Fort Sumter NPS

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General P.G.T Beauregard was the Confederate commander in Charleston at the start of the Civil War. He graduated second in his class at West Point in 1838. He went on to serve in the Mexican-American War, where he was wounded in action. Before resigning his commission, Beauregard was appointed as Superintendent of West Point. He held this position for only days and those orders were revoked on January 27, 1861 after Louisiana secedes. Beauregard was given a commission as a Brigadier General in the Provisional Army of the Confederate States on March 1, 1861. He was the first general officer of the Confederacy. Assigned to Charleston on March 3, 1861 he soon faced off against his friend and former West Point instructor, Major Robert Anderson. The resulting battle lasted 34 hours and Beauregard allowed Anderson to surrender with honor. Beauregard survived the war and went on to work in the railroad industry, state and local governments. #nationalparkservice #fortmoultrie #fortsumter #history
At Fort Sumter in 1959 there were excavations done to return sections of the fort to how it was before the United States modernized seacoast defense and in turn, was filled with sand to strengthen the old fort. When the sand was being removed, many artifacts were found including a number of Parrott guns! Archaeology is very important in understanding the past and if this excavation had not been done, your visit to Fort Sumter today would look a lot different. Happy International Archaeology Day! Photos: Fort Sumter National Monument archives and NPS/ Tejada #canyoudigit #archaeology #nationalparkservice #findyourpark #fortmoultrie #fortsumter #internationalarchaeologyday
Continued from last week: It was the dark night of February 17, 1864, and the crew of the USS Housatonic stood guard at the mouth of the Charleston Harbor. All was quiet on the deck on the USS Housatonic, but unbeknownst to its officers and crew, the H.L. Hunley was approaching just under the surface of the water; avoiding detection until the last possible moment. By the time the sentries spotted the submarine, the ship’s 12 large guns could not be lowered enough to engage the sub that was along its hull. Then a spar torpedo was jammed into the side of the Union warship. The ship’s crew did what they could, slipping the anchor and reversing engines, but they were not able to stop what happened next. Within five minutes of the torpedo exploding, the 1,260 ton USS Housatonic rapidly sank to the bottom of the harbor. Captain Charles Pickering and most of the 150-man crew were saved by other blockading ships close by. Pickering and some of the sailors were injured, but five of its crewman died in the explosion or by drowning. We remember the two officers and three crewmen who died in the sinking of the USS Housatonic that fateful night: Ensign Edward C. Hazeltine, Captain's Clerk Charles O. Muzzey, Quartermaster John Williams, Landsman Theodore Parker, and Second-Class Fireman John Walsh. Parts of the wreckage of the ship were scrapped and salvaged from the water over the years, but her remains were so small by the 1890s that they were removed from coastal charts. Her anchor was salvaged and is displayed on Isle of Palms, just inshore from the wrecks of many of the blockade runners she helped foil. As nothing remained above the water, she was almost lost to history. But, her last tragedy came to life again over a century later when the H.L. Hunley was found, and we now remember the American warship and her lost crewmembers once again. #FlashbackFriday #FindYourPark #Charleston #fortsumter #USSHousatonic #HLHunley #fortmoultrie #nationalparkservice
Fort Johnson was originally built in 1708 to defend Charleston Harbor and rebuilt in 1759 for use as a British military post. After the fort fell into disrepair due to tidal surges, it rose again in 1793 under orders of Governor William Moultrie. It is most notably remembered as a Confederate earthen fort used from 1860 to 1865. The first shot of the Civil War was fired from Fort Johnson on April 12, 1861. Much of the rich history of this place can be found in history books. What physically remains to this day are two cisterns once used for water storage and a 19th century power magazine, which are accompanied by an historical marker that commemorates the site. The public can visit the site to see these remnants. #nationalparkservice #fortsumter #fortmoultrie #fortjohnson #history Photos: NPS\Hansen
Walking around Liberty Square you might see some large red and yellow wild mushroom clustered underneath some of the trees. These appear to be (Lanmaoa pseudosensibilis), a fungus of the family Boletaceae, that are native to the United States and usually grows in the summer and fall seasons around oak trees. Photo: NPS/Tejada #nationalparkservice #fortmoultrie #fortsumter #mushrooms
Abolitionist John Brown attacked the US arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia) #OTD in 1859. His raid was defeated by US Marines under the command of Colonel Robert E. Lee, failed to accomplish his goal of sparking an armed slave revolt. It did, however, further polarize people in the North and South over the issue of slavery. John Brown was tried, convicted, and hanged for treason against the Commonwealth of Virginia, even though his offenses occurred on federal property. Reactions to his execution further highlighted the widening gulf between North and South. Edmund Ruffin, later one of the first Confederates to fire at Fort Sumter, witnessed Brown's execution. He later mailed pikes, that were carried by Brown and his followers, to Southern governors as physical reminders of the threat to the institution of slavery by armed abolitionists. #nationalparkservice #fortsumter #fortmoultrie #civilwar
Everything about the Swamp Angel was big. The gun emplacement, built in a marsh, was a feat of engineering. The sandbags alone totaled 13,000. The gun was an 8-inch Parrott rifle weighing 16,500 lbs., capable of firing a 150 lb. shell four and a half miles using a charge of sixteen pounds of powder. It was the first known artillery to use a compass to aim. The target: Charleston. Charleston was a fortified city that contained munition plants, supplied the surrounding defenses and gave safe haven to blockade runners bringing in vital war supplies. Union commander, Major General Quincy Gillmore, had grown frustrated in his attempt to capture Charleston. Forts Moultrie and Sumter were effective in keeping the U. S. Navy out of the harbor and Confederate forces had stalled his effort to capture Charleston by land. On August 21, 1863, he sent a letter to the Confederate commander, General P. G. T. Beauregard, demanding he evacuate Morris Island and Fort Sumter or he would begin shelling the city. Beauregard was disinclined to acquiesce to the demand. At 1:30 a.m. on August 22, Charleston, where the ordinance of secession had been signed, received her first visit from the Swamp Angel. Sixteen rounds, twelve of which were incendiary fell on the city. The next day twenty more rounds were sent. But on the last shot the gun did what Parrot rifles were prone to do; it blew up. The breech separated from the gun which landed atop the sandbag parapet. Gillmore did not replace it and the shelling stopped. It is hard to see what had been accomplished in shelling Charleston. While it must have been satisfying for the Union to shell the city where the secession began it had the effect of making the Confederates that much more determined to resist. It would be another year and a half before the city would be in Union hands. Today, the Swamp Angel is part of a Civil War monument in Trenton, NJ. #nationalparkservice #fortsumter #fortmoultrie #swampangel
October 13 marks the birthday of the US Navy, which traces its roots back to the early days of the American Revolution. At the outset of the Civil War, the US Navy was composed of about 90 ships. Only about 40 of which were close to combat-capable. The Union Navy grew to comprise more than six hundred ships by 1865, the largest in the world at the time. #nationalparkservice #fortmoultrie #fortsumter #navy #birthday #otd
Continued from last week: The Union blockade, a naval strategy never before attempted by the US, was intended to strangle the Confederacy by cutting off the ability to import much-needed supplies and arms and to export goods. The naval blockade was part of LTG Winfield Scott’s 1861 so-called Anaconda Plan. The Navy’s mission required monitoring over 3,500 miles of coastline on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, dotted with many ports, including Charleston. The Anaconda Plan was put into place in hopes that it would quickly take effect and bring the Confederate states to peaceful terms without fighting a long war. By the end of 1861, the Union Navy had purchased and built enough vessels to grow to 671 ships, making it the largest navy in the world. Over the course of the war, many blockade runners, which are vessels that run or attempts to run into or out of a blockaded port, made many successful trips. However, the tighter the grip grew, the more vessels were lost. In the end, there were over 1,500 blockade runners destroyed or captured, severely impacting Confederate imports and exports. As the Union Navy grew, more ports were closed and/or captured. By the end of 1862, only three remained: Wilmington, NC; Mobile, AL; and Charleston, SC. Around Charleston Harbor, many Union ships participated in the blockade, the isolation of Charleston, the siege of Fort Sumter and the attack on Battery Wagner. One major player in the sieges was the 200-foot USS Housatonic. Much of the damage to the walls of Fort Sumter was caused by this powerful warship. The USS Housatonic captured many blockade runners and helped set up the North’s eventual capture of the city; followed closely by the end of the war. But this fight did not lack Southern push back. The Confederacy fought back with the development and deployment of the submarine, the HL Hunley. The Housatonic would help set things up for the end of the war, but would not be around for the finale, as it became the Hunley’s first and last victim. Check back next week to learn more about what happened to the USS Housatonic and its crew that fateful night of February 17, 1864. #flashbackfriday #nationalparkservice #fortsumter
During your visit to Fort Sumter, you may see the Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia) butterfly. Its distinctive target-shaped eyespots are thought to help scare away predators. These eyespots also make Junonia coenia one of the most easily identifiable butterflies in North America. The Common Buckeye is found in the southern United States and throughout much of Mexico. Starting in late summer and continuing through fall, large numbers of adults migrate to central and south Florida, where they will spend the winter While you are visiting us, see if you can spot one! #nationalparkservice #fortmoultrie #fortsumter #nature #butterfly #wildlifewednesday Photo: NPS\Bly
Fort Sumter National Monument is hosting National Archives Investigative Archivist Dr. Mitchell Yockelson for a presentation of his book Borrowed Soliders: Americans Under British Command this Friday at 7:00 PM in the Fort Moultrie Visitor Center. Admission is free to this event. Dr. Yockelson's talk will surround the 27th and 30th Divisons during the Great War. If you've been following our posts about the Great War, you'll know pieces of the stories of two men from Sullivan's Island who served in the 30th Division. Many of those drafted from South Carolina in the Great War were assigned to the 30th Division and would consequently serve under British command during their service. Dr. Yockelson is a professor of military history at Norwich University, as well as the chief historical adviser to the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission. He regularly leads tours of World War I battlefields for the New York Times Journeys and frequently lectures on military history. He lives in Annapolis, Maryland.#nationalparkservice #fortmoultrie #fortsumter #wwi
Of the estimated 85 Federal officers and soldiers garrisoned at Fort Sumter, 44%, or 38 of those soldiers, were originally from Ireland. Only 23 of the soldiers were born in the United States. In 2013, an Irish memorial, located in Charlotte Street Park in downtown Charleston, was officially dedicated. This park celebrates the contributions of the Irish people throughout South Carolina’s history. The park features a carved granite map of Ireland and flagpoles with the Charleston, American, and Irish flags flying at the park's entrance. #nationalparkservice #fortsumter #fortmoultrie #irish Photos: NPS\ Alban and Tejada
Currently over Fort Moultrie the 24 star flag is flying. Why is that you’re thinking, well on August 10, 1821 Missouri became the 24th state. The following 4th of July a star was added to the flag in honor of that. For the next 14 years the 24 star American flag flew over Fort Moultrie. In 1827, a soldier named Edgar Allan Perry, better known years later as Edgar Allan Poe, was assigned to Fort Moultrie. In recognition of the death of Edgar Allan Poe, which happened on October 7, 1849, this flag is flying today. #nps #fortmoultrie #fortsumter #flag #edgarallanpoe #otd Photo: NPS/Edwards
Continued from last week... Many expeditions looked for the Hunley throughout the years, but it wasn’t until 1995 that noted marine fiction author Clive Cussler found the boat sunk into the mud of the Charleston Harbor. The H.L. Hunley was raised in 2000 only about 100 meters away from the resting place of its victim, the USS Housatonic. After cleaning her up and conducting more research and discovery, scientists are still not sure what happened after the sinking of the Housatonic. Researchers have many theories as to what happened. Maybe there was a lack of oxygen. Maybe the submarine was too close to the blast, which resulted in a shock wave rupturing the crew’s lungs or cracking the hull. Maybe the crew didn’t have time to release the keel blocks in order to return safely to the surface. The recovered remains of the boat may never give up the mystery as to what happened and why the crew never returned home. But, what we do know is that they made history that night. This was the first time a warship was sunk by a submerged vessel. But, also remember, all three of her crews died in the water in order to have that historical “first”. Would you have gotten into that iron coffin the third time? The men on both sides of the war fought and died for their flag, because that’s what they knew and loved. Take a few minutes, or an hour maybe, and stop by Charleston’s Magnolia Cemetery and visit the crews of the CSS H.L. Hunley, and visit Fort Sumter NM and ask yourself: “What would I do for my country?” Photo: Naval History and Heritage Command #FlashbackFriday #FindYourPark #Charleston #fortsumter #fortmoultrie #HLHunley #nps
This past Saturday there was a Bird Walk led at Fort Moultrie that was organized with Audubon South Carolina. Thanks for the wonderful walk through the fields and along the maritime forest to see all of these fascinating creatures. Pictured here is a Painted Bunting. #nps #fortmoultrie #fortsumter #bird #audubon #nature Photo: Joe Waytula
On this #WildlifeWednesday , our spotlight is on the Mediterranean Gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus). When you walk through the corridors of Fort Moultrie you might be lucky enough to see one of these critters! #nps #fortmoultrie #fortsumter #gecko Photo: NPS\Bly
Did you know that 2018 marks the 50th Anniversary of both the National Trails and Wild & Scenic Rivers System? #onthisday in 1968 the National Trails and National Wild & Scenic Rivers acts were signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Though not designated under these acts, Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie house their own trails which guide visitors through historic landscapes. Fort Sumter sits at the mouth of the Charleston Harbor, fed into by the Ashley and Cooper Rivers. And while these rivers are not among the Wild & Scenic we honor today, we do our best to recognize their importance. Many units of the National Park System either contain or neighbor rivers and trails that serve as prominent features to sites. Inclusion of these features in our interpretation provide both historic and natural context. They help us understand our past while influencing our values and ideas for the future. Today we celebrate public lands and waterways protected under the National Trails and the Wild & Scenic acts. Photo: NPS\Alban #FindYourWay #FindYourTrail #FindYourRiver #FindYourPark #nps #fortmoultrie #fortsumter
Each year hundreds of thousands of visitors spend time in Liberty Square, a small and important green space in downtown Charleston managed by the National Park Service. Many visitors find respite on a shaded bench, some enjoy nature, while others, like this gray squirrel, wander the site to read and reflect on the quotes found throughout the park that reflect on freedom and the struggle to obtain and maintain freedom. #nps #fortsumter #fortmoultrie #charleston #findyourpark Photo: NPS\Solgere
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