Auction 127, Lot 331

"Engineer and Artillery Operations against the Defences of Charleston Harbor in 1863; Comprising the Descent Upon Morris Island, the Demolition of Fort Sumter, the Reduction of Forts Wagner and Gregg", Gillmore, Q.A., Major-General

Subject: South Carolina

Period: 1865 (published)


Color: Black & White

6.5 x 9.5 inches
16.5 x 24.1 cm

This scarce and desirable book by General Q.A. Gillmore describes his unsuccessful attempt to recapture Fort Sumter in 1863. Hardbound with 72 (many tinted) lithographic plates and three foldout maps and a foldout section plan of fortifications. It includes the official reports of his subordinate commanders, and a specially written essay by R. P. Parrot discussing the problems encountered with such large guns and shells. The frontispiece "Fort Sumter. November 10th, 1863" is a close-up of the fort from the water. Numerous plates show in remarkable detail the numerous batteries, each named: Battery Hayes; Battery Rosecrans; Marsh Battery or "Swamp Angel"; Battery Meade, and more. The huge 10-Inch Parrott Rifle (300 pounder) is shown with the "Muzzle blown off by premature explosion of shell. Breaching battery against Fort Sumter, 4290 yards distant." Four plates show the shell damage to each side of Fort Sumter, plus plans of Fort Sumter and Wagner. There are also 20 drawings of 100" guns showing firing damage and the date they "burst." Each cannon is identified with its serial number. Plates also illustrate the 80 pound Whitworth Gun, Ames' Wrought Iron Rifle (7"), and the 8" gun. Four great lithographs follow, detailing the construction of various Confederate cannon shells. All plates and maps appear to be present.

This book was owned by Robert Townsend as indicated on front blank end paper with "Robert Townsend, Commander, U.S.A. U.S. Steamer Wachusett, Boston Mass., March 5th 1865." He commanded several Civil War ships, the last being the Wachusett. The Wachusett, with Townsend commanding, was dispatched on Feb. 17, 1865 to China in order to track down the Confederate raider Shenandoah. While sailing up the Yangtze River Townsend succumbed to a heatstroke and died on August 15th. Based on the date of his inscription it is quite possible this book accompanied him on this last voyage. The maps are:

Preliminary Chart of Charleston Harbor and its Approaches, 1858, (30" x 26.5"). Binding trim tear, closed on verso. Original hand color makes this a very fine example of this chart.
Map of Siege Operations against the Defenses of Charleston Harbor, 1863, (28" x 8"), b&w. Centered on Morris Island, map locates Fort Wagner, Battery Gregg, the wreck of the blockade runner "Ruby," and more.
Plan of a Portion of the Siege Operations Against the Defenses of Charles Harbor Prior to the Capture of Fort Wagner Sept. 7, 1863. Great detail of the fort and the extensive fortifications and batteries.


Condition: B+

Spine rebound in matching red leather with gilt stamped title. Covers are soiled and rubbed. First few pages are starting.

Estimate: $800 - $1,200

Sold for: $750

Closed on 2/25/2009