Fort Sumter, visible in the far distance of Charleston Harbor, looks very different today. Built after the War of 1812, its tow two tiers are gone, destroyed during the Civil War. The fort's center is now dominated by Battery Huger, a huge, black, concrete artillery emplacement, built in 1898-1899.
The army used Fort Sumter for coastal defense until the end of World War II. Designated a National Monument in 1948, Fort Sumter today reflects one hundred years (1830s-1940s) of military activity.
In 1861, newly built Fort Sumter (right) was an imposing, three-tier, brick fortress designed for 135 guns and 650 men.
By August 1863, Fort Sumter (right) showed the effect of Union shelling. During the longest siege in U.S. military history, Union batteries bombarded the fort for 20 months (1863-1865), pounding it into a mound of rubble.