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.