• Currier & Ives lithograph depicting the bombardment of Fort Sumter

    Fort Sumter

    National Monument South Carolina

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    Only the original parade ground level of Fort Sumter is accessible. Accommodations are made for disabled visitors traveling to Fort Sumter from Liberty Square. For more information, visit the link below or please call (843) 883-3123. More »

Civil War Correspondent to Visit Fort Moultrie

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Date: May 9, 2011
Contact: Bill Martin, (843) 883-3123 x 11

Frank Vizetelly illustration from Illustrated London News, June 6, 1863 depicts Fort Moultrie during a Union ironclad attack.
Frank Vizetelly illustration depicting an ironclad attack at Fort Moultrie, London Illustrated News, June 6, 1863
NPS IMAGE

As part of the National Park Service’s ongoing commemoration of the Civil War Sesquicentennial, the public is invited to a free dramatic program focusing on Civil War correspondent Frank Vizetelly. This free presentation takes place Saturday, June 11th at 2:00 p.m. in the Fort Moultrie Visitor Center Auditorium on Sullivan’s Island.

FRANK VIZETELLY was arguably the most interesting of the foreign newspaper men that covered the American Civil War. From first to last, he covered virtually every aspect of the conflict. At the war’s beginning he was based in Washington and was accredited to the Federal forces. He was a witness to the rout of the Union army at first Manassas. He saw action on the Mississippi and the first Federal attempts to invade the Atlantic coast of the South. His and other British journalists’ criticism of the North’s conduct of the war caused his access to the Federal theaters of operation to be severely curtailed, so Vizetelly slipped across the Potomac and followed the rest of the war from the Southern viewpoint. He became an enthusiastic convert to the cause of the Confederacy. He was present at the Siege of Charleston, Fredericksburg and at Chickamauga (where he earned an honorary captaincy in the Army of Tennessee from General Longstreet for acting as a staff galloper under fire). His bluff Bohemian bonhomie made him a special favorite of Jeb Stuart. Vizetelly ran the blockade to report back to London, but returned to witness the death throes of the Confederacy, in which he had the unique distinction of being the only journalist to accompany Jefferson Davis on his ill-fated flight. As an artist as well as a writer, Vizetelly was equally adept with pencil and brush as with pen.

This acclaimed program combines historical accuracy with wit and humor to create a painless history lesson that can be enjoyed even by those who have no passion for the subject. Vizetelly gives an interesting insight into the ambivalent British attitude to the Civil War. He touches on the Trent Affair, which nearly brought Britain into the conflict on the side of the South. Vizetelly, who was a noted amateur actor, brings to life Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, and Lord Palmerston as well as the American characters he encountered, including Lincoln, Davis, Jeb Stuart and Robert E. Lee.

HOWARD BURNHAM is a British-born actor and writer. His literary and historical characterizations include Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Lewis Carroll, Ian Fleming, Alfred Hitchcock, Lord Cornwallis, General Burgoyne, Ban Tarleton, Tom Paine and Winston Churchill. Several characterizations have been featured on the BBC and PBS. Over the past twelve years, he has toured extensively in the Carolinas, New England, Florida and California. Burnham currently resides in Columbia, South Carolina.

Rounding out the program will be Southern historian Douglas W. Bostick who will be sign copies of his recent book The Confederacy's Secret Weapon: The Civil War Illustrations of Frank Vizetelly. The park bookstore carries a number of Bostick’s books: The Union is Dissolved: Charleston and Fort Sumter in the Civil War, Charleston Under Siege and Fort Sumter. A native of James Island, Bostick has written extensively on Lowcountry history.

Fort Moultrie is administered by Fort Sumter National Monument, a unit of the National Park Service. Located at 1214 Middle Street, Sullivan's Island, South Carolina, the fort and visitor center are open daily from 9:00-5:00 except for New Year's, Thanksgiving and Christmas Days. For more information, call (843) 883-3123 or visit our other sites:

Did You Know?

Fort Sumter as seen from the water.

Fort Sumter's island was constructed with a foundation of over 70,000 tons of granite and other rock. For over a decade contractors from as far away as New York and the Boston area delivered this material by ship and dumped it on a shoal in Charleston Harbor. Fort Sumter National Monument, SC