Fort Sumter National Monument is located in the middle of Charleston Harbor in South Carolina and is only accessible by boat. Early on April 12, 1861, a mortar shell fired by Confederate forces from nearby Fort Johnson burst over Fort Sumter, and the American Civil War began.
Charleston Harbor's first line of defense against disease or foreign invasion was Sullivan's Island. Quarantine stations checked every person that came into the harbor, including enslaved Africans. Later a palmetto log fort was built by Colonel Moultrie and the Second South Carolina Infantry. This fort came to be known as Fort Moultrie, and was replaced and modified as technology and warfare changed through the mid-twentieth century.
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