Monday, July 31 in Charleston, SC: My Civil War Tour
Today, I went on the Civil War Walking Tour, conducted by Jack Thomson, Civil War historian and author of Charleston at War: The Photographic Record. This little expedition was one of my best adventures on my Charleston trip. Charleston is a symbol of the heart of the South. When one learns of this city, he learns much more than he or she intended to about the War Between the States, or as some Southerners phrased it, “The War of Northern Aggression” or “The Late Unpleasantness.”
I found parking around 8:00 am near the Mills House Hotel where the tour was to start at 9:00. (It was a fancy place as my redneck ancestors would say. Room rates range from $99.00 a night to $350.00 depending. It first opened around 1853. You can see and read about the hotel here: http://www.millshouse.com/) Slightly depressed that my vacation was nearly over, I sat in the hotel courtyard by a fountain. The couryard was filled with lush plants. I brought my camera this time, and I intend to have a link to the photos posted soon.
We gathered in the hotel lobby. The tour began with a lecture and a viewing of photos. Our tour guide was Jeff Zimmerman, a co-worker of Thomson. I found him to be civil and knowledgeable, just as Thomson had assured me he would be. We had about twenty people in our tour group. Thankfully, all were civil and interested in the tour. I managed to strike up a conversation with a few of them during slow moments. Some were from up north. Jeff picked up on the fact I knew some things about the Civil War and we had some interesting exchanges. The fact I was a gifted English teacher interested some of my fellow walkers, and I was able to share some things I teach my students that they won’t learn from the history books. By the end of the tour, I had converted some to not liking Lincoln and appreciating the South more. The walk was said to take two hours—it actually was two and a half. I guestimate that we walked three miles in that time.
I was refreshed by the tour, I received many ideas for stories, and I was surprised the time passed so quickly. I would highly recommend Thomson’s tour if you visit Charleston.
You can read a little of this tour at www.civilwartours.com. Thomson’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to write him. During our phone conversation, I found him friendly and anxious to talk about Charleston. If you’re looking to learn about the War Between the States in Charleston, you will find him a very knowledgeable fellow. The tour is $17.00 per adult, and children under twelve are free.
Next entry will be on my last night in Charleston.