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