To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, this website commemorates and chronicles life in Charleston throughout the conflict - through historical retellings by Brian Hicks, reader contributions of family histories, photo galleries and videos, and stories reflecting a modern-day perspective on our history.
The blockade runner was hugging the shore of Dewees Island, trying to sneak into Charleston Harbor before first light. But the Nellie wouldn't make it. The steamer had sailed from Nassau with hopes of slipping past the gunboats and selling its cargo.
It was unlike anything that had ever sailed into Charleston Harbor. The ship was 150 feet long with a low, flat deck that quickly gave way to a steep, sloping, ironclad casemate. Peeking out of this floating fortress were the barrels of four considerable guns.
The gunboats sailed into the Stono a little farther every day, shooting at troops on James Island before slipping back out to sea. It began in the fall of 1862 and continued into the winter of 1863, the Yankees growing more brazen each week.
Something about Folly Island didn't look quite right. As the night faded to a dull gray on Friday morning, July 10, 1863, the Confederate troops guarding the southern tip of Morris Island stared across the inlet, trying to figure out how Folly had changed. They soon realized that,...
A tropical storm blew through the Lowcountry on Monday night, Aug. 24, 1863, forcing a brief cease-fire in the siege of Charleston. When the sun rose the next morning, locals finally had a chance to survey the damage from the weekend's bombardment.
A military escort led the casket deep into Magnolia Cemetery, where a sizable crowd of onlookers waited quietly at the grave. It was Sunday, Nov. 8, 1863, and the occasion was becoming all too common in Charleston.
The Confederate flag was falling -- a slow-motion, seemingly endless cascade into the smoking rubble below. On that day, June 20, 1864, it appeared the flag would be just another casualty in the continued bombardment of Fort Sumter, another fallen soldier.
On the 514th day of the siege, Charleston was quiet. No shells would be hurled at the city that day -- Monday, Dec. 5, 1864 -- as Confederate and Union troops had called a temporary truce to exchange prisoners.
To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, The Post and Courier presents "Civil War|150 years," a 20-part series from columnist and author Brian Hicks. Hicks' series, subtitled "Charleston At War," will appear in print on Sundays, and online at www.postandcourier.com/civilwar." Additional coverage -- including the stories of residents who had family involved in the War -- will be continually updated online.
It had all come down to this moment. Robert Barnwell Rhett sat in the grand meeting room at St. Andrew's Hall, waiting for his name to be called. It was just after 1 p.m. on Dec. 20, 1860, and -- decades after he had first suggested the idea -- South Carolina was seceding from the United States of America.
A gray fog rolled through Charleston on Christmas Day, a thick, wet blanket that cast a pall over the entire city. Cold rain blowing in from the harbor kept most people indoors, save for those children who were able to "escape the parental roof" and sneak outside, roaming damp sidewalks to gaze at the festive decorations in misty shop windows.
The boat was a civilian steamship with two masts and a side paddle wheel. To any casual observer, it appeared to be just another commercial steamship -- one more merchant vessel surfing the Gulf Stream.
They emerged in 1987 for the first time in 124 years as bare bones in an archaeological dig. The faces of two 55th Massachusetts Regiment Union soldiers whose remains were recovered at a Civil War grave site on Folly Island can now be seen.
Rarely displayed paintings of Charleston during the Civil War by a Confederate soldier, including an iconic rendering of the submarine H.L. Hunley, are being made available today on the Internet by The Museum of the Confederacy.
A local historian and a water tour company are now running harbor tours that visit sites important to the history of the Civil War-era submarine H.L. Hunley. Michael Coker, an author, tour guide and assistant to the director at the Old Exchange, will narrate the 90-minute trip offered by Sandlapper Water Tours.
They died on the battlefield at the hands of their countrymen or they succumbed to disease and untreated wounds -- at a rate of several hundred men a day. When the Civil War ended in 1865, no one was sure exactly how many lives had been lost as a result.
Vivian and Eric Carter aren't Southerners. Heck, they're not even Americans. But the Manchester, England, retirees were in history heaven Saturday as they blended with hundreds of re-enactors and spectators during the 21st annual Battle of Secessionville event at Boone Hall Plantation.
BY ADAM MENDELSOHN
Special to The Post and Courier
Sunday, February 27, 2011
On a late Sunday morning in the middle of April 1861, the Isabel, a paddle steamer owned by Mordecai & Co., left its berth in Charleston Harbor for a brief voyage that heralded America's worst cataclysm.