Home » History - American » Today In Charleston History: December 26

Today In Charleston History: December 26


Henry Laurens, in a letter to Thomas Franklin, wrote:

I have always disliked those stupid Garnishings of No. 45, Wilkes and Liberty and drinking 45 Toasts to the Cause of true Liberty 450 Times unnecessarily.

1779 – The Seige of Charlestown.

Sir Henry Clinton

Sir Henry Clinton, British commander, left New York City with a fleet of over 100 ships to transport 8700 men, horses and other supplies to attack Charlestown. Second in command of the force was Lt. General Charles Cornwallis.

1860 – Civil War 

At sundown, December 26, 1860, Major Anderson of the First U.S.  Artillery Regiment, in command of the U.S. garrison at Fort Moultrie in Charleston harbor, ordered his men to pack everything and prepare to move to Fort Sumter within half an hour. The 55-year-old Anderson had assumed command the previous month of two companies of the First Artillery and the regimental band, a total of 84 officers and men.

anderson moves to sumter - frank leslie

anderson-enters-fort-sumter - harpers weekly

Anderson enters Fort Sumter under cover of darkness. Harper’s Weekly illustrations, courtesy of Library of Congress.

 Three miles away in Charleston, Christmas celebrations were still taking place in many of the homes. Over the next hour, taking advantage of the holiday laxness and the cover of darkness, the entire garrison relocated from Ft. Moultrie across the narrow channel to Fort Sumter.

As they were leaving, a small detachment spiked the cannons, burned the gun carriages that faced Fort Sumter and cut down the flagstaff.   

spiking the guns

Spiking the guns at Fort Moultrie. Harper’s Weekly illustration, courtesy of Library of Congress.


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