MYSTERY PHOTO:  Reflection of the past

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With lots of talk in recent weeks about statues and memorials – see more in publisher Andy Brack’s new commentary – what and where is this reflection of the past?  Is it important?  Send your best guess to: and make sure to include your name and hometown.  If possible, write “Mystery Photo” in the subject line.

Last week’s Mystery Photo was familiar to many who grew up in Charleston.  It was a 1916 photo of Castle Pinckney, a structure that became a Civil War prison on the small island of Shutes Folly in Charleston harbor.

The island today is a ruin that looks nothing like the old picture.  So hats off to the sleuths who correctly identified it:  Allan Stalvey of Columbia; Addison Ingle of Charleston; Kurt Taylor of North Charleston and George Graf of Palmyra, Va.

Graf sent along some more information:  “According to, Castle Pinckney is a brick and mortar fortress originally built by the Federal Government in 1797 to protect Charleston, and was later to become a Civil War Prison. When South Carolina seceded from the Union on December 20, 1860, South Carolina Confederate militia took control of Castle Pinckney.   Being the first Federal Fort taken by Confederates, it was then used to protect Charleston Harbor from Union attacks and for a short time, it held Union Civil War prisoners.

“Castle Pinckney was one of the Civil War’s first POW camps and the first prisoners were captured at the 1st Battle of Bull Run.  After the prisoners were removed, the small fort standing on this tiny island stood guard against attacks on Charleston by Federal ships.  Earth embankments created and used during the Civil War, can still be seen around the historic fort.  Castle Pinckney was declared as a National Monument in 1924.  Visitors can see the island and fort by boat but cannot land on the island.  Due to irresponsible relic seekers, It has become a protected monument where only qualified researchers are allowed to visit.”

Send us a mystery:  If you have a photo that you believe will stump readers, send it along (but make sure to tell us what it is because it may stump us too!)  Send to: and mark it as a photo submission.  Thanks.


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