Battery Cheves

James Island, SC

Battery Cheves, 1863, by Conrad Wise Chapman.

Courtesy of The Museum of the Confederacy, Richmond, Virginia. Photography by Alan Thompson

This four-gun Confederate artillery battery was one of several earthworks built on the southeastern shore of James Island in the summer of 1863. The battery was named for Captain Langdon Cheves, chief engineer on Morris Island. He was in Battery Wagner on July 10, 1863, when he received word of the death of his nephew, Captain Charles Haskell. As Cheves moved across the parade ground at Battery Wagner to the powder magazine, a monitor shell bounced over the battery’s wall and exploded, killing him instantly.


Battery Cheves assisted in the defense of James and Morris Islands, and its armament was four 8-inch smoothbore naval guns. The open battery was built for four gun emplacements and included a 10-inch gun and an 8-inch Columbiad smooth-bore gun. The battery, 280 feet long with a parapet 12.5 feet high, suffered an accidental explosion in its powder magazine in September 1863. Battery Cheves and the rest of Charleston’s defenses were evacuated on February 17, 1865.


Battery Cheves, intact and in good condition, is located on Robert E. Lee Boulevard in Fort Johnson Estates subdivision, James Island. The battery was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. The South Carolina Preservation Trust was granted a conservation easement on Battery Cheves in 1995.

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