Walking along the Battery, it is hard not to notice the island way off in the distance with an American flag flying over it. Fort Sumter, named after an American Revolutionary hero, would become the site of the start of the Civil War, leading to years of fighting between North and South over the issue of slavery. Today, the history of Fort Sumter is still remarkable and the fort should be on anyone’s itinerary here in Charleston.
The Civil War
Construction began on Fort Sumter in 1829 because of fears of invasion after the War of 1812. By December 1860 was unfinished when Major Robert Anderson occupied the federal fort following South Carolina’s secession from the Union. When President Lincoln tried to send provisions to resupply the fort, the Confederate States saw this as an act of aggression from the Union. General P.G.T. Beauregard began bombarding on the fort on April 12, 1861.
For 34 hours straight, both sides launched massive amounts of artillery on each other until the Union was forced to surrender. The first shots of the Civil War were fired. For four years the fort was held by Confederate forces until 1865 when the Union was able to regain the fort after many unsuccessful attempts. On April 14, 1865, four years after it was surrendered, Fort Sumter flew the Union flag.
After the Civil War
Fort Sumter was redesigned after the Civil War and was used as a federal fort during the 1870s and 1880s. Eventually, the fort became an unmanned lighthouse. During the Spanish-American War, WWI and WWII, the fort was rearmed. Fort Sumter became decommissioned in 1948 and turned into a national park and historical site.
Charleston Harbor Tours goes right by this amazing historical site on our Harbor Tour. The tour, which does not stop at the fort, gives you an up-close look at the fort along with commentary by our knowledgeable tour guides. Your professional USCG licensed captain will narrate history, sights, and facts about the Charleston Harbor as you pass locations critical to United States history. Not only will you hear the spectacular history of Fort Sumter, you will also hear the history of the Ravenel Bridge, USS Yorktown, and the pirates who visited Charleston. Along the way, watch for dolphins who often swim by the Carolina Belle as we go around Charleston Harbor.
Call us or visit our website to learn more about Fort Sumter today!