Fort Sumter, named after General Thomas Sumter—a Revolutionary War hero, began construction in 1829, after the War of 1812, in a means to protect the harbors of the southern US coast. It was one in a series. The structure remained incomplete as of 1861, when the Civil War started.
The First Battle of Fort Sumter began in 1861 on April 12th when the Confederates fired on the Union. On April 13th the fort was evacuated and surrendered. The Second Battle of Fort Sumter, which began on September 8, 1863, was a failed attempt by the Union to retake Fort Sumter. Despite being reduced to ruins, the fort remained in Confederate control until the end of the war. (Union efforts to retake Charleston Harbor began in April 1863, led by Du Pont.)
The Confederate army abandoned Charleston, and Fort Sumter—still in ruins, when General Sherman started his march through the South in February 17, 1865. (General Sherman started his march in South Carolina.) The Federal government took control of Fort Sumter on February 22, 1865.
For the last quarter of the 19th century Fort Sumter was a lighthouse station. When the Spanish-American War started, there was renewed interest in Fort Sumter for military purposes. Rebuilding started in the late 19th century/early 20th century.
Today Fort Sumter serves as a national park, open to visitors. Visitors can visit by boat and watch the flag being raised or lowered, while seeing evidence of the Fort’s history. Park employees explain the Fort’s history to visitors.
I enjoyed learning about Fort Sumter’s history on the cruise. Upon arrival to Fort Sumter, I watched the flag be lowered and walked around the Fort. I was able to read information and talk to the guards to learn more about the Fort’s history.