Georgia's Blue and Gray Trail Presents America's Civil War


Blue and Gray Trail
Civil War Encyclopedia
Civil War in Georgia
On the Blue and Gray Trail
Civil War by state
Today in the Civil War
This year in the Civil War
Battles
Images
Places
Feature Stories
Links
Search


Star of the West
December 31, 1860 Charleston is notified by telegraph that a man of war with troops is on the way South Carolina
  Fort Sumter
January 5, 1861 At the last minute General Winfield Scott substitutes the Star of the West, a New York based merchant marine vessel for the Brooklyn, a heavily armed and reinforced sloop ordered to sail to Fort Sumter to resupply the federal outpost. The Brooklyn, however, is to travel to Fort Sumter with the Star of the West.
  David Farragut
  Winfield Scott
  Fort Sumter
January 9, 1861 Artillery fires on the Star of the West from Morris Island as it crosses into the main entrance channel to Charleston Harbor. As the ship comes about, Fort Moultrie opens fire, also with cannon shot. A mile and a half from Fort Sumter, the ship withdraws. South Carolina
  David Farragut
  Fort Sumter
January 12, 1861 Star of the West returns to New York City New York
April 17, 1861 Star of the West is taken by militia aboard the Confederate Army steamer General Rusk off the coast of Texas. Texas


With the federal garrison under Maj. Robert Anderson moving from Fort Moultrie, on the shore of Charleston Bay to Fort Sumter, built on a rock shoal in the center of the bay, relief and re-supply became a major goal of the United States. To this end Winfield Scott picked the Brooklyn, a naval sloop to carry men and material to the beleaguered federal outpost. The ship was loaded with about 200 men, arms, munitions and supplies.

Upon receiving word that the Rebels had scuttled ships in the harbor to make the approach to the fort more difficult, and because the general and President Buchanan both felt that the approach of a heavily armed naval vessel might trigger an incident, General Scott chose to transfer the cargo from the Brooklyn to the Star of the West because of its shallower draft and because it was known to the citizens of Charleston (its route, New York to New Orleans brought it to the Rebel city on a regular basis). This was done in "secrecy," once the Brooklyn left port. Captain David Farragut, in command of the Brooklyn, was ordered to follow the Star of the West in case of an incident.

Unfortunately, just about everybody in the government, including Texas Senator Louis Wigfall and others knew of the deception and relayed the information south. Just before midnight the unarmed ship took a position outside the harbor, waiting for daybreak to begin the final run to Fort Sumter.

Forewarned of the approach of the Star, South Carolina Rebels opened fire on the ship from Morris Island as it entered the harbor in the main channel. As the ship came about, guns in Fort Moultrie began hurling cannon shot towards the ship as well. Maj. Robert Anderson decided not to defend the ship (the Rebels were firing at the ship and not at Fort Sumter). From the parapets of the fort the U. S. Army watched as the ship carrying its supplies and munitions turned around and returned to New York.

Following its capture near Indianola, Star of the West served in the Confederate Navy in the New Orleans as the St. Philip. She was scuttled in the Tallahatchie River in March, 1863.

Links appearing on this page:

Star of the West was added in 2005




Add to Google




The Blue and Gray Trail | The Civil War in Georgia | On the Blue and Gray Trail
Battles | Places | Events by year | Events by date | Feature Stories |
Bookstore | Links | Who We Are |