Sunday, November 6

This Week in The Civil War: Sunday, Nov. 6

Battle of Port Royal

The Associated Press reports that a "great storm at Hatteras Inlet" off North Carolina has drenched Union troops occupying formerly Confederate-held coastal forts there in the first days of November 1861. After the storm, the report adds: "Five rebel steamers came near the inlet yesterday, but returned after firing a couple of shots." The gale is not enough of a deterrent for a U.S. Navy fleet and Army expeditionary force sailing down the coast toward South Carolina on a special mission. The Union force moves into position and opens the Battle of Port Royal Sound, S.C., on Nov. 7, 1861. With heavy fire, the federal warships go on to bombard forts on both sides of the sound, sending overwhelmed Confederate gunboats fleeing after attempts at resistance. First Fort Walker is taken and then Fort Beauregard across the sound is occupied by the Union invaders after Confederates abandon that position. The Union now commands a strategic spot between Charleston, S.C. and Savannah, Ga., crucial to enforcing the Northern blockade of Southern seaports. A British steamer, Fingal, will be the last blockade-running ship to slip through this area to nearby Savannah, Ga., on Nov. 13, 1861, carrying munitions and supplies to the Confederates. Separately, AP reports no fighting of note - "all quiet on the entire line of the Potomac." But reports indicate the Confederates have many flatboats capable of quickly crossing the Potomac. And the Charleston Courier of South Carolina boasts: "Our army stands alone in a line of battle .. with bristling bayonets and furbished swords" arrayed across Virginia, ready to fight. The paper also reports hundreds of northern prisoners once held in Richmond, Va., are being moved into South Carolina.

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