Charleston SC - Fort Sumter National Monument
One of the best things to do in Charleston, South Carolina, is to take a tour of Fort Sumter. This site is home to the first shots of the Civil War and provides beautiful views of the city. The monument is located on a man-made island in the middle of the harbor. Visitors can learn more about the fort and its history by taking a ranger-led tour or self-guided one. Learn more in Charleston, South Carolina.
In the early years of the Civil War, Fort Sumter was a vital part of the country’s defense system. It was a solid brick structure, designed to house up to 650 men and provide a five-sided barrier for the interior. During the war, Fort Sumter became a symbol of Southern resistance. Throughout the four years that Confederate troops occupied the fort, it was a target of several Union bombardments. When the Confederacy finally seized it in 1863, it was surrounded by a fierce battle. Eventually, the Confederacy lost the battle, and the fort was evacuated.
Today, Fort Sumter has a visitor education center and an interpretive exhibit. There are also ranger-led tours and a local gift shop. If you’re interested in the history of the fort, you can listen to a ranger-led 10-minute history discussion. You can also explore the restored perimeter of the fort, which is protected by a reconstructed brick wall.
Fort Sumter also contains a number of displays describing the fort’s engineering and design. You can learn about the significance of the fort’s crooked arch and its leaning brick walls. Another way to look at the fort is to enjoy a boat ride on the harbor to get an overall perspective. While the fort was originally built to protect Charleston, its status has changed over the years.
The first shots of the Civil War were fired from Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861. This was a momentous event in American history. On that day, a group of 3,000 militiamen arrived to face the fort. A few hours later, the Federals ordered the firing of the first shots in defense of the fort. Only one soldier was killed and another was mortally injured.
The first shots were fired from Fort Sumter because of a naval attack by Rear Admiral Samuel Francis Du Pont, a commander of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron. Unfortunately, his attacks were poorly coordinated. After a 34-hour battle, the Confederates finally defeated the Federals, and Fort Sumter was effectively ruined. However, it was rebuilt and rearmed in the late nineteenth century.
The fort was also rearmed for the Spanish-American War in 1898. The monument is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has played an important role in the safety of the Charleston area. Although visitors can’t climb inside the fort, they can walk along its perimeter and hear the sound of the bombardment.
You can visit Fort Sumter by taking the ferry from Downtown Charleston. The ferry trip takes 30 minutes and is available several times a day. Some seats are reserved on the ferry, so if you’re planning a visit, be sure to make your reservation in advance. Tickets go fast, so you may want to plan your trip a few days in advance. Learn more about The Charleston Museum.