“In Charlestonians in War: The Charleston Battalion, Chris Phelps has crafted an excellent study of this noteworthy Confederate military organization. Making extensive use of primary sources, he has deftly balanced operational details with social background and created a unit history that would be of interest to scholars and general readers.”
—W. Eric Emerson executive director, South Carolina Historical Society
At the outbreak of the Civil War, Charleston, as the site where the Ordinance of Secession was signed, faced the full wrath of Union forces. In response, the Charleston Battalion, comprised of volunteers from all strata of local society, formed a loyal, effective fighting unit. They served with distinction in several campaigns in Virginia and North Carolina and defended their hometown against Union invaders.
Local author W. Chris Phelps explores the formation and the many campaigns of this diverse group of Charleston citizens led by Peter Charles Gaillard. The battalion distinguished itself by defeating overwhelming Union assaults against Charleston at Secessionville in 1862 and Battery Wagner in 1863 and later performed gallantly in the defense of Petersburg in 1864 and Wilmington in 1865.
Through Charlestonians in War, these brave men finally receive their due. W. Chris Phelps describes the origins of the battalion and focuses on its capable commander, Peter Charles Gaillard, who later became mayor. In-depth studies of the battalion’s various battles, at home and away, are also included. This book features a foreword by Charleston’s mayor, Joseph P. Riley, Jr.