Exploring Fort Sumter – Beginning of the American Civil War

Seagull flying above Fort Sumter

A quick 2-hour road trip from Myrtle Beach to Charleston to explore Fort Sumter, where the Civil War started was my plan. I have a goal to eventually visit all the Civil War historic sites. I got my ticket and boarded the ferry. As we were heading over to the island a pod of dolphins was playing around the boat. Everyone was so giddy when the dolphins jumped out of the water.Ferry to Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina

Seagull flying above Fort Sumter

Ruins of Fort Sumter

As the boat got closer & closer to the Fort it took on a serious undertone. We were going to be walking in the same place as soldiers fighting for freedom on both sides. The Union first then the Confederates. I learned so much of how ill prepared the Union was and how much the Confederates fortified the fort. It was very sobering to stand on the Battery Huger (not added until 1899 for the Spanish American War) overlooking what was left of the once three-story fort. You could even see artillery shells left in the crumbling brick walls.officer quarters ruins at Fort SumterLeft Flank wall at Fort SumterBattery Huger in Fort Sumter built in 1899 for Spanish American War

Left-face Casement Ruins at Fort SumterGuns in the Left-face Casement at Fort SumterProjectile protruding from wall at For SumterParrott guns on right face of Fort Sumter

The Fort covers 2.4 acres. Canons were situated on all 5 sides giving the Fort a commanding presence of the Charleston Harbor. It was built to hold 135 guns of varying sizes and house 650 soldiers. Once South Carolina seceded from the union, Fort Sumter began the key source of tension between the North and the South. When the first shot was fired from Fort Johnson nearby, it only took 34 hours until Major Anderson surrendered to the South. No person was killed but, the officer quarters were entirely burned, the main gates were destroyed, the gorge walls were seriously damaged, and the powder magazines were in flames. The Civil War had begun. Fort Sumter in April 1861Civil War Flags of Fort Sumter

The Confederates immediately started fortifying the fort as they took ownership. Years went by and with the Federal Union continually bombarding the Fort, Confederate laborers and slaves worked around the clock to repair any damage that was done to the walls. This continued despite several attempts to seize back the fort by the Union. It wasn’t until February 1865 when the Union captured Charleston that the Confederates abandoned the Fort. 

I would have wished to spend more than an hour exploring the fort. I felt like I was constantly moving around to make sure I could see everything there is to see. Have you been to Fort Sumter? What did you think?Heather Raulerson standing where Sally Port was at Fort Sumter

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