Firing some of the first shots of the American Civil War, Citadel cadets launched an attack on the Union supply steamer Star of the West from the shores of Morris Island on January 9, 1861. In July 1863, Union troops of the Massachusetts 54th Infantry heroically assaulted Battery Wagner on Morris Island in the harbor at Charleston. For years, conservationists and historic preservation groups have sought to protect the island from development. In 2005, the Civil War Preservation Trust named Morris Island one of the nation’s most endangered battlefields.
In 2006, Ginn Resorts, a national real estate group, purchased the island. Fortunately, the company concluded that the best course was to preserve the island’s history and habitat. TPL organized a fundraising effort to acquire the island, ultimately transferring it to the City of Charleston for permanent protection. The island, one of the last undeveloped barrier islands in South Carolina, will remain a favorite boating destination for Lowcountry residents.
As the nation marks the 150th anniversary of its great civil conflict (1861-1865), TPL celebrates Georgia’s Resaca Battlefield, the latest of many TPL Civil War conservation projects including the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park in Tennessee, and Murphy Farm at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.