Colonial era Charleston was one of America’s most cosmopolitan Antebellum Era cities thanks in part to its bustling seaport. The area’s rich maritime history includes plundering pirates; Fort Sumter, the island citadel where the opening bombardment of the Civil War took place; the H.L. Hunley, the first successful combat submarine; and the Congressional Medal of Honor Museum, which is located inside the hanger bay of the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier at Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum. We teamed up with Bulldog Tours to learn more about Charleston’s maritime scene and are sharing 7 historic facts you might not know about Fort Sumter. Scroll on!
1. Originally constructed in 1829 as a coastal garrison, Fort Sumter is most famous for being the site of the first shots of the Civil War.
2. Fort Sumter was named after Revolutionary War general and South Carolina native Thomas Sumter.
3. Fort Sumter was built in the middle of Charleston Harbor on a manmade island using tons of granite.
4. Brigadier General P.G.T. Beauregard was the commander of Confederate forces during the Battle of Fort Sumter. Upon his departure, he donated his sword to the ladies of Charleston and it is now displayed in Charleston’s City Hall.
5. After the Civil War, Fort Sumter was in ruins and was rebuilt and partially redesigned. Seeing little use, Fort Sumter was eventually reduced to serving as a lighthouse station for Charleston Harbor.
6. In 1948, Fort Sumter was decommissioned as a military post and turned over to the National Park Service.
7. More than 800,000 people visit Fort Sumter every year.