By 1st Lt. William Carraway
Media Relations Officer, Public Affairs Office
June 11, 2012
In June 1862, Charleston S.C. was a prime target, both symbolically and strategically. With Forts Sumter, Moultrie, and others guarding the water approach, the Union Army would have to negotiate a network of Confederate earthworks if they were to attempt to seize Charleston by land.
Major General David Hunter, a 35-year veteran, had served in the Second Seminole War and the Mexican-American War. Emboldened by his success at Ft. Pulaski, where rifled cannons had overwhelmed the fort’s masonry structure, Hunter landed two Union divisions on the southern tip of James Island south of Charleston. Hunter planned to move north, flank the harbor defenses, and sever the railroad west of Charleston, the town’s sole remaining supply line. If successful, the Union would have a base of operations to launch strikes into the heart of the Confederacy.