For anyone taking a trip to the Lowcountry in South Carolina, Sullivan's Island is a must-visit. Sullivans island includes many different aspects of the Lowcountry compared to many other islands surrounding Charleston.
While you may be thinking that this article will tell you about a local sweet spot coffee shop or even hotel, this article focuses on the heart of the island's history and South Carolinas history. The island has a rich history in South Carolina and even helped coin the nickname Palmetto State.
The reason the island is so important is due to Fort Moultrie. The fort has been re-erected multiple times and seen everything from the Revolutionary War through World War II. The first fort was erected in 1776 and was attacked by the Royal British Navy on June 28, 1776, before the fort was even fully operational.
The makeshift fort was erected to protect the well-trafficked Charleston harbor. The island's defenders were 400 patriots under the command of William Moultrie. Moultrie and his men were outnumbered and outgunned but prepared for the bombardment. The British began to open fire on the small unfinished fort; however, the cannon balls bounced off. The patriots had built the fort from palmetto logs which are spongelike. After an entire day of battle, the British retreated after sustaining heavy losses. Shortly after, the British captured Charleston and gained control of the fort until the end of the Revolutionary war. After the war ended, the occupying British troops departed from the fort, after which the fort was finished and fully operational.
Sadly, a hurricane damaged most of the fort, and repairs had to be made. After these repairs were finally finished, the fort was abandoned due to the ominous cries for succession. The troops stationed at Moultrie retreated to the "safe" confines of the state-of-the-art fortress, Fort Sumter. This decision proved to be a mistake as confederate forces bombarded Fort Sumter bombarded the Union troops for 18 months until they surrendered. By 1865 the confederate forces had fled from Charleston, and Fort Sumter was left in ruins.
In 1870 the fort would be modernized entirely, including new artillery and even structural renovations. And then, in 1885, the Endicott system was put in place, which added multiple new ideas to the coastal defense system. This new system included new steel and concrete batteries all along Sulluvan's Island.
Besides minor skirmishes, the fort failed to see more action throughout the World Wars and was eventually handed over to the National Park Service in 1960. Fort Moultrie National Monument is now open to the public Monday through Sunday, 9:00 am until 4:30 pm (except certain Holidays). Ticket prices are relatively small in terms of things to do in Charleston and sit right at $10.00 per person.
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