Saturday, April 6, 2013

April 7, 1863 (Tuesday): Fort Sumter Attacked

The Line Attacking Fort Sumter (April 7, 1863)

FORT SUMTER, April 7, 1863.
    Have visited Fort Sumter. One 10-inch gun carriage and chassis disabled; one 8-inch burst; two rifled dismounted and now replaced; walls badly shaken in two or three places; 4 men badly wounded. The engineers should look out and have material; and laborers for repairs as soon possible. Colonel Rhett, Lieutenant-Colonel Yates, and Major Blanding are doing all that can be done to repair. Do send us something for sand bags to fortify shaken places-if the people send their petticoats and pillow-cases--at once. One steamer should be sent down with what can be furnished to carry ammunition to Morris Island. Some of the enemy have been badly hurt. The Keokuk is probably for sale. Whether the attack will be renewed or not I cannot judge; the probability is that it will, and the men will shoot better to-morrow that to-day. The big torpedo did not explode; I do not know why. Shall go to Morris Island in an hour or so and find out. I don't think we had better say it is over, but will let you know in the morning.

    R. S. RIPLEY.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 14, Part 1, Page 257.

The Union fleet moved to the attack just after 3PM with the Keokuk (a double turret ironclad) in the lead.  The tides were against the attackers and they were also slowed by having to watch for mines (torpedoes) and other obstacles in the harbor.  The Keokuk was hit over 90 times, with numerous hits below the water line.  She was able to pull off to a point near Morris Island where she sank the next day.  Two large guns were salvaged during the war off the ship and one can be seen on the Battery in Charleston today.  The wreck itself is still in the harbor, one of three ironclads whose wreckage remains in whole or part in the harbor.


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