Brad Causey
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The Freedom Letter
v1n10
Forts and Batteries
12/29/2001
This is my third South Carolina coastal update. Hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas.
After leaving Patriot's point we drove over the bridge into Charleston. There are two separate bridges, each a fairly narrow two lane variety. They are the "old style" metal skeleton variety. The incoming bridge was finished in 1929, the outgoing one in 1966. We went over to the "Battery." The battery is a sea wall originally built in the early 19th century for coastal defense. It also serves as hurricane protection. They had a series of big guns designed to fire in series. Hence the term "battery." Only an old antique cannon remains. The area at the end of the point is now a park. This part of town (the old city) was where the old money colonists built homes. We got out and walked around the old cobblestone streets. A few of the old houses have fallen into disrepair, but most are wonderfully maintained. The mix of old and new is quite fascinating. Most of the lots are narrow, and the houses reflect the property constraints. They are long and narrow with porches on the side of the house, usually on every level. Most do not have a ground floor. This, of course, reflects the hurricane possibilities.
Heading back to the car we struck up a conversation with a guy inside the huge metal gate at Five East Battery. Turns out, it is one of the nicest and oldest homes in the area. It is currently painted a pink color. It was built in 1849 mostly by freed slaves. It has 18,000 square feet, three levels, 15 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, 12 fireplaces, and huge ceilings. The construction is stucco over brick. The walls are almost 3 feet thick! The guy turned out to be the owner of the estate. David Hogan and his wife Francess acquired the house from her parents. It was built by her great grandfather. David Hogan turns out to be the 1998 World Kickboxing champion. A really nice guy! (outside the ring) He took us on a tour of the grounds and two floors of the house. Magnificent to say the least. For you Civil War buffs, the prototype of the Submarine Hunley was designed in the 2nd floor living room. To help with the expense of upkeep, it is also a bed and breakfast. I introduced myself to the bed and breakfast manager, the beautiful Kristen. She would have no trouble persuading me to stay over! Ha! Lots of history and a great place to stay if you ever in the Charleston area. The toll free number is 888-723-1574, or visit them on the web at http://www.palmerhomebb.com/.
For dinner we went over a couple of blocks to Tommy Condon's, an authentic Irish Pub. Great food. Good service and atmosphere. Then back to Pawley's Island in the cramped back seat of the Cadillac.
On the day before Christmas I again ventured back to Patriot's point. This time to take the boat to Fort Sumter. 11:30 am was "too early" for everyone else, so the truck and I made the trip ourselves. There was only one cruise that day, so I wanted to make sure I made it. The construction of Fort Sumter began in 1829. It was 90 percent complete in December of 1860. With secession in the air, Major Anderson moved his federal garrison from the mainland to the almost finished fort on December 26th. South Carolina was the first state to leave the union, later the same week. They immediately began to build gun emplacements on the shore. When President Lincoln attempted to resupply the fort in April of 1861, the rebels opened fire on the Fort. Major Anderson surrendered 34 hours later. The confederates held the fort until February of 1865, when they evacuated just before General Sherman turned north from Savannah. As you know, the war ended two months later. The union had attempted to recapture the installation many times from 1863 on. Always unsuccessfully. They were successful in reducing the once magnificent edifice from some 4 million brick, to less than 250,000. It was partially rebuilt in the 1870's. During the Spanish American war in 1898, a new structure was built in the middle of the old fort. The ocean side was then filled with earth for reinforcement. The "modern" structure is ugly reinforced concrete. It is currently painted black. The gun emplacements look a lot like the ones at Fort MacArthur in California. (no surprise here) It was an active military installation until 1948. What remains of the Fort is now a tourist attraction. You can wander around the ruins of the old fort. They have a gift shop and a small museum. Well worth the time and money, if you have an interest in Military history.
Next: The trip home.
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