My wife and I encountered this fence last spring during our walking tour in Charleston, South Carolina, where I was doing research for my novel on Ellen Craft, The Vanishing Woman. Our tour guide, Ed Grimball, told us that this house became Union headquarters when Northern troops took the city in 1865, so I had assumed that perhaps the Yankees put up the intimidating fence to keep out angry Southern citizens. Not so, Grimball said. The fence had been put up by the home’s original owners to protect themselves against a possible slave revolt.
There’s a sermon in here somewhere. This fence stands as a symbol of the depths of the fear created by such a brutal system.