The Civil War, Day by Day

Flags Forward

Union Forces Capture Port Royal

On November 1, the Union Navy sent a formidable expedition of 17 warships, 25 colliers, and 33 transports toward Port Royal Bay. Unfortunately, a storm off Cape Hatteras scattered the ships, leaving Flag Officer Samuel DuPont to lead the expedition with a smaller force than originally anticipated. With remarkable speed, however, DuPont ordered his ships to barrage Forts Beauregard and Walker, the two Confederate strongholds which guarded the bay. DuPont arranged for his ships to steam back and forth in an oval pattern, thereby creating moving targets to confound the enemy. Within four hours, the Union owned Port Royal and sent the rebels retreating to inland positions.

The following day, Robert E. Lee arrived in Savannah as the new Confederate Commander of the south Atlantic coastal defenses. In the wake of yet another Union victory at sea, Lee saw difficult times ahead. “There are so many points to attack, and so little means to meet them on water,” sighed Lee, “that there is but little rest.”

Mort Künstler’s painting of a Union cavalry scene typifies the action when they came ashore during the campaign and helped capture road crossings and secure rail lines.

December's Archived Features:

Tuesday December 1, 2020
Wednesday December 2, 2020
Thursday December 3, 2020



All illustrations by Mort Künstler. Text by Michael Aubrecht, Dee Brown, Henry Steele Commager, Rod Gragg, Mort Künstler, Edward Lengel, James McPherson, and James I. Robertson, Jr. - Copyright © 2001-2019. All Rights Reserved. No part of the contents of this web site may be reproduced or utilized in any form by any means without written consent of the artist.