|Date(s):||March 24, 1898|
|Location(s):||CHARLESTON, South Carolina|
|Course:||“Rise And Fall of the Slave South,” University of Virginia|
In the spring of 1898, the United States stood on the verge of war with Spain. One of the greatest concerns of American defense planners was that Spanish ships would attack the prosperous port cities of the Southeast that were in close proximity to Cuba. As a result of this concern, a number of these cities were reinforced to repel a potential Spanish naval attack. Along with Savannah, GA; Mobile, AL; Wilmington, NC; and Galveston, TX; Charleston received a new battery of cannons and more federal troops. The troops and artillery were placed on Fort Moultrie in Charleston Harbor, which had not been in active use since the Civil War. Still, an attack on Charleston was seen as enough of a threat to bring it back into service.
Edward Ayers states that at the outset of the war, it appeared that North and South would divide on the issue. Many Southerners saw it as a grab for overseas markets by Northern industrialists and opposed it. Yet, once the war began and the United States was quickly victorious, the Spanish-American War helped bring about reconciliation between North and South that had not been seen since the end of the Civil War. For the first time in decades, Southerners were fighting alongside the rest of the country for the greater glory of the nation, and people on both sides saw the positive effects of this. As a Detroit newspaper declared, Nothing short of an archaeological society will be able to locate Mason and Dixon's line after this.