Today In Charleston History: June 13

1713-Yemassee War.

The Cherokee war party returned north. That left the remaining Catawba force to face a rapidly-assembled militia under the command of George Chicken from Goose Creek.  In the Battle of the Ponds, the Chicken militia routed the Catawba, who returned to their villages and decided on peace.

1777-American Revolution

The Marquis de Lafayette and the Baron de Kalb arrived in America on North Island in Winyah Bay. They proceeded to Benjamin Huger’s house in Georgetown to join the American military cause. 


A fire broke out in Lodge Alley. Winds blew it westward, toward the center of the city where it burned “a vast Number of Houses and … left many Citizens without the Means of being otherwise accommodated.” St. Philip’s Church was also in the path of the fire, but was saved by the heroic actions of a slave called Boney. The fire:

would have destroyed that venerable building but for the heroic intrepidity of a negro, who, at the risk of his life, climbed to the very summit of the belfry, and tore off the burning shingles.

1822-Denmark Vesey Rebellion

Ned Bennett turned himself in to the authorities at the Work House. He told the wardens that he learned his name had been mentioned in association with a planned rebellion and he wished to clear his name. He was questioned for several hours, cleared and released.

He then walked the five blocks from the Work House to Denmark Vesey’s house on Bull Street to attend a meeting to finalize plans for the rebellion.       


The steamship Pulaski exploded and sank just off the Charleston harbor. It was owned by the Savannah and Charleston Steam Packet Company to safely and speedily carry freight and passengers between Savannah to Baltimore with stops in Charleston.

The sinking of the Pulaski

The sinking of the Pulaski

That night, after taking on about sixty-five passengers in Charleston the Pulaski steamed to about thirty miles off the North Carolina coast through a dark night and moderate weather. Around ten o’clock the Pulaski’s starboard boiler suddenly exploded and swept some passengers into the sea and scalded others to death. Panicked passengers, most of them wearing their night clothes, sought refuge on the promenade deck. The bow of the Pulaski rose out of the water and eventually she ripped apart.

Passengers clung to furniture and pieces of wreckage. As the Pulaski sank, the crew lowered four life boats but two of them capsizing while the other two filled with frantic passengers.

Three days later the Henry Camerdon, schooner bound for Wilmington, North Carolina, rescued the 30 survivors. There were more than 100 deaths. Passengers rescued were:
MRS. P. M. NIGHTINGALE, servant and child.
MRS. W. FREHER and child, St. Simons, Geo.
J. H. COOPER, Glynn, Georgia.
F. W. POOLER, Savannah, Georgia.
Capt. POOLER, son.
WILLIAM ROBERTSON, Savannah, Georgia.
SOLOMON ________
S. HIBBERD, 1st mate Pulaski.
W. C. N. SWIFT, New Bedford.
GIDEON WEST, New Bedford, boatswain.
B. BRAGG, Norfolk, steward.

1864-Bombardment of Charleston 
Gen. Samuel Jones
Gen. Samuel Jones

Confederate Gen. Samuel Jones, in an effort to stop or reduce the bombardment of the city, notified Union Gen. John G. Foster that

five Union generals and forty-five field officers had arrived in the city for safe keeping … in commodious quarters in a part of the city occupied by non-combatants, the majority of whom are women and children. It is proper, however, that I should inform you it is a part of the city which has been for many months exposed day and night to the fire of your guns.

Gen. John Foster

Gen. John Foster

      Union Gen. Schimmelfenneg, before forwarding the letter to Gen. Foster added a note:

Charleston must be considered a place “of arms.” It contains a large arsenal, military foundries … and has already furnished three iron-clads to the enemy. It is our duty to destroy these resources. In reference to the women and children of the bombarded city, I therefore can only say the same situation occurs wherever a weak and strong party are at war … In my opinion the endeavor of the enemy to force us to give up the bombardment should be the reason for its continuation … as a means to force him to give up his barbarous practices.

Today In Charleston History: March 15


The Carolina expedition arrived at Bull’s Island, 100 miles north of Port Royal (just north of present day Charleston). They were greeted onshore by the Cassique (chief / leader) of the Kiawah Tribe speaking bad Spanish, “Bony Conraro Angles!” (Good English comrades!) The Kiawah were a small tribe, approximately 160 members

Cassique of the Kiawah tribe

Cassique of the Kiawah tribe – 1670

The Cassique was a young man (nephew of the Cassique at Port Royal) who had traveled to England four years before with Captain Sanford during the expedition to explore the coast. He informed Sayle that a tribe called Westoes had destroyed everything from St. Helena (Port Royal) north to the Kiawha River (Ashley River). 

He tried to convince Sayle they should settle in the Bull’s Island/Kiawha (Ashley) River area. Sayle, however, was determined to go south. The young Indian agreed to join the expedition and guide them to Port Royal. Having spent several years in England, he was a firm friend of the English and during the journey he continued to encourage them away from Port Royal, which was closer to Spanish Florida. Most native tribes of the Carolina coast had been attacked and enslaved by the Spanish for over one hundred years. The Cassique believed the English would be better neighbors and partners.

During their short stay at Port Royal, Governor Sayle summoned the passengers and they elected five men “to be of the council” – Paul Smith, Robert Donne, Ralph Marshall, Samuel West and Joseph Dalton. This was the first election in South Carolina. The council voted to return to the Kiawha area to settle. 

1813. Privateering.

 The Defiance, under Jean Pierre Chazal, battled with the British brig, Nimrod. When Defiance’s main boom was damaged, Chazal was unable to run a full speed. During the battle five of his crew were killed, and ten more wounded. Defiance was captured and taken to Port Royal, Jamaica. Chazal and two of his officers were exchanged.


An advertisement in the City Gazette read:


Mr. Langley has the honor to inform the Ladies and Gentlemen of Charleston and its vicinity that his Benefit is fixed for THIS EVENING, when every exertion on the part of the Managers, himself, and the whole Company will be made to give general satisfaction. He hopes to meet the approbation of a generous audience. To commence by the Grand Entry and Military Manoeuvres.

Master Charles will perform a variety of Feats of Activity, will jump his whip, etc. Mr. Langley will perform, on one Horse, several Steps and Attitudes – he will also dance a HORNPIPE, his horses in full speed.

Mr. Codet will exert himself to please the spectators by performing numerous Feats of Agility, &c. Master Parfee will exert his utmost endeavors to please. Mr. Langley will also execute the laughable scene of the METAMORPHOSE, or the SAILOR’S VOYAGE, A FOX HUNTING. 

ACT II: GROUND AND LOFTY TUMBLING, By the Company, in which Mr. Laenia will throw a row of FLIP FLAPS across the Circus, and conclude by a lofty back Somerset. Mr. Langley, on two Horses, will execute the feat of Apples, Forks, Bottle, &c, also, the difficult feat of the Hoop, and Leap over the Ribbands.

Mr. Pepin will perform a variety of feats of Horsemanship, in which he will execute the Leap over four Ribbands and over four Illuminated Galleries.

STILL VAULTING by the Company, in which Mr. Langley will perform that unparalleled feat of balancing his body, extending in the air, on one hand.

Mr. Cayetano will perform the admired scene of the INTOXICATED OFFICER.

The whole of this brilliant representation to conclude with the pleasing scene of BILLY BUTTON, or the TAYLOR’S JOURNEY TO BRENTFORD.

Doors to be open at 6, and performance to commence precisely at 7 o’clock. For sale, a full blooded Spanish Stud HORSE.


Marquis de Lafayette, arrived in Charleston and enjoyed three days of balls and reunions while here.

Lafayette portrait, 1824, which hangs in the U.S. House of Representatives

1824 Lafayette portrait, which hangs in the U.S. House of Representatives

William Seabrook, an Edisto plantation owner and planter, invited him to be his guest on Edisto. Lafayette accepted his invitation. William Seabrook met the steamboat that brought Lafayette from the city at the mouth of the creek leading to his plantation. He carried him the rest of the way in his personal smaller steamboat. The slaves rolled out a red carpet for Lafayette to walk ashore upon his arrival at the dock.

That evening they had a lavish dinner. While waiting in the ballroom for other guests to arrive William Seabrook placed his infant daughter in the arms of Lafayette and requested that he name her. Lafayette said that he would call her “Carolina” for the state, and said he would consider it an honor to add Lafayette for himself. The reverend in attendance christened the baby “Carolina Lafayette.”