Out With the Old …

… in with the new.

That’s right, I’m tinkering with the blog’s appearance. The old face, while very academic, suffered from two problems: it was hard to locate links in the text, and the comments section became problematic. So I’m trying something else, and I’ll continue to look for what serves all of us best.

Now … tell me where this cannon is located … there’s a big hint in the picture.

Destruction in Charleston … 1861?

Look at this picture:

Charleston ruins of 1861 fire

It’s a picture of Charleston, South Carolina, taken in 1865.

Now, what do you assume it portrays? Ruins? Absolutely. And what caused this destruction?

Some people are quite sure they know. As the original poster declares:

SHPG Charleston

Precisely. And so I come to you with the news that the destruction portrayed in this image was caused in December 1861 by a fire that swept through Charleston … not by damnYankees. Oh, yes, there was a prominent Civil War officer involved in this fire … Robert E. Lee, who directed soldiers attempting to extinguish the fire.

You can read more about that fire here and here.  As one can see here, several other views, often associated with the notion of Yankee destruction, were also images of the damage wrought by the fire of 1861.

Among those structures badly damaged by the fire was the Pinckney mansion, seen here:

Pinckney Mansion 1

Yet’ it’s also common to see that image or other images of the mansion in ruins in books about the destruction wrought by the war or the onset of Reconstruction:

AAA 1987

As I’ve said before, authors don’t always have a lot to say about cover art, something I’ve learned that one ignores at one’s peril. Such is the case with the image that appeared at the beginning of this post:

Trowbridge Mercer

As they say, it’s important to do some digging and to get out the right information about what happened in the South during the war. It’s important to discover the truth, and it’s important to pass it on.