After a day-long bombardment of Battery Wagner by Union naval and land forces, a Union division -- led by the 54th Massachusetts, a regiment of African-American soldiers led by white officers -- attacks the earthwork.
Union forces succeed in forcing their way partially into the earthwork before they are repelled, suffering more than 1,500 casualties to 200 among the Confederate defenders. Among those killed is Col. Robert Shaw, the commander of the 54th. For his role in the attack, Sgt. William Carney is the first African American awarded the Medal of Honor.
After the attack fails, Union forces lay siege to Wagner.