"Roundheads and Ramblings"
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"Roundheads and Ramblings"

Characters

Crossover Character: Wade Hampton

Wade Hampton III was the only son of South Carolina’s largest slave-owner. From childhood he was trained to follow in his father’s footsteps. The family held vast tracts of land and  occupied many of the state’s political offices. Young Wade was also handsome, charismatic, and full of derring-do.  Long before he became a soldier, he had a reputation as a bear-killer. He was a legend long before he actually did anything to earn that reputation.

In the years leading up to the war, Hampton was against the dissolution of the Union, but once South Carolina took that fateful step, he supported his state. His military career started when the governor made him a Colonel and encouraged him to recruit a legion of 10,000 soldiers. He did so easily. Hampton made a brief appearance in "Damned Yankee" when Charlotte Grenville’s young husband became one of his recruits. Slightly later, Johnnie Grenville also joined  Hampton’s Legion.

After the war, Hampton stepped out of the spotlight and turned his attention to rebuilding his family’s fortunes. He refused an offer to become Governor of the state, preferring to influence politics from  a less visible position. But as Reconstruction proceeded, he took over leadership of the Democratic Party and gathered the support of many of the young men who had fought under him during the war. It should come as no surprise that Johnnie Grenville would be one of them.

New Characters: Henrietta McLeod

 
  Just look at that face! There is deep sadness in her eyes, and bitterness pulls her mouth into a tight-lipped grimace. Yet whatever life has done to her, it has failed to break her spirit. She stands erect, her chin fairly begging someone to try to oppose her. She takes pride in her appearance, her earrings heavy with jewels and her mourning dress adorned with an oversized cameo. She has done her best to control her unruly curls, but she makes no apology for them. The overall impression is of an older woman, but her lack of wrinkles or sagging jawline both suggest that she is probably no older than Susan Grenville.

This is Henrietta McLeod, a Confederate war widow who has buried not only her husband but also her son. To readers of the Charleston Mercury she is better known as "Boadicea."  The name comes from the Celtic queen of England's distant history-- the brave woman who stood against Roman occupation of the British Isles. Henrietta sees herself as playing a similar role. Having lost most of her family to an invading army, she would take up arms herself to preserve what remained of her glorious land. In the articles she writes for the local newspaper, she calls upon all true Southerners to join her in continuing to fight for the "Lost Cause". And she particularly encourages the women of the South -- those who, like her, have lost their fathers, brothers, husbands, and sons -- to band together with pride and determination. Where a traditional army had failed, she argues, a band of strong women could prevail.

Immediately after the war, she  moved to Charleston and purchased the house next door to the Dubois House on Legare Street. In the following years, she would go on to create an organization for women alone -- one that would come to represent all the confederacy had stood for. But during Reconstruction, her words are all she has to use as weapons, and use them she does, to persuade one woman at a time to join her cause. Will she be a challenge to Susan, or a threat?

Crossover Character: Gen. Rufus Saxton


General Rufus Saxton came to South Carolina as Chief Quartermaster for the South Carolina Expeditionary Force responsible for the victory at Port Royal. He was an honest man, reasonable, straightforward, and a thoroughgoing abolitionist. When he was put in charge of the missionaries and plantation managers who were working in the Beaufort area, he proved to be diplomatic but at the same time consistent in his support for the slaves of the region. He managed the recruitment and organization of the first black regiments in South Carolina, and helped Laura Towne extend her educational efforts throughout the Sea Islands.

After the war, he found a new job as head of the Freedmen’s Bureau in South Carolina. When his goals conflicted with those of President Andrew Johnson, the president removed him from that office. But it soon became apparent that not even a president could get away with treating the Medal of Honor recipient unfairly, and his appointment was quickly restored. In many ways, he serves as the key to success for those who, like Jonathan Grenville, want to treat the former slaves with respect and dignity.

Crossover Character; Robert Smalls


In 1862, a young slave named Robert Smalls managed to steal a Confederate gunboat and sail it past Ft. Sumter and turn it over to the Union fleet. Small’s actions meant much more than a grand nose-thumbing gesture at the Confederates.  Here was proof positive that the Negroes were clever, quick learners, full of initiative, capable of great heroism, and willing to fight for their own freedom.  Those opposed to slavery had been making that claim for years. Robert Smalls embodied their wildest dreams.

Abolitionists wasted no time in exploiting the advantage his cause had gained.  They hustled Robert Smalls onto the first ship that could be found headed north. He was taken to Washington, D. C. and into the office of Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase, where Smalls spent a hour regaling Chase with the story.  The Treasury Secretary was so impressed that he set in motion a resolution giving General Saxton permission to recruit Negroes into the United States Army, and, after  the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22nd, 1862, to create the First South Carolina Volunteers. This regiment would be the first to be manned almost entirely by former slaves, most of whom could neither read nor write, but who now stood ready to fight for their own country.

Robert Smalls, himself, followed up his triumph in a singularly middle-class sort of fashion.  He had been awarded a prize of $1500 for capturing the Planter and turning it over into Union hands.  He used the money to purchase the McKee House on Prince Street in Beaufort, where he had grown up as a slave.  He also opened a store on Bay Street and set himself up in business as a grocer. In time he became a United States Congressman.

 His actions would have pleased a man like Jonathan Grenville. If Jonathan was ever to become involved in politics, it would be in support of such a man.

Crossover Character: Laura Towne


Miss Laura M. Towne was a Unitarian, an Abolitionist, and a medical student.  In 1862, at the age of 37, she left her Philadelphia home to travel to the Sea Islands of South Carolina.  Her purpose: to do whatever she could to help the newly freed slaves become useful and productive citizens. The Road to Frogmore, published in 2012, tells the story of the first few years she spent in South Carolina during the Civil War.  During that time, she nursed a village full of abandoned slaves through a smallpox epidemic, fought tax collectors to defend the rights of a slave to purchase the land he had worked on all his life, fought with local preachers to defend the slaves' right to worship as they chose, and established a school to meet the needs of a population that had been denied access to education.

But what really set Laura Towne apart from all the other missionaries who came to St. Helena Island during the war was her tenacity. Most well-meaning teachers came for a while, suffered through a hot summer or two, and went home to find a good cause that did not ask so much of them.  Laura Towne came to meet a need -- and stayed for forty years. After the war, she was appointed to oversee the spread of Negro schools all through the Low Country of South Carolina. And it was from that position that she came to make an appearance in the story of Jonathan Grenville.

If Jonathan was ever to accomplish his own goal of teaching newly-freed slaves to understand and appreciate the history of their new country, he would need the approval and help of Miss Laura Towne. But those who fell under Miss Towne's spell would also find themselves pulled into whatever cause she happened to be espousing at any given moment.