History & Culture
Confederate forces fired the first shots of the Civil War upon Federal troops at Fort Sumter at 4:30 a.m. on April 12, 1861. The roots of that conflict are buried deep within the stories of the development of the United States. Fort Sumter would continue to serve as the focal point in Charleston throughout the Civil War.
Sullivan's Island has long served as Charleston Harbor's first line of defense against disease or foreign invasion. Quarantine stations checked every person that came into the harbor, including enslaved Africans. Later a palmetto log fort was built by Colonel Moultrie and the Second South Carolina Infantry. This fort came to be known as Fort Moultrie, and was replaced and modified as technology and warfare changed through the mid-twentieth century.
The Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center at Liberty Square sits on the site of Gadsden's Wharf, where hundreds of thousands of enslaved Africans were brought into the United States. Today the site interprets the causes and catalysis of the Civil War and the results of that war on the nation.
Open Parks Network
The National Park Service and Clemson University have collaborated on the Open Parks Network, which is an Institute of Museum and Library Services funded project. This project has resulted in the digitization of many of the archives collections at over 20 National Park and other protected sites. This network provides public access to high-resolution, downloadable files. Fort Sumter National Monument is happy to be able to share these documents and other materials for the purpose of research and historic exploration.