Saturday, November 5, 2011

45 Port and Starboard

Port and Starboard by Becky Brown

Here's a block with a seafaring name to remember the first impressive Union victory of the Civil War. In the early November, 1861, the Union Navy and Army cooperated to capture Port Royal Sound in the sea islands area of South Carolina south of Charleston.

From Harper's Weekly
November, 1861
The Union Navy hands Jeff Davis an incendiary cocktail.

 Samuel Francis Du Pont

Admiral Samuel Francis DuPont was credited with the naval victory.

The Wabash, Du Pont's ship

Notice that the wooden ship combines steam and sail. There's a smoke stack on the deck.

Map of Port Royal Harbor from the late 18th century
showing St. Helena Island and Port Royal Island
with Beaufort (the black star) on the southeast shore.

Letters to his wife Sophie and others describe the maneuvers of his fleet of fifty boats and the first days of Union-occupied South Carolina. The city of Beaufort was the largest town in the area of swampy island  plantations owned by the Rhetts, Barnwells, Pinckneys and Colcocks and worked by thousands of slaves.

"You can form no idea of the terror we have spread in the whole Southern country. Beaufort is deserted...the enemy flew in panic leaving public and private property, letters...clothes, arms, etc. The contrabands [freed slaves] are wild and sacking Beaufort, in return for being shot down because they would not leave with their masters. One called out in a broad grin ...'They thought you could not do it.' "

Sketch from Harper's Weekly shows the streets of
Beaufort in December, deserted after weeks of civil unrest.

The Rhett House Inn in Beaufort
Once home of the Rhett family

Ruins of a plantation on Ladies's Island,
Photograph from about 1933
Library of Congress

The sacking of the town and the plantation buildings continued. Frank Du Pont wrote his wife a week later:

"A sadder picture of desolation from the desertion of the population cannot be imagined; and the inhabitants fled not from fear of us but from the dread of their own Negroes; a few household servants followed their masters, but the field hands they dare not attempt to control, and the overseers had run with their masters. There are fifteen slaves to one white in this part; the [planters] threatened to shoot if they did not follow them into the interior, but I believe dare not attempt to execute this threat. The Negroes, anxious to show everything, said...'Massa, they more afraid [of] us, than you'---this was often repeated...The beautiful oleanders and chrysanthemums smiled on this scene of robbery and confusion."

Port & Starboard is a block can be shaded in many ways for different effects. See Block #1 and Block #26 for different arrangements of 32 half-square triangles. This particular shading was given the name by the Nancy Cabot columnist for the Chicago Tribune in 1937. It's BlockBase #1176d.

Cutting an 8" Finished Block

A Cut squares 2-7/8". Cut 8 light, 4 medium and 4 dark. Cut each into 2 triangles with one diagonal cut.

You need 16 light triangles and 8 medium and dark triangles.

The Admiral's Wife
 Sophie Du Pont Du Pont by Matthew Brady. The fashions look about 1840.

Sophie Madeleine du Pont (1810 - 1888) married her cousin Samuel Francis du Pont. There is a lovely book called Sophie Du Pont: A Young Lady in America: Sketches, Diaries, and Letters, 1823-1833 by Betty-Bright Low and Jacqueline Hinsley that is a nice window into the 1820s.  

It's out of print, but not hard to find on line.


Pam said...

Hi Barbara

I am really enjoying this project - although I am not yet at block 45. I am at block 32 today. I was reading your blog and you had said you were leaving the blocks up all year. Are you planning to take the blog down at the end of the year? I was just not sure if I could catch up by then?

Also I would just like to say that I love all the William Morris inspired fabric you have designed and I have it all! Thanks so much for all your hard work :)

Barbara Brackman said...

I'll leave them up for at least six months into 2012. But I'd copy them if you haven't sewn them yet. Things crash.

Sheila said...

although i am an Australian, i am really enjoying the glimpses into the American civil War era each week, and the rich history that abounds there. I am thoroughly enjoying being part of the virtual quilt guild (on Flickr) that has sprung up as a result of this blog.Thank you from "Down Under"

Pam said...

Thanks Barbara - I have figured out that I can copy them to a word file quite easily so I will do that. Thanks so much.

Anonymous said...

This is a nice block with an interesting history lesson. I have completed my block and have posted it on my blog along with a how-to.

Sancak Beyi said...

thanks for beautiful blog :)