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Charleston, SC history

Provost Marshal of Charleston

The Letter Book of Colonel Alexander Haskell Brown, Provost Marshal of Charleston

History: Charleston and the Civil War

Edited by Robert G. Carroon

History: Custom House, Charleston, SC

The Custom House, Charleston


This historically important document, edited and indexed by the great great grandnephew of Col. Alexander Haskell Brown, the Provost Marshal himself, represents our first publication of South Carolina history and our first of military history as well.   

Under martial law during the War Between the States, the Provost Marshal (Charleston was under martial law for several months in 1862 following the fall of New Orleans -- an event ascribed by some in the Confederacy to the fact that New Orleans had NOT been under martial law) had very broad powers.  The history in these letters, memoranda, orders, lists and related documents that make up the Letter Book covered the range of military and prisoner of war administration, as well as criminal and civil justice in the most important seaport of the Confederacy.  As such, its importance is not limited to the boundaries of South Carolina, nor is its scope limited to Civil War history. 

The Letter Book represents a fascinating historical view of the Confederacy in operation at a point in the war before their situation began to appear dire.  It provides a view of an army in operation, with all the attendant issues that have arisen in military units forever and probably always will.  It also provides a picture of wartime Charleston from an unique point of view.  One sees patriotism combined with rivalry, and altruism combined with greed. 

There are some interesting lists included in the compilation, including an inventory of cotton of various types then in the City, arranged by owner, listing quantities, where stored, and destination.  Other historical and genealogical information -- perhaps unavailable elsewhere -- includes name, rank, and unit for Federal prisoners of war who passed through (or died in) the hospitals set up in Charleston to care for them, as well as the orders conveying them to the POW camp (referred to euphemistically as the "Camp of Instruction") where they were sent when well enough to be transported. 

Historic Union units mentioned include: 10th US Infantry, 100th Pennsylvania, 1st U. S. Artillery, 2nd U. S. Cavalry, 28th Massachusetts, 3rd New Hampshire Regiment, 3rd Rhode Island Regiment, 3rd U. S. Artillery, 46th New York Regiment, 4th Rhode Island Regiment, 4th U. S. Artillery, 79th New York Regiment, 7th Connecticut Regiment, 8th Maine Regiment, 8th Michigan Regiment, and the 97th Pennsylvania Regiment.

Historic Confederate units mentioned include:  11th Battalion, 15th Battalion SC Heavy Artillery, 15th Regiment SC Infantry, 16th Regiment SC Infantry, 17th Regiment SC Infantry, 19th Regiment SC Infantry, 1st Dragoons, 1st Military District, 1st Regiment Charleston Reserves, 1st Regiment Regulars, 1st Regiment SC Artillery, 1st Regiment SC Heavy Artillery, 1st Regiment SC Regular Infantry, 1st Regiment SC Volunteer Infantry, 1st Virginia Regiment, 20th Regiment Georgia Infantry, 20th Regiment SC Volunteer Infantry, 21st Regiment SC Volunteer Infantry, 22nd Regiment Alabama Infantry, 22nd Regiment SC Infantry, 23rd Regiment SC Infantry, 24th Regiment SC Infantry, 25th Regiment SC Volunteer Infantry, 2nd Dragoons, 2nd Military District, 2nd Regiment SC Cavalry, 3rd Batallion Light Artillery, 3rd Battalion SC Cavalry, 3rd Regiment SC Artillery, 46th Regiment Georgia Volunteer Infantry, 4th Brigade SC Militia, 4th Louisiana Battalion, 51st Georgia Regiment, 5th Regiment SC Volunteer Cavalry, 5th SC Regiment, 6th Regiment Georgia Volunteer Infantry, 6th Regiment SC Volunteer Infantry,  as well as a number of units referred to by the name of the Commanding Officer, and as many Naval vessels as one would expect in the most important seaport of the Confederacy.

We are happy to provide an index of this historically important document.  View the index of Provost Marshal of Charleston, SC

You may want to check the credentials of Robert Carroon, who edited the document and provided the scholarship behind it.  Click here to read a biographical sketch of the editor.

This download, which includes the text of the historic Letter Book, introductory material and notes by the Editor, a new index, is now available for purchase.

The download, consisting of 453 pages in PDF format, is priced at $8.75

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