Wednesday, June 8, 2022

 DASH TO FREEDOM --CELEBRATE JUNETEENTH!

“The first sunbeams glowed upon … the blossoming hedges along the rectangular dikes. What were those black dots which everywhere appeared? Those moist meadows had become alive with human heads, and along each narrow path came a straggling file of men and women, all on a run for the river-side”

 

This month we celebrate Juneteenth!

In the spirit of Juneteenth, I present some excerpts from the book, Army Life in A Black Regiment  by Thomas Wenworth Higginson. (1869).  I recommend this book to anyone wanting to understand the mindset of newly liberated freedmen and women.. During the Civil War, he served as colonel of the 1st South Carolina Volunteers, the first federally authorized black regiment, from 1862–1864. This regiment was comprised entirely of Black soldiers freed from slavery. While the Emancipation Proclamation allowed for Black soldiers to serve, the Army still required White officers to command them. Higginson addressed this in his Civil War memoir, stating:

We, their officers, did not go there to teach lessons, but to receive them. There were more than a hundred men in the ranks who had voluntarily met more dangers in their escape from slavery than any of my young captains had incurred in all their lives.15

He was an  American Unitarian minister, author, abolitionist, and soldier. He was active in the American Abolitionism movement during the 1840s and 1850s, identifying himself with disunion and militant abolitionism. He was a member of the Secret Six who supported John Brown. Following the war, Higginson devoted much of the rest of his life to fighting for the rights of freed people, women and other disfranchised peoples.(Wikipedia)

It is notable that his account is largely missing denigrating commentary commonly found in accounts of blacks by whites, and deeper reading of the book provides insites into the  thought processes, the habits and the Faith of his men who he clearly considers equal to any white soldier. His assessments provide a clear first person account as commander of the unit, a unit that went up rivers in Florida , Georgia and South Carolina to destroy rail lines.


Thomas Wentworth Higginson as Commander

 

First, from the opening preface to the book, a description of the 1st South Carolina Regiment:  

These pages record some of the adventures of the First South Carolina Volunteers, the first slave regiment mustered into the service of the United States during the late civil war. It was, indeed, the first colored regiment of any kind so mustered, except a portion of the troops raised by Major-General Butler at New Orleans.

The First South Carolina contained scarcely a freeman, had not one mulatto in ten, and a far smaller proportion who could read or write when enlisted. The only contemporary regiment of a similar character was the "First Kansas Colored," which began recruiting a little earlier. These were the only colored regiments recruited during the year 1862. The Second South Carolina and the Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts followed early in 1863.

 

Next, he describes how he came to be their Commander:

This is the way in which I came to the command of this regiment. One day in November, 1862, I was sitting at dinner with my lieutenants, John Goodell and Luther Bigelow, in the barracks of the Fifty-First Massachusetts, Colonel Sprague, when the following letter was put into my hands:

BEAUFORT, S. C., November 5, 1862.

MY DEAR SIR.

I am organizing the First Regiment of South Carolina Volunteers, with every prospect of success. Your name has been spoken of, in connection with the command of this regiment, by some friends in whose judgment I have confidence. I take great pleasure in offering you the position of Colonel in it, and hope that you may be induced to accept. I shall not fill the place until I hear from you, or sufficient time shall have passed for me to receive your reply. Should you accept, I enclose a pass for Port Royal, of which I trust you will feel disposed to avail yourself at once. I am, with sincere regard, yours truly,

R. SAXTON, Brig.-Genl, Mil. Gov.

 

He then goes on to describe various raids and campaigns, but then he recalls a scene as his ships made their way up the Edisto River   in which enslaved persons made their Dash to Freedom!

 

“The battery…met us with a promptness that proved very shortlived. After three shots it was silent... The bluff was wooded, and we could see but little. The only course was to land, under cover of the guns. As the firing ceased and the smoke cleared away, I looked across the rice-fields ... The first sunbeams glowed upon … the blossoming hedges along the rectangular dikes. What were those black dots which everywhere appeared? Those moist meadows had become alive with human heads, and along each narrow path came a straggling file of men and women, all on a run for the river-side. I went ashore with a boat-load of troops at once. The landing was difficult and marshy. The astonished negroes tugged us up the bank, and gazed on us as if we had been Cortez and Columbus. They kept arriving by land much faster than we could come by water; every moment increased the crowd, the jostling, the mutual clinging, on that miry foothold. What a scene it was! With the wild faces, eager figures, strange garments, it seemed, as one of the poor things reverently suggested, "like notin' but de judgment day." Presently they began to come from the houses also, with their little bundles on their heads; then with larger bundles. Old women, trotting on the narrow paths, would kneel to pray a little prayer, still balancing the bundle; and then would suddenly spring up, urged by the accumulating procession behind, and would move on till irresistibly compelled by thankfulness to dip down for another invocation.

Reaching us, every human being must grasp our hands, amid exclamations of "Bress you, mas'r," and "Bress de Lord," at the rate of four of the latter ascriptions to one of the former.

Women brought children on their shoulders; small black boys leaned on their black little brothers equally inky, and, gravely depositing them, shook hands. Never had I seen human beings so clad, or rather so unclad, in such amazing squalid-ness....

Perhaps the most important thing in Higgins tome is that he relates a rare first person account by an elderly freedman recalling his personal Dash To Freedom! Says Higginson:

" I wish that it were possible to present all this scene from the point of view of the slaves themselves. It can be most nearly done, perhaps, by quoting the description given of a similar scene on the Combahee River, by a very aged man, who had been brought down on the previous raid, already mentioned. I wrote it down in tent, long after, while the old man recited the tale, with much gesticulation, at the door; and it is by far the best glimpse I have ever had, through a negro's eyes, at these wonderful birthdays of freedom:

 "De people was all a hoein', mas'r," said the old man. "Dey was a hoein' in the ricefield, when de gunboats come. Den ebry man drap dem hoe, and leff de rice. De mas'r he stand and call, 'Run to de wood for hide! Yankee come, sell you to Cuba! run for hide!' Ebry man he run, and, my God! run all toder way! "Mas'r stand in de wood, peep, peep, faid for truss [afraid to trust]. He say, 'Run to de wood!' and ebry man run by him, straight to de boat. "De brack sojer so presumptious, dey come right ashore, hold up dere head. Fus' ting I know, dere was a barn, ten tousand bushel rough rice, all in a blaze, den mas'r's great house, all cracklin' up de roof. Didn't I keer for see 'em blaze? Lor, mas'r, didn't care notin' at all, was gwine to de boat." 

Dore's Don Quixote could not surpass the sublime absorption in which the gaunt old man, with arm uplifted, described this stage of affairs, till he ended in a shrewd chuckle, worthy of Sancho Panza. Then he resumed. "De brack sojers so presumptious!" This he repeated three times, slowly shaking his head in an ecstasy of admiration. It flashed upon me that the apparition of a black soldier must amaze those still in bondage, much as a butterfly just from the chrysalis might astound his fellow-grubs. I inwardly vowed that my soldiers, at least, should be as "presumptious" as I could make them. Then he went on. "Ole woman and I go down to de boat; den dey say behind us, 'Rebels comin'l Rebels comin'!' Ole woman say, 'Come ahead, come plenty ahead!' I hab notin' on but my shirt and pantaloon; ole woman one single frock he hab on, and one handkerchief on he head; I leff all-two my blanket and run for de Rebel come, and den dey didn't come, didn't truss for come. "Ise eighty-eight year old, mas'r. My ole Mas'r Lowndes keep all de ages in a big book, and when we come to age ob sense we mark em down ebry year, so I know. Too ole for come? Mas'r joking. Neber too ole for leave de land o' bondage. I old, but great good for chil'en, gib tousand tank ebry day. Young people can go through, force [forcibly], mas'r, but de ole folk mus' go slow." 

And so, there you have it. First person excerpts of witnesses to the Dash to Freedom! Happy Juneteenth! 

Charleston Old Walled City Tours does public and private history tours. We strive to present true and authentic history by seeking out first person sources and interpreting history within the context of the culture and politics of the time, all done in an engaging and entertaining Small Group Format. To join us go to www.walledcitytours.com





Wednesday, October 30, 2019

The Six Mile House - A Spooky Story For Halloween!


The story that I tell today is one of Charleston’s oldest and most colorful legends, a story I heard at age 6 when my father told me the story of  Charleston’s favorite serial killers, John and Lavinia Fisher. But to properly tell the tale, I need to reference Charleston’s most haunted structure. It sits on a notorious site. First, it was the site a paupers graveyard, but in 1772 they built a gunpowder storage facility, a powder magazine, on the site . Eight years later, in May of 1780, when the Patriots surrendered to the British, terms of parole demanded that they surrender their firearms and gunpowder at the Magazine, and someone dropped their pipe! The magazine went up with a huge explosion that liquidated 29 men and sent body parts flying across town. They claimed that the imprint of a body was left in the steeple at the Unitarian church! The building I speak of was built in 1803 on that very site. It stands today as a tall, gaunt, crumbling Gothic castle. We know it as the old County Jail on Magazine St.
Without a doubt it is Charleston’s most haunted structure. Through its years of service from 1803 to 1937 there were 35,000 registered deaths in that building. No small wonder then that it is claimed as Charleston’s most haunted structure. Fittingly, it also holds Charleston’s most terrifying specter; a floating ghost in white that haunts the long vaulted hallways… But I digress, back to John and Lavinia Fisher.

The Fishers were innkeepers, the name of their inn was the Six Mile House, located some 6 miles up Meeting Street Road. The year was 1819, and 6 miles up Meeting Street was pretty far out of town. I guess you might say that the Fishers were running a country Inn. Today, when we think of a country inn we think of fresh flowers and mints on the pillows. But in the old days a country inn was called a roadhouse, and a roadhouse typically had 2 rooms. The ladies slept in one room, the gentleman in the other, and the beds---the beds slept 3 each! I guess they had different expectations of privacy back in 181
But John and Lavinia Fisher were ahead of their time. You see, the Fishers had a private room with a single bed reserved for wealthy guests traveling alone, and traveling alone was the operative term.  Those wealthy guests got the very best the Fishers had to offer… the best food, the best drink. And at bedtime they got a very special nightcap which put them to sleep…a sleep from which they never awoke! A poison draft so to speak. And the bed, they claim that even the bed was special, that is, if you can believe the old tales, they claim that the bed was really a platform, and the platform had a latch. They would lift the latch and spin it. The bodies would drop to a lime pit beneath the house! No muss, no fuss, no evidence!
Over a period of 14 months, a dozen wealthy lonely travelers disappeared from the neighborhood of the Six Mile House and, finally, stolen goods belonging to two of those gentlemen were traced directly back to John and Lavinia Fisher, who, at that point, found themselves with a new address, and that address was the old County jail on Magazine St
The people of Charleston did not want to convict Lavinia Fisher of murder. She was, after all, a married woman. In the social expectations of the time it was assumed that a good wife would never commit murder unless coerced by her husband. But Lavinia Fisher gave them no choice; she showed no sorrow, she showed no remorse for her actions. Lavinia Fisher boasted of her exploits from the witness stand! Indeed, Lavinia Fisher was convicted of murder. Her sentence was to hang by the neck until dead.
To give you an idea just how difficult she made it on the community, one of her requests for her execution date was the she be allowed to wear her wedding dress. Because, to quote Lavinia Fisher,
“I shall be Satan’s favorite new bride in Hell!”
And so, Lavinia Fisher's execution date arrives. The community has an answer to the scandal of executing a married woman. You see, they hang husband John first. That made Lavinia Fisher a widow! So now they can proceed with Lavinia Fisher's execution, without stain of scandal. The minister leads her to the gallows, he leads her with prayer. As she mounts the platform the minister turns to Lavinia, he pleads,
 “Sister Lavinia, wilt thou repent!?!”
 Her answer to the minister, and to the silenced witnesses?
“If you've got a message for the devil, give it to me now, I'll carry it.”
 At that, witnessed by the horrified crowd, Lavinia Fisher , with the rope around her neck, pulls the lever, the trap drops and Lavinia Fisher hangs herself. ..
But here in Charleston, we don't believe that Lavinia Fisher ever met the devil. You see Lavinia Fisher is Charleston’s most terrifying specter. It is she who haunts the long vaulted hallways of the old County Jail where she appears as a floating specter in a white dress. And for those unfortunates who meet Lavinia , she rushes forward at them down the hallways, screeching and pulling her hair. Why, Lavinia Fisher turns her neck sideways, to show the rope burns.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Things to do in Charleston - The Tall Ships Are Here !!

What a beautiful weekend we have for tall ships! Charleston is the official port of the Tall Ships Challenge this year and more than a dozen ships from around the world are in port this weekend. Today  at 1 PM the tall ships will parade in Charleston Harbor, and their will be boardings and sailing excursions for the public all weekend. Live music, great food and a Pirate Camp with 35 pirates round out the event! The event will be held at Waterfront Park in North Charleston. For tickets and information go to http://www.TallShipsCharleston.com/

Charleston Old Walled City Tours offers walking and driving tours of historic Charleston SC and surrounding areas. For further information go to www.walledcitytours.com

Friday, March 17, 2017

Charleston Walking Tours - Learn Why I Never Joined The Hibernian Society -- Happy St Patrick's Day!!!!!

This  being the season for the “Wearing of the Green” I thought I might  take this time to wish  my readers a Happy St Patrick’s Day and relate to you the story behind why I didn’t join the Hibernian Society.


Hibernian Society Hall ,1840
Of course, the Irish are famous for blarney, so, in the spirit of the occasion of the Holy Saint,  don’t think I  might not be taking just a wee bit of artistic license as I weave this tale of Irish revelry.1801. You see, my father, Bernard Ray, was quite the man about town and belonged to numerous clubs and societies, prominent among them the Hibernian Society, an Irish Fellowship Society founded here in 1801. As a young man with rising prospects in the Real estate Industry, he strongly suggested that I join the Irish Brotherhood since it would be good for business.

And so I went with Dad  to my first meeting, where the gathered company was excited to be served Eddie Lockwood’s famous spaghetti. Now I knew this recipe, it was my mother’s, the very one she learned in Home Ec  class at Memminger: a few bits of tomato perched atop a bed of spaghetti noodles, a thin watery sauce pooled around the bottom of the plate. Manna from Heaven as a child, my brother’s girlfriend, an Italian girl by the name of Angela Bambino, had introduced me to her  Italian family's rich and fragrant "Sunday Sauce".

I was unimpressed.

After dinner, the festivities began, which consisted of shots! More shots! The brown liquor was flowing!!! The goal:  throw down til you fall down!  I remember few names from the many introductions made that  night but I distinctly remember the huge hangover the next morning!

My dear father was disappointed that I was so unimpressed.  I never have had much of a taste for liquor. But, at his insistence, I gave it another try.

At the second meeting, I arrived with an open mind and enjoyed the fellowship. I found myself getting into the “spirit” of the event, but as I was making my way to the bar on my hands and knees, someone stepped on my fingers. That  just struck  me the wrong way.


And that’s why I never joined the Hibernian Society of Charleston... 


Charleston  Old Walled City Tours offers public and private walking and driving tours of historic Charleston and surrounding areas. For information got to www.walledcitytours.com




Friday, February 24, 2017

Tour Charleston SC - Celebrate Charleston Food and Wine -enjoy Mock Turtle Soup!

"HOW MUCH AM I OFFERED FOR THIS GOOD COOK? SHE IS AN EXCELLENT COOK:CAN MAKE THREE KINDS OF MOCK TURTLE SOUP FROM BEEF, FOWLS OR FISH"
The above is an excerpt from the Charleston Courier on March 22, 1865 recounting the Freedmen's Jubilee Parade, which featured a black man on a float with a woman and two children whom he was pretending  to auction off "for good Confederate money". He played his part with vigor and conviction, causing much mirth and merriment in the crowd of black faces.
The Charleston Food and Wine Festival is in full swing this weekend and I noticed that the Grand Opening Event featured a theme of recipes from Charleston Receipts, the first Junior League cookbook. In print since 1952,it is the Bible of Charleston cookery. The Post and Courier writer notes in Wednesday's Food Section  that the Grand Opening menu wasn't announced. She then proceeds to speculate on the soup choice. Deeming She Crab Soup to mundane, she speculates on a number of choices including a fish stew, an okra gumbo, or--mock turtle soup.
I have always been a fan of turtle soup. My parents would often visit the Doc and Nananne in New Orleans (my great Aunt and Uncle) and they would return with tales of delicious turtle soup. They brought back two cans of turtle soup for me to try. The rich, dark stew with a splash of dry sherry was absolute heaven to my 8 year old palate I have never forgotten it. And so, since I could not attend the Grand Opening, I decided to celebrate Food and Wine by  recreating  that taste of my childhood.
Mock Turtle Soup
But first, a little history of turtle soup. For many years turtle soup was considered the finest of fine dining. In the early 20th century, the Villa Marguerita , Charleston's finest hotel of the time, had a $20 bowl of turtle soup on the menu. Turtle meat was considered a delicacy, exotic because the meat comes from 5 different places on the turtle, all with different tastes. A large snapping turtle is said to contain seven distinct types of meat, each reminiscent of pork, chicken, beef, shrimp, veal, fish or goat. Locally, this dish of English extraction did not survive in Charleston households into the twentieth century. Although Charlestonians continued to hire black cooks, few were trained in making Eurocentric foods, and so the food ways that have survived and that we consider Lowcountry style generally have their roots in Africa, but not turtle soup..  
For many years sea turtles were the meat of choice, so the real thing was out of the question. Where to find turtle meat today? Of course, cooters are ubiquitous, but I live in an apartment, and dressing them would be an issue. I'm not sure that I am prepared to grab the head , chop it off and hang it upside down to drain. The high cost of sea turtle meat led to the creation of Mock Turtle Soup. Using the same rich broth and a variety of meats in the broth, Mock Turtle Soup imitates not just the flavor but the texture and look of the real thing. As an aside, I used chicken livers snipped into small pieces, and that dark flavor is absolutely correct,but you might choose to use dark chicken meat, even surimi (artificial crab) or mild fish filets for this.
Next, I had to find the recipe, so first I went to Charleston Receipts. Mrs. Alston's version found there  bears little resemblance to the soup of my childhood. Next  I searched the internet and pulled out of different recipes the ingredients that I remember as crucial to the thick, brown heady broth of distant memory. My creation is exactly as I remember it, and for that reason I share it with you. Doubtless, turtle soup fans will enjoy this tasty recreation! Bon Appetit!
Mock Turtle Soup                                           My Recipe Alfred Ray
1. To one and one half quarts of water add one pound raw lean ground beef and one half pound raw chicken livers sliced small, three bay leaves, 1 teaspoon salt.
Set to boil.
2. Take one half stick of butter heated with flour, brown to make a rue for thickening. Set aside.
3. Dice both fine and medium:
One yellow onion
One red bell pepper
Two stalks of celery.
Put these in two tablespoons butter on medium high for five minutes, and then high until vegetables are cooked with a char. Add this to the broth. Deglaze the pan with dry sherry, scrape bits and throw all into the  pot along with
One can beef bouillon
one cup tomato ketchup
One large can crushed tomatoes
Stir this all together and bring to a boil. Add to this
1 teaspoon each of allspice and thyme,3 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
Juice of ½ lemon.
4 eggs in shell
Simmer all together for at least 45 minutes, 1 1/2 hours is better. Remove hard boiled eggs and macerate .  Add back to thicken the soup. Add rue (step 2) to thicken to stew consistency.
To serve, plate soup piping hot  and garnish with parsley and dry sherry.

Charleston Old Walled City Tours offers public and private walking tours and driving tours of historic Charleston SC and the surrounding countryside. For information go to www.walledcitytours.com

Friday, February 17, 2017

February 18, 1865 - The Dramatic Fall of Confederate Charleston

February 18, 1865 was the end of one era and the beginning of a new one for Charleston. For those of you "from off" who know that the Civil War--that is, the War Between the States--is a big deal in the South but you aren't really sure why that is after all this time, let me tell you a little story.

At that date Charleston had been under Federal Bombardment since August 8, 1863, a total of 587 days. Fort Sumter had been shelled even longer,  since April. General Quincy Gilmore with his Federal Troops, using African-American soldiers, had worked his way up the coast and had finally seized Battery Wagener and Morris Island . From there he commenced to bombard Fort Sumter at close range and the city at a distance using new technology, cannon with a rifled shaft. The rifling allowed cannonballs to be hurled as far as six miles, twice the previous range. These guns were aimed at the city and its civilian population. They were nicknamed "The Swamp Angels".

The civilian population in the lower city were ordered to evacuate as far north as Calhoun Street. People scattered to the countryside . The bombardment continued but the city refused to surrender. General Gilmore had taken a lot of heat for bombarding civilians in the Northern Press and in Congress, utilizing the same "Total War" approach that prompted Sherman to burn Atlanta. In May of 1864, he was transferred to the Army of the James and was replaced by Alexander Schimelpfennig, a Prussian with no reservations about the siege campaign.

The stalemate continued until the very end, and Charleston surrendered not because of Federal advances here but rather General Sherman's burning of Columbia two days earlier (February 16) which destroyed the last transmission lines between Charleston and the outside world.
Confederate General Hardee's orders were that in such a contingency he was to evacuate his men. And so, Hardee ordered his men onto boxcars at the Northwest Rail Depot at the corner of East Bay and Chapel Streets. Sherman had destroyed the rail lines west at Branchville, and north to Wilmington was the only option.

General Hardee was leaving nothing behind for the Yankees. Perhaps the city had resisted so long because of General Beauregard's "Ring of Fire" , eight batteries strategically arranged around the harbor that provided withering resistance to Yankee attempts to raid the Harbor from the ocean. Those guns had to go! They were spiked and deafening explosions were heard throughout the city even as word spread of the ongoing evacuation.

The departing army did, however, save the docks on the Cooper River. Cotton there was gathered and piled into pyres at Citadel Green, and there it was lit afire, a symbolic burnt offering to a way of life careening to a close. The eerie glow from the fire and the black pall of the smoke added to the sense of panic as people fled to the streets, rumors spreading that the Yankees were already burning the city as they had Columbia. Although that fire was a controlled one, docks and warehouses on the west side were set ablaze indiscriminately. On Lucas Street was a long shed filled with 1200 bales of cotton. That, along with Lucas' Mill containing some thirty thousand bushels of rice and R.T. Wilkin's warehouse at the foot of Broad Street were set ablaze and destroyed. The bridge west over the Ashley River was ordered blown up, and fire from that explosion set ablaze inhabited neighborhoods uptown. Confederates burned cotton warehouses, arsenals, quartermaster stores,  railroad bridges and two ironclads. It is ironic that as rumors spread of Yankees burning the city, it was General Hardee's orders that made the burning a reality.

And so the bitter cold, rainy night commenced with a spree of looting and vandalism. Rumors spread that the evacuating troops had left food on the platform at the train station. They had also left bad gunpowder. As a desperate populace stormed the Depot looking for food, children played with the gunpowder,  carrying handfuls across the street  to watch it flare in a makeshift fire. They created a powder trail that led back to the Depot and that flaming trail ignited an explosion that killed approximately 160 people instantly. Two hundred others were wounded. What irony that over 587 days of siege, only 53 persons had died as a direct result of the Federal shelling. Three times as many died on evacuation night. The Charleston Courier gives this description:

"The explosion was terrible, and shook the whole city.....The cries of the wounded, the inability of the spectators to  render assistance to those rolling and perishing in the fire, all rendered it a scene of indescribable terror."Charleston Courier 11/20/1865"
The fire could not be contained and consumed most buildings from  Chapel Street to Calhoun Street and from Alexander Street to Washington Street  with few exceptions.

Early the morning of the 18th, Lieutenant Colonel A.G. Bennett, of the 21st  U.S. Colored Troops,  received City Aldermen Gilliland and George Williams as emissaries from Mayor Macbeth, with a letter of invitation from the Mayor requesting that he take possession of the city and establish order. I can see the post script to the letter (BTW, General Hardee took the last train out last night)  Although General Schimellfennig was still here, ill with malaria,  Gilmore had arrived back in Beaufort on February 10, ostensibly to accept a pending surrender, a "save face/restore honor" move.  Imagine Gilmore's rage and disappointment to receive a letter of invitation from the Mayor! With no formal surrender and no sword to be handed over, Gilmore must have been a bitter man.

Nonetheless, Federal Troops moved in and took possession of the Arsenal just minutes before it was to be blown. The U.S. flag was hoisted over the Citadel, the Arsenal and the Customs House within two hours.Federal troops were put to work putting out the flames.The navy took possession of Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie within 24 hours. They were cautious because the Confederates had left dummies, or "automatons" standing guard to give the impression that the forts were still occupied.

 That afternoon the the Federal Troops entering the city were led by the Fifty Fifth Massachusetts Regiment, black soldiers recruited from the ranks of liberated slaves. Marching through the city they sang "John Brown's Body." Their standard was not the Stars and Stripes, but  rather  a flag which read "Liberty" was waived to and fro, much to the horror of the remaining white citizens. White Charleston was miserable and in desperate straits, the wealthy  having long since removed themselves from the city. With the exception of a few businessmen who stayed to protect their interests, only the poor remained. and they were confused and astounded by the jubilation of the blacks at Yankee occupation. Some 200 Confederate deserters surrender themselves, declaring that they were tired of fighting. Jacob Schirmer, a local white businessman, writes in his diary, "We have writ our own destruction, and now we must live with it".

The New York  Tribune reports that the city was surrendered at 9 AM on Saturday morning , February 18. The departing confederates had left behind two hundred guns and a fine supply of ammunition.

Charleston Old Walled City Tours offers public and private walking tours and driving tours of historic Charleston SC and the surrounding countryside. For information go to www.walledcitytours.com


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Charleston Slavery and Freedom Walking Tour is offered through Black History Month.

The Charleston Slavery and Freedom Walking Tour  is being offered Monday through Saturday at 1:30 PM through Black History Month  This is not a Gullah Tour, nor is it an African American Focus Tour. Highlighting the history of Slavery in Charleston from its inception with the founding of the colony , this compelling Charleston walking tour  provides context on life in Charleston for persons both black and white prior to the demise of slavery in 1865. For more information and to purchase tickets online go to http://www.walledcitytours.com/tours/black-history-tour.html or call 843 343 4851 to make reservations.