Fort Sumter National Monument Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Heather Jenkins

Heather has a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in special education. She was a public school teacher and administrator for 11 years.

Monuments can be used to help people remember a variety of events. There are many monuments in the United States dedicated to the American Civil War. In this lesson, you will learn about the Fort Sumter National Monument.

Fort Sumter

Have you ever gotten a trophy? A trophy helps you to remember a competition that you were in. Likewise, buildings, structures, and parks are often used to help others remember historical events.

In 1948, the United States government established the Fort Sumter National Monument. Fort Sumter is a national historical landmark because it marks the location of an important event in the nation's history. It was the site of the first battle in the American Civil War.

Fort Sumter

Located on an island in South Carolina's Charleston Harbor, you can only visit Fort Sumter by traveling on a boat or ferry. Fort Sumter National Monument now also includes:

  • the fort
  • a historic Coast Guard station
  • nearby Fort Moultrie, another military fort used during the Civil War

It's run by the U.S. National Park Service, which is a government agency that ensures the nation's parks, monuments, and historical locations are kept in good condition. It has been rebuilt and repaired to ensure the safety of those visiting and to give people an accurate picture of what Fort Sumter was like during the Civil War. Every year, around 750,000 people visit.

What happened at Fort Sumter? Let's found out why this location is so monumental.

Construction of the Fort

Have you ever tried to build a fort in your backyard? Imagine building one that had to withstand cannon fire!

In 1829, the construction of Fort Sumter began to protect the coast of South Carolina and Charleston Harbor from enemy ships. The fort was built to house up to 650 soldiers and hold over 100 pieces of artillery, or large, high-powered guns, like cannons. Fort Sumter was made with five foot thick brick walls to protect those inside from artillery fire by boat or land.

Historical Battles

Have you ever fought with you sibling or friend? Everyone gets in fights...even states!

Tensions between the North (Union) and South (Confederacy) were rising during the mid-1800s, and eventually the people in South Carolina wanted to leave the U.S. On April 12, 1861, Confederate artillery, led by General Beauregard, began firing on Fort Sumter after President Lincoln (Union) announced he would be resupplying the fort.

To the Confederates, this was like your sibling grabbing a bucket of water balloons. You can be pretty sure he/she is bringing those supplies just case they have to launch them at you. After 34 hours of fighting, the Union forces surrendered Fort Sumter. Thus ended the first battle of the American Civil War, giving the Confederacy a huge victory.

Confederate artillery fired on Fort Sumter.

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