02292 - North wall of Fort Sumter, SC; (Breach patched with gabions); 1865 [LC-DIG-cwpb-02292]
After the war of 1812 it was apparent that new forts needed to be built to defend from possible future invasion. Construction on Fort Sumter began in 1827 and was still unfinished 33 years later when the Civil War started. It was however, due to its location, the most defensible fort in Charleston. The day after Christmas, in 1860, Major Anderson took 127 men and abandoned Fort Moultrie, which had been defending Charleston since 1776. This older fort provided defenses from attack from the sea, but was not prepared to defend from attack by land. While Fort Sumter was not finished at the start of the Civil War, it was more defendable than Fort Moultrie. Here Major Anderson would attempt to hold off South Carolina.
By the time that Lincoln became president in March of 1861, the situation in Fort Sumter was becoming desperate. With only enough food to last 5-6 weeks it was clear that Anderson must be resupplied or will need to surrender. Setting sail on April 6th, the supply ships rendezvoused outside of Charleston just before midnight on April 11th. That same day, General Beauregard sent a dispatch to Anderson demanding the surrender of the fort, which was refused. At 4:30 AM on April 12th, Confederate batteries in Charleston began firing on Fort Sumter. By noon on the 13th, it was clear that after 35 hours of repeated shelling the battle was over. Major Anderson requested, as part of the Terms of Surrender, a 100 gun salute to honor the United States. No loss of life was reported on either side from shelling (although one Confederate soldier died due to misfire and two on the Union side during the 100 gun salute that Major Anderson was granted).
Recaptured in February of 1865, it was rebuilt by the Army and remained in service for many years and was extensively rebuilt during the Spanish American War. A major tourist attraction in Charleston since the end of the war, it was operated by the Army until the end of World War II when it was finally concluded that there was no longer strategic significance to the site. Declared a national monument in 1948, the fort finally (officially) ended its service as a fort.