Historic Markers Across South Carolina

Charleston's Past

Marker ID:  
Location: at Fort Moultrie on Sullivans Island, Charleston, SC
County: Charleston
Coordinates: N 32° 45.638    W 079° 51.439
  32.76063333    -79.85731666


Imagine being here in 1863, surrounded by Fort Sumter's ruins, when this shell (photo below) explodes on the parade ground. Throughout the Civil War the fort was the center of the bitter conflict to control Charleston Harbor. For nearly two years (1863-65) Confederate soldiers braved a night-and-day pounding from Union cannons. The Union guns reduced most of Fort Sumter to rubble, but the Confederate garrison refused to surrender.

Confederates pose on the terreplein of the gorge, April 15, 1861, unaware of the long years of war and the terrible siege that lay ahead.

Daily dispatches from Fort Sumter in 1863 tell of the struggle:

August 14 — A force of 470 laborers and mechanics has been engaged, in two reliefs, day and night, upon the defenses of the fort...

August 18 — The enemy opened fire with rapidity at 5 a.m. and continued till 7 p.m. Eight hundred and seventy-six shots and shells were fired; 452 struck outside, 244 inside, and 180 passed over.

August 24 — Force of 210 negroes engaged all night in strengthening western magazine.... The flag-staff was shot away twice. The whole garrison worked all night.

September 4 — There is now a single gun en barbette ... The northeastern and northwestern terreplein have fallen in....


More information:
NPS - Fort Sumter
Wikipedia - South Carolina in the American Civil War
Wikipedia - Fort Sumter
Wikipedia - Fort Moultrie
Wikipedia - Charleston, South Carolina in the American Civil War