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Negroes Working on the Fortifications in Charleston Harbor', South Carolina; on verso, various sketches.
Civil War drawings collection, approximately 1861-1865.
Crane, William T., 1832-1865Schell, Francis H., 1834-1909
New-York Historical Society
Drawing: Graphite and gray ink on paper. 5 3/8 x 7 1/2 in. A mounted soldier oversees labor of African Americans, who dig, build and install cannons. A fort flying the U.S. flag is across the water some distance. Signed at lower left in graphite: 'WTC'. Verso is inscribed at upper center: 'Negroes working on the / fortifications in Charleston Harbor.'
Charleston (S.C.)--History--Civil War, 1861-1865United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--African AmericansUnited States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Participation, African AmericanBuildingCannonsAfrican AmericansArtillery (weaponry)SlavesSlavery
Drawings (visual works)
New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024, 212-873-3400
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In 1863, the Union Army began operations designed to reduce Fort Sumter, so that the U.S. Navy could enter Charleston harbor and capture the city. On July 10th, Federal forces on Folly Island, South Carolina, crossed Light House Inlet and landed by boats on the southern tip of Morris Island. Two unsuccessful infantry assaults were made against Fort Wagner, the second assault being led by the famous 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. On July 21st, General Quincy Adams Gillmore began laying down batteries for the bombardment of Fort Sumter and Fort Wagner. Later a battery was created for guns to bombard the city of Charleston. The campaign against Charleston Harbor was successful by many measurements. Morris Island was occupied, Fort Sumter was reduced, and the presence of Federal batteries sweeping the main channel into the harbor, effectively closed Charleston as a port for blockade runners. However, the long struggle on Morris Island gave the Confederates time to strengthen the harbor's other defensive works, and the U.S. Navy did not enter Charleston Harbor until after General William T. Sherman's advance through South Carolina finally forced the Confederates to evacuate the city on February 17th, 1865. About the Artist: William T. Crane was a 'special artist' for Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper. General Quincy A. Gilmore relied heavily on his sketches of confederate fortifications to inform the War Department of the recent events. This drawing has also been ascribed to Francis H. Schell.