On April 12, 1861, the Confederate artillery opened fire on Fort Sumter as it was held strong by Union forces. This battle marked the beginning of the Civil War between the North and South, the first shots fired in Charleston Harbor. The fort inevitably surrendered 34 hours later, their supply chains cut off, and Union forces endeavored to retrieve the fort for four years over the length of the war. The fort, a notable historic site and a national monument, offers visitors both indoor and outdoor activities as well as a depth of educational integrity.
While visiting the fort, stop first at the Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center. Group members will have the opportunity to see fascinating exhibits on topics such as the construction of the fort and the strategic advantage of the island, the events leading to the April, 1861 battle, and the subsequent bombardment and reduction of Fort Sumter by artillery later in the war. The exhibitions bring the history of the fort up to modern times and connect its importance to today.
Outdoor activities are also a popular attraction to the fort. The group can watch the harbor traffic from the Visitor Education Center, located on the banks of the Cooper River, or enjoy breathtaking views and watch the birds in the area. Group members can check out wayside exhibits which interpret the historic resources found throughout the site and the those visible from the observation level. The fort itself is an intensely significant historical landmark, standing as a tribute to the beginning of the Civil War in the United States.