I had a great time in Charleston. It’s always fun to get together with my brothers (3), and sisters (2), and in-laws, nieces, nephews, and now great nephew and great niece (I am way too young to be a great anything, but facts is facts). I had a little time on Saturday to stop in and see the Confederate Museum run by the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
The museum is situated on the upper floor of the southernmost of the market buildings (no, these buildings were never slave markets), at the intersection of Market and Meeting Streets. It was closed after Hurricane Hugo in 1989 and only recently reopened. They have some very cool stuff in there, including Barnard Bee’s sword and a slightly larger than life size full portrait statue of Governor Wade Hampton that really freaked out my son. I asked the staff for some contact info to get some images for my future website, and was told that they “don’t do that”. While I have seen photos in at least one magazine and one website credited to the museum, I didn’t want to make a federal case. It could be they just weren’t happy with my John Brown Ale T-Shirt. And no, I didn’t see any other Free State Brewing Co. apparel in the Holy City.
On Monday I spent a little time exploring the churchyard of the James Island Presbyterian Church at the corner of Folly and Ft. Johnson Roads. I’m always on the lookout for the resting places of Civil War veterans. I found a significant number of Bees, though the General is buried in the northern end of the city at Magnolia Cemetery – time would not permit a visit there (though born in Charleston, Bee is buried in St. Paul’s Episcopal Churchyard in Pendleton, SC). The coolest find was the first marker I saw, that of Samuel “Goat” Smalls.
Smalls was the inspiration for the novel “Porgy” and the opera “Porgy and Bess”. I learned on a carriage ride later that day that DuBose Heyward, the author of the book and Gershwin’s collaborator on the opera, is interred in St. Philip’s Church cemetery in town.
With over 350 years of history spanning pirates, patriots, and rebels there is plenty to see in Charleston. And it is very hard to find a bad meal there. Put it on your list. There are many threads between Bull Run and Charleston, and I’ll talk about some of them in the future.