From Santee we took the Interstate 95 southbound then the Interstate 26
eastbound to Charleston
. Our first stop...Fort Sumter National
Monument. There was no entrance fee to the monument but there was a
fee of $14 per person for boat transportation to the actual fort
located at the entrance of Charleston Harbor. Since our departure from
time from Liberty Square was at noon, we decided to roam around
headed south of Liberty Square on Concord Street to Waterfront Park.
Waterfront Park, as the name suggests, lies on along Chareleston
Harbor. The park's locale is a great vantage point to view boats
speeding across the harbor. It is a lovely city park with beautiful
fountains, grassy green lawns, palm-tree lined walkways, old-fashioned
park benches, and pier.
Further south of Waterfront Park is
The Battery. The Battery, also known as White Point Gardens has views
of Fort Sumter and Charleston Habor. White Point Gardens is another
lovely park with a gazebo shaded by oak trees and military artifacts.
Around the Battery are beautiful homes some Greek Revival, some
Victorian, while others are historical and are open to guided tours
like the Edmondston-Alston House. Unfortunately, we didn't have time
to tour any of the historic homes. We did take however take a brief
stroll along the waterfront and enjoy the cooling breeze.
Our transportation to Fort Sumter
To get to Fort
Sumter, we booked our
boat ride from Liberty Square
with Spiritline Cruises. As the boat
zipped across Charleston
Harbor, the salty ocean
air became a natural air conditioner which was a welcomed relief from the
stifling southern humidity and midday sun.
Fort Sumter was named after Thomas Sumter, a South Carolina patriot
of the Revolutionary War. Construction of
the fort began in 1829 to fortify the US coastline after the War of
1812. The fort rests on a man-made
island, made from New England granite, at the mouth of Charleston Harbor. The fort has five sides and was made of brick
walls five feet thick with lengths ranging from 170 to 190 feet and a height of
50 feet above low tide.
By design, Fort Sumter
was able to hold 135 guns and a garrison of 650 men.
On December 26th
1860, the fort was
only 90% complete when Major Robert Anderson of the “Union” forces secretly took
command of Fort Sumter
Sumter has the special
place in American history of being the locale where the first shots of the
Civil War were fired, on April 12, 1861.
After departing the boat, we walked through Sally Port and
through the Left-Flank Casemates. From
the casemates (gunrooms) we walked to the ruins of Men’s Barracks and the
Officer’s Quarters. A museum on the fort
grounds displays Civil War relics. Six flags
fly over the fort: U.S. flag with 50 stars, U.S. flag from 1865 with 35 stars, the South Carolina state
flag, the first Confederate flag from 1861, and U.S flag from 1861 with 33
stars. Plus there are several cannons
positioned around the fort grounds.