Wednesday, November 9, 2011

This Date, 150 Years Ago: Battle of Port Royal

From the Civil War Naval Chronology.

October 9, 1861

Gunboats of Flag Officer Du Pont's force took possession of Beaufort, South Carolina, (or do you say Boo-fort?) and by blockading the mouth of the Broad River, cut off this communication link between Charleston and Savannah.

This was a follow up action resulting from the success of the Union forces at Port Royal Sound two days earlier.

At this time, Major General Robert E. Lee, who was not yet the commander of the Army of Northern Virginia, but in charge of Confederate operations along the South Carolina coast, wrote Secretary of War Judah Benjamin about the effects of the Union victory at Port Royal: "The enemy having complete possession of the water and inland navigation, commands all the islands on our coast and threatens both Savannah and Charleston, and can come in his boats, within four miles of this place (his headquarters at Coosawhatchie, SC).

"His sloops of war and large steamers can come up Broad River to Mackay's Point, the mouth of the Pocotaligo, and his gunboats can ascend some distance up the Coosawhatchie and Tulifinny. We have no guns that can resist their batteries, and have no resources but to prepare to meet them in the field."

A Very Correct Assessment of the Situation. --Old B-Runner

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