The Fort Sumter National Monument is an attraction located in Charleston, South Carolina. Although the fort has gained national attention for its part in the American Civil War, Fort Sumter was originally built following the War of 1812 in an attempt to further secure the Mexican – American border. The fort was built chiefly with slave labor and was actually unfinished in 1860 at the start of the Civil War. The Civil War Fort Sumter has the distinction of being the location of the first fired shots of the Civil War. Today, the Fort Sumter National Monument commemorates the events of the Civil War and the battle that was started at its gates.
The Fort Sumter Civil War events began in April of 1861, when Union troops used the fort as a base. Confederate troops eventually opened fire on the fort and are said to have continued shooting at the Civil War Fort Sumter for more than 36 straight hours. After about a day and a half, the Union troops under Maj. Robert Anderson surrendered and were evacuated. No one is reported to have died in this battle; however the event marks the beginning of the American Civil War and was followed by many subsequent battles throughout the south. It is also reported that during the Fort Sumter Civil War battle, area residents sat on a hilltop nearby watching and drinking.
Today, visitors can tour the Fort Sumter National Monument, which can be reached by hopping on a boat from Charleston, a ride which will take about 30 minutes. It is possible to visit the Civil War Fort Sumter Monument using your own boat; though most out of town guests do not have a boat. The Fort Sumter Tour Company runs shuttle boats from Charleston to the fort from Liberty Square or Patriot’s Point, both located in Charleston. Liberty Square is a popular departure choice for visitors staying in downtown Charlotte hotels, as the square is also located downtown. Although admission to the Fort Sumter Civil War Museum is free of charge, the boat ride does require an admission fee; discounts are available for children ages 6 through 11. Children age 5 and under can ride on the boat for free.
Once tourists reach the fort, which is open from 9 am until 5 pm daily, they can tour the museum freely. Expect a full tour of the museum to take about 2 hours. Guests can either wander about on their own or join up with one of the museum tours which are led by park rangers a few times throughout the day. Park rangers are also available on site to answer questions about the museum and its history. Times for boat departures change, so contact the Fort Sumter Tours Company directly for up-to-date departure times. Tours do not include lunch or snacks, so if you plan to spend a long while at the museum it is a good idea to bring along some food of your own.