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.
Where the American Civil War Began
- 4 minutes, 30 seconds
Learn about where the American Civil War began and Fort Sumter's role as a National Park Site from Park Rangers and visitors.
Educational Field Trips
Make the parks your classroom and visit Fort Sumter or Fort Moultrie for an educational field trip.
We want you to have the most enjoyable trip possible; therefore, we ask that you refer to our accessibility section to learn more.
Volunteers in Parks
Learn how you can become a volunteer with Fort Sumter National Monument and Charleston-area National Park Sites.
History and Culture
Several sites in the Charleston-area tell unique stories of the people and places that shaped the United States of America.
Become a Junior Ranger
Explore your National Parks and become a Junior Ranger.
See how you can help the effort to conserve rare artifacts at Fort Sumter National Monument.