Where the American Civil War Began

Decades of growing strife between North and South erupted in civil war on April 12, 1861, when Confederate artillery opened fire on this Federal fort in Charleston Harbor. Fort Sumter surrendered 34 hours later. Union forces would try for nearly four years to take it back.


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Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie accessibility information is available online.

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Ranger in Civil War uniform.

Visit Fort Sumter

Learn more about visiting Fort Sumter by tour boat or with your own boat.

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Interior of Fort Moultrie with an 18th-century cannon and an 1809 U.S. flag.

Visit Fort Moultrie

Experience 171 years of American seacoast defense. Take a tour of Fort Moultrie's history from the American Revolution through World War II.

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The visitor center at Charles Pinckney NHS is a historic farmhouse.

Visit Charles Pinckney NHS

Visit nearby Charles Pinckney National Historic Site.

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Two cannons at Fort Moultrie


You can help preserve an important part of American History.

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