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Life In the American South of the 1860s

Randy Bond - 16May10 9:51AM


Scene I The Berkeley Cotton Plantation, South Carolina Circa 1861

Benjamin Washington is greeted by his 8 year old daughter Sissy and her favorite dolly "Evaline" upon his return with supplies for Bessie, the cook at the main house.


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1. Randy Bond - 16May10 11:23AM


Scene II The Magnolia Grove, Berkeley Plantation, South Carolina Circa 1861

Colonel Archibald Rutledge, a proud veteran of the Mexican War and frequent guest at the plantation, flirts with Miss Olivia Berkeley amidst the fragrant Spring blossoms.
2. Randy Bond - 17May10 11:21AM


Scene III: Cotton Fields, Berkeley Plantation, South Carolina Circa 1861

Dorcas Washington leaving the field where she and others on the plantation have spent their day gathering the industrial "fuel" for textile mills from Lowell, Massachusetts to Manchester, England
3. Randy Bond - 17May10 12:27PM


Scene IV The Gardens, Berkeley Plantation, South Carolina Circa 1861

Elizabeth Berkeley and her youngest daughter Melanie stroll the garden path behind the mansion house.
4. Randy Bond - 17May10 6:34PM


Here is an interesting 19th C painting that records the look of plantation life and the role of cotton in the South

Cotton Pickers by William Aiken Walker
5. Randy Bond - 18May10 1:31PM


Scene V: Quinby & Company Photographic Studio, Charleston, South Carolina 1861

With war clouds looming on the horizon, Capt. Thomas Ravenal of the 2nd South Carolina Volunteers (and neighbor of the Berkeley family) has gone to Charleston to have his portrait taken at one of the photographic studios whose business is suddenly on the rise due to current events.
6. Randy Bond - 19May10 6:39AM


Scene VI The Berkeley Plantation, South Carolina April 1861

Captain Ravenal is greeted by George Berkeley and his two sisters Melanie and Olivia. He has come to tell the family that the Confederate States of America and the United States are now at war. On April 12th Confederates attacked and captured Fort Sumter in Charleston,S.C. On April 15th, President Lincoln issued a proclamation to raise a militia of 75,000 men. South Carolina had been the first Southern state to secede from the Union on December 20, 1860. Captain Ravenal is calling for a regimental muster of the 2nd South Carolina Volunteers, of which the young John Berkeley is a member.
7. Randy Bond - 20May10 7:01AM


Scene VII Tarleton House, South Carolina April 1861


Ben Washington delivers supplies for the 2nd South Carolina Volunteers stored at Berkeley Plantation for the regimental muster to be held at the Ravenal Plantation in response to the outbreak of war.
8. Randy Bond - 20May10 7:02AM


During the Civil War African Americans served as military teamsters for the large wagon trains of military supplies. Winslow Homer recorded some of the Union teamsters in an oil painting called The Bright Side shown below.
9. Randy Bond - 25May10 1:36PM


Scene VIII: Steamboat dock. Charleston, South Carolina April 1861

Two planters in Charleston for the purpose of visiting the Cotton Exchange discuss the latest war news. They are concerned about the impact it will have on their crops and business dealings with textile factories in the north.
10. Randy Bond - 25May10 1:39PM


The scene above was inspired by this painting by French artist Edgar Degas who had relatives in New Orleans and while there visited the cotton exchange.

Degas, Edgar
The Cotton Exchange in New Orleans
1873

Oil on canvas
28 3/4 x 36 1/4 in. (73 x 92 cm)
Musée Municipal de Pau, France

Since 1983