Civil War commemorations coming to an end

This photograph shows the crowd inside Fort Sumter on April 14, 1865, moments before the United States flag was raised there, symbolically marking the Civil War’s end.

The 150th anniversary of the Civil War’s end in Charleston will be commemorated Tuesday evening with an invitation-only ceremony marking the re-raising of the American flag over Fort Sumter.

It will conclude with a series of public lectures at the Dock Street Theatre on Saturday.

The most lethal war ever in U.S. history ended with Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendering to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in Virginia on April 9, 1865. President Abraham Lincoln planned a ceremonial event on April 14 to mark the war’s end at the exact spot where it began — at the mouth of Charleston Harbor.

April 14 was chosen because it marked four years to the day after Confederate forces opened fire on the fort, then commanded by Maj. Gen. Robert Anderson. Anderson returned to Charleston for the re-raising and brought the same U.S. flag that he had lowered while surrendering the fort.

Lincoln did not attend the event. Instead, he went to a play that evening at Ford’s Theatre, where he was assassinated.

The Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center at Liberty Square has had a special exhibit on the war’s end, and the re-raising event will begin there Tuesday evening.

The commemoration also involves a special light on the fort this week, but the most public aspect will occur Saturday. That’s when a series of lectures will begin at 10 a.m. at the Dock Street Theatre. The morning’s lectures focus on the war’s legacy, while the afternoon sessions focus on how the public remembered it.

Lecturers include historians such as David Blight of Yale University, Thomas Brown of the University of South Carolina, Eric Foner of Columbia University, Annette Gordon-Reed of Harvard University, Ethan Kytle of California State University-Fresno, Blain Roberts of California State University-Fresno and Emory Thomas of the University of Georgia.

Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771.