03085 - View from Fort Sumter ; from parapet facing Morris Island, April 1865 [LC-DIG-cwpb-03085]
After the Union forces surrendered Fort Sumter in April of 1863 the Confederate forces had nearly two years to rebuild. Using local slave labor they managed to repair much of the damage and repair the fort for the assault they knew was coming. By the time that the Union forces began shelling the fort in 1863 the fort was again ready to be defended. This time however the fort was better prepared than it was in 1861.
The first attempt to retake the fort began on April 7th, 1863 when the Union Navy brought the Atlantic Blockading Squadron to Charleston. This group included at least nine ironclads, seven of which where the new monitor class ships. During this engagement the Navy fired 154 rounds (from all of the ships) at the fort. During the same period the Confederate defenders fired more than 2,200 shells and even managed to sink one of the ironclads.
This disastrous attempt on the part of the Navy to retake the fort was the start of a long struggle to regain the fort. It was clear that the Confederate defenders would not relinquish the fort as easily as the Union forces had two years earlier.