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Fort Wagner

Battery Wagner, Morris Island

July 18 - September 7, 1863

Morris Island, South Carolina

After the July 11 assault on Fort Wagner failed, Gillmore reinforced his beachhead on Morris Island. At dusk July 18, Gillmore launched an attack spearheaded by the 54th Massachusetts Infantry, a black regiment. The unit’s colonel, Robert Gould Shaw, was killed. Members of the brigade scaled the parapet but after brutal hand-to-hand combat were driven out with heavy casualties. The Federals resorted to siege operations to reduce the fort. This was the fourth time in the war that black troops played a crucial combat role, proving to skeptics that they would fight bravely if only given the chance.
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Col. Robert Gould Shaw

Fort Wagner and the 54th Massachusetts

Learn more about the fateful charge of the 54th Massachusetts and the other Federal regiments who charged Battery Wagner on July 18, 1863.

Artillery on Morris Island

Morris Island Historic Photos Slideshow

View this collection of Civil War images of Morris Island, Battery Wagner, and the many interesting sites associated with the 1863 Charleston Campaign.

117
Acres Saved

This battlefield was identified in our annual report History Under Siege™ in 2004 »  , and 2005 »

Photos

Photos and illustrations from Morris Island, Fort Wagner, and the 1863 Federal campaign against Charleston.

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Quiz

Take our online quiz and test your knowledge of the United States Colored Troops in the Civil War

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Recommended Reading

"Gate of Hell: Campaign for Charleston, 1863"
by Stephen Wise

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54th Massachussets

"Where Death and Glory Meet: Colonel Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Massachusetts Infantry"
by Russell Duncan

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