Barbara L. Bellows’ most recent book, Two Charlestonians at War: The Civil War Odysseys of a Lowcountry Aristocrat and a Black Abolitionist, has been described as “a Faulknerian saga of two South Carolina men” and also recommended by Dr. Walter Edgar as “required reading for anyone interested in the history of the American South.”
In her talk, Bellows will discuss how she picked up the faint tracks of two native sons born one mile apart—one of the rice planter aristocracy, the other of the free black artisan elite—to craft a dual biography full of twists and turns that presents new perspective on the familiar story of the Civil War and Reconstruction through their eyes. Their paths crossed only once. In 1864, Captain Thomas Pinckney of the 4th South Carolina Calvary was captured and imprisoned on Morris Island as one of the “Immortal 600,” and Sergeant Joseph H. Barquet, who had left the South and joined the famous Massachusetts 54th regiment of the movie Glory fame, was one of his guards. Their unexpected interaction, however, provides the framework for this poignant allegory of the historically fraught, yet interdependent, relationship between the races on the narrow Charleston peninsula.
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