Home » Bombardment of Charleston - Civil War » Today In Charleston History: January 14

Today In Charleston History: January 14


Congress ratifies the Treaty of Paris, officially ending the American Revolutionary War. The treaty was negotiated in 1783 by Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, John Adams and Charleston’s own Henry Laurens, who had been imprisoned in the Tower of London as a traitor to the King. The secretary for the American delegation was Lauren’s teenage daughter, Martha Laurens (later Ramsay).

treaty of paris

Henry Laurens

Henry Laurens

Henry Laurens returned to Charleston. He had been absent for more than five years as a prisoner of the British.

In 1780, the Continental Congress appointed Laurens as American minister to the Netherlands, in order to procure financial support for the Revolution. Laurens was captured by the British on the open sea, declared a traitor and imprisoned in the Tower of London for 16 months, where his health steadily deteriorated. 

After his release, Laurens spent the next two years recuperating in Europe. Upon his return to South Carolina,  he wrote that he had “become a stranger in my native land.” He estimated that damage to his property exceeded £40,000.

1864 – Bombardment of Charleston  

Gen. Beauregard wired the Confederate government in Richmond, Va.:

Fire of enemy on city for last two days has been almost continuous … Although averaging over 100 shots a day, only one person wounded … enemy threw yesterday 273 shells at city; over one fourth fell short; some ranged nearly five miles. Two fires occurred; not much damage; nobody hurt.

bombardment illustration

South Carolina Constitutional Convention meets with a black majority for the first time in history. It included 76 Blacks and 48 whites, and all but four were Republicans. 
     The Convention met in Charleston for fifty-three days at the Charleston Club House on Meeting Street (current location of the Waties Waring Judicial Center), completing their work on March 17, 1868. A few of the most important changed in the new constitution were: 
     (1) Confirmed South Carolina’s membership in the Union. (2) Prohibited discrimination based on race or color. (3) Gave women the right to control their own wealth, and to get divorced. (4) Declared public schools to be available to ALL citizens. As Nic Butler declared, it was “the most democratic and equitable of the seven constitutions in the history of this state.” 
     On March 16, 2018, a historical marker on the site of the former Charleston Club, was erected commemorating the 1868 South Carolina Constitutional Convention was unveiled. To read the proceedings of the Convention, CLICK HERE.
charleston club - robert stockton - the great shake

Charleston Club, c 1887. Severely damaged by the 1886 earthquake. From Robert Stockton, “The Great Shake.”

3 thoughts on “Today In Charleston History: January 14

  1. An old Union Diary that’s been in our family since 1864, describes the continuos shelling as “so close that you could see the puffs of smoke and hear them. The Union Officer describes the Old City Jail and being “in Range”. He also describes Roper Hospital and seeing ships in the harbor.


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