This earthenwork battery looks out onto Winyah Bay from Mayrant’s Bluff on the former Belle Isle Plantation. Constructed in 1862 by Confederate soldiers during the Civil War, the fortification was built in an ideal location to guard the port of Georgetown and its surrounding properties, which included the numerous rice plantations in the areas near the Santee, Waccamaw, and Sampit Rivers.
Unfortunately, despite the battery’s valuable position, the fortification remained undermanned and lacked sufficient artillery. A report from February of 1863 notes that nine guns and 53 soldiers were garrisoned here, not enough to hold the fort and block entry to the port. In a request for an increase in both men and arms, Brigadier-General J.H. Trapier wrote in January of 1864, “The position itself is a strong one, and with a proper artillery and a sufficient infantry support might be rendered almost, if not absolutely, impregnable.” However, few additional resources were available, and by October of that same year at least 11 Confederate soldiers deserted the fort and leaked information to Union Commander R.P. Swann.
By February 24, 1865, the battery had been completely abandoned, as discovered by the USS Mingoe. Two days later the Union Rear-Admiral Dalhgren visited the battery and reported, “The battery was found to be a well-constructed and formidable work, mounting 15 guns, of which 2 are x-inch Columbiads. The previous accounts of this battery had varied so much as to render our knowledge of it uncertain. Generally, it had been much underrated and supposed to be unable to resist the attack of a single vessel or a few men. But we can now understand that it was well placed, well constructed, and strongly armed, so that we should have had some trouble to reduce it if well manned.”
Today Battery White sits within the Belle Isle Yacht Club community development and welcomes visitors. It is listed in the National Register,:
Battery White is a large earthwork battery, or earthwork artillery emplacement, built (ca. 1862) and manned by Confederate troops during the Civil War as a Confederate fortification. It was positioned on Mayrant’s Bluff, overlooking Winyah Bay, where its guns could command the seaward access to the nearby port of Georgetown. Apparently, from the beginning, however, the battery was plagued by insufficient manpower and armaments. In February 1863 it was reported that there were but 53 men and nine guns at Battery White. In January 1864 commanding Brigadier General J. H. Trapier stated that “the position itself is a strong one, and with a proper artillery and a sufficient infantry support might be rendered almost, if not absolutely, impregnable.” Assistance was not available however, and in October 1864 eleven Confederate soldiers deserted the battery and gave information regarding it to R. P. Swann, commander of the U.S.S. Potomska. By February 1865 the battery was reported completely evacuated. Still largely intact, the five hundred foot long fortification is maintained as part of the landscaping for a condominium complex on what was originally Belle Isle Plantation, owned at one-time by Revolutionary War Colonel Peter Horry.
More Pictures of Battery White
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