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Charleston, S. C.

City, port of entry, and commercial metropolis of South Carolina; on a peninsula between the Cooper and Ashley rivers, which unite in forming an admirable harbor; 82 miles northeast of Savannah, Ga. The city was founded in 1680 by an English colony; was occupied by the British in 1780-82; and was the State capital till 1790. It has been the scene of many stirring and historical events. The celebrated Democratic National Convention of 1860 was opened here, and after the split among the delegates an adjourned session was held in Baltimore. It was the birthplace, the same year, of the Secession movement; the first act of hostility to the national government occurred here (see Sumter, Fort; Beauregard, Pierre Gustave Toutant); was besieged and bombarded during the last two years of the war; and was evacuated by the Confederates on Feb. 17, 1865. On Aug. 31, 1886, a large part of the city was destroyed by an earthquake, in which many lives were lost.

In the fiscal year ending June 30, 1900, the foreign trade of the port was: Imports, $1,124,671; exports, $7,151,720. In 1899 the assessed valuation of all taxable property was $17,293,458. The population in 1890 was 54,955; in 1900, 55,807.

History.—Provoked by the attack on St. Augustine by the South Carolinians in 1706, the Spaniards fitted out an expedition to retaliate. It consisted of five vessels of war, under the command of the French Admiral Le Feboure, bearing a large body of troops from Havana. It was proposed to conquer the province of South Carolina and attach it to Spanish territory in Florida. The squadron crossed Charleston Bar

(May, 1706), and about 800 troops were landed at different points. Then the commander made a peremptory demand for the surrender of the city, threatening to take it by storm in case of refusal. Governor Moore, apprised of the expedition, was prepared for it. When the flag arrived with the demand for a surrender, he had so disposed the provincial militia and a host of Indian warriors that it gave an exaggerated idea of the strength of the Carolinians. Before the messenger had made any extended observations he was dismissed with the defiant reply that the people were ready to meet the promised attack. That night was passed in quiet; but at dawn a strong party of Carolinians on the shore, led by the governor and Colonel Rhett, made a furious assault upon the invaders; killed many, captured more, and drove the remnant back to their ships. Meanwhile the little provincial navy, lying in the harbor, prepared to attack the invading squadron, when the French admiral, amazed by this display of valor, hoisted his anchors and fled to sea. A French war-ship, uninformed of these events, soon afterwards sailed into the harbor with troops, and was captured. The victory was complete, and the Spaniards became circumspect.

In the Revolutionary War.

In the spring of 1776 a considerable fleet, under Admiral Sir Peter Parker, sailed from England with troops, under Earl Cornwallis, to operate against the coasts of the Southern provinces. This armament joined that of Sir Henry Clinton at Cape Fear. After some marauding operations in that region, the united forces proceeded to Charleston Harbor, to make a combined attack by land and water upon Fort Sullivan, on Sullivan's Island, and then to seize the city and province. The Southern. patriots had cheerfully responded to the call of Governor Rutledge to come to the defence of Charleston, and about 6,000 armed men were in the vicinity when the enemy appeared. The city and eligible points near had been fortified. Fort Sullivan was composed of palmetto logs and earth, armed with twenty-six cannon, and garrisoned by about 500 men, chiefly militia, under Col. William Moultrie. It commanded the channel leading to the town. Gen. Charles Lee, who had been ordered by Washington to watch [100] the movements of Clinton, had made his way southward, and arrived at Charleston on June 4, but was of no service whatever. Late in the month Clinton had landed troops on Long Island, which was separated from Sullivan's Island by a shallow creek. There he erected batteries to confront those on Sullivan's Island, and awaited the signal for attack by Parker. It was given on the morning of June 28, and a terrible storm, of shot and shell was poured upon the fort, with very little effect, for the spongy palmetto logs would not fracture, and the balls were embedded in them. The conflict raged for almost ten hours between the fort and the fleet, and the latter was terribly shattered.

Meanwhile Clinton had endeavored to pass over to Sullivan's Island with 2,000 men, but was kept back by the determined troops under Colonel Thompson with two cannon and deadly rifles. The fire from the fleet slackened at sunset, and ceased at nine o'clock. The admiral's flag-ship, Bristol, and another were nearly a wreck. The flag-ship was pierced by not less than seventy balls. All but two of the vessels (which were destroyed) withdrew. The British lost in the engagement 225 men killed and wounded, while the Americans lost but two killed and twenty-one wounded. Three days afterwards the British all departed for New York; and the fort, so gallantly defended, was called Fort Moultrie in honor of its commander.

Sir Henry Clinton sailed from New York on Christmas Day, 1779, for the purpose of invading South Carolina. He took with him the main body of his army, leaving General Knyphausen in command in New York. The troops were borne by a British fleet, commanded by Admiral Arbuthnot, who had 2,000 marines. They encountered heavy storms off Cape Hatteras, which scattered the fleet. One vessel, laden with heavy battery-cannon, went to the bottom. Another, bearing Hessian troops, was driven across the Atlantic, and dashed on the shore of England. The troops landed on islands below Charleston, and it was late in February before the scattered British forces appeared on St. John's Island, in sight of the wealthy city, containing a population of 15.000 inhabitants, white and black. The city was then defended by less than 2,000 effective troops, under General Lincoln, who cast up intrenchments across Charleston Neck. Commodore Whipple had sunk some of his armed vessels in the channels of the harbor, after transferring the cannon and seamen to the land fortifications. Fort Moultrie was well garrisoned. The invading troops appeared before the defences of Charleston March 29, and the fleet entered the harbor, unmolested, April 9.

On the following day Clinton and Arbuthnot demanded the surrender of the city, which was promptly refused, and a siege began. On the 13th Lincoln and a council of officers considered the propriety of evacuating the city to save it from destruction, for the American troops were too few to hope for a successful defence. It was then too late, for cavalry, sent out to keep open communications with the country, had been dispersed by the British troopers. The arrival of Cornwallis (April 19) with 3,000 fresh troops rendered an evacuation impossible. The siege continued about a month. Fort Moultrie surrendered on May 6, when a third demand for the surrender of the city was made and refused. Late on the succeeding evening a severe cannonade was opened upon it from land and water. All night long the thunder of 200 heavy guns shook the city, and fiery bombshells were rained upon it, setting the town on fire in different places.

At two o'clock on the morning of the 12th Lincoln proposed to yield, and on that day the city and garrison were surrendered, and the latter, as well as the adult citizens, became prisoners of war. The latter were paroled; and by this extraordinary proceeding Clinton could boast of over 5,000 captives. The city was given up to pillage by the British and Hessian troops. When the whole amount of plunder was appraised for distribution, it aggregated in value $1,500,000. Clinton and his major-generals each received about $20,000. Houses were rifled of plate, and slaves were seized, driven on board the ships, and sent to the West Indies to be sold, so as to swell the moneygains of the conquerors. Over 2,000 men and women, without regard to the separation of families, were sent at one embarkation; and only upon the promise of [101] unconditional loyalty to the crown was British protection offered to citizens. In utter violation of the terms of surrender, a large number of the leading men of Charleston were taken from their beds (August) by armed men, and thrust on board filthy prison-ships, under the false accusation of being concerned in a conspiracy to burn the town and murder the loyal inhabitants.

The evacuation of the city took place on Dec. 14, 1782. Gen. Alexander Leslie (q. v.) had levelled the fortifications around the city, and demolished Fort Johnson, on St. John's Island, near by, on the morning of the 13th. The American army slowly approached the city that day, and at dawn the next morning the British marched to Gadsden's wharf and embarked. An American detachment took formal possession of the town. At 3 P. M. General Greene escorted Governor Mathews and other civil officers to the town-hall, the troops greeted on their way by cheers from windows and balconies, and even from house-tops. Handkerchiefs waved, and thousands of voices exclaimed, “God bless you, gentlemen! Welcome! Welcome!” Before night the British squadron (about 300 vessels) crossed the bar, and the last sail was seen like a white speck just as the sun went down.

The Democratic convention.

On April 23, 1860, about 600 representatives of the Democratic party assembled in convention in the hall of the South Carolina Institute in Charleston, and chose Caleb Cushing (q. v.), of Massachusetts, their chairman. From the first hour of the session knowing ones discovered omens of an impending tempest, which might topple from its foundations their political organization. Mr. Cushing's opening address to the convention pleased them. In it he declared it to be the mission of the Democratic party “to reconcile popular freedom with constituted order,” and to maintain “the sacred reserved rights of the sovereign States.” He charged the Republicans with “laboring to overthrow the Constitution.” He declared that the Republicans were aiming to produce “a perpetual sectional [102] conspiracy,” which would “hurry the country on to civil war,” and that it was “the high and noble part of the Democratic party of the Union to withstand—to strike down and conquer—these banded enemies of the Constitution.”

This speech was applauded by all but the extreme pro-slavery wing of the convention, who, it is said, desired rather to “strike down” the Democratic party, to obtain more important advantages for themselves. They had come instructed to demand from the convention a candidate and an avowal of principles which should promise a guarantee for the speedy recognition by the national government and the people, in a political way, of the system of slavery as a national institution.

The most prominent candidate for the Presidency in the convention was Stephen A. Douglas, who was committed to an opposite policy concerning slavery, and whose friends would never vote for the demands of the extreme pro-slavery men. This the latter well knew. They also knew that the rejection of Mr. Douglas by the representatives of the slaveholders would split the Democratic party, and they resolved to act, it is said, in accordance with their convictions. They held the dissevering wedge in their own hands, and they determined to use it with effect. A committee of one delegate from each State was appointed to prepare a platform of principles for the action of the convention. Benjamin F. Butler (q. v.) of Massachusetts, proposed in that committee to adopt the doctrine of the right of the people in any State or Territory to decide whether slavery should or should not exist within its borders. This was rejected by seventeen States (only two of them free-labor States) against fifteen. This was the entering of the dissevering wedge. The majority now offered to accept that doctrine, with an additional resolution declaring that, in the spirit of Judge Taney's opinion (see Dred Scott case), neither Congress nor any other legislative body had a right to interfere with slavery anywhere, or to impair or destroy the right of property in slaves by any legislation. This was a demand for the Democratic party to recognize slavery as a sacred, permanent, and national institution.

The minority, composed wholly of delegates from the free-labor States, resolved that the limit of concession to the demands of the Southern politicians was reached, and they would yield no further. They represented a majority of the

The South Carolina Institute.

Presidential electors—172 against 127. They offered to adopt a resolution expressive of their willingness to abide by any decision of the Supreme Court of the United States. To this concession Butler objected, and three reports from the committee went into the convention—a majority and a minority report, and one from Mr. Butler. A warm debate ensued, and Avery, from North Carolina, declared that the doctrine of popular sovereignty—the authority of the people concerning slavery—was as dangerous as that of congressional interference with the institution. The debate continued until the 29th, and the next morning a vote was taken.

The minority report, in favor of popular sovereignty, was adopted by a decided majority, when Walker, of Alabama, afterwards the Confederate Secretary of War, announced that the delegates from his State would secede from the convention. The movement was preconcerted. [103] This delegation was followed by those of other slave-labor States, and the seceders assembled in St. Andrew's Hall, to prepare for an independent political

Charleston during the Civil War.

organization. The disruption of the Democratic party, as represented in the convention, was now complete. When D. C. Glenn, of Mississippi, announced the secession of the delegation from his State, he said: “I tell Southern members, and for them I tell the North, that in less than sixty days you will find a united South standing side by side with us.”

There was great rejoicing in Charleston that night because of this secession, for the politicians were aware that the scheme for disunion was ripe for execution. The seceders organized a “Constitutional convention,” with James A. Bayard, of Delaware, as chairman. They called the body they had left the “Rump convention.” On May 3 they adjourned, to meet in Richmond, Va., in June. The regular convention also adjourned, to meet in Baltimore June 18. See Baltimore.

In the Civil War.

Although Charleston had become a comparatively unimportant point in the grand theatre of war at the beginning of 1863, its possession was coveted by the national government because of the salutary moral effect which such a conquest would produce. A strong effort to accomplish that end was made in the spring of 1863. On April 6 Admiral Dupont crossed Charleston Bar with nine “monitors,” or turreted iron vessels, leaving five gunboats outside as a reserve, and proceeded to attack Fort Sumter (q. v.) —the most formidable object in the way to the city. At the same time, a land force near at hand, 4,000 strong, under Gen. Truman Seymour, took a masked position on Folly Island, ready to cooperate, if necessary. The military works that defended Charleston were numerous and formidable. Between Forts Sumter and Moultrie the sea was strewn with torpedoes, and there were other formidable obstructions. On Morris Island, abreast of Fort Sumter, was a strong work, called Fort Wagner. Dupont's squadron lay quietly within the bar until noon of April 7, when it advanced directly upon Sumter, intending not to reply to any attack from Fort Wagner. the Weehawken led. Dupont was ignorant [104] of the torpedoes, but the discovery of these soon explained the ominous silence of Sumter and Fort Wagner as he advanced. Suddenly, when the Weehawken had become entangled in a net-work of cables, the barbette guns of Sumter opened upon her with plunging shot. Then the other “monsters of the deep” commanded by Dupont came forward and delivered tremendous discharges of heavy metal on Sumter, and at the same time that fortress, Fort Wagner, and other batteries, with an aggregate of nearly 300 guns, poured heavy shot and shell upon the squadron—then within the focus of their concentric fire—at the rate of 160 a minute. A greater portion of these missiles glanced off harmlessly from the mailed “monitors.” The weaker Keokuk was nearly destroyed; all of the other vessels were more or less injured. The flag-ship was in peril, and Fort Sumter was but slightly hurt, when Dupont, after a terrible fight of forty minutes, signalled the squadron to withdraw. In that time it was estimated that the Confederates fired 3,500 shells and shots. The attack was a failure, but not a disaster. Dupont lost but a few men, and only one vessel.

Second attack on Fort Sumter.

It was now seen that a land force on Morris Island to keep Fort Wagner employed was necessary to secure a successful attack on Sumter. After this attack Dupont watched the Confederates on Morris Island, and did not allow them to erect any more works on it. Gen. Quincy A. Gillmore was assigned to the command of the Department of the South June 2, 1863. The government determined to renew the attack on Fort Sumter by a land and naval force. Gillmore was at the head of 18,000 men, with a generous supply of great guns, smallarms, and ordnance stores. He determined to seize Morris Island preliminary to an attack on Sumter and Charleston. That island and the military works in his possession, he might batter down Fort Sumter from Fort Wagner, with the aid of the navy, and lay Charleston in ashes by firing shells, if it should not be surrendered.

As Dupont did not approve this plan, Admiral Dahlgren took his place in July. Gillmore had batteries constructed, under the direction of General Vogdes, on the northern end of Folly Island. This work was completely masked by a pine forest. When all was in readiness, Gen. Alfred H. Terry was sent, with nearly 4,000 troops, up the Stono River, to make a demonstration against James Island to mask Gillmore's real intentions, and Col. T. W. Higginson, with some negro troops, went up the Edisto to cut the railway communication between Charleston and Savannah.

Thirty hours after Terry's departure Gen. George C. Strong silently embarked 2,000 men in small boats and crossed over to Morris Island before dawn (July 13), unsuspected by the Confederates. At that hour Vogdes's masked batteries opened a tremendous cannonade, and Dahlgren's four “monitors,” at the same time, opened a cross-fire upon the Confederates, who saw the amazing apparition of a strong National force ready to attack them. After a sharp battle, Strong gained possession of the powerful Confederate works on the southern end of Morris Island, with eleven guns. The occupants were driven away, and took shelter in Fort Wagner, the garrison of which had been kept quiet by Dahlgren's guns.

Bomb and splinter proof, Fort Wagner.

Meanwhile, Terry had fought and repulsed Confederate assailants at Secessionville, on James Island, in which he lost about 100 men, and his adversary 200. [105] He then hastened to Morris Island to join in the attack on Fort Wagner. Five batteries were speedily erected across the island to confront Wagner, and at noon (July 13) Gillmore opened a bombardment of that fort. Dahlgren, at the same time, moved his “monitors” nearer to it, and poured a continuous stream of shells upon it. From noon until sunset 100 guns were continually assailing the fort, which replied with only two guns at long intervals.

When night fell, a tremendous thunderstorm swept over the harbor and the islands, when General Strong, with a heavy assaulting party, moved upon the fort. It was composed of a Massachusetts regiment of colored troops, under Col. R. G. Shaw, and one regiment each from Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York, and Pennsylvania. The storming party advanced against a shower of shot and shell from Wagner, Sumter, and Battery Gregg.

When at the fort they were met by a furious tempest of musketry, while howitzers swept the ditch where the assailants were crossing. Hand-grenades were also thrown upon the Unionists. Colonel Shaw was shot dead, and fell among the slain of his dusky followers. General Strong, and also Colonel Chatfield, of the Connecticut regiment, were mortally wounded. The Nationals were repulsed, when another brigade pushed forward to the assault, led by Col. H. L. Putnam. It was composed of Ohio and New York troops. Some of Putnam's men actually got into the fort, but were expelled. Finally their leader was killed, and the second storming party was repulsed. The loss on the part of the Nationals was fearful. The Confederates said they buried 600 of them in front of the fort. Among the bodies of the slain so buried was that of Colonel Shaw, who was cast into a trench, and upon it were piled those of his slain colored troops. He was hated by the Confederates because he commanded negro troops.

Siege of Fort Sumter.

Gillmore now abandoned the idea of assaults, and began a regular siege. He planted batteries of heavy siege and breaching guns at different points, and mounted a 200-pounder Parrott gun upon a battery constructed of timber in a marsh between Morris and James islands, which might hurl shell upon the city, or, at least, upon the shipping and wharves of Charleston. This gun was named “The Swamp angel.” It was about 5 miles from Charleston. On the morning of Aug. 17 Gillmore, having completed his arrangements for attack, opened the guns from twelve batteries and from Dahlgren's naval force on Forts Sumter and Wagner and Battery Gregg. Fort Sumter, 2 miles distant, was the chief object of attack—to make it powerless as an assistant of Fort Wagner. This was continued until the 24th, when Gillmore telegraphed to Washington, “Fort Sumter is to-day a shapeless and harmless mass of ruins.” “The Swamp angel” sent some 150-lb. shells that fell in Charleston—one penetrating St. Michael's Church —and greatly alarmed the people.

On the fall of Sumter, the attack centred on Fort Wagner; and at two o'clock on the morning of Sept. 7 General Terry, with 3,000 troops, in three columns, was about to advance to assail that strong fortification, when it was found that the Confederates had evacuated it and Battery Gregg before midnight. During forty hours no less than 120,000 pounds of iron had been rained upon the fort. Dahlgren, believing the channel to be strewn with torpedoes, did not venture to pass the silent forts with his vessels and appear before Charleston.

Indeed, Sumter was not dead, but slumbering. On the night of Sept. 8 a portion of the men of the squadron went in thirty row-boats to take possession of Sumter. They scaled the ruins, where, as they supposed, the decimated garrison were sleeping, but were met by determined men, and repulsed. They were assailed not only by the garrison, but by neighboring batteries, a gunboat, and a “ram,” and lost 200 men, four boats, and three colors.

Finally, on Oct. 26, perceiving the garrison mounting cannon on the southeast face of Sumter, to command Fort Wagner, Gillmore opened heavy rifled cannon on the former, which soon reduced it to an utterly untenable ruin. From that time until near the close of the year Gillmore kept up an irregular fire on Charleston, when, seeing no prospect of the fleet entering the harbor, he kept silent.

When Hardee, in command of the [106] Confederate troops at Charleston, heard of the fall of Columbia (q. v.), he perceived the necessity for his immediate flight, by the only railway then left open for his use, and of endeavoring to join Beauregard, with the remnant of Hood's army, then making their way into North Carolina, where Johnston was gathering all of his available forces in Sherman's path. Hardee at once fired every building, warehouse, or shed in Charleston stored with cotton, and destroyed as much other property that might be useful to the Nationals as possible. The few remaining inhabitants in the city were filled with consternation, for the flames spread through the town. An explosion of gunpowder shook the city to its foundations and killed fully 200 persons. Four whole squares of buildings were consumed.

That night (Feb. 17, 1865), the last of Hardee's troops left Charleston. On the following morning Major Hennessy, sent from Morris Island, raised the National flag over ruined Fort Sumter. The mayor surrendered the city, and some National troops, with negroes in Charleston, soon extinguished the flames that threatened to devour the whole town. On that day (Feb. 18, 1865), the city of Charleston was “repossessed” by the national government, with over 450 pieces of artillery, a large amount of gunpowder, and eight locomotives and other rolling-stock of a railway. General Gillmore took possession of the city, and appointed Lieut.-Col. Stewart L. Woodford military governor.

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Morris Island (South Carolina, United States) (20)
Sullivan's Island (South Carolina, United States) (4)
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Fort Moultrie (South Carolina, United States) (3)
St. John's Island (New York, United States) (2)
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