Where the American Civil War Began

Decades of growing political tension around the issue of slavery 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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4 minutes, 30 seconds

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

Mountain howitzer on Fort Sumter observation deck

Visit Fort Sumter

Fort Sumter is located on an island in Charleston Harbor and is only accessible by boat.

inside of Fort Moultrie facing harbor entrance

Visit Fort Moultrie

Visit Fort Moultrie on Sullivan's Island to experience 171 years of seacoast defense from 1776 to 1947.

two children holding passes in front of cannon

Every Kid in a Park

Do you have a 4th grader and love visiting National Parks? You're in luck! Check out the initiative to get every kid in a park!

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 National Monument.

Last updated: March 14, 2019

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

1214 Middle Street
Sullivan's Island, SC 29482


(843) 883-3123

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