Perhaps no area in America embraces the evolution of harbor fortifications as well as Fort Sumter National Monument, which includes both Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie. Strategically located at the mouth of Charleston Harbor, the first Fort Moultrie was the scene of a victory on June 28, 1776 that prevented the British from quenching the American Revolution in its early stages. The second Fort Moultrie occupied almost the same site from 1794-1804 as war clouds in Europe posed numerous threats to America. The third Fort Moultrie, completed in 1811, played its most significant role during the Civil War. On December 26, 1860, Union Major Robert Anderson evacuated the fort to occupy the new Fort Sumter one mile southwest in Charleston Harbor. Fort Sumter was built as a defensive counterpart to Fort Moultrie. The guns at Fort Moultrie helped drive Major Anderson out of the fort during the opening of the Civil War, April 12-13, 1861. As the symbol of secession and Southern resistance, Fort Sumter was heavily damaged by Union rifled guns in 1863-1865, which signaled the end of obsolete masonry forts with many guns. During rehabilitation of these forts in the 1870s, larger guns were spaced further apart, powder magazines built underground and closer to the guns. Batteries Jasper and Huger were built in the Spanish-American War era. These huge concrete structures could withstand the more powerful naval armament. To protect minefields, smaller batteries such as Bingham, McCorkle, and Lord were developed. In World War II, the logical culmination in the evolution of harbor fortifications was the employment of electronic detection equipment of the Harbor Entrance Control Post with nearby defensive guns. The structures of Fort Sumter National Monument, whether large or small, have played a substantial role in safeguarding the Charleston area through nearly 200 years of history and seven wars. Listed in the National Register October 15, 1966.
Fort Sumter National Monument