Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Port Royal's Fort Walker

Surprisingly, there is not a lot of information on one of the two Confederate forts to surrender to Union forces 150 years ago yesterday, Fort Walker.

The site of the fort is still there by Port Royal Sound at the end Hilton Head Island on the shore of Port Royal Sound. It is off Fort Walker Road near the Hilton Head Airport. Now, whether you can get to the actual site is questionable since so much of Hilton Head Island is privately owned by rich folks who don't want regular folks traipsing over their property.

After a four and a half hour bombardment, about out of ammunition and with all but three cannons our of service, General Thomas F. Drayton gave his men the order to withdraw. His brother, Percival Drayton was on the USS Pocahontas standing offshore and bombarding Fort Walker.

In addition, some 13,000 Union troops under the command of General Thomas W. Sherman had been landed and were approaching the fort, vastly outnumbering the fort's defenders.

After the battle, the fort was rebuilt and named Fort Welles, after Lincoln's Secretary of the Navy, Gideon Welles.


Fort Welles defending a large Union base used throughout the war. A civilian town, named Robbers Row (very likely by troops stationed there for its penchant to take their money) grew up to serve the needs of the garrison. At its peak, it had a hotel, theater, 2 newspapers mostly located along a street called Suttlers Row. I do not believe any part remains today, but there is a marker for it at the site.

From the Historical Data Markers organization.

Sure Wish There Was Some More on Fort Walker. --Old B-R'er

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