Constructed following the War of 1812, this sea fort, initially built to protect Charleston Harbor from invaders, became noteworthy for its role in the Civil War. The First Battle of Fort Sumter began on April 12, 1861, when Confederate artillery fired on the Union garrison. South Carolina had recently seceded from the Union the previous year, and the Confederacy was young. These were the first official shots fired of the Civil War, and the fort was surrendered to the Confederacy the next day.
The Union tried and failed to take the fort back in 1863 during the Second Battle of Fort Sumter. It remained in Confederate hands but was reduced to rubble. Watch the video below for more history!
Today, Fort Sumter is part of the larger Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historic Park. It encompasses three sites in Charleston: the original Fort Sumter, the Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center, and Fort Moultrie - a Revolutionary-era fort on Sullivan's Island. Fort Sumter is only accessible by boats provided by Fort Sumter Tours. There are two departure locations: at Liberty Square and Patriots Point. Each tour lasts approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes. It will include a trip around the harbor, visual exhibits about the Civil War, and, of course, a visit to the grounds of Fort Sumter. Stops will also be made at a concession area, a gift shop, and the USS Yorktown, a World War II aircraft carrier.
Ranger talks are offered to visitors of Fort Sumter subject to staff availability, and daily programs are available at Fort Moultrie depending on the season. At the Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center, visitors are welcome to have a picnic in the pleasant setting of the harbor.
Fort Moultrie's grounds and historic fort are open daily from 9 AM to 5 PM, except for New Years', Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. The Visitor Center is open 9 AM - 5 PM during daylight saving time and closes at 4 PM when it is not Daylight Saving Time. The Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center is open daily 8:30 AM to 5 PM, except New Years, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. The National Park Service highly recommends purchasing tickets before your visit. Hours and tour times vary depending on the season.
"Flags" by djsparks is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0