It was here on April 12, 1861, that Confederate forces launched a 34-hour bombardment of the fort. Union forces eventually surrendered, and the rebels occupied federal ground that became a symbol of Southern resistance. This action, however, led to a declaration of war in Washington. Amazingly, Confederate troops held onto Sumter for nearly 4 years, although it was almost continually bombarded by the Yankees. When evacuation finally came, the fort was nothing but a heap of rubble.
Today park rangers are on hand to answer your questions, and you can explore gun emplacements and visit a small museum filled with artifacts related to the siege. A complete tour of the fort, conducted daily from 9am to 5pm, takes about 2 hours.
Though you can travel to the fort via your own boat, most people take the tour of the fort and harbor offered by Fort Sumter Tours, 360 Concord St., Ste. 201 (tel. 843/881-7337; www.fortsumtertours.com). You can board at either of two locations: Liberty Square, in downtown Charleston, or Mount Pleasant's Patriots Point, the site of one of the world's largest naval and maritime museums. Sailing times change every month or so, but from March to Labor Day, there generally are three sailings per day from each location, beginning at 9:30 or 10:45am. Winter sailings are more curtailed. Call for details. Each departure point offers ample parking, and the boats that carry you to Fort Sumter are sightseeing yachts built for the purpose; they're clean, safe, and equipped with modern conveniences.
- © Frommer's 2013
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Ask Charleston (SC) Locals about Fort Sumter National Monument
- Very Highly Recommended 2010