The first engagement of the Civil War took place at Fort Sumter on April 12 and 13, 1861. After 34 hours of fighting, the Union surrendered the fort to the Confederates. From 1863 to 1865, the Confederates at Fort Sumter withstood a 22 month siege by Union forces. During this time, most of the fort was reduced to brick rubble. Fort Sumter became a national monument in 1948.
Fort Sumter National Monument commemorates defining moments in American history within a military continuum spanning more than a century and a half. Two seacoast fortifications preserve and interpret these stories. At Fort Moultrie, the first American naval victory over the British in 1776 galvanized the patriot's cause for independence. Less than a century later, America's most tragic conflict ignited with the first shots of the Civil War at Fort Sumter.
The Fort Sumter experience begins at Liberty Square in downtown Charleston. The site is an open, green space dedicated to all of those who have sacrificed so that we may enjoy liberty today.
Tour the Fort
Ferry boats leave daily from the Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center, located adjacent to Liberty Square and the South Carolina Aquarium. Historic artifacts, museum exhibits and interpretive programs set the stage for your visit to the fort.
The Visitor Center at Fort Sumter