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NPS History E-Library

Civil War Series

Five Flags Over Fort Sumter



Fort Sumter lay so battered at war's end that U.S. Army Engineers found it easier to level some of the higher walls than to bring the most damaged portions back to their original height. Eleven lower casemates were rebuilt for 100-pounder Parrott rifles, but for most of the rest of the century the fort remained unoccupied, and its principal service was as a lighthouse.

The commencement of the Spanish-American War in 1898 led to construction of Battery Huger in the central section of the fort. By 1899 the battery was equipped with two new 12-inch rifles on steel carriages and concrete foundations. The battery was manned from 1917 until 1919, but that ended the fort's military occupation until World War II, during which the outdated pair of guns were replaced by two 90-millimeter antiaircraft guns.

The fort was designated a national monument in 1948. What remains of Major Anderson's Fort Sumter is essentially the first tier of casemates. some of which have been reconstructed. Ruins of some of the officers' quarters and enlisted men's barracks have been excavated, as has a portion of the old parade ground, but most of the original parade were filled during the construction of Battery Huger.

Back cover: Evening Gun at Fort Sumter, by John Gadsby Chapman. Courtesy of The Museum of the Confederacy, Richmond, Virginia.
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