General Quincy A. Gilmore Letter 1861 to Col. Bowman at West Point
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General Quincy A. Gilmore Letter 1861 to Col. Bowman at West Point dated July 26, 1861. General Quincy A. Gilmore had a disquinished career during the Civil War including the following: By August 31, 1863, the Second and Third North Carolina Colored Regiments, commanded by Colonel Alonzo G. Draper and Captain John Wilder respectively, had a large enough membership for their names to appear in army reports. They had also, with the First Colored, been transferred to the Department of the South commanded by Brigadier General Quincy A. Gilmore. Stationed on Folly Island, they, with the Fifty-fifth Massachusetts Colored, made up the African Brigade in a division commanded by Brigadier General Israel Vogdes. 4 William Cullen Bryant, Julian's uncle and editor of the New York Evening Post, had long expressed himself on the intolerable condition of the black soldier. In his editorial on November 17, 1863, he called attention to the use of black troops for fatigue duty in the encampments near Charleston. He noted that these men were used only for digging trenches and taught nothing approximating military maneuvers. He was probably thinking of his nephew when he stated further that the white officers' talents were being wasted, because they were used to supervise mere labors. "At this rate," he concluded, "the white officers should never be called captains, colonels &c, but overseers, taskmasters, drivers. The government should look to this." Possibly as a result of this editorial, the older Bryant printed an order December 2, 1863, from Commanding Officer Major General Quincy A. Gilmore that black troops would be given the same responsibilities, labor, treatment, and opportunities for drill and instruction as white troops. Bryant was encouraged, but once again, results came more quickly on paper than in actuality. As Georgia seceded, the state government did what it could to arm its troops and claim all Federal property within its borders. Savannah volunteer regiments such as the Irish Jasper Greens, Savannah Volunteer Guards, and Oglethorpe Light Infantry, hurriedly reorganized to support the State troops. The First Regiment of Georgia Volunteers took over the fort on January 3, 1861. This was seventeen days before Georgia formally succeeded from the Union and eight days after federal troops occupied Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina. By pre-empting another similar US move Brown hoped to protect Savannah from the same fate as her sister city Charleston. Once Georgia joined the Confederacy some Confederate troops joined the garrison, and the armament was raised to 48 guns - ample against wooden ships. The Siege In the opening days of the war the rifled cannon was experimental: actual power and accuracy were unknown. Quincy A. Gilmore was Chief Engineer of the South Carolina Expeditionary Corps and decided to try the new gun's true worth against the formidable Fort Pulaski. Gilmore, an astute engineer, believed he could speedily bombard the fort and avoid a prolonged siege. Not everyone shared his faith in the new technology and some officers ridiculed him. Union troops constructed eleven sand batteries on the northwest end of Tybee Island. (Four of the batteries were built on land used in the 1770s to quarantine newly arrived Africans.) All work was done at night and kept quiet as possible. Everybody whispered, and whistles were used instead of drums or bugles. Before each dawn new construction was covered with vegetation. Despite the soldiers' diligence at concealment, the thirty-six guns, magazines, and bomb-proof shelters, the garrison realized that something was going on. The southern officers were curious but not too concerned about enemy activity on distant Tybee Island - they didn't believe there was a gun in the world accurate and effective at the two and a half miles range. Robert E. Lee remarked to the fort's commander 'Colonel, they will make it pretty warm for you here with shells, but they cannot breach your walls at that distance.' 10 minutes past 8 in the morning of April 10, 1862 the bombardment began. Gillmore had three dozen guns and mortars, but the ten rifled guns were the important ones. He concentrated their fire on the south-east corner of the fort (nearest Tybee Island) and soon knocked out many of the Confederate guns. (The Southerners had only one rifled gun, and it couldn't match the fire of the many Union ones.) By evening the targeted corner was crumbling. During the morning of the 11th the damage increased, and eventually the Union guns chewed through the walls: they could shoot into the main fort. With the main magazine exposed to Union fire, the Confederates raised the white flag. The rifled cannon had rendered masonry forts obsolete. Rifled pieces could throw heavier shot, with greater accuracy and higher velocity than smooth-bore guns. Hunter exulted: The result of this bombardment must cause...a change in the construction of fortifications as radical as that foreshadowed in naval architecture by the conflict between the Monitor and the Merimac. No works of stone or brick can resist the impact of rifled artillery of heavy calibre. The most important battle of the war in Florida occurred near Olustee on Feb 20, 1864. A combination of military and political objectives inspired the invasion. In addition to recruiting blacks and picking up the cotton, lumber, and turpentine that might be confiscated, they planned to move into the interior and cut the supply route of cattle and pork for the Confederate army. President Lincoln sent his personal secretary, John Hay, to Beaufort, South Carolina, with a major's commission to oversee the move to construct a loyal government for Florida. General Quincy A. Gilmore promised his support. Union General Gilmore selected 6,000 troops to invade Florida. General Seymour was in command. The troops came from South Carolina in transport boats. Among the troops were the black troops of the 54th Massachusetts (from the movie "Glory") now under James Montgomery (Robert Gould Shaw having been killed at
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