Sunday, August 4, 2013

Civil War Sunday - The Siege of Charleston Harbor

This July through September is the 150th commemoration of the Siege of Charleston Harbor by Federal forces.  It wasn't the first time that Charleston Harbor had been the site of a Civil War battle (after all, the first battle - see below - of the Civil War was fought there) or even the second, Charleston was to see more than its share of Civil War action.

I was not able to make the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, at Ft. Sumter, in Charleston Harbor.  But, I did visit Charleston in March of 2011 (a month before the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War) and one could argue that Charleston must have more history per square inch than almost any other city in the United States.

On a building downtown is this plaque.  The actual building is no longer there but at this site the Ordinance of Secession for South Carolina was passed.  South Carolina was the first state to leave the Union, in December of 1860.

Charleston has so many historic buildings (such as this building, the Charleston United States Post Office at the famous "4 Corners of Law" intersection of Meeting and Broad) that it is hard to believe that Charleston was burned during the Civil War, and suffered an earthquake post-war, in 1886.  (In the interest of full disclosure, this building was built in 1896, long after the Civil War was over, but I do love this building. )

One structure that was bombarded over and over again, but survives today, is Ft. Sumter in Charleston Harbor.   Overall, Charleston Harbor suffered bombardment for some 587 days through the Civil War by the Federal forces.

As part of the commemoration of the Siege in 1863, I would like to partially rerun (with a new photo) one of my blog posts from April, 2011, right after I visited Ft. Sumter.

This first picture is the boarding of the ferry that takes you to Ft. Sumter.  The ferry ride lasts about 1/2 hour each way and you have an hour or so to tour the fort.  Boarding, we had a good view of Charleston Harbor and the lovely Ravenel Bridge that spans the Cooper River. (One of the items on my "bucket list" is to fully walk across the bridge, something I was not able to do on that trip due to a bad knee.) 

Charleston lies between two rivers, the Ashley and the Cooper.

A taped narrative plays as the ferry approaches the island Ft. Sumter is located on.

When you embark at the Fort, what you see remaining of the Civil War fought looks like this.  It is amazing, given the bombardment this fort suffered, that any of it is still standing.

A picture new to this blog, showing a cannon and more of the damage the Union forces inflicted during the war.

And, still more damage to the walls of the fort. 

On the way back, you can see the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown, that is on display in Patriots Point in Charleston Harbor. (When I return to the Charleston area, visiting Patriots Point is on my list of "must do's".)
One of the innovations that came out of the Siege of Charleston Harbor was the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley - a most fascinating story.  It's 150th anniversary will be coming next year.

Note to my readers: towards the end of this month, Civil War Sunday may go on temporary hiatus - but I promise, later in September when it resumes, I will have brand new material for you.


  1. Wow! Thanks for the history lesson of Charleston and the great pictures! I've always wanted to go to Charleston but still haven't made it yet. One year, when we were visiting my folks who lived on the west side of SC, we almost went. We were homeschooling our kids, I wanted to make a short family trip to Charleston to to fit in perfectly with our studies but no one else wanted to go! Boo Hoo! So we didn't go. I will get there yet! My cousins are from Abbeville which also has a ton of history from the Civil War. Blessings!

  2. What a great history lesson about Charleston! It's been on my list of places to visit for a long time. When we home schooled, years ago, I wanted to visit Charleston to fit in with what we were learning but it never worked out. I love all the great pictures too! Thanks!

  3. I love to learn the history of a place like Charlston. Warfare is always sad and a Civil War particularly harrowing. Wouldn't it be wonderful if humans could state their case and come to an ammicable agreement? I can't see that coming any time soon.

  4. I know very little of Charlston. Thank you for enlightening me with this post! *History lesson* :-)

  5. I have to agree that Charleston has an amazing amount of history. Not just on the peninsula but the surrounding islands and inlands.


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