In this Book

In Days of Destruction, editors W. Eric Emerson and Karen Stokes chronicle the events of the siege of Charleston, South Carolina, through a collection of letters written by Augustine Thomas Smythe, a well-educated young man from a prominent Charleston family. The vivid, eloquent letters he wrote to his family depict all that he saw and experienced during the long, destructive assault on the Holy City and describe in detail the damage done to Charleston’s houses, churches, and other buildings in the desolated shell district, as well as the toll on human life. Smythe’s role in the Civil War was different from that of his many companions serving in Virginia and undoubtedly different from anything he could have imagined when the war began. Aftera baptism in blood at the Battle of Secessionville, South Carolina, Smythe was assigned to the Confederate Signal Corps. He served on the ironclad CSS Palmetto State and then occupied a post high above Charleston in the steeple of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church. From behind a telescope in his lofty perch, he observed the fierce attacks on Fort Sumter, the effects of the unrelenting shelling of the city by enemy guns at Morris Island, and the naval battles and operations in the harbor, including the actions of the Confederate torpedo boats and the H. L. Hunley submarine. The Confederate Signal Corps played a vital role in the defense of Charleston and its environs, and Smythe’s letters, perhaps more than any other first-person account, detail the daily life and service experiencesof signalmen in and around the city during the war. For more than eighteen months, Smythe’s neighborhood south of Broad Street, one of the city’s oldest and wealthiest communities, was abandoned by the great majority of its residents. His letters provide the reader with an almost postapocalyptic perspective of the oftentimes quiet, and frequently lawless, street where he lived before and during the siege of Charleston.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. restricted access Download |
  1. Half Title, Title Page, Copyright
  2. restricted access Download |
  1. Contents
  2. pp. v-vi
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. List of Illustrations
  2. p. vii
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. ix-x
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Editorial Method
  2. pp. xi-xii
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-34
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Chapter 1. A Taste of War and New Duties: 1862–May 1863
  2. pp. 35-48
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Chapter 2. Aboard the CSS Palmetto State: August 1863–November 1863
  2. pp. 49-80
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Chapter 3. Duty at Fort Sumter and an Engagement: December 1863–February 1864
  2. pp. 81-96
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Chapter 4. A Lofty Perch in St. Michael’s: March 1864–November 1864
  2. pp. 97-132
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Chapter 5. Sherman Targets South Carolina: December 1864–March 1865
  2. pp. 133-150
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Notes
  2. pp. 151-172
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 173-180
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Index
  2. pp. 181-188
  3. restricted access Download |

Additional Information

Related ISBN
MARC Record
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.