Talk:Battle of Fort Pulaski

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Name change? Siege, not battle.[edit]

As in the case of the article about Fort Macon, the description of this event as a battle is less accurate than calling it a siege. As with Fort Macon the operation was classic siege preparation and bombardment. The article should be expanded to include information about the siege preparation. Red Harvest (talk) 16:28, 27 May 2011 (UTC)

I think we should be careful using a term that historically implies lengthy bombardment and surrounding a garrison to starve it out. If this partial-day attack is a siege, would Fort Sumter in 1861 qualify as well? Before you change the name, please demonstrate that there is widespread usage of the title Siege of Fort Pulaski in other media. Hal Jespersen (talk) 11:19, 28 May 2011 (UTC)
The time horizon of the article is wrong to begin with--far too short. As for sources, one should start with a primary source from an authority: the map in Quincy Gillmore's official report that reads "Siege of Fort Pulaski, GA." and is printed in the NPS booklet. Or consider the report itself "Siege and Reduction of Fort Pulaski." But one could use the contemporary NYT article a week before the bombardment entitled: "The Siege of Fort Pulaski." Doing an Amazon search for "Fort Pulaski" the first hit is Schiller's Sumter is Avenged! The Siege and Reduction of Fort Pulaski and of course Gillmore's report in paper back is hit #2. Doing a google search turns up annual commemorations of the "siege & reduction" by the NPS and Tybee Island historical society.
Just because the actual bombardment portion was a short decisive battle does not change the basic character of the operation. "Battle" is the wrong term for a siege operation of this duration and physical preparation. Battle applies only to the artillery bombardment, not the siege. There was not any significant engagement other than the siege operation and bombardment. There was not a naval or infantry or cavalry engagement involved in the reduction of the fort (see New Orleans or Mobile Bay for naval engagements as part of fort reduction.) It was a two month long preparation by a seige train...the word "siege" keeps coming up as the siege batteries were constructed.
About the only other thing that detracts from the use of "siege" would be the degree of isolation of the garrison--I haven't researched this aspect but cursory glance suggests they were receiving some sustaining level of supply. They were isolated in that they could not withdraw once the bombardment began. Instead they had to surrender en masse without even blowing the magazine (which would have been the standard response in an untenable fort under non-siege conditions.)
It seems the problem is the focus on the length of the final artillery engagement rather than consideration of the actual operation. That it was an abbreviated siege was by design. The coastal forts were constructed with the purpose of being able to resist artillery reduction for ~1 month...and retaining the capacity to resist during that time. Rifled cannon allowed a much more rapid breaching, along with the ability to rapidly disable defensive artillery.
As to Fort Sumter it was indeed a siege operation (as the wiki article about it notes in the second paragraph.) The garrison was cut off and would be starved out. The bombardment itself was in many ways more symbolic than militarily decisive. The resistance offered was token as a result of the political realities and recognition that there would be no relief of the siege. The caveat is that there was not open warfare until the bombardment itself. While the garrison was in the process of being "starved" out and could offer not resistance until attacked, the actual bombardment was an indisputable declaration of war. Therefore, I don't see a problem with the focus on that act at Sumter...the battle as it were. Red Harvest (talk) 18:41, 28 May 2011 (UTC)
As long as we are comfortable that the common literature refers to this as a siege rather than a battle, I have no objection to making the change. I have seen too many instances in Wikipedia in which editors propose to make a change to an article title because they believe there is a more logical name, and that is not the standard that we use. Hal Jespersen (talk) 21:36, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
No problem. I would like to see some more comments on it (yea or nea) by folks who have looked at the matter. And if it is changed, I want to be certain it is done skillfully so as to retain talk/revision histories, as well as updating links/redirects (in other words, somebody with more knowledge of Wiki's structure than myself should probably undertake any consensus name change.) Red Harvest (talk) 04:44, 1 June 2011 (UTC)

Confederate strategic goals - citation needed tag[edit]

In the article on the Battle of Fort Pulaski, it does not square to address Confederate strategic success, since as argued elsewhere, in the event of Pulaski, the fort was lost. It is only in a larger, longer view that Confederates could advance their cause, so I listed some of those developments specifically, without characerizing them.

The phrase objected to is withdrawn, the citation tag removed. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 15:08, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

Article format as web page.[edit]

The article should present a web page with a magazine-like appearance. Editors have tried other alignments producing large white boxes of text requiring page-downs to find text. Please explain the effect sought after and its rationale before changing the format; prereview changes before saving them.

Plastikspork, please help out here. What were you trying to do? TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 02:22, 19 July 2011 (UTC)

Infobox information matters[edit]

I have found in this study in the Civil War, as always, interesting and far-reaching stories of initiative, innovation, perseverance and courage on both sides. Some contemporary newspapers and post-war memoirs are less favorable than history, especially to some individual commanders.

In the Infobox, it matters that both sides were dealing with unheard of complexity and scope of operations between Army and Navy at the point of contact with the adversary. Hence citing multiple commanders. It matters that the naval force match-up favored the Union 15:3 warships, 36:2 transports; men under arms, 10,000:385; rifled guns, which at distance most mattered, 8:2. Napoleon is famously to have said, “God is on the side of the big battalions.”

It is telling that experienced, respected senior officers on both sides expected the siege to be successful either by starvation in four months on one side, or faster by massive bloodletting of thousands in a 10,000 man assault under political pressure. The Confederates were able to mount an active defense by aggressive naval sorties and the fort’s own surprise long-range battery fire. Union approaches took 112 days from November 24 landing on Tybee Island until April 11 fort surrender. That is remarkable.

The notable take-away from a military historical perspective is not that the fort fell, but that by the time it did, Savannah defenses had been so built up that it could not be taken by sea. The defense of Savannah by Flag Officer Tattnall and Colonel Olmstead under the command of General Robert E. Lee should be written up as a strategic Confederate success, notwithstanding the fall of Fort Pulaski in two days under innovative rifled cannon fires that were unexpected by senior officers of both sides. It is just that the “battle” Infobox does not allow that, since the fort of the same name fell. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 14:16, 11 October 2011 (UTC)

Revisit "Siege"[edit]

The article's expansion may now inform the earlier discussion whether to name the Union operation at Fort Pulaski a "Battle" or a "Siege". Unlike what may be gathered from contemporary southern newspapers, it was not a cursory two-day fusillade followed by an ignominious surrender.

It was a 112-day investment including positions upriver from the fort, knowledgeably anticipated by Lee, witness his personal placement of unrifled armament to cover their placement. Confederate Government of Jefferson Davis directed defensive force withdrawal in Georgia and Florida to interior lines to protect the Georgia 'breadbasket' supply of food for the armies deployed northward. Hence the abandonment of Tybee Island, concentration of guns in the surrounding region into the immediate defense perimeter of Savannah, and the reduction of fort's garrison.

That the operation was only 3-1/2 months was only due to the surprise effect of the innovative gunnery through the second day . The photographic evidence is dramatic. Source contributions from the 'Records of the Navies', supplementing the 'Records of the Armies', highlight the significance of the sea-based Army-Navy amphibious operations and the effectiveness of the Confederate resistance. The Lee mounted an active defense both by land (scorched-earth, raiders, Olmstead) and by sea (Tattnall).

It is beyond romanticism to imagine that three Confederate side-wheeler gunboats could overmatch superior numbers, firepower and maneuverability of seven Union screw-driven gunboats within the confines of the Savannah River. An isolated 400 cannot be expected to hold 10,000 at bay for long. The competence and valor of the garrison is beyond question. Innovative positioning of guns and repeated gunboat sorties halted day-time Federal progress on upriver Union batteries and on Tybee Island. (The Union soldier cut in half, by a shot said to be aimed by Olmstead, would bring the Union death toll to two--still researching.) Under Union bombardment of shot and shell, Fort garrison re-activated silenced guns on both days, returning accurate fires during the battle that altered Union fire missions. Olmstead was allowed to keep his sword at surrender, a significant honor.

The adverse critique would have it that three months should have been seven? 'Defense in depth' is actually a military term of art, one which requires some acquaintance with arms to appreciate. For clarity, Fort Pulaski can be compared to the Alamo: time was bought for military preparations against an invader of superior numbers. From a military perspective, Texas was not conquered by Santa Ana, Savannah was not taken from seaward. I would argue for "Siege of Fort Pulaski". TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 11:53, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

Large edit 2 April[edit]

RovingPersonalityConstruct, let’s discuss the page. I’m happy to find another editor to collaborate with, happy to follow conventions used elsewhere in military articles, happy to see more elegant code applied. But without your help, it looks as though you have undertaken large capricious modifications and deletions without discussion or justification.

No Wiki guide for galleries referenced. No wider screen application referenced. No Wiki prohibition against centering captions.

No reference contradicting that Fingal was a blockade runner “like this” ship as illustrated, a two-masted steam driven screw propelled schooner. The Fingal's hull was black, not white, though paint color does not make a substantial difference in speed and windward capability, handling in variable winds, cargo capacity or seaworthiness. The name of a blockade runner is not so important as the sailing vessel for illustration of the text discussion of a blockade runner. Confederates converted ships of this class to both ironclads and cruising raiders.

Your edits now cause chaotic infringement of illustrations into text below in my large screen MacBookPro. Olmstead-Fort-Gilmore gallery into the section below. Fort Pulaski under siege into the section below. Tybee Island besiegers into the section below. Union naval presence into the section below. …

I’m glad to have another pair of eyes on this page. Let’s talk. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 22:35, 3 April 2012 (UTC)

(a) There may not be an explicit policy, a cursory examination of other articles would indicate there are unwritten conventions regarding use and formatting of images, galleries, captions, and items in infoboxes, conventions that this article ignores. My edit attempted to rectify this. At the very least, the use of tables and galleries to encapsulate single images is egregious and should be replaced with conventional image syntax.
(b) The use of tables without CSS float and clear properties causes galleries results in a poor layout for widescreen computer monitors. Without CSS float and clear properties, the table-encapsulated galleries may stack diagonally, rather than vertically, leaving large white areas on the right side. Adding those properties ensure the galleries always stack vertically. The layout problem seems to occur from at least 1680 pixel width resolutions (1280 pixel widths seem to be ok.)
(c) Some changing of the placement of image galleries in my revision may be in order to better place images with relevant prose. However, in the event that, in very low-width resolutions, image galleries get "pushed down" to the wrong sections, I am hesitant to use "clears" to prevent this since it may also result in large white spaces. But testing may allow for a compromise here.
(d) Much of the same image/gallery/table problems are found on Bombardment of Cherbourg, among other problems. - RovingPersonalityConstruct (talk, contribs) 05:00, 4 April 2012 (UTC)

(a) I find a cursory examination of other military articles to show a wide variety of formats and syntax in images, galleries, captions and infoboxes, and this article neither ignores nor follows any of these unnamed articles of unwritten conventions, but only because the conventions are not cited in your critique. I do see that none of these many articles acquired by cursory examination consistently follow ANY convention either by subject area nor by same editor.

((1)) I will try to patch in your more elegant gallery coding to amend the old style found in most Wikipedia articles I have read. I would appreciate references to three military articles which use these elegant conventions (as my high school Algebra teacher used to say) which you and I prefer. I like yours better than old-style. Elegance is a mark of the mathematician. I could not have passed Algebra without graphing everything. Who could be more elegant than Descartes?

((2)) Infoboxes for massed Napoleonic infantry battles may not clearly convey critical summary information relevant to an amphibious-supplied fortress siege and artillery duel. Are there infobox guidelines to reference?

((3)) I will by myself or with a collaborator, replace all single image galleries with uniform images taking up the same uniform page space to avoid crowding text in various browsers. I do not quite understand the "egregious" practical impact of the coding problem with one image galleries. The existing pictures will remain as placeholders ONLY until I can master the skill of converting the various pixel formats to a uniform standard which economizes space on the page, skill which I am undertaking to master and intend to do so just as soon as possible.

(b) I can see you are making worthwhile contributions to many articles at Wikipedia. Sincere thanks from a oldie-newbie. I note you recently have been working with articles with tables and CSS float and clear properties, neither of which are used in this article to my knowledge. Could you suggest any Wiki guidelines to help me out? I believe your computer is narrower than the MacBookPro, since your fix caused the diagonal/bleeding on mine, but not on your narrower format. Although I freely admit the technical possibility in theory, since it does not occur in yours when it occurs in mine, I prefer a solution which works with my wider format rather than strain at a theoretical which produces unsatisfactory results in practice.

{c} There no white spaces generated until I narrow the MacBookPro below the Outlook dimensions. Again, while I grant a theoretical technical possibility, I do not see in actual practice, both using a format smaller than the machine you use, and using a larger. Can you refer me to a Wiki guide that discusses "clears"?

(d) The same solutions to problems found on other pages have been solved on Bombardment of Cherbourg. Again, please name problems and reference Wiki guidelines. I need your help were there to be any, such as using gallery coding that is found in most existing Wiki articles which is, we both agree, un-elligant.

And I will master reformatting Wikimedia Commons images into a uniform resizable CSS float and clear properties, from at least 1680 pixel width resolutions down to 1280 pixel widths, as those below 1280 pixel widths, in your opinion, "seem to be ok". Are there any Wiki guides already written for me to follow so I can get started?

I drilled down into the image caption guidelines, and found on MOS:CAPTION, "The text of captions should not be specially formatted (with italics, for example) ... Perhaps this would preclude using small font? But you did not reference it, not did you interpret the passage to apply to small font, so I am not sure without further investigation into the uses of small font. Any Wiki guide references you can supply to speed up the process would be appreciated.

Also, having taught a legally blind student in my classroom, I think I will figure out how to add alt parameter text to all of the images in my contribution pages per WP:ACCESS using WP:ALT. - - - TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 01:46, 5 April 2012 (UTC)

I've found WP:PIC that gives some pointers on image placement in articles, and links to some possibly useful templates. It also discusses the use of the {{clear}} template. The clear element uses the CSS clear property, but hides the implementation from editors.

For single images, just use file syntax. The file syntax has built-in support for the floating of images to one side.

MOS:CAPTION would seem to suggest that captions should respect WP:MOSTEXT, and specifically WP:FONTSIZE.

For reference, this is what I'm seeing right now on this article, and on the Bombardment of Cherbourg article. Since the causes are the same, a fix here will be applicable there as well.

For the infobox formatting, I have not been able to find anything specific about formatting their contents. But looking through the category for military featured articles, the use of small and center elements to format battle infobox information seems abnormal.

EDIT: It also seems featured articles are much more economical in their use of images, and so avoid the need to float multi-row galleries like this one does. - RovingPersonalityConstruct (talk, contribs) 14:26, 5 April 2012 (UTC)

Formatting illustration ii[edit]

Alas, the layout issue has not been resolved (image.) The fundamental issue is the lack of CSS floats and clears on those side-aligned galleries. I fear everything done so far has been addressing the symptoms, not the cause.

  • Converting the single-image galleries to use file syntax (comes with built in float and clear).
  • Using Template:Multiple image for all side-aligned galleries with one row (comes with built in float and clear).
  • Manually apply float and clear to other side-aligned galleries (the 2x2) (this would be like in my revision)

I don't think the policy makes any distinction between images/portraits of people and images of other things when it comes to caption formatting, so the extra formatting captions for portraits probably should be removed.

The small and center tags should also be removed from the infobox. Again, looking through the military featured articles, use of those tags in the infobox is generally not done. - RovingPersonalityConstruct (talk, contribs) 21:35, 8 April 2012 (UTC)

Is there a conventional coding for the gallery format [code] !bgcolor="#c0c0c0"|Fort Pulaski under siege [end code] that renders
Fort Pulaski under siege

 ? I cannot remember the page I copied it, but I thought it a good way to quickly, graphically orient the reader to which side of the conflict is pictured. - - - TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 09:06, 10 April 2012 (UTC)

- Small and center tags are removed from the Infobox -- Infobox pic size increased from 300 to 310 to accommodate text as written.
- The three single image galleries are replaced with File syntax, I think, including alt= descriptions for each image.
- The three two-row galleries are replaced with double image format.
  • In double-image, the alt= text is written for all six illustrations, but alt= fails to display. Maybe "multiple image" as suggested above by RPC will work instead of the double-image I've used before.
More to do. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 13:36, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

history article uses flag of history[edit]

The Confederate flag flown at the time of the Battle of Fort Puaski was the Stars and Bars. Primary sources report the Blood Stained Banner was never seen in the field. It flew over Charleston Harbor in 1865 along with three others so as not to be taken as a sign of surrender, but that was before its adoption in CS Congress with most Representatives evacuated from the Confederate Capital. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 05:53, 29 April 2013 (UTC)