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Civil War Documents
Letter From General Quincy Gilmore to General Cullum About Taking Back Fort Sumter
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Here is a very neat letter written from one of the most important places of the Civil War. This letter was written by Union General Quincy A. Gilmore on front and back. The letter measures 5 inches by 7-3/4th inches in overall size. It was written from "Headquarters, Department of the South" on Morris Island, South Carolina and is dated August 26th 1863. The letter is addressed to General G. W. Cullum regarding the shelling of Fort Sumter. The letter reads, in full: "I had a long talk with Admiral Dahlgren yesterday. He admits with manly candor that Fort Sumter is out of the fight, that the demolition of that work from the distance at which our batteries were established was a novel & brilliant affair, & that the army has fully performed its part of the programme, as laid down when I was in Washington. This is very gratifying to me I assure you. I have a brigade review every few days, taking the different brigades in turn. The health of the command is constantly improving; the men are in excellent spirits & full of enthusiasm." In early July 1863, Dahlgren was given command of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, taking over as Samuel Du Pont's successor. With orders to stymie the effectiveness of the city of Charleston, South Carolina, Dahlgren set about preparations to recapture Fort Sumter. On July 10, 1863, Union forces landed on Morris Island and made preparations for an attack on Charleston Harbor. While initial attacks on the islands were successful, assaults on the surrounding fortifications, such as Battery Wagner and Battery Gregg failed, most notably with the loss by Robert Gould Shaw and his 54th Massachusetts Regiment. Ultimately, General Gillmore was forced to lay siege on Charleston from a distance. The city of Charleston endured bombardment from nearly 5000 shells a week. In late August, the installation of the "Swamp Angel" was finally complete and it began its shelling on August 22. From approximately 1:30 am until the following day, the Swamp Angel hurled 200-pound shells, filled with liquid and solid Greek Fire, into the city. The gun fired a total of 36 rounds before it burst. By August 26, Gillmore and his men were within 200 yards of Battery Wagner. Although the Union forces were unable to retake Fort Sumter in 1863, they continued to bombard the fort until 1865. This is a great letter from an important Union General!

Item #: A6818
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