Ft. Johnson and Hampton Park, Charleston, SC

11 04 2023

While in Charleston, SC to present to the Fort Sumter Civil War Round Table last month, I took some time to visit a couple Civil War related sites. First up was Ft. Johnson, at the end of Ft. Johnson Road on James Island, not far from my brother’s house where I was staying. Per the American Battlefield Trust:

In September of 1775, the Council of Safety ordered William Moultrie, commander of the 2nd South Carolina Regiment [more on that regiment and one of its commanders later], to seize Fort Johnson on the northeast point of James Island in Charleston County, South Carolina. Moultrie assigned Colonel Isaac Motte to command three 50-man companies led by Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, Barnard Elliott, and Francis Marion to attack the fort. Motte took possession of the fort with little resistance, and this capture was the first-time soldiers raised the new South Carolina over a property previously controlled by the Crown. Decades later, on April 12, 1861, at 4:30 a.m., a flaming mortar shot from Fort Johnson arced into the air and exploded over Fort Sumter, marking the official beginning of the American Civil War. Confederate soldiers buried the structure during the war, but the fort was uncovered in 1931. In 1972, the site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Ft. Sumter in the distance
Zoom to Ft. Sumter
Magazine

I also took made a quick stop at Hampton Park, near the Citadel, which was the site of what many call the nation’s first “Memorial Day:”

Hampton Park is a large site. The historic marker above is the only evidence of the event I observed (Visit Historic Charleston)




Returning Fire

18 07 2013

I’m still making my way through Voices from Company D: Diaries by the Greensboro Guards, Fifth Alabama Infantry Regiment, Army of Northern Virginia. I’ve written a little about it before. If you haven’t already read it, you should add this one to your list. It features multiple diaries from members of the same company (they were present at First Bull Run, however they were Company I at the time – I need to change that on the entries I transcribed.) Right now (where I am in the book, April 1863), the daily entries are comprised of entries by two diarists – typically the first tersely describes the day as having no significant occurrence, followed by about 1,000 words from the second. It’s an entry from the second diarist on April 12, 1864 that caught my eye this time. The diarist is Jaimie Pickens (JP), who was not a slave owner – though his family owned about 200, which again proves the fallacy of the “most southern soldiers didn’t own slaves” argument. It caught my eye because it reminded me of a ferryboat ride out to Ft. Sumter about 18 years ago, during which the recorded NPS narrative pointed out the positions from which Confederate batteries “returned fire.”

To-day 3 years ago (Ap’l 12th & 13th 1861) the Yankees fired on Ft. Sumter – the inauguration of the war of invasion of the South & its people.

Yikes! JP happens to have been a very well educated and eloquent young man who had attended the University of Virginia. His entries give valuable insight not only into how he viewed the war historically as it happened, but also his views on the prospects for peace and from whence it was likely to come (right now, he’s hoping for a third party to take power in the North.) I know of no other collection like this. Check it out.





Charleston Sesquistuff

12 04 2011

If you simply can’t get enough Sesquisumter, here’s a link to WCBD TV2 Charleston. There are a few videos and stories that will be updated regularly. You’ll have to allow popups.

Here and here are great photo galleries of goings-on in the city fr0m the Post and Courier.

If you’re planning a trip to Charleston, here’s a post on some of the sites and sights.