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For Immediate Release, March 2011
Charleston Area Civil War Sesquicentennial Events


-April 12, 2011, Marks the 150-Year Anniversary of the Firing on Fort Sumter, First Shot of the Civil War -

CHARLESTON, S.C., March 1, 2011 – The Charleston area served as the backdrop for many of the Civil War’s significant events, which include the Bombardment and Surrender of Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861; the Siege of Charleston, 1863 to 1865; and the re-raising of the U.S. flag over Fort Sumter on April 14, 1865. These events are some of the landmark dates of the American Civil War, which will be commemorated by the Fort Sumter-Fort Moultrie Historical Trust, a consortium that supports the National Park Service's efforts to preserve, protect and enhance the sites for the benefit and education of the public. The Trust has aligned with historians and community leaders to plan activities that invite the public to learn about one of the most significant eras of the nation’s history. Although somber in tone, the unvarnished truth will be on display throughout the Sesquicentennial anniversary, 2011 – 2014.

Listed below is a sampling of special Charleston area Civil War Sesquicentennial events and activities that range from concerts and theater performances to living history programs and reenactments, as well as events, lectures and complimentary film screenings. A complete listing and additional information can be found at www.sccivilwar.org.

• Fort Sumter will switch on two large, entwining lights aimed skyward on April 12; once the symbolic firing commences, the lights will separate to indicate the split of the nation. Motors will be fired intermittently until April 14.

• Spiritline Cruises Sesquicentennial Tour and Dinner Cruise, April 9, 12, 14; includes living history program, period music, lecture by a military historian, three-course southern-style meal and cruise aboard the Spirit of the Lowcountry; boarding at Fort Sumter Visitors Center

• Film on the Green, “Glory,” April 10; Marion Square Park, Charleston

• Voices from the Civil War Concert, April 11; Program includes music selections from the score to the PBS documentary film, The Civil War by Ken Burns, featuring Jay Ungar, Molly Mason and The Family Band with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sean Newhouse, along with the CSO Spiritual Ensemble & Mt. Zion AME Spiritual Ensemble; White Point Garden, Charleston

• Sunrise Concert: When Jesus Wept, April 12; In remembrance of the moment the first shots of the Civil War were fired, this candlelight concert features hymns by Colonial American composers including William Billings and others; White Point Garden, Charleston

• Reflections on the 150th Anniversary of the American Civil War: Volunteers in Blue and Gray, Why they Fought, April 12; lecture by James M. McPherson, American Civil War historian and author of numerous books including For Cause and Comrades, winner of the Lincoln Prize; Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston

• The Battle of Fort Sumter by Boat, April 12; historian and author Michael Coker leads guests of an intimate discussion of the events leading up the war and the Battle of Fort Sumter during a 1.5-hour boat tour

• Stephen Marc – Passage of the Underground Railroad, April 8-July 10; exhibit organized by the University at Buffalo Art Galleries features Marc’s fascinating photographs and digital montages that explore the history of freedom-seekers on the Underground Railroad; Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston

• A Soldier’s View of Civil War Charleston, April 8-July 10; exhibit featuring over 30 paintings depicting the batteries and forts around Charleston Harbor as painted by Conrad Wise Chapman (1842-1910) during the Civil War; Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston

• Living History Programs with Confederate and Civilian Reenactors, April 9-17; Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center

• Union Reenactors Portraying Companies E&H, 1st U.S. Artillery Regiment, April 9-14; Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor

• Encampment of Confederate Reenactors, April 9-17; Fort Moultrie, Sullivan’s Island

• Garrison of Fort Sumter Reenactment, April 14-17; Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor

• South Carolina Masonic Research Society 2011 Banquet & Symposium, April 22; featuring keynote speaker Michael Halleran, author of The Better Angels of our Nature: Freemasonry in the American Civil War; Omar Shrine Temple, Mount Pleasant

• “The Beginning of the Civil War” Manuscripts Exhibit, through April 27; Karpeles Manuscript Museum

• Post Civil War Charleston – 1865: A Photographic Retrospective, through April 30; City Gallery at Waterfront Park, Charleston

• Remembering the Civil War: South Carolina Artists’ Perspectives, through April 30; City Gallery at Waterfront Park, Charleston

Ongoing permanent exhibits include:

• City Under Siege: Charleston in the Civil War; provides a rich overview of events in and around Charleston from secession to 1865, including the Federal naval blockade, Union bombardment, social dislocations, privations and five major Union attempts to capture the “Queen City of the South;” Charleston Museum

• Threads of War: Clothing and Textiles of The Civil War; through Sept. 5, 2011, the exhibition offers a glimpse into the lives of those on the home front who battled deprivation and fear while raising their families and protecting their property, as well as the soldiers who fought on the front lines; Charleston Museum

• The Life and Times of Congressman Robert Smalls, April 3-June 19, 2012; coordinated by the S.C. State Museum, celebrates Smalls’ commandeering of the C.S.S. Planter in which he sailed with his family and several others past five Confederate batteries and out to the Union blockading fleet; Charleston Museum

• Secessionists, Soldiers and Slaves: The Alston Family’s Civil War, through Dec. 31, 2015, showcases the permanent collections of the Edmondston-Alston including a rare original copy of the Ordinance of the Secession as well as the parole Charles Alston received form President Andrew Johnson after swearing allegiance to the United States in 1965; Edmondston-Alston House, Charleston

• Secessionists, Soldiers and Slaves: The Middleton Family’s Civil War, through Dec. 31, 2015; exhibit exploring rice culture during the war, the building of Charleston’s defenses, investing in experimental “seegar boats” and more; Middleton Place, Charleston

The mission of the Charleston Area Convention & Visitors Bureau is to unify and lead the local travel industry in marketing the Charleston area as an individual, meeting, incentive and group destination to both the domestic and international markets. For more information, visit explorecharleston.com


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