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Touring Carolinas Civil War Sites Excerpt

Touring Carolinas Civil War Sites Excerpt

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Published by BlairPublisher
History buffs and tourists have been following the signs to famous Civil War sites in the Carolinas for years, among them Fort Fisher in Wilmington, North Carolina, and Fort Sumter off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina. However, many of the sites from the states’ rich Civil War heritage are off the beaten path.
Touring the Carolinas’ Civil War Sites helps travelers find the states’ battlefields, forts, and memorials, as well as the lesser skirmish sites, homes, and towns that also played significant roles in the war. The book’s 19 tours cover the entire Carolinas, combining riveting history with clear, concise directions and maps. As fascinating to read as it is fun to take on the road, this second edition includes additional historic houses in Charleston, a new battlefield in New Bern, updated driving directions, new photos for each site, and more.
History buffs and tourists have been following the signs to famous Civil War sites in the Carolinas for years, among them Fort Fisher in Wilmington, North Carolina, and Fort Sumter off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina. However, many of the sites from the states’ rich Civil War heritage are off the beaten path.
Touring the Carolinas’ Civil War Sites helps travelers find the states’ battlefields, forts, and memorials, as well as the lesser skirmish sites, homes, and towns that also played significant roles in the war. The book’s 19 tours cover the entire Carolinas, combining riveting history with clear, concise directions and maps. As fascinating to read as it is fun to take on the road, this second edition includes additional historic houses in Charleston, a new battlefield in New Bern, updated driving directions, new photos for each site, and more.

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Published by: BlairPublisher on May 12, 2011
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Bellamy Mansion

Excerpted from Touring the Carolinas’ Civil War Sites by Clint Johnson Many consider this house a symbol both of Wilmington and of the grandeur of the antebellum South. The Bellamy Mansion was the home of Dr. John D. Bellamy and his wife, Eliza. From the beginning, it was intended to be the city’s finest. Construction began in 1859 using free black and slave labor. The fourstory, 22-room house was finally finished and ready for occupancy in February 1861, two months after South Carolina seceded from the Union. South Carolina’s secession was just fine with the wealthy Bellamy, who in addition to his medical practice owned a large turpentine operation run by slave labor. Bellamy was such a supporter of secession that he bankrolled a bonfire and torchlight parade through Wilmington on December 20, 1860, the night South Carolina seceded. When new Confederate president Jefferson Davis passed through Wilmington on his way to Richmond, Dr. Bellamy was the head greeter. At the age of 44, Bellamy considered himself too old to back up his Confederate support by actually marching into battle. His sons Marsden, 18, and Willie, 17, served in the cavalry and infantry. The Bellamy family was able to enjoy its mansion for only a year before the yellow fever epidemic of 1862 sent it fleeing to Robeson County. The care of the empty house was entrusted to the slave cook, Sarah. Most of the furnishings were crated and shipped inland. The Bellamys returned infrequently during the war, but Sarah must have done a masterful job, as the house was spared any damage. After Wilmington’s fall to Federal forces, Union general Joseph Hawley, a division commander under General Terry, used the house as his headquarters. He liked the house so much that he invited his wife, Harriet, down from Connecticut to join him. Mrs. Hawley helped the general organize relief efforts around Wilmington. Over the past 150 years, General Hawley and his wife have sustained a reputation as party animals. According to stories passed down through the years, the Bellamy Mansion was used for numerous encounters between Union officers and prostitutes. Neighbors reported watching an officer and a prostitute chase each other around the second floor with the shutters open for all the world to see. At another party, a prostitute gave birth in the Bellamys’ bed.

When he was not carousing, Hawley did perform some official business. Although a native of North Carolina, Hawley had grown up in the North and was a staunch advocate of abolition. He spent much of his time trying to figure out ways to transfer the land of former slaveholders to freed blacks. In the spring of 1865, he invited Supreme Court justice Salmon P. Chase to the Bellamy Mansion to speak before 4,000 freed slaves on their enfranchisement rights. After the war, Bellamy and his wife tried talking the Hawleys into giving back the house. Mrs. Bellamy was shocked speechless when Mrs. Hawley “hawked and spit into the fire” during the course of their conversation. When sweet-talking the Hawleys did not work, Bellamy traveled to Washington to beg for a pardon and the return of his properties. After money changed hands between Bellamy and Union officials, he regained his house and received an official pardon. When Bellamy and his wife produced the pardon at the house, the occupying Federal forces left within an hour. All but one did, at least. When Mrs. Bellamy threw open an upstairs door, she found a naked woman who had been forgotten in the shuffle. When last seen, the woman was running down Market Street, trying to escape the wrath of Mrs. Bellamy, who was chasing her with a broom. The only lasting damages the Bellamys discovered from the six-month occupation of their house were tobacco-juice stains on the white marble fireplace mantels, apparently deposited by Mrs. Hawley, who must have been less than skilled at hitting the open fireplace with her spit. By September 1865, the Bellamys and their 10 children, including their Confederate soldier sons, were back in their grand house. Today, the mansion is open for touring. One of its most unusual aspects is the bright red, gold, and blue carpet installed by the Bellamys. Also on the grounds and awaiting restoration is a two-story brick building in back of the mansion where the family’s house slaves lived. It has been described by architectural historians as one of the nation’s best examples of urban slave quarters.

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