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The Ordinance of Secession was signed in 1860, setting off a chain reaction that led to the bloodiest war America had yet seen. Charleston faced a bombardment of fighting from day one and fought back against Union troops and cannon fire for five difficult years. Civil War reenactor and local history consultant Jack Thomson relates these events through a combination of storytelling and period photographs on tours through the historic downtown area.
Often speaking in first person, Thomson narrates the walking tour as his he and his audience have stepped back in time. Throughout his tours, he introduces characters from the time including Gus Smythe, a Confederate signal corps sergeant who views the bombing of Charleston Harbor, and Jane Wightman, a free person of color who owned a brick house on Chalmers Street. Thomson's knowledge of the period is unparalleled. He penned Charleston at War, comparing the old city to its current incarnation, worked as a reenactor for 40 years and appeared in several films, served in the Army as a motion-picture photographer, and has amassed a collection of 118 Civil War photographs that remind tourists what life was like before Scrunchies became en vogue.