Charleston Related Civil War Readings

27 05 2008

One of the most popular posts I’ve made here at Bull Runnings is A Few Charleston Civil War Sites.  I still receive questions and comments on that article, and in an attempt to answer a few of the inquiries I’ve received, I went through my library and pulled out my books relating to the campaign to capture the seat of secessia, AKA the Holy City:

In 1970, E. Milby Burton published The Siege of Charleston, 1861-1865.  This book provides an overview of military activities in the vicinity from the outbreak of the rebellion to the fall of the city.

Patrick Brennan’s Secessionville: Assault on Charleston, was published in 1996 and chronicles events leading up to and following the battle of June 16, 1862.  I’ve used this book and the author’s General’s Tour in Blue & Gray magazine to tour James Island.

Written by Stephen R.Wise and published in 1994, Gate of Hell: Campaign for Charleston Harbor, 1863 covers the activities around the city, including Battery Wagner and James Island, during the summer of 1863.

Siege Train: The Journal of a Confederate Artilleryman in the Defense of Charleston, edited by Warren Ripley and published in 1986, is the wartime diary of Confederate Major Edward Manigault.  Manigault is a pretty big name in Charleston.

The Civil War at Charleston is a collection of Charleston Evening Post and Charleston News and Courier articles published during the Civil War Centennial from 1960-1965.  The articles were written by Warren Ripley and Arthur M. Wilcox.

Charleston at War: The Photographic Record 1860-1865, is a Frassanito-like then-and-now photo book by Jack Thomson put out by Thomas Publications in 2000.  Very handy, if not very cool, to take along when touring the town, as is Confederate Charleston: An Illustrated History of the City and the People during the Civil War, by Robert N. Rosen (1994).

For what it’s worth, that’s what I have in my library for Charleston (excluding books on the outbreak of the war).



4 responses

27 05 2008
Drew W.

Good list. There definitely aren’t enough cool CW-related Charleston books out there. Burton is fine, but we could really use an updated overall account. Some others that might interest your readers: Hagy’s “To Take Charleston: The Civil War on Folly Island” (Pictorial Histories); H. David Stone’s “Vital Rails” (U. of SC Press) is extremely good; W. Chris Phelps’s “The Bombardment of Charleston, 1863-1865” (Pelican…yeah, I know) is just okay, but worth reading.


27 05 2008
Harry Smeltzer


I forgot Vital Rails. I have an ARC of it and reviewed it in brief for America’s Civil War.


28 05 2008

I look on my shelf and see the same titles! Do you have a spy working in my library? :-)

Back when I was living in Savannah, I actually found Warren Ripley’s writings to be the most enjoyable reads and the best to support on site visits. The collection of news articles in “The Civil War in Charleston” is worth twice or three times the five bucks I spent at the Fort Moultrie VC back in 1994. My copy has a map of the greater Charleston area, with the various fortifications indicated. That inspired an outing with a friend and a Carolina Skiff…


29 05 2008
Odds & Ends: May 29, 2008

[…] Smeltzer has a nice start to a bibliography for the attempts to take Charleston at Bull […]


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