pairs of shoes. that was mormon that -- that was more men than what was in the confederate army at the time. >> it was possible. >> especially if you invested into wants in great britain, invested your money. the blockade-running captives and crews, sailors, when in bermuda and nassau, wine, drinking, women, they usually lost their money weekly. you put money into confederate lines, that was a mistake. but some of these individuals
did well after the war and tried to put money into real estate. we do not really know about george williams, but george williams came out quite well at the end of the war. those of you familiar with the calhoun house in charleston, that was built by george williams for his daughter. the war. >> after the war. williams is a fascinating individual that we do not hear a great deal about. lance on his feet quite well during and after the war -- lands on his feet quite well. >> and we have not gotten to the hundleys yet. >> yes, them. they had this vessel they were told they might be interested in. it was shipped from mobile to charleston and given some trials. it was not overly successful.
>> you get to do your choo-choo. please do. maybe one of the few people still alive who set foot in the machine shop where the hundley was built, and i was here for the raising of the hundley. you cannot go to the machine shop anymore, but when i was a tookf five, my grandfather me down there. it was still a machine shop with a dirt floor. he said, son, i want you to see where our sub was built. [laughter] i am just saying. >> i mean, that is wonderful. >> ok, we're coming kind of towards the end now. savanna.sherman and everybody thinks he is really going to go to charleston. >> yes, they did. there were served just and --
there were suggestions from the union war department, and the chief of staff for the u.s. army sent a message to sherman saying , should you happen to go by way of charleston, i hope you will salt into the streets of charleston to head off any secessionists from arising to chairman replied, well, if you follow the movement of my army, you will see that the 15th corps is usually on my right, so they would be the first to enter charleston, and they usually do their work quite well. but sherman had no intention of coming to charleston. charleston is still very difficult to crack. the marshes, the rivers -- if you can imagine moving from savanna to beaufort and then these rivers and
marshes, and then you get up to charleston and you would have to undertake a siege of charleston. sherman was not going to allow his army to do that. had a better way of handling it. charleston's importance was as a issue job, munitions support -- center, locate-running force, and to negate that, you have the railroads. going up toward the connection between charleston and the interior of the state and the rest of the confederacy. railroads,s these charleston is no longer valuable to the confederacy. >> everybody thinks about atlanta as the great railroad center. you couldn't get stuff out of alabama and georgia unless it came through columbia first. actually, the wilmington, the manchester and columbia railroad, the blockade runners dropped their supplies in wilmington. then they came to columbia. then they went north. so columbia really was a major
railroad. >> major, major. >> and that's what sherman is going after. he's going after the railroads. sherman is thinking logistics. and once he cuts these railroads, charleston is -- >> see, all of this is connected. it's not just the physical siege of charleston. he's looking at the big picture. he cuts those railroads and taking his army inland. but february 17, also the same day that charleston -- the confederate troops have been withdrawn. >> yeah. there was an interesting little scenario there. charleston -- the general, in command of a much larger district that includes charleston, orders the charleston commander, hardy, to abandon charleston and bring his troops to columbia. hardy gets directives from president jefferson davis saying, no, don't leave charleston. charleston symbolically is still very important to us.
indeed, the governor of south carolina basically stated once charleston falls, that's the death knell of the confederacy. because the symbolism of charleston, which is so important throughout this whole story from the beginning, the fort sumter being captured, as walter started, with nullify case, succession. it's a symbol to the north, a symbol to the south. both sides see it, to capture richmond would be grand. to capture charleston would be glorious. and so both sides see charleston as this very important symbol. so confederate troops in charleston were supposed to come to columbia to help defend columbia. they didn't go. >> yeah. well, nor did any folks from georgia come to help. >> no. no. >> that's an interesting and sad commentary on relations between different states, when sherman was in georgia, the governor of
georgia asked the governor of south carolina to please send some local troops, militia, across the river to help defend georgia. and the governor said, absolutely not. and so when sherman is coming, our governor sent a telegram and the comment is, where were you six months ago? our boys aren't going to cross the savannah either. and so it's a wonderful essay on that, the democracy. the governors just weren't going to help one another. not that it would have made a whole lot of difference, i don't think. >> probably wouldn't. may have slowed sherman down a day or two, but he would have maneuvered around them actually eventually. >> charleston surrenders. but the last shots were fired in the siege on february 18 by a union monitor that fired two shots. the flag -- when the confederates abandoned, they left flags flying to give the
impression that the forts were still occupied. and so this union monitor fired two shots at the fort. no response. then the fleet steamed on into charleston harbor. and folks, that's the end of the siege of charleston. we'll now be happy to take questions from the audience, if you have some. and they're going to be -- folks, to help with mics, in the back, jenny, faye. questions, anybody? and if you don't ask them here, we'll answer them out there. yes, sir. >> i understand that two of the ships in the fleet were actually new. they had been sieged in shipyards in connect because they were being built as -- [inaudible] if true, why in the world would -- i mean, slave ships.
>> well, they probably weren't -- the question is that two of the stone fleets had been seized by the federal government because it was thought to be slavers. well, they wouldn't have been advertising that. so i'm not quite sure -- >> they weren't building the ship. the last slaves to be run into america happened in december 1816. it happened on the gulf coast with the matild. and that was on a bet. a guy won a bundle of money. he said, i can sneak a slave ship in the united states still in 1860. >> well, sailing ships would have been awful tough to be using. >> they were sailing ships. >> my understanding is that these ships used for the stone fleet, they were obsolete worn-out ones. it may have been that one of these had previously been a slaver, because all the better
slave ships were built in new england. and, well, it's an old ship. what else are you going to do for it? >> in the back there. >> pardon me. george williams -- the same george williams who was so active in the phosphate industry down by buford. >> yes. fascinating fellow. he was considered to be one of the richest men, richest men in the united states at the start of the war. he moved a number of his slaves up into north georgia, if you're familiar with that sort of strange german town, helen, georgia, up in that area, where they could actually produce food that could be shipped down to charleston.
he was in charge of the relief under the confederate government in charleston for the city of charleston. then when the federals take over, they direct him to take care of the relief programs in charleston. so he's handling the relief programs for both the confederacy and the united states. he and george trennam immediately set up a committee to try to revive charleston at the end of the war. and george williams was head of the committee that sent condolences to mrs. abraham lincoln upon the assassination of the president. we can't see with the lights so -- >> he's coming. >> any other questions? yes, over there. >> i just wondered -- can you hear me?
>> yes. >> i was just wondering where the financing came at the end of the war. these 400,000 pairs of shoes, and with the slaves being freed, and that was certainly a big portion of the economic value of everybody's estates and so on at that time, so who is financing all of this at the end? >> cotton. >> still growing cotton? >> well, they have enough cotton to sustain their programs in great britain. some of it is borrowed money on the promise of shipping cotton out after the war. but the confederacy uses cotton as a medium of exchange during the civil war. a $50 cotton bale in charleston is worth $500 in liverpool. so they're using cotton as a way to finance the war. >> and of course, the secretary of the treasury, the confederacy, is mr. trenam. >> i always wanted to find out,
the christmas day ambush, wasn't that part of the siege of charleston? didn't they try it before they came through -- i think it was orangeburg that the kids went to from the orphanage. i'm almost positive of that. >> i didn't hear the question. >> the second part of the question was about the -- >> i'm sorry. what? >> the second part of the question is about the orphanage going to orangeburg. >> the orphans -- i think it was to orangeburg. >> yeah. >> george trennam paid for that. he bought a school in orangeburg and had the orphans moved there. >> but also i was wondering about the christmas day ambush. it was part of that siege of charleston. and also i thought they came down to start off with.
>> they did a lot of movement along the river. i think you're referring to the confederates would sometimes establish mass batteries along the river and try to ambush union vessels. they caught one, the isaac smith. she was caught in that ambush. and then she later became a warship for the confederacy. and then became a blockade runner. and unfortunately for the south, ran aground off of sullivans island. but there were movements in the summer of 1864. there was like a five-prong attack not directly on charleston but against james island, johns island. and these federals did send units up the river, and, again, as you mentioned, to break the railroad between charleston and savannah. >> but they never broke the railroad between charleston and savannah during the war. >> yes. they never were able to do that.
>> thank you so much! wasn't this wonderful? [applause] >> of your watching american history tv, all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. today it 6:00 and 10:00 p.m. the artifacts and photographs to trace the women in the house, beginning with an election in 1917 and ending with the story of margaret chase smith. that is at 6:00 and 10:00 p.m. eastern on c-span3. night on the communicators, peter teel, ofounder of paypal -- >> the single, overarching theme of the book is that people should rethink competition.
most business books to you how to compete more effectively. mind has you that have she should not compete at all. you should always aim for something like a monopoly, a zero to one company that is such a breakthrough that it has no competition. >> money night at 9:00 eastern on the communicators on c-span2. the ku klux klan was established after the civil war. it reached the height of public visibility in the 1920's. next, author dale laackman discusses a brief history of the kkk and describes the advertising and public relations tactics that brought klan membership to an all-time high of several million nationwide. he explores the topic in full in his book, "for the kingdom and the power." recorded at the michigan shores club, this is about an hour. >> hello and welcome. my name is brendan watts. this evening, i have the honor of introducing mr. dale laackman. many of you do know him
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