• Currier & Ives lithograph depicting the bombardment of Fort Sumter

    Fort Sumter

    National Monument South Carolina

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  • No Elevator Serivce 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 »

History & Culture

 

Fort Sumter National Monument incorporates several sites around Charleston Harbor, which tell the unique stories of the people and places that shaped the United States of America.

Confederate forces fired the first shots of the Civil War upon Federal troops at Fort Sumter at 4:30 a.m. on April 12, 1861. The roots of that conflict are buried deep within the stories of the development of the United States. Fort Sumter would continue to serve as the focal point in Charleston throughout the Civil War.

Sullivan's Island has long served as Charleston Harbor's first line of defense against disease or foreign invasion. Quarantine stations checked every person that came into the harbor, including enslaved Africans. Later a palmetto log fort was built by Colonel Moultrie and the Second South Carolina Infantry. This fort came to be known as Fort Moultrie, and was replaced and modified as technology and warfare changed through the mid-twentieth century.

The Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center at Liberty Square sits on the site of Gadsden's Wharf, where hundreds of thousands of enslaved Africans were brought into the United States. Today the site interprets the causes and catalysis of the Civil War and the results of that war on the nation.

Did You Know?

Artist's rendition of the opening shot of the American Civil War with Fort Sumter in the distance.

The first shot of the American Civil War didn't hit anything. It was a 10-inch mortar shell, fired from Fort Johnson, that exploded above Fort Sumter as a signal for Confederate artillery to open fire on the Union-held fort. Fort Sumter National Monument, SC