Fort Sumter is a sea fort in Charleston, South Carolina, notable for two battles of the American Civil War. It was one of a number of special forts planned after the War of 1812, combining high walls and heavy masonry, and classified as Third System, as a grade of structural integrity

After the war

When the Civil War ended, Fort Sumter was in ruins. The U.S. Army worked to restore it as a useful military installation. The damaged walls were re-leveled to a lower height and partially rebuilt. The third tier of gun emplacements was removed. Eleven of the original first-tier gun rooms were restored with 100-pounder Parrot rifles.


Fort Sumter was first built in the wake of the War of 1812 (1812-1815), which had highlighted the United States’ lack of strong coastal defenses. Named for Revolutionary War general and South Carolina native Thomas Sumter, Fort Sumter was one of nearly 50 forts built as part of the so-called Third System, a coastal defense program implemented by Congress in 1817. The three-tiered, five-sided fort’s coastal placement was designed to allow it to control access to the vital Charleston Harbor. While the island itself was only 2.4 acres in size, the fort was built to accommodate a garrison of 650 soldiers and 135 artillery pieces.


Created with images by Boston Public Library - "Fort Sumter, Charleston, S. C."

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