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Summer Day Trip: Visiting Fort Moultrie

A World War II era Harbor Defense Command Post at fort Moultrie
A World War II era Harbor Defense Command Post at fort Moultrie
photo by author

Fort Moultrie is part of the Fort Sumter National Monument. It is located on Sullivan’s Island outside Charleston and is about 2 ½ hours from Columbia.

Fort Moultrie has played a major role in American history. It was there during the American Revolution that a British attack was repelled thanks to its Palmetto log construction. Palmetto, being soft and spongy, made British cannonballs bounce off.It was this battle that led the Palmetto to be declared our state tree. It also is where Union troops were stationed during December, 1860 before they were moved to Fort Sumter. After the Union troops left, Confederate troops moved in. It was here that some of the first shots were fired in the War Between the States.

Fort Moultrie continued as an active military installation until 1947. Today, it is administered by the National Park Service and shows the history of coastal defenses from the Revolution through World War II.

The well-stocked visitor center offers a short orientation film which traces the history of the Fort told by soldiers from World War II, the Revolution, the Civil War, and World War I. It is well worth the effort. No part of the Revolutionary War or Civil War fortifications still stand but a walking tour of the ramparts shows what stood where. There are several gun positions with excellent views of Fort Sumter.

If you're in the Charleston area, a side trip to Fort Moultrie is well worth the effort and gives an excellent overview of coastal defenses from the 1770s to the 1940s. There is an admission fee.

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