Our Man in Charleston
Our Man in Charleston Britain's Secret Agent in the Civil War South By Dickey, Christopher Book - 2015

Robert Bunch served as the British Consul in Charleston, SC from 1853 until 1861. He managed to insinuate himself into the ruling class of Charleston society and was treated as a friend and confidante by many of the State’s most ardent pro-slavery secessionists. Despite this, Bunch was as equally opposed to slavery as those who he knew were in favour. He gathered information about secessionists’ activities including the smuggling of African slaves into the South, despite the slave trade being outlawed in 1807. He reported the information he gathered to Lord Lyons, the British minister in Washington and to the government in London. He was so successful at concealing his true motives that William Seward, Lincoln’s Secretary of State, suspected him of being a secessionist and forced the British minister to relieve Bunch of his post and remove his diplomatic credentials. He remained in Charleston, relaying information to his government until 1863, leaving when it seemed imminent that Union forces would take Charleston. In this peripheral slice of Civil War history, author Dickey details how intransigent the South was when it came to slavery, particularly South Carolina, the first state to secede from the union.

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