“This heavily researched and insightful volume shines a bright light into a dark corner of Civil War history: the glaringly unnecessary pulverizing of civilian targets in Charleston, carried out solely to punish the city for instigating secession.”
—Richard N. Côté, author of Mary’s World: Love, War, and Family Ties
in Nineteenth-century Charleston
“The Bombardment of Charleston: 1863-1865 vividly describes the Union army’s terrible artillery war against Charleston, ‘the nursery of disunion’ and ‘the cradle of the rebellion.’ Phelps expertly fills a gap in the Civil War history of Charleston.”
—Robert N. Rosen, author of Confederate Charleston
The Union army’s bombardment of Charleston lasted 545 days, a record not exceeded until the siege of Leningrad (St. Petersburg) during World War II. First-time author W. Chris Phelps uses letters, diaries, and other primary documents to describe life inside the target city. By referencing military archives, he also supports the widely held contemporary belief that the shelling was prolonged by the North’s desire for terror and revenge against the civilian population, and had no military purpose once the initial strategy had failed.
The Bombardment of Charleston: 1863-1865 also discusses the unprecedented technological advances that allowed Union artillery to fire effectively from as many as five miles outside the city.