Sunday, December 16, 2007

Charleston in Ruins

(Okay, I have no idea why I had Savannah stuck in my head the first time I wrote this post - it is of course, Charleston... I had even already named the image file Charleston - doh)

I've had several emails about one of the photographs I posted from the Library of Congress photo collection.

It's the one above - Charleston, South Carolina - Ruins (click on the image for a decent sized view). It shows four little boys sitting by a damaged pillar of the Circular Church on Meeting Street with a view to the destruction beyond - the result of General Sherman's March to the Sea.

A number of people asked who the photographer was, but unfortunately that doesn't seem to be known. But FYI, here is the information from the object record at the LoC:

"Charleston, S.C. View of ruined buildings through porch of the Circular Church (150 Meeting Street"

Photographs of the Federal Navy, and seaborne expeditions against the Atlantic Coast of the Confederacy -- specifically of Charleston, S.C. 1863-1865. General Gillmore's success at Fort Pulaski earned him the conduct of a much more difficult undertaking: the reduction of the defenses of Charleston Harbor, with the aid of a squadron under Rear Adm. John A. Dahlgren. Operations began early in July 1863; by October hard work and heavy losses had reduced Fort Wagner and Battery Gregg (renamed Fort Putnam by the Federals) on Morris Island, and had silenced Fort Sumter. But no further progress was made until February 18, 1865, when Gen. William T. Sherman's approach overland brought about the evacuation of Charleston. The photographers who came to record the flag-raising ceremony at Fort Sumter on April 14, 1865, just 4 years after the surrender with which the Civil War opened, thoroughly documented the forts, Federal and Confederate, and the lovely old city, which fortunately had received only limited damage. Present-day addresses for the Charleton buildings are added when possible; the movement is in general inland from the Battery along Market Street, with excursions down side streets as they are reached, and left to the Arsenal at the then limits of town.

Medium 1 negative : glass, stereograph, wet collodion.

Created April 1865

Call Number LC-B811- 3448

Reproduction Number LC-DIG-cwpb-03049

BTW, if anyone is interested, I have a worked up file of the Charleston picture where I've adjusted it a bit and cleaned up a lot of the dust and spots - it's sized to 12" x12" @ 360dpi - I could probably email the file to anyone who wants. I've printed this up on Crane Museo Portfolio Rag (about the best matte paper out there) and it looks very good.

(General William Tecumseh Sherman)

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