Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Monday, 14 August 2006

Flower of the Confederacy

Charleston, South Carolina – 14 August, 2006

Charleston is located on a small peninsula within a great harbor. This English colony was established in 1670. It has survived attacks by the French, Spanish, Indians and pirates as well as yellow fever epidemics, the civil war, several fires and a great earthquake in 1886.

The city has very large number of public tennis courts. We find one on Sunday morning and I lose again 6-1, 6-1, and 6-0. The way to see Charleston is to walk the streets. The architecture here is very unique. The mansions are large two or three story residences with open porches on each floor of the southern exposure. Here are a few pictures.

One of the things to see in Charleston is the H.L. Hunley, the first submarine to sink a surface ship. It was recovered from the harbor bottom and is now preserved in a giant tank of seawater. In the Civil War, things we now call “mines” were then called torpedoes. The Hunley considered towing a mine under a Union blockade ship but discarded that plan out of concern that the tow line would tangle in the propeller. They affixed a large “torpedo” on a pole to the bow. They rammed and sank the Union ship and probably also sank themselves with all hands.

The USS Yorktown is also in the harbor. This is the most famous American aircraft carrier. It was instrumental in sinking three Japanese carriers at Midway and breaking the back of the powerful Japanese navy. US Navy Code breakers paved the way for this victory in 1942. However careful research indicates that the original Yorktown sunk at Midway, but this museum piece also had a distinguished career in Korea and Vietnam.

Fort Sumter in the harbor mouth was the site of the most bloodless, but possibly the most significant Civil War battle. Only one soldier died, while firing his own cannon to signal surrender of the fort. The attack by the Confederate general Pierre G. T. Beauregard kicked off the American Civil War.

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