Friday, January 4, 2008
Schuylkill Countian first to raise the flag on Ft. Sumter 1865
On February 18th 1865 a Schuylkill County soldier made history. During the evacuation and capture of Charleston South Carolina. The 52nd Pennsylvania Infantry was the first Union regiment to enter the city and under the command of Major John Hennessey of Schuylkill County.
On the morning of this great event Major Hennessey was asleep in his tent at Fort Strong on Morris Island. Roused by Col. A.G. Bennett , Hennessey was told the Rebels were leaving their fortifications. He gave orders for the 52nd to be ready to march, and the boys moved off toward the docks and boarded the small boats. The major with ten oarsmen boarded the boat “Ripley”. At this time the 52nd was guarding these rebel boats, they had over 40 boats of different kind.
With Major Hennessy in the lead the boats moved toward the Charleston Harbor. At 9:50 on the morning of the 18th Major Hennessey was going past Fort Gregg and heading toward Fort Sumter, 1440 yards distant. His was the first boat to reach the fort. A corporal Johnson of company G was first off the boat followed by the Major. And with his own hands Major John Hennessey grabbed the regimental flag, the wonderful stars and stripes, mounted the parapet and waved definitely the flag over the battered battlements from which it was torn down in April of 1861. The sight of the flag once again on Fort Sumter was an assurance that the rebels had evacuated the works, and was hailed by all who watched with joy.
It certainly was a proud and joyous moment for this Schuylkill County soldier.
Following this event Major Hennessey along with fifteen men were the first Union Soldiers to set foot in Charleston