Civil War Historic Sites....

| History and Education | Historic Sites

The Palmetto State was not a major battleground during the Civil War, though it did see a few major campaigns and several minor engagements. Most notable were the occupation of the Sea Islands; long siege of Charleston, which lasted until the end of the war; and the march of Federal troops commanded by General William T. Sherman from Savannah to Columbia and into North Carolina in early 1865.

Top 10 list of the most accessible Civil War sites in South Carolina.

  1. Burt-Stark Mansion
    This house was the site of the last "council of war" held by Confederate president Jefferson Davis on May 2, 1865. Davis, along with a few members of his cabinet and several Confederate generals, was on his way south after the fall of Richmond and hoped to rally support. Although Davis still clung to the hope of military success, he was persuaded by subordinates that further resistance was futile, and the war was over.
  2. Beauford National Cemetery
    This national cemetery was established in 1863 for the burial of Union soldiers who died during the Federal occupation of Beaufort and for the reinterment of Union soldiers' remains from various locations in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. More than 9,000 Union soldiers or veterans are buried here; 4,400 of them are unknown, including 2,800 prisoners of war from the camp at Millen, Georgia. Seventeen hundred African American Union soldiers are also buried at Beaufort National Cemetery. There are 117 Confederate soldiers buried here.
  3. Battery #5, James Island Siege Line
    Battery 5, a Confederate earthwork constructed in 1863 under the direction of Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard, commander of the Departments of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, was the eastern terminus of the James Island Siege Line. Intended to anchor the Confederate defenses of James Island and overlooking Seaside Creek and the Secessionville peninsula, this battery is an excellent intact example of a Civil War earthwork.
  4. Fort Moultrie
    Fort Moultrie is administered by the Fort Sumter National Monument. Fort Moultrie's history covers more that 220 years of seacoast defense, from the first decisive victory in the American Revolution to protecting the coast from U-boats in World War II. Maj. Robert Anderson and eighty-five Federal soldiers occupied the fort, built in 1809, before they moved to Fort Sumter in December of 1860. During the first battle of the Civil War (April 12-13, 1861), Confederates at Fort Moultrie fired on Union troops in Fort Sumter. Confederate forces successfully used both forts to protect Charleston from a combined Union navy and army siege from 1863 to 1865.
  5. Fort Sumter National Monument
    Fort Sumter National Monument includes Fort Sumter, a coastal fortification that was begun in 1829 but was still not completed by the time the Civil War started here in April 1861. Confederate and South Carolina troops under the direction of Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard bombarded the Union garrison commanded by Maj. Robert Anderson beginning April 12, 1861, signaling the start of the American Civil War. Fort Sumter was occupied by a Confederate garrison for most of the war. During the siege of Charleston, 1863-65, Fort Sumter was reduced to one-third of its original size. After the war Fort Sumter was repaired but never rebuilt to its original height.
  6. Magnolia Cemetery
    The oldest public cemetery in Charleston, founded 1849 on the banks of the Cooper River, is listed on National Register of Historic Places. It is the final resting place for generations of Southern leaders that include governors Thomas Bennett, Langdon Cheves, Horace L. Hunley and Robert Barnwell Rhett. The hundreds of Confederate soldiers buried here include five generals - Micah Jenkins, Arthur Manigault, Roswell Ripley, James Conner and C.H. Stevens.
  7. South Carolina State House
    The South Carolina State House, begun in 1855 and unfinished until after the Civil War, witnessed the Federal occupation of Columbia February 17-18, 1865. Union artillery batteries seeking to find their range fired on this building from across the Congaree River; bronze stars mark the places where their shells hit the state house. Gen. William T. Sherman's Federals also raised the United States flag over the unfinished building, looted the existing state house, and repealed the Ordinance of Secession. Several Civil War-related monuments are on the state house grounds.
  8. Rivers Bridge State Park
    On Feb. 2-3, 1865, during the final months of the Civil War, 1,200 Confederate soldiers made a stand here on the Salkehatchie River against Gen. William Tecumseh ShermanÆs sweep across South Carolina. Behind stout, earthen fortifications, which are still intact today, the Southerners fought a division of about 5,000 Union soldiers. Union troops crossed the swollen swamp on both ends of the Confederate line to finally win the battle. Today, Rivers Bridge is on the National Register of Historic Places and is the only state historic site in South Carolina that preserves a Civil War battlefield. The site also includes the Memorial Grounds. Here, slain Confederate soldiers were interred and are remembered in memorial services that have been held annually since 1876.
  9. Florence National Cemetery
    This national cemetery was established in 1865 and is associated with the nearby Union prisoner of war camp, Florence Stockade, which held as many as 12,000 prisoners between September 1864 and February 1865. The prisoner cemetery formed the nucleus of the new national cemetery. Some 3,000 Union soldiers who died in the prison, as many as 2,000 of them unknown, are buried here.
  10. Battery White, Georgetown
    Battery White, a Confederate earthwork constructed in 1862 under the direction of Gen. John C. Pemberton, commander of the Departments of South Carolina and Georgia, was built on Mayrant's Bluff to defend the entrance to Winyah Bay and the Sampit River.

CSS H.L. Hunley

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Fort Lamar

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