The Battle of Port Royal

A win for the Union!

Who? What? When? Where?

During the battle located in Port Royal Sound, South Carolina, Union General Samuel F. Du Pont and Confederate general Thomas F. Drayton fought in the battle that turned out to be a major Union victory. The battle took place November 3-7 1861, starting with 12,600 Union soldiers and 3,000 Confederate soldiers, by the end of the battle there were 31 Union casualties and 63 Confederate casualties.

A Floating Operation

The Battle at Port Royal was one of the earliest floating operations of the Civil War. Also Port Royal is known to be one of the best natural harbors on the Atlantic coast.The port was protected by to forts, Fort Walker and Fort Beauregard (shown in the image). Union general Samuel F. Du Pont had a fleet of 17 warships and 600 marines that were supported by 12,000 strong.

The Blockade

Three days after Fort Sumter (shown in the image) had fallen President Lincoln proclaimed a blockade on all southern ports, although it had an unintended political impact but was still a crucial detail. The European nations had already decided that they would not follow the Union declaration that the southern ports were closed to trade. Which made things a little more difficult for the Union.

The Blockade Continued - Strategy

The Blockade Strategy Board was charged with finding suitable coaling stations along the Southern coast and the more significant rivers, harbors, and inlets along it. They figured out which areas could be blocked and which ones could be turned into bases for the fleets to enhance the Navy's ability to cut off access to the ports.Also the Federal strategy along the Confederate coast was based upon the findings and reports of an ad hoc strategy board convened by the Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles and consisting of Captain Samuel F. Du Pont.

The Attack

fThe attacking force assembled outside of the sound beginning on November 3, but on the way to the sound they hit a storm and lost many men and because if it they were not able to land. The battle was then changed into a contest between ship-based guns and those on shore. ***

The fleet moved to the attack on November 7 after more delays due to weather during which additional troops were brought to Fort Walker.Du Pont ordered his ships to keep moving in an elliptical pattern bombarding Fort Walker on one end and Fort Beauregard on the other. They used the same tactic as they did at the Battle of Hatteras Inlet.

The Attack Continued

Du Pont's plan soon broke down and most ships took enfilading positions that exploited Fort Walker's weaknesses. The Confederate gunboats put in a token appearance, but still fled up the near by creek hen they were challenged. By the early afternoon most of the guns in the Fort were out of the action and the soldiers that manned them fled to the rear. A landing party from the flagship then took possession of the fort.

The First Northern Success

The first Northern success was the assault and capture of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Seven warships, under the command of Flag Officer Silas H. Stringham, shelled the two forts protecting Hatteras Inlet into submission. Major General Benjamin Butler’s 900 soldiers then occupied the works. That action was followed two weeks later by the U.S. Navy’s seizure of Ship Island off Biloxi, Miss.

After the Battle

In 1891 the naval yard brought great ships to Port Royal including the USS Texas, the USS Indiana, and the USS Maine.The picture shows the USS Indiana after it was damaged by a 300 pound aerial bomb.