National Geographic : 1958 Jan
The National Geographic Magazine As we passed Fort Moultrie and entered spacious Charleston Harbor, the brick walls of historic Fort Sumter lay ahead and to port. It seemed a small and modest installation to have been the starting point of so great a conflict as the Civil War. Here before dawn on April 12, 1861, Con federate batteries under Brig. Gen. Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard opened a bom bardment which, though bloodless, drove the Union forces out. Despite fierce Union assaults, the South held the fort for almost the entire course of the war, until the approach of General Sher man's army made it clear that the Confed erate cause was lost. Today the remains of the fort are a national monument (page 31). We left Fort Sumter astern and cruised slowly past the Battery, admiring the pastel shaded old houses that look seaward from the tip of a peninsula washed by the Cooper and Ashley Rivers (page 27). A dockhand helping us to berth Tradewinds exclaimed, "I know that boat! She was here during the war." He was right. Our ketch was built in Charleston in 1942. After brief service as a private yacht, she served two years with the Coast Guard on antisabotage patrol. Later she spent two years in the Bahama Islands. Another owner took her north to Chesapeake Bay, where we bought her. Sword Gate Guards Famous House On foot and by rented car we toured Charleston, savoring the 18th-century charm of Miles Brewton House, Heyward-Washing ton House, Manigault House, and other land marks. In St. Michael's Episcopal Church, built about 1752, we were among the latest in a long line of visitors who have included George Washington and Robert E. Lee. Henry and Frances Gaud, present owners of Sword Gate House, welcomed us to that famous home on Legare Street. Mrs. Gaud believes the 18-room house was built between 1800 and 1815. The gates are composed of spears and broadswords surrounded by intri cate designs in wrought iron. "Lincoln's granddaughter, Jessie Lincoln Randolph, once owned the house," Mrs. Gaud recalled. "However, this being Charleston, guides could not bring themselves to admit the fact. They'd tell sightseers, 'And this famous old Sword Gate House belongs to the granddaughter of Robert E. Lee.' " From the gates we walked along an avenue of tall magnolias toward the house. "When we bought Sword Gate eight years ago," Mrs. Gaud said, "we had to dispossess a big colony of night herons that roosted in these trees. They were very untidy eaters. They'd bring shrimp and fish from the rivers and scatter scraps on the walk." Houses Built of Oyster Shell From Charleston a snake-track route led to Beaufort-pronounced Bew-fort, unlike its North Carolina counterpart, which is called Bo-fort. The seaport was laid out in 1710, but beginning as long ago as 1561 Spaniards, Frenchmen, and British tried to colonize the area. On a stroll around Beaufort on a rainy Saturday evening, we saw wisteria-draped old houses built for coolness, with deep basements and wide verandas, their design stemming from the Barbados planters who were among the original settlers. Many houses were built of tabby, the crushed-oyster-shell material peculiar to the low country. A frolic of porpoises next day escorted us down the Beaufort River, past Parris Island, site of a U. S. Marine Corps training base (page 33), and onto the wide expanse of Port Royal Sound. In late afternoon we crossed the Savannah River into Georgia. Savannah, Georgia's oldest and second larg est city, looked its role-that of a stately dow ager standing aloof but tolerant in the presence of a boisterous younger generation. The hum of modern industry was all-pervasive; almost as insistent were the softer undertones of a gracious colonial tradition. (Continued on page 49) Flippy Learned His Tricks in Porpoise School Visitors to Marineland, south of St. Augustine, see some 5,000 specimens of aquatic creatures in two oceanarium tanks. Trained bottlenose dolphins ring bells and shoot basketballs into nets. Flippy's powerful tail propels him through the paper hoop. El Verde Yacht Basin on Pablo Creek offers transients easy access to Jacksonville and neighboring beach resorts. Owner Jack Mayer slices watermelon for his guests, includ ing the authors (second couple from right). Yacht club burgees brighten the lounge. Kodachromes by National Geographic Photographer J. Baylor Roberts Q N.G .S .