Fort Moultrie Sullivan’s Island
Historic Fort Moultrie, located on Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina, is one of the most iconic forts in the history of Charleston and the United States.
Fort Moultrie, originally called Ft. Sullivan, played a crucial role in repelling the British from seizing Charleston, originally known as Charlestowne, at the start of the Revolutionary War. Its history as an operational fort ran well into the 20th century. The Fort is now a National Historical Park.
Fort Moultrie was initially constructed of Palmetto Tree logs because Palmettos were abundant on the Island. The soft nature of the logs allowed them to absorb the cannon balls fired from the British warships trying to enter Charleston harbor. The cannonballs did not explode like they would if they were striking stone or hardwood.
A Brief History of Fort Moultrie
Though the fort was hastily constructed and incomplete at the time of the battle, the British Fleet eventually sailed away. Had the British been able to seize Charlestowne at the opening of the Revolutionary War, the war’s outcome would probably have been much different. Charlestowne, at the time, was one of the colonies’ largest, wealthiest, and most important cities. The loss of Charlestowne would have been devastating for the Colonials.
The commander of the Fort during the battle was Colonel William Moultrie. So, the Fort is renamed in his honor for the heroic defense of Charlestowne.
Also another hero of the fight was Sergeant William Jasper, who climbed the wall of the Fort to retrieve the flag that the British had shot down. The Fort Moultrie flag flew over the Fort for the rest of the battle. This act of courage under fire raised the morale of the troops as they continued to fight the British. In his honor, they named one of the main streets on Sullivans Island – Jasper’s Street.
The Seminole Indian chief, Osceola, who led the Indian resistance to their removal from Florida, was imprisoned here. However, his captivity here was only brief, as he passed away a few months later. Osceola’s grave is located outside the main entrance to the fort.
Although there have several been several incarnations of the fort over the centuries. Most of these versions can still be toured when you visit Fort Moultrie. However, the original Palmetto log fort is no longer standing.
A vacation on Sullivan’s Island would not be complete without visiting Ft. Moultrie.
A Brief History of Fort Sumter, SC
Fort Sumter, located in Charleston Harbor, played a significant role in US history. When South Carolina seceded from the Union, the Federal Army garrison at Fort Moultrie relocated to Fort Sumter. The Civil War began with shots fired at Fort Sumter from Fort Moultrie and Fort Johnson on James Island.
Why was Fort Sumter’s Location Important
Controlling Fort Sumter was vital for the Confederate and Union sides due to its strategic location. Neither side could safely enter the harbor with naval or cargo ships if the opposing side controlled the fort. Thus, the Union and Confederate armies competed to control this crucial location in Charleston Harbor. The battle for Fort Sumter’s control lasted almost the entire Civil War.
Fort Sumter is open to visitors and is only accessible by boat. Boats to the fort leave from downtown Charleston and Patriots Point in Mt. Pleasant. Spend a few hours enjoying a boat ride and visit. Anyone interested in the history of the United States or The Civil War must see Sumter.