• Currier & Ives lithograph depicting the bombardment of Fort Sumter

    Fort Sumter

    National Monument South Carolina

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  • Headquarters & Fort Moultrie Visitor Center Phone Outage

    The telephone system at Park Headquarters and the Fort Moultrie Visitor Center will be down temporarily this morning. If you cannot get through on our main number, please call the Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center at (843) 577-0242.

  • No Elevator Service at Fort Sumter

    The museum, restrooms, bookstore, and top level of Fort Sumter are only accessible by climbing stairs. For more information, visit the link below or please call (843) 883-3123. More »

Fort Sumter

Graphic representation of Fort Sumter in 1860, with a portion cut out to reveal the fort's interior.
Fort Sumter in December 1860.
NPS
 

Since the American Revolution, Americans have built groups or systems of forts at harbors along the coast to strengthen America’s defenses. Following the War of 1812, there were several major weaknesses in the American coastal defense system. To fill these voids, Congress planned the construction of 34 forts from Maine to Louisiana, and even two in California. Together these forts are the Third System of Seacoast Defense.

One of the forts planned was Fort Sumter and construction began in 1829. Thirty-one years later sectional tensions exploded at Fort Sumter into armed conflict. Explore this section to learn about Fort Sumter’s construction, design, and preservation. Visit our People and Stories sections to learn more about the events that happened here and the people that made history.

Did You Know?

32-pounder cannon, Model 1829, at Fort Moultrie

Fort Moultrie is the only unit of the National Park System where the entire 171-year history of American seacoast defense (1776-1947) can be traced. Fort Sumter National Monument, SC