Civil War Preservation Trust Essays

I have been interested in the battle of Gettysburg since I started high school in 2006. The battlefield has made me understand what happened on those three fateful days to the thousands of men that die there. I have studied about the battle for over four years and I am still learning. I have found out in the past year that I had a relative who fought on that battlefield and lived through the battle and the war. Preserving the parks will help generation to come learn about our past, and how our country was shaped.

In 2006, I spent three days at a camp about six miles west of Gettysburg. During the first night I heard the sound of soldiers marching past and their commanding offices giving them orders to fix bayonets and prepare to charge the federals. About ten seconds later I heard in the distance, towards Gettysburg, artillery being fired, which went on for about a half hour. Then about fifteen minutes later more artillery being fired, sounded like 100 guns. I thought in my head "What is going on?" but then heard more soldiers talking about something going on south of the town of Gettysburg. Then I understood that they were confederate soldiers heading towards the battle. On the second night all I heard was the ringing of artillery shells being fired.

The Gettysburg National Park is known as one of the greatest National Parks in the United States. Historians know the ground that makes up the battlefield as "hallowed ground." The park is well known in many Americans' minds, but many don't know what happened in this small town in Pennsylvania in the summer of 1863. Being on the battlefield help we understand history. Preserving the parks will help generation to come learn about our past, and how our country was shaped.

I know from my studies that on July 1, 1863, two great armies met to the west of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The fighting started at about 7:30 a.m. and lasted until around 8:00 p.m. The confederates during the afternoon hours drove the federal Army of the Potomac to the ridges on the south side of the town. On July 2, the confederate general decided to attack both the right and left flank, but in the attempt they failed to take the right and left flanks of the federal Army of the Potomac. So on the final day of battle the confederate general taught that the federal center was the weakest point in the lines. At about 1:30 pm an artillery bombardment of 150 guns took place and around 3:00 pm the confederate infantry step off and march to their death. After the confederate defeat at Gettysburg they never would invade the north again. Some four or five years after the battle veterans began to place monuments on the battlefield. The battle that was fought there is remember throughout history and the battlefield will and is the most "hollow ground" of any Civil War battlefield in the United States.

When I was on the Gettysburg Battlefield looking from Cemetery Ridge toward the tree line on Seminary Ridge, over the field that saw Pickett's Charge. Just the feel of the looking out over the field made me think about what had happen during the final day, and what the men in blue were thinking to see those lines of gray march towards them. It felt like the rebels charging, over the wide-open field, towards me on Cemetery Ridge at the cluster of trees.

The Gettysburg battlefields are important to the history of our country because it was the turning point of the Civil War. The battle was the start of the end for the Confederacy. Gettysburg is one of the National Parks that was saved by an organization named Civil War Preservation Trust. This organization has saved many battlefields and has help stop the casino from being built near the Gettysburg battlefield.

When I went to the battlefield I learned about many things that went on during the battle. I stood in the same spot that General Gouverneur K. Warren stood when he saw the Union line braking and sent word for a brigade to come and defend Little Round Top. Looking out over the field gave me that deep sense of being scared about my army being overrun and possibly destroyed.

I stood on the part of the battlefield that is little known by many Americans. The East Cavalry Battlefield is known to some because of its role that it played in the major battle. The regiments that fought there are little known but if you look into what happen at the East Cavalry Battlefield, you will see that the 2nd Cavalry Division and Michigan Cavalry Brigade play the biggest role during the battle of Gettysburg. The 2nd Cavalry Division and Michigan Cavalry Brigade stop Stuart's Cavalry from riding behind Union lines and destroy the Union army from behind during Pickett's Change. The East Cavalry Battlefield has been preserved and will, hopefully, be more known to more Americans.

The preservation of the battlefield is one thing that needs to happen to many of the battlefields around the United States, but most of the battlefields are gone to the ages. Many battlefields will never leave the history books and the mind of many Americans. I help preserve the battles by teaching about the Civil War and the battle of Gettysburg to the young and old so they can learn from your country's past and how the country was made one.

Preserving the Gettysburg battlefield and other Civil War battlefields will help generation to come learn about our past, and how our country was shaped from the two countries in to one country. All of the Civil War Battlefields should be known in every history book and known to every American. One day every American will understand that the battlefields from the Civil War are important to knowing our country's history.

One thing everyone should do is visit the Gettysburg battlefield, and sees why our national parks need to be preserved for future generations to see. These parks show the history of our nation and how our nation came to be one. I have learned from visiting the Gettysburg National Park to respect our history and to keep our National Parks, like Gettysburg, open for everyone to visit and take in the scenery of the parks and to remember what happen on those three days in the summer of 1863.

Athenian Splendor in the High Hills of Santee

By Peter M. Kenny

Millford, without question the greatest of all Greek Revival houses in South Carolina, marks a major milestone this year with the celebration of its 175th anniversary. Completed in 1841 for John Laurence Manning (fig. 2), governor of South Carolina from 1852-54, and his wife Susan (fig. 3), the daughter of legendary planter Wade Hampton I, Millford in its day was dubbed “Manning’s Folly” by some due to the vast sums it cost to build and furnish, and to its remote location about forty-five miles southeast of Columbia, the state capital. Little did those who derided it appreciate, however, how advanced it was stylistically for its place and time nor the level of planning that went into the creation of this artistic country seat. With the benefit of hindsight, it is easy to recognize Millford’s significance today, not only as an exemplar of the Greek Revival in America but as an historic property of paramount importance to the state of South Carolina and to the nation.

Millford’s preservation is nothing short of miraculous, starting with an almost other-worldly coincidence at the very end of the Civil War when it was discovered that the commanding officer of the Union troops sent to burn it (Edward Elmer Palmer) shared the same surname and was a brother of its architect-builder, Nathaniel F. Potter of Rhode Island, thus sparing its destruction. In 1902, after decades of decay and neglect in the aftermath of the Civil War (fig. 1) and soon after John Laurence Manning’s death, Millford was purchased by Mary Clark Thompson of New York (fig. 4), who subsequently willed it to her Clark nephews from Michigan. Under the Clark family’s stewardship Millford was completely refurbished and several significant new structures were built in close proximity to the mansion. The Clarks maintained and preserved Millford until 1992, when they sold the mansion and all of its dependencies to Dick Jenrette. Dick’s vision for Millford was to preserve and restore it to the highest possible standards reflective of his unique taste and style and to do honor to the noble simplicity and grandeur of this magnificent Greek Revival mansion (see original ground floor plan on page 28) and its campus of buildings. In 2008, with the restoration complete, Dick Jenrette donated Millford to Classical American Homes Preservation Trust to insure its future preservation as a place of rare beauty and to develop its potential as a cultural resource for students, preservationists and historians, as well as the general public.

Figure 1.
Photograph of Millford taken shortly after the Civil War.

Figures 2 & 3.
Wedding portraits of John Laurence and Susan Hampton Manning painted in 1838 and 1839.

Figure 4.
Portrait of Mary Clark Thompson, second owner of Millford, shown in the dining room at Millford. (On loan from the Clark family.)

In America, the first evidence of a return to ancient Greece for architectural inspiration was Benjamin Latrobe’s Bank of Pennsylvania (1800), which featured a temple front adapted from the east façade of the Erectheion, as published in Volume I of James Stuart and Nicholas Revett’s Antiquities of Athens (London, 1762). This publication provided precise, detailed information on ancient Greek buildings and was utilized by the first generation of professional architects in America, such as Latrobe. Later architectural pattern books by John Haviland of Philadelphia, Asher Benjamin of Massachusetts, and Minard Lafever of New York borrowed heavily from Stuart and Revett and provided master carpenters and masons with a visual vocabulary and a system of building, at once stately and practical, that eventually came to establish America’s first national architectural style, the Greek Revival.

Figure 5.
James Stuart and Nicholas Revett, The Antiquities of Athens, Vol. 1 (1762). (Detail) Plate VI, Chapter IV.

Figure 6.
Detail of Corinthian capital in the front portico at Millford.

South Carolina, with the exception of some buildings by Robert Mills in the early 1820s, was fairly slow in adopting the Greek Revival style. By the late 1830s, however, it had achieved a high level of sophistication in Charleston with the construction of such grand edifices as Hibernian Hall (1839-40), designed by Thomas U. Walter of Philadelphia, and the Charleston Hotel. (1837-39) by Charles F. Reichardt, a young Prussian architect who had worked in the aetelier of Karl Friedrich Schinkel before immigrating to New York around 1835. Hibernian Hall had an Ionic temple front, but the Charleston Hotel introduced a second distinct building type adapted from the ancient Greek stoa, a type of long colonnade or covered walkway attached to the side of a building that served as an ancient shopping mall and a place for the public to stroll and socialize out of the heat of the sun. The Charleston Hotel featured a colonnade of fourteen Corinthian columns across, raised on a loggia of square piers that fronted a four-story, square brick structure with a low pitched pediment and a flat roof. Its design recalls the raised Corinthian portico at LaGrange Terrace (1832-36), a row of townhouses attributed to Ithiel Town and James Dakin that Reichardt would have seen during his time in New York. He also would have been familiar with stoa-like classical structures from the period of his employ in the aetelier of Schinkel, whose masterpiece of Greek Revival design, the Altes Museum (1823-1830), featured a magnificent colonnade of eighteen Ionic columns. This is the style matrix from which Millford — and very likely the Roper House in Charleston as well — sprang in the High Hills of Santee. “Manning’s Folly?” We think not.

Figure 7.
(Left) Porter’s lodge at Millford.

Figure 8.
Greek Revival stable at Millford.

Figure 9.
(Left) The original water tower at Millford and the “little mansion,” a guesthouse built by the Clarks in the 1920s.

Figure 10.
View of the Millford water tower in 2014 before restoration.

Figure 11.
View of the water tower at Millford during restoration in 2015.

The crowning glory of Millford’s front colonnade are its richly carved Corinthian capitals, which are based on the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in Athens, also published in Stuart and Revett (figs. 5 and 6). The rest of the building is an unembellished essay in pure geometry; a square central block with two beautifully proportioned cubes for its flanking dependencies, and a two-story cylinder housing a circular staircase engaged at the rear. The German art historian and pioneering Hellenist, Johann Joachim Winckelman argues strongly for the benefit of simplicity in Ammerkungen über die Bankunst der Alten (Remarks on the Architecture of the Ancients, 1762), on the grounds that “when decoration in architecture is combined with simplicity the result is beauty: for if a thing is good and beautiful it is what it ought to be. So the ornamentation of a building should be in keeping with the general purpose . . . ; the larger the groundwork of a building the less decoration is required.” Given Millford’s almost austere simplicity and limited but rich exterior ornament it would seem that its architect-builder and his clients, the Mannings, came close to achieving this ideal of beauty.

Millford was more than just a mansion, however. It was a complex of buildings designed and built as an entirety between 1839 and 1841; front gates of wrought iron set between four sturdy Egyptian pylons, a compact porter’s lodge with Ionic columns in antis flanking the front door (fig. 7), a temple-from Greek Revival stable (fig. 8) for carriages and horses, a Gothic Revival springhouse, and a brick and stucco water tower (fig. 9) built in the form of an early lighthouse. Time has a way as it passes in the heat and humidity of South Carolina of diminishing even the best quality restorations of brick, stucco and wood. Today, nearly a generation after Dick Jenrette restored Milford to a high level of perfection we find ourselves returning once again to accomplish our primary mission of preserving it. In 2014, historically accurate reproduction shutters were made for the mansion and additional replacement shutters are planned for the porter’s lodge and dependencies this year. The brick work and stucco, or roughcast, of the water tower has been repaired and renewed (figs. 10 and 11), and soon we hope to embark on a sensitive stabilization a­nd restoration of the Millford’s irreplaceable carved cypress Corinthian capitals in the front portico (fig. 6).

Figure 12.
(Left) D. Phyfe & Son. Side chair, 1841. Rosewood, rosewood veneer; secondary wood: ash.

Figure 13.
Attributed to Viviano Codazzi (1603-1672). Roman Ruins.

In this 175th anniversary year we have ambitious plans for Millford. Since acquiring the property in 1992, Dick Jenrette and CAHPT have had uncanny success in bringing back to Millford a great deal of its original Duncan Phyfe & Son furniture, fine art, and sculpture (figs. 12, 13, and 14). This success has continued apace in recent years with the addition of three of the original French and Grecian bedsteads, a basin stand, and a tall dressing or cheval glass, for instance, which has allowed us to furnish one of the second-floor bedrooms in a more accurate, though far from slavish, period fashion (fig. 15). And the good news is that there is still more fine and decorative art original to Millford out there. So in this anniversary year we are redoubling our efforts to see if we can bring even more of it back home. This year we will also be working to forge strong relationships with academics, cultural historians, and innovative thinkers in the areas of historical research and interpretation to help us to develop an even more exciting, accurate, and inclusive story to be told about Millford and its occupants, including those who were enslaved there, over time. Millford is remarkably beautiful. It is also a remarkable historical and cultural resource. May it stand and remain vital for another 175 years and more.

Figure 14.
(Left) Roman head (possibly Augustus Caesar) 2nd-3rd century, on later body, marble.

Figure 15.
View of recently installed brown and gold bedroom at Millford, showing recently acquired basin stand fauteuil, cheval glass, ladies’ writing fire screen, and French bedstead.

0 comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *