Bombardment of Fort Sumter in 1863


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A wonderful war photograph preserved by the Daughters of the Confederacy of Charleston, S. C. The picture is fully described in Major John Johnson's authoritative work, "The Defense of Charleston Harbor," where a drawing based on the photograph was published. It is believed that the photograph itself has never been reproduced before its appearance here. All during August, Sumter was subjected to a constant bombardment from the Federal batteries. On September 7th, Admiral Dahlgren sent to demand the surrender of Sumter. Major Stephen Elliott replied: "Inform Admiral Dahlgren that he may have Fort Sumter when he can take and hold it." That night the Admiral sent a boat party. It was disastrously repulsed. The very same night, under cover of the darkness, George S. Cook, a Charleston photographer, was being rowed across to Fort Sumter and the next morning set up his camera. After securing what is probably the most daring photograph ever taken during the Civil War, Cook proceeded to attempt some views of

the interior of the fort and luckily caught the one reproduced above. It is quite as successful a picture as could have been made by the instantaneous photographic apparatus of the present day. We see centrally in the parade the explosion of a shell, which has just been dropped over the gorge wall by the stranded monitor Weehawken. She, though dangerously exposed, took a vigorous part in the engagement.

NOTE.—The extraordinary conditions under which this photograph was taken made it desirable for the artist to retouch slightly. The photograph is printed here as Cook left it, notwithstanding the rule that none of the illustrations in the PHOTOGRAPHIC HISTORY may be retouched in any way. The thousands of scenes reproduced are from photographs taken direct from nature. The retouching in this one exception has in no way marred the historical accuracy.


Within the Walls of Sumter—September 8, 1863.-The parapet shows the terrific havoc wrought by the almost continuous bombardment by the Federal fleet and land batteries during August. It culminated on September 8th when photographer Cook secured this view, made under more favorable conditions than the one above and consequently much clearer. The breach is seen to the left in the opposite picture. It was probably firs made by a shot from the battery on Morris Island, the fire from which passed centrally

through the fort. According to an eye witness, "it indicated the focus of all the breaching guns as they were, from all positions on Morris Island, trained upon the mass of the fort." This breach was steadily widened during the day September 8th. Expecting another boat attack that night, Major Elliott stationed Captain Miles and his company to defend this formidable breach. The attack came an hour after midnight and was handsomely repelled. Sumter, though almost demolished, could not yet be had for the asking.

Exploding Shell
Fort Sumter Walls


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[Click on Thumbnails Below for Detailed view and information of that Photograph]

Confederate Flag

Confederate Flag Over Fort Sumter

Fort Barrancas

Fort Barrancas

Blockade Runner

Blockade Runner

Rebel Camp

Life in a Rebel Camp


Enlistment at Natchez and Baton Rouge

Defense of Mobile

Defense of Mobile, Alabama

Confederates at Shiloh

Confederate Soldiers at Shiloh

Mississippi Fighting Ninth

Mississippi Fighting Ninth

Bombardment of Fort Sumter in 1863

Bombardment of Fort Sumter in 1863

Bombardment of Fort Sumter

Bombardment of Fort Sumter




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