Fort Sumter in South Carolina

Wednesday, 20 January 2021 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General

© Bubba73/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Bubba73/cc-by-sa-3.0

Fort Sumter is a sea fort built on an artificial island protecting Charleston, South Carolina, from naval invasion. Its origin dates to the War of 1812 when the British invaded Washington by sea. It was still uncompleted in 1861 when the Battle of Fort Sumter began the American Civil War. It was severely damaged during the war, left in ruins, and although there was some rebuilding, the Fort as conceived was never completed. Since the 20th century, Fort Sumter has been open to the public as part of the Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park, operated by the National Park Service.

Named after General Thomas Sumter, a Revolutionary War hero, Fort Sumter was built after the War of 1812 as one of a series of fortifications on the southern U.S. coast, to protect American harbors from foreign invaders such as England (Burning of Washington). Built on an artificial island in the middle of the channel that provides Charleston with natural shelter, Fort Sumter would dominate the harbor, reinforcing the protection provided by the shore batteries at Fort Moultrie, Fort Wagner, and Fort Gregg. The island was originally a sand bar. In 1827, engineers performed measurements of the depths (depth sounding) and concluded that it was a suitable location for a fort. Construction began in 1829. Seventy thousand tons of granite were transported from New England to build up the artificial island. By 1834, a timber foundation that was several feet beneath the water had been laid. However, the decision was made to build a (stronger) brick fort. If completed, it would have been one of the strongest forts in the world. The brick fort is five-sided, 170 to 190 feet (52 to 58 m) long, with walls five feet (1.5 m) thick, standing 50 feet (15.2 m) over the low tide mark. Although never completed, it was designed to house 650 men and 135 guns in three tiers of gun emplacements. Construction dragged out because of title problems, then problems with funding such a large and technically challenging project. Unpleasant weather and disease made it worse. The exterior was finished but the interior and armaments were never completed.

Bombardment of Fort Sumter by Currier & Ives © United States Library of Congress Print and Photographs Division © Bubba73/cc-by-sa-3.0 © Methaz/cc-by-sa-3.0 Fort Sumter National Monument sign © Staib/cc-by-sa-3.0 Cannon © panoramio.com - David Dugan/cc-by-sa-3.0 Cannons © panoramio.com - David Dugan/cc-by-sa-3.0 © panoramio.com - David Dugan/cc-by-sa-3.0 © XeresNelro/cc-by-sa-4.0
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Bombardment of Fort Sumter by Currier & Ives © United States Library of Congress Print and Photographs Division
Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park encompasses three sites in Charleston: the original Fort Sumter, the Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center, and Fort Moultrie on Sullivan’s Island. Access to Fort Sumter itself is by private boat or a 30-minute ferry ride from the Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center or Patriots Point. The Visitor Education Center’s museum features exhibits about the disagreements between the North and South that led to the incidents at Fort Sumter. The museum at Fort Sumter focuses on the activities at the fort, including its construction and role during the Civil War. April 12, 2011, marked the 150th Anniversary of the start of the Civil War. There was a commemoration of the events by thousands of Civil War reenactors with encampments in the area. A United States stamp of Fort Sumter and a first-day cover were issued that day.

On June 28, 2015, in the aftermath of the events of June 17, 2015, when a mass shooting took place at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, the five small flags that were arranged in a semi-circle around the large flagpole flying the 50-star United States flag at Fort Sumter were lowered so that the South Carolina flag could be flown at half staff. Those flown include a 33-star United States flag, a Confederate First National Flag (Stars and Bars), a South Carolina State Flag, a Confederate Second National Flag (Stainless Banner), and a 35-star United States flag. This display was added to Fort Sumter National Monument in the 1970s. In August 2015, the flagpoles were removed to create a new exhibit. The four historic national flags now fly on the lower parade ground. By December 2019, sea level rise led to a Park Service decision to move some of the large rocks “originally installed to protect the fort from the sea,” farther from the fort’s walls, in order to create a protective breakwater and wetland.

Read more on NPS.gov – Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie, Battle of Fort Sumter and Wikipedia Fort Sumter (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.






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