In 1861, The Citadel (Military College) cadets fired the first shots of the American Civil War when they opened fire on the Union ship Star of the West entering Charleston’s harbor. On April 12, 1861, shore batteries under the command of General Pierre G. T. Beauregard opened fire on the Union-held Fort Sumter in the harbor. After a 34-hour bombardment, Major Robert Anderson surrendered the fort. Officers and Cadets from The Citadel were assigned to various Confederate batteries during the bombardment of Fort Sumter. Although The Citadel continued to operate as an academy during the Civil War, cadets were made a part of the South Carolina military department along with the cadets from the Arsenal Academy in Columbia, to form the Battalion of State Cadets. Cadets from both institutions continued to aid the Confederate army by helping drill recruits, manufacture ammunition, protect arms depots, and guard Union prisoners.
In December 1864 Citadel and Arsenal Cadets were ordered to join Confederate forces at Tullifinny Creek, South Carolina where they engaged in pitched battles with advancing units of General William Tecumseh Sherman’s army, suffering eight casualties.
Reconstruction. After the defeat of the Confederacy, Federal forces remained in Charleston during the city’s reconstruction. The war had shattered the prosperity of the antebellum city. Freed slaves were faced with poverty and discrimination. Industries slowly brought the city and its inhabitants back to a renewed vitality and growth in population. As the city’s commerce improved, Charlestonians also worked to restore their community institutions.
On August 31, 1886, Charleston was hit by an earthquake measuring 7.5 on the Richter magnitude scale. Major damage was reported as far away as Tybee Island, Georgia (over 60 miles away) and structural damage was reported several hundred miles from Charleston (including central Alabama, central Ohio, eastern Kentucky, southern Virginia, and western West Virginia). It was felt as far away as Boston to the north, Chicago and Milwaukee to the northwest, as far west as New Orleans, as far south as Cuba, and as far east as Bermuda. It damaged 2,000 buildings in Charleston and caused $6 million worth of damage ($133 million(2006 United States dollar)), while in the whole city the buildings were only valued at approximately $24 million($531 million(2006 United States dollar).
= Modern-day =
Charleston is a major tourism destination, with a considerable number of luxury hotels, hotel chains, inns, and bed and breakfasts and a large number of award-winning restaurants and quality shopping. The city is well-known for its streets lined with grand Southern live oak draped with Spanish moss, and the ubiquity of the Sabal palmetto, which is the state tree of South Carolina. Along the waterfront in an area known as Rainbow Row are many beautiful and historic pastel-colored homes. The city is also an important port, boasting the second largest container seaport on the East Coast and the fourth largest container seaport in North America. North American Container Traffic (2005), Port Ranking by TEUs] as reported by the American Association of Port Authorities. Charleston is becoming a prime location for information technology jobs and corporations, most notably Blackbaud, Modulant, CSS, Benefitfocus, and Google. The aerospace industry is beginning to establish itself with the joint venture plant of Vought and Alenia Aeronautica, where two of the five sections of the Boeing 787 fuselage are fabricated and assembled. Source: Wikipedia.org
Charleston Tourist Attractions
Aquarium – The Charleston Aquarium at the edge of the Charleston Harbor has a lot of fun and exciting interactive exhibits. They feature over 6000 aquatic animals and have over 100 exhibits. Each exhibit focuses on a different region in South Carolina including the Mountains, the Piedmont, the Coastal Plain, the Coast, and the Ocean.
Art Galleries – The great thing about Charleston is that they have numerous galleries for you to visit. Modern, contemporary, expressive, gothic, symbolic, and neoclassic are just a few genres of art that you will find in the various galleries. You can also take a Charleston Art Galleries Walking Tour where you get to see the finest art galleries in Charleston with professional artists as your tour guide.
Beaches – There are 3 public beaches within 20 minutes driving distance of downtown. They are all clean and beautiful but each is different and a lot less commercialized than other South Carolina beaches. These beaches are great for a day trip if you are staying in the historic district.
Boat Tours -There’s no better way to experience Charleston and her history than from the deck of a boat. There are several companies offering boat tours of Charleston and you can choose between Spiritline Yacht, the 84′ Schooner Pride, the Charleston Water Taxi, or the Thriller 43 passenger power catamaran.
Carriage Tours – Another fun thing to do in Charleston is to take a Charleston Carriage Tour. There are several companies that offer guided carriage tours in the historic downtown district. Most of the tours last around an hour and the tour guides will tell you stories about the buildings, history, architecture and the people of Charleston.
Cruises – Cruise Round-Trip from Charleston to destinations in the Bahamas, Bermuda and the Eastern Caribbean on Carnival Cruise Lines.
Forts/Military Sites – There are several forts and military sites to visit in the Charleston area including Fort Sumter, Fort Moultrie and Patriots Point. Fort Sumter is where the Civil War began, Fort Moultrie was built to protect the city of Charleston, and Patriots Point is home to the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Yorktown.
Golf Courses – Charleston Golf Courses are some of the best in the country. They offer exceptional variety and challenges in on of the top domestic destinations in the world.
Historic Churches/Cemeteries – When you visit you must visit these Charleston Historic Churches. Charleston is a beautiful, charming city which dates back to the late 1600’s and contains many of these famous, historic churches. The majestic steeples and spires are visible throughout the city. Regardless of religious affiliation or denomination, these beautiful buildings inspire millions of visitors every year.
Historic Homes/Buildings – Charleston has many Historic Homes and Buildings to visit including the Old City Market, Aiken-Rhett House, Nathaniel Russell House, Calhoun Mansion, Edmonston-Alston House, Thomas Elfe House, Heyward-Washington House, and the Joseph Manigault House.
Museums – This is such a culturally rich city and there are a number of great museums to visit. Just a few of the things you will find are fine art, relics from the civil war and lots of historical manuscripts. A few of the museums in Historic Charleston are Gibbes Museum of Art, The Charleston Museum, The Powder Magazine and the Old Slave Mart Museum.
Motor Tours – If you want to escape the heat or other weather elements then you can tour Charleston from a climate controlled bus. There are many motor tour companies and most offer Historic City Tours, House Museum Tours and Plantation Tours. This is a guide to the motor tours in Charleston.
Parks – Charleston has some of the most beautiful parks anywhere including Battery Park, Hampton Park, Waterfront Park and Mt. Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park.
Plantations and Gardens – There are several Plantations and Gardens that are open to the public. They each uniquely reflect various aspects of plantation life, as well as their vital roles in today’s Southern society. This is your guide to the various plantations and gardens in and around Historic Charleston.
Ravenel/Cooper River Bridge -
The bridge is a truly beautiful landmark and has some of the most awesome views of Charleston and the Cooper river, especially in the evening when everything is lit up. The bridge includes a shared bicycle-pedestrian path and parking is available on either end.
– Whether you are shopping for souvenirs, looking for a new outfit, or shopping for antiques, Charleston is the place to find it. From the Old City Market to the Antique District on Lower King St, Charleston will not disappoint when it comes to shopping.Spas
– Indulge yourself to full body massages, specialized body treatments, hair styling, manicures, pedicures and facials by visiting one of the many Spas in Charleston.Walking Tours
– When you visit, you must take one of the many Charleston Walking Tours. You will find information on Historic Tours, Ghost Walks, Pirate Tours, and Art Tours.