Commemorating the End of the Civil War in the City Where It Started

Today, February 18th, is the 150th anniversary of the Union occupation of Charleston, ending America’s longest siege after some 545 days, and in the process making a reality of the Emancipation Proclamation of November 1st, 1863.

The Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World (CLAW) program at the College of Charleston, in conjunction with the Fort Sumter/Fort Moultrie Trust, the Citadel, the National Park Service, and a range of other local organizations and individuals is commemorating this highly significant day and the end of the War in general by holding a number of panel discussions, seminars, and lectures, all leading up to the commemoration’s culmination the weekend of April 18th and 19th. Governed by the ethos of Abraham Lincoln’s words in his Second Inaugural Address of March 4th, 1865, we approach this commemoration in the spirit of healing–“With malice toward none, with charity for all”–and with the ultimate goal of “achiev[ing] and cherish[ing] a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

To this end, anyone in and near Charleston is warmly invited to the following events:

Wednesday, February 18th — 3pm, Addlestone 227: Panel discussion on the Liberation/ Fall of Charleston, featuring historians Dr Marvin Dulaney (University of Texas at Arlington), Dr Amy McCandless (College of Charleston), and Dr Bernard Powers (College of Charleston).

Friday, February 20th — 3pm, Addlestone 227: Seminar session based on readings from America’s Longest Siege: Charleston, Slavery and the Slow March Toward Civil War by Dr Joseph P Kelly (College of Charleston).

Wednesday, March 11th — 2pm, Tate Center: Wells Fargo Distinguished Public Lecture on Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address by Professor Richard Carwardine (Corpus Christi College, Oxford), introduced and moderated by Professor O. Vernon Burton (Clemson, and Executive Director of CLAW). This lecture is also part of the Bully Pulpit Series of lectures on American political rhetoric.

Tuesday, April 14th — re-raising of Union flag at Fort Sumter (details to be announced).

Saturday, April 18th — 9am, Dock Street Theatre: Symposium on the End of the Civil War and Its Legacy featuring historians Dr Eric Foner (Columbia University), Dr David Blight (Yale University), Dr Annette Gordon Reed (Harvard University), Dr Tom Brown (University of South Carolina), Dr Emory Thomas (University of Georgia), Dr Ethan Kytle and Dr Blain Roberts (both California State university, Fresno).

Sunday, April 19th — 3pm, Hampton Park: Memorial service mourning all the dead of the Civil War, led by Reverends Joel Harris (The Citadel), and Joseph Darby (Morris Brown AME), and featuring a chorale drawn from the choirs of the College of Charleston and the Citadel.

Sunday, April 19th — 6pm: Reenactment of Nat Fuller’s Feast (by invitation).

These events are supported in part by a number of grants, including grants from the Humanities Council, SC, and the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation. All events, bar the Nat Fuller’s Feast reenactment are free and open to the public.