Sunday, August 18, 2019

The Late Great Unpleasantness Begins ...

... at Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor where the first shots of the Civil War were fired 12th April 1861 by Confederate guns around the harbor. Major Anderson surrendered it the next day. The Fort stands on what was originally just a sand bar in the middle of the entrance to Charleston Harbor. Tons of granite were transported from New England to build the sand bar up and build the Fort.

Fort Sumter today

The fort was ruined during the war and for decades was used as an unmanned lighthouse station. In 1897 reconstruction began and a massive concrete blockhouse, Battery Huger, was built in 1898 within the original walls.It was deactivated in 1947 and the fort was turned over to the National Park Service as Fort Sumter National Monument in 1948. The Wikipedia article on Fort Sumter has a number of excellent photographs of the original interior.

Ferry similar to the one we took the other direction

Access to Fort Sumter is only by water on a ferry from one of two locations, Liberty Square near downtown Charleston and Patriot Point where it shares wharf facilities with the USS Yorktown. The ferry has handicap access so we took it from Patriot Point.

Early on in the ferry trip there is a great view of the Ravenel Bridge, completed in July of 2005 after four years of construction. This bridge replaced others crossing the Cooper River connecting downtown Charleston with the suburb of Mount Pleasant.

Fort Sumter itself is interesting although at present the museum portion is not accessible unless you walk up two flights of stairs to the top of Battery Huger where both the museum and the store are located. Geoffrey climbed up but I stayed on the ground and investigated the cannons and read the many excellent explanatory plaques around the inside of the fort. The original Civil War era fort was demolished by the bombardment at the beginning of that war but a few bits remain.

While he was up all those stairs Geoffrey went in the store where he got me a Fort Sumter ball cap for my collection and a very nice tote bag with Civil War all over it. The Ships Store back at Patriot Point had also had some excellent books on Fort Sumter of which I had gotten one as well as a nice magnet for my file cabinet but they didn't have the tote bag which I will treasure.

On our return to Patriot Point we went to the nearby Charleston Harbor Fish House which we had noticed signs for the day before. The place is nice and our waiter, Ruel, was very helpful but I think I like yesterday's restaurant a lot better, both the food and the view.

The menu bragged of being the "Best Place to View the Ravenel Bridge" but we had a nice view of the Yorktown instead although the bridge is off in the distance sort of behind the ship. The window is heavy duty and blocked a lot of the view with a major piece of the frame cutting right across at eye level.

We headed back for the RV park and decided to return the rental that afternoon instead of delaying an early departure. After a light dinner we had an early bedtime, something of a habit I think on our trips. At least this night I managed not to fall out of bed again!

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