Cannon at Fort Sumter
12 Civil War Sites in South Carolina
From Fort Sumter to Parris Island, South Carolina is absolutely brimming with Civil War and American history. Be sure and check out these 12 Civil War sites in SC:
1. Charleston Museum
One of the first museums in America is also the first item on our list. The Charleston Museum features not only an abundance of coastal South Carolina history, but also it features the renowned “City Under Siege” exhibit.
Set in downtown Charleston, visitors will surely become familiar with some of the Civil War’s more interesting details, like what exactly lead to the secession and the subsequent firing on Fort Sumter which started the Civil War.
2. Fort Sumter National Monument
Speaking of, Fort Sumter National Memorial is easily one of the most enticing historical attractions in all of South Carolina. You’d be remiss to not make plans to visit the 230-acre sea fort, scenically located along the South Carolina coast in Charleston.
Apart from the impressive structure itself, the national monument also includes both the Fort Sumter Visitor Center on Patriots Point and Fort Moultrie on Sullivan’s Island. Visit all three sites for the full Fort Sumter experience and discover what makes this site so special.
3. Fort Moultrie National Monument
Although technically one of three Fort Sumter sites, Fort Moultrie National Monument could just as easily stand alone site for a variety of reason. Found on Sullivan’s Island, the site was actually constructed in 1776, but was involved in the 1861 conflict that lead to the start of the Civil War.
Today, visitors can embark on a historical journey through the fort, viewing some of the still-standing artillery and other historical elements featured at the Fort Moultrie Visitor Center.
4. Secessionville Historic District
While exploring Charleston, do make time for a quick visit to the Secessionville Historic District.
Encompassing over 40 acres on James Island, the district was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, as it houses a collection of sites and structures relevant to the Civil War.
Some of those relevant sites include the Fort Lamar Heritage Preserve, a collection of unmarked Union solider graves, and the site of the battle of Secessionville.
5. River Bridge State Historic Site
Found much more inland, Rivers Bridge State Historic Site, also carries the unique distinction of a preserved battlefield with tons of Civil War significance.
Once there, you’ll embark on the 3/4-mile walking tour, viewing the largely still-remaining Civil War fortifications and the Cemetery at Rivers Bridge, all spread across almost 400 acres of central SC landscape. The site is found just about seven miles from nearby Ehrhardt.
6. South Carolina State House
Set in Columbia, the South Carolina State House is known for narrowly avoiding complete destruction during Sherman’s March in 1865. Today, the building is marked with six bronze stars, or “scars,” to show where the building took damage during the conflict.
During your visit, be sure and tour the grounds and catch a glimpse of the monuments to General Wade Hampton and the Confederate soldiers featuring the Army of Northern Virginia flag. The free, guided tour of the state house isn’t half-bad, either.
7. South Carolina State Museum & Confederate Relic Room
As the largest museum found in the southeastern United States, it should as no surprise the South Carolina State Museum in features not only an impressive Civil War collection, but also it houses the Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum in the same building.
Some of the highlights include a Civil War-era H.L. Hundley submarine replica, plenty of authentic artifacts, and even several copies of the original Ordnance of Secession (that last one is pretty significant, we’d say). Plus, you really can’t beat visiting two museums for the price of one – and in the same place.
8. Saluda Mill at Riverbanks
Less than three miles from the state museum, the Saluda Mill offers a more detailed look into Sherman’s occupation of the region. Though it should be noted the Saluda Mill is only accessible with paid admission to the Riverbanks Zoo – it’s absolutely worth it regardless.
Once you’ve entered the zoo, you’ll take a very scenic walk down to the Saluda riverbank where an interpretive center showcases unique Civil War exhibits and memorabilia. Along with a visit to the interpretive center, you’ll also have an exclusive look at the Saluda Mill ruins.
South Carolina State House
9. Confederate Museum
Considered a unique museum by some, the Confederate Museum in Charleston also houses an impressive collection of Civil War goods and items. So what’s the difference? Well, this particular museum is set in the 1841 Market Hall, and it features the first Confederate flag to fly over Fort Sumter.
10. Parris Island Museum
Head over to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot near Beaufort for an in-depth look into several Civil War conflicts taking place around the Port Royal Sound area. You won’t be recruited, but you will be given the opportunity to take a driving tour of the base and see a wealth of specific sites not seen anywhere else.
And if you’re interested, check out some of the historical artifacts and pieces dedicated to the United States Marine Corps. It’s not all about the Civil War here – there’s over 10,000 square feet of military history here altogether.
11. South Carolina Civil War Museum
Visitors of the north shore city of Myrtle Beach won’t be without Civil War history – the South Carolina Civil War Museum features a plethora of authentic firearms, uniforms, and other artifacts.
Be sure to take a snap shot of the “Four Apostles,” or Rockbridge Artillery cannon carriage, used by Stonewall Jackson. This alone worth the price of admission and it’s likely to be hit on social media.
12. South Carolina Confederate Museum
And finally, despite much of South Carolina’s Civil War history taking place near the coast, the South Carolina Upcountry is home to a cherished museum all its own. Set in Greenville, the South Carolina Confederate Museum is operated by 16th South Carolina Volunteers and Sons of Confederate Veterans giving it a very authentic vibe.