FEBRUARY 17-18TH, 1865: Charleston, South Carolina, was evacuated by Confederate troops after having endured 567 days of continuous attack by land and sea. The long siege witnessed some of the most heroic fighting of the war, including the sinking of the USS Housatonic by the valiant, hand-powered submarine H.L. Hunley on 17 February 1864 (one year before Charleston's evacuation).
During the night, Forts Moultrie, Sumter, Johnson, Beauregard and Castle Pinckney were abandoned as the Confederates marched northward to join the beleaguered forces of General Lee.
The Southern ironclads Palmetto State, Chicora and Charleston were fired and blown up prior to the withdrawal, but the CSS Columbia, the largest of the ironclads at Charleston, was found aground and abandoned near Fort Moultrie and was eventually salvaged.