The Battle of Fort Wagner was a military engagement fought between the United States of America and the Confederate States of America on July 18, 1863, during the American Civil War.
Battle of Fort Wagner Quick Facts
- Also Known As: The Battle of Fort Wagner is also called the Second Battle of Fort Wagner.
- Date Started: The Battle of Fort Wagner started on July 18, 1863.
- Date Ended: The fighting ended on July 18, 1863.
- Location: The Battle of Fort Wagner took place on Morris Island in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina.
- Civil War Campaign: The battle was part of the Operations Against the Defenses of Charleston.
- Who Won: The Confederacy won the Battle of Fort Wagner.
This illustration depicts Union soldiers, including members of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry, storming the walls of Fort Wagner on Morris Island, South Carolina, and engaging Confederate soldiers in hand-to-hand combat. Image Source: Library of Congress.
Interesting Facts About the Battle of Fort Wagner
- The forces from the Union 10th Corps, (Department of the South), fought against Confederate forces from the Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.
- The Union commander of the Army of the Department of the South during the Battle of Fort Wagner was Major General Quincy A. Gillmore.
- The Confederate commander of the Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida during the Battle of Fort Wagner was General P. G. T. Beauregard.
- On May 23, 1900, Congress awarded Sergeant William Carney the Medal of Honor for his heroism during the Battle of Fort Wagner on July 18, 1863. Although he did not receive the award until thirty-seven years after the fact, Carney was the first African American whose deeds merited the Medal of Honor. (On April 16, 1864, Seaman Robert Blake was the first black service member to physically receive the Medal of Honor.)
- The acclaimed Hollywood feature film Glory immortalized the heroic deeds of the 54th Massachusetts Colored Infantry Regiment.
Commanders and Forces at the Battle of Fort Wagner
Principal Union Commanders
- Major General Quincy Gillmore
- Brigadier General Truman Seymour
- Brigadier General George C. Strong
- Col0nel Robert Gould Shaw
- Colonel Haldimand S. Putnam
- Brigadier General Thomas G. Stevenson
Principal Confederate Commanders
- General P. G. T. Beauregard
- Brigadier General William Taliaferro (pronounced “Tolliver”)
- Brigadier General Johnson Hagood
Union Forces Engaged
- 10th Corps, Department of the South
Confederate Forces Engaged
- Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida
Battle of Fort Wagner Casualties and Statistics
Number of Union Soldiers Engaged
Number of Confederate Soldiers Engaged
- Roughly 1,800
Estimated Union Casualties
- 1,515 (246 killed; 880 wounded; 389 missing/captured)
Estimated Confederate Casualties
- 174 (36 killed; 133 wounded; 5 missing/captured)
Results of the Battle of Fort Wagner
- The outcome of the Battle of Fort Wagner ended was a Confederate victory.
- The Confederate victory at the Battle of Fort Wagner did not curb Gillmore’s quest to subdue the Rebel stronghold and subsequently capture Charleston.
- Following eight more weeks of Union shelling, the Confederates abandoned the battery on September 6, 1863, leaving Morris Island to the Yankees.