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Fort Sumter National Monument

This federal fort at Charleston Harbor is now a national park known as “the place the American Civil War began.” On April 12, 1861, tensions were high between the North and the South when Confederate forces fired upon the troops stationed in the fort. Fort Sumter was surrendered only 34 hours later, signaling the start of the war.

Fort Sumter was built following the War of 1812 to fortify and protect the harbor. Construction began in 1829 and continued up to the Battle at Fort Sumter in 1861. Its foundation is a manmade island of 70,000 tons of granite and rock. It is named for American Revolutionary War General Thomas Sumter.

The National Monument includes the original Fort Sumter, the Visitor Education Center on the banks of the Cooper River and Fort Moultrie on Sullivan's Island. The museum at the education center delves into the history of the fort’s construction and provides in depth information about its role in the Civil War.