My last visit to Fort Sumter was in August 1997. The air was heavy with moisture to the point of being just shy of raining, it was 95 in the shade and I was six months pregnant. My only recollection of the visit is the air conditioned gift shop which is where I spent most of my time on the island. Fast forward 17 years and it was hat and gloves weather with a whole lot of fog on my most recent visit.
South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union and on April 12, 1861, the Confederate Army fired on the Federal soldiers at the yet completed Fort Sumter. It would be four bloody combat years and over 600,000 dead before the Union Forces recaptured Fort Sumter. The Civil War’s first fatality occurred at Fort Sumter on April 14, 1861, the day after the battle ended. Private Daniel Hough died while loading a canon for the Union’s 100-gun salute to the U.S. flag. The canon round discharged prematurely and killed him.
Fort Sumter is part of the National Park Service. Liberty Square (near the Aquarium) and Patriots Point (Mt Pleasant) are the two locations where you can catch the ferry to the island. Once there you can choose to wander around on your own or listen to the roughly 10 minute historic talk by the Park Ranger which I found very interesting. Click here for scheduled times.
Bottlenose dolphins escorting us back to Charleston. The Park Ranger on the ferry explained the dolphins like to swim in front of the boat because it creates a wave they can ride. It was obvious they were having a lot of fun!
General Anderson, who was in command when Fort Sumter fell into Confederate hands, returned (from retirement) on April 14, 1865 to re-raise the Federal Flag when the Union Forces recaptured the fort. Sadly, it was the same day President Lincoln was assassinated in Washington, DC while attending a play.