on January 19, 2011
We've visited several old military forts, and we were excited to visit one of the most famous historic forts on the east coast -- Fort Sumter, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired. Unfortunately, ferocious fighting and postwar updates have stripped it of its original grandeur.First, I was disappointed by the information available. If you read the brochure during the ferry ride to the fort itself, you will learn far more than the tour guides ever tell you.Second, I was disappointed by the mere size of the fort. Of course, devastating artillery barrages during the Civil War, later renovations, and time have taken a severe toll on the brick exterior. It's not the fort's fault that it's small, and, in fact, its battle scars are part of its current appeal. Nevertheless, its size is, well, underwhelming.Third, the massive, black Battery Huger, built in 1898, absolutely dominates the interior of the fort. Within the structure is an interesting museum with plenty of artifacts and stories, but it's rather small considering the historical importance of the fort. But the museum is more interesting than the fort itself, which is somewhat disappointing. Why travel to the landmark itself if the best part can be found in a book or elsewhere?Even for a history buff, I can't solidly recommend visiting Fort Sumter. Instead, pull out your binoculars and try to spot it from downtown Charleston. Let your imagination come alive as you envision what it was like to watch its bombardment, like the locals did 150 years ago.
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