By the end of the year the city had completed a hospital on “an acre of … Land called the old Burying Ground, lying on the back Part of Charles Town” – along Mazyck Street (now Logan). The hospital would also serve as a “Workhouse and House of Correction.”
1781 –England, Tower of London
Henry Laurens was released from the Tower, in exchange for Lord Cornwallis and the payment of £12,000. Edward Rutledge had forcefully argued against Cornwallis’ release. Most South Carolina patriots blamed Cornwallis for the wholesale murder and plundering across the state. Rutledge wrote that Cornwallis should be “held a Prisoner for Life … because he was a Monster and an Enemy to Humanity.”
On the day of his release Laurens wrote:
On the 31st of December, being, as I had long been, in an extreme ill state of health, unable to rise from my bed, I was carried out of the Tower to the presence of the Lord Chief Justice of England, and admitted to bail “to appear at the court of king’s bench on the first day of Easter term, and not to depart thence without leave of the court.
Laurens immediately sent for his daughters to join him from France in London. He then went for several weeks to recuperate with the waters of Bath.
1799 – Slavery, Denmark Vesey Rebellion
On the last day of the 18th century, Denmark Vesey handed over one-third of his earnings from the lottery. In return he was handed his manumission papers, signed by Capt. Joseph Vesey. To Denmark the future looked bright. As Archibald Grimke, a Charleston mulatto and Denmark’s first biographer, wrote, Vesey was:
In possession of a fairly good education – was able to read and write, and to speak with fluency the French and English languages … [and had] obtained a wealth of valuable experience.
At that time, the total free black population in South Carolina was 3,185, the majority of them being of mixed race ancestry – called Browns. After being a dark-skinned slave for seventeen years in Charleston, Denmark, at thirty-three years of age, entered the 19th century as a free black man.
1864 – Civil War
Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard left Charleston to inspect what was left of Gen. Hood’s army in Georgia. Gen. Hardee’s Georgia troops withdrew into South Carolina. Beauregard ordered:
You will apply to the defense of Charleston the same principle applied to that of Savannah – that is, defend it as long as compatible with the safety of your forces … The fall of Charleston would necessarily be a terrible blow to the Confederacy, but its fall with the loss of its brave garrison would be still more fatal to our cause.
Gen. Willliam T. Sherman communicated with Admiral Porter off the North Carolina coast, “The President’s anxiety to take Charleston may induce Grant to order me to operate on Charleston.”