Junior History Press
Gun of Fort Moultrie with Fort Sumter in the distance.

Fort Moultrie is located on Sullivans Island at a distance of about five miles, in a straight line, from downtown Charleston. The Fort is located on the site of a Palmetto log fort that was the scene of a great American victory over the British fleet in the Revolutionary War. After the Revolution a brick fort with low walls had been built at the spot. This fort had been intended to protect the harbor from invasion by sea. By the time of the Civil War the fort no longer served its purpose. The protective walls were cracked. Sand had blown against the walls and a passerby could walk up the sand into the fort.

There were approximately 75 Federal soldiers under the command of Major Robert Anderson in the fort in the latter part of 1860. Their presence was a source of great tension to the South Carolina and the City of Charleston governments after the signing of the Ordnance of Secession on December 20, 1860.

During the afternoon and night of December 27, 1860 Major Anderson evacuated the indefensible fort and secretly moved his soldiers and their dependents out to Fort Sumter in the harbor. Fort Sumter was only about a mile away but could be readily defended. The move outraged the Carolinians. Relations between the opposing sides deteriorated, ending in the first shots of the war being fired at Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861.

The Confederate government took over Fort Moultrie and used it in the later bombardment of Sumter. After the war Moultrie again became a United States military facility and remained in service until after World War II. It is now under the control of the National Park Service and is open to visitors. It is an excellent place to begin a Civil War tour of Charleston.

Click on this link for other views in Fort Moultrie.

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