Fort Sumter, S.C. will be bombarded again as Civil War revisited

Charlotte ObserverApril 11, 2011 

Lancaster County resident Claude Sinclair intends to start a war on Tuesday.

At exactly 6:45 a.m., the 61-year-old social worker will order troops to bombard Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor - for the second time in 150 years.

So will begin the nation's sesquicentennial observance of the Civil War, a conflict that claimed the lives of 25,000 Carolinians, altered history and influences both states to this day.

Some 150,000 tourists are expected in Charleston for the recreated battle, including thousands who'll be aboard boats in the harbor to experience the sound and fury of 30 cannons firing simultaneously.

In addition to the battle, Charleston will host a series of "home front" events, such as slave life re-enactments featuring slave interpreter Kitty Wilson-Evans of Lancaster, S.C.

Sinclair, working with the National Park Service, is a key player in the anniversary. He spent 18 months recruiting the 1,000 men who'll portray Union and Confederate soldiers, including a dozen from the Charlotte area who are actually bringing their own cannon and $500 worth of black powder.

So sought-after is the chance to participate, that Sinclair has been pursued by Confederate wannabes from around the world. At least a dozen of the re-enactors will be from other countries, he says, including Great Britain, Germany and Australia.

Countless others have been turned away, because of Sinclair's strict standards for authenticity. This includes a bunch of people who sent him emails saying they planned to show up at Sumter dressed as Union generals, as if there were a dozen officers wandering the fort in 1861, he says.

"No, you're not," he told them. the complete story at

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