Guardians of Charleston Harbor

Two forts stand at the entrance of Charleston Harbor. Patriots inside a palmetto log fort, later named Fort Moultrie, defeated the Royal Navy in 1776. As Charleston blazed a path towards secession to preserve slavery, construction on a new fort, Fort Sumter, proceeded. The Confederacy fired on the US garrison of Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861 opening the Civil War, which redefined American freedom.

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4 minutes, 30 seconds

Learn about where the American Civil War began and Fort Sumter's role from park rangers and visitors.

A large black battery on the grassy green parade ground at the Fort. It is a bright blue day.

Visit Fort Sumter

Fort Sumter is located in the middle of Charleston Harbor, and is only accessible by ferry rides through Fort Sumter Tours.

Exterior side view of Fort Moultrie

Visit Fort Moultrie

Visit Fort Moultrie on Sullivan's Island to experience 171 years of seacoast defense from 1776 to 1947 (Photo: NPS/ N. Boyd)

A female blonde ranger poses with a cub scout dressed in an orange and blue uniform.

Every Kid Outdoors

Are you a kid who loves National Parks and historic sites? You're in luck! Check out the initiative to get every kid outdoor!

wheelchair access at fort sumter


We want you to have the most enjoyable trip possible; therefore, we ask that you refer to our accessibility section to learn more.

Woman power washing cannon


See how you can help the effort to conserve rare artifacts at Fort Sumter.

Last updated: August 10, 2022

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

1214 Middle Street
Sullivan's Island, SC 29482


(843) 577-0242

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