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“C” is for Charleston, Siege of (1863-1865)

“C” is for Charleston, Siege of (1863-1865). Though a continuous enemy presence off Charleston was maintained by the United States from May 1861—when the U.S. Navy established its blockade, Charleston did not find itself under continuous attack until July 1863. On July 10 United States Army troops stormed ashore and captured most of Morris Island. On September 7 Confederate forces abandoned Battery Wagner and Morris Island. During this time bombardments of Fort Sumter and Charleston commenced, and they continued throughout the war. Charlestonians moved north of Calhoun Street and along the Ashely River. The abandoned downtown area became known as the “Shell District.” Historic churches and homes were damaged—and some destroyed by the shelling. On February 17, 1865, Confederate forces evacuated Charleston and U.S. Army troops entered the city, ending its 567-day siege.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.