One of the goals of the Union high command was to capture Charleston, South Carolina. Not only was it an important port, its capture would also be a severe moral blow to the Confederacy, as it was a hotbed of secession fervor, and the war had begun with the bombardment of Fort Sumter in the harbor. It was clear that the new ironclads would be used, but many questions remained about them. Largely new inventions, the Union naval officers did not know how effective they would be on fortifications.
|The Fort today|
Therefore, as a training run for the more formidable task of capturing Charleston, three ironclads, the Patapsco, Passaic and Nahant were sent to the small three gun battery of Fort McAllister, Georgia. Over the next few weeks the ships would bombard the fortification several times, training the men for harder fights ahead and testing the new equipment. A handful of casualties were suffered on both sides in this fighting. Although some damage was done to both the fort and the ironclads, neither was destroyed and the fort did not fall. Although it was proved that ironclads alone were not guaranteed to destroy a land fort, the men would be better trained for their next battle.
|Turret of the Passaic|