Thursday, October 27, 2005

Charleston's hidden gems

The first two days here in Charleston were sunny and in the 80's so we sat around watching baseball & Football. Monday we decided to do a little grave hunting and of course it had dropped down into the 60's and was raining, good weather for cemeteries. The tomb to the right is that of Francis Marion "the Swamp Fox". Ever since the movie The Patriot came out we've been bumping it to this guy, either a historical marker about his exploits or a location where they filmed part of the movie. We did a little Internet research and found where his grave was, gee it's only a 125 miles round trip from where we're camped so we figured why not. He's buried in a little family cemetery off of a very small side road, once through the gates you drive back on a very narrow one lane road for a mile to the tomb which is very well maintained. Surprize, surprize, in the middle of no where in the rain, back in the woods of the old Belle Isle Plantaions, there were already two people back there. A couple of construction workers who got rained out of work today. One of their daughters was doing a book report on the General and he decided to come back here and check things out for her, we bs'ed for about 45 minutes and he told us about some neat things at a hidden cemetery in Charleston.

Magnolia Cemetery.
This is a photo of the first crew of the Civil War submarine the HUNLEY they drowned when the ship was just pulling away from the dock and the wash from a passing ship went into an open hatch. Their graves were just discovered a few years ago and moved to this location, with full military ceremonies. They were doing some work on the football stadium at the Citidel Military Academy and dug up the bodies. It turns out that the stadium is built on top of an old Mariners cemetery. When the bodies were recovered from the sinking of the ship they were quietly moved to the cemertey for burial, much like today we don't need the bad press. especially when one of them was a 13 year old boy.

This is the monument for the second crew of the Hunley, that drowned about 10 days after the first crew did. This time they made it away from the dock but apparently not to much futher then that. If you notice the designer of the sub Horace Hunley waited until the second sailing before he got on board. Of course the third crew of the Hunley drowned the first time the ship went into battle and it along with their bodies were not recovered until a few years ago.
This cemetery is really hidden and took us awhile to find, even with directions, but any cemetery that has a sign just in side the gate that sez "Five hundred dollar fine for feeding the alligators" well you just have to love it. We ended up spending about 2 hours walking and driving around looking at some of the great tombstones, there are a lot of famous people buried here.

The Greatest Free Show in Charleston. That's how they bill it.
The Citadel Cadets.

3:45 every Friday at the Citadel parade grounds the entire student body of cadets, 1900 strong put on a one hour show that you don't want to miss. They start with the bagpipers then the fife and drums and then the full assembly. This week happened to be the home coming so there were a lot of past graduates there. This included three federal Judges, a few General Officers and a whole bunch of guys with big gold class rings. It was kind of neat, at the end when they march by the stands for review, the alumni in the stands wait until the platoon that they served in is passing then they stand and salute.

This is the schools mascot, When one of the graduates (and later an instructor at the school) was killed in Viet Nam (1965), every cadet in the school donated their brass belt buckles, buttons and head dress. They then had them melted down to cast the statue. A few yeas later this Officer's son ( a citadel grad) was also killed in Viet Nam, the statue is dedicated to both of them.

We leave Charleton tomorrow and are heading to Savannah for another week of adventure.

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