Historic Markers Across South Carolina

Ironclads Attack

Marker ID:  
Location: At Fort Sumter, Ft Sumter NP, Charleston, SC
County: Charleston
Coordinates: N 32° 45.127    W 079° 52.451
  32.75211666    -79.87418333


On April 7, 1863, the Union Navy sent its new force of ironclad warships — eight monitors and the frigate New Ironsides — to attack Fort Sumter. The ironclads attacked from the water directly in front of you.
As the Union fleet approached, Confederate shots poured onto the ironclads. Pounded by Fort Moultrie and Sumter, and batteries on Morris Island and Sullivan's Island, the fleet retreated after two hours. Union commander Rear Admiral Samuel Du Pont decided not to renew the attack. "We have met with a sad repulse. I will not turn it into a great disaster."

Union ironclads attack Fort Sumter (below), April 7, 1863.

Admiral Du Pont directed the Union attack from the flagship New Ironsides (left), as Fort Moultrie (right) and Fort Johnson (left) fired in the distance. In the smoke and confusion, the unwieldy ironclads collided, turrets jammed, and signals from the flagship were ineffective.

The ironclads fired only 154 rounds while Confederates fired more than 2,200 shots, severly damaging five vessels. Keokuk was hit ninety times and sank the following day. Confederates later recovered Keokuk's guns and mounted one at Fort Sumter.


More information:
Wikipedia - South Carolina in the American Civil War
Wikipedia - Fort Sumter
Wikipedia - Fort Moultrie
Wikipedia - Charleston, South Carolina in the American Civil War