Fort Sumter National Monument
Photos and article by Kathleen Walls
American Roads Travel Magazine
say Charleston most people will automatically think Civil War and
Fort Sumter. It was here that the conflagration turning brother against
brother exploded into the most bloody warfare American soil has ever known. At the crack
of dawn on April 12, 1861, Confederate General Pierre Beauregard, in command of 50 cannons
and in direct order from President Jefferson Davis, opened fire on his former West Point
Instructor and friend, Major Robert Anderson, commander of Union forces at Fort Sumter. On
April 14th, the Stars and Bars was raised over the battered fort. The war for Southern
Independence had officially begun.
Confederates held the fort for exactly four years. On April 14,1865, Now Major General
Anderson raised Old Glory over the battered fort. Grant put the 54th Massachusetts
(Colored) Regiment, who had suffered many casualties in the attack on Fort Wagner (one of
the batteries) in September of 1863, in charge of the fort. Many visitors have reported
seeing apparitions of some of these African-American soldiers. Others have reported sounds
of battle from the fort and the site where the former battery wharf once stood.
spirit reputed to roam the old fort is Daniel Hough, who was killed when his gun misfired
as he was a member of the honor guard firing as the U.S. flag was lowered at Fort Sumter
after Col. Anderson surrendered the fort. Houghs burial at the fort was one of the
last Union actions before their soldiers were evacuated. To balance this, visitors also
report seeing the ghost of a Confederate soldier there also.
Sumter is a
powerful reminder of our Nationals history and the ironies of war.
looked out over Charleston Harbor, the captain explained the history of many of the
structures I could see from the water.
the lesser known facts of the War Between the States occurred on a little island called
Shutes Folly Island in Charleston Harbor. Castle Pinckney was one of the forts
designed to protect Charleston. It was built of brick and mortar shortly before the war of
1812. On December 27, 1860, just a week after South Carolina seceded from the Union, the
Union force there was forced to retreat to Fort Sumter. It is not known whether Castle
Pinckney ever actually fired a shot but it was the first Union fort to surrender to the
beginning of the war, Castle Pinckney was used as a Confederate prison. It was later
returned to defensive service.
One East Battery
Battery is a magnificent home visible from the harbor. It was built between 1858 and 1861.
It is divided into condominiums today and the top floor unit sold just after Hurricane
Hugo for 3.6 Million.
February 1865, it had a front row seat to the battle. While the Confederates were
evacuating the city, a large gun at the nearby Battery blew up, severely damaging the
home. During the evacuation, a guest at the
house was Mary Boykin Chestnut author of A Diary from Dixie, which gave a southern woman's
perspective of the events and people of the Civil War.
history of the house involves one other famous person related to the Civil War. In 1926,
it was purchased by Mrs. Robert E. Lee, III, wife of the grandson of General Robert E.
under siege over 500 days: the longest siege in North American history.
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