Near Charleston in Charleston County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
Across the harbor directly in front of you lies Fort Johnson. From Fort Johnson came the shot that began the Civil War.
If a Union soldier at Fort Sumter looked toward Fort Johnson at 4:30 a.m., April 12, 1861, he would have seen an ominous flash as a mortar fired. The shell arched high across the sky, and upon reaching Fort Sumter, burst almost directly overhead. That mortar shot from Fort Johnson was the signal for Confederate batteries around Charleston Harbor to open fire on Fort Sumter. The Civil War had begun.
(Caption under Illustration at Right):
South Carolina troops man batteries at Fort Johnson, April 12, 1861. After Fort Johnson's opening shot at 4:30 a.m., all the Confederate batteries opened fire and bombarded Fort Sumter for 34 hours, firing more than 3,000 shells. Fort Sumter fired back with little effect.
The Union commander, Major Robert Anderson, would not risk his men on Sumter's open parapet to man the largest guns. On April 13, Confederate shelling endangered Fort Sumter's powder magazine and Anderson surrendered.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Forts and Castles • War, US Civil. A significant historical month for this entry is April 1850.
Location. 32° 45.139′ N, 79° 52.483′ W. Marker is near Charleston, South Carolina, in Charleston County. Marker is located at Fort Sumter National Monument and only reached by boat. See links below for more information about access to the site. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Charleston SC 29412, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Charleston Besieged (here, next to this marker); Morris Island (a few steps from this marker); Fort Moultrie (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Morris Island (a few steps from this marker); Flags of the Fort (a few steps from this marker); Battery Huger (a few steps from this marker); Fort Sumter 1861-65 (a few steps from this marker); Fort Sumter Today (a few steps from this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Charleston.
More about this marker. On the right side of the marker is an illustration depicting the bombardment of Fort Sumter in 1861. On the left is a photo taken at the end of the war. Fort Johnson, 1865. Fort Sumter is visible in the distance, 1.3 miles away. The Confederates held Fort Johnson throughout the Civil War.
Credits. This page was last revised on October 27, 2020. It was originally submitted on May 17, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,418 times since then and 73 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on May 17, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 2. submitted on August 18, 2013, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey. 3. submitted on May 16, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 4, 5. submitted on May 17, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 6. submitted on August 10, 2015, by Brandon Fletcher of Chattanooga, Tennessee.