City and seat of justice of Charleston district, SC, occupies a point of land formed by the confluence of Ashley and Cooper rivers, which together enter the ocean by a spacious and deep harbor, extending seven miles below the city. It is 120 miles southeast of Columbia, the state capital, and 540 miles from Washington. Four channels, of different depths, afford an entrance into the harbor through a sand-bar which obstructs it. The deepest of these admits ships with 16 feet draught. The harbor is defended by Fort Moultrie, on Sullivan island, lying at its mouth, and by Forts Pickney and Johnson.
The city stands on ground somewhat elevated above tide-water, and may be said to resemble New York on a smaller scale. It is constructed wth regularity and taste, and may rich and varied trees of southern climes lend their charms. Besides the city proper, there are populous suburbs, which afford fine sites for residences, and are identified with its growth and interests. Charleston may be considered as the metropolis of the southern Atlantic states, as New Orleans is of those on the Mexican gulf and the Mississippi. Into this basin, flow many of the products of North Carolina and Georgia. Its foreign commerce is extensive and valuable, as is also its coasting trade, and packets, as well as, splendid steamships, ply to New York and other Maritime cities. The Santee canal connects Santee with Cooper river, thus opening a communication from Columbia, the state capital, to Charleston.
The public Buildings and institutions of the city, indicate the wealth, intelligence, and liberality of the people. There are a number of banks, churches, and hotels, some of them splendid and costly. Other prominent buildings are the customhouse, guard-house, exchange, city hall, state citadel, almshouse, orphan asylum, Jail, and the College of Charleston. The literary and scientific institutions and libraries, are generally respectable and flourshing. No city is more justly noted for hospitality and refinement, and its climate is more salubrious than that of most southern cities, affording a delighful and safe summer resort for planters from the low country and the West Indies, and a pleasant winter resort for people from the north.
The South Carolina railroad extends to Augusta, on the Savannah, 137 miles, where it communicates with the Georgia railroad. At Branchtown, 62 miles from Charleston, the Columbia branch diverges to Camden and Columbia
The Population in 1790 was 16,359; in 1800 was 18,712; in 1810 was 24,711; in 1820 was 24,480; in 1830 was 30,289; in 1840 was 29,261; and in 1850 was 42,985.