Battles in Charleston Harbor.
South Carolina was the state to secede from the Union and therefore one of the primary targets of the Union army. Throughout the Civil War the Union launched three major attacks on the Harbor.
1.Secessionville, June 16, 1862
The first siege on the harbor was launched by John B. Marchand. He felt that if the Union wanted to take Charleston it would start with Charleston Harbor. Marchand landed his men just a couple miles up the Stono River and put Henry Benham in charge. From there he planned to take Fort Johnson, hoping to leave Fort Sumter untendable. As Benhan's troops were marching northeast to the fort when they encountered stiff resistance from a hastily entrenched Confederate army. Still, the army marched on only to be stopped within a mile by a fort in the town of Secessionville. Battery Lamar, as the Confederates called it, was positioned just right that the Confederates could continually fire upon the Union encampments. Even with such threats, Benham's army moved on, now determined to to take Battery Lamar. The Union soldiers made very little progress and only two regiments made it to the fort and were instantly turned away. On Benham's return he was arrested for ordering and advance against the fort without the approval of his commander. The Battle ended up in a total loss for the Union and proved that it would be near impossible to take Charleston from the south.
2. Naval Battle, April 7, 1863
The third battle to occur in Charleston Harbor was a naval one. Under Admiral Samuel DuPont, later to become the victor at Port Royal, the Navy launched an attack on the entrance of the harbor. Unfortunately for the Union, ever since the attack on Fort Sumter the four Confederate forts surrounding the harbor had been training there sights on that entrance, and the attack was a total failure. Some of the Monitors used in the battle were sunk or heavily damaged. Soon afterwards, DuPont was replaced by Dahlgren, but he had no better luck than DuPont in penetrating the harbor.
3. Fort Wagner, July-September, 1863
The final attack came when Quincy Gillmore tried to take Fort Wagner by landing on Morris Island and storming northward. Gillmore gradually moved his troops north along the shore of the island under heavy fire from the cannons of both Wagner and Sumter. In order to lighten the fire on his troops Gillmore bombarded Sumter for fifteen days leaving little but rubble. Finally, on September 7th, the Confederate guns lightened up and Gillmore decided that it was time to siege Fort Wagner. However when the Union soldiers arrived at Fort Wagner they found totally abandoned.