Thursday, January 31, 2013

February 1, 1863 (Sunday): Fort McAllister Attacked

Interior of Fort McAllister ( Edling)

GENESIS POINT, February 1, 1863-1.30 p. m. 

Fight lasted five hours, ending 12.45. Major Gallie's brains blown out, nobody wounded, and 7 injured by concussion. One 32 trunnion knocked off; parapet torn up in about fire places; in front of columbiad it was partly demolished. Enemy's iron-clad struck at least a dozen times, perhaps two dozen, and has gone back out of sight. She came within 1,000 yards of our battery, probably 700. Colonel R. H. Anderson and garrison have acted nobly.

     Major and Assistant Inspector-General.

SAVANNAH, February 1, 1863.
General THOMAS JORDAN, Chief of Staff:
    GENERAL: I visited Genesis Point this morning just after the fight, too late to get a view of the iron-clad, which came much nearer-perhaps within 600 yards, but more likely about 700. She was afraid of our fire, however, and fell back some distance.
     I inclose rough sketches of this steamer as she appeared to three parties and two rough plans of the position of enemy's fleet during engagement.
     The iron-clad seems to have fired principally 15-inch shell, one of which went directly through the parapet (17 feet thick) in front of a 32-pounder on the left. At this point the parapet was mostly built of marsh mud, which I infer cannot provide sufficient resistance to these missiles. Two shells seem to have struck near the same point on the parapet (made of sand) in front of the columbiad and tore away about a third of it, covering several men with sand; one or two were dug out. The resisting power of sand is very great, and after thick iron it makes probably the protection most desirable. So far as demolishing earthwork goes I am inclined to think the 15-inch shell a partial failure. I think a concentrated fire of smaller guns would have been more destructive to us. Had they burst better, however, the result might have been different. Captain George W. Anderson, the officer next in rank to Major Gallie, has proved himself a brave and good young soldier, but I think Captain Alfred L. Hartridge, Company B, First Georgia Sharpshooters, who commanded Genesis Point last summer, is the man best qualified to succeed Major Gallie. I will send you by express a brass fuse plug from the 15-inch shell.
     I am, with regard, your most obedient servant,


Official Records, Series I., Vol. 14, Part 1, Pages 212-213.

Genesis Point was the site of Fort McAllister on the Ogeechee River, commanding the Southern approaches to Savannah.  The U.S.S. Montauk, a monitor, shelled the earthworks for five hours without significantly reducing the fort.  The commanding officer, Major Gallie, was killed and the 17 foot parapet was punctured by one 32 pound shot.  It would take the introduction of land forces under Sherman in 1864 to finally take the fort.  While the very large and well constructed brick Fort Pulaski was reduced easily, the sand parapets of McAllister proved to be much more formidable.

No comments:

Post a Comment