Scenic USA - South Carolina

Fort Sumter

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Fort Sumter - Charleston, South Carolina

Photos by Ginny West

   Feeling that the newly elected president, Abraham Lincoln, held opinions that were hostile to slavery, South Carolina issued Fort Sumter a Declaration of Secession on Christmas Eve, 1860. Tensions built between South Carolina and the U.S. Federal Government, eventually leading to shots fired at Fort Sumter. The fort, named for Revolutionary War hero Thomas Sumter, was one of the few remaining Federal forts held on southern soil. When attempts were made to restock the fort, Confederate forces seized the supply ship, and issued an ultimatum for the immediate evacuation of the fort.
   On April 14, 1861, Major Anderson and his men departed from a burning Fort Sumter, defending it for a brief 34 hours. The Fort Sumter Flags quarters and main gates had been destroyed, and the magazines were left in flames. Even though there were no casualties, the battle is usually recognized as the first battle of the American Civil War.
   A popular attraction in Charleston, the historic Fort Sumter National Monument is just off the coast in Charleston Harbor. Governed by the National Parks Service, the fort is only accessed by tour boat. Pictured here is a Fort Sumter gun-room, one of 135 battery rooms found along the fort's left and right faces and the left flank. Fort Sumter bears only a slight resemblance of the original fort. During the Civil War the fortress was reduced to rubble and hastily rebuilt for defense during the Spanish American War.

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